I have occasionally stumbled on to events that I really should have known about. One such time was a gathering of DC-3s that took place at Rock Falls in Illinois. About 90 minutes from Chicago, this was something I should have known about but didn’t. My friend Paul Filmer apparently knew because he was there. I only found out about it when I heard he had arrived. I already had plans so figured I wouldn’t go. I had arranged to shoot some motorbike riders off-roading in an area not so far away. As it happened, one of the riders was also an autogyro pilot. When we wrapped up the bike shoot, he asked if I wanted to go for a flight. Guess what my answer was.
While we were airborne, we came across one of the DC-3s flying in the local area. He asked if we wanted to follow it so we did. We had talked about heading to Rock Falls before we got airborne anyway. I had texted Paul to watch out for me arriving in a gyro and he thought I was kidding. Once we arrived in the pattern, he realized it was for real.
I got a chance to get some shots of the arrayed Douglas planes as we made our approach. Then, once on the ground, we were able to wander through the ranks of planes. They were in varying conditions with some in pristine shape and others looking like they were after someone with some time and money to bring them back. A couple of the planes were for sale.
It was a fine collection of planes and, since Rock Falls is not terribly close to a major town, it wasn’t over crowded with visitors. There were plenty of people there but you were not fighting for space. I met up with Paul for a chat and took in all there was to see before my pilot decided it was a good time to head home. A pretty fortuitous turn of events since I had not thought I was going to see any of this when I got up that morning.