The major success for the week was the resurrection of the Stinson Voyager donated to us by long-time member Stan Bell. The airplane had been slumbering in its hangar for a few years after Stan felt he was no longer able to fly it. We had it towed down to our ramp, where, after checking out a few things, we charged the battery, put a few gallons of auto gas in the tank, hit the starter and bingo! it started right up. Nearly all the instruments and radios came alive, and the engine sounded fine. The airplane is for sale, with the proceeds to go to support our Young Eagles program. So far we have had a number of interested parties, however a minimum price has yet to be established. Of course, it will require a thorough inspection before it can be signed off as airworthy, and no doubt there will be a number of items to be fixed after so many years dormant. We did taxi it on Old Charlie, it handled well. It’s a nice airplane.
Saturday was general membership meeting day, however with temperatures in the mid-nineties, the numbers were significantly lower than usual, with twenty-five or thirty members in attendance. Our wealthy members were no doubt enjoying their air- conditioned homes and swimming pools. The poor people had to make do with the fans in Hangar 1.
After a brief preamble to the meeting, president Joe Russo handed over the reins to Program Director Kerry Powell, who introduced speaker for the month Dave Ronneberg. He works with Scaled Composites at Mojave. He is the designer and builder of the first Berkut, a much upgraded version of Burt Rutan’s original canard designs. He had brought his airplane – a beautifully constructed specimen – for display on our ramp, where it was much admired. With a big engine and retractable gear, it must be super-fast! Dave gave an extemporaneous presentation ranging from composite construction through canard design and airplane handling characteristics. He is, of course, an ardent fan of the canard configuration, and he must have an unequaled understanding of its subtleties after years of experience in the field. Once again, Kerry came up with an excellent speaker, and more to come next month. Make sure to be there!
After the meeting, Stan Bell arrived, accompanied by members of his family, to be presented with a plaque in appreciation for his donation of the Stinson mentioned above.
Although busy with his program duties, Kerry Powell, chef for the month, prepared and served a lunch of pulled pork on a bun, beans, romaine salad, and of course, ice cream. Not surprisingly, this kept everyone satisfied.
After lunch, members of the nearly defunct Nieuport builders group were observed transferring a number of unfinished fuselage assemblies from their storage in our rabbit-infested cargo container to a more salubrious spot in the Playboy hangar. I understand that these and materials to complete construction are for sale. Meanwhile, Gene Hubbard and Jim MacKinnon are making good progress on the remaining two Nieuport projects.
Well, we did it! In spite of my misgivings. Through the efforts of our valiant team of volunteer pilots, we managed to fly forty-seven Young Eagles on Saturday (plus four who didn’t meet the cut-off time- we’ll get them next month), surely a record number for our Chapter. This time the group were the Sea Cadets from the local area, plus a number of “civilians”, some of whom were repeats. Earlier, it had seemed that we couldn’t possibly recruit enough pilots, particularly after our marathon event with the Midshipmen two weeks ago, however, the team came through and we able to get everyone airborne without undue stress, although it was a busy day. Eight pilots showed up to help out: Mark Albert, who gave up his usual organizing duties to Joe Gursky and flew the Cessna 170; Matthew Jernejck in a rented Cherokee,: Frank Himmerich in his Cherokee 235 (more on him later); Duane Shockey in his Cessna 170; Pete Grootendorst in a rented Cessna 172 (his Grumman is down for its annual); Ryan in his Glasair: Jonathon Robbins in his Luscombe, and finally John Knolla in his Yak. So quite a variety of airplanes. A big thanks to all for this effort.
Either my memory is failing me, or not a great deal happened in the week – the former certainly, and the latter probably. On Thursday, Bob Osborne and I attempted to resuscitate the old blue golf cart, without success. Perhaps it’s the end for that venerable vehicle. Now, what do we do with a dead golf cart? Meanwhile, the electric cart wouldn’t start, however that problem was quickly traced to a corroded connection – easily repaired.
Saturday saw the return of some of our members who had attended this years’ AirVenture (better known as Oshkosh): Pete Grootendorst, Kevin Roche, Scott Cadwell and Jimmy Kennedy, Gil Rud and probably others. All reported a very satisfactory show, with the weather (after the first day or two) not too hot, and improved facilities. Did anyone take photos of interesting airplanes? If so, perhaps we could have them published.