President GW Bush
General Patton's WW2 D-Day Piper Cub Reg. G-KIRK
A pilot in England must never admit to be suffering from depression or he may lose his licence. I know.
In February this year, about a hundred miles off Haiti, Caribbean, my US army 1943 Piper Cub experienced engine failure and ditched in the sea. For the next three hours I huddled, freezing in a leaky life raft, waist high in water, desperately trying to keep my satellite distress beacon up out of the water!
Just as the sun was going down, expecting to be breakfast for the sharks, I heard the magic drone of a ‘gurt' black and red US Coast Guard Jay Hawk helicopter, out of Greater Inagua US Air Base, piloted by Julie Kuck with her merry rescue team.
Safely on dry land I quickly bought another aging J3 Piper Cub in Daytona, Florida, in order to carry on my life's dream, a ‘flight around the world'. I had competed in the 2001 London to Sydney Air Race sponsored by a benevolent Arizonian who, having read my web site, laughed so much paid my $50,000 ticket! A world record from Norfolk Island to Brisbane, Australia for a J3 Cub and then engine failure with a spectacular crash, in Japan, are just a couple of stories in my travels.
Then things in Texas all went, may I suggest, somewhat ‘pear shaped'.
Whilst ‘test flying' the new (1946) little yellow Cub out of a field near Houston, Texas, before setting off for the Falkland Islands, South America, I decided to thank you, as C in C, for saving my life. The plans were to land near Crawford and walk/taxi into the P49 Restriction Zone and deliver a note, similar to this, at the gate of your Texas residence.
I have been, I believe, quite misunderstood and was arrested and deported back to UK with a suggestion from the US Embassy suggesting I will not be allowed to re enter the United States of America again. The Federal Aviation Authority [enclosed], however, telephoned me personally to assure me my flight, subject to paperwork, landing in farmer Hawkins's field, near Crawford, was no aviation offence.
I humbly request that I may be allowed to retrieve my little Cub in Houston and fly her direct across the Mexican border, one way, in order I may fulfil my dream of flying the Andes and to our British outpost.
Maurice J Kirk BVSc and Family. PS 'gurt' is Somerset, West Country, language for ‘BIG'! PPS Enclosed US Pilot's report and ‘Lest We Forget' memo
South Wales CF61 1ZB
To whom it may concern:
Brian Throop of the FAA in Washington D.C stated to me on 6/20/08 via telephone that as far as he knew there were no known airspace infractions or FAA violations made by Mr. Maurice Kirk. I have also spoke with Mr. Throop on several occasions in regards to Mr. Kirk. Tel: (202) 538-9013.
Also on 5/01/08 in taking Mr. Kirk back to his aircraft in Crawford, Texas. Mr. Arnold Theymeyer of the FAA in Ft. Worth Texas had a phone conversation with Mr. Kirk stating that he had committed no offenses, and was given authorization to fly his aircraft. My wife, Kandy Howell was also present and spoke with Mr. Arnold Theymeyer.
Alvin M. Howell
Private Pilot/Airframe and Power Plant Technician/Inspection Authorization with 36 years experience in the aviation industry. Have had a US private pilot’s license since 1974. I also work for Standard Aero located at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston as a QA inspector on corporate Business Jets.
My wife and I have a business that provides Safety Compliance Training to Aviation Maintenance Certified Repair Stations.
AMT Training Solutions
Thanks for your time
Alvin M. Howell
22715 Piper Rd
Needville, Tx. 77461
(979) 553-3040 home
(281) 974-6593 cell
Pehaps I should write to the 'new man' and offer my General Patton D-Day Piper Cub for the Smithsonian Museum?
I must invite President Barck Obama to read an American's account of the 2001 London to Sydney Air Race, below:
from Air & Space / Smithsonian, June-July 2001)
"She's a very tired old girl," said Maurice Kirk of his 58-year-old Piper Cub, British registration G-KIRK, when they reached Sydney, Australia, last April. "She's lost a magneto, her fabric's coming off, and just about everything has broken that could." Kirk was tired too. The British veterinarian is only two years younger than his aircraft.
Their journey along the London-Sydney Air Race 2001 course took them halfway around the globe, nearly 14,000 miles. They flew 200 hours in 28 days, with only a single rest stop in Thailand, and that one given over to oil-sump repairs. G-KIRK was throwing oil, so Kirk doubled the sump's capacity by welding an extension to it. All the other sanctioned rest days were spent catching up with the race, which celebrated a century of Australian federation and re-created the "kangaroo route" air race of 1919. The winner was Spirit of Kai Tak, a state-of-the-art Piper Aerostar crewed by four Brits from Hong Kong. Thirty-seven teams left from Biggin Hill near London on March 11, and all but six were on hand for the triumphant fly-past of Sydney Harbor on April 8.
Which didn't include the gallant Piper Cub. G-KIRK was disqualified on the first day, when Kirk landed in a pasture west of Lyons, France, instead of Cannes, the official landing site, to the annoyance of police and race officials. "It was logistics," he later said. "They couldn't cope with the [60-knot] Cub. Or was it Maurice Kirk? I forget which." Nontheless, Kirk forged ahead, now just along for the ride.
When delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943, G-KIRK had a 12-gallon fuselage tank and a range of 190 miles. That would hardly suffice for race days that averaged 500 miles and sometimes double that. Kirk learned that an American had once fitted his Cub with wing tanks from a Piper Colt; the modification had been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and was therefore legal in Europe.
Now G-KIRK could carry 50 U.S. gallons. For a reserve, Kirk cached four plastic jugs in the cabin and snaked a tube through the window to the fuselage tank. In Calcutta, this rig actually put him ahead of the field: airport authorities neglected to send out a tanker of aviation gasoline, and deployed only one tanker the next day. The last contestant didn't get off the ground until 3 p.m. Kirk, meanwhile, refueled the night before with the help of a taxi, a nearby service station, and his jerry cans.
When Kirk set off from Biggin Hill, G-KIRK had sported a wind-vane generator between its landing struts, which powered a 12-volt fuel transfer pump. Alas, the generator failed in Saudi Arabia. Kirk thereafter relied on a hand wobble pump. This in turn failed while G-KIRK was flying across "some sea," as his wife Kirstie, coping with hoof-and-mouth disease at a veterinary hospital in Wales, described it on their Web site.
The sea was the Bay of Bengal, and Kirk managed to glide down to a Burmese beach for repairs. "They were all in skirts and treated me royally," he reported. "They fed me. It was fantastic."
G-KIRK also made unauthorized landings in Egypt, India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia, further alienating Kirk from officialdom while making him a hero to everyone else. He broke the monotony by occasionally cutting the engine, skimming down to 20 feet above the ground, and shouting to woodcutters or fishermen: "Hi! I'm on my way to Australia!"
Race rules required Kirk to carry a radio and a GPS receiver, which could fix his position by satellite. He preferred his old school atlas, plotting his course between "the pink bits" that once marked the far-flung British Empire.
The East Timor Sea, from Bali to Darwin, was the most difficult crossing: 500 miles, with the wind against him. Kirk got a head start by skipping to the island of Sumba, where he jettisoned his blind-flying gear, spare clothes, and the gifts he'd accumulated along the way.
"Just as the sun began to show itself, I took off against 10 mph headwinds," Kirk rhapsodized by cell phone from Sydney. To minimize the effects of the headwind, he flew 20 feet above the water, which led to a close encounter with two whales. He says he landed at Darwin with 15 minutes of fuel remaining and half an inch of oil on the dipstick.
On the final leg, to Coolangatta, G-KIRK threw two of the six bolts that secured its wooden propeller, which cracked. Happily, Lyle Campbell of Arizona had volunteered to carry a spare prop in his Grumman Albatross, the second oldest airplane in the race. Campbell had also underwritten Kirk's $25,000 entry fee, and he and other contestants ferried Kirk's daughter Belinda to Australia after race officials threw her off the dignitaries' aircraft in the Mideast.
At journey's end, Kirk's principal regret was that police helicopters kept him away from the Sydney Harbor Bridge. (G-KIRK was of course banned from the fly-past. It wasn't officially a contestant, and anyhow it didn't have a radio adequate for formation flying.) "No one has ever looped that bridge," he marveled. "Can you believe it?"
Glamorgan Gem Newspaper 9th May 2008
Flying vet saga takes a new twist after the US authority‘s deportation threat
Friday, 09 May 2008
THE Vale's ‘Flying Vet' Maurice Kirk, is again behind bars in America - and is claiming that he was arrested in a swoop by the US ‘Secret Service'. Maurice Kirk's American troubles started when he landed his plane near the Texas ranch owned by US President George Bush. He was arrested by security officials - who doubted Mr Kirk's explanation that he wanted to deliver a personal ‘thank you' to the President after the US Coastguard rescued him earlier this year, when he was forced to ditch in the sea. Since the Flying Vet's problems in Texas began, his blog has been up-dated by his wife Kirsty. In her latest entry, she has reported that he has been arrested by the "secret service" and is now being held in the deportation unit. Mrs Kirk said that he had been invited to a restaurant for a beer (probably last Thursday, May 1) and was sitting outside on a bench with local residents when he was picked up by the police. Mrs Kirk said the reason given was that "he had been seen wandering around town aimlessly with a gas can". She continued: "M (Maurice) believes that the secret service traced him to this location by him using his credit card, and the public intoxication charge was used to hold him until the secret service arrived." Mrs Kirk then went on to say that an immigration official had told Maurice his original act of landing his plane near the President's ranch, was "a criminal activity which endangers public safety" - and that that would be the reason for his deportation. She said that he was offered a deal, whereby he would be driven to the airport to board a flight to London - and would not be deported. However, Mrs Kirk said that her husband refused to have "charges on his record for offences he did not commit". She added: "When he refused, they shackled him in hand and ankle cuffs, and he was taken to the deportation centre in Houston."