Friday, February 12, 2010

Next Step, Flight!

Congratulations to Crew Chief Doug Olson and the entire PT-22 crew! On Wednesday the 10th of February an FAA Inspector stopped by to look over the PT-22. Upon completing his inspection, we were issued a Standard Category Airworthiness Certificate. This is needed to legally be able to operate the aircraft, and to give rides if we choose to.(Photo Thanks to Brian Strom)

(Doug Olson and the Airworthiness Certificate)

Black Widow

The P-61 Black Widow was a night fighter designed at the end of WWII. It's massive weapon load and radar made it a formidable combat machine. It is claimed that the last kill of WWII was made by a P-61. Now, only 4 remain, none of them flying. The Chinese have one that is structurally unsound resting on the lawn at a museum, the Air Force Museum has one and the Air and Space Museum has one. The last was recovered by the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, a non-profit in Reading, PA. It was resting on a mountainside in New Guinea. It's taken a number of years to get to this point, but their goal is to make it airworthy. Personally, I can't wait!

(A post-war example of the P-61)

(The aircraft will be 70-80% new, most of the original parts are used as templates)

(The work is obviously very professional, and very precise)

(The cockpit may not have instruments, but hangar flying is not out of the question)

(This twin engine aircraft uses Pratt and Whitney R-2800s)

(The 4 20MM cannons located in the bay on the belly)

(This looks to be the horizontal that fits between the two tail booms)

(The aft end of the fuselage. The radar operator would sit facing aft in this section)

(The forward fuselage held the radar equipment, the pilot, and in the upper greenhouse, the gunner)

(I found it interesting that the nose gear has a mud-flap)

(The craftsmanship is astounding... I can't wait to get a closer look!)

(For more info, and the full story on this terrific project, visit

A Hop Over to Harker's

Our B-25 projects are coming along. Everything we are working on has a manual, diagram or drawing to reference. But being able to look at, touch and measure that same project that is already completed takes hours, even days, off of a project. I had a co-worker who called it "Going to school" on another aircraft. What luck it is that C&P Aviation in Anoka county has not one, but TWO B-25s! Both are in flying condition, though there are many differences between the two. "Lady Luck" is a glass nose configuration, and the interior is focused on comfort. It's a transport vehicle with a warbird exterior... very nice for getting around! "Betty's Dream", a hard-nosed B-25, is as detailed on the inside as it is outside. This was our classroom for the day! It was an experience to walk around the C&P facility. Projects included a from-scratch roadster, the F-82 Twin Mustang, rare PT and L-bird aircraft, vintage motorcycles and cars. Their massive hangars contained the two B-25s, a private jet, a Cessna 182 on Floats, a Cessna 172, an L-13, a T-6 and a Grumman Albatross!
A special Thank You to John Roxbury who answered all of our questions, and allowed us free access to the hangar and aircraft!
(Select Photos Thanks to Matt Holland)

(The Grumman Albatross is quite the people hauler!)

(A wall full of toys. Liaison and trainer aircraft, motorcycles, go-carts, all kinds of great stuff!)

(Classic and brand new cars line the back wall of the hangar)

(Lady Luck shines)

(She's a glass nose B-25, with a lot of the original exterior equipment)

(The reason we are here, the uber-original B-25 Betty's Dream)

(She's a hard nose B-25 with 8 .50 cals mounted up front)

(Bob Wright, Doug Olson and Dave Schouveller look over the B-25s carefully)

(The front fuselage section of Betty's Dream is a bit more cramped than Miss Mitchell)

(As is the tail... strings of .50 cal shells run to the tail gunner position)

(Matt Holland looks over the radio racks in the waist of the aircraft)

(Earl Teporten looks over the bomb release system)

(Dave and Earl on the business end of the bomb bay)

(Once our photos were collected, we had some fun looking over the F-82 Twin Mustang)

(The restoration work is immaculate, a perfect example of a nearly forgotten aircraft)

(Nate Timm checks for part numbers while Tom Youngdahl talks shop with John Roxbury. Thanks again John!)

