That Voodoo that You Do

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo at Boeing Park

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo at Boeing Park

Anne and DJ organized a quilting play date for themselves today and so as not to let idle hands become the devil’s tools, they arranged for Captain Don and me to get together too. Naturally, we planned a bike ride. Leaving our houses at the same time, I rode west on Clayton Road, while Don rode east. I was a little apprehensive about my part in this double play date, because Don, also-known-as the Doninator can be quite brutal when he is astride a bicycle. Anyway, we met halfway at I-270 and I was able to keep up with him for the rest of the ride.

We retraced Don’s route and then headed off to the Chesterfield bottoms. As its name implies, this is floodplain along the Missouri River. During the ’93 flood the levee broke there and everything was flooded out. One of the most iconic photos of that flood showed an aerial view of business jets parked in standing water. Those jets were at Spirit of Saint Louis Airport, which is still at the western edge of the bottoms. The bottoms have a new levee, a 500 year flood one, but since everyone and their brother is building such levees, where is the next flood’s water expected to go? Certainly not into the new Chesterfield bottoms, as least that is what all of the new development there seems to be saying. If the ’93 damages in Chesterfield were in the millions, then any future flooding will be in the billions.

Our turnaround point was at Spirit and near there we found Boeing Park. It is just a sliver of a park and its most salient feature is a static displayed McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. This was the aircraft used by the Air National Guard unit at Lambert (STL) before I moved to Saint Louis. They had moved on to McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantoms by the time that I arrived and they soon transitioned after to McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagles. The company’s founder, James S. McDonnell, ‘Mac’ was a bit of a kook. He named all of this fighter planes after phantasmal entities. In addition to phantoms and voodoo, he built planes named after demons, goblins and banshees. I worked with a research scientist who as a young man, Mac had suborned into investigating paranormal phenomenon. Rumor had it that the Air Force withheld the award of the F-15 contract until Mac agreed to a more American name for the plane.

We returned via the aforementioned levee. Arriving at Don and DJ’s place we were treated to some really yummy chili and then plied with numerous sweet treats, like homemade chocolate. Don and I watched the Rams disintegrate, while the girls continued to quilt. I think that we all had a really great time today, just each in their own way.

1 thought on “That Voodoo that You Do

  1. I found this picture during a search and said to myself “That looks like Spirit’s -101!” Sure enough! I was a corporate pilot/flight instructor from ’99 thru ’11 until I had to retire for health reasons. My wife and I (and our adult kids & spouses) all packed up and moved to Tulsa. I build model aircraft as a hobby and have a Voodoo in my stack to be built. I’m glad to have this picture for reference. I noticed that they have painted the engine inlet covers and made some other little changes . . .

    You were writing about riding your bike. I sure hope that you are not among the group of riders who like to ride 2-3 abreast on Kehr’s Mill Rd. going north to Wildhorse Creek Rd., are you? I found it to be a WONDERFUL experience to crawl behind the pack on the blind curves when I needed to get to the airport before my passengers arrived!

    Thanks for the pix and the memories!

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