Another P-51D Mustang has returned to the skies in the US after restoration. This airframe use to carry the name "Miss Torque" and was well know for being flown by owner Rob Satterfield. The past few years it was flown in New Zealand but has return to the US with a new owner. See the history here.
Thanks again to Brandon out in Chino for allowing me to post one of his pictures. Do you think this restoration crew could polish it any brighter!?!?
For the caretaker of a polished airplane you might think the best tool in the tool box would be the handy dandy buffer. I do really like the way my Cyclo buffer rubs the Nuvite polish on the metal to make it shine but... the best tool I am now using is called microfiber. Some friends told me about this fancy fabric a few years ago but I just hadnt taken the time to try it out. Another friend with a polished 170 told me how he polished his whole airplane in one weekend and mentioned the use of microfiber. So I pulled a cloth out and wow... it made short work of the black residue left over from the buffing. On the way home from the airport I stopped in my local "big box" store and bought a big stack of microfiber! The metal around the doors and windows is done and as can be seen in the picture the back above the paint line. Will work on the lower fuselage next. Let the polishing continue...
I visit the Warbird Information Exchange forum several times a day (ok... MANY times a day!) and have been reading one of the posts with great interest. The CAF B-24 (LB-30) is being madeover into an A-model B24. My friend Gary Austin is Crew Chief working on Diamond Lil and has been posting updates to the progress of the work. Recent work includes returning the tail gunner and belly gunner positions to the airframe. Go here to read about the makeover. This is up to 30 pages long so it make take you a couple sittings to catch up!
Funny thing happened to me out at the airport on Saturday. It was alittle cold outside so a few of my airport buddies and I were standing around a heater in a friends hangar. I had worn my old leather jacket to the airport as to not mess up the new one working around the airplane. I reached into my inside pocket and found the bill of sale for when I purchased my first airplane! Of all the things to still be left in that pocket! Wonder why I never found it sooner... and had it really been since November 20th 1991 that I had looked in that pocket!?
Taylorcraft BC-12D, N96542, SN 8842 - $10,000.
This little piece of paper is getting put away in a safe place! (Picture above was taken seven months later when I flew the Taylorcraft solo from TX to WI for the Oshkosh airshow!)
Awhile back the NASCAR races were in town at the Texas Motor Speedway so a banner towing outfit was at our airport. I shot this video of one of the Super Cubs picking up a banner. Fun commentary on the video by my friend Lynn who was standing next to me! Video on YouTube here. HE GOT IT!
The preparations for the trip were a long time in coming. The airplane was fueled and supplies were packed. The thoughts turn toward the long distance flight. A flight to Paris is a quite a trip. Lindbergh made the flight in about 33 hours. Will my flight to Paris be as adventurous? Will the winds and weather affect the length of the trip? I have told my friends that I wanted to make the trip for years. The airplane I have chosen for the trip is my 1956 Cessna 170B. All the way to Paris in a 170? No... I am not crazy. The 170 has plenty of fuel. It even has room for a passenger on the trip! Lindbergh wrote a book about his trip to Paris in a book titled "WE" as in himself and the airplane. When I say that "WE" made the trip, I mean my mom and myself! Paris would be a one hour trip. OK... no... we are not flying to Paris, France but Paris, Texas. Our host for lunch would be our family friends, The Copeland’s, not the French Ambassador!
Mom and I launched off from my home airport about 9 am. We could not have asked for a better fall day to make the trip. With light Northeast winds blowing across North Texas the visibility had to be over 50 miles! Smooth flying and some colorful leaves made for a pleasant trip to Paris. We only made one small detour to fly over an airstrip named Flying Tigers. Many years ago it was home to a collection of World War Two aircraft. Most of the vintage aircraft are gone now but when I flew a high turn over the airstrip the only vintage aircraft visible from the air was a Convair. I shot a quick picture and turned North.
The hangar at Parson Field came into view and I was able to make out the direction of the runway. Landing to the Northwest the approach is offset to the west to avoid a few trees. I made a slight correction after passing the trees and settled onto the smooth grass with just on small bounce.
Billy Copeland greeted us upon shut down by saying "This is a monumental event! The Linn's have finally come to visit!" After saying we would fly up to visit we finally made the trip! After a tour of the hangar and the house we enjoyed watching the other aircraft arrive. Cubs, Champs and a wide variety of vintage aircraft settled onto the grass as onlookers commented on what a perfect setting this was for a fly in event. 32 aircraft were in attendance and about 70-80 people enjoyed the lunch.
