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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 58
05-23-2011, 12:19 AM
Hmm. Prized possession.

For me it would have to be my Beech 17 Staggerwing. I grew up in a family of ancient aircraft aficionados My dad used to take me up in his A-26 Invader replica when I was little, and my oldest brother Mark had a TBF replica he used to try to and scare me with.

Dad and Mark taught me to fly when I was nine years old. At first, I just flew simple aircraft, but I really wanted to get more into aerobatics and racing, so they started teaching me on the harder planes.

For my thirteenth birthday, my brother got me a Beech 17 Staggerwing. Originally, it belonged to a family friend named Larry Tennifer, who had a farm in the Willamette Valley. He went to the Academy with my grandfather, and first introduced my dad to flying, and he always had a new plane of some sort. Larry is long gone, now, but I will never forget him. His influence had a lot to do with the career path that Mark and I chose when we both joined Starfleet.

Back to the story, for some reason Larry had picked up a replica of a Beech 17 that he said to Mark he was going to use for cropdusting. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me now, because this particular plane would not be best for that purpose. Either way, Larry wound up not liking it so it just sat in a barn for years.

One season, Mark was helping Larry out with his crop and happened along it and asked if he could have it. Larry agreed, and helped transport it to our farm.

It arrived worn and in pieces. For the next year, Mark and I worked to rebuild it, which I was a little frustrated at first that Mark sent me a plane that was in pieces, but in hindsight I'm glad he did. It was a fun project, and it helped me later when I had to do repairs. Me and that little plane have been together ever since that. I used to fly aerobatics at airshows in it, and I won a few junior air racing trophies in it.

I also loved doing night flights in it. I remember on those clear nights when it was just stars as far as the eye could see, I would point the nose up and pretend I was Hikaru Sulu at the helm of the Enterprise. It was a lot of fun. I may have stalled out a few times doing that, too, but I never told anyone. At least until now.

The last time I flew it was right before my late wife and I got together. She was visiting Earth with a diplomatic delegation, and got permission to come see me while she was there. Keep in mind, this was back in the '80s, so things were a little different politically than they are now. She told me she wanted to see all of Deschutes county, so I said, "ok" and tortured her by shoving her into a tiny cabin and flying her around for a few hours. Well, I wouldn't call it tortured. She seemed to have fun--at least when the plane wasn't upside down.

Of all the planes we owned, that was my favorite. A lot of great memories with that plane.

Since arriving in the 25th century, I haven't had a chance to fly it. I keep a replica of it on the holodeck aboard the Stellar Drift-F, but it's not the same. My nephew, who lives at the farm now, says that it's still there and he's kept it in operating condition in the event I finally get to go home and fly it again.

One of these days.