Kachemak Air Service
One of the joys of aviation is hangar flying--sharing stories about planes and people and places. Jim Rearden's Travel Air NC9084 offers the same kind of fascinating tales and details in his new book about an historic 1929 aircraft and the heroes that flew it.
Bill de Creeft writes in the Foreword, "They're too valuable and rare to risk now, too beautiful and shiny to fly freight into a gravel strip or to stuff in 'just one more' wet goat hunter off a high windy lake." He should know, Bill and 9084 did just that for 35 years in Alaska.
Today he flies sightseeing rides in Travel Air NC9084 from Homer, Alaska; flights that are more considerate of Kachemak Air Service's recently restored and exquisitely finished "Limousine of the Air." During the three decades that Bill worked 9084 he learned just what a capable aircraft Travel Air Manufacturing Company had built. He also learned about the aircraft's amazing history, often from the very people who made it. Named one of Alaska's Heros of the Decade by the Anchorage Times for daring and selfless rescues, Bill made some of that history himself.
With just the right mix of enthralling stories, aeronautical history, technical details, and personal insights Travel Air NC9084 chronicles Bill and Barbara de Creeft's experiences with 9084, the aircraft's contribution to aviation history, and their "nothing by chance" encounters with the people who helped make that history.
You'll read about a 13-day non-stop endurance flight, and gasp when you realize that odd shape in the old air-to-air photo is actually a mechanic working on the engine thousands of feet above the ground and inches from the propeller. You'll read about Tex Hendrix laboring in a 1930's abandoned Texas dust bowl dance hall, replacing gas pipe used for longerons with proper aircraft tubing. You'll read about a Ziegfield dancer, smoke jumpers, a murderer, and desperate survivors--all part of 9084's history.
Jim Rearden's Travel Air NC9084 is a chronicle of an aircraft's seventy-five years of continuous commercial service, and a pilot's 22,000 hours (21,000 on floats) of experience in the skies of Alaska. Anyone with a taste for aviation history and for adventure will love it.
"An outstandung combination of aviation history and story telling about one of the most advanced aircraft of it's time, the Travel Air 6000." -- Orin Seybert, Chairman of the Board, Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
"A wonderful story of aviation history. No airplane is more worthy of this honor than the Travel Air 6000 monoplane. Old NC9084 was born in 1929 and is still flying, a tribute to the builder and the design." -- Rudy Billberg, a 1930s barnstormer and long-time Alaska bush pilot
Travel Air NC9084 by Jim Rearden is available from The Homer Bookstore.
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