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In Memory of Doug Champlin

Doug Champlin was a very complex man. The contribution this one man made to the aviation world is invaluable! With his love of history, old airplanes, and old cars Mr. Champlin created the Champlin Fighter Museum. The Champlin Fighter Museum opened in 1981. Mr. Champlin’s collection included airplanes from WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War; the collection contained over thirty fighter airplanes. In addition to all these great birds, Doug also had one of the world’s largest collections of original autographed photos of fighter aces, a T-34 Russian tank, an armored car, and a very large automatic weapons collection which featured a Gatling gun. In 2000 the museum was sold, and by 2003 the doors closed. Although the Champlin Fighter Museum is no longer there, most of the collection stayed together and can be found at the Seattle Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA. The collection Doug built was truly amazing! I was lucky enough to have the honor of growing up in Mr. Champlin’s museum among all of his majestic birds.

Doug Champlin was a kind man with a big heart! He has been GossHawk’s biggest fan from day one, and really even before that. Doug believed in Dave even when Dave did not believe in himself. Doug always knew Dave would make it. When Dave started GossHawk Unlimited, Dave and Doug made a deal. The deal was, in five years if GossHawk was still up and running Dave would buy all the tooling and machinery from Doug, but if GossHawk was unsuccessful then they would go their separate ways and not owe each other anything. It was only a year after making that deal that Dave went to Doug and wanted to start paying off the tooling and machinery. Dave told Doug, “I want to buy the tooling now, I’m gonna make it!” Doug’s response was, “I knew you would, I just wanted you to know that.” Doug Champlin was a man of honor, integrity, strength, and kindness. He was a man who lived and loved life to the fullest, always ready for a new adventure. Whether Doug was diving on Zeros in Palau, investing in a Russian tank, saving Maseratis from destruction, or spending time with one of his exotic animals, he was always having fun!

Doug Champlin has been part of the Goss family for many years! To Dave and Connie he was like a brother. And to me, Lindsey, he was like an Uncle; I never knew life without Mr. Champlin. I can remember packing up his airplanes in 2004, and how sad I was to see them go. I felt like a part of my childhood was leaving me. As sad as that made me feel, it does not hold a candle to how I feel now; there is a much bigger void in my heart now.

I was sitting under the wing of the Privateer at Gillespie Field on June 2, 2013 in El Cajon, CA when I got my inspiration for this video. I was watching John Collver’s War Dog performance in his T-6/SNJ flying to Faith Hill’s “There You’ll Be”. Watching the majestic T-6 and listening to the words to this song brought tears to my eyes; I could not help but think about Doug, I felt like he was there with me. I made this video to honor Doug Champlin. On May 20, 2013 the world lost an incredible man. It was an absolute honor to know Mr. Champlin and to have him in our lives. Doug will always hold a special place in our hearts!