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JULY 2011

Mark & Mary White
Vero Beach, Florida
■ Mark earned his pilot’s
licence at age 17
■ Mary also has her
pilot’s licence
■ EAA Vintage & Antique Aircraft
Association members

Mark and Mary purchased the Fleet (1930 Consolidated YPT-6A) as a
project back in 2001. They spent the next seven years restoring it and
now enjoy flying to various events around Florida.
The AUA team provided us top-notch service and a reasonable rate
when writing a policy to insure our 1930 Consolidated YPT-6A Fleet.
They were very professional and showed a genuine interest in providing
coverage for antique and classic aircraft.

Thanks AUA
!

— Mark & Mary White

Come see us for a no-obligation quote at our booth during Air Venture Oshkosh, July 25–31.
AUA is Vintage Aircraft Association approved. To become a member of VAA call 800-843-3612.

Aviation insurance with the EAA Vintage Program offers:
Lower premiums with payment options QAdditional coverages
On-line quote request available QAUA is licensed in all states

Flexibility on the use of your aircraft

Q

Experienced agents

Q

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The best is affordable. Give AUA a call – it’s FREE!

800-727-3823
Fly with the pros… fly with AUA Inc.
www.auaonline.com

A I R P L A N E
Vol. 39, No. 7

2011

J U L Y

CONTENTS
2

Straight & Level
Chapter success, the right recipe
by Geoff Robison

3

News

6

A Waco Kind of Family
The Applegate clan and their YKS-6
by Budd Davisson

13

Flashes of Purple Sparks
by Daniel J. Demers

16

First Regular Airmail Flight

6

by Lieut. H. Latane Lewis, II

20

To Follow the Line
This was the way I had learned navigation: to follow the line
by E. Jeff Justis

25

The Vintage Mechanic
Early fire-extinguishing system
by Robert G. Lock

30

The Vintage Instructor

16

Vintage flying is very much alive!
by Steve Krog, CFI

32

Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy

38

Classified Ads

40

Flying Outside the Fishbowl
by S. Michelle Souder

STAFF

EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Director/Editor
Production/Special Project
Photography
Copy Editor
Senior Art Director
EAA Chairman of the Board

Rod Hightower
Mary Jones
H.G. Frautschy
Kathleen Witman
Jim Koepnick
Colleen Walsh
Olivia P. Trabbold
Tom Poberezny

Publication Advertising:
Manager/Domestic, Sue Anderson
Tel: 920-426-6127
Email: sanderson@eaa.org
Fax: 920-426-4828
Senior Business Relations Mgr, Trevor Janz
Tel: 920-426-6809
Email: tjanz@eaa.org

COVERS

FRONT COVER: The Applegates of Queen City, Missouri, use their Waco YKS-6 as the family
aerial SUV, happily visiting fly-ins and friends all over the Midwest. Read more about this remarkable aviation family and their favorite cabin biplane in Budd Davisson’s article starting on
page 6. EAA/Mike Steineke photo.

Manager/European-Asian, Willi Tacke
Phone: +49(0)1716980871 Email: willi@flying-pages.com
Fax: +49(0)8841 / 496012

Interim Coordinator/Classified, Alicia Canziani
Tel: 920-426-6860
Email: classads@eaa.org

BACK COVER: The EAA Library’s Grospitch Collection contains a number of photos that show
life on the flightline during the early days of Air Mail and National Air Transport (eventually
United Air Lines). Many of the shots like this one were taken at Hadley Airport, in New Jersey
(outside of New York City). Men hustle the bags of mail into the mail bin of a Douglas M-3
Mailplane as an apparently happy armed guard watches over the operation. Hadley Field was
the first terminus for the eastbound Air Mail. EAA Grospitch Collection, negative number 400.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 1

