January 31, 2010

Rare Ryan Flying Again

A week ago I finally laid eyes on the rare Ryan ST I had heard about for years. Reb Stimson, fellow Texas Chapter member of the Antique Airplane Assoc., has owned NC14986 since 1974 and recently brought this Ryan back to flying condition. A few years ago Reb told me about his Ryan ST and his plan to return it to the air.  Almost every time I saw him I would ask about the status of the Ryan. At our January members meeting Reb said it was back in his hangar in flying condition. With a few phone calls I arranged a meeting. I just had to see the ship with my own eyes! The Ryan STA is on my top ten favorite airplane list. My father-in-law took the afternoon to join me in visiting the prized Ryan. What a beautiful ship and an amazing restoration! Hats off to Reb and his persistence to see the restoration through to completion! Posted here is a photo of it tucked away in the hangar. When the weather warms up I hope to see this bird out and about in the blue skies!

January 30, 2010

How to Research Vintage Aircraft

Using today's modern technology to research vintage aircraft has brought a lot of material to your fingertips.  In the past we have spent most of our time flipping through pages in books, magazines, manuals and photographs.  But unless you have access to a large collection of books and magazines you may never run across the details you were after.

Searching for specific aircraft types
May I suggest the simple Google search.  Open up your handy internet browser (we recommend Mozilla's Firefox) and type in www.google.com and a simple window will display on your screen.  In the box in the middle of the screen type in "Spartan Executive."  A list of web sites will show up on your screen.  Click on as many that look related to the rare aircraft you are searching.  (yes... my web site may come up on the Spartan Executive... enjoy!) Try typing in some other rare types and see what comes up.  You will be surprised how much material is on the internet.
While you are on the Google search page be sure to select "Images" in the upper left portion of your screen.  A page (or many pages) full of images will appear on what you entered in the search.

Looking for a specific aircraft
Visit the "Aircraft Information Center" at www.aircraftone.com and you will have the ability to search for the owner or N number of a specific aircraft.

Researching details of a rare vintage type
An outstanding resource for specification on rare aircraft types is available on www.aeroflies.com. Click on the image on the main page to enter.  I would start on "Aircraft A-Z" on the left hand menu.  BINGO!  Click on a manufacturers name and look up the type you are after.  Some rare types are listed here along with great pictures.  I use this site as a source of specs and pictures for my blog.

On the prowl for rare books
The internet is THE place to hunt for rare aviation books.  I would start at www.bookfinder.com.  The first screen comes up with a search box ready for you.  Author and title awaiting you entry.  I cant tell you how many times friends have mentioned books to me they say are VERY rare and that you will never find a copy.  Well... I find them and more of the time they can be found on Book Finder!

These few pointers I have recommended are just the begining!  I will post soon on where to search for vintage aircraft photos!  Forums, museums and a host of other resources are available... so, where do you do your research?  What web sites do you use?

January 23, 2010

20 Years

My Mom reminded me that this week is the 20th Anniversary of my first solo. Amazing how fast 20 years flys by! It was an overcast day at Northwest Regional Airport (52F) in Roanoke, Texas. The winds shifted from the South to the North right before my flight. My instructor Bill Lemmon rode with me for two or three landings and then told me to stop on the taxi way. Stop? Where was HE going? His words to me before he closed the door was something like... "you will do fine.... but watch out for the dummies out there flying around." The excitement built as I taxied the Cessna 150 down for takeoff. It jumped off the ground and I grinned. Three landings and I parked it. I was sixteen and I flew an airplane. At the time I remember dreaming of what vintage airplane I would buy as my first airplane. A year and two months later I would take my checkride. Eight months after my checkride I would purchase my 1946 Taylorcraft. Time flies!

January 19, 2010

Dreaming of a Monocoach

Being a Monocoupe fan I found this beauty for sale and have been dreaming it was in my hangar. A 1929 Monocoach. Yes... "coach" so it doesnt have clipped wings or go 180MPH. But boy is she pretty!

Monocoach listed on Centenial Aircraft web site.

January 10, 2010

Spartan Featured in Aeroplane Magazine

The January 2010 issue of Aeroplane Monthly magazine features an article on the two Spartan Executives that now reside in England. These two rare classics are currently owned by Nigel Pickard and it looks like they found a good home. Is it legal for one man to own two Spartans? Fantastic pictures accompany the article showing the two in close formation flying over the English countryside. I was late in picking up my issue on the newstand so if you want your own copy you might run down and snag one soon.

January 3, 2010

Flying in the New Year

Happy New Year! I pulled the 170 out yesterday and flew a few minutes to fit in my first flight of the year. Sunny with light winds here in Texas. I know that out in Sonoma, CA they like to go flying to ring in the new year. In spite of the bad weather they seem to fit in some flying! Roger Cain posted a few photos of the rare flying machines that fly from the Schellville airport. Check out the photos here.

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