Airports' Dream Is Airlines' Nighfmare
A recent decision by the Supreme Court up
held the right of local governments to impose
a head tax on airline passengers.
Even at first glance we know it is not a
Not only would it mean more work for us,
but also we realize it would discourage air
'travel, through added costs and delays to
We’re just beginning to come out of an
economic slump, having learned the hardest
way, what financial deterence can do to our
Thinking about it 30 seconds longer reminds
us that we are passengers too! For the most
part, non-revenue passengers, but passengers
And the court made no exceptions on that
One of this country’s most esteemed politi
cians, Thomas Jefferson said “The purse of
the people is the real seat of sensibility.”
Unless we are sensible, starting right now,
our purses are going to be plundered by this
It is stupid and it is unjust. Passengers are
already subject to a head tax. They pay an
eight per cent federal excise tax on every
ticket they buy. This tax was designed specifi
cally to pay for the facilities used by the air
Local airports, the most vocally active sup
porters of this new tax, are all eligible for aid
from the trust fund created by the existing
eight per cent tax. These funds are offered
on a 50-50 matching basis. The cities say
they need the additional tax to provide their
Bills have already been introduced in both
houses of Congress to increase the trust fund
contribution from 50 per cent to 75 per cent
of the cost of airport projects. The Air Trans
port Association has proposed a 90/10 federal/
local formula, the same as is used for financing
the Interstate Highway system. Under either
plan, the burden on the local community would
be reduced substantially.
Five cities have already enacted taxes on air
line passengers since the court’s ruling. Rich
mond, Virginia, a point which Piedmont serves
with more flights than any other airline, is
one of the five. The tax has been proposed in
more than 25 other cities, many of them on
We can do something about this nightmare.
The court, not always so generous, has given
us the possibility of a way out.
Its initial ruling on the head tax, the court
said “is to stand until or unless congress sees
fit to pass nullifying legislation.”
Legislation designed to make the head tax
illegal is now pending in Congress. As of this
writing, bills to outlaw the head tax are in
committees; hearings are underway where
both sides of the story are being told.
We can help with the passage of this vital
legislation by asking our congressmen and
senators to vote for the bills to outlaw the
Now is the time to say no to this tax and
say it loudly.
Restored E-2 Offers Glimpse of Our Beginnings
There is a tiny red airplane in our hangar
these days that was flying in and out of the
Winston-Salem airport some seven years before
Piedmont Aviation, Inc. ever came into being.
It hasn’t been here all along. In fact, only
recently has it come back home to stay.
The plane is the 1933 E-2 Taylor Cub that
Tom Davis soloed in when he was a sixteen
year old high-school student. At that time the
cub belonged to Camel City Flying Service,
the parent company of Piedmont Aviation.
Back then, Smith Reynolds Airport was
known as Miller Municipal Airport. There were
two short runways, both of them dirt.
And from one of them Davis took off on
January 29, 1934 for his first solo flight in the
red Taylor Cub No. 13177.
About 12 years ago Davis started looking
for that same plane. The search stretched
from Pennsylvania to South Carolina where it
finally turned up, stripped of its fabric skin
and in anything but flyable condition.
In 1970 Davis persuaded the owner to part
with the remnants of the little E-2 and it was
brought to Winston where the restoration
started several months later.
Piedmont employees Archie Ferguson, John
and Joe Howard and Tom Davis, Jr. did the
work that came close to being re-construction
rather than restoration.
Ferguson had restored seven or eight other
antique aircraft before tackling No. 13177.
Some, he said, “may have been in a little worse
The bare fuselage had to be completely re
covered. The original type of aircraft fabric
is no longer being made so they had to use a
NUMBER ONE'S NUMBER ONE meets number 111. President Davis poses with the E-2, in which he soloed, and
the newest Boeing 737, the 111th airplane to wear Piedmont's colors.
"CHIEF RESTORER" Archie Ferguson points out plate
bearing the names of the E-2's redeemers.
tightly woven cotton fabric that is slightly
heavier than what was standard when the plane
was first built. Other items that had to be
replaced are as near the original thing as pos
The E-2’s instrument panel barely resembles
the vast array of equipment on today’s planes.
There are only four dials, two on each side
of the panel. The large bare area centered
between the dials is necessary because the fuel
tank is immediately behind the panel. The
E-2’s original instruments include an altimeter,
an oil temperature indicator, an engine oil
pressure indicator and a tachometer. The fuel
quantity indicator is also standard. It is lo
cated directly over the fuel tank and is a
masterpiece of simplicity. A small steel rod
with a cork float attached fits through a hole
in the fuel tank cap. It floats up and down to
indicate the fuel level.
The final item of equipment, the air speed
indicator, was not on the original E-2 but
was added later. It is a flat piece of aluminum
attached to a rod which is hinged at the top.
The rod is attached to the right wing jury
strut. There is a pointer on the lower end of
the rod. In flight, the air load pushes the
pointer which indicates the speed on a plate
calibrated from 30 to 100 miles per hour.
At 28 miles per hour the E-2 stalls. It’s
cruising speed is about 60 mph.
Originally a trainer, the E 2 has dual con
trols. With a passenger it can be flown from
either seat but on a solo flight it can only be
flown from the rear. It would be nose-heavy
with one person in the forward seat.
Of course there was no radio originally, so
in order to fly the plane into and out of today’s
modern airports Davis uses a portable radio
which he can hand carry with him.
There are only two wheels and no brakes
on the E-2. On the back is a metal tail skid
rather than a rear wheel. The tail skid slows
down the plane as it drags along the ground. It
worked well on the old dirt runways but
cement wears it down quickly. Welding is all
it takes to build it back up and that’s not much
trouble say those who’ve flown it.
When the restoration was finished Ferguson
was asked if he’d like to do another one. He
commented “I always say this one is the last,
but ... I just got back from New York where
I looked at a 1928 Travelair. I might buy it
The restored E-2 is already adding miles to
its log. It just got back from Transpo ’72, the
U. S. International Transportation Exposition
at Dulles, where it was on display.
The Davises, Sr. and Jr., flew it to Dulles
International Airport from Winston-Salem.
The flight took five and a half hours and they
made two stops. The plane took on six gallons
of fuel at each stop — the tank holds nine.
They came home on a Piedmont Boeing 737.
It was about a fifty minute flight.
No need to even ask which leg of the trip
they enjoyed most.