Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Around the Hangar

As stated, the changes around the Wing have been rather massive lately.  The best way to experience it is the stop down, these pictures only capture a portion of what it's like!
(Photos Thanks to Randy Bigler, Roell Painting and Andrew Hill)
An artistic photo by Andrew Hill of the B-25 in the hangar, just finishing up maintenance.
The BT-13 is almost ready to fly... I swear!

Bob Wright works on the BT-13's prop

The front wall was in desperate need of help
Roell painting came in and taped all of it off... on a 32' ladder!  No Thanks!
The final product... oil base coat with a latex cover... it looks amazing!

A lot of activity has been taking place a the hangar
And a lot still needs to be done
But the hangar is looking better every day!

Our new O'Club is coming together nicely!

And the new PX looks amazing, thanks to Glenn and Linda Franke! Glenn took care of the building...

And Linda made it look like a real gift shop!

Brad Hopkins, a member of the Army National Guard, offered to paint a mural on our new wall.  These are the sketches of two of the panels that will run the full length of the museum.
His sketches will then be airbrushed... this is the final panel (starting point for airbrushing)
The final panel, representing the close of the war, is complete, and looks outstanding!

70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion

This year marked the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, the daring attack on Japan led by Jimmy Doolittle. This year, only 5 of the raiders are alive, and only 4 were able to attend.  20 B-25s attended to honor them, flying first into Grimes Field, Urbana OH, then to the closed runway of the Air Force Museum in Dayton OH.  It was an amazing sight to see, and was truly heaven for anyone who had an affinity for the B-25.  Different models, different configurations, and most important, the veterans who flew the aircraft were all in attendance to show their piece of history.
(Photos Thanks to Matt Jolley, Adam White, Gary Chambers, Randy Bigler and Bob Koelbl)
The crew just before taking off for Urbana

Barbie III, am H model with the 75MM Cannon in the nose.
Panchito and Axis Nightmare overfly Urbana
Spectacular view of Urbana.
 Miss Mitchell, Devil Dog, Yellow Rose and  Maid in the Shade, all CAF aircraft, are visible here.
Champaign Gal, based in Urbana, joins the formation.
The Main hangar in Urbana
Adam White and Kara Martinelli had a showing of The Restorers, featuring the Minnesota Wing.
It was very well attended!
Matt Jolley's (warbirdradio.com) fantastic photo of the 20 B-25s on Mission Day!

The B-25s overflew the Air Force Museum in formations.
The Raiders watch a formation of B-25s larger than any since WWII

The MN Wing crew with the Raiders

Blog Update - February 11 to April 8

Greetings Everyone!
Once again, time has passed... it doesn't mean activity has not taken place!  Far from it indeed.  The hangar is getting closer and closer to being what many of us had only imagined it could be.  Between museum expansion, cleanup, building a new PX and storage zone, and our addition of an Officers Club, it's been a massive undertaking!  Add the sprinkler system being completed, and thinking about what we as a team have accomplished is simply amazing!

The Hangar Dance is approaching rapidly.  We will be visited by two members of CAF Headquarters to witness one of the best Hangar Dances in the CAF.  It will also mark the public unveiling of the new museum, px and hangar as a whole.  Members will have the benefit of using the O'Club (though we still need people to help throughout the night!).  It will mark the return of the dance to our Hangar, and safety is assured through the addition of our sprinkler system!   The dance will have more space due to clearing of lockers and benches on the hangar floor.  The wall that used to separate the museum from the hangar has come down and will allow for people to move freely through the museum.

Before the Hangar Dance, coming this Saturday, will be the State of the Wing address.  Food is being provided by the Motor Pool, who have seen an exceptionally good year already.  We have invited many people who have been instrumental in completing the hangar improvements, or, like Senator Metzen, have been instrumental in helping us reach our goals politically.  It's a time for the membership to get together and celebrate everything that has been accomplished, for those of you who have been unable to make it to the hangar, it is a time to check out all the changes, grab some lunch and learn how you can help make the Wing even better!  There will also be an exciting 2013 announcement!

The Doolittle Raiders Reunion was a resounding success.  Nothing bad can be said about the whole experience.  It was perfect.  The weather held out, the Raiders were honored, 20 B-25s flew overhead, and the MN Wing made $40,000.   GREAT start to the season!  The crew worked their butts off, and a number of members found their own ways down to help out.  It was great to have so many MN Wing members help with all aspects of the operation!  If only all shows could be this well attended and run this smoothly!

Stop by this Saturday for the State of the Wing and see what has been taking place!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Around the Hangar

As I have so much to catch up on, I will only be posting "Around the Hangar" this time. This is only a piece of the work taking place... come down and check it out yourself!
(Photos Thanks to Brian Strom)

(Removing the Harvard engine)

(It didn't take long for it to come off... far easier than the B-25!)

(From crowded, messy maintenance office to...)

(...open, clean and useful shop)

(Tool boxes left, parts and tools were sorted, and the area became an excellent sheet metal shop)

(The PX gets a new wall, by moving 3 large museum cases)

(Gary Stinar and Glenn Franke install windows in the new PX)

(And we did verify that even the big guys will fit through the door!)

(No windows yet, but gives an idea of what it will look like)

(Todd Lofquist takes on the museum wall project)

(Todd, Matt, Raine, and Kristen install the 8 foot wall)

(Difference in height... the wall now goes well around the corner)

(The sprinkler riser being assembled)

(Of course maintenance must keep on task as well... Dave Hennessy installs panels on the B-25)

(Bob Koelbl inspects the Harvard tail wheel)

(Arnie Fick builds boxes for the B-25 pre-oil system)

(Tom Peltier painted the guns for the B-25)

(Shawn Hokuf inspects the PT-22 intake system)

Blog Update - October 01 - February 10

All quiet on the MNCAF front? HARDLY! The scant blog is an indicator not of lack of activity at the Wing, but rather an abundance of it! Since October, we closed out our flying season, and began to inspect the aircraft. Around that time, discussions took place about the use of hangar space, and what improvements could be made. That discussion lead to where we are at now. The hangar is in a state of chaotic activity. Walls are going up, others coming down. The PX will have a new home, and the museum will have more space. The machine shop has been moved, enclosed and expanded. Cleaning, organization and consolidation are taking place throughout the hangar. This massive project will lead to a whole new look on the inside of the hangar, and will give the museum and PX the much needed face lift it deserves. The hangar will now also feature a members only O'Club lounge overlooking the aircraft. A place where members can relax and enjoy the CAF after a day of hard work.

The aircraft have their own tales as well. The P-51 is maintenance is winding down, with few inspections left. It will have a propeller spinner change take place later this week. The Harvard engine is still out for overhaul and while it's gone, the airframe is getting a good lookover. The PT-22 is getting new brakes, and most important, a starter. It is flying through it's inspection with very few issues. The B-25 is about half-way through the inspection. It was subjected to a landing gear Non-destructive test, which has revealed a crack. Part of the landing gear will have to be replaced. This concern came after another B-25 operator had their landing gear break and fold forward... not something we want happening!

With all of this happening, the sprinkler system is also going together. Yesterday, the riser (main valves of the system) was assembled and runs were prepared for the office spaces. This is great news, since our dances will take place in our hangar!

I will do my best to deliver more timely updates, but if you can, stop down and see all the changes taking place! Just watch your step and you may want to bring a hardhat!