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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our tenth calendar year
    PCR #491  (Vol. 10, No. 34)  This edition is for the week of August 17--23, 2009.

"Inglourious Basterds"  by Mike Smith
Airliners International 2009  by William Moriaty
Movies That Scared Us for Life  by ED Tucker
Initializing...  by Bobby Tyler
DVD Review: Criterion's "An Autumn Afternoon": Ozu Final Masterpiece  by Jason Fetters
Heeee’s Baaack! .... Is His Name Clear? .... Tanard Jackson .... Monday Night’s Birthday .... Are You A Dolphin? .... Officer Mike Roberts .... ....  by Chris Munger
Brody .... Justice Is Blind...and Pretty Damn Arrogant .... It's Also A Damn Joke .... Movie Notes .... Everything's Archie .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... by Mike Smith
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Airliners International 2009

Overview in the main hall of the Airliners International 2009 convention, July 25, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.
Saturday morning on July 25th was another day of lots of travel and hurried deadlines in the life of William Moriaty.

Over a month earlier, my dear friend "Miami Mike" Hiscano told me over a late lunch at the Airport Diner in Miami Springs that he would have a vendor's booth for this special event. I had not been to an Airliners International convention since the early 1990's when one was coincidentally at the same location in the Orlando area close to 20 years ago.

As "Miami Mike" is one of my favorite people, and as Orlando is only a 40 to 50 minute drive from Plant City, I couldn't miss this opportunity to visit him once again. I would find out within a week after our June get together that David P. Henderson author of Sunshine Skies: Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia would also be attending and giving a presentation! As I had never before met the author of this great book (see PCR #302), there was no doubt where I would be spending July 25, 2009, so quick like a bunny I ordered my ticket to attend Airliners International 2009 ("AI2009")!

Harry Wise Calling
David P. Henderson author of Sunshine Skies: Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia gives his power point presentation.
Just when I thought I would have the day to myself with "Miami Mike" and David Henderson at AI2009 I received a call on Friday July 24th from my other dear friend magician Harry Wise of Sanford, Florida who informed me that he would be performing a magic show in downtown Sanford the next day. In all sincerity, at this very late stage of this amazing showman's life, I will walk if I have to in order to see what could be the last show of this truly great human being. I told him I could fit in his 2:00 P.M. show, but it meant I would really have to compress my AI2009 visit.

Familiar Faces and A New Found Friend
I arrived around 9:00 A.M. at the venue where the AI2009 convention was being held. Other than getting my registration packet, my first objective was to try to find "Miami Mike" which wouldn't be easy based on the size of the Wyndham Orlando Resort's convention center. The next order of business would be to attend David Henderson's presentation on his book Sunshine Skies: Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia which was slated for 10:00 A.M.

As I received my registration I saw a face from the past that I had not seen in five years. Linda Levine of the South Florida Airline Historic Society (see PCR #190) was there to provide with my registration packet! It as great to see her again and she, along with her husband Don, had not changed a bit over the course of the past half decade. She said that Mike was somewhere in the convention center main room. As I went to look for him, a tall brunette man with a pony tail called to me saying "You're William Moriaty aren't you?" Answering in the affirmative I glanced to see his name badge sporting the moniker David Henderson!

We immediately came to the conclusion that we are kindred spirits! David is a wonderful and intelligent person probably versed in the history of Florida and Georgia's commuter airline history from the 1960's to the late 1980's more than any person living. He said show time had been moved up to 9:45 AM so I really had to move fast to find "Miami Mike" if the three of us had hopes of lunch together before my premature departure to Sanford.

401 Tribute
David, an Atlanta boy whose father was a pilot for Delta Air Lines, is seen at his booth selling his incredible book.
When I filled out the AI2009 registration form a month earlier, I had noticed one of their presentations was called "401 Tribute".

Shows such as AI2009 are typically more akin to comic collectible shows except featuring airline timetables, magazines, photos and other related mmemorabilia. This show had a very unique and memorable visit - - a visit and presentation by "401 Tribute", survivors of the December 29, 1972 crash in the Everglades of Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, a Lockheed L-1011 that was scheduled to fly from New York to Miami.

Scanning the tables for Mike I noticed something out of the ordinary. There were old editions of the Miami Herald that had photographs of a beautiful woman with the caption "Fara" beneath them. There were also photos of a very pretty woman with bandages around her head making her look like saintly or angelic. Beneath those photos were captions that read "Beverly Raposa".

"Beverly Raposa" - - I knew I had heard that name somewhere before. This was all very strange stuff for a moment. I looked up from the newspapers and in the middle of the booth saw in blue and white letters along with the "hockey stick" symbol of Eastern Air Lines, "401 Tribute" - - then it all hit me like a ton of bricks "Beverly Raposa - the stewardess who survived the crash of Flight 401!"

La Floridiana author William Moriaty and David pose for the camera at AI2009.
Airline crashes are not the type of item du jour that attendees of airline conventions probably (or hopefully) dwell much upon - - it is viewed almost in the same vein as nuclear war - - it could happen, but you like to think that it never will. You especially think this way when you have pilots, flight engineers (themselves a vanishing breed) and stewardesses as your own husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters. I know, I did. My half brother Preston Patton Pender II was a Boeing 727-200 pilot for National Airlines. He was stationed in Miami the same late night I heard about a jumbo jet going down in the Glades on its way to Miami (see PCR #83 in the article about the Ghost of Flight 401).