STRAIGHT & LEVEL
GEOFF ROBISON
PRESIDENT, VINTAGE AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION

Chapter success, the right recipe
By the time this month’s Vintage
Airplane hits your mailbox we will
be days away from the start of the
World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration,
known to us all as EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh. As I have stated repeatedly
in this column, this is yet another year
at Oshkosh you do not want to miss.
The planning continues to evolve in
spectacular fashion. If you haven’t recently visited the convention website,
www.AirVenture.org, you really need
to check out all the amazing events
scheduled for this year’s event. There
truly is something for everyone!
The monthly work parties at Oshkosh in the Vintage area continue
to experience great success. I want
to personally thank everyone who
has attended and invested their personal resources in assisting us with
this always-important task of preparing the site for our annual fly-in and
convention. It is impossible for me to
imagine how we could possibly accomplish so much progress without
the valued assistance of our many
pre-convention volunteers. I also look
forward to personally welcoming
back the hundreds of Vintage volunteers who assist us with all the critical
responsibilities that make this event a
safe and successful convention each
and every year.
A few pages ahead in this month’s
issue, board director Steve Krog’s Vintage Instructor column takes a break
from the traditional form of aviation
education to talk about one of the
aspects of today’s aviation trends. I
mention it here because it’s important to listen to these guys who work
in the trenches nearly every day, truly
promoting recreational aviation.
Steve rightly points out that the nega-

2 JULY 2011

tive “doom and gloom” that we all
read in the GA magazines these days
is absolutely the wrong message to
expound upon. Relatively speaking,
our vintage aircraft are as economical and safe to operate today as they
were 50 years ago. Everything in our
lives is impacted by the value of our
dollar today as compared to yesterday. If you think about the issue in
a fair and impartial manner, it really
is all relative. Yes, it is more expensive to operate the aircraft I own, but
so is driving my automobile. When
you do a complete analysis of what’s
important in your life, flying will always float to the top as one of my top
three things that gives me the most
pleasure in life. My very best memories are always going to include family, friends, and flying. Steve’s point
of view is the right one. What are we
doing individually to help grow the
pilot population? Join Steve in selling
the “fun” in aviation!
Let’s talk Vintage chapters for a
minute. What are the key ingredients
to creating and then maintaining a
Vintage chapter? Every chapter, EAA
or otherwise, will experience the normal ebbs and flows of maintaining
and attending to the many responsibilities of operating a chapter. If you
leave out just one of the most key
ingredients of the recipe of a strong
chapter, the result will likely leave a
bad taste in your mouth. So, the recipe really is a critical factor to be considered. Are you currently in a chapter
that is fading or has lost the ability to
attract membership? If so, then someone needs to spice up the recipe. You
have to figure out what that bad taste
is all about. Sometimes, the problem
is standing right in front of you, and

no one is willing to address the real
issue of what will potentially lead to
the demise of that chapter. Sometimes the problem is that it’s the same
small crowd of individuals who carry
the full burden of operating the chapter, and it is way past the time to “revitalize.” Get your arms around those
folks with the energy to help out. Assign some of these individuals some
real responsibility; then get out of the
way and let them do their thing. They
may really surprise you. Remember
the recipe. It’s got to be fun, safe, and
it better taste good!
I do have a bit of news that is of
great concern about my immediate
predecessor in this volunteer job,
Butch Joyce. He’s one of my very
best friends, and I’m very sorry to tell
you he was recently diagnosed with
a brain tumor. The tumor was found
to be malignant, and the surgical
procedure to remove the tumor was
less than successful. At the moment,
Butch remains hospitalized at Duke
University in North Carolina, where
he will continue with physical therapy, and radiation and chemotherapy
treatments. The only good news we’ve
heard related to his illness is that the
type of tumor he has can be successfully treated. Butch is well-known in
the vintage airplane community; his
willingness to pitch in and help his
fellow members has been a big part of
his life’s story for decades. I would ask
that each of you keep Butch and his
wife, Norma, and their respective family members, in your prayers. Cards
and letters are welcome at their residence; the address is listed in the back
of this publication.

