I took my 2YO Grandson to our local airport today for lunch and to watch the planes. I was very pleasantly surprised to see and hear a Texan in the pattern and pointed it out to him.
Upon turning to final the Texan chose to perform a high speed pass down the runway in order to announce his arrival. Damn near brought tears to my eyes as it reminded me of an old friend, Bill Dodds, a NJ aviator and airshow legend who passed away in 1997 while taking a nap under the wing of his beloved Texan in between airshows in NY.
As the plane eventually landed and rolled out I had a momentary and spooky flashback that I actually WAS seeing Bill in his old SNJ-5 “Six of Diamonds” go by. As it turned out it was “Six of Diamonds” but it wasn’t Bill at the helm but rather Kurt Holstein, her present owner.
Kurt is a true gentleman and was extremely courteous in allowing the restaurant patrons who came out to view his beautiful ride full access to clamber on, over and even in it. He even took the time to talk to an old man who was there and patiently listened to him reminisce about his 12 hours in a Texan.
He was kind enough to take photos of folks sitting in the cockpit, including my grandson.
Bill Dodds was renowned locally for taking folks for a ride in “Six of Diamonds” when he wasn’t flying her in airshows, to the point that she’s probably had more people in her than Coonts’s “Cannibal Queen” which presently flies out of PNE taking tourists aloft. Kurt, the present owner of “Six of Diamonds”, mentioned that he had received his first ride in her compliments of Bill and when he heard the plane was on the market a few years ago he felt compelled to buy her.