Monday, June 20, 2011

Blog Update - 26 April to 24 June

Wow, two whole months. I truly apologize for the lack of activity on the blog. It's due in part to a computer malfunction (Brian Strom lost many pictures when his hard drive crashed) and with how busy things have been in the past two months. We've had our first State of the MN Wing address take place, complete with Member rides. We've had our Hangar dance. Aviation Inspiration Day was a hit, and we're in the middle of our SECOND engine change on Miss Mitchell in the last two months. As I said, busy.

The State of the MN Wing address was focused on our progress and hurdles that have been encountered over the last year. We discussed the Sprinkler issues, the Dance and the fact that our small aircraft are now able to give rides. Many members attended, and a lot of ideas were generated. It was very productive, and can be an expected event every spring. Members were given rides in the aircraft, though the first ride in the B-25 led to the first engine removal of the year, due to a gasket that had been installed incorrectly when the engine was assembled. Other than that, the day was a wonderful way to get to know new members, or members who are unable to attend regularly.

The Dance was a great success as usual, but took place across the ramp due to our sprinkler issues. We approached the city with over 50 members attending the city council meeting, and they agreed to allow the dance this spring. We brought in around 700 people, and made a great profit! Everyone had a great time, and the weather held out for us.

Aviation Inspiration Day was a first time event, and was focused on getting kids, especially young women, interested in the museum, WWII and aviation in general. The event was amazing, and hugely successful, especially for a first time event. Around 250 people attended, they were able to see the museum and aircraft, tour Wipaire, shop the PX, attend a Girls With Wings seminar, get rides with EAA Young Eagles pilots, and enjoy a free lunch paid for by Wipaire and served by our members. It was a wonderful day, and we expect to host it at least once a year.

Now, on to the engine. We had our first engine change due to gaskets, as I stated earlier. We accomplished the change just after the dance, and got to a paid appearance in Lakeville. We had a repair to perform at the engine of Aviation Inspiration Day, and once that was completed, we were all satisfied with the new engine. It ran well, sounded good, and we were able to attend all of our scheduled appearances. It completed a number of flights with the P-51 to shoot video for The Restorers TV Program and the Rise Above movie. After all the filming was complete, some training was performed, and on the second training flight, the engine temps rose and the oil pressure dropped. Doug Rozendaal, who was Pilot in Command during the flight, chose to feather the engine and turn back to Fleming. Once on the ground, we checked the oil screen, and found silver chunks, indicating that the master rod bearing failed. This means a full overhaul. We quickly sent out the engine that had gasket problems to be repaired, and began pulling the engine that just failed. The gasket damaged engine has been returned to us, and has just been hung on the aircraft. From this point, we will get the prop on, the oil coolers in and be back on the road in time for Pan-o-Prog in Lakeville. Thank you to everyone who has participated in the maintenance. Our schedule will barely be affected because of the hard work of everyone involved. THANK YOU!

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