After lunch we said our quick farewells and took off for home. The Dallas skyline was clear on the horizon but I couldn’t help but laugh to myself and think, why didn’t we see the Eiffel Tower!? The flight home was just a few minutes faster with the tailwind. 2 hours and 12 minutes total flight time for the round trip with an average speed of 110 MPH. Lindbergh's flight to Paris was a little longer than our trip to Paris! Hopefully someday I will make a flight from New York to Paris.
One of the aviation forums that I frequent is Plane Talk. Vintage airplane discussions and photos abound on this forum! A few weeks ago the famous airfield at Duxford, England held an end of the season flying display. Go to this forum post to see some amazing photos from that display. A special thanks to Gary Brown for allowing me to post the above photo. Great shooting Gary! Also, scroll down that entire post to see the great shots of the very rare Hawker Nimrod!
Took off work alittle early last Wednessday to take my friend Andy (of the National Waco Club) up to see a local restoration shop that is working on two Waco restorations. In the shop in various stages of restoration were a Cub, Champ, Stearman, Bucker (the former Slovak/Gann aircraft - N121U), Hiperbipe, RV8, Waco RBA and a standard cabin Waco. Goodfriend Aircraft is making great progress on the restoration of the rare Waco RBA pictured above. This is a unique open cockpit, side-by-side seating, Warner powered, Waco biplane. This will surely be an award winning aircraft!
Great progress is being made by the Pemberton's on their Boeing 40 restoration. Up on the wheels and painted. Sounds like wing fit check is next with wing covering to follow. Visit their web site here.
Spent some time today updating the Spartan and Lockheed 12 pages on my web site. Both pages have not been updated recently because of all the new photos I have collected and wanted to add. Finally took the time to sort the photos and post them. The pages only have one photo per entry because I plan to build a gallery page with all the rest of the photos. As usually... there will be more to come! Go to my site then check out the Spartan Executive and Lockheed 10 and 12 pages.
Really haven't done much in the way of aviation activities since Oshkosh. It really has been a warm Texas summer. So I just haven't had the energy to go out and endure the heat to fly the 170. I took Friday off of work and went to the airport early in the morning to pull the 170 out. It was about 76 outside, which made for a nice morning to fly! After filling up with fuel I decided to point the 170 West toward Breckenridge, Texas. I know a few guys that work at Ezell Aviation where they restore World War Two aircraft. In the shop were two Sea Furys, an F4U-4 Corsair and a P-38. The two Furys were being worked on in preparation for the Reno Air Races that start in two weeks. The Corsair has most of the airframe work complete. The P-38 is the former "White Lightning" and is being restored for The Flying Bulls out of Austria. The metal fabrication of parts for the P-38 is amazing! This will be an amazing airplane once it is completed and the aluminum is polished! For more pictures of the P-38 restoration check here. The flight out took just over an hour (99 miles) with the flight back taking just 50 minutes. Felt good to put some time on the 170. Hope to do more flying this weekend as weather allows.
I just returned from Oshkosh and will post my notes and pictures soon. Two of my friends new restorations that made Oshkosh this past week were award winners! Congrats to Mike and Midwest Aero and their Reserve Grand Champ Mustang also to Les and his crew at the Lockheed "Stink Works" and their Antique Grand Champ Lockheed 12!
In the good old USA we see a variety of aircraft collections displayed in various settings. Big or small these collections may be in spotless hangars with painted floors in big cities or grass airfields with dirt floored hangars out in the middle of the country. One well known collection, but not highly published, is Walter Soplata's collection in Ohio. A recent forum thread about his collection was posted on the WIX forum. Reprinted here is an article from my friend Randy who visited the collection. Enjoy this unique story about the quiet and private collector from Ohio.