VAA NEWS

To help members who fly in to understand the layout of the convention area administered by the VAA, we’ve prepared this simplified map. As you can see, camping starts at Row 74 on the east side of the main north/south
road (Wittman Road), with the areas to the north of that line set up to handle display-only vintage aircraft. That’s
why you may see open areas as you taxi south to your camping location.
Once you arrive, you’ll need to register your aircraft and/or campsite. In addition to roving registration vehicles,
there is one main aircraft registration building, located just south of the VAA Red Barn (see map). The EAA convention campgrounds are private campgrounds and are not open to non-EAA members. Each campsite must be registered by a current EAA member.
Another immediate benefit of VAA membership is your free VAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011 Participant Plaque,
which you can pick up in the rear of the Red Barn. EAA and VAA memberships are available at both aircraft registration and the membership booth located under the VAA Welcome Arch, northeast of the Red Barn at the corner
of Wittman Road and Vern Avenue as well as inside the Red Barn.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 3

Find Your Favorite
Presentations and
Workshops Online
With hundreds of the world’s
leading aviation authorities giving close to 1,000 individual presentations at nearly 45 locations
spread throughout the AirVenture
grounds, finding out who is presenting, where, and when can be,
in a word, challenging. The EAA
AirVenture website has an online
tool that can make this task simple
when you use the integrated AirVenture schedule.
Located at www.AirVenture.org
under “Attractions” and then under “Activities, Presentations &
Workshops,” the database includes
all the venues, subjects and topics, presenters, and events from
not only Forums and Workshops,
but also Warbirds in Review, KidVenture, Museum Speakers Showcase, Authors Corner, Theater in
the Woods, special “at the aircraft”
presentations on ConocoPhillips
Plaza, and more. If it’s scheduled,
you’ll find it here. In addition, the
web schedule is updated on a daily
basis to reflect any changes or additions that might occur at the last
minute. You can even create your
own itinerary of various events of
interest. You can save or print it out
for future reference.
A quick link to this new schedule
is www.AirVenture.org/schedule.

Fabric-Covering Workshop
Last month we mentioned that
Superflite covering systems would
be presenting covering workshops
in the VAA area. Changes in the
company’s plans have required it to
cancel its presentations in the tent
near the Vintage Hangar. To learn
more about fabric covering, we recommend visiting the AirVenture
workshops area, supported by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. It’s located
north of the FAA control tower in
the Workshops Plaza area.

Flight Planning for Your
EAA AirVenture Trip
As an EAA member (an impor-

4 JULY 2011

tant part of your VAA membership),
you can use the EAA Flight Planner
to chart your trip to Wittman Field
for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011.
Just click on the EAA Flight Planner
link on the left side of the VAA home
page at www.VintageAircraft.org, or access it through the members’ only
section of EAA’s online community
at www.Oshkosh365.org.

Grass Runways and Fuel
Also on our VAA website, we
publish a list created by VAA member Kris Kortokrax.
Kris flies a variety of old biplanes that are more pleasant to
fly when they are flown from grass
strips, and he and his buddies from
Shelbyville, Illinois, do their best to
keep the old biplanes happy (and
keep tire wear to a minimum) by
flying cross-country from grass strip
to grass strip. Finding fuel facilities
can be a challenge these days, and
Kris has distilled this airport information to be useful for like-minded
grass-runway-preferring pilots. This
data was current as of the beginning
of the year, and we’d suggest calling
ahead to confirm fuel availability
and hours of operation. If you have
any changes or additions, drop us
an e-mail here at VintageAircraft@
eaa.org and we’ll forward it to Kris.
Our thanks to Kris for sharing his
list. Let us know if you find it useful!

service to EAA members for whatever
donation you feel is appropriate.

Breakfast and a Briefing
The VAA Tall Pines Café will be
in operation again this year with
an expanded schedule prior to
convention, and fly-in-style pancake and egg breakfasts during
EAA AirVenture. Starting on Friday morning, July 22, and continuing through Sunday, July 24, the
VAA Tall Pines Café will be open for
breakfast (6:30-9:30 a.m.) and dinner (4:30-7:30 p.m.). Starting Monday, July 25, only breakfast will be
served at the Tall Pines Café (6:309:30 a.m.) through Saturday, July
30. Just to the north, a Flight Service Station (FSS) trailer will be located near the café. At the trailer
you’ll be able to check the weather
for your flight and obtain a full
briefing from FSS specialists without having to trek up to the FAA
Building near the control tower.
We’ll see you there each morning
for “breakfast and a briefing.”

Are You a Friend of the
VAA Red Barn?

