February 27, 2011

De Plane - Grumman Widgeon from Fantasy Island

Back in 2003 my dad and I flew the 170 up to Bartlesville, OK for the annual fly-in.  The weather was great and it was a nice flight.  Clear blue skies.  This was one of my first aviation events with my new digital camera.  The event produce a good number of great pictures.

One unique airplane on the field for the event was the Grumman Widgeon N4453.  This Widgeon has the radial engine conversion so it looks much like its big brother the Grumman Goose.  When I inspected the airplane I was surprised to see that this airplane's history had it on TV for the show "Fantasy Island" as "De Plane."  N4453 now calls Brandson, Missouri home.  Included in this post are a few pictures of this famous seaplane.

February 20, 2011

Inspiration in Aircraft Design

The fascinating aircraft designs that came out of the 1930s were truly remarkable.  Who dreamed these aircraft up, put them on paper and then built them!?  Where did the designers get their inspiration?

When Zantford "Granny" Granville and Bob Hall walked past the early Gee Bee's sitting in the Grandville Brothers hangar and made their way back to the work table what was on their minds?  Large radial engine, yes.  Small airframe, yes.  Short wings, yes.  Streamlines wheel pants, yes.  Then what!?  I am sure they both sketched out some quick ideas on paper.  Some say early aircraft designs were drawn in chalk on the hangar floor and then actually built right over the lines!  Creativity must have flowed freely and the gears in their brains must have been grinding.  What they designed in a few short months was one of the fastest airplanes in 1931.  The Gee Bee Model Z, Super Sportster.  One of my favorite Golden Age air racers.  Pictured above is the Eicher/Kimball Gee Bee Model Z replica.  A beautiful aircraft that resides in Kermit Week's Fantasy of Flight Museum in Florida.

I sit here tonight at the computer with the gears in my mind grinding away.  A web site is what I am designing.  An aviation web site.  One dedicated to vintage aircraft.  The design possibilities are endless.  Mr. Granville and Mr. Hall might have thought the same way.  What will it look like?  What is its purpose?  My inspiration is coming from a class I took at the local Apple store over the weekend.  Hopefully I can start laying out the design that is in my head and get it on my iMac screen within a few short days.  It might be easier to find some chalk and start drawing it on the wood floor in my office!

February 13, 2011

Lockheed 12 Gathering at Oshkosh 2011

EAA just release the news of a gathering of Lockheed 12s at Oshkosh 2011!

Text below.  The link here - http://www.airventure.org/news/2011/110208_electra_junior.html

AirVenture to Celebrate 75th Year of the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior

Electra Junior
Les Whittlesey’s award-winning Lockheed Model 12A NC18906 will be at AirVenture to mark the type’s 75th anniversary.
One of the world’s classic airplanes, the Lockheed Electra Junior Model 12, flew for the first time on June 27, 1936 - 75 years ago this year - and that milestone will be celebrated at AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. Les Whittlesey, of Chino, California, owner of an award-winning Model 12A NC18906, is leading an effort to get as many L-12 owners as possible to bring their airplanes to Oshkosh this summer.
“The plan is to get together, maybe even arrive at the same time in trail, and all park in the Vintage Aircraft area,” said Whittlesey, EAA 409631. “Ideally we’d love to get 12 airplanes to participate” for the Model 12, but he admits a more realistic goal might be six. Special presentations at Oshkosh on the L-12 will be announced as they are confirmed.
Whittlesey’s Model 12, the product of an extensive three-year restoration, won the 2006 Grand Champion Antique award in Oshkosh as well as the Paul Garber Trophy in Reno that same year.
Only 126 Electra Juniors were made between 1936 and 1941, when production stopped at the outbreak of World War II. The all-metal, twin-engine planes were designed for use as small feeders for airlines, but most were used by companies for executive travel, as well as government officials and wealthy individuals. It’s a six-passenger aircraft, plus crew, and weighs in at 9,200 pounds fully loaded.
The Model 12A is powered by the 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior SB radial engine and has a top speed of 225 mph with a range of 800 miles.
Lockheed 12s are often mistaken for the plane Amelia Earhart disappeared in, but that was a Model 10, a 10-passenger airplane that first flew a little more than two years before the 12. However, a Lockheed Model 12A (NC2072) owned by Joe Shepherd, EAA 386618, played a Model 10 in the 2009 motion picture Amelia.
EAA featured the oldest flying Model 12, The Spirit of TWA, owned by Ruth Richter Holden, in 2006. Click here for the story.

February 7, 2011

Aerial Beauties - The Most Beautiful Vintage Airplanes

A note from my friend Jeff today had my mind racing this afternoon.  What are my top ten favorite airplanes?  We talked of what our guidelines were... existing airplanes... extinct types... and just what we thought were the most beautiful airplanes ever built.  Beauty, as in what an aviation and even non-aviation person would think is a good looking shape for an airplane. So I separated my personal list from the "most beautiful" list.  Here is what I came up with...

Aerial Beauties - Hughes Racer, Spitfire, Lockheed Constellation, Ryan STA, Lockheed 12, Lockheed P-38, Beech Staggerwing, Stinson SR-9F, Spartan Executive.  I know that is only nine!  It is hard to pick the last one!

I will wait to share my all time favorites for another post.  What aircraft do YOU consider the most beautiful machines that ever flew or fly today?

February 6, 2011

Mosquito Rebuild Update

Victoria Air Maintenance is making good progress on the Mosquito in their shop!

Check out the update here.

Links - Victoria Air Maintenance

Warbirds For Sale - 2011

So, you have been saving your Benjamins.  Working hard so you can buy that toy you dreamed of as a kid, or as an adult?  That bank account balance looks high enough to achieve the dream.  Where do you find your dream machine?  Wheel that office chair up to computer and start shopping.

The internet is where I turn when seeking out who is buying, selling and flying vintage aircraft.  In the aviation world, Warbirds seem to have the most coverage on the internet so a good number of web sites, blogs and forums are listed when searching the subject. If you happened to have landed here from an internet search engine, welcome and below you will find links to the Warbird sites that I frequently visit.  Whether you are an enthusiast tracking Warbird sales out of curiosity or a serious shopper for a rare Warbird these are the links where they can be found.

Courtesy Aircraft Sales
Platinum Fighter Sales
Trade A Plane

February 2, 2011

Spartan Article featuring S/N 11

A Spartan owner recently sent this link to me featuring Steve Marini's Spartan serial number 11. It is a short history and a nice selection of pictures of this gorgeous Spartan. Take a look here...


February 1, 2011

Flying and Burgers - A Great Saturday

Today I am staying inside as there is a nice covering of ice/sleet/snow on the ground.  This happens just a couple times a winter here in Texas.  When it does, most of the DFW area shuts down.  Looking out the window today makes it hard to believe that just a few days ago I was enjoying the 70 degree temps out at the airport with my fellow aviators!  It was a great Saturday with flying, telling tales of our flying adventures and hot off the grill burgers.  Stan pulled his Swift out of the hangar so we could set up a few tables in the warm sunshine and enjoy the meal.  Good friends, good food, great weather.  Maybe this snow will be gone in a few days and we can do THAT again!

2023 Aviators Gift Guide

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