Walter Soplata Collection Visit Report Randall Haskin - July 2002
I had a chance to visit the Walt Soplata farm this past week...a very interesting experience. For those who don't know about the Soplata Farm, Mr. Soplata is a junk collector who also happens to share an affinity for airplanes. The results of his 50-years of saving airplanes from the scrap heap and smelter are resting next to his house in Newbury, Ohio, along with all the other junk he collects like cars, books and magazines, trucks, old computer and electronics, and other scrap. It is not a museum -- the airplanes are not there for display, but are the personal collection of Mr. Soplata. The airplanes are all in derelict condition -- wrecked, in pieces, and rotting away exposed to the midwest US weather. He purchased these airplanes over the years as his own hobby, and in many cases, has saved some one-of-a-kind airplanes from destruction when nobody else (especially the US military) cared about them. First of all, I was glad that someone had posted directions on how to find his place here on USEnet, otherwise I "never" would have found it. It is buried away from sight off a dirt road. When I got there, I was amazed by the sight from the dirt road in front of his house...what a junkpile! I'd seen photos of the Soplata farm on other webpages (http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Fea1/101-200/Fea182_Walters-Farm_Williams/part1/Fea182.htm), so I had a general idea of what to expect when I got there. What I didn't know, however, was what would actually be there, since I'd heard of at least two airplanes from there being sold off and restored (http://www.airrace.com/corsair74.htm). In addition, I'd read here on r.a.m. that Mr. Soplata was possibly dead. Anyhow, I walked up to his house and knocked, but nobody answered. I heard of others visiting Walt's farm and just walking through things without asking, so I thought I'd go see what I could without being too intrusive. Even right there at the house, and I was amazed with what was there. On his front lawn was a wingless T-6...in front of his door, a T-33 fuselage and the cockpit to a Victor...in the driveway the cockpit to a DC-7. I started strolling up the path through the junkpile, passing on the right side a B-52 fuselage on it's side, a Howard DG-A fuselage, a BT-13 fuselage, and a complete F-86F. On the left side of the path were a T-28 fuselage, what looked to be an AT-11 (I could just see the bombardier nose) and a Boeing commercial airliner cockpit. I spotted what I initially believed was a P-51H, but on closer inspection, it turned out to be the left fuselage of the XP-82 (44-83887). I snapped a few photos, then left the main path to the right and waded through the tall grass toward a complete FG-1Corsair with the wings folded. Next to the Corsair was one of the Skyraider prototypes (XBT2D-1, BuNo 09103). Also scattered around were a complete B-25J, a F7U Cutlass jet, and a P-47N fuselage. Further to the west was a C-82 fuselage and a Sikorsky helo of some kind stuffed amongst the trees. It was at this point that Mr. Soplata walked out to find me...he is still alive and well and "working" on his collection. Initially he was not happy that I was out looking at his junk, and was "really" not happy that I was taking pictures! Apparently Mr. Soplata has had some problems with people visiting his farm and the IRS thinking he "runs a museum". So, he asked me to stop taking pictures, and to not publish the photos in any publications, which might encourage more people to come visit his airplanes. He asked me to leave, so I apologized to him and I followed him back out to my car on the dirt driveway. On the way, however, he asked me who I was and why I was there. During the course of our conversation, he must have realized I was an airplane enthusiast just like him because soon he was leading me on a guided tour of his collection and talking away about every single airplane! Anyone who meets Mr. Soplata may get the impression that he's a doddering old man. It's true that he doesn't come across as the brightest individual, but after spending an afternoon talking with him about his hobby and his airplanes, I realize that he's really just old and eccentric. He has an amazing memory when it comes to aviation, and especially recalling specifics about his airplanes. Every airplane we'd walk up to, he'd give me a detailed history of where he got it, how much he paid for it, and even specific service histories of the airframes he had. It's very evident that he cares about his airplanes -- he does what he can to protect them from the weather by covering up cockpits and canopies, and building small shelters over some. He even talked quite a bit about how he was going to "put them all back together", which is obviously an overly ambitious project for an elderly man given the condition of some of the airplanes. We talked about people buying airplanes from him -- I tried to talk him into selling me his T-6 or his BT-13 -- and he indicated that he didn't like to sell off his airplanes. "It's my hobby," he said, "and I paid for these with my own money." He said that people have come to him many times and offered to buy individual items or even the whole collection. "There's a guy in Texas who wanted to buy everything, and he even offered to build me a house down there just so I could still live next to my airplanes!" Another collector offered him $3 million for everything "and maybe I should have taken him up on it, I dunno." Recently he has sold off a P-82 Twin Mustang and an F2G Corsair, "so I could pay off the IRS," he said. He's especially against having any of his airplanes fly again -- he mentioned several times how angry he was that rare warbirds that have been restored to flying condition and are flown on the airshow circuit get destroyed in crashes. Apparently there was a stipulation with the sale of the F2G Corsair racer that it never be flown again. Other than that, he has no intentions of selling much of anything as long as he's alive. When he dies, however, he says "everything will be for sale in Trade-a-Plane" with the money going to support his children. He mentioned who he planned to be the executor of his will and who will arrange the sale, but I don't remember who it was. So, Mr. Soplata spent the rest of the afternoon showing me the rest of his collection, including his famous YB-36 which is sitting there cut up into many pieces. I also saw a complete TBM Avenger, F-86E, F-84, T-50, and Fleetwing (which he says is the only one still in existence). There were also fuselages for a Canberra, an F-105, a few T-28s, another TBM....there are just too many to list from memory. All in all it was a very interesting visit. I sincerely hope that these aircraft find their way to a museum or into better care before they're gone.
