October 24, 2017

Grumman Duck N63850 - One of a kind

Grumman Duck NL63850

One of only four flyable aircraft that survived America’s “Day of Infamy” is now based in East Texas alongside one of its fellow survivors. In 2017 the Mid America Flight Museum in Mount Pleasant, Texas acquired a rare Grumman J2F-4 Duck, Bureau Number 1649. 1649 is a very historic Grumman built Duck as it was on Pearl Harbor the day of the December 7th attack. It survived and went to serve in the South Pacific. After the war it made it to the U.S. civilian registry as N63850. Sadly, it crashed in the 1950s.

An ambitious enthusiast recovered the airframe of 1649 from its crash site on the bottom of a lake in the Bahamas. The restoration project was sold to aircraft collector Chuck Greenhill from Illinois. After a multi-year rebuilt with Wichita Air Services in Kansas 1649 flew again in 2005. It went on to earn the EAA Grand Champion Warbird award at Oshkosh in 2007. Mid America purchased the Duck from Mr. Greenhill.

Vintage airplane collector, Scott Glover, has built up the Mid America Flight Museum into a history preserving, flyable collection. His love for vintage aircraft is evident by his many hangars of amazing airplanes. His respect for veterans shows when he hosts events at his museum and gives rides to the veterans and their families. In the Fall of 2017 Mid America hosted a veteran’s event and owner, Scott Glover and pilot Kelly Mahon gave rides to many special guests in the newly acquired Duck.

--> Now that the Duck has been added to the museum, Mid America now has two flyable Pearl Harbor survivors. Ford Trimotor NC9612 was also on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.
Navy birds

My dad, son and I made the drive out to visit the airport during a World War Two pilot reunion in mid-October. The Duck was on our must see list so we sought it out and gave it a good walk around. Featured below are photos of Grumman Duck NL63850.

I believe this Duck to be one of a kind because of its Pearl Harbor history. Yes, other Duck's survive but none like this one. This one is on the same airport as a Ford Trimotor that was also on the island December 7th, 1941. Thank you to Mid America Flight Museum for saving and flying history!

Ford Trimotor NC9612

Links - Grumman Duck Video - Mid America Flight Museum

October 22, 2017

US Roundel Cap

Image from Red Canoe Brands

One of my favorites hats is the US Roundel Cap from Red Canoe Brands. I did say ONE of my favorites because I own a collection of hats from Red Canoe! The quality is top notch and the durability is excellent. Mine has held up for many years traveling to airshows all over the country.

Red Canoe's description:
The US Roundel was introduced in 1917 and painted on US Military aircraft from 1919-1941. The design coordinated with the colour and style of roundels used by French and British allies. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in 1941, the red circle in the centre of the star was removed, to distance resemblance to the Japanese flag. This resulted in the US Stripes: a white star within a blue circle (stripes on either side) that is seen on all US military aircraft today.

Add one to your collection - Red Canoe Brands US Roundel Cap

October 19, 2017

Howard 500 Honor of Flight Video

One of the highlights of Oshkosh 2017 for me was to see Howard 500, N500LN, in person. This is a powerful beauty. To see this one fly take a few minutes to watch the video below. Hats off to TPAero for restoring it and the other flyable 500 in their collection.

Links - TPAero

October 9, 2017

Grumman Duck Walkaround Mid America Flight Museum

The vintage aircraft collection continues to grow at Mid America Flight Museum. This Texas based collection recently added a historic Grumman Duck. Watch the video walk around for more of the story.

We highly recommend Erik Johnston's video so be sure to subscribe.

September 10, 2017

Oshkosh AirVenture 2017 Photos

Wichita based B-29 "Doc"
 Oshkosh 2017 was an outstanding show. I attended the first couple days of the show this year. It worked out well to see the highlights I hoped to see. Two B-29s at one show and in the air together was an aviation first for me and I would guess for most at the show. "Fifi" from the CAF and "Doc" from Docs Friends. Over a dozen B-25s were on hand to commemorate the Doolittle Raid. Three P-63 Kingcobra's along with an Aircobra had the Warbird community buzzing.
Atlanta based CAF P-63
So many Warbird highlights I can't list them all. Just take a look at the photo album linked below.
Howard 500s
The Vintage parking was packed full of gorgeous show planes. It was awesome to see two Howard 500s parked side by side. The shine on Cessna 172 serial number one caught the attention of the crowds. Thousands of airplanes on the field so follow the link to my photo album so the photos will describe what I can't in a thousand words!

Link to Oshkosh Photo Album.

