Friday, December 18, 2009

Another B-25...

Alan Miller, 'Miss Mitchell' pilot, sent out an e-mail this morning with a link to this video. 'Grumpy' has made the trip from England to Bellingham, Washington. It is a 'D' model, versus ours being a 'J' model... take note of the turret being behind the bomb bay.
Congratulations to the Historic Flight museum!

Saying Goodbye....

We are around some of the greatest machines of all time and can really begin to take it for granted. We are lucky enough to be involved with aircraft that shaped our childhood dreams, something that becomes more and more rare in this time. When we start to take things for granted, we tend to think they will always be there... Well a one-of-a-kind machine will be leaving our quiet little airport to be auctioned by Barrett-Jackson in January. The Hamilton Metalplane has been a piece of Minnesota history for many years... we will be sorry to see it go, but wish Gary Lysdale the Best of Luck in getting a good price!
(Video Thanks to Barrett-Jackson)

(If you get the chance, stop by Hangar #5, two doors to the East of the CAF)

(This masterpiece of aviation is the last of existence and is absolutely gorgeous... check out the hand-made swirls in the cowling!)

(Not only will you see the aircraft, but documents, pictures and letters from people who worked on the aircraft, to the original manufacturers who helped get her back in the air!)

(Painted in the Northwest Airways colors, this aircraft holds a lot of history with the Twin Cities)

(Talk to Gary Lysdale, and chances are you'll be able to get into the cockpit!)

(This is the rather obstructed view from the pilot's seat)

(Even the passenger cabin is perfectly restored)

(Be sure to take some time and visit this masterpiece before it is sold!)

Operation Ordnance!

The history behind "Miss Mitchell" and the quality of her restoration and maintenance are a source of pride for members of the Minnesota Wing, so when we see something that isn't perfect, we tend to look at ways of improving that imperfection. Recently a couple of members have gotten together and begun focusing on restoring "Miss Mitchell"'s Ordnance delivery systems... meaning getting the top turret fixed, getting the tail turret operational and even getting the bomb release system set up and working! So, while the majority of the mechanics are focused on replacing the engine, fixing components and performing the inspection, this group of members work diligently to gather the information and parts necessary to complete Operation Ordnance!
(Select Photos Thanks to Earl Teporten)
(Tom Youngdahl and Nate Timm inspect parts for the tail turret)
(We have a lot of parts in various states... sorting and inspecting will be very important to completing the job!)
(Tom and Nate test fit parts to verify where they go and how they work)
(This small contingent of members braved the snowstorm on the 9th to work at the hangar)

(Rob Hardcopf begins fitting bombardier wiper components)
(The wiper works through three different components, using a long flexible drive linkage to keep the window clean)
(Jason 'Mac' McNeil attaches the wiper arm to the bomber)
(The wiper arm is attached, and ready to operate...)

(... Once we have all of the internal components mounted. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out!)

Blog Update - 05December to 18December

Good Afternoon Everyone!These blog updates seem to have fallen into a pattern of every other week. I think we can expect that from now on with the slower winter season coming in to play. The last time I posted, we had just removed the B-25's right engine and hoisted the new engine off of its stand. We are in a holding pattern with the installation until parts arrive at the hangar and can be installed. The new engine is ready, save for engine mounts. This doesn't mean we haven't been active though! The inspection has started on the B-25 and will continue through the spring. Help is always appreciated! We've worked on cleaning the aircraft off, removing some of the fuel tank sealant under the left wing. We've also had a number of projects in relation to the ordnance on Miss Mitchell (upper turret, tail turret, bombing gear, etc.) These projects are great fun, and help keep us all excited about being around the aircraft, and helping make her not only run great, but look great too! Maintenance has also started on the BT-13, though they are waiting until after the holidays to really get into the meat of the work. The motor pool has been working to prepare the two staff cars for the winter carnival parade. Hopefully they will be ready, and heated!

Pictures of the days are harder to come by during the winter... in your travels, feel free to send me pictures of different museums, videos you've found while surfing the net, or warbird news that you've come across! It may not get posted right away, but if it would interest others, it will make the Blog! Send me a note at

Thanks to everyone for your passion and perseverance. It takes a lot of hard work to accomplish the many facets of the CAF's mission!

