RIP Ed Maloney, 1928-2016
My friend Ed Maloney died yesterday afternoon of complications from heart problems.
Very few people can say that they changed things single-handedly, but Ed Maloney did. As everyone at every air museum around the world I have ever spoken to has said at various times, "If it wasn't for Ed Maloney, there wouldn't be any air museums or warbirds."
Ed was 19 when he watched the airplanes of the Second World War being turned into aluminum ingots, and decided he would save one of each and make it fly again. His first purchase was a Japanese Okha he found on the trash heap at Los Alamitos NAS, followed by the J8M Shusui (Japanese Me-163). For so many years, his airplanes were wrecks, and it really took a leap of faith to believe they would be restored to flight, but he did it, along the way attracting the involvement of people who would go on to spread the preservation movement around the world.
Just looking at the list of Only Ones In The World that one can see at Planes of Fame is remarkable testimony to Ed's determination.
Ed wasn't a pilot, he was a modeler with a life-long fascination for the hobby and how it could lead it other interests for anyone involved with it.
I first "met" Ed when I was a teenager and bought one of his books. 15 years later we met and I was fortunate to know Ed for 40 years. Yeah, that's me in the back seat of the P-51 (the oldest continuously-licensed privately-owned P-51 in the world, the first airplane in Ed's museum that could fly). Thanks, Ed