Lady Lou adieu
Just a follow-up on John Colson’s Saturday, Jan. 29 story on the departure of Air North’s Lady Lou, 68-year-old, twin-engine DC3 aircraft from the Garfield County Airport …
The venerable aircraft saw service out of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, in the 1970s and ’80s, and has been “parked” here in Colorado for a dozen years on its way to Mobile, Ala.
It was a very cold winter day in 1980 when Joe Starling, the owner of Yukon’s Air North, approached me as head of the sign division of Tundra Graphics in Whitehorse to “apply” Lady Lou to the tail rudder of the DC3 aircraft.
“Joe,” I said, “I don’t know if you can get sign paint to stick to aircraft aluminum at minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.”
“I don’t care if it lasts,” Joe said. “I just need to get an advertising picture of the plane over Whitehorse tomorrow morning.”
“Well,” I said, “I can guarantee that the paint will be on the plane’s tail, but it may not be dry ’til next June!”
I “cut” the green and yellow sign painter’s “one-shot” paint with av-gas kerosene to keep it sort of liquid and slapped it on the tail in the shape of Lady Lou – a can-can dancer from the Klondike Gold Rush era. This was accomplished by standing on a ladder 15 feet in the minus 40 air wearing a pipeline parka with wolf-hair hood and a pair of moose-hide mitts. (Quite hard to twist a quarter-inch sign painter’s quill brush in mittens!)
Well, Joe got his ad pix, I barely avoided frostbite and got paid in flight lessons and, lo and behold, Lady Lou still remains on the DC3, 31 years later.
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