Friday, December 4, 2009

B-25 Engine Removal

I've got a load of pictures walking us through the process of removing the engine. I'll get right into it and tell the story as we go!
(Photos Thanks to Earl Teporten and Brian Strom)
(Step 1 is to remove the propeller...)
(Although not a very complex job, parts of the prop are easily damaged and must be handled carefully)
(Bob Koelbl, Adam Galloway, Emil Quasabart and Mark Strausser slide the prop onto the stand.)
(The nose ring has been removed, and Rob Hardcopf begins to disconnect anything preventing the engine from being removed)
(Arnie Fick, Doug Olson and I keep an eye on things as Roger Van Ranst and Dave Schouveller work on disconnecting accessories)
(Roger hooks up the engine sling in preparation for removal)

(The hoist is hooked to the sling, and the mounts are unbolted)

(We had quite a crowd watching the removal!)

(Doug Olson guides the engine away)

(Dave steadies the engine as it is pulled clear of the nacelle)
(SLOWLY drop it!)

(Removing the engine mounts just before setting the engine down)
(Now setting on its stand, it is time to remove the accessories!)
(Careful there Doug!)

(Dave, Art Minkle and Roby Bybee remove the wrappings on the new engine)
(The last time the engine will look this clean)
(Larry Utter and Dave begin hoisting the engine from its stand)
(Slowly lifting the engine...)

( step is to swing it so it is horizontal)

(Larry, Roby and Dave look over the accessory section of the engine for any issues)
Stay tuned for the installation of this engine!

Start and Finish

It's the start of the smaller aircraft maintenance, and the finish of the PT-22 restoration/repair! Soon we will be able to close up the cowling on the PT-22, get a brand new airworthiness certificate from the FAA, and store her for the winter, prepared to fly in the spring! The Harvard, BT-13 and L-5, have yet to be taken apart, but that doesn't stop the maintenance team from preparing parts for service!
(Photos Thanks to Brian Strom)
(Bob Wright cleans up the Harvard propeller)

(Earl Teporten sorts out the Harvard's radio)

(Rudy Nassif and Arnie Fick install the PT-22's Hobbs meter)

(Bob Wright, Amy Lauria and Bob Koelbl disassemble the Harvard's old brake assembly. The parts are servicable and interchangeable with the BT-13's brake system.)

(Figuring out what part goes where is a very important part of the job.)

(Amy and Bob remove a brake shoe)

In Honor Of...

I received an e-mail from member Bill Maitland last month. Our mission is education, and the first step of great educational programs is to inspire those you are trying to educate... I'd say we certainly have the tools to accomplish this!
"These were submitted by Larry Inness, of Norfolk Nebraska. Larry is a former marine and loves aircraft. He’s been a modeler for over 30 years and recently retired after 30 years as a teacher. Larry was at the Sioux City Air Show this past summer and saw Miss Mitchell in person. He wanted to thank us for “putting on a great show”, and created the model as a tribute. He would love to fly the model with us sometime in the future. He said he added the invasion stripes only to increase the model’s visibility in flight.

Our aircraft and our presence really do make an impression on people and can be inspiring in many ways.


Thanks for the e-mail Bill, and thank you Larry Inness for the gorgeous tribute to Miss Mitchell! I just wish we could get her shining like your model! :)

(Photos sent care of Larry Inness)

...Drone On!

Coming to the end of a project is exciting, and a little sad. For the last year and a half (perhaps more!) Craig Steineck and Phil Stanton have led the preservation and restoration of our 1950's era OQ-19 Target Drone. Having a wingspan of about 12', the drone is an impressive size. It was used by the Air Force and Navy for anti-aircraft training, operated by a large trailer of radio-control equipment. Ours isn't planning to fly, but will be a beautiful static display! Thanks to everyone who has worked (and continues to work) so hard on this project!
(Photos Thanks to Brian Strom)
(Phil Stanton and Craig Steineck check over the fuselage before priming)

(Doug Olson gets up close and personal to check for defects that will be seen when painted)

(Craig lays down a coat of primer)

(Phil, Craig and Roger Van Ranst unwrap the wing, which was primed earlier in the year)

(Fitting the wing to the fuselage. This is the first time they have been attached since transport from Duluth nearly two years ago!)