VAA’s Portable Electronics
Charging Station
Do your rechargeable personal
electronics like your cellphone or
computer go dead before AirVenture’s over? VAA has the solution to
your problem!
Immediately west of the VAA Red
Barn we will be providing the ability to revitalize those indispensable
cellphones, computers, iPods, etc.
Turn off your item and bring it and
its 120V AC charger to our charging station. Leave it with the attendant—we’ll give you a claim check.
Bring back the claim check in a few
hours and receive your equipment
all charged up and ready to go. VAA
and its volunteers are providing this

If so, be sure to check in at the
information desk at the VAA Red
Barn. There, we’ll issue you a special name badge. We can also point
out the location for the Ford TriMotor rides. If you have any questions, feel free to ask for Theresa
Books, the VAA administrative assistant. If you need to reach her in
advance of your arrival, call her at
EAA headquarters, 920-426-6110.
Our thanks to each of you
who have contributed to the VAA
Friends of the Red Barn 2011 campaign. We’ll have the list of contributors in the September edition
of Vintage Airplane!

VAA Message Center
If you would like to leave a
message for people you know
who frequent the VAA Red Barn,
stop by the information desk. You
can write them a message in our
“notebook on a string,” and we’ll
post their name on the marker
board so they’ll know there’s a
message waiting for them. Sure,
cellphones and walkie-talkies are
great, but sometimes nothing
works better than a hand-scribbled note!

VAA Picnic
Tickets for the annual VAA
picnic to be held Wednesday,
July 27, at the Nature Center
will be available for sale at the
VAA Red Barn. Tickets must be
p u rc h a s e d i n a d v a n c e s o w e
know how much food to order. The delicious meal will be
served from 5:30 p.m. until approximately 7 p.m. If you need
transportation, trams will begin leaving the VAA Red Barn
around 5 p.m. and will make return trips after the picnic. Type
clubs may hold their annual
banquets during the picnic. Call
Jeannie Hill (815-245-4464),
and she will reserve seating so
your type club can sit together.

Shawano Fly-Out
The annual fly-out to Shawano
is Saturday, July 30. The sign-up
sheet will be at the desk at the VAA
Red Barn, and the briefing will be
at 7 a.m. the morning of the flyout. The community of Shawano,
approximately an hour north of
Oshkosh (as the Cub flies), puts
forth a lot of effort to sponsor this
event. Shawano’s residents do a
great job of hosting us, and we
hope you’ll help us thank Shawano by joining us on the flight.

VAA Red Barn Store
The VAA Red Barn Store, chockfull of VAA logo merchandise and
other great gear, will be open all
week long, Monday through Satcontinued on page 34

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 5

A

Wa c o

Kind of Family

6 JULY 2011

The Applegate clan and their YKS-6
BY

BUDD DAVISSON
MIKE STEINEKE

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 7

MIKE STEINEKE

The entire family enjoys flying the Waco all over the Midwest and beyond. The color scheme evokes the colors chosen
by Wiley Post for his record-setting Lockheed Vega, the Winnie Mae.

“I

was about 6 years old,
and Dad had taken us
to a fly-in in Ottumwa,
Iowa, in my dad’s TriPacer. We were flying
home when we flew up alongside a
cabin Waco. My brother took a picture of it, and I looked at that picture for years thinking, ‘I’d sure like
to have one of those, but it’s probably just a dream.’ I still have that
picture and looked at it often, and
remembered the dream.”
The speaker, Harve Applegate
of Queen City, Missouri, has more
than the aforementioned picture to

8 JULY 2011

show for his youthful fascination
with things that fly. He now has
what he wished for when looking
through the window of the family
Tri-Pacer so many years ago, a cabin
Waco. A YKS-6 to be exact.
It’s a little difficult to describe
Harve Applegate’s aviation history
because to do so, it is absolutely
necessary that his dad be brought
into the picture. And his mom,
who also earned a private pilot certificate. And his wife, Carolyn, who
refers to their Cub as “her” Cub.
And the three Applegate kids, Taryn
(22), Matt (24), and Shalyn (15).

