Board Chairman Comments
by Will Roberson
As most of you are aware by now it is my sad duty to report the passing of Charles E. Nelson (Charlie to all of us in the Swift family) our President, founder, mentor and inspiration. It is hard to express my feelings at this writing but the main thought is a man who directly or indirectly has meant many things to all of us. Without his vision, perseverance, dedication, hard work and leadership it is doubtful we would have a Swift entity as we know it today. His love of the Swift aircraft knew no bounds and his enthusiasm infected us all to do better, fly better and improve our birds to the exceptional state they are in today. The list of his accomplishments on our behalf is long but some bear repeating again. From the casual gatherings at airshows around the country in the early ’60s to the idea that a formal organization for the good of all was needed in 1969, Swift growth was phenomenal. From the first three people to an all time high of over 1000 members at one time… Charlie just kept going. Kentucky Dam, the move the Athens for our National Fly In, acquiring the type certificate with a start of zero funds, our own hangers, museum, parts department, and now we are entering the last phase of Charlie’s dream of our own new facility.
Throughout, one of the most important things Charlie accomplished was to keep the sense of history alive and to get and maintain contact with the visionaries at Globe Aircraft and get their input on our Swifts. To me, after all, it is the aura or mystique of the Swift … which if an airplane ever had a soul …. it would be the Swift. Swift is especially meaningful for me since my grandfather worked at the Globe Factory during and after WW II. Today we still have the flagpole that was dedicated at Globe in 1942 and under Charlie’s guidance we have managed to acquire an impressive stable of Swifts with significant pasts. One year at Sun n Fun Charlie grabbed my arm and said to come with him. There on the end of our row sat a tailwheeler … a Johnson Rocket built by none other than Pop Johnson. The gleam in his eye as he went over every surface and the spring in his step revealed he was really excited about this aircraft. And of course it really did and does look a very much like a Swift and is an important part of our heritage. The rest is history: Charlie came back, worked with the board and we made an offer on this unique part of our past and now this artifact of our past resides in our museum. What was so exciting about this and other things Swift … was the unchecked enthusiasm that Charlie had toward our history. As I talk with many Swifters I still see this same spark of appreciation for what we have in our Swifts. There is nothing like the deep felt Swift enthusiasm anywhere that I have ever observed in the aviation community. This I believe is Charlie’s true legacy….and I for one am thankful for that.
One more thing, this is not the end for Swift….we have a solid organization and we have challenges… but none that we cannot overcome. When we all band together great things happen and so it will be in our future. We will find a way to get and keep Swift fully funded, we will find a way to complete our facility and we will all continue to keep and maintain our Swifts. For that is the way Charlie envisioned it and we will get it done with all of your help. God Bless Charlie and all he has created for us. And lastly… we extend our deepest sympathies to Charlie’s family and I hope you keep them in your prayers during this difficult time. Will Roberson
Executive Director Comments
by Pam Nunley
On behalf of our family, I want to thank all of you in the Swift family for your genuine outpouring of support and affection during this difficult time. Dad was everything to me and his guidance, support and love over the years was unbounded. It is difficult to express my thoughts as they swirl in my head at this time but I know we must and will keep moving forward and I will do all in my power to try to live up to my Dad’s vision and to honor his legacy. So please accept our thanks for all you do for us and for Swift. We do have some challenges ahead but I know that working together we will prevail. I greatly appreciate all that you do for Swift … much of which may go unnoticed by some but we here at HQ see and appreciate it.
I would like to share a note from Dot Shepherd, Diamond Point, WA. Dot so well describes Dad’s legacy and the many ways he has touched our lives. Thank you Dot, Bill and the entire Diamond Point Swift Family.
Charlie was a noble and generous man with a overwhelming love for the Swift (and Swifter’s) and a strong sense of dedication to a Classic airplane’s preservation. He was an able and wildly motivated leader of the Association for, well it seems like forever.. He set a good example as a competent safe pilot and never asked of anyone anything he wasn’t willing to do himself His support over the years was a driving force for the valuable resources we now enjoy in the availability of parts and information. He played a huge part in our continuing to be a strong dose knit family.
