At any rate, we jumped and got the required paperwork in and pretty much forgot about it since other states wanted the airplane as well. Just as I was getting ready to leave town on a trip on Valentine's weekend, I got a call from the Texas GSA telling us we could have the O-1 if we wanted it. Did we? Of course we wanted it, but we had done no fund raising for this type aircraft and needed some time to get support. They said fine, we'll call tomorrow. Tomorrow? I immediately went to the only two sources of O-1 information that I knew of, the International Bird Dog Association and the FAC Association. Armed with a bunch of email addresses, I fired off about 700 messages and got ready to leave town on a three day trip to Tel Aviv. That was February 10th. On the morning of the 11th, our friendly GSA rep called asking, "well, do you want it?" I told him we wanted it, but we needed a little time to see if we could raise the funds. Money was starting to come in, but we needed to raise at least $6,000 to make the project work. I told him I would call him when I got back on the 13th.
Twelve or so hours later I was in Tel Aviv and found my email box full. People were coming out of the woodwork to support the O-1 project. I spent a lot of time on the computer for those couple days, but by the time I returned, we had raised over $9,000.
I called the GSA first thing on Valentine's Day and told them we wanted the airplane. They said the paperwork would be along in a few days. A week went by, then ten days and finally the paperwork authorizing the transfer and the restriction were in hand with a note to get them back in a couple days or the airplanes was going to be reassigned. In the brief time we had to acquire the airplane we had learned very little other than this was the same airplane we tried to get the five years before. We vowed not to let it get away again.
A short time ago we received this message from the Texas GSA, "we did received your paperwork, and sent it on to GSA, they have approved the transfer. Your copy of the original CTD was mailed to you today. You can make arrangements with the holding agency in North Carolina to go get your plane."
We have been calling this little Bird Dog "Valentine" since it was essentially a gift of the heart from a lot of former Air Force O-1 people on Valentine's Day.
Now, we can begin the process of "gittin her home."
We know very little about this little treasure. We do know it is an O-1A with serial number is 51-22840, which we believe is a Cessna number and that is about it. We also know some dedicated supporters that have pledged over $12,000 to preserve a little bit of their heritage.
For now, please join with us in thanking these people for making it possible to add a Bird Dog to the Petting Zoo.
|Jim Mulvihill IBDA|
|Winnie Stearns |