Thirty six and a half years later I was finally forced to confront the mortality of that event. Almost immediately a smiling lady with a saintly and angelic look began to talk to me in soft and comforting tones about this tragedy. It was none other than former stewardess Beverly Raposa who I had read about for decades - - Beverly Raposa - - survivor - - Beverly Raposa, real, not just a name in 8 point print. I stood there absolutely stunned.

A rather dashing gentleman joined with Ms. Raposa in describing the crash. I remembered his name very well too - Ronald Infantino - - survivor - - Ronald Infantino, real, not just a name in 8 point print. Ronald Infantino, whose beautiful first wife of just twenty days, Fara "Lily" de la Rosa Infantino, died in the crash of Flight 401.

Airline model builder extraordinaire Roger Jarman is caught on the camera while recounting his life in the aviation field.
Atlantic Models impressive collection is seen on display at AI2009.

I'm glad I got to visit with Beverly Raposa, Ronald Infantino and former stewardess and 401 survivor Patricia Quigg. I left them humbled. I left them encouraged. I left a better person because even for but a few moments I met people whose stories of overcoming life's tragedies made mine pale by comparison. Their will to live and survive urged me on to be the best that I can be and to never forget the finite time that we are here and that we must always live in the spirit of strength and always find room in hearts to have love for one another.

David Henderson Master Showman!
Heavy piston guru and Florida Folk Hero Carlos Gomez poses with fellow Florida Folk Hero Roger Jarman of Atlantic Models fame.
After leaving the 401 Tribute, it was on to David's power point presentation on the commuter airlines of Florida and Georgia circa 1960's to 1980's. It was one of the most fascinating, informative and entertaining such presentations I have ever seen. David is both articulate and entertaining showman ad as I stated earlier, has a wealth of knowledge on the subject beyond the kin of any one else I am aware of.

Although he was running over time, I could've listened all day, but lunch was approaching and if I had hoped to have lunch with him and "Miami Mike" I had better hurry and find Mike.

Another Familiar Face and A New Face!

I didn't initially find "Miami Mike" once back in the convention center ball room, but I ran into master model airline builder Roger Jarman (also featured in PCR #190) of Atlantic Models! It is always a pleasure to talk with Roger and see his incredible works of art. it was getting to feel like old home week at the old South Florida Airline Historic Society collectible shows held around Halloween near Miami International Airport. Roger's Atlantic Models is also a major sponsor of the Historical Flight Foundation, Inc. a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization whose mission it is to restore vintage commercial piston aircraft for generations to come to enjoy. Their master work so far is a Douglas DC-7B being restored in 1950's and early 1960's Eastern Air Lines livery. They hope to have the aircraft flight worthy in the near future in order to receive FAA certification to fly paying passengers once again as "Living History" flights.

The most notable heroes of any kind at AI2009 were the Eastern Air Lines 401 Tribute survivors, Patricia McQuigg (L), Ronald Infantino (M) and Beverly Raposa (R).
The new face for me was the honor of meeting for the first time heavy piston re-conditioner extraordinaire Mr. Carlos Gomez. Mr. Gomez is the primary person behind the beautiful restoration of the Eastern Douglas DC-7B down at the Opa Locka Airport in Miami-Dade County, Florida. This airport probably houses the largest remaining fleet of heavy pistons left in the lower 48 states. In addition Gomez has immaculately restored a number of historic heavy pistons from the 1940's to late 1950's throughout the years and currently possesses such a fleet including C-54, DC-6 and DC-7 equipment, all air worthy and flying cargo under Gomez's Florida Air Transport, Inc. operation based at Opa. In the 1990's he beautifully restored heavy pistons that operated out of Miami International Airport and were feature stars in the "Ageless Recips Over Miami' series of VHS videos by heavy piston enthusiast Fred Hartmann of Sky Legends Video (see PCR #301).

Carlos Gomez - - recently inducted Florida Folk of the Highest Order!

What would aviation history in Florida be without the ever affable and likable "Miami Mike" Hiscano? Mike is shown here before David Henderson and I left for lunch.
The Clock Is Ticking!
My time with David Henderson, the 401 Tribute folks, Roger Jarman and Carlos Gomez was much more rushed than I would've liked and I still hadn't found "Miami Mike" Hiscano and still needed to be in Sanford, about an hour away, to make Harry Wise's magic show.

After leaving Roger Jarman and Carlos Gomez, I went back to David Henderson's and began to formulate a lunch plan. He recommended a Chicago style Italian restaurant across the street. On this go-round I finally connected with "Miami Mike" but he had already had lunch. I introduced David and Mike to each other, took the obligatory 2009 edition photo of "Miami Mike" and along with David Henderson headed out the door for a delightful lunch with delightful company.

After a wonderful spaghetti lunch and great conversation with David this too short visit to what is now my favorite airliner convention had come to end. Next stop - - Taste of Thyme Cafe in Sanford for a Harry Wise magic show - - but that's another story!

"La Floridiana" is ©2009 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.