December 30, 2010

Last Flight of 2010

Today I was off of work to enjoy part of the New Years holiday so I spent a good portion of the day in the hangar.  My normal hangar flying buddies were not there today to distract me so I actually had a productive day working in the hangar.  Not that I think catching up on the airport stories is a waste of time... it just is a different type of aviation therapy to actually WORK in the hangar!

I unloaded some of the Christmas gifts out of the truck and spent a few minutes unpacking them.  One gift was a light weight drill from my parents.  My old drill had bit the dust a couple months back and I had resorted to the manual screw driver.  (Gasp!  Manual?!)  The big heavy drills for working around the house just aren't that good for working on the airplane.  With the battery charged I tried it out.  Works... and is not too heavy or too much power.

The next gift to be unpacked was a small six inch buffer from my father-in-law.  The Cyclo buffer/polisher is my polishing work horse but it can be heavy when trying to hit those vertical surfaces.  The new buffer can be palmed and is not heavy.  The rudder buffed out nicely with my normal procedure and using the new palm sized buffer!  A great gift and it will be useful for those higher vertical surfaces.

The weather was warm but windy with low clouds when I arrived mid-day.  As the day wore on I would peek out the hangar doors to do a weather check.  The clouds lifted and eventually cleared out.  So I wrapped up the polishing.  The windsock finally stopped its vigorous flapping so the classic Cessna was wheeled out for a flight.  It felt good to get up even if it was a short flight at sunset.  2010 wasn't a full year of flying but the Cessna helped get my feet off the ground for some much needed arial therapy.
Hope your 2010 was adventurous and may you have more Blue Skies in 2011.

December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

A fun story from the Warbird email circles... Merry Christmas!

Santa's Ride


'Twas the night before Christmas all over the place,
When we were confronted by an old flying ace.
There was icing reported and turbulent air ,
He said, "File me a flight plan, I gotta get there".

Outside sat his aircraft all ready to run,
And the old man walked out to that P-51.
"Bad weather's no problem," he silently mumbled,
The prop came to life...that big Merlin rumbled.

He eased in the throttle, the roar shook the ground,
He taxied on out and turned it around.
He went through the run-up and seemed satisfied,
Then he said to himself, "I'm in for a ride."

So he lined it up straight as he poured on the coal,
The tailwheel came up as he started to roll.
Up off the runway, he sucked up the gear,
And that mighty V-12 was all you could hear.

He screamed overhead with a deafening crack,
Blue flames flying from each little stack.
"He pulled up the nose and started to climb,
No ice on that airframe, it didn't have time. 

On top of the weather with the levers all set,
He looked up above him and saw a Learjet.
"With jet fuel and turbines there just ain't no class,
Gimmee pistons, and props and lots of avgas!"

Now he was approaching where he wanted to go.
But the weather had covered the runway with ice and with snow. 
How will he land it? We just have to guess, 
because the only way in was a full I-L-S.

Then over the outer marker, he started his run,
The ceiling was zero, visibility...none. 
Still going three hundred and he felt the need,
For an overhead break to diminish his speed.

Over the numbers he zoomed, along like a flash,
Pulled into his break, we just knew he would crash.
Oh, why do they do it on these kind of nights??
Then over the threshold, we saw landing lights.

I'm on a short final with three in the green,
And I see enough runway to land this machine.".
Then he tied down that Mustang, and they all heard him say,..
"Next year, I'm stickin' with my reindeer and sleigh.."

--author's name withheld by request--..........

...OK, I can't keep a secret..... 

Santa Claus

November 30, 2010

Clean Culver Cadet

This clean Culver Cadet was at the last Antique Airplane Assoc. meeting I went to over in Justin, Texas.  Owned, restored and flown by Gene Morris.  These are clean little ships and I have always liked their compact, sporty lines.  Much like one of my other favorites, the Globe Swift.  Just posting a picture as it is a great example of the rare Culver Cadet.  Check out this link I found for a web site dedicated to this classic speedster.

November 28, 2010

Corsair in Black

In a previous post I wrote about the fine craftsmen over in Germany at MeierMotors and their work on many recently imported World War Two fighters to that country.  The most recent project is the cosmetic restoration and repaint of an F4U-5 Corsair.  Take a look at the unique paint scheme this powerful fighter will wear!  An all black scheme of a Korean war era Corsair.  It is worth the ten to fifteen minutes to read through the WIX forum post on the research for the paint scheme and the history of this Corsair.  The pictures of its transformation are there as well.  A special thanks goes out to Matthias Dorst for allowing me to post his photo.

Links - WIX forum post on the Corsair - MeierMotors

November 24, 2010

P-38 Reunion Video

This just came to my attention. Wow... Great video from the recent P-38 reunion out in California.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

November 22, 2010

Warbird T-Shirt Quilt

 In this day and age of reuse and recycle it is always fun to see something repurposed, especially when it pertains to our own personal interests.  My mom is an avid quilter.  I grew up staying warm in the winter months under her handiwork, and over the years our family has shared her interest in quilting.  As a matter of fact, we even owned a small quilt shop years ago.  It was a lot of fun learning how to run a small business, and have the opportunity to meet new people who shared the love of quilting.

In the local quilting scene mom became fast friends with a woman named Melinda Hamm Giacommarro.  Melinda has taken her own love of quilting to new heights and has made some rather unique creations.  She repurposes t-shirts by making them into one-of-a-kind quilts.  Over the years my mom had me stash away my old, worn out aviation t-shirts and this summer we finally pulled them out to give this t-shirt quilt thing a go.  
We sorted through the various types and styles and ultimately narrowed down our choices to the final 12 shirts that made the cut.  We’ve aptly named it the “Warbird Quilt”.  Like I said, we narrowed down our selections to just 12, so I have a very strong suspicion that this will be the first of many aviation themed t-shirt quilts to come.

