Monday, January 18, 2010

Experience a History Flight!

This year a crew of videographers took a trip with the B-25 to capture a very important part of what we do, a History Flight. The footage is absolutely terrific, and really captures the sound and feeling of the aircraft! This will be a ride program promo, and plans to create a Wing promo are developing as well!
(Thanks to Blue Earth Productions)

Operation Ordnance Part Deux

The tail turret had always been on the radar for the crew on "Miss Mitchell". It was one of the long past opportunities that had come and gone. We even thought that some of the parts were lost! Lo-and-behold those parts were found, and we have had great help with getting the project going. The goal is to have a fully functioning (minus the guns, sorry!) rear turret! The system is surprisingly complicated, using hydraulic pressure. The parts have been painted (not shown here) and will be reassembled soon! This isn't the only project going however. The bombardier wiper is almost finished, the top turret continues to get additions, and the bomb release system is really coming along! Keep an eye out for more!
(Select Photos Thanks to Earl Teporten and Brian Strom)

(The project lead, Nate Timm, takes aim!)

(Nate begins removing what was installed of the turret)

(All that remains is an empty hole!)

(The removal team... Rob Hardcopf, Tom Youngdahl, Nate and Art Minkel)

(As stated, it is a very complicated piece of equipment. We learned a lot taking it apart)

(Nate and Larry Utter free up one of the bearings)

(Mark Strausser preps parts for paint)

(Earl Teporten works on the trailing antenna system, while Tom studies the tail turret manual)

(This is the control pedestal for the tail turret. It has an electric motor that drives a hydraulic pump.)

(Art cleans and preps everything for a fresh coat of paint)

(The bomb release panel has been removed from the aircraft and now sits upstairs. The bell on the bottom is a "Bail-out Bell")

(Earl has worked hard to identify each wire, and make any repairs necessary to the box.)

A Maintenance Operation

It's how we started, a group of people who dedicated their time to a fleet of aircraft that wasn't even based within 1000 miles of here! We've come a long way, but never forgot the tradition of excellence in maintenance. This winter brings about an engine change on "Miss Mitchell" and the very in-depth inspections that we have become very accustomed to.
(Select Photos Thanks to Earl Teporten and Brian Strom)

(Bob Koelbl removes inspection panels on the BT-13)

(Tim Gunter polishes the BT-13 while Bob strikes the classic Mechanic pose [hands in pockets])

(Bob and Amy Lauria begin the engine inspection)

(Tim looks things over closely)

(Just a skeleton of what it normally is)

(Tim, Bob, Larry Utter and Gary Chambers take a break to chat with Spook Johns. He always has the best stories and jokes!)

(The B-25 wings are all opened up. Big Dave and Roger Van Ranst inspect for damage)

(Donning facemasks while working with some powerful cleaners)

(The engine is just about ready to mount.)

(Larry, Art Minkle, Brian Strom, Dick Leighninger, Steve Wagoner and Big Dave push the hoist and engine into position)

(Larry takes a position above while Steve and Dave steady the engine)

(With all the accessories attached, caution is the name of the game)

(Dave peers into the engine, making sure everything aligns correctly)

(Larry removes the hoist from the engine)

(As clean as this engine will ever be! The engine is hung, now to hook everything up!)

Blog Update - 19December to 18January

A BIG Happy New Year to Everyone!
The holidays bogged down my plans to get out some updates, followed by an immense amount of work to get the year started off right! We've got some amazing prospects on the horizon and have been working to expand the museum, our aircraft collection and the way that the Minnesota Wing presents history. We (the Staff) are incredibly excited about the direction we have started in, and are working very hard to make sure it becomes a reality in the VERY near future. The prospects range from small projects to very large and complicated ones. Miss Mitchell, as you know, is having work done to various original parts. This means a more original aircraft, with some very interesting armament and radio details! I look forward to seeing some of these systems in action! Our hangar has been our haven since the beginning. It honestly hasn't seen a lot of change in the last 10 years, or more. We are working on the funding to restore our hangar, putting up new doors, new walls, adding a fire suppression system and a whole lot more. Along with that, we are working to procure the hangar next door, making for double the size in floor space! This would be a huge move! I will keep everyone informed as these projects will be seeing a LOT of progress in the next few weeks (yes, I said WEEKS). We hope for the best as we strive into this unknown territory for the Wing, but with the amount of time, effort and talent that our members are throwing at our various projects, it's not going to be "if" we can do something, but "when". Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard!