December 26, 2007
News reports are hitting the aviation press that the German airline Lufthansa has purchased THREE Lockheed Constellations! Here is the link to one article.
A quote off the Starliner web site - "The Starliners have now been sold to Lufthansa. Plans are to start work on N7316C, one of the Starliners in Maine. The plan is to get this one operational and FAA certified for flight. The other two Starliners may or may not become operational in time."
Great news that another Connie will take to the skies! (Photo from Aerofiles)
December 22, 2007
December 16, 2007
A Flug Werk built "Longnose" Fw190 now resides in FL! Thanks to Chuck Gardner for the photo of the amazing machine sitting in the FL sunshine. One of the unique features of this scratch built replica is its American Allison V-12 engine... that is running in an upright position where the original German engine was running inverted! The owner recently imported the 190 from Germany to add to his impressive collection of Spitfires and other Warbirds.
December 9, 2007
December 6, 2007
December 2, 2007
"The Antique Airplane Association and the Board of Directors of the Air Power Museum are excited to announce that the 2008 AAA-APM Fly-In will commemorate the 90th anniversary of air mail service in the United States. The 2008 Fly-In theme will be Air Mail Days, to honor the pilots and airplanes of the early air mail service. The dates for the fly-in are August 27 to Sept. 1, 2008, at Antique Airfield near Blakesburg, Iowa."
See more here.
November 17, 2007
Warbird photographer Bill Scheuerman caught Kermit Weeks flying some rare birds in his collection recently. The rare Grumman Duck was even flown off the water. Also note the amazing Storch restoration that was displayed on the ramp of the most recent Art Deco hangar built at the aviation themed attraction. Thanks to Bill for allowing us to post the photos!
If you are reading this please share with us the location of more Art Deco hangars you know of and send us a photo to post. Post your comments below.
The Lone Star Flight Museum unveiled their freshly painted Hurricane at their most recent open house - fly day. This Hurricane has been in restoration for many, many years and flew from the restoration shop in its silver primer color. The rare fighter was transfered to the paint shop near Houston and recently rolled out in this historic desert scheme. Thanks to Ryan Harris for the above photo.
November 4, 2007
October 29, 2007
October 18th thru the 21st.
I always am amazed at people’s impatience with air travel. They get irritated in the boarding lines... roll their eyes while waiting for other passengers to take their seats... and then rush off the airplane to go wait for their bags. Once they have their bags that almost knock you over to get out to the shuttle to the rent cars only to get mad waiting in another line. This fast paced world really should SLOW down! Me... well... I think back to the days when people dressed up for a travel "event" as they flew coast to coast and it took all day! On the East coast people board a vintage airliner... flew all day and only made it a third of the way across the country. Then board a train to ride all night only to wake up in the morning at a train stop near an airport where they would board another vintage airliner to fly the remainder of the trip to the West coast. I have a feeling those travelers were a little more patient than the airline travelers of today!
After grabbing the rent car (a HOT red Ford Focus with only 5 miles on it... yehaw!) I made the quick dash to the hotel to check in. Flying into
Friday morning I was in no hurry to rush out the door.... this WAS vacation! The drive down from the hotel in
I arrived at the hangar and jumped into introducing myself to the airplane owners that were in attendance. This flyin was meant for
A small group of us decided to visit one of the museums on the airport and made our way to the other side of the field.
The hangar has an amazing outdoor grill so lunch was hot off the grill! The remainder of the afternoon was spent watching aircraft arrivals and hangar flying. I ended up leaving the airport mid-afternoon to catch up with a friend in
Saturday morning I arrived at the airport a little earlier so I could take a few pictures. Les flew his Lockheed 12 for a morning photo mission so I was able to take a few shots of his return. Today was the day for an outing to the famous Flabob airport in
Palm trees, mountains and vintage airplanes... a setting I don’t have many pictures of! The airport cafe was full of pictures of famous
I spent the remainder of the afternoon around
October 2, 2007
September 16, 2007
August 25, 2007
Like vintage cars or boats, vintage airplanes are now demanding higher and higher prices. There are even brokers who are buying up aircraft just to resell at elevated prices. At one point I heard some complaints about that. My thought is more along with what a friend of mine told me a few years back... an airplane is worth what someone will pay for it. So if I am asked what my Cessna 170B is worth I have a hard time answering. If I throw a price out there people gasp. I laugh because values are relative. Relative to what was paid for the aircraft... how much was invested in it... and how much sentimental value it has to the owner.