Aviation families are quite common
within the sport aviation community, but few have made aviation
to be something so consuming and
genetic that is passed from generation to generation.
Harve says, “I suppose it started
with Dad. He was a B-36 crew chief
in the Air Force, and when he got
out, he used the GI Bill to get a
pilot’s license. Eventually he was
farming 1,500 acres, so it was only
natural that he would put a runway
in. Except it wasn’t just a runway.
It was an airport in our backyard
that was later named Applegate Air-

port. That was in 1964. So, basically
we’ve lived on an airport from just
about the moment I was born. Now
that I think about it, since I was
born on the farm, it could be said I
was born on an airport.”
With that kind of family background, soloing when he turned
16 would be totally expected. However, even his solo indicated that
his aviation life was going to be a
little different than most folks.
“When the day came for me to
solo,” he says, “the weather was
lousy. In fact, it was below minimums. And I was really bummed.

So was Dad. So, we called the FAA
and got a ‘special’ VFR clearance.
The last words my instructor said
before I took off in the C-152
were, ‘Stay out of the clouds, come
around, and land.’ So, I did.”
There he was, a certificated pilot
and still riding the school bus to his
little country school and living the
life of a typical high school kid, including going to local fairs.
“It was at a local fair right after I
graduated that I met Carolyn, and
I asked her out for a date. On our
second or third date I took her flying in Dad’s Decathlon. I guess that
must have impressed her because
we got married a year later.”
Carolyn says, “He’s such an aviation addict that our honeymoon
had us stopping at various airports
as we traveled. But, I’ll tell you
what. I’d much rather he be out flying or hanging out at airports than
out drinking.” And she laughs. She
laughs a lot.
Often it is at this point in an aviator’s life story that the individual
says his flying stopped while he
built a business and a family, to
be resumed as a later date. Harve,
however, managed to sidestep that
layoff. For one thing, he essentially lived on an airport, his wife
liked flying (she says, “I decided if I
couldn’t beat him, I’d join him and
started taking flying lessons.”), and
he’d grown up banging knuckles
working on airplanes. So, where so
many young fathers find their aviation career has stagnated, he started
building up his own airplanes, the
first being a Cessna 170B.
“The 170,” he says, “was actually
a flying project. To say it was a flying airplane stretches the definition
of airplane a little. Yes, it flew and
it was a very straight airplane, but
it was certainly not an eye-catcher.
Carolyn was even a bit taken back at
the suggestion of actually purchasing it. Its aluminum looked like an
old galvanized tin building, and the
interior reeked of mold and mildew.
There was nothing good about it
other than the straight sheet metal.
So, little by little I rebuilt it.

“Because we live barely 40 miles
from Blakesburg, getting hooked on
vintage airplanes was unavoidable.
Dad would take us to lots of fly-ins,
including Blakesburg, and from the
very beginning, I actually liked vintage airplanes better than he did.
And I loved working on them.”
Harve’s love of vintage mechanics showed through many years of
polishing and restoration of the
C-170. It went to Oshkosh for 16
years. At first it was noticed because
it looked dreadfully forlorn, but
over the years it began to gain more
attention and for better reasons.
The judges were impressed enough
in 2000 to give it the best 170/180
award. Then, it won Grand Champion in its class at the AAA Fly-In at
Blakesburg the next year.
“First, I have to say that I don’t
build airplanes to win trophies, and
I don’t go to fly-ins to be judged. I
build airplanes to go to fly-ins. Period. We love going to fly-ins and
attend at least 15 or 20 a year, and
we do it as a family. Eventually, the
kids got too big and we out-grew
the 170 after putting a little over
1,200 hours on it.”
While Harve might say he was
building a family, the truth is that
Carolyn was the one having the
babies and trying to build a career.
And her schedule was more than
just a little tight: She started college right after Taryn was born and
missed her own graduation because
she was busy finishing her own
homebuilt, Shalyn. Today she puts
that diploma to work teaching second grade, while Harve farms 1,500
acres of soybeans and corn.
Besides their growing family, another factor driving their need for a
bigger airplane is that 24-year-old
Matt has special physical needs,
and to guarantee his mobility and
comfort at air shows means carrying more equipment.
Carolyn says, “Matt absolutely
lives and breathes fly-ins and air
shows. No one on the grounds is
more enthusiastic than he is. If we
go to a fly-in, he goes. He’s been
going to shows with us for so long