We scheduled a meeting with Melinda at
Bluebonnet T-shirt Quilts to show her the t-shirts we had picked. We then reviewed the layout and the quilting.  I have to admit I was overwhelmed by the numerous options that could be added!  The creativity flowed and we came up with a good number of designs.  Each block would have its own coordinating theme.  Here is a breakdown of what we finally decided on:
  1. The Corsair t-shirt block has the Blacksheep Squadron patch quilted in it.
  2. The P-38 block is embellished with lightning bolts.
  3. The War Bond poster block has aviator goggles.
  4. The Super Corsair block has the “flying man” logo from the Cleveland Air Races.
  5. The Keep ‘Em Flying block has Stars and Bars.
  6. The Hamilton Standard block has the propeller from the airplane logo.
  7. The Fighter Rebuilders block has a world globe.
  8. The Old Glory B-25 block has American flags.
  9. The Southern Cross Sea Fury block has the Australian roundel.
  10. The Memphis Belle block has a 25 missions bomb.
  11. The Pratt and Whittney block has eagles.
  12. The Me-262 block has clouds.  
Not only are each of the individual blocks uniquely quilted, but we even decided on detailing all the way around the edges!  Quilted into the borders are the names of the airshows we have attended over the years where I purchased these t-shirts.  Also in the borders are the American Stars and Bars with the phrase  “Keep ‘Em Flying.”  All these designs are quilted into the background of the quilt!  One other very cool and unique aspect is that when you turn the quilt over, all of the quilting details and patterns are easily seen.   A lighter colored backing was put on it so the beauty and workmanship would stand out.  Melinda really cranked up the creativity and blew us away!

For this aviation enthusiast my new quilt is an awesome blend of repurposing the old, worn out, but highly treasured t-shirts and making them into a piece of art I can show off to friends and family!  And, my wife and I can slide the quilt off the back of the couch to warm up while watching a movie.  Do you have a closet full of airshow t-shirts you don’t know what to do with?  I highly recommend Melinda at Bluebonnet T-shirt Quilts** to preserve all of your special memories!
**Melinda Hamm Giacomarro is an exceptional quilter.  She has made hundreds of beautiful and creative creations for folks with a variety of themes including:  Disney, High School, College, and Vacation Themes among others.  If you have a pile of old t-shirts that you just can’t seem to part with, but no longer wear, here is a practical way to preserve those memories and give new life to something old and treasured!  To contact Melinda email her at melindaquilts “at”

November 14, 2010

Aviation Magazine Collection

As I have noted before on this blog I am organizing a rather large collection of aviation magazines.  This weekend I added to it with several more boxes!  Like a truck full of boxes!  It is one of those aviation collectables that can be very focused or very broad.  Which titles do I focus on?  Which years do I keep?  When boxes and boxes are passed on to me I know I wont keep ALL of them even though I may want to!  Each box may have a few keepers or be full of keepers. The 1940s SKYWAYS were added to the keeper box along with some 1940s and 1950s FLYING and some of the first editions of AIR CLASSICs.  So... I can see myself in a few weeks sitting by the wood stove in the living room with a pile of magazines to glean more aviation history from.  Anyone looking for some rare magazines?  I might just have a copy!

My list of winter projects is now growing... update web sites... sort magazines... post a few items on eBay... oh and polish the Cessna while it is not 100 deg. outside!

November 10, 2010

Harpoon 84062 Recovery

The aviators dream of a Jenny in a barn, a Mustang in an old hangar or a Cub in a garage make up the stories for books.  When the airplanes are larger sometimes you might find them sitting outside!  Years ago on our families route to church there was a Cessna 195 sitting outside behind a house.  If they are bigger than a 195 they might be more obvious commanding a spot on the ramp of a local airport.  It appears that Taigh Raimey and his crew at Vintage Aircraft found an airplane that they could not let go to the scrap heap.  A PV-2 Harpoon (84062) was sitting on some land that had sold in California.  The tired Harpoon was a fire bomber and had been sitting since 1994!  It only has about 800 hours on it since new!  The mission to save the Harpoon was a success and Taigh tells a fantastic story over on the WIX forum.  Check out the story here.  After you read the story check out the videos here!

Links - WIX - Vintage Aircraft

November 9, 2010

Texas Antique Fly-In 2010

The 48th Annual Texas Antique Airplane Association Fly-In enjoyed clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures this past October 8&9.  This year I drove up on Friday night to help the set up for the event and be an extra pair of hands for the dinner. During the evening the aircraft owners and pilots were treated to great food and even a new motion picture “Pearl” that featured several antique aircraft.

On Saturday my wife, Candice and I flew the 170 up and spent the entire day on site.  The weather was perfect for sitting under the wing of the Cessna visiting with friends and family.  I even gave a few rides to family and a group of Young Eagles. We flew home at sunset after one of the most enjoyable fly-in events of the year!

Over 120 airplanes of all types were on display for the local enthusiasts to survey. Classic Cessnas, Pipers and Aeroncas showed in good numbers along with many unique antiques and a few Warbird trainers.  This years grand champion was the beautiful 1948 Luscombe Sedan NC1666B owned by Fred Ramin. Other award winners were the 1941 Culver Cadet NC34791, the 1941 Waco UPF-7 NC32035, the 1946 Fairchild 24 NC81363, the 1941 Fairchild PT-26 N9474H and the 1962 Navion Rangemaster N262CC. With Texas being the home to many rare and lovely antiques the air was in constant motion with vintage flying machines from another time. This event is one to add on the calendar for 2011.

October 5, 2010

Miss Veedol - 79 Years Ago Today

An email crossed my desk today with this bit of history...

Oct. 5, 1931 was the first time an aviator ever flew non-stop across the Pacific Ocean. That aviator was Clyde Edward Pangborn, native of Bridgeport, Washington, along with his not very able co-pilot, Hugh Herndon. And he did it without any sort of spells, charms, or other magical intervention.

Miss Veedol - the airplane.

Clyde Pangborn - the man.

September 29, 2010

The Sky To Myself

Left work today and headed straight to the airport for some flying therapy.  Took a few minutes to sweep the hangar, clean the windshield and air up the tires.  Took off with about an hour of day light left.  The skies were empty!  Well... of general aviation airplanes.  The skies near DFW Airport are never very empty!