Now that some of the aircraft owners are aging and selling their aircraft off there are new collections developing. Aviation enthusiasts who are coming into money are quietly building up amazing collections. A few of the larger collections of vintage and Warbird aircraft, either in museums or private collection, have recently sold some significant aircraft. Tillamook Air Museum recently sold their B-25, Spitfire and Thunderbolt (pictured above). The Lone Star Flight Museum has sold their F7F Tigercat and A-20 Havoc. As time passes I predict we will see more aircraft change hands and even some collections fade away.
What excites me is that there are some of these new collectors that are very enthusiastic about saving rare aircraft from extinction. A rare aircraft comes on the market and these collectors are the first to step up to give them a home. As times change the aircraft will change hands. When that happens the aircraft will be available for display at more airshows and for viewing by more people across the country.
August 24, 2007
August 12, 2007
Having only missed one year at the Oshkosh airshow since 1988 it is hard to write about another trip to the show. Thousands of airplanes, some of them are the rarest flying machines in the air and friends around every turn. This year I invited my friend, Lynn, along for his first trip to aviation heaven. We arrived SUN and headed for home late on WED. So it was a short trip but we covered alot of ground in the short time we were there. Between myself and some other friends that joined us at the event we showed Lynn the ropes. Routes, shopping and must see features of one of the largest airshows in the country. Oshkosh is one of those events that you fill your days full and dont know how tired you are until the day is over!
August 7, 2007
July 19, 2007
July 17, 2007
Sorry to report that the Blankenburgs Spartan Executive has been involved in a landing accident on its way to Oshkosh. Sounds like they walked away with no injuries but the airplane is a little dinged up. Best wishes to them in having it returned to the air soon.
July 16, 2007
The weather improved over the weekend for flights on SAT and SUN. Some of my pics from the weekend are here. SAT I flew a quick flight to blow the spiders off. SUN I flew up to Gainesville for fuel and snapped a pic of the propliners parked out on the old runway.
Great news to report that the B24A "ol'927" has flown! Oshkosh is on the schedule so looking forward to seeing the machine in person after its makeover. Pic pulled from WIX under the post titled "Gary - whats the plan for Diamond Lil" Interesting note is that the pilot for this flight was one of my flight instructors, Bill Goeken! Nice pic of your flying the big bird, Bill!
July 8, 2007
The Thunder Over Michigan airshow was also this weekend. The highlight to this years show was the large gathering of B25s. It sounds like 14 of the medium bombers were in attendance! Pics from the show are on this thread on WIX. Be sure to scroll through all the pages. Special thanks to Eric Dumigan for allowing me to post the pic of the B25 line up. Visit his web site here.
June 21, 2007
June 17, 2007
Still raining quite often here in Texas. Was able to fly Thursday night after some showers rolled through. Took the pic above of a shower just Northwest of the airport. Made for a colorful sunset. Earlier today I checked the mouse trap in the 170 and was greeted by another kill. Two mice down. Hopefully that was all the mice that have taken a liking to my airplane!
June 3, 2007
This from EAAs web site... My vote is for the Spartan... other great machines in the running but the Spartan is just highest on my list.
|Six of the world’s finest restored vintage aircraft will travel to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this summer to participate in the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s first “Best of the Best” People’s Choice Award competition. These aircraft will be showcased at EAA AirVenture, “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration,” on July 23-29 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. |
AirVenture visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite among these restored vintage aircraft. All six vintage aircraft have been masterfully restored to virtually like-new condition and are great examples of our rich aviation history. The National Aviation Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI) joined together to create and sponsor the competition.
The aircraft scheduled to appear are all former winners of various NAHI events held throughout the country since 1999. They include the Lockheed P-38 “Glacier Girl” (owned by Rod Lewis); Piper L-4 (owned by June and Colin Powers); Spartan Executive (owned by Kent and Sandy Blankenburg); Fairchild KR-21 (owned by Pat McNerney); Grumman Duck (owned by Chuck Greenhill); and Waco ATO (owned by Alan Hoeweler).