My Saturday started out looking like a good morning to fly. As I arrived at the airport several RVs and a Swift were launching off for some formation flying. A couple other friends were just about to take off too. So I pulled the 170 out to fly. As I headed west I noticed a low layer of clouds off in the distance. Come to find out the formation decided to return to the airport as well as my other friends! The cloud layer was moving toward the airport. I crossed over the top of the airport to enter the landing pattern and decided to let the other traffic land and flew out east a few miles. Still hazy but clear to the east. I landed and parked at Geezer HQ. After visiting with some friends for about an hour we launched off again. I chased my friend Phil in his Champ... well.... the chase didn't last long since he was flying at 80 MPH! I put in twenty degrees of flaps to stay in formation with him! When I broke off the formation to head back toward the airport I noticed the grey outline of an MD11 overhead. It looked like a whale coming through the clouds. FedEx was descending thru the puffy clouds on approach into Alliance (AFW). Then off to the North I spotted a hot air balloon. I flew by and waved to the riders in the basket. On entering the pattern a buddy of mine was on the taxiway taking pictures. (See the photo above. Thanks Ross!) As a part of the normal Saturday operations I cleaned up the 170 and walked up to the cafe for lunch. After lunch we were sitting around Geezer HQ watching arriving and departing aircraft... (why do they teach all new student pilots that no flap landings at 85 MPH are the norm??) ...when we all looked up at the same time to see an Aeronca heading right for us! It was on takeoff roll and lost directional control and came across the grass and onto the taxiway... we heard one of the tires bark... and then it made a slow turn back into the grass! That added a few moments of excitement to our afternoon! The Aeronca was fine... so it taxied back to the runway and departed! Ah... another fun day at the airport. OK.... time for me to go home...
This great picture came in from Kelly of his Luscombe on floats. Based in Idaho this 90hp Luscombe was built up as a floatplane but just recently was mounted on floats. Looks like they are being put to good use!
Dad and I flew up to Gainesville (40 miles North) to the Texas Antique Airplane Assoc. Flyin for breakfast Saturday morning. We usually spend the weekend up in Gainesville but I decided since I just spend the weekend before out in the heat I would only fly up for breakfast. When we left mid-morning there were about 130 airplanes in attendance. I hope to post a photo gallery soon. Above is a shot of my 170 next to a 1952 model 170 that lives in Denton. It was a nice flight up and back... and just enough time to walk the flightline and visit with a few friends.
News is out that Gerry Beck's Tri-State Aviation has flown their new build A model P-51! As progress was being made over the past few years pieces of the airframe have been displayed at Oshkosh. This year it should stand out in the crowd of D models at Oshkosh.
I took some time this evening to sort some of my pictures from the trip. Click here to see pictures from my visit to the Sonoma area. As I mentioned in another post I made a stop by the Castle Air Museum. Click here for those pictures. Hope to have the Merced gallery up in the next day or two. If you have any comments on the pictures feel free to click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this post.