Headed out Northeast of town to fly over a friends/coworkers new house.  Adam was out in the back yard waving at me as I circled.  That side of town, near Frisco, has really built up in the last ten years.  There is even a runway behind Adams house that was once to be a corporate airport but it never took off, so to speak.

Flew back toward the Northwest side of town, near Justin.  Not much activity at the little private airfields.  It was the perfect night to fly so I am surprised that there were not more people up.  Light North winds, unlimited visibility and about 80 degrees.  Doesn't get much better than that!  How could I be the only one out enjoying this?  Oh... there goes a Champ flying at tree top level.  Good... someone else taking advantage of the perfect flying conditions!

September 28, 2010

Cub Adventure

Now this guy knows how to make a trip an adventure!  Fly a Cub from one side of the country to the other!  Amazing sunrises... cool grass airstrips... awesome photos!  Click on Photos 2010 on the left hand menu!

September 5, 2010

Flying Again

It has been a long annual this year but the 170 is back in the air.  My friend Lynn flew with me for a good hour long test flight.  Feels good to have the 170 flyable.  Lynn was also my painter as the new spinner needed painted to match the cream color.  Looking forward to the flying this Fall.

August 22, 2010

Viewpoint - Guest article by Walter J. Boyne

Last week I published a blog titled The Future of Vintage Aircraft Operation and Restoration.  This was a culmination of thoughts I have been composing in my head for months.  I finally wrote it out and wanted to post it so that it might spark some thoughts in my fellow aviation enthusiasts.  A few weeks ago I read an article by Walter Boyne in ProPilot magazine.  With his permission I am posting it here as I really like the direction of his thoughts towards the future!  Could we see a new "country club" type organization join the aviation community together for social interaction?  I like the idea!

Viewpoint by Walter J.  Boyne

    This is written with no little trepidation, after reading the bold, insightful Viewpoints of industry leaders, whose experience, inside knowledge and vision enable them to take a longer, more perceptive view of aviation and its future than I am capable of doing. I also realize that I’ll be treading on ground that might be deemed somehow politically incorrect, a grave danger now-a-days. Nonetheless, I would like to offer a somewhat wistful, amateur approach to a couple of problems that I feel seriously affect aviation, and offer some optimistic, if perhaps ambitious, solutions to them. Both of these approaches require a change in thinking, taking advantage of what the future is offering and at some point, some capital outlay by a venturesome investor.
One of the things cited most often in arguments concerning the growth of general aviation in the future is the rising cost of flying. There is no gainsaying this, but in my view, the increased cost of flying is not the most important limiting factor. Instead, I believe that general aviation flying has missed several generations of boats by its essential lack of the social elements that one finds in other equally expensive sports such as sailing or skiing. I suggest that these two popular pastimes are as expensive as flying, but offer social benefits that flying does not, and are hence are attractive to and enjoyed by more people.
Owning a boat—power or sail, it doesn’t matter—and means, as a rule, membership in a marina or a club, the maritime equivalent of an airport. Being a dedicated skier means going to a resort often during the season to polish up skills on the slopes. Both the marina and the resort provide social opportunities for men and women to meet, something that is almost totally absent in the aviation community. There are certainly exceptions to this, but the male-dominated airport scene is all too common. It derives from the history of aviation, from the time that there was an implicit danger attributed to flying and which established a macho-male aura of heroism to our profession. This was undoubtedly a genuine expression of the times, but it manifested itself over the years into a male culture that only in recent years has been challenged by an influx of women pilots into the arena. We are grateful for this, most particularly among professional pilots, but there is room for improvement in general aviation.
For too many years, the typical scene in a fixed base operations was an austere flight planning room, perhaps with a few counters where essential gear could be purchased, a coffee or candy bar machine, a less than fastidiously clean rest-room and some chairs to slump in. The routine was for the male pilot to come out, plan his flight, execute it, perhaps landing for lunch at another similarly equipped airport, but one with a hamburger joint attached, and then returning, fulfilled with the genuine fun and emotion of a successful flight to home base. What were the odds that a pilot would meet a woman in the airport and that a relationship might develop? A thousand to one might cover it, and no wonder.  There was no reason for most women to be there just to observe the departures and the arrivals. The airport as we knew it, and too often still know it, was devoid of the necessary social qualities to be attractive to couples.
Contrast this to a typical experience at a marina, where the would-be sailor invites a few friends, including some women, out to his boat, for a quick trip around the bay, with lunch to follow. Typically a marina is not lavishly equipped, but it almost inevitably has planned for women to visit, with the resultant amenities.  To make a further contrast, a trip to a ski lodge can be quite luxurious, with good restaurants, specialized clothing,   and even …. bars.
And I can hear the ahas! already. For there is a fundamental, unchangeable difference between flying, sailing and skiing and that is that alcohol is in absolutely forbidden commodity in the sport. None of this nonsense of twelve hours between bottle and throttle, you must not be drinking at all when you are flying. However it is my contention that society and common sense are working away from alcohol as the primary issue in social gatherings, and that flying is now in a position to compete socially without alcohol and with any sport—if we put our mind to it.
The task is to make airports a social destination for both men and women by creating an atmosphere in which women are not only welcomed as pilots or potential pilots, but as friends who enjoy the experience of being with others with similar interests. It would be ideal (if no doubt too expensive) to have an area the size of a ski resort, with similar hotel accommodations, be designated as a Flying Resort. It should be luxurious enough to have the cachet necessary to have women not particularly interested—yet—in flying to just want to be there. It should have the aircraft, the runways, the radar, and all the other essential requirements to make it a productive flying area, particularly for student pilots.
But, moving on to my second perhaps over ambitious point, it should also take advantage of the magnificent advances we already see in aviation, and which can be adapted to revitalize general aviation in particular. The age of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is upon us. It would be but a step to create a hybrid flying training, one that incorporated the advances of the UAV in terms of being monitored and if necessary controlled from the ground, with a new kind of training aircraft, one in which novice pilots could feel secure even when flying solo. And this would merely be an interim step. We are working inevitably toward pilotless flight in the military, and we will ultimately see it first in civilian cargo aircraft. I maintain that within ten years, it would be possible to have aircraft designed with redundant computers and ground monitoring so that new pilots could learn to fly within a few hours at the resort dedicated to their use. 
And these could easily be “green” airplanes, perhaps electric powered, and designed at such low weights and of such strong composite materials as to be survivable in the event of almost any crash.
The resort flying would be just the start of the experience, of course. Once trained and confident, the new pilots, half of them women, one hopes, would branch out to extend their wings outside the resort air space.
Oddly enough, the basic premise of my idea has already been proven, many years ago, at the famous Aviation Country Club of Long Island, located just outside of the charmingly named town of Hicksville. In 1931 the club boasted a membership with an aircraft inventory valued at $500,000 (more than $7,000,000 in today’s constant dollar.). The Aviation Country Club had the social cachet of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and attracted successful men and women of all professions. What it lacked of course, was the easy-to-fly, inexpensive aircraft, and it was ultimately doomed by the depression.
My twin points, too obvious perhaps, and both hard to achieve, is that we could rejuvenate general aviation by making it genuinely attractive on its social merits to the entire population, and that the means to do that—inexpensive, safe, and easy to learn to fly in aircraft—are easily within engineering and manufacturing capabilities to produce. What we need is a change in attitude. The vision of the Errol/Flynn/Harrison Ford flyer, indifferent to hardship, brave and always facing danger, has to be replaced by the vision of ordinary people having a great time enjoying the greatest sport in the world: flying.
It can be done. All it takes is time and money. Let’s stop groaning and get to work doing it.

