By ANN Correspondent and Fly-Low Editor Ralph McCormick
HO, HO, HO….
Who said there wasn't a
Santa Claus (from 23,000 feet msl)???
In the case of the missing "Hot Wings" in
Oklahoma that we detailed on ANN on the Fifth of
December, we're happy to report that they were seen by a friendly
high-altitude "Santa." Thereafter, the police were notified and
most important... the wings were found!
This e-mail was received by Ralph McCormick, with the "Rest
of the Story" on the case of the missing wings.
Folks: MIRACLES HAPPEN!!!!
In follow up to the search for the missing Aeronca wings which
began on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, here's the rest of the
On Friday night (12/5/03), I received a phone call from Brent
Higginbotham that he had spotted what he thought could be a pair of
wings on the ground 2 1/2 miles north of Minco and 1 mile west of
Highway 81 FROM 23,000 feet with his aerial photography
Saturday; I over flew that general area, and was unsuccessful in
locating the wings. I decided to fly back to Chickasha (18
miles south where the rest of the airplane is hangared), when my
friend Cory, spotting from the right side of the airplane, yelled
"There they are!"
They were in the back yard of a house in downtown Minco,
Oklahoma. We landed and decided to consult on the situation
with the Minco Police Department (already aware of the search),
which confirmed that these were the missing wings. After
knocking on the door of the owner of the backyard, no response was
obtained, so they checked the next door neighbor (family
members of the homeowner), who authorized the police to
retrieve them, and even offered the use of their trailer to
transport the wings back to the airport. Two trailering trips
later, the wings were safe & secure back at the Chickasha
Airport (home of the Champ)!
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
- Pilot Frank Bice, who
amazingly had taken photos of my Aeronca Champ airplane safely
parked on the side of the highway just after the emergency
landing, and initiated an incredible spreading the of the
Wing Search by email and Internet to hundreds of airports &
pilots in this region.
- Ralph McCormick of Fly-Low magazine, for his article
(which appeared on ANN, 12/5/03).
- Minco, Oklahoma Police Department for their invaluable
assistance in the recovery of the wings in a safe, courteous, legal
and non-violent manner.
- Brent Higginbotham, aerial photography in Oklahoma City, who
reviewed his film of that general area and spotted what turned out
to be the missing wings - and his diligence in tracking me down
late at night to let me know of this finding, in spite of
professional obligations at 4AM the following morning.
- My best friend, Cory, whose expertise from youthful experience
as an airplane spotter for the Wildlife Department enabled him to
pick out the two yellow wings amongst a sea of yellow farm
equipment from the air.
Final Note: In this day & age of
skepticism and stories of heartache, this entire event and all
those involved have once again shown the goodness of people
everywhere, especially in Oklahoma.
What a wonderful holiday gift!