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 9

that he has made a huge number
of friends out of the other participants, and that’s good for all of us.”
“I was looking for a bigger airplane when a friend of mine told
me about a beautiful 195 with a
blown engine sitting out on the
ramp in Tullahoma, “ Harve says.
“I contacted the airport to find out
info about the owner. I contacted
him and discovered it not only had
a bad engine, but the finance company held the note, as the owner
was going through bankruptcy. I
flew down with my stepfather (who
had become a pilot after marrying my mother…dad had died by
then), and we looked it over.
“I put in a bid and got it. I sold
the 170 to a wonderful friend, and
fortunately, it stayed at our airport,
where it is well tended. We put a
new 330 Jake from Radial Engines
Limited on the 195, and it won
awards at both Oshkosh and Blakesburg, as well. We kept the 195 for
three years. But, it still wasn’t a
Waco, something I just couldn’t get
out of my head.
“When I started looking for
Wacos,” he says, “like everyone
else, I was assaulted by the incredible number of different varieties.
But I wasn’t looking for something
to rebuild, nor was I looking for a
rare variety. I wanted an airplane
that would serve our family well.
The fact that it would be an incredibly cool antique was just a bonus.
Because of that I passed on a lot of
projects and focused on airplanes
that were flying and needed a minimum of work and could be fairly
easily supported. That meant an
engine for which parts were plentiful and had a reputation for reliability. If I was going to use it to
carry my family around, both were
absolutely necessary. I also wasn’t
looking for one of the big-engine
airplanes, like an SRE. Those were
out of my price range, both to
buy and to fly. So, basically I was
looking for Continental 220-powered aircraft or any of the Jacobspowered birds. I leaned towards the
Jakes because of my 195 experience.

10 JULY 2011

CRAIG VANDERKOLK

Most of the Applegate family during AirVenture 2010 from left to right:
daughter Shalyn, Har ve, Carolyn, and son Matt. The Applegates’ other
daughter, Tar yn, couldn’t make the trip.

“I looked at a few airplanes before a friend, Doug Parsons, turned
me on to N16249, a 1936 YKS-6. It
was last restored by Pete Covington in 1994, so it was in really good
condition. In fact, well-known antiquer Morton Lester had owned it
at the time of restoration. It was a
good solid airplane that was due for
some freshening up, not a rebuild.
This was exactly what I was looking
for. It had been through two owners since Lester owned it and was
now part of an estate sale.
“I got it home in July of 2005 and
began working on it,” he says. “Because it had been restored nearly 15
years earlier and hadn’t been a hangar queen for all that time, it was
starting to show a little of its age.
The seats, for instance, were worn,
as were other parts of the interior,
so we redid all of that. We went over
the entire airplane, doing a lot of
touch-up work, including repainting the cowling and a few other
panels. At the same time we added
Cleveland wheels and brakes.
“By far the hardest thing we did
was to change the entire firewall
forward. The work itself wasn’t very

difficult, but the paperwork turned
out to be a headache.
“The original engine was a Jacobs R-755-9, which is 245 hp, but
I wanted more power. We have a
pretty big useful load with this airplane, but it needs the extra power
when it’s heavy. So, I wanted to go
up to the 755-B2M, which is 275
hp. I had Air Repair in Cleveland,
Mississippi, build up an engine for
me. Since it’s virtually identical to
the original Jake, putting it on was
nothing. At the same time, we installed a new Sensenich wooden
prop. But, then we started working
on the paperwork.
“This shouldn’t have been nearly
the problem it was because the
YKS is exactly the same airframe as
a ZKS, but sometimes things that
look logical take more patience
than you’d expect.
“Our local FSDO wouldn’t approve the change because they
said it was too much of a power increase. We argued back and forth for
months that the ZKS, which was 285
hp, and the YKS were on the same
type certificate. They just couldn’t
get it through their heads that the

The Applegates camp every year just south of the VAA Flightline Operations building so son Matt and the family can enjoy visiting with their many
friends and watch the afternoon air show.