“We at EAA are truly excited about hosting these magnificent aircraft," said Adam Smith, EAA Vice President/Outreach. "This program allows the public to vote on their personal favorite from the group, each of which is a masterful example of aircraft restoration."
The presentation of the “Best of the Best” trophy will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 28 at EAA AirVenture. Representatives of the Hall of Fame, EAA and NAHI will be joined by several enshrinees of the National Aviation Hall of Fame in the trophy presentation.
This activity undertakes a completely different selection process than that for EAA's legendary “Lindys” presented each year, regarded as the world’s top aviation construction and restoration awards. The EAA awards are based on a strict set of judging criteria, while the “Best of the Best” program crosses traditional aircraft categories and relies on public-preference voting.
The National Aviation Heritage Invitational promotes aircraft restoration via friendly competition, bringing valuable aviation treasures together in one venue. This endeavor is a joint effort under the auspices of Rolls-Royce North America Inc., the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the Reno Air Racing Foundation and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
May 29, 2007
May 27, 2007
FROM GLACIER TO GLORY
OPERATION BOLERO II TO SET AVIATION MILESTONE
AS LEGENDARY P-38 GLACIER GIRL COMPLETES HER
HISTORIC WORLD WAR II MISSION
Philadelphia, PA (May 24,2007)—On July 15, 1942, a United States Army/Air Force Squadron departed American soil on Operation Bolero, a World War II aid mission to support U.S. allies in the war torn European theatre. Due to insurmountable weather-related problems en route, the entire squadron of six P-38s and two B-17 Bombers was forced to abort its mission and make an emergency landing on a remote ice cap in Greenland. “The Lost Squadron,” as it has become known over time, drifted miles from its original location and only one P-38, encased in 268 feet of ice, was salvaged.
A recovery and restoration mission taking more than ten years and costing over a million dollars brought this legendary P-38 Lightning, now known as Glacier Girl, to her original flying glory. On June 23, 2007, Glacier Girl will finally complete her fabled World War II transatlantic mission when she departs from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey bound for Duxford, England.
“This monumental flight will bring closure to Operation Bolero as well as pay homage to the brave aviators who beat the odds to survive certain death on that polar ice cap in Greenland during World War II,” said pilot Steve Hinton, who will fly Glacier Girl in her transatlantic flight in June. “It’s thrilling to be a part of this historic event.”
Dubbed Operation Bolero II, after the original WWII operation, the mission remains as challenging as it is historic. Glacier Girl will be accompanied by the P-51 Mustang Miss Velma, a vintage WWII U.S. war bird that will be flown by air show legend Ed Shipley. The P-51 will be equipped with Wingspeed Corporation’s satellite-based aircraft communications technology that will allow anyone on the ground to communicate with the pilots via email communications and receive answers from the cockpit while the planes are in flight. Wingspeed’s network will also allow real time tracking of Glacier Girl’s historic journey exclusively at AirShowBuzz.com, a new social networking and user-generated/content-sharing Web site for aviation enthusiasts.
“It’s an honor to be Steve’s wingman as we trace the same flight path that Glacier Girl flew over 60 years ago,” said Shipley, US Air Force Heritage Flight pilot and founder of AirShowBuzz.com. “Wingspeed’s cutting edge communications technology will allow us to chat with enthusiasts from anywhere on the globe while we’re in flight, so the world can experience this with us.”
After landing, Glacier Girl will remain in Duxford for the renowned Flying Legends Air Show on July 7 and 8, where she will be featured alongside an impressive line-up of over 50 aircraft from both the WWI and WWII era. Glacier Girl will then return to the U.S. for EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, where she will fly the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight.
May 20, 2007
Sunday was almost and exact repeat of Saturdays airshow schedule. The fog burned off alittle sooner that Saturday. Was able to use different settings on the camera and think some of the P38 pics turned out better. Only one minor incident in the show today... an F86 was doing a fast flyby and lost one of its drop tanks. Landed out in the grass next to the runway so no harm done. Another great day of Warbird flying! Had a nice cool breeze blowing and I am showing signs of being out in the sun! See the pics here.
The day started out cool and foggy but the people were pouring in the gates to the airshow. I really was surprised how many people were coming in at 0830am! With the fog and no sunlight I didnt take any pictures until close to noon time. Before walking the ramp I visited with my friend Les and took a few pictures of the hangar he is building to house his Lockheed and Wacos. When the sun did some out it it was still hazy but the pictures did come out fairly clear. It was a great airshow... Sea Fury acro, large Warbird flyby with one or more of each type flying, and a flight with three P38s in formation! The flyby pattern here at Chino has to be one of the best I have seen. The flybys are made in a banking turn so that the aircraft appear very close. This sure makes for great photo opportunities. See Saturdays pics here.
May 19, 2007
May 18, 2007
My bags were packed and I was ready to head to bed late Thursday night when something didnt smell right. No... everything for the trip was ready. Airline tickets... check, hotel... check, rent car... check. OH! I know what that smell is! SKUNK! The weather in Texas has been cool at night and I had the windows thrown open to let in the cool breeze. The friendly neighborhood skunk had made a stink and now it was in my house. So much for a restful start to THIS trip! (My excitement before a trip usually doesnt allow any restful sleep anyway.) I turned on the a/c to clear the air and hit the sack.
I caught a mid-morning flight out of DFW to Ontario, CA on American Airlines which would give me plenty of time to visit the Chino airport to see the early arrivals. Three hour flights can be alittle long to go without food so I grabbed an over priced airport muffin right before boarding. I had to laugh because right about the time I was thinking I paid too much for the muffin they announced on the flight that snacks were available... $3 for a bag of M&Ms. HA!
Why Chino, CA for an airshow? One of the most active FLYING museums in the country that flies their World War Two airplanes is in Chino. The Planes of Fame museum puts on one of the best airshows that displays the rarest of the rare in Warbirds. I last attended this airshow a few years ago and wanted to return.
The flight landed alittle early so it was just after noon time when I dropped my bags off at the hotel and made the 20 minutes drive down to Chino. In years past I have not been able to see one of the other museums at Chino, Yanks Air Museum. When I drove by the Yanks hangar I saw that they were only open until 3:00 so I made a quick visit. See the pics here.
Before I made my way down to the airshow ramp I walked thru the Planes of Fame hangars. There is always a new Warbird in the museum that I havent seen before so I dont mind paying the museum admission again. There were two TF51 Mustangs under restoration. I took a walk down the ramp to the main parking area and was greeted by the sight of three FLYABLE P38s Lightnings parked side by side! Cant wait to see them fly on Saturday! There were quite a few airplanes already down on the ramp... see my pics from Friday here.
I called it a day early to rest up for the next two days of airshow. I should be posting more pictures again tomorrow night!
May 16, 2007
May 14, 2007
Check out this picture taken by my friend Kent Wien over Niagara Falls on a trip across the country in a DC-3 a couple weeks ago! To read about the trip go to Kents web site and click on Trips and go to the posts about DC-3 Transcon. He and his dad flew the DC-3 from NY to WA!
Finished up the annual on Friday night and make a quick flight at sunset. Feels good to have burned up the gas in the tanks and have bugs all over the leading edges! A few pics above of one of two mouse nests I found... one by the left fuel tank and one out in the right wingtip!
May 10, 2007
The 170 is in annual again. All is well accept for the fact that a mouse has been making the 170 a home! Spent last night cleaning out the nests and droppings! Now that it is washed out on the inside maybe the smell will go away! More rain is in the forecast for the next week so the return to flying status might be delayed until next week even thou it might be flyable this Saturday. When I pulled it out last week to run the engine after the oil change a Huey came in for a landing a few hangars down!
May 9, 2007
May 8, 2007
April 29, 2007
|Diamond Lil restored to original configuration|
| Stephanie Miller Staff Writer|
World's only second B-24 also receives new name
Though it's taken approximately seven months and countless hours of work, crew members are close to completing the restoration of the CAF's B-24, with a new look and new nose art to be revealed next month.
