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Full Noise for Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow - Scoop.co.nz (press release) (blog)

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Full Noise for Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow
Scoop.co.nz (press release) (blog)
Fresh from their record-breaking heroics at the world famous Reno air races, New Zealand pilot Graeme Frew and his V-12 powered Yak-3 aircraft have been confirmed for next Easter's Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow. Graeme and his WWII ...

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The Desert Rat – Restoration Update

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Desert Rat has received her fuselage insignia, painted on the fuselage prior to receiving camouflage, just the way Boeing did it during wartime production. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

Desert Rat has received her fuselage insignia, painted on the fuselage prior to receiving camouflage, just the way Boeing did it during wartime production. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

As many readers will be well aware, there are several different Boeing B-17s under restoration to fly right now. Perhaps the boldest of these projects though is Mike Kellner’s effort in Morengo, Illinois to restore Boeing B-17E 41-2595, a combat veteran Flying Fortress that once bore the nicknames Desert Rat and Tangerine. As we have reported previously, Kellner found the aircraft in a farmers field near Bangor, Maine as a collection of chopped up components back in the mid 1980s. Somehow, he had the vision to see this jumble of battered parts one day going back together again as an airworthy B-17. The project got under way in earnest during the mid 1990s. While Kellner and his intrepid volunteers work on a shoestring budget, they have wrought miracles with their efforts. The Fort’ is well on her way to becoming whole again. Interestingly, the aircraft did not serve as a bomber during her combat-life (in the CBI), but rather as the sole-produced XC-108A cargo plane version of the Fortress. Kellner is restoring the aircraft back to her original guise as a B-17E bomber variant, the same as when she rolled off the Boeing production line in April, 1942. Desert Rat, as Kellner and his team have re-dubbed her, will be the oldest Flying Fortress in the skies when she finally flies, although this record may eventually be surpassed by a B-17C which the team also has on the books. Desert Rat could use our help though, but before we provide a link to do so, we thought our readers would like to read a recent restoration updated provided by Sean from the Desert Rat team….


The restoration team has been focusing their attention lately on the fuselage. The structural rebuild is roughly 99% complete. The team is wrapping up a few loose ends as of this writing. Items such as the floor area around the ball turret, misc brackets throughout the fuselage, etc. The front and rear fuselage sections were recently mated together again for the first time in seven decades.

The Desert Rat's fuselage is now structurally complete, and is now being re-fitted with internal systems and fixtures.  (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

The Desert Rat’s fuselage sections are firmly united once again and nearly structurally complete. The fuselage is now being re-fitted with internal systems and fixtures. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

Re-covering the fabric control surfaces is well under way. The team completed the rudder a while back, and just recently finished their second aileron. With these items fully restored, the only fabric work remaining is on the elevators.

The ailerons and rudder are now re-covered. This is the second of the two ailerons to receive new fabric. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

The ailerons and rudder are now re-covered. This is the second of the two ailerons to receive new fabric. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

Other team members are now beginning the process of fitting-out the interior. This includes the restoration of the throttle control unit, fabricating new seats, as well as manufacturing a new navigator’s table, and many more items. Periodically, the team has also been working on the wings. The inner wings need replacement spar tubes, and this is a challenge because we have not had any  luck finding a company able to remanufacture them so far. In the meantime, the team is focusing on rest of the aircraft. Once new spars are made, of course, restoration of the wings should go pretty quickly, as so many of the other components are already fully refurbished, or nearly so.

Desert Rat's fuselage interior. The hole in the floor will one day hold the ball turret, and the radio room bulkhead is just beyond.  (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

Desert Rat’s fuselage interior. The hole in the floor will one day hold the ball turret, and the radio room bulkhead is just beyond. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

This hole in Desert Rat's fuselage floor is where the ball turret will eventually go. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

This hole in Desert Rat’s fuselage floor is where the ball turret will eventually go. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

An interior view of Desert Rat's nose section. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

An interior view of Desert Rat’s nose section. (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

An interior view of Desert Rat's nose section looking back towards the cockpit. The small lower bulkhead opening is the entry point for the nose. It is a tight squeeze at the best of times, but imagine getting through that hole in a hurry while wearing a bulky fleece-lined flight suit. It's no surprise that crew members had a near impossible task exiting this area during an emergency! (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

An interior view of Desert Rat’s nose section looking back towards the cockpit. The small lower bulkhead opening is the entry point for the nose. It is a tight squeeze at the best of times, but imagine getting through that hole in a hurry while wearing a bulky fleece-lined flight suit. It’s no surprise that crew members had a near impossible task exiting this area during an emergency! (photo via Vintage Aviation Museum)

Recently we visited with a WWII combat-veteran B-17 navigator named Frank Farr. We asked him to tell us why he thought it was important that we complete Desert Rat and fly her again afterwards.

Frank replied, “I was a navigator on B-17s in World War II until my plane was shot down, and I became a P.O.W. A poster on my wall depicts a B-17 bomber flying through a field of flak. A 16 x 20 canvas beside it shows the U.S.S. Constitution—Old Ironsides, the ship that bested the best the powerful Royal Navy of England could throw at it in the War of 1812. Thanks in large part to a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Old Ironsides has become an enduring treasure in the minds of patriotic Americans.”

We feel that the B-17 deserves the same treatment. At tremendous cost in American casualties, young men in B-17s crippled the German industry’s war effort, destroying factories, railroads, airfields, and oil refineries and ultimately bringing the vaunted Luftwaffe to its knees. Most of the B-17s are gone now, and only a handful remain in flying condition to show today’s young men and women what their grandfathers did to secure a future for Western civilization. We should make every effort to save these flying memories of 70-plus years ago. Desert Rat is being rebuilt from the ground up, and mostly with volunteer labor. But the materials the job requires are expensive—thousands of dollars expensive. And we need your help.