two airplanes were one in the same.
Finally, we got a hold of Jeff Janus
at the FAA’s Aircraft Certification
Office (ACO) who said it was a nobrainer and sent it back to the FSDO
and told them to sign it off.
“We’ve been flying the airplane
for five years now, and it’s exactly
what we wanted and what we
thought it should be. First, for an
airplane this big, it’s really easy to
fly. In fact, it lands a lot like our
Cub and even on pavement isn’t
hard to keep straight.
“On takeoff, you can’t see anything straight ahead, which is okay
because the view to the side is good.
When the tail comes up, you can
obviously see more, but you’re not
on the ground long, and if there’s
even a slight headwind, it literally
floats off the ground.
“Once off the ground it has a really solid feeling. I know it’s a big
airplane, but it feels as if it is even
bigger. But, I don’t know how much

CRAIG VANDERKOLK

A Lesson in the Learning: Caveats When Donating
At one point Harve’s dad began having airport problems, and there’s a lesson
to be learned for a lot of us here.
“The airport had never gotten huge,” Harve says. “It was just a nice, friendly
airport with a few hangars and some local tenants. But, it was the only airport in
the area, so Dad deeded it over to the city. I guess you could say he donated it.
For years this worked out really well, and all the aviation guys in the area loved it.
We host a fly-in there each year, and that became something of a local event that
everyone looked forward to.
“Dad died suddenly in 1981, and we decided to build a house right near the
hangars on our adjoining land. Then, just as the house was all finished and we
were about to move in, the city announced that they were selling the airport. They
said they didn’t want the liability of it anymore. Plus, it was attractive to developers.
“That was a pretty scary time. Here we had a new house adjoining the property
where friends flew in and enjoyed hanging out, and then it was going to be sold.
“After some stressful conversations with city hall, we discovered that there was
a reversionary clause in the original donation documentation that said the property
would revert to dad’s heirs, if it was to be sold. So, we got it back. It was at that
time that the airport was officially named the Applegate Airport in honor of my dad.”

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 11

MIKE STEINEKE

Another gorgeous picture of the Applegates’ plane flying over the Midwest.

bigger you’d want. The back seat
is an honest three kids wide, and
the two front seats are separated
by nearly a foot. So, you feel as if
you’re flying your own little airliner. And how many airplanes today let you crank the side windows
down and fly with you elbows up
on the windowsill?
“It’s not a rocketship in climb,
about 500-600 fpm, but it’ll give
you that, or close to it, whether
you’re loaded or not. Those big old
wings can really carry a load.
“It’s also not a speed demon,
but it’ll indicate 120 mph, give or
take 5 mph, at about 14 gallons per
hour and fly straight ahead with
no help from the pilot until you’re
tired of sitting there. It’s amazingly
stable and comfortable on crosscountries. Of course your visibility
isn’t the best, since you can barely
see straight ahead most of the time,
but if you stretch just a little, you
can. Extra cushions help.
“On landing,” he says, “You’re
over the fence at about 80 mph, but
it decelerates in ground effect really
quickly, and you just keep pulling to
get the steep deck angle. In a three-

12 JULY 2011

CRAIG VANDERKOLK

The overhead skylight windows really add to the sight lines as your fly the
YKS-6, especially when you roll it into a turn.
point, it touches down at about 50
mph. It also wheel lands, my preferred landing method, super easy
and is almost cheating. If you get it
on straight, with no drift, it is literally a pussycat on the runway. If you
plant it crooked, it’s not a pussycat.”
Now that Harve has his childhood
dream airplane safely in the hangar,

what else is there for him to do?
“Well, our Vagabond is getting a
little tired looking, and I need to rerag that. And I suppose the Cub could
stand a few touches here and there.
We’d say the moral of this story
is “Don’t ever give up on your
childhood fantasies. Make them
come true.”

Lt. Paul Beck, left, with
the Western Wireless
Equipment Company A-4
wireless set in his lap
while seated in a Wright
biplane during wireless
tests during the 1911 San
Francisco Air Meet. The
set weighed 29 pounds
and featured a telegraph
key mounted on the top of
the mahogany box.
JOURNAL OF ELECTRICITY, POWER AND GAS

