Gleim Student Is Plane Chaser, Aircraft Appraiser, Museum Owner, Author, Pilot, Producer
As a kid, Gordon Page said he immersed himself in aviation history by avidly reading stories about iconic planes. In Chapter 1 of his book, Chasing Planes, he writes that as a sixth grader, “I could identify anything with wings,” and “as long as I could remember I have always had to look up to see what was flying overhead.” Some things never change.
Page, now 57, owns and operates Air Assets International. He is an expert at appraising modern and vintage aircraft–a skill that comes in handy as the owner and curator of Spirit of Flight Center, a non-profit aviation history museum he founded in 1998. The center is based at Erie Municipal Airport in Erie, Colorado, where Page said he started his pilot ground school training in 1978.
Page said he displays his signature red Gleim Aviation books from the 80s and 90s on a shelf in the aviation museum library. He used them to earn his commercial pilot certificate and his multi-engine and instrument ratings. According to Page, he has flown more than 50 types of planes.
In 2005, Page released his first book, Warbird Recovery, based on his hunt for a rare German Messerschmitt Bf 109 World War II fighter plane in Siberia, Russia. The story takes readers to St. Petersburg, Russia, on a roller coaster ride during a bitter winter of an on-again-off-again deal. In 2015, Page followed up with the release of his second novel, Chasing Planes, a book that chronicles some of Page’s more unique flying experiences and adventures of a self-professed “airplane fanatic.”
Page is a pilot, aircraft appraiser, expert aviation witness, author, and museum owner can add producer of a TV show, named after his latest book, to his repertoire.
The first season of Chasing Planes gives viewers a peek at what it’s like to run an aviation museum and how Page finds planes and aviation memorabilia to display. It’s a fast-paced show that integrates Page’s plane picking adventures and actual footage of those planes in action with their historical background spotlighted.
The series is more than a tale of these acquisitions, according to Page. It is a tribute to the planes, eras, and missions they were flown in. There are six full episodes of Chasing Planes in the complete first season, which was shot mostly in Colorado with other adventures from around the country. Page debuted the first episode at the 2017 EAA AirVenture, and the show is available online at Vimeo.com.
He said the filming of season two of Chasing Planes is underway, and it starts off with the recovery of a rare Lockheed 12A.
Director and editor Adam Snow attributes the success of the series to each episode being unique. “There’s not a specific formula,” he said. Snow was on call and usually received short notice when a story was about to play out.
“We were going out and not having headway or a script,” Snow said. “We would go on the fly. Gordon would call us up and say, ‘There’s this thing happening, can you come shoot it?’”
Snow said he learned early on in the project that each discovery Page made was significant. He was able to make that come across to viewers by adding historical footage.
“It’s not just metal, it’s history,” Snow said about the artifacts he was filming. “Adding b-roll of the P-2 makes me care about the Norden Bombsite. It’s not just a thing in a case, it has some relevance.”
Cinematographer Meryem Ersoz of Red Pine Studios also helped put the artifacts featured in the series into perspective. Ersoz has a Ph.D. in Film History and American Literature, and her research focuses on the history of film technology in literature. “I’m always super interested in the history of technology and the way it changes our perception, the way we see and experience the world. So Gordon and I have that in common,” she said.
So far, Chasing Planes has been well received by viewers, said Page, who funded the production. He is hoping the show puts a spotlight on what aviation museum owners go through to keep visitors engaged and educated. “We had a full house at the premiere. It was interesting to watch it on a big screen and the see the reactions.”
“I hope they have a new appreciation for what happens to air museums,” Page said. Season two filming is underway, and Page offers this clue: “I have an airplane on the way that is specifically about women in aviation. It’s incredibly historic; it’s coming our way.”
Through all of the these efforts, Page continues to influence aviation enthusiasts and educate the next generation about planes and flying. “My advice to anyone interested in getting started in aviation is to visit a local airport/flight school and do a discovery flight,” Page said. “Then, if someone is really interested in going forward, commit to doing it seriously and get to a Private (pilot) License or more. It’s never too late to start flying.”
For more information on getting started in aviation visit the Gleim Aviation website and download a free copy of Learn to Fly. The booklet is a valuable resource for introducing more people to aviation and explaining how to get started with flight training and aviation opportunities.
About Gleim Aviation
Since 1980, Gleim Aviation’s team of pilots, instructors, writers, designers, and programmers has helped aviators pass millions of FAA knowledge and practical tests using the unique Gleim Knowledge Transfer System. Gleim is an environmentally friendly company headquartered in Gainesville, FL. Learn more at www.GleimAviation.com or call (800) 874-5346 ext. 471.