Scholorship Opportunity

Tim Barzen recently stopped by the hangar, and asked that I get the information out about this great opportunity! If you are, or have kids/grandkids/friends etc., who are eligible, be sure to get your applications in by February 28th!

Aviation Scholarship Announcement

The Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame (MAHoF) is pleased to announce the availability of two scholarships to be awarded at the Annual MAHoF Induction Banquet. These scholarships will be awarded to individuals who are pursuing a career in the aviation industry. Each scholarship is $500.

Scholarships will be awarded to individuals who will be graduating from high school this year or to individuals who are currently enrolled in a post-secondary aviation related program—i.e. college aviation program, flight training, aviation technical school, flight dispatcher school,

Application Process
Please provide the following information on a separate sheet of paper (8.5 x 11):
1. Your full name,

2. Your current address,

3. Your e-mail address,

4. Your telephone number,

5. The school or college that you are currently attending and the grade level,

6. Indicate the aviation related classes or flight training taken to date, and

7. A brief statement (50 words or less) stating your aviation related goals and/or career objectives.

On a second sheet of paper, please prepare and write an essay (250 to 300 words) in response to one of the following statements or questions:
1. What are the most significant changes that will occur in aviation during the next fifty years

2. What are the major challenges facing the aviation industry as we know it today?

3. Why is aviation important to our country and our economy?

Please submit and mail your completed application to:
Tim Barzen
5780 Lincoln Drive #105Edina, MN 55436


Around the Hangar

Maintenance season continues at the Hangar. Nothing too out of the norm has taken place, except for various new aircraft projects and hangar cleanup. Here are a few shots of what has gone on, and what to expect in the very near future.
(Photos Thanks to Brian Strom)

(Dave Schouveller, Andy Schmidt, Tim Gunter and Bob Wright working on the bomber's engine)

(Mark Strausser replacing the Harvards windscreen)

(Bob Wright works on the BT-13 inspection)

(Dave runs the feathering line with brand new fire sleeve [this is a rather big deal, since the old fire sleeve would embed oily rubber into your skin])

(Larry Utter works on resealing components in the nose gear well)

Blog Update - 20January to 12February

Good Evening Everyone!
Over the last few weeks I have collected up information for these posts, but also have had little time to devote to this update. We've been meeting with city and state officials during our attempts to upgrade our facility. Things are going well, and I suspect we will see movement starting in May and June with physical work being performed on the hangar! We're also starting to come to a close with our maintenance season. This means time will have to be spent finishing up inspections, repairs and projects that could impede flight of the aircraft. That shouldn't be a problem however, as work has been going very smoothly. We have a number of people who have dedicated themselves to the cause of maintaining the aircraft, and they have done a terrific job!

On top of that, Brent Darling, Larry Utter, Bob Wright and Doug Olson took a trip to Oshkosh last weekend. They hauled "Devil Dog's" repaired propeller, and installed it, making the trip in one day. "Devil Dog" had an engine failure which damaged the prop during Oshkosh Airshow in August of '09. We picked up the prop, took it to the shop at Crystal Airport and stored it until they had their engine overhauled. Once the prop was installed, "Devil Dog" had a test flight performed, and was quickly, and successfully, returned to Texas. Congrats to the "Devil Dog" team, and Thank You to everyone from the MN Wing who helped get her back in the air!

On another topic, we are starting to see different opportunities pop up around the Wing. As we know, pilots and mechanics are needed, but we are also in need of folks who can catalog parts, help set up the museum, work on motor pool vehicles, perform carpentry, electrical and plumbing upgrades and repairs, marketing and the much much less daunting task of cleaning around the hangar. If you are at all interested in volunteering some time, we have projects that need doing!

As it gets warmer (or we get more used to the cold) be sure to stop by and see what's happening! Thank you all for your dedication to the goals of the Minnesota Wing!