My dad and I went to the Swift Nationals in Athens, TN and stopped by Chilhowee gliderport on Saturday.

The local T-bird club showed up at the Swift Fly-in. The president of the Swift Foundation is also a Thunderbird guy.

I got to fly my Uncle Jack’s old airplane, 3303k. It used to be a 1946 GC-1B Globe Swift with 125 hp. Jack bought it as a factory demonstrator in roughly ’47 and sold it in the ’70s. Jack was the first to install a 145hp engine so it was the fastest Swift on earth for a while. After the modification was STC’d the factory began offering the 145hp engine. He did dozens of modifications over the years.

It’s now a 210 hp Super Swift and the best looking aircraft I’ve ever flown. It now belongs to Hal Cope, a retired airline pilot from Texas. I gave him a bunch of the paperwork that Jack had given  me before he died. Hal is going to put it all in the Swift Museum in Athens, TN. 

We did some light aerobatics and a 190mph low pass down the runway, see picture. What a nice plane. Very fast, maneuverable and efficient. At altitude it cruises at 180kias (207mph) at only 9 gph, same burn as the 150mph stuff I usually fly. Pretty good for a 61 year old airplane. OK it is pretty souped up but the stock ones are pretty impressive too.

The yellow one is a highly modified Swift (that used to belong to Jack’s friend Clarence). It is now the famous Swift Fury. It’s for sale at $400k. They didn’t let me fly it! It is flown by Corky Fornof, the guy who does most of the movie flying, like the BD-5J through the barn in the 007 movie. We had lunch with him. Quite a character.