August 21, 2010

S-38 Trans-Atlantic

The Sikorsky S-38 owned by Unlimited Adventure sets off today on its Trans-Atlantic journey!  EAA has posted a short story here.  Talk about traveling back in time!  What an adventure!

August 17, 2010

The Future of Vintage Aircraft Operation and Restoration

A few years from now will we still see vintage aircraft flying through the skies?  What does the future hold!?

Many issues come to mind in looking to the future of vintage aircraft operation and restoration.  Issues related to engine parts, airframe parts, fuel, and the costs of all of those items rolled into what we will call "operational costs" for this article.  Who has the skills and tools to restore and maintain vintage aircraft?  Are the skills to fly these aircraft being taught to new pilots today?  Then, what could be done to generate an interest in flying? What needs to take place to bring more people into the aviation community?  How do we educate the newcomers and current pilots to the history and heritage of vintage aircraft?  I don't have answers to all of these issues but I do have thoughts on some of them.

One of the main factors that does give me hope for the future of vintage aircraft is technology.  Today's technologies provide us with the tools we need to make from scratch the once extinct engine and airframe parts.  With new technology we can build old technology!  And build it better!  Over time the parts have become unusable because of age and wear.  With the advance of technology the cost to produce new parts comes down and this should help with operational costs.  I am very excited that vintage aircraft parts can be built.  Put all those parts together and once extinct aircraft can be reborn!

Examples of technology in action for vintage aircraft would be... A company in New Zealand, The Vintage Aviator, is building brand new engines for World War One era aircraft!  Another company is building brand new spars, very complicated spars, for the F4U Corsair!  In Arizona a shop is turning out brand new Boeing 100 series biplanes.  A Texas company built up brand new copies of the Grumman F3F and German Me-262.  I could go on.  My hope is that more enthusiasts will invest in building and rebuilding vintage aircraft.

So technology and tools are one part but who will operate that technology and those tools?  Are there ways to educate future generations to what is needed to keep vintage aircraft flying?  A glimmer of hopes exists in me as trade schools and aviation camps provide a draw into aviation.  From those schools and events we can teach the history behind our vintage aircraft and hopefully draw an interest.  There are many aviation trade schools around the country (one here - Redstone College) and a few aviation camps.  Peach State Aero has a camp and EAA has their Air Academy summer camps.  That is good news for the aviation community!  Are we supporting these organizations?  Let's do what we can to spread the word about these schools and camps!

As the airplanes are maintained to continue flying and restored to fly again, where will they be based?  What airports?  What hangars?  What will the aviation community and vintage aviation community do to provide an outlet for those owners and pilots?  Local chapters of national organizations provide monthly social events, activities and fly-ins.  Are those local chapters drawing in their friends, neighbors and other community organizations?  Could more be done?  Back in the 1930s there was an aviation country club in New York.  Why don't we have those?  Why aren't there more aviation friendly locals and vacation destinations?

I know I have presented a lot of questions here and as I stated I don't have answers to them all.  I would love to hear from readers what they think of some or all of these issues that deal with the future of aviation.  You can comment on this blog or send me an email.  I will re-publish the emails if relevant ideas are presented.

August 16, 2010


Visiting the WIX Hangar is on my daily to do list.  Some days it takes me a few minutes to catch up on some of the Warbird news.  Other days I have to take the time to read some of the great posts from all over the world!  Matthias Dorst is the webmaster for MeierMotors in Germany.  He has posted a series of pictures from the MeierMotors hangar.

This shop is fast becoming THE place to have your Warbird worked on in Germany!  Not only do they have a cool looking hangar but what is IN the hangar is some of the most unique Warbirds in Europe.  Plan to take a few minutes to read through this forum post.  What a place!  Thanks to Matthias for allowing me to post a few photos here!

August 12, 2010

Ryan Line Up

Thanks to Mike Shreeve for posting pictures of this fantastic line up of Ryans over on WIX!  Check out this beautiful line!

August 10, 2010

Oshkosh 2010 Photos

The photo galleries for Oshkosh 2010 can be found on EAAs web site here...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

August 1, 2010

Texas Summer

The summer is passing by rather quickly this year.  As always there is yard work and household chores that fill the summer task lists.  For most aviation enthusiasts July means it is Oshkosh time.  I knew I wouldnt make it up this year as the family had a Colorado trip planned.  We spent a week in the mountains near South Fork, CO and enjoyed the cool weather, mountain scenery, some hiking and fly-fishing.

