By Deb Smith
Local pilots and aviation enthusiasts recently got a rare treat when producer, director, aviation enthusiast and pilot Brian J. Terwilliger brought his long-awaited independent documentary film, “One Six Right,” to the Wildlife Experience, a conservation museum located 10 miles south of Denver.
The private showing sponsored by RE/MAX International, Dave and Gail Liniger, and Centennial Airport served as a charity benefit for the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum and the Centennial Airport Foundation. The $100 per person event featured a pre-show cocktail reception with Terwilliger and a private screening of the 75-minute, high-definition digital masterpiece in the museum’s 315-seat iWERKS Theater, which houses a 40- by-60-foot giant screen and DTS digital surround sound system.
Terwilliger pours his heart out in a glorious hymn to the magic of flight, punctuated with the testimony and history of those who helped make and keep California’s Van Nuys Airport alive and well. Named after the busiest runway at Van Nuys, “One Six Right” celebrates the passion of those who fly, through the voices of aviation pioneers such as Clay Lacy.
However, “One Six Right” also issues a warning. At one time, there were more than 60 airports thriving in the Los Angeles area. Today, there are less than 10.
“For those of us in the airport business, this is such a familiar story,” said Robert Olislagers, executive director of Centennial Airport. “We’re losing airports, and we need to pull together and protect these assets.”
With private airfields succumbing to urban development at the rate of one per week, the film makes a poignant and timely statement about the future of general aviation’s infrastructure.
“It’s so unfortunate that that you really have to be a pilot to understand the true value of an airport,” said Pete Vinton, commercial and private pilot, and developer of Everitt Airfield, five miles east of Parker. “Most people think of private airfields as more of a noise problem than a living, breathing community, and many find more value in developing the land for homes than they do in preserving the airport.”
Terwilliger hopes his documentary will serve as an educational vehicle to help capture and convey the magic of flight and the value of GA to non-flyers.
“The story that you saw here tonight is the same story you’ll see in Denver, in New York, and in Boston,” explained Terwilliger, whose home base is Van Nuys. “That’s really the story I’m trying to tell–simply replace VNY with APA or any other designator of your choice.”
While the numbers of airfields continue to decline, Terwilliger reminded the audience–through graphic aerial footage of the March 2003 midnight assault by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley on Meigs Field–that it’s not idle, light traffic airports that are rapidly becoming targets for urban sprawl. Almost any airport can be fair game.
Terwilliger spent more than five and a half years working on the film. He chose to handle the promotion and distribution himself, relying on the tight-knit aviation community for much of the movie’s publicity.
“For the aviation community itself, this is probably the best form of advertising and the best distribution,” said Terwilliger. “It’s been catching on like wild fire.”
“One Six Right” will be available on DVD by late November. Terwilliger says the response to the film has been phenomenal.
“So far it has carried itself though the community,” he said. “We have almost 12,000 pre-orders on the website. That’s pretty much unheard of for a film that has zero dollars for a marketing budget.”
While a set schedule for additional screenings has not been set, Terwilliger said he’s open to suggestions. For more information on Brian Terwilliger and “One Six Right,” visit [http://www.onesixright.com].