Who is Biff Windsock And Where Is He Now?

This is Biff Windsock

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For those of you that have never met him. Biff Windsock’s real name is Bill Charney and we were squadron mates in the Vietnam War.  After we were released from active duty, he resumed his career as an airline pilot and eventually settled in Reno, NV.  It was during that time that he fell hopelessly in love with a red head so ravishing and beautiful that he vowed to take a trip around the world with her as his constant companion.  It would be a trip so interesting and full of adventure that……  But wait!!!  This is his story, not mine.  Let him tell it with his own pictures and words, as carefully detailed in his web site, www.captainbiff.com :

And Here is His Story

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My story really began when I was eight years old.   That’s when I was first smitten by the Staggerwing type.

It’s hard to explain my fascination with the Staggerwing.  I think it is best said in the book entitled “The Staggerwing”, written by R. Smith. The experience within goes like this: “I walked into an open hangar the other day, alongside all the modern, shiny, all-metal jobs and there was a Staggerwing. She is a rare sight. When you see one, you know you are in the presence of one of the great ones.

We all know she has no soul—she is an inanimate object made of steel, plywood and spruce. But in the dark, silent, hangar, surrounded by tricycle landing gears and sleek aluminum, the Staggerwing sits in profound majestic grace.

For an instant, you are part of the past—you hear her low pitched, rumbling Wasp engine, you see her wingtips trembling in the gray light of an early dawn. She is a Queen, ruling quietly over her domain and like all royalty, she has no need to speak to prove her claim to the throne—it is a fact accepted by all who see her.

People walking through the hangar idly glance at the other aero planes, but when they pass the Staggerwing, they stop.  And their eyes go slowly over her—from the big radial cowling to the rapidly tapering fuselage, to the rounded fin and rudder, then back to the negatively staggered wings with their graceful struts, their steel brace wires, and their elliptical tips.

They walk around her slowly and one asks, what is it? The other replies, I have never seen one before. They speak in hushed tones, as one does in the presence of a Queen. They stay one minute of perhaps five, and then they leave, walking slowly.

Outside the hangar, in the sunlight, they turn for one last look, their faces serious and filled with awe. They have been in the presence of one of the great ones”.

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The aircraft was purchased late in my flying career. I was 58 years old before I could afford one, only a moderate 50 year wait. 

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When I finally purchased it, I named it the Red Rockette in honor of one of my daughters who was a member of the famous Rockettes in New York City.

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The aircraft was well worn  when I purchased it and I knew I had to fly it until it was worn out,   then trade it; or rebuild it.  I did fly it for a few years until restoration was finally necessary. The restoration was done in New Zealand.

The Red Rockette spent eight long years in New Zealand waiting patiently a she was carefully and painstakingly restored to her former beauty.  Finally, in 2009 she was declared ready for prime time,  It was time to go home.

Homeward Bound At Last!

On April 9, 2009, Captain Biff Windsock  aka Bill Charney and the Red Rockette began their  much anticipated journey   home.   Typical of their adventurous spirit.they proceeded westbound . . . the long way ’round.

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2013, The Journey Continues

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Since they left New Zealand in 2009  Bill Charney and the Red Rockette have put a lot of miles behind them.  Together, they have shared many adventures and seen many things.  Fortunately for us, many of those experiences were described in detail in his blog which can be found at http://captainbiff.com/blog/.  It well worth reading—especially for the armchair travelers.

Where is Biff Windsock now?

Considering the wandering nature of this restless and venturesome couple, you’d think this would be the most difficult question to answer of all.  In fact, the answer is very simple.  If you want to know where Biff Windsock is now, simply go to his home page (www.captainbiff.com) and click on “Red Rockette’s Location” and you are there!

A Personal Note to Bill Charney

Well my friend, it’s been over forty years since we roamed the restless skies over Southeast Asia; sometimes raining death and destruction on those below, while other times hurling our bodies toward the ground staring with awe and fascination at the sight of red hot tracers streaming by our canopies; all the time wondering if one of them had our name on it. Meanwhile, we have gone our separate ways and eventually you chose the path less taken.  A path less taken, but by far more interesting.  May you and the Red Rockette continue to follow your dreams wherever they may take you.

Cheers and Check Six!