Before the trip I opened up the 170 for the annual inspection and turned my mechanic loose.  A few issues popped up this year.  One cylinder needed work along with some exhaust brackets.  The last piece to address is the broken spinner back plate.  It appears that age has caught up with the back plate and a new spinner and back plate are on order.  Hopefully it will arrive in the mail soon so I can drop it off to be painted.  A few friends have asked why don't I just polish it.  What?  I don't need MORE to polish on this airplane!  Anyway... it came out of the factory painted so it will be painted to match the cream trim color.

I have been looking over a few pictures posted from Oshkosh on various web sites and forums.  The weather was a factor this year as the show grounds became soaked with some serious amounts of rain!  It sounds like the weather improved for the later part of the show as some show aircraft arrived on WED and THUR of the event.  A few highlights that I noticed were... the Hamilton Metalplane, the replica Caudron racer, over 20 DC-3s, several new Mustang restorations and one outstanding Corsair restoration.  When I can round up some links to the highlight pictures I will post them.

July 29, 2010

Another Super Corsair to Fly

Odegaard Aviation up in North Dakota is making great progress on their second F2G Corsair.  Their first was the famous race number 57.  It now lives in Arizona with a new owner.  Odegaard Aviations web site now has pictures posted of the restoration progress on racer number 74Check it out here.  Wow... looking good!
(The above image from

July 10, 2010

Lockheed 12 Project

Ray Walker, owner of Lockheed 12 serial number 1292, has listed his project for sale on  Let's spread the word and find a good owner who will return it to it's former glory!

LOCKHEED 12A PROJECT • $60,000 • FOR SALEI have decided to sell my L-12 project due to lack of time to complete. Aircraft has been in storage since 1967. Some corrosion in airframe. Aircraft needs extensive rebuild. Project comes with four R-985 cores and four Ham-Std hydormatic props. There are 2 (like new) extra outboard wing pannels ailerons and flaps. Late serial number. A fair amount of extra L-12 parts including worm gears, oil tanks etc. I have more pictures that can be sent to you. Located in South Texas, contact Ray Walker at 940-735-1425 • Contact Ray A. Walker - WALKER AVIATION CO.,

DC-7 Returns to the Air

First flight video of the Historic Flight Foundations DC-7 is now online.

Check it out here.

July 5, 2010

D.C. For The Day

Some adventures take weeks or months of planning.  Some are just thought up over dinner with friends.  My buddy Jay and I had been talking about a day trip somewhere to see an aviation museum or event.  So after he made a flight to D.C. for work he asked me about the Dulles NASM and was it worth the trip to see it.  A resounding yes from me put the trip planning in motion.  He had only toured downtown D.C. and wanted to go back to see the museum.  About two weeks ago our schedules looked like they would allow a day trip to Dulles on July 2nd.  I took a day off work and he sorted out the passes on the airline.  My excitement to be his tour guide in "Americas Hangar" and his flight privileges would make the trip come together.

My wife helped me pack up my gear for the day and sent me out the door when Jay pulled up at 5:15am.  Do all adventures have to start so early in the morning?!  We launched out of DFW on a 6:55am flight to IAD.  It even worked out to takes some open seat in first class!  That helped make up for the early morning departure!  The flight landed at Dulles at about 10:45am.  With only our back packs to carry we walked right out of the terminal to catch the bus around to the museum.  It was nice to have a bus that makes the round trip from the terminal to the museum about every 45 minutes to an hour.  An easy way to make the trip to the museum!

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is aptly named Americas Hangar.  This museum has some of the most historic aircraft in aviation history and they are all housed in one BIG hangar!  My wife and I had just made the trip to see this museum last September but I couldnt wait to bust through the door and start blasting Jay with historic facts about the aircraft inside.  Just as I watched my wifes face when we walked in... I watched Jays face as we entered the main hall looking for the "OH WOW" face!  Aviations history as far as the eye can see.  Talk about aviation sensory overload!

Jay and I had from about 11:30am until 5:30pm to give the place a good looking over.  This was my third visit.  The first being the grand opening in December of 2003, the second as I mentioned was last September.  This visit they had added to the displays a few jets and a couple gliders.  If you love aviation this is THE museum to visit.  Pieces from every aviation era are there in one hangar.  This is about the time I run out of words to describe the facility.  Monocoupe, Mustang, Thunderbolt, Super Fortress, Concorde, Blackbird... so much history!

Take a look at the pictures here.  They best tell the story of what we saw!

We took pictures, gawked at airplanes, took more pictures, more gawking, ate lunch, more walking and more pictures.  Visited the gift shop.  A few more pictures.  Rested our feet and looked at our new aviation book purchases.  At about 5:30 we wandered outside to catch the bus.  A quick bus ride back to the terminal at IAD and the day started to catch up to me.  My eyes were burning from waking up early.  A quick dinner and we boarded the flight back to DFW.  It was a lot to fit into one day but we both commented on the flight home how we thought it was worth the trip.  A fast trip... but worth it.  Modern air travel took us there and back.  Excitement fueled us for the day.  The search for more historic aircraft will have us planning more trips just like this one!

July 1, 2010

Waco Reunion 2010

Andy Heins has posted his pictures from this years reunion over on the Vintage Aircraft side of WIX.

Check part one out here.

And part two here.

June 19, 2010

Hangar Tales - June 2010

Last weekend I spent Saturday morning at the hangar.  Upon arrival at the airport I stopped to visit with Doug, Ross and another wingman before they launched off to a fly-in in their RV-6s.  They were excited that I was going to join their formation flight as the slot.  WHAT?  My 170 keeping up with their RVs?  They laughed and all I could think about was them calling me Capt. Slow in my Cessna!  I am not sure I want to be like Capt. Slow from Top Gear so I let them go as a three ship.

The hangar that I rent has room for four airplanes in it and a new one is to move in this month.  A Cessna O-2 will occupy the spot where I am at.  Time for some cleaning, sweeping and trashing.  A bucket of old oil needed recycled so I grabbed it to empty and smelled a funny odder.  Mouse?  So I swept behind the shelves looking for a dead mouse.  Nothing.  OK... time to dump the oil... whoa... the oil smells bad!  What do you know I found three mice had fallen into the oil bucket!!  Has to be the most expensive mouse trap I could have ever thought of!  At least they didnt end up in the airplane!

