How a Heartwarming, Kick-Ass Father's Day Photo Shoot Ended Up Face Down in Handcuffs on the Addison Airport Tarmac
The B24 Liberator offering rides for Father's Day, save for one Observer photographer for whom the name proved ironic at best
Saturday afternoon, friend of the show Danny Hurley sent word that they were offering quite the Father's Day gift out at Addison Airport -- flights on a B-24 Liberator, where everyone calls shotgun. (Pretty cool too, as only two Liberators are still flying). Danny wanted to go out and shoot some photos of the circa-'44 bomber and the men who ponied up for the ride; I told him sure, go 'head, sounds great -- very heartwarming. And, sure enough, he got some awfully nice shots and stories to go with them, as among those taking part yesterday were two men treating their terminally ill stepfather, a Vietnam vet, to a spin in the sky that might just be his last. Danny was collecting several such tales.
But when he sent along his pictures -- which you can see in this terrific slide show -- he noted that, well, he sure wishes he could've come back with more, "but my day was cut short." How so? Well, his version of the day's events follow after the jump. But I''ll provide this small hint: the Department of Homeland Security. Which, if you've ever met Danny, is hilarious. To everyone except Danny.
So, anyway. Danny had been out shooting all morning with the plane's owners and pilot's permission when he suffered a horrible case of photographicus interruptus:
I got an early Father's Day surprise from Homeland Security. It seems the public is not allowed on the tarmac. I thought the tarmac was the cement runway, but it's actually a hundred yards or so on each side.
Waiting for the plane to take off, I was surprised by the Addison police. An officer unholstered his gun, then handcuffed and held me until Homeland Security cleared my name.
I was not arrested, but according to Officer Pierce, I did break federal law and a report would be sent to Homeland Security. I will be hearing from them. I apologized to every one involved. The pilot told me the airport was shut down for a short while.
But according to one of the crew, they had ID'd me as one of theirs, and the tower knew and tried to call it off. But once the wheels were set in motion, it could not be stopped. The pilots were pretty much cool and laughed at me and were even willing to escort me to take more shots. One old-timer gruffed under his breath, "It's the U.S.A., not U.S.S.R. -- I didn't fight to protect this shit." One even offered me his seat on a ride.
However, the officer had asked me to leave, so I did. The police were professional, and I consider myself lucky.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.