When I think of planes, I think of my Grandpa. He was an Army Pilot in WWII flying missions over the pacific. His biggest mission, and one that he spoke of often, was when he flew in to rescue the nurses from Bataan after the death march. He was the first plane in, and he landed on the street with about a foot of space between his wings and the buildings. He was very proud of that mission (and rightly so).
Long after he returned home he kept his love of flying. He retained his pilot’s license and flew privately for many years. He and my grandmother used to tell me about how they flew up to DC (where we lived until I was about a year old) to see my first swim lesson. And when they said they flew, they meant grandpa actually flew the plane. Something that truly amazed em as a girl – and still really does.
I even have a vague (very vague) memory of flying with my grandpa in a little tiny Cessna. Although to tell the truth, I am not 100% sure if it is an actual memory or just because people have told me that I did so.
Today, the only pilot in the family is my cousin (from the other side of the family) who is a Marine Pilot. My grandfather was close with my cousin when we were kids, and I know he would be proud of him. (As we all are.)
Planes make me think of my grandpa.
This is my grandparents on their wedding day, nine days after he returned from the Pacific.
A love of aviation and a family legacy are part of what inspired Disney’s Planes. In a bonus feature on the DVD/Blu-Ray release of Planes, director Klay Hall talks about how the movie came about and his passion for aviation, which was passed down to him by his father who was also a WWII pilot.
When approached by John Lassiter about working on Planes, Klay was working on a project about trains. When asked if he wanted to work on Planes his response was, “If there is one thing I love more than trains, it’s planes.”
The rest, as they say is history. From there Klay and his team flew all over the world studying planes from pilots. From visits to several military bases, meeting with crop dusters and even landing onboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, the goal was to learn everything they could about planes in order to make the movie as authentic as possible.
Out of all of the trips the team took, one of the most unique experiences was when Klay had the opportunity to take his sons to an air field to talk about their grandfather and fly in a bomber. Perhaps because it made me think of my own grandpa, or perhaps because I am a total sap, I became quite teary eyed when I watch the bonus feature about his day with his sons. This is a snippet of that feature. (You really should see the whole thing, it gets me every time.)
November is National Aviation Month, and on November 19 Planes will be released on DVD/Blu-Ray. It maybe a cartoon, but the effort and consideration that went into every detail of flight is incredible. For those who worked on the film, creating Disney’s Planes is a celebration of National Aviation Month.
For more about Disney’s Planes, check out my previous posts: