Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Granny Burnetts Airplane Book

The other day I was on E-Bay (a dangerous place according to my Wife) and found a delightful surprise. One of my searches turned up AMERICA’S FIGHTING PLANES by Reed Kinert. The amazing thing was that it was in Kindle format. I was overjoyed that a new generation would be exposed to this wonder book.

In World War Two my Uncle Jack Burnett went to the Aircorps as an aircraft mechanic. He wrote home strange letters speaking of Pt-19s, AT-6 and B-25s. My Grandfather bought a copy of this book on a business trip to Amarillo, Texas in order to read the code.

My Cousin Eddie read to me from this book at Granny Burnett’s farm. It was the first exposure I had to the planes that would become so important in my life. I’m afraid we grand kids wore that book out. I reattached the covers while working as a library assistant in high school. When Granny Burnett passed away that book went to Eddie – as it should have.

In 1994 I visited THE BOOK BUYERS SHOPE on Alabama Street in Houston, a place every bit as dangerous as E-Bay. I had not thought about Granny Burnett’s airplane book in twenty years at least. I had long since given up any chance of finding another. There on the shelf was the second copy I had seen in my life.

Nothing could ever take the place of Granny Burnett’s book, but I made this one special in another way. I take this book to the Men (and Women) who flew, and now fly, the planes described here. It’s a great ice breaker. Most of them honor me by signing the pages of the planes they flew.

As they thumb through the book two things happen. I have had a number of folks, when they spot performance figures listed here ask, “Weren’t they worried about this information getting into enemy hands?”

Friends and neighbors – they were counting on it! I have had a number of old timers laugh openly at the speeds, ranges and fuel capacities listed.

But the pictures also bring out the stories. Sometimes stories they haven’t thought about in years.


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