On Saturday morning I set my alarm so that I could make it to the airport early to shoot some pictures in the morning sun. Sounds different to be on vacation and setting my alarm but, it is all about the airplanes! There were about 50-60 airplanes on the field as of Friday. It sounds like in years past there were as many as 1000 airplanes in attendance! Not all were antique airplanes but a good many of them were. The steady stream of incoming airplanes made for many opportunities to shoot pictures of the arrivals. My quick count of airplanes on Saturday was about 150-160 that flew in. California has many climates that seem to exist within just one part of the state. Merced is south and east of the San Francisco area. The local area is very flat but off to the east the Siearra Nevada Mountains show off their snowy peaks. The sun heated up the event and by mid-day is was up into the 90's. Just Thursday I was in the Sonoma area enjoying the temps in the 70's and 80's! The Merced show plans for the show to be the antique airplanes that are displayed by their owners. Later in the day the owners fly in a parade of flight. About twelve of the antique airplanes fly around the pattern to give the general public a chance to see the rare machines in the air. Also there were three airshow acts that flew short aerobatic demonstrations, an Edge 540, an Su-26 and a P-51. The P-51, named Hell-er Bust, was actually just passing through town on its way to a new owner in the Seattle area. So it was a great treat to see it fly a routine in the hands of Ed Shipley. The awards banquet Saturday evening was a very nice steak dinner. The Flyin Chairman handed out the awards and the top award went to the Curtis Robin. One event that I wasnt expecting was an invitation after the banquet to the local dirt track. Oh yeah, dirt track car races! Evidently the pilots from the Sonoma area like to take in alittle local culture on Saturday night! This was highly entertaining to watch. Not only the people that were in attendance, these were serious racing fans, but the cars themselves were entertaining. Sponsers for the beat up junkers were a local cigerette store, corner garages and car dealers. The group I was with made guesses on what the most popular race car driver name was. Bubba maybe?The trip to California was well worth it. Fun times in Sonoma to visit the airports, pilots and airplanes I had only read about, and it was a great flyin at Merced. Pictures to come in the next couple days.
Friday was a nice drive from Sonoma to Merced. It was cool enough to drive with the windows down most of the time as I drove by all the vinyards. The temps climbed quickly as I made it down toward the flat valley down near Merced. Nearing Merced I noticed a sign to the Castle Air Museum. Couldn't pass up an aviation museum! This outdoor museum is in a clean, nicely groomed grass field and on display are most of the military bombers and transports from World War Two to the Cold war. Watch for a link to these pictures in a future post. At merced the antique airplanes trickled in as I walked around the warm ramp... parked on the ramp were a very nice Curtiss Robin, Monocoupe, 450 Stearman, C3 Stearman. The Mustang painted as Hell-Er Bust came in early afternoon. About 3:00 I went and checked into the hotel to cleaned up for the evening dinner. There were about 50-60 people that ate the "early bird" dinner. As the sun set the groups gathered under the airplanes and watch some formation flybys. One formation was a Champ, two Cubs, a Steraman, a Cessna 180 and a Porterfield! Great day. Saturday will be the big day. Looking forward to even more antiques!
One of my goals this year was to attend an airshow/flyin that was new to me. The Merced Antique Airplane Flyin was my pick. I launched off early Thursday morning for my planned trip to California. The United Airlines flight I was on was direct from DFW to SFO. The flight being over three hours long included an inflight movie. King Kong was the show for the flight and since I had already seen it I was taking naps inbetween some of the scenes I liked. At one point I was awakened to loud exclaimations of four letter words! The elderly couple behind me was obviously surprized by one of the startling scenes in the movie. Then it happend again! What I realized next was it was not the old man... it was the old women who had the colorful mouth! After a few minutes of her colorful language I had to work hard to ignore her. As we started our decent info SFO the flight attendant announced that when we arrived to please stay in our seats for there was a medical emergancey! Most of the airplane waited patiently as the EMTs came on and gave an elderly lady some oxygen. Sounds like she was just having shortness of breath. For some reason the older lady behind me began going off on the lady who needed medical attention! Guess her mother didnt teach HER any manners! OK... off to my flying activities... I jumped in the rent car (a cool little Chevy HHR!) and drove across the Golden Gate bridge (that was fogged in) and was winding my way into Sonoma in just over an hour. I met my friend Eric Presten at Sonoma Skypark airport. Eric was working on a friends Cub when I arrived so I nosed around the hangar he was working in. In this hangar was a one of a kind Luscombe! (I think it was a model 4 - will confirm later) This was just the begining of the tours Eric gave me all day at Skypark and Schellville, which is just two miles away. To get to Schellville we jumped in Eric's Piper Clipper. Clippers sure are neat machines. Four seats, 150HP Lycoming, 130MPH... wonder why we don't hear much about these airplanes!? Note the gear on the Clipper! Two sets of tires! Just some of the airplanes on the hangar tours were the Curtiss JN4, Curtiss P-40 N Ryan STA, Alexander Eaglerock. Truely amazing to see so many rare airplanes at these two fine airports. To finish off the day Eric and I stayed up late at his house (while his family packed for Merced) looking through some of his collection of antique airplane photos. Eric recently published another book from the photos in his collection. (Email me if you want details on the content and if you want to purchase the book.) All this is just one day of vacation! More to follow...