On my way out I snapped a shot of the resident Super DC-3 owned by the owner of our little airport.  A big ship for this small place!

Today I did some more cleaning.  I didnt last long as the still air in the hangar was rather warm.  Hope to find some time to make a flight or two before taking the 170 down for annual the end of the month.

June 10, 2010

B-29 - All Four Turning

Thanks to Brad Pilgrim for the picture of the CAF B-29 "FiFi" running her newly built engines over Memorial Day weekend in Midland, Texas.  Now that the engines are installed and running plans are to return to the airshow circuit this summer after being absent for a few years.  Hats off to the crews, mechanics and engine builders!  Read about the process of returning her to the skies here.

June 7, 2010

Pacific Northwest Warbirds

Warbird enthusiast Al Sauer has posted some outstanding pictures from recent flying activities from the Flying Heritage Collection and the Historic Flight.  Check out the WIX forum post here.

May 31, 2010

Ranger, Texas Show

My friend Jay and I launched off for the morning at the Ranger, Texas Flyin/Airshow early so we could make breakfast.  This was my first time at the famous Ranger Airfield.  As the historical marker states... Amelia Earhart landed there years ago.  Jay and I enjoyed breakfast but it soon became warm as the Texas sun heated things up.  We sat under the 170 for a bit watching vintage aircraft come and go.  The heat didnt stop the vintage aircraft from flying in!  We wanted to stay longer but other commitments had us leaving late morning.  Sounds like it was a good show.  My pictures from the morning are here.  Hats off to Jared Calvert for preserving history in Ranger and inviting aviation enthusiasts to drop in for the weekend.

May 30, 2010

Chino Wrap Up

To wrap up the posts on Chino here are the links to the pictures from that long weekend.  As noted were spent some time at the Yanks Air Museum shooting pictures of their outstanding Curtiss Robin.  Detailed Robin pictures are here.  This is one of three Curtiss Robins they have.  This one being powered by a Challenger radial.

The welcome shade from the California sun was provided by my friend Les Whittlesey at his hangar.  The hangar that he calls the Cal-Aero Aviation Country Club.  If you want to develop a serious case of hangar envy take a look at these pictures!  Thanks again Les for the place to hang out! (The picture above is my wife and I standing with Les's award winning Lockheed 12.)

The complete gallery of edited airshow pictures is here.  A great Warbird Airshow and an amazing long weekend with my lovely bride.

May 16, 2010

Chino Saturday

It is Sunday morning and we are enjoying the slow start to the day. Saturdays show was worth the trip from Texas! Lots of sunshine and cool breezes. We walked the show line in the morning to get pictures and then watched the airshow from the shade of my friend Les's hangar. The large gathering of Mustangs, the formations of two Hellcats, Corsairs and Lightnings highlighted the day. Rudy Frasca's FW190 replica was on static display next to the Lyon Air Museum's B17. Word is that it made a few flights the few days before the show. Still good to see it on the show line!

So, one more day of show to go!

May 14, 2010

Friday Chino Visit

After snagging the car and checking into the hotel we made our way to the Chino airport. A friend of mine has an awesome hangar on the field (pictures to come) so we said a quick hello to him. One of the goals for this trip was to shoot pictures of the Curtiss Robin at The Yanks Air Museum. Thru a friend I made contact with the director of the museum who let me take some detailed photos of the Robin. Our friend Alan was due to arrive in his Super Swift in the early afternoon. So walking the field, visitig the museum and watching airshow practice made for a very nice afternoon. The three ship Mustang acro act, The Horsemen flew a great practice show. Sounded great and was very tight formation. To many Warbird aircraft types to name now but I counted 13 Mustangs on the show line. My first time to see the award winning Happy Jacks Go Buggy! Can't wait to see the freshly restored A36 Mustang! Weather looks good and the Warbirds seem ready!

Alan made it in his Swift after some scheduling issues with the airshow practice. We looked over some of the show line and then went to dinner. Good to catch up on flying stories with him. Winding down the evening and looking forward to the show tomorrow!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday Travel

The morning of day one of vacation I ended up stiring at about 5am. Airshow excitement started building! I dozed a time or two and finally got up about 6. My wife and I were mostly ready for the flight to Ontario, CA. So we wrapped up the packing and loaded up. Mom Linn made the airport drop for us.

Being fairly seasoned travelers my wife and I make the airport lines and boarding with ease. Most of the morning entertainment comes from watching little kids pull tiger striped roller bags and trying to tune out chatty passengers in the seats near us. Chatty Kathy and her new friend Chatty Nancy didn't stop talking until the beverage cart came by! The chatting started up again after a sip of the $300 drinks with a free trip to CA thrown in.

This will be my fourth trip to Ontario/Chino for an aviation event. The first with my bride. I prayed all week for cool temps and blue skies so we could enjoy the show together. Chino is one of those rare airports in the U. S. that offers a very large collection of historic aircraft all in one place. Just the place you want to go for an airshow with family and friends!

We will arrived late morning and plan to swing by the Chino airport in the afternoon. Check back later for an update of our Friday sightings.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

May 13, 2010

Off to Chino

This weekend we are off to Chino! A large showing of Mustangs is expected and a FW190 surprise! Watch here for updates!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

May 6, 2010

Robin Advertisement

In my sorting the piles of magazines, that I have mentioned a few times on this blog, I have found a unique Curtiss Robin Advertisement.  This one shows a four seat arrangement for a Robin.  Has anyone else seen a Robin in this arrangement?  Of the flying Robins I have not seen one like this.  Time to break out the Juptner books to look it up!

May 5, 2010

Chino Airshow Soon

The last time I made it to the Chino Airshow was back in 2007.  The years since my last visit have proven to be quite the aerial spectacles!  One year the show attracted a large collection of Grumman Bearcats.  Scott Germain caught the powerful Grumman fighters in the air as can be seen in the picture above.  The 2010 show is nearing and I have been talking about it to just about anyone who will listen!  This year should provide another amazing show with some of the rarest ships flying the skies today and it will be my first time to see The Horsemen live in action.  The Planes of Fame Museum will host the airshow and will display their rare Warbirds for the weekend.  Another museum on the field is the Yanks Air Museum.  This museum also features many rare Warbirds but has a large collection of vintage aircraft as well.  Watch this blog for updates and photos from the event and the visits to these museums.

