The Classic Wagon
Why families still travel in Wacos.
- By John Fleischman
- Photographs by Don Parsons
- Air & Space magazine, June 2010
(Page 4 of 4)
The Heins clan was there too. Father Ed Heins, who died in 1991, flew C-47s in North Africa and Europe during World War II and bought his first Waco, a 1941 UPF-7, in 1957. Ed passed his obsession to his sons, Mike, Pete, and Andy. Pete arrived in the hottest Waco of its day, the CRG National Air Tour racer, only two of which were built in 1930. Each evening, Pete skywrote “Waco” overhead.
Andy managed to increase the size of his flying family by marrying Susan Theodorelos, whom he met on the Internet but wooed with a Waco. “We never talked about the flying because normally that’s the kiss of death for women,” he says. But Theodorelos told him that her dad had been a Navy pilot. “I said, ‘If you want to meet me, come down to the field.’ I’m standing there on a ladder with oil all down my pants, surrounded by about seven ‘supervisors’ all drinking beer, when Susan turned up. She walked over to the plane and started asking me all sorts of questions. I look up and all my buddies are giving me the thumbs-up signal.”
It was a relationship sealed with another Waco, an RNF open seater that Susan bought before she’d earned her pilot’s license. The couple now owns four Wacos and a house filled with Waco drawings, paintings, photographs, ads, company Christmas cards, data plates, instrument dials, and a large wooden propeller leaning in a corner.
John Fleischman is a frequent Air & Space contributor. Don Parsons has been photographing antique and classic airplanes for 37 years.