I really like the simplicity of flying vintage airplanes. Now it is nice to live in the Information Age and enjoy the technology we have but some things in life should be simple. I like flying simple airplanes. My 170 is pretty basic. There is a portable GPS mounted on my panel but there is no "glass cockpit" new fangled avionics in my machine. Above is a picture of just one of the projects I helped tackle at work this week. Removal of an overhead panel in a Challenger 604 simulator to install some maps lights. Yes... all that for some fancy lights! (note the cockpit layout drawing so that I know how to put it back together!) Wow... I am glad I only do this for work! (I laughed when my sister noted that we should have just duct taped up a flashlight to the overhead panel!) Adding new batteries to my GPS is about the extent of the avionics work I have had to do on my machine! So this is one reason I will stick to flying simple flying machines like the 170.
Photos have made it online of the Lone Star Flight Museums recent Hurricane restoration. Look for the forum posts in The WIX Hangar. Thanks to Steve for this photo on its stop in Breckenridge, Texas on the way to the paint shop near Houston.
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts the Planes of Fame Airshow was this past weekend and there are now pictures online! Go to Warbird Aero Press and then to the message board. There are forum topics titled Chino under the Air Racing board that have some spectacular photos on them! This Tigercat is one of my favorite Warbirds... awesome power with two 2800s! Also note the good looking new paint scheme added to the Planes of Fame P51A! Thanks to Scott Germain for the photos!
It was a great evening to pull the 170 out and do some flying. Light North winds and about 80 deg. As I pulled the 170 out of the hangar a friend of mine yelled HELLO from a Cub coming in for a landing. Grassroots flying at its best when you can say HELLO to a friend on the ground from a flying Cub! Other than the Cub there was no one else out flying. I had the airport all to myself. I took off and flew North of Denton. I stayed low so that I could see if the hangars were open at the different grass strips I was flying over. No one home at most of the strips until I found the doors open at Edgington Ranch. As I flew over an RV8 and a Bird Dog were landing. Five airplanes were on the lawn in front of the hangar so that made for a great picture. After visiting for a few minutes I launched off to enjoy the perfect flying weather. Took a few more pictures of the scenery as I made my way back to the home airport. One shot is from short final to Flying S in Justin where we will have our AAA meeting this Saturday. Again... it was perfect evening for flying.
With the Texas temperatures in a constant state of flux I have been picky about my days I choose to go flying lately. On some of the cooler days (like yesterday, the 13th) I have been polishing on the upper surfaces of the 170s flaps and ailerons. They are in need of some serious work after the paint work done of them. The cleaner used to prep the lower surfaces bled through the paper and left some residue that is proving to be stubborn! I have been polishing with Nuvite F7 (from Perfect Polish) and it is working quite well. Hope to have made good progress on polishing out the wings this month. So the last time I flew was on the 6th. Should be able to do some flying later this week as the weather is looking good.
Came across this great picture on Warbird Aero Press last week and had to post it. Scott Germain shot this air-to-air of the Planes of Fame Seversky as they were preparing for their annual airshow out in Chino, CA. Should be another great show. As pictures from the show become available I will post a link to them here. I would have loved to have made it for this years show as I attended a couple years ago. My west coast event for this year will be the Antique Airplane Associations fly-in out in Merced, CA the first weekend in June.
The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum has issued a press release and photos of the recent progress on the restoration of their P-61 Black Widow. This will become the only flyable P-61! It is great to see this rare bird on its gear! See the press release here.
One great thing about flying is seeing the world from a different perspective. Sharing that perspective is fun for me and I enjoy showing arial photos to friends and family. I was looking thru some old photos the other day and came across a photo I took of my families property back in late 1991, early 1992 right after I bought my first airplane, the Taylorcraft. Note the build up around our property as seen in the other photo I took last week! In both photos I have added a box around our property. Wow.... times change!
The Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, Texas has recently sold their P38 Lightning to a new owner in Florida. Thanks to Chuck for the picture taken during a ground run by the new owner! Look forward to seeing this P38 actively flying again.
