Okay. After watching the whole video I was a bit teary eyed. Seems like I should share some stories.
I don’t think I ever talked directly to Karl (the guy that bought the plane) but I saw him several times. He was revered by everyone around him. Not just for being a leader in the church and employing half the Shenandoah Valley, but also because he was a man of his word. When he gave you a schedule and a price, you could take it to the bank.
He was 70 something last time I saw him. He kept an old WWI biplane on site and everyone made sure it was spit shined and ready to fly at all times. He was still flying it several times a month back then.
About a dozen of the staff were certified flight instructors. He offered free instruction and flight time to anyone in the company that wanted a pilot’s license. Secretary, janitor, whomever. And if you didn’t have your license or were working on it you didn’t last long.
In watching that video again, the Air Force One was not on site while I was there. But the B52 that they used for photo shoot was. I saw it take off once but never got a crew slot.
This may be off… but the story I heard on how he started was that he bought about 200 King Airs in a military surplus sale for pennies on the dollar. The were all scrap boxed up in crates. He managed to build about 10 working planes by sorting through the mess. Then he built an airport on his land in Bridgewater VA. And then the rest was history.
There were only two roads into Bridgewater. One year the floods took out the old iron one lane bridge - which was the only sane way to get into town. The city decided to close it and give up on it. Karl sent his guys out one weekend and completely rebuilt the bridge from the ground up. He denied any involvement, but I was there at the time and happy to have an hour cut off from my hotel commute.
He died a couple years ago and it was a sad day for everyone.