September 4, 2017

Breckenridge Warbird Airshow May 2017

Mustang on takeoff
When the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce and Ezell Aviation announced the return of the Breckenridge Airshow for 2017 my dad and I were beyond excited. Known for its lineup of rare aircraft and their spirited flying displays the Breckenridge, Texas airshow was legendary to Warbird enthusiasts in the 1980s and 1990s. We attended the previous Breckenridge airshows twenty years ago and had such great memories of watching the historic aircraft fly. I knew that sharing the event with my son and my dad would make even more great memories.

The Corsair at the airport entrance
We drove the 100 mile trip west on the Friday before the show to see the early arrivals. The Ezell Aviation hangar was full of visiting airshow aircraft as well as current restoration projects. Right away we spotted several Corsairs, two Sea Furies, a Lightning, a Tigercat, a Bearcat and more. My son was wide eyed seeing so many warbirds all under one roof! It was fun to catch up with friends and walk around the aircraft in the hangar. To escape the hot afternoon sun we left the airport for our hotel in Eastland about thirty minutes south. The evening conversations had us guessing what might show up at the airport the next day.
Brennen with the Corsair in the hangar
After a quick breakfast at the hotel on Saturday morning my dad, son and I headed to the airport to see the action. The airport was alive with the sound of Warbirds! Like shows of the past, the general public was allowed to roam the ramp among the airplanes. Marshals directed the aircraft and the people for safe operations on the ramp. The sun was heating up fast so we found some shade under a C-47 to watch arriving aircraft. Two B-25s took to the skies as other warbirds arrived for the Sunday show. The day was one of the warmest days of the year with temperatures in the high 90s. In order have the energy to watch the full airshow on Sunday, we retreated to the hotel air conditioning for the afternoon. We did miss the practice airshow that afternoon but after dinner we visited the airport again to try and catch some flying. We were treated to an awesome display of four Corsairs flying over the airport in tribute to the late Howard Pardue. Pardue, along with his friends, hosted the airshow in years past. The big grin on my son’s face was evidence of the excitement that was building for next day’s airshow.

Corsair flyby
To help enjoy the show even more I made a “spotters book” for my son so he could check off the airplanes he saw at the show. The notebook had copies of Warbird airplane drawings pasted inside. Brennen pulled out his pen and started checking off the airplanes he recognized on the ramp. My dad and I were not surprised that he knew his Warbirds!

Brennen and PopPop with a Mustang
Cooler temperatures greeted us when we walked out of the hotel Sunday morning. The hot Texas sun was defused with the passing clouds. We wandered the ramp again looking over the variety of World War Two aircraft that included Mustangs, Corsairs, Trojans, Texans, a Lightning, a Tigercat, a Helldiver, an Avenger, a Wildcat, a Spitfire, and replica Japanese Zeros and Kate from the Tora, Tora, Tora airshow act. Along with the airplane watching we caught up with old friends and shared stories of recent aviation adventures.

On the airshow line 

Snack time!
The ramp was cleared right after lunch time and the pilots made their way to the aircraft to start the airshow. We found our spot on the North end of the show line so we could watch the action. The sky filled with the sights and sounds of vintage aircraft. The Tora, Tora, Tora Pearl Harbor reenactment, Warbird aerobatics, formation flybys and the finale featuring the Texas Flying Legends. Our boy was cautious in his excitement at first with all the pyrotechnics displayed as bombs but once he saw the correlation to the flying action he moved right up to the show line. A few passing rain showers did not deter us from staying for the entire show.

Helldiver flyby
Afterwards we visited with pilots and watched the other Warbirds take off for home. At these small town airshows I enjoy that we can get up close and personal with the pilots and the historic aircraft. As we drove home my son quickly fell asleep and Dad and I recounted our highlights from the weekend. We will return again next Memorial Day weekend to the Breckenridge airshow.

Visit my online photo album at this link… Flickr Photo Album

Back in 2014 I published a book of the event titled “Breckenridge Warbirds” that feature photos of airshows from years past. Follow this link to buy the book.

August 2, 2017

Springtime Bomber Visit - Love Field

Back in the Spring I took our boy to visit the Collings Foundation aircraft that were on tour. The Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field hosted the B-17, B-24, B-25 and TF-51. Brennen and I always enjoy a visit to the museum and sure love seeing the Warbirds up close.