The CAF's B-24, known as Diamond Lil, is one of two flying B-24s in the world, said Kay Crites, director of public relations for the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The Collings Foundation owns one and the CAF purchased its B-24 in 1968. Now after several months and nearly 3,000 hours of manpower, Diamond Lil has been restored to her original B-24A configuration.
"It's the new and improved version of our B-24. We're excited to have her return to her more historically accurate configuration," Crites said.
"It's an important part of our mission to tell the story of World War II and to honor those who serve. The reconfiguration helps us tell the story by showing what she actually looked like before she was modified for transport purposes."
Interest for the B-24 remains strong today, considering the 202,048 hits received as of Tuesday since Oct. 27 on a Web site featuring war birds and classic military aircraft that has a series of forums with one relating to the CAF's B-24.
According to records, the plane was diverted in 1941 from an Army Air Forces order for B-24As to be given to British Air Commission. But in the fall of that year, Diamond Lil was damaged during a training mission and shortly afterwards, the Consolidated Air Craft Corporation, which built the aircraft, took it back and modified it for transport. The aircraft served in various roles before it was bought by the CAF.
The reason why the crew took on the project was because of its varied history, said Gary Austin, crew chief of the B-29/B-24 Squadron. It was intended to be a bomber and became a transport, prototype and test bed for later versions of B-24s, he said. During the post war era, Diamond Lil served as a corporate aircraft and freight hauler before coming to the CAF, he added.
Austin did a majority of the aircraft's work which began Oct. 27 and hopes the B-24 will be in the air in May.
The aircraft has a wing span of 110 feet, is 66 feet long and 18 feet tall, Austin said. Some new features include four gun positions out of the original six positions. The others will be completed after the Twin Tails ceremony on May 12, Austin said. "This is a work in progress. It takes more than seven months," he explained.
The bomb racks are new along with the paint job, a brown and green camouflage, which was its original paint scheme. It previously was painted in a Ploesti, a north African desert paint scheme.
Austin completed about 80 percent of the work and by the end of the project around the end of May, he will have worked 2,929.5 hours on the aircraft.
"It's a privilege to be able to work on them. It honors the vets and it teaches the younger generations to honor the vets, too," Austin said on why he devotes countless hours to the aircraft's restoration.
"When you get a vet come up and start reminiscing about their experiences in the old airplanes and they tear up, it makes it worthwhile to have such an impact on their lives."
Volunteers and occasional contract workers contributed approximately 300 to 400 additional hours of the work to the aircraft.
In addition to her new paint job and new look, Diamond Lil will be known by her new name, Ol' 927. According to records, AM927 is her serial number and she was known as Ol' 927.
"This is authentic to this airplane. It's what this plane was called," Austin said of Diamond Lil's new name.
The new nose art, however, currently is concealed by a large question mark and will be revealed at the May ceremony.
The painter of the nose art is Chad Hill of Chicago, who 30 years ago saw Diamond Lil at his first air show, Austin said.
While details of the May 12 ceremony are preliminary, the Twin Tails featuring the B-24 will be held in conjunction with the American Airpower Heritage Museum, Crites said.
"The idea is to let the public in on what's become an international interest on this plane," Austin said about what he hopes visitors will gain when they tour the aircraft.
"It's a good opportunity for folks from Midland-Odessa to be the first to see the international interest from this plane."
April 3, 2007
After posting a few pictures of Glacier Girl in Texas I saw pictures of her now in California. Last weekend the Planes of Fame flew their P38 along with Glacier Girl... so 2 P38s in formation together! Thanks to Brandon K. for the picture! A rare sight! The plan for the Chino Airshow in May is for 3 P38s to fly together. Already have my reservations made for THAT show!!
April 2, 2007
March 14, 2007
My friend Steven Dickey sent me pictures of a surprise visitor to the Breckenridge, Texas airport. He works for Ezell Aviation and in the hangar is the P38 under rebuild for The Flying Bulls. Looks to me like the visitor fits right in! Thanks for sending the Glacier Girl pictures!
February 25, 2007
February 6, 2007
February 5, 2007
January 30, 2007
January 18, 2007
History, Heritage, Heros... a great one hour long interview covering the backstory on the P-51C Mustang named Thunderbird. The 1949 Bendix w...