Friday, April 30, 2010

Doolittle Raider Reunion

It was an honor to be a part of history this month. "Miss Mitchell", along with 16 other B-25s, overflew the USAF Museum, and were able to meet, chat and dine with 4 of the remaining Doolittle Raiders (out of 8). This gathering was larger than any in recent history, equal to that of the filming of Catch-22! The pictures speak for themselves. What a trip!
(Select Photos Thanks to Nate Timm)

(On the ramp in Anoka to meet up with "Betty's Dream" and "Lady Luck" from C&P Aviation)

(This flight gave me the opportunity to try out my new camera and Telephoto lens!)

("Betty's Dream" is an incredibly authentic B-25, featured in an earlier blog post, while "Lady Luck" is a comfortable ride)

(Decent shot... in my opinion)

(As you can see, the weather went from gray and rainy to perfection!)

(From the ramp in Urbana, OH. The B-25s line up to transition to Dayton)

(B-25s as far as the camera can see!!!!)

(The reason we are here. Four of the eight remaining Doolittle Raiders)

(Each aircraft received a plaque, arranged and purchased by the Doolittle Raiders, to commemorate the event. Alan Miller accepts on behalf of "Miss Mitchell" and the MN Wing)

(Once the day was over we gathered at the end of the field...)

(Which made for quite a sight!)

(The tail-end charlies... All 5 operating CAF B-25s are in this picture!)

(Each Raider's name was carved into a goblet, and is held in this case built by Dick Cole, Doolittle's co-pilot. When a Raider passes away, the goblet is turned upside down. When only two Raiders remain, they will toast their departed comrades with a bottle of 1896 Hennesey [birth year of Jimmy Doolittle]. Adam Galloway, Nate Timm, Mark Erickson and Alan Miller are pictured)

(We were given a guided tour of the restoration facility at the Air Force Museum. This is the original "Memphis Belle" being restored for display)

(This aircraft appealed to me... the X-32A, Boeing's concept for the Joint Strike Fighter. It lost to the X-35, Lockheed's concept)

("The Swoose" is a B-17D, the oldest B-17 in known existance)

(For those of you who have never seen one, this is a B-25H with a 75mm cannon installed)

(Larry Utter in the nose, flying past Chicago)

(Flying straight over Navy Pier)

(Looking back from the tail gunner position... what an amazing trip!)

(The crew - Mark Erickson, Me (Jim Lauria), Nate Timm, Gary Chambers, Alan Miller, Jim Gilmore, Adam Galloway and Larry Utter. The photo was taken by Adam White, producer of "Red Tail Reborn" and the coming TV show "The Restorers". The Minnesota Wing, "Miss Mitchell" and the Doolittle Reunion will be a feature on the show. Visit for more info!)

Hangar Sale

This is our second year of a Hangar Sale for the community. People are welcomed to bring in their goods and sell them, and the membership gathers up things that are no longer needed and sells it off. Last year saw a huge profit due to hardware that was for sale. This year, we didn't have as much for sale, but that didn't stop us from making a decent profit, and have some fun!
(Photos Thanks to Brian Strom)
(Ron Legg cooks up the food for the day)

(A number of tables were rented to local people who wanted to sell)

(It made for some great variety)

(The aircraft and vehicles were on display and added to the great atmosphere)

(Join us next year, to sell or to browse!)

Around the Hangar - Finishing Up Maintenance

Okay, so maintenance will never be finished, but we are rolling the aircraft out from a maintenance heavy winter, and have begun to operate some of them. This set of pictures covers the last month of work, and it was a LOT of work! Thank you to everyone who helped make it happen!
(Select Photos Thanks to Brian Strom)

(Doug Olson puts finishing touches on the PT-22)

(Big Dave, Andy Schmidt and Jim Heimann begin reassembling the cowl rails under Roby Bybee's supervision)

(Bob Koelbl and Bob Wright work on the Harvard's Pratt R-1340 Engine)

(Arnie Fick and Ray Miller work on a spare B-25 rudder)

(No worries, Roger van Ranst and Roby Bybee are on top of it!)

(Whew, all that hard work... we need a break!)

(Alright, back to it! Bob removes the Harvard's wheels for inspection.)

(We had a number of people stop in for tours. Gary Stinar is showing some folks around)

(Big Dave, Larry Utter and I verify the proper operation of the nose gear. Yes, we did this once before, but a new repair required that we reinspect.)

(Bob inspects, greases and retorques the tail wheel on the Harvard)

(Sure is nice to pull everything outside after a long winter! Adam Galloway and Roby keep an eye out to make sure everything is clear)

(Everything got a good wash down)

(And had final panels closed up and safetied)

(A lot of hard work rewarded by a nice day, and a clean aircraft!)

(Never hurts to throw some food in there too! Steak and fries made for a great lunch)

(Mark Strausser and Roger work on the final look over of the B-25)

(Larry Utter looks over the entire aircraft for anything we may have missed)

(Amy Lauria gets us all fueled up)

(Running up the new engine! It ran great! As an aside, can you believe this photo came from Amy's phone??? Awesome)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Motor Pool Make-over

One of the most extensive and impressive changes over the last year has been the Motor Pool. Located just East of the main hangar, this small building was at one point nearly useless for vehicle work, it was so cluttered. It has taken a lot of hard work, but the guys in the motor pool, led by Bill Atchison, have turned the space into a proper vehicle maintenance facility. A lot of work is still ahead, but huge strides have been taken, even in the last few days! If you haven't seen the motor pool for a year or more, you have to stop by and see it! Even better, give Bill and the guys a helping hand to keep the vehicles going!
(Photos Thanks to Brian Strom)

(Stan Novey works out the kinks in the Ford Staff Car's fuel system)

(Iver Jackson uses his scrapping skills to earn the Motor Pool some extra money, and help clean out the place.)

(When welding needs to be done, we prefer to not do it in the main hangar. Gary Stinar shown creating a propeller stand that will fit B-25 and P-51 props.)

(Iver attracts a crowd while working on the Willy's Jeep)

(Vehicles of the motor pool are great for displays at the hangar, and locally)

(Bill Atchison next to the Ford Staff Car. If you can, stop by and give Bill a hand!)