Bomber Boys

B-25 and TF-51

Brennen naming the models

July 9, 2017

North American Yale Prototype

When hangar flying discussions turn to rare airplanes I pay attention. Especially when the word prototype is tossed in! While visiting a friends hangar he said he had completed the fabric and paint work on the rudder of a North American Yale. Not just any Yale but the prototype NA-64. The fixed gear trainer from the T-6 family of aircraft. The project was coming together after about two years of refurbishment and I wanted to see it!

It was an odd Thursday afternoon in February 2017 that I had taken off work to spend time with my son. He loves to visit the local airports so we drove around Hicks Airfield in Ft. Worth. After stopping to visit a few friends and asking about the Yale we were coming up with no clues on it’s whereabouts. Feeling pretty bummed we started to leave the airport. At the last taxiway I looked back over my shoulder and spotted the Yale! It had just been pulled out of the hangar for an engine run! We found it!

The owner, Mark Cyrier, told me the story of finding the airplane, Yale NX13397, and it’s refurbishment. Some photos and part of the story are posted on the Warbird Information Exchange forum - follow this link…

We almost missed it... so it was very cool to finally find the Yale that I had been hunting for.

Mark sent me an email today to report that it has flown 15 hours. This just might be the oldest flying North American trainer currently airworthy.

July 5, 2017

Mid America Flight Museum - World War Two Glider and Troop Pilot Reunion

Fall of 2016 my dad and I made the short trip out to East Texas for the National World War Two Glider and Troop Pilots reunion. The Mid America Flight Museum in Mount Pleasant, Texas hosted the event. Dad and I enjoyed walking around the airplanes on the ramp, checking out the museums hangars and visiting with some of the pilots. The museum was very generous to the veterans and their families with airplanes rides and open hospitality. Be sure to follow Mid America Flight Museum on Facebook and Instagram. They have an amazing collection of airplanes. Photos and link to a highlight video below. (Highly recommend Erik Johnston's videos!)

Dan and Dad with the C-41

C-47 Sky King

General Hap Arnold's C-41

Sky King and the C-41 stayed busy giving rides

July 3, 2017

Legend Cub Ride

In the Fall of 2016 our son Brennen took his first small airplane ride. We were attending the Texas Antique Airplane Association Fly-In. Family friend Billy Copeland offered me a ride in his Legend Cub when Brennen quickly stated “I want to go to!” so he rode in my lap. I could not think of a more memorable airplane to get his first airplane ride in than a Cub!

Strapping in the Legend Cub

All smiles from our ride

Brennen, Dan, Jana and Billy

Earlier in the day Brennen took a ride on this little train. I likes the Cub!

July 2, 2017

Curtiss Robin Cowling

In April of 2016 I took delivery of my Curtiss Robin cowling parts. These are from an OX-5 Robin. They are a fun addition to my collection. The coolest thing about their delivery is that they were flown to me on a Challenger 300 business jet! The pilot had permission from the owner to pack them in the back for the trip to Texas. With the help of a new aviation acquaintance who worked the ramp we loaded them up on the "follow me" cart and took them to my car. Yes... I made them fit!

1920s airplane parts flying in a corporate jet!

The coolest baggage loaded on THIS cart!

Yes the cowling fits

Trunk full of cowling

July 1, 2017

Looking back on 2016

We are well into 2017 but I see that I did not post any in 2016 so here is a look back…

Most of my time is spent with family these days and that includes outings with our son. He has caught the aviation bug from me for sure!

We have enjoyed a few visits to the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field.
Frontiers of Flight Museum

Our three most frequently visited North Texas airports are Propwash in Justin, Northwest Regional in Roanoke and Hicks in Ft. Worth.
J-3 restoration at Northwest Regional

Luscombe at Northwest Regional

T-6 Project at Propwash

My son and I have also jumped into my old model building hobby. We pull out a plastic model kit from my stash and build about one airplane a month.
Skyraider plastic model build

When we can we visit local North Texas aviation events. An open house at Propwash, a museum visit at Meacham, Addison and Lancaster.
Our son, Brennen, airplane spotting at Propwash

Daddy and Brennen in the shade of the Navion

Checking out the Vintage Flying Museum at Meacham

Mustang at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum

Woody and Mustang at Lancaster

In the Fall of 2016 us boys gave Mommy a break and did an overnight trip to the Antique Airplane fly-in held in Gainesville. Plenty of cool airplanes to spot and we even watched a fun T-6 airshow at sunset.
BIG T-6 at Gainesville Antique Fly-In

 The coolest part of the weekend was our sons first little airplane ride. Our friend Billy took us up in his Legend Cub.

First Cub ride!
As I sort back through my photos I will hit so more highlights from 2016. Stop back by soon!

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