One would be hard pressed to find a better group of than we have in the current Swift Association. Our membership has been graced over the years with a fine group of dedicated individuals working for the common good of preserving a fine aircraft, sustaining and even increasing availability of parts and materials to keep our prized planes airworthy, for collecting and providing a safe haven for a wealth of historical treasures, artifacts and information.
First and foremost, our leader Charlie Nelson, a man more dedicated to a mission you will never meet, to guarantee future generations the delight of flying, pride of ownership of a finely designed classic aircraft. I find in him a strength of conviction that is indeed backed by many of our members involvement in one way or another. The future of our aircraft type, the Swift, deserves not only a revered place in the pages of our Aviation History but warrants a place in the future of general aviation. A future that we need to work diligently to strengthen if we want future generations to enjoy the freedom of private flying. Your dad will always be remembered, and honored for his dedication to these ideals. He has his own wings now and we wish him Godspeed and nothing but Blue Skies. –Dot Shepherd
We will continue to do all that it takes to support you because you the members are what is really important about Swift. Dad always felt that way and so do 1. We will continue to work diligently toward his goal of completing our new facility. With your continued support we will make it happen. God bless you all for all you support.
Charles Edward Nelson
Charles E. “Goosie” Nelson, age 82 of Athens, Tenn. passed away Monday, June 30, 2014 at his residence. He was a native of Meigs County, Tenn. and a resident most of his life of McMinn County, Tenn. and was the son of the late Caylop Edward and Mary Lee Lemons Nelson. He was preceded in death by his sister Joyce Ward on March 22, 1999. Charlie was an avid flyer of aircraft and was Founder and President Emeritus of the Swift Association/Swift Museum Foundation, Inc.. His flying activities resulted in many awards and included membership #523 in the Vintage Aircraft Association, induction into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame and the Experimental Aircraft Association Hall of Fame.
He was a veteran of the Korean conflict in the US Air Force where he was a message decoder. He was an amateur Ham Radio Operator and had the call letters W4RST with the AARL. He also held membership in the Athens Rotary Club and received the honor of being named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. He was also a member of Quiet Birdmen, War Birds of America and AOPA aircraft owners and an avid golfer.
Charlie’s achievements at Swift have achieved legendary status. He had a vision for Swift that never varied and he was one never to rest on his laurels. Significant accomplishments for Swift include:
- He has written, published and mailed a monthly newsletter for Swift for over 40 years. This publication included technical, operational, social, FAA news and events that have focused the Swift community on issues of importance to them and their Swifts.
- He instigated the first Swift National Fly-In at Ottumwa, Iowa in 1969, one at Seymour, Indiana and eventually the 10 year stretch of Fly-Ins at Kentucky Dam. Starting in 1982 and in conjunction with the World’s Fair in Tennessee Swift has held the National Convention in Athens, TN except for years 1995 in Texas, Monet, MO in 2005, 2012 in Creve Coeur, MO and Dayton, OH this year. Over the years these fly-ins attracted thousands of visitors and many years well over 100 Swifts were in attendance.
- In 1980, Charlie was responsible for the International Swift Association acquiring the type certificate, tooling, engineering data, spare parts from Univair Corp. in Colorado and moving them the Athens. This acquisition assured Swift owners of a source of parts to keep their Swifts flyable for the present and future.
- Charlie was responsible for forming the Swift Museum Foundation, Inc. in Athens, TN which now has on display many original Globe and Temco Swifts plus memorabilia from WW II to present.
- The Foundation’s T-35 Buckaroo was acquired from the Saudi Arabian Government in the 1970s and it too is displayed in the Swift Museum. This rare aircraft was the result of a lot of research, hard work and hard negotiating with the Saudi Government and Charlie led the way on this effort.
- In 1991, Charlie organized and event sanctioned by the National Aeronautic Association which set speed records from many cities to Athens. Swift had six members participate in the event that was sanctioned by both the National Aeronautic Association and The Federation Aeronautique International. This event was recognized as one of the “Ten Most Memorable Record Flights of 1991 ” and was conducted to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Swift. The participants were honored at an awards presentation held at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.. Charlie was one of the honorees.