The cabin door has been shut and the lineman has checked to make sure the chocks are in place. The smell of fuel is still on his hands and the oil from the recently checked dipstick on his coveralls will be there forever. A mechanics wrench hitting the floor of the hangar startles him as he walks to the front of the Lockheed 12. He looks over his shoulder to give the mechanic a glare as the mechanic reaches from under the engine of the Waco Custom Cabin for the wrench. Just a few moments before he loaded the last bag in the nose for the sharply dressed businessmen about to depart to an important meeting. The linemen doesn't remember where they are going, just that he worked hard all morning to have the 12 ready for the noontime departure. His eyes meet the pilots as he signals that the props are clear and ready for the Pratt and Whittneys to ignite. A loud whine comes from the number one engine and smoke and noise soon follow. The lineman steers clear of the spinning propeller to take a good look around the number two engine and signals to the pilot that it is clear. More noise and smoke is heard. The chocks are pulled and the 12 rolls off the ramp toward the runway. When the Lockheed turns on to the taxiway the linemans hat almost blows off and he takes a deep breath in. The smell of burning oil coming from the radial engines gives him goosebumps. Just another day on the job. This scene could be from 1939 or today! In just a few months Lockheed 12 S/N 1277 will return to the skies after a very extensive restoration by Les Whittlesey and his crew in Chino, California. Look for this machine at future airshows around the country! I'll be the one standing behind this Lockheed 12 holding my hat on and taking a deep breath in!
Will we ever see a _____ fly again? How many hangar flying sessions have you heard when an aviation enthusiast talked about seeing a extinct aircraft type fly again? It has happened to me at my home airport and while talking among friends at airshows around the country. What will we see fly again? As I watched the documentary called The Restorers I was pleasantly surprised to see several Boeing 100s under construction out in Arizona. One wrecked airframe was used as a pattern to start a small production run. Collector Kermit Weeks is slated to take multiple examples from this run. Rumor is that one will be patterned after the highly modified 100 that Howard Hughes owned! Another rumor yet to be confirmed is a production run of Lockheed Vega's! These wooden speedsters dominated the races and record flights of the 1930's, the Golden Age of Aviation. How many will we see? Who took the time to build the large concrete molds for the fuselage structures? Hopefully this project will surface in the near future! The sole Gee Bee QED does survive down in Mexico but it was only on videos that we have seen one fly. Word is out that one is under construction up in Washington state. This is another rare machine that will shock the aviation historians when it takes to the skies! As for some rare Warbird types the Mosquito population exists only in museum displays and none of the type are flyable. Avspecs Limited in New Zealand is building up new airframe components for The Fighter Factory's example of the Mosquito. New wooded airframe components for a COMPLETE Mosquito! At what point did someone say... hey... lets start cutting up pieces of wood and build us a new Mosquito! Can't wait to see an airborne Mosquito again! Rare and extinct aircraft will fly again! We are fortunate to live in a time in history when we can experience almost every era of flight all at the same time! Blue Skies, DT Linn
Pictures are now showing up on several internet forums from the Wawrbirds Over Wanaka show in New Zealand. Check out the ones on Warbird Information Exchange here. Also check out the ones on Plane Talk here. Snow covered mountains and rare aircraft make for some amazing pictures! Be sure to review the pictures of the new P40 restoration that made the show. (And yes I AM posting this from work... just took a quick break!) Blue Skies, DT Linn
The wind finally calmed down enough to go flying so I took some friends from church flying at sunset. Was a smooth flight on a clear night. Monica, Angie and Louis enjoyed the flight. (As seen on their faces above!) This was a first flight in a small airplane for Monica and Louis! We asked Louis if he had even flown in a small airplane and he mentioned the time when he jumped out of a C130! Smooth skies and amazing sunset made it the perfect night to give rides to them. Angie took the amazing sunset photo (above) as we flew over Kenneth Copeland Ministries airport and conference center near Eagle Mountain Lake.
It was a warm sunny Easter day here in Texas. I had some friends coming out for a sunset flight so I took the 170 up for a quick check flight after the annual. This photo was taken right as I landed and before I gave the rides. Flies great and no problems.
On April 7th (my sister Sherry's birthday!) I took the day off work to finish up the annual on the 170. I would be out of town for the weekend and wanted to get it back together again. Above is a picture of the newly painted flaps. When standing just a few feet away you cant even tell that they are painted! Now the top side of the control surfaces will need some polishing... along with the rest of the airplane. Will be looking good for the upcoming local fly-ins and airshows. Special thanks goes out to my friend Lynn for the paint work and my mechanic Randy.