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Old Bold Pilots Association

The meaning of «old bold pilots association»

The Old Bold Pilots Association is a group of pilots and enthusiasts who meet weekly to enjoy breakfast and discuss their enthusiasm for aviation. The organization is notable for the diverse background of its members that includes civilians and veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Members have served in the United States military, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, Germany's Luftwaffe, and the Soviet Air Forces.

The Old Bold Pilots Association (OBPA) traces its beginnings to the mid-1980s when four former United States Army Air Force P-47 Thunderbolt pilots met regularly for a meal and to share flying stories.[1] The society formed with its current name and meeting location in 1995 at the suggestion of member Ray Toliver.[2][3] The name of the group is a refutation of an observation made in 1949 by early airmail pilot, E. Hamilton Lee: "There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots."[3][4][5] The association is informal without a charter, dues, or speakers.[1] Informality was desired by members who rejected the strict rules common in other aviation groups.[6] One does not have to be a pilot to attend, and anyone with an interest in aviation is invited.[7]

The OBPA holds a breakfast event every Wednesday at a Denny's restaurant in Oceanside, California. The breakfast starts at 8 am although members start showing up as early as 6:30 am to get a head start on the festivities. The group occupies the back room of the restaurant which is decorated with model aircraft hanging from the ceiling and photos of aircraft and pilots lining the walls.[6] Attendees come from communities throughout southern California. Less frequent are visitors from around the world including Germany, Australia, Hungary and South Africa.[3] Some come for the camaraderie while others find relief discussing the rigors of combat with people who have had similar experiences.[1]

As of 2014[update], membership has grown to over 300 people, although attendance at the weekly breakfast is typically 50–70 people.[6] According to the group's web page, an annual Christmas party and periodic barbecues are also hosted.[8]

—Heather Steele, OBPA Historian[1]

Heather Steele is a historian of warfare who over the course of several years interviewed a number of the OBPA members and captured their stories on her World War II History Project web site.[1] Jonelle Cambis is a waitress who has served the OBPA at Dennys for over 20 years. Her father was in the Pacific with the U.S. Marines during World War II, and she credits the stories told by her customers with motivating her to document her father's activities.[6]

In 2014, retired producer, Patrick Pranica, with friends George Dawe and Robert Broughton began interviewing OBPA members to record their stories for future generations. They started first with older OBPA members due to their advanced age but planned to include all willing to participate. The initial interviews were intended to result in a documentary titled, Old Bold Pilots, that was hoped would interest cable channels into funding a television series. The pilot episode included an interview with Robert Broughton's brother, Jack Broughton, a famous fighter ace and aviation author.[9] However, funding could not be secured. The team also tried a crowdfunded campaign that did not succeed and was eventually closed.[10]

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