January 22, 2013

Sikorsky S-43 To Kermit Weeks

I have long had an interest in the aircraft of Howard Hughes.  The H-1 "Racer" being one of my favorites.  In a time when biplanes ruled the skies he built the slick monoplane and broke speed and distance records.  Most people remember his Flying Boat nicknamed the "Spruce Goose."  But there were also quite a few other aircraft that he owned like a Boeing Model 100, a Sikorsky S-38, a Lockheed 14, a Douglas B-23, a Douglas A-20, a North American B-25, a Boeing 307 and the Sikorsky S-43 that is the subject of this posted video.  Collector Kermit Weeks has purchased the Sikorsky S-43 once owned and flown by Hughes and is in the process of disassembling the aircraft to take to his Florida aviation attraction Fantasy of Flight.  Take 20 minutes and watch the story unfold as Kermit visits, inspects and decides to have the aircraft shipped to his facility.  Hopefully we will see it take to the skies in a few years after the restoration is complete.

Hughes Flying Boat

Hughes Racer

An S-38

The Vanderbilt family S-43 very much like Hughes S-43

Hughes flying his Lockheed 14 over New York
Links - Fantasy of Flight - Evergreen Aviation Museum - Hughes Racer - Aerofiles

January 21, 2013

Howard 500

The Mighty Howard 500 was a conversion from a Lockheed twin that makes a ramp presence like very few airplanes today.  If you were to see a Howard 500 on a ramp full of Challengers, Gulfstreams and Falcons... which do you think YOU would be drawn to?  Watch the video above and tell me you wouldn't skip the others and walk around the Howard!  Thanks to collector Toni Phillippi in Minnesota there are now two preserved Howard 500's in flying condition.  I first saw the Howard 500 at Oshkosh and walked by it several times a day for the week that I was there.  The powerful twin just draws you in.  If I were assembling a dream fleet of airplanes for my personal collection, A Howard 500 would be my traveling machine!  The video above shows that Mr. Phillippi flies his Howard's all over the country and even went to great lengths to return one from Europe to the United States.

For more on Mr. Phillippi's aircraft visit his web site - http://www.tpaero.com/

For more on Lockheed's Twins - http://www.burbanksbest.com/

January 1, 2013

Flying Heritage Collection Grumman F6F Hellcat

The Flying Heritage Collection in Washington State is making great progress on the in house restoration of their Grumman F6F Hellcat.  Jason Fortenbacker was kind enough to grant permission to post his photo taken on December 28, 2012.  This looks to be another jaw dropping restoration to add another rare fighter type to the flying line up in the collection.  Hopefully we will see first flight photos in the next month or so!  Thank you for the photo, Jason.

Links - Flying Heritage Collection - Jason's Fight to Fly Photography

New Year - New Aircraft Restorations for 2013

Happy New Year!  It is 2013 and as I look back on 2012 I think back on the Warbird and vintage aircraft restorations that returned to the air this year.  The highlights for me were...

The de Havilland Mosquito completed for Jerry Yagen from the shops at AvSpecs.  The photos that are being posted and printed just makes your heart skip.

The Fighter Collection flew their in house restoration of the Razorback P-47.

The Spokane based Pemberton family flew their Waco Cabin.  The custom cabin Waco's are one of my favorites and the Pemberton's turned out a beautifully restored example.

A rare, little know type is the Davis D-1 that rolled out of Terry Wallace's hangar.  This orange parasol sure has slick lines.  
For the new year in 2013 I am excited about...
This Curtiss Jenny that is shaping up for the Candler Field Museum in Georgia.
Check in on the Jenny project here...

The P-82 in Georgia also continues to make good progress.  Will we see major components mated soon?

At Midwest Aero we could see another Mustang take to the skies as well as the challenge of a new aircraft type in the shop.  A bf-109 to be restored to flight!

So... stay tuned here as I hope to keep posting on the latest news in Warbird and vintage aircraft restorations.

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