In one of the most entertaining fundraisers of the year, 14 pilots of the Antique Airplane Club of Greater New York shed their clothes and posed for their 2011 calendar, “Pilots Without Pants.” But the fun didn’t stop there. The pilots, plus other club members, also participated in a “mockumentary” called “Pilots Without Pants – The Making Of The 2011 AACGNY Calendar,” which can be seen on the club’s website, AACGNY.org and YouTube.com.
While the goal is lofty — raise money to promote and preserve antique aviation in the greater New York area — the sheer silliness had me questioning whether this was some elaborate joke. Be assured: It’s for real.
Putting it all together was Annemarie Bain, a television producer and the creative force behind E-Media of New York. She also happens to be married to Mr. November, Stuart Bain.
The idea for the calendar was born during one of the club’s Wednesday evening wine and cheese socials in Mr. February Bob Fritts’ hangar, according to Annemarie Bain.
“I looked around the table, saw the gold mine of talent, and blurted out, ‘How about we do a nude calendar this year? Something a little different?’ They all looked at me like I was joking. I obviously wasn’t. I thought it would be the perfect fundraiser for The Antique Airplane Club of Greater New York.”
Getting the club members to agree to pose nude took some work, she admits. “At first, they were all a bit shy,” she said. “But after Bill ‘Cover Model’ Clifford did his shoot (with the help of his daughters Dawn and Kim), the rest of the guys eventually ‘dropped trou’ and joined in on the fun.”
In fact, they had so much fun, there were 14 models, so the calendar has two bonus months. During the photo shoots, which took place in one day at the club’s headquarters at the Bayport Aerodrome (23N), “each of the pilot/models tried to outdo each other,” she said. “I think they all looked amazing.”
The mockumentary chronicles the day’s shoots, with comments from not only the models, but those club members who question the models’ sanity. There is also some good-natured ribbing as friends question poses, including the inventive ways the pilots used to “hide the goods.”
In fact, with so many people at the Aerodrome during the shoots, one has to question: Were the pilots really without their pants? “They kept it real — no shame in their game,” Bain said.
Trying to pin down some straight answers from the models can be tough, but I tried. When I asked Mr. January 2012, AKA Bill Armstrong, why he agreed to pose nude, his retort: “The promise of fame and stacks of cash.”
Mr. November’s response was one all husbands can relate to: “Because my wife organized this whole thing.” But would he do it again? “Sure, I have no pride left now,” Stuart Bain added.
Not to be undone, Mr. June, AKA Steven Martin, decided the best way to answer my questions was with multiple choice answers. When asked why he agreed to pose nude, he answered: “A. The gun aimed at my head; B. Peer pressure; C. The opportunity to show off my bod.”
So would he do it again? “A. If the money is good; B. If Bob Fritts (Mr. February) agrees not to participate; and C. Only if the Weather Channel says hell froze over.”
Since this was the guys’ first nude photo shoot, I asked what was the biggest surprise of the experience?
“The biggest surprise is the extra 20 pounds the camera adds,” said Mr. January 2012 Bob Armstrong. “I thought that was an old wives tale, but it’s true.”
Meanwhile Mr. June answered in his classic A, B, C fashion about the biggest surprise(s) for him: “A. That the prop actually covered everything; B. That the younger guys did not pose; and C. That I was one of the more photogenic models.”
And Mr. March, Bob Mott, adds, “That flying in the buff isn’t covered in the FARs.”
The calendar, which sells for $18, has just hit the streets and the reaction, so far, has been good.
“At first, people hear the title ‘Pilots Without Pants’ and expect the worst,” said Annemarie Bain. “After people see the calendar and the video, they LOVE them. Pilots Without Pants will be talked about here at the Aerodrome for years to come.”
For the models, the new-found fame has not only increased their cachet around the airport, but provided some new fodder for those hangar flying sessions.
“I think the photo has been received quite well,” reported Mr. January, Bill Armstrong, adding (with tongue planted firmly in cheek), “I have numerous movie deals and magazine spreads being offered to me — just look for me in ‘Top Gun 2.'”
Mr. June said it’s too soon to know the full reaction to the calendar as they are just now shipping, but notes, “my Friday and Saturday nights are booked through 2011.”
As for the creative genius behind the calendar, Annemarie Bain said she would do it again “in a hot minute.” “This was so much fun for us all and it is turning into a great fundraiser,” she said.
For more information: AACGNY.org/Store.asp