Charlie is survived by his wife Janie Jordan Nelson of Athens; daughter and son-in-law Pam and Jack Nunley of Athens; Granddaughter Lt. Candice Nunley of the US Navy; Two sisters and brother-in-law Dot Runyan of Athens, Bobbie and Curtis White of Valdosta, GA; A special niece Nicole Ward, the Jordan family and several nieces and nephews.
by Steve Whittenberger
This has surely been an eventful month for Swift. We are all deeply saddened by the passing of our leader and mentor. What Charlie did for Swift for over 40 years is truly remarkable. A few years ago Charlie asked me if I would help out with the newsletter. Since I had never written a newsletter I was a bit reluctant but as usual Charlie prevailed. There is no way I or anyone could duplicate his feat of putting out a meaningful newsletter for over 40 years… but in the end I agreed to help out. Charlie was one of a kind and will be missed by all of us.
So now we are going to do what Charlie would want us to do and that is to continue with our varied and active flying season. We are fully into the summer season and there is still a lot of flying and fun left for the peak months of our activities. Osh Kosh and Air Venture is right around the corner … July 28 – August 3….the SSAG will be getting together at the country’s largest grass strip (Triple Tree in South Carolina) Sept 5-7 … the RRSW will gather once again at the Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg, TX Sept I I -14…. and the annual West Coast National Swift Fly-In will be held 19-21 Sept at Westover, CA. Whew. A lot of flying and camaraderie, tire kicking, tall tales, outright lies, and good fun all over the country …coast to coast for Swifters. So come on out and make as many of these as you can. Guaranteed good times when good folks and their Swifts get together. A little bit on each of these Fly-Ins will follow later in the newsletter.
Oshkosh aka “AirVenture – 2014”
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds will return and will be the highlight of the air show. They have changed their routine a bit and the airshow box has been expanded somewhat to accommodate this … so you will notice that the lines have been moved back but it once again promises to be a super show….Look for the Thunderbirds Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Of course the Aeroshell team will perform as well as Sean Tucker in Oracle, a USMC Osprey MV-22 with an expanded show to demonstrate the MV-22s capabilities, the Trojan Horsemen (T-28s). New this year will be the Valdez Fly In and Air Show short landing and takeoff contest winners to show us how to takeoff or land in the space of a tennis court. Of course there are many other outstanding air show acts, wing walking, acrobatics etc. By the way, as you are cruising around the flight line be sure to see the ONLY flying Lockheed Vega as well as the replica GEE BEE Q.E.D. As old Ed Sullivan used to say on Sunday night TV…..A reeealy big show!
Swifts will have their own parking row this year, much like last year. Steve Wilson will be setting this up and will arrive Sunday morning to get things going. It is important for you to let Steve know as soon as possible if you plan to go and if you will park in Swift row. If so, he will email you instructions and signage that will allow you to park with Swifts. Please email Steve your requests at email@example.com. If possible lets park together for a strong Swift presence.
Stan Price will once again be setting up the Swift table in the type tent. Please stop by and sign up for a short 2 hour tour at the Swift table and help us spread the word on Swift and sell a few goodies. It’s nice to sit down in a shady tent for a few moments and talk to some real nice people.
Bo Mabry has set up a Swift Forum, Monday July 28′ at 1 1:30 – 12:45 in workshop #3 … so come on by and participate in the Q & A on all things Swift.
Barb Wilson has once again set up a Swift dinner at Klondike Jacks. This will be Tuesday, July 29th at 6:30 PM. You can email Steve or Barb at firstname.lastname@example.org or be sure to sign up by the Swift Forum on Monday. Please do so as this will help with the reservation plus any transportation needs. We had a really good meal last year at Klondike Jacks so come on out.
Other Stuff at Oshkosh: Please consult your program for exact times and locations but you might consider:
Ask the AME: Dr. John Patterson will conduct one-on-one sessions during Air Venture and will be answer ing your medical questions in the Hangar Conference Room. Two sessions a day are scheduled: 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM – Monday thru Thursday.
Metal Workshops: Mon thru Friday. Consult your program for place and time.
Vintage in Review: VAA Red Barn…. 11:00 AM every day… interesting aircraft
EAA Vintage Aeromart: Improved check-in procedures, more space, more stuff
If you can’t find something interesting and fun at Oshkosh …. you ain’t trying!!!!