After a day spent at the Mike and Key swap meet at Puyallup, I headed for Seattle
and a first time visit to the Museum
of Flight, located next
to Boeing Field.
As closing time approached, I was in the Great Hall,
examining an exibit of early aircraft communications
equipment. They have an old Teletype
machine, the kind that printed on a strip of gummed tape, an old transmitter
and a microphone used in aircraft service.
Next to that were a couple of lights used at airports. What caught my eye was what appeared to be grafitti on one of the the
fixtures. (See the picture at
......) Look closely at that
signature...."Bob Shelby, Airport Manager". That's none other than W7FPY, who's retired
from the Eugene Airport.
I was curious how the name of a Valley Radio Club member
wound up prominently displayed in a major museum. Bob was surprised to learn it was on public
display but filled me in on the story:
remember it exactly.....just don't know where it's located these days. Here's
the story: The main runway at Eugene's
airport had been upgraded but funds were never quite available to do the
crosswind runway, 3 - 21. Consequently, it had an antiquated lighting system
including non-standard threshold lights......which got me written up at every
FAA inspection. June and I would see the FAA's Region Director, Chris Walk, at
various social events (and of course I already knew him well from my
apprenticeship days in Eastern Washington) where he would always inquire,
".....WHEN was I going to rid the
airport of those abominable threshold lights?...." I'd give him some
evasive answer and once he said to June, ".......I never laid a glove on
him...." But eventually we did indeed upgrade 3 - 21 including the
lighting systems so I saved one of those "offensive" lights for
Chris. Planned to take it up Seattle
way and present it to him when he ups and retires. We had a BIG shindig at
Boeing's Museum in his honor and it kinda brought
down the house when I gave this to him."
And then Bob added "And that's quite an honor to be
in the Museum.....wow!"