The Desert Rat is one of three projects within the Vintage Aviation Museum, a 501c3 non-profit organization. If anyone would like to donate to help with these aircraft, they can go to our website, www.vintageaviationmuseum.com and click on the donate button on the front page.


If you wish to contribute to the restoration of these important aircraft, whether it be with parts, labor or cash, please contact the Vintage Aviation Museum HERE to find out how. The organization also has a web store with some cool products to buy HERE as well. Desert Rat also has its own dedicated Facebook page HERE which some of our readers may enjoy viewing too! We will be reporting on another of the Vintage Aviation Museum’s aircraft, a rare Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon in the near future!

 

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Video: My Metal Mistress at Texas Antique Airplane Fly-In

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Smitty Smith of FunPlacesToFly.com sent us this video he shot at the 2017 Texas Antique Airplane Fly-in in Gainesville, Texas, which was held Oct. 13-14. He explains: “We flew a completely restored 1956 Cessna 172, named “My Metal Mistress,” to the fly-in. There was a huge variety of antique airplanes on display. One of the best […]
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October 17, 2017 Aerial Fireflighting

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The Liberty Gazette
October 17, 2017
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: Our college flying team gathered on the flight deck as the air tanker pilot spun tales of derring-do in aerial firefighting. He explained the little button on his control yoke, the airplane’s steering wheel. Behind him, the instrument panel was dark in comparison to the light shining through a virtual greenhouse of windows. Most airplane cockpits are too small to fit more than two or three people, even in big airliners. But the spacious cockpit of the C-119, a Korean War era plane nicknamed the Flying Boxcar, held our group of ten with room to spare.

The little button, which got more than a little attention, was a release button, like those used by bombardiers. This one opened doors on the belly of the airplane allowing up to eighteen hundred gallons of fire retardant to fall from a tank. That’s ten thousand pounds. The entire load could be dispersed in less than a second, or the drop could last up to ten seconds. One member of our group got a little too close to that button. The pilot quickly blocked her itchy fingers to prevent spilling expensive, gooey fire retardant and painting the entire ramp bright red.

Years ago, the airplanes dropped a yellow-green type of fire suppressant called Borate, which earned them the nickname, Borate Bombers. Borate was made from Borax mined from the California desert. It not only smothered the fire, it killed all the vegetation. The weight of impact was enough to cut off oxygen to the fire so the Department of Agriculture looked for something that could do the same, but wouldn’t be so harsh on plants. Phos-Chek is the suppressant used today. It’s usually dyed red with iron-sulfate so pilots can see where they have dropped their load. Once the fire has been put out, the sulfate and phosphate salts act as fertilizer to promote regrowth.

One of the airports where our flying team practiced precision landings was an air attack tanker base. Hemet Valley Flying Service operated a number of aircraft including several Flying Boxcars. The airplanes were old even then and have since been retired from service, replaced by DC-10s, 747s and others. The 747 “Supertanker” carries more than ten times the load the C-119 was capable of lifting.

While I marvel at their forms as they glide across lakes to scoop up water, and sweep down valleys with seeming grace to disperse their cargo, I do not forget the reason they exist. They are frontline weapons in a fight to save lives.

Dozens of helicopters and airplanes have been dispatched to help put out these fires that have devoured much of Napa Valley, California’s wine country. The two Canyon fires near Anaheim have claimed over 8,000 acres. The Palmer, Atlas, and Tubbs fires have burned more than 20,000 acres, and resources are stretched. This has been a tragic year of natural disasters. With each event, aviation has provided significant rescue and support.

ElyAirLines.blotspot.com

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WWII Air, Land and Sea Festival Slated for Oct. 27-29 - Gilmer Mirror

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WWII Air, Land and Sea Festival Slated for Oct. 27-29
Gilmer Mirror
The 2017 WWII Air, Land & Sea Festival will take place Oct. 27-29 at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport. Hosted by The National WWII Museum in tandem with the Commemorative Air Force and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the three-day ...

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New WACO Float Plane

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The New Float Plane is Here!WACO YMF-5F Amphibious Biplane 
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We have been working hard for the past year on the new Amphibious WACO.  The resulting unique aircraft is due to a lot of hard work and dedication by the team at Waco Aircraft Corp.

 

The combination of the new 300 HP engine, the new MT constant speed propeller and Aerocet 3400 Amphibious floats helped make this ambitious project a reality.  

 

This blending of equipment has allowed us to build a great performing, exceptionally fun and beautiful WACO Amphibious float plane, the YMF-5F  (The “F” is for Float and Fun !)

 

Preliminary flight testing is complete and we are thrilled with its performance, both on the water and in the air.  Performance specifications are excellent, with water run times under 18 seconds and in the air numbers nearly equal to conventional landing gear aircraft.

 

The standard aircraft is fully equipped for water operations and also features cutting edge Garmin Avionics including ADS-B compliant transponder (in & out), Garmin digital Com and the new Garmin G5.  Other features include extensive anti corrosion measures, including the use of stainless steel fasteners and fully protected aluminum structures.  Additionally the aircraft has luxurious interior appointments and other premium features that WACO is known for.

 

Features Include:

 

  • Aerocet 3400 Amphibious Floats
  • ADS-B In & Out – Garmin GTX-345
    • Advanced Touchscreen GPS Unit and Garmin Com
  • Garmin G5 Attitude Indicator
  • Leather Interior Seating with Heat Front and Rear
  • New Aircraft, New Tooling, Modern Safety Features
  • Approved for Commercial Ride Operations
 
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Contact us today to inquire about your own WACO Amphibious Float Plane!

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