April 18, 2010

Vintage Aircraft Advertising

There is something about vintage advertising that has captured my interest.  Vintage cars and airplanes have some of the most unique advertising.   They transport you back to another time and place.  The clothing and hair styles are very telling of the era along with the wording of the ads.  In my collecting I have pulled some of my favorite ads and scanned them to post here and note some of the details that stand out.

Aeronca leads with the heading "Tandem Riding Is Out Of Date" and words the ad with "comfort, convenience, visibility."  Take note that they are talking about their Low Wing and C-3 models!  Comfort?  In a C-3?  Even when they produced their new models of the Chief, was that comfortable??  The side-by-side seating made for a cozy arrangement.  I truly think that people back in the 1930s and 1940s were a lot smaller, slimmer and trimmer!  Having flown my side-by-side Taylorcraft for over 300 hours and being wedged in to the bench seat with riders it makes me wonder why they thought this was a good thing?  Conversations and flight instruction may have been easier by looking each other in the eye but in flying any length of time, like a cross country, it would be tight.  The ad finishes with the words... "Aeronca will never build a cheap ship. Aeronca will continue, as always, to build the best low cost plane!"  Fun ad.

The fact that they went on to build the Champ and Chief for many years to come.... makes me think that the ad was right!

April 7, 2010

Stinson O Flies!

The Stinson Model O that has been built up by the craftsman at Evergreen Aviation Services takes to the skies!  Hats off to the people providing the funds and the laborers that made this rare ship fly!

Watch the first flight video here.

April 6, 2010

Let the Fly-In Season Begin

We are blessed here in Texas to be able to fly almost year round even in the coldest or hottest months or the year.  I know in other parts of the country with the change of seasons to Spring the airplanes start to see more fair weather for flying.  A good number made it to The Cactus Fly-In out in Arizona for one of the first vintage aircraft shows of the season.  Several good reports have been brought back via some Texas AAA members.  Terry Wallace from the Texas Chapter was there and took the picture above of the Luscombe Phantom that was the Grand Champion award winner.  Check out this link to see the list of award winners from the fly-in.  Congrats to Dick Ramsey for taking home an award for his Texas based Luscombe 8E!

So let the fly-in season begin!  What shows are on your radar for this year?  I know MANY will make the bigger shows but what local shows will draw you vintage aircraft enthusiasts?  Last year we made the Northwest Antique Fly-In and were very happy we made the trip to that smaller, local event.

In mid-May we will be off to the Chino Airshow.  Their show is a Warbird airshow but many vintage aircraft are usually in attendance.  Cant hardly wait for that show.  Right after that (the end of May) will be the Ranger Airfield fly-in back here in Texas.  Hopefully I can fly the 170 down for that grassroots event.

One show that has been a June tradition for many years is the Texas Antique Fly-in that will be moved to October this year.  The Texas heat has taken its toll on attendance numbers for this event the last few years so the members have voted to move the event to the Fall when the Texas heat has subsided.  Event details will be ironed out soon and the Gainesville, Texas airport should be full of vintage aircraft this Fall.

As the season begins I will be posting a few photos and highlights from shows we attend or receive reports on.  Bring on the shows!  Blue Skies and Fly safe this year my friends!

March 25, 2010

Beautiful Disaster

Spring is showing up here in Texas.  Yard work has begun.  I already did a little mowing around the house and planted a few new rose bushes.  Another Spring project that is receiving some attention is my garage.  This garage has been on the family property since we bought the place back in the mid-1980's and has stored boats, VW Bugs, and construction materials (for two houses!).  Back in 1991 I fixed up this garage to be my office and workshop while I built my new house.  When I moved in to the finished house in 1999 the garage became my sorting room for my aviation book and magazine collection.  Several good friends have passed on their beloved aviation magazine collections to me.  Did they get the better end of the deal or did I?  This beautiful disaster has been quite the project.  Some days I am excited to go sort and organize in the garage... other days I just want to stick my head in and then go back into the house.  This past year I have worked in short bursts and am finally on the down hill stretch (even though it might not look like it in the picture above!).  The shelves are ready for my collection.  Boxes have been packed up with magazines that will go to happy collectors.  The rarest of the collection will be archived or offered up for sale.  A good number of modern day issues will be sent out for recycle.  I hate to send them away but.... I have to prioritize.  Vintage issues will take the top spots on the shelf.  Tonight I found the airshow program from my first Warbird arishow (Denton, Texas CAF Airshow!) and also found a 1912 Popular Mechanics with some wild looking aircraft inside.  My issues of American Airmen (the AAA/APM publication) has already been sorted and given a spot of the shelf!  As I sort I will post here some of my prized issues.  Well... time to go wash the dust off my hands and set a stack of magazines on the nightstand for viewing later.

March 11, 2010

Fine Day for Photos

Here in Texas we talk about the weather and how fast it can change.  Snowing one day and a few days later sunny and warm.  A little over a week ago we were blessed with one of those sunny days on a Saturday.  Light winds and clear skies are what most pilots hope for.  When shooting pictures, especially air to air pictures, you REALLY hope for those conditions.  A quick email and a phone call and my friend Rex and I were set up to do a photo mission.  I enlisted my friend Lynn to ride and fly right seat for me while Rex had his son, Russell, ride along to handle the cameras.  We briefed our flight, formation and locations before taking off.  Off into the blue skies we went  Rex was first in his Cherokee.  Then we switched lead and is was 170s turn.  As can be seen in the above shot, Russell did a fantastic job shooting the 170.  An added bonus was a few short video clips.  Looking forward to making a short film of the 170 soon.  Thanks again to Rex and Lynn for flying and Russell (of Seed Studios) for taking the fine shots.  Check out more of the 170 pics here.

