29 June, 2011

Profiles 49-54 - the defenders of the plain

In the business world, second, third, fourth...generation leadership is weighty stuff.  There's a cynical axiom that runs its way around cocktail talk that goes something like, "Well you know, Grampa built it..."

Everyone in earshot knows what's being said.  "Grampa built it, Dad drove it but the kids wrecked it."

Then, the listeners nod their head in silent understanding and take another sip of anesthetic.  Gulp.  There is indeed a penalty to leadership.  It's the Followership.   Many businesses, organizations - even families - don't survive the inevitable transitions.  The culture doesn't take root, the wisdom doesn't nourish and the vision withers...

You've heard it before, right?

Anyway, typically, my artwork revolves around one person's airplane, one person's story, one person's perspective.  But, late this past Winter, I received the Commission to document a suite of warbirds that cover, not just a few months of service, but nearly seventy years and thousands - thousands - of people.  From stick'n rudder to fly-by-wire.  Legendary personalities to part-time clerks.

Over the next month or so, I'll be posting elements of that project here.  I hope ya'll will find them interesting - it's an American success story that is both stunning in its passing of the baton and also humbling in how they do it.

And I bet you haven't heard this one before.

And of course, there's a WW2 airplane wound up in it too - a black-tailed one flown by guys who wore what I believe to be one of the top-5 coolest squadron mascots ever.

That in mind, Lt. Erickson, in case you're reading this and wondering if I'll ever get to your airplane, have another cup of coffee, sir.  I have to get these birds off the ramp first.  I know you understand. :)