Hill Country Recorder, September 19, 1984, story and photo (From the back seat of the L-1) by Roger L. Berry.
“RETURN WITH US NOW TO THOSE GOLDEN DAYS OF YESTERYEAR….” The men of the Alamo Wing of the Confederate Air Force did just that on the day of the Kendall County Fair Parade. While authentic World War II vehicles drove in the parade, aircraft owned by the Alamo Liaison Group flew the parade route in various formations. Those aircraft included: STINSON L-1: Flown by Col. Jim Engleman, the silver L-1 is the only restored plane of its type left in the world. 350 L-1s were built with 100 going to the R.A.F. (they called them “Vigilants”) while the USAF flew them in Burma (Air Commandos), in Europe, Alaska, and Hawaii (several were destroyed by the Japanese in the Pearl Harbor Attack). This aircraft has been restored in the markings of Bellows Field, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. The PIPER L-4: Flown by Col. Rudy Decker, the olive-drab L-4 represents the ubiquitous “grasshopper” that performed many roles–ambulance, courier, artillery eyes, VIP transportation, and just about anything else needed. A footnote in history reveals that Gen. George S. Patton possessed a civilian pilot’s license and regularly flew an L-4 over the battlefield. Nearly 6,000 L-4s rolled off the assembly lines before production ceased. The INTERSTATE L-6: Flown by Col. Earl Collins, this L-6 represents one of the 250 Interstates that the Army pressed into service in 1942. Many were used in California, flying along the coast in search of submarines. The large US markings are a testimony to the lack of aircraft identification ability at that time (presumably, the Imperial Japanese Navy should have painted “JAPAN” on their aircraft). While the I-6 was an excellent airframe, Its Franklin engine was a constant source of trouble and no more were obtained. The TAYLORCRAFT L-2: Flown by Col. Larry Flinn, the blue and yellow L-2 is one of the more than 1,700 “Tee-carts” that took on the military look in the early 1040’s. Many were used for the Aviation Cadet’s first introduction to powered (albeit UNDERPOWERED) flight and this one has been restored in the colors of the primary flight school. Many were later converted to gliders and used in the training of glider pilots.
“KEEP’EM FLYING,” a great slogan in its day, is the current challenge for the men and women of the Confederate Air Force. Dedicated to the preservation and promo ton of our rich heritage in airpower, the CAF continues to salute the sacrifices made on our behalf. This is not a tribute to war—far from it. It is a strong reminder of the truth that those who refuse the lessons of history are destined to relive them. It is a reminder that this country, with its freedoms and liberties, must be constantly on-guard.
The aircraft flown in the Kendall County parade are owned by the Alamo Liaison Group business people in the San Antonio and Hill Country area (two are Boerne residents). The ALG maintains and flies the only complete collection of “L-Birds’ in existence. This group seeks to perpetuate the spirit in which these aircraft were flown in defense of our great nation.
The Alamo Wing of the Confederate Air Force is pleased to announce the appearance of over 75 of its vintage aircraft at an airshow in Hondo, Texas October 20-21, 1984. For those who have not experienced the feelings of pride and excitement of a CAF airshow, you have a special treat in store. These aircraft (many one-of-a kind like the L-1, B-29, and P-82) will be on display in the mornings. Sunday afternoon, amid the smoke and roar, these aircraft will present an enactment of flying combat and action—1940 style.