February 21, 2010

Feb 2010 AAA Meeting

My wife and I attended the February Texas AAA Meeting at Fort Worth's Meacham Field.  Our meeting was held at the Vintage Flying Museum.  This former World War Two hangar once housed B-29s and is now home to several flying vintage bombers.  The B-17 "Chuckie" makes her home here along with the B-25 "Pacific Prowler."  A recent bomber addition flew in just weeks ago is a A/B-26 Invader.  Our hosts Doc and Chuckie Hospers gave a short program that included the history of the museum and their beloved B-17. Joe Haynes passed on some history of the Texas Chapter and his involvement since the beginings of the group. Lynn Hearn also told of his flying history and chapter membership.  As the meeting came to a close members were treated to the sounds of a maintenance run on the B-25 is the crew did an engine run up.  About 50 members were in attendance.

Pictures from the meeting here.

February 18, 2010

Today in Aviation History - Book Collecting

Today is the birthday of the great aviation historian, Octave Chanute. The French born engineer and aviation pioneer was born  on this day in 1832. Read more of his bio here. What recently captured my  attention was that he wrote a book titled "Progress in Flying  Machines" back in 1894. Evidently this became a book that was  studied by the Wright Brothers in their quest for powered flight.  What captured my attention was a book that was written so early  on the subject of aviation. This is one book I would like to own.  Would a copy of this book still exist? Could one be found on the  open market? Well... this is the internet age... information is  easily accessable! A quick search on and there  they are.  Reprints from the 1970s and 1990s BUT also some  originals! Curious enough to look for yourself? Be warned that  the originals are going for about $450 for one copy and $1200 for  another! What are these books worth? As a friend of mine once  said... it is worth what someone will pay for it.

I like this quote from the book...
"...let us hope that the advent of a successful flying machine,  now only dimly foreseen and nevertheless thought to be possible,  will bring nothing but good into the world; that it shall abridge  distance, make all parts of the globe accessible, bring men into  closer relation with each other, advance civilization, and hasten  the promised era in which there shall be nothing but peace and  good-will among all men."

Maybe I will buy a more recent reprint! I have a few rare, early  edition, signed aviation books in my collection. What is in your  prized collection?

February 17, 2010

Spartan Picture - Magazine Find

In sorting through some of my magazine collection I found a 1963 issue of AIR PROGRESS.  Inside was a 10 page photo collection of "Outstanding Antiques." The Antique Airplane Association is mentioned on the title page with the photographers listed as Don Downie and Howard Levy. Spartan Executive N46426 is one of the aircraft featured in the spread. I did a quick check of my Spartan listing and found this to be a photo of serial number 31 (NC17665) that now makes its home in California. It is always fun to spot photos of Spartans in paint schemes I have never seen before. Great... another photo for the Spartan collection!

On the subject of Spartans... check out the progress Mr. Hartness is making on the restoration of his Spartan Executive, NC13PH, serial number 13.  See the photo gallery here.

French Corsair Restoration

Posted on the PlaneTalk forum this week are the pictures of the restoration progress of a F4U-5N Corsair.  The workmanship appears to be very high quality.  Take a look here.

February 14, 2010

National Aviation Heritage Invitational

The National Aviation Heritage Invitational is now accepting applications from vintage aircraft owners to compete for the Rolls Royce Heritage Trophy. Aviation treasures are restored and displayed at the Reno Air Races where the judges will award the coveted trophy.  Vist the web site and check out the winners circle.  At my recent visit to the NASM I saw the trophy on display.  It is a commanding trophy and displays its past winners on the base.  Who will be in the running this year?

February 7, 2010

Mosquito Rebuild

A DH Mosquito will grace the skies once again! Watch the Victoria Air Maintenance web site for progress on CF-HML that is being restored for a Canadian collector.  The link to the Mosquito progress is here.  Years ago my Dad and I saw Kermit Week's Mosquito fly at the Breckenridge, Texas Airshow.  We were in awe of the big fighter/bomber flying above the Texas skies. The sights and sounds of an airborne Mosquito will surely be history relived. When you have a few minutes take time to look around the Vitoria Air Maintenance web site. They turn out some AMAZING Grumman Mallard restorations.  Sign me up for one of THOSE too!

February 3, 2010

How to Research Vintage Aircraft Part II

A few days have gone by since my posting "How to Research Vintage Aircraft" and a lot of other resources have crossed my mind.  Here are a few I have time to cover...

Photos... I mentioned Google Images but there are countless sites with aircraft pictures posted. covers mostly... you guessed it... airliners but if you get to digging you can find photos of vintage aircraft. is another devoted to mostly commercial aircraft but again... vintage aircraft shots do exist.  One of my favorites is  It hosts a large collection of black and white shots that are listed by manufacturer.  The highlight for me on this page is the Waco pictures.  For one more... see for a wide variety of vintage and Warbird aircraft from Australia and New Zealand.  There are many, many more... so recommend your favorites to us and we can post them.  I still use Google Images the most.

As mentioned by one of the readers of this blog in the comments section....  Type Clubs.  Know a type that you are passionate about?  A type club will help you with thorough research on a specific type.  Check out the type club listing through EAA's Vintage Aircraft Assoc.  The Type Club Listing is here.  These type club web sites usually have a photo page so be sure to watch for those.

Forums are all over the internet.  Like minded people share their love for their callings, interests and passions.  They are organized by topic and within those topics are posts.  Each post can be commented on by the registered readers.  Some posts are rich in history and photos.  Other posts are just a waste of someones typing on the keyboard!  The Warbird Information Exchange has a good Vintage Aviation forum.   I frequent the Plane Talk forum as well.  Check out the photos on Plane Talk showing aircraft from shows over in the U.K.

That covers a few more topics... I am off to the garage to sort some magazines... printed materials will be a future topic!

If you are new to reading a blog or article like the one above.... note that any of the underlined text will lead you to the web site that I have referenced by clicking on the text.

2023 Aviators Gift Guide

 We have a some recommendations for you to order a few last minute Christmas gifts for the aviation enthusiast in your life. There might jus...