Flashes of Purple Sparks
BY

The first wireless message sent
from an airplane to a ground station
wasn’t very imaginative or profound.
The message, telegraphed in dots and
dashes, by U.S. Army Lt. Paul W. Beck
on January 21, 1911, was:
“Associated Press. Aviation
Field. Scotford is not the only
bird on the aviation board. Beck.”
The message didn’t have the humbling sense of Samuel Morse’s “What
hath God wrought?” or the quaintness of Alexander Graham Bell’s “Mr.
Watson—come here—I want to see
you” or Neil Armstrong’s inspirational “That’s one small step for man,
one giant leap for mankind.”
The rather mundane message was
hastily scribbled by Associated Press
reporter Guy Moysten, who was covering the January 1911 air meet in San
Francisco. Moysten asked Beck what
message he intended on sending. Beck
told Moysten to write the message for
him and to fold it so that he could not
read it without unfolding it.
The message had been sent over a
distance of 1-1/2 miles to a ground
station at the newly constructed aviation field next to Tanforan Racetrack in San Bruno, California. On
the receiving end was Sgt. 1st Class
Henry Dunn of the Army Signal

DANIEL J. DEMERS

Corps.
Beck had been taken aloft by Philip
O. Parmalee, an early aviation pioneer. The “purple sparks spluttered
by the telegraph key” were also intercepted by navy wireless stations on
Goat Island (now Yerba Buena Island)
and the Mare Island Navy Yard.
Beck’s second message was, “Three
hundred feet up and riding level.
It is cold. It is bumpy.” The word
“bumpy” wasn’t received because
Beck’s fingers were so cold that they
refused to, as Beck put it, “answer the
nerve impulses.”
The word “Scotford” in the first
message referred to Frederick E. Scotford, chairman of the Aviation Executive Committee, which had
conceived, planned, and set in motion the air meet. The message referred to a previous flight “around the
course” in which Scotford had been
taken up by Walter Brookins.
The meet was designed to show the
world that San Francisco, which had
been virtually destroyed by the 1906
earthquake, was back in the swing of
things. Getting the War Department
to actively participate in an air meet
for the first time added to the drama
of the event. With the participation
came marching troops and horse cavalry displays and sham battles “repelling attacks from the skies.” The

army also “lent their band for daily
concerts during guard mount or parade”—all this to the delight of the
crowds throughout the entire affair.
San Francisco was in heavy competition with New Orleans for the exclusive rights to the 1915 Panama-Pacific
International Exhibition (PPIE), a
world’s fair, to celebrate the upcoming 1914 opening of the Panama
Canal. The city desperately wanted
to land the exhibition, believing it
would confirm San Francisco’s phoenix-like rise from the ashes of devastation. The air show was thought of as
the opening act.
Plans for the PPIE had already
been complicated in 1910. Just six
months earlier, California’s governor had banned the Jim Jeffries-Jack
Johnson fight scheduled for San
Francisco—forcing the epic “Fight
of the Century” to Reno—to placate
church leaders who objected to interracial prize fights. Nationally leading church figures and congressional
leaders had pledged to oppose San
Francisco landing the exhibition if
the fight went forward.
By the time Beck was able to send
his historic message, the air show had
already witnessed the dropping of explosive bombs, air reconnaissance exercises, and Eugene Ely’s landing and
takeoff from a warship. Ely’s feat over-

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 13

shadowed all the other historic firsts
achieved at the meet.
Beck described the sensation of flying at 800 feet like this:
“Whirring propellers, throbbing pistons and machinegun-like gasoline explosions
deafened you, while tears, bitter tears, were forced from your
eyes by the back rush of air, and
you have a slight conception
how it feels to rival the eagle in a
Wright biplane.”
He had used, in his own words,
“a rough, makeshift affair, weighing
thirty-two pounds.” It consisted of
a “small gap and interrupter, an ordinary telegraph key, a small storage
cell” and a shunt “to prevent overcharging of the cell.” The entire device was contained in a wooden box
that he carried on his lap. The aerial
used for the experiment was a 120foot bronze wire trailing the plane
connected to the “sending apparatus by a number sixteen copper wire.”
The whole gizmo was grounded to a
stay wire on the aircraft connected
“to the sending apparatus.” Beck explained, “The wave length measured
by the wave meter at the receiving
station was 575 meters in length. This
is rather longer than we had thought
it would be.”
Simultaneous to Beck’s experiment, Charlie Willard (another
pioneer aviator) unsuccessfully attempted to send a wireless message
using a different set. According to
Beck, “His outfit weighed a trifle less
than the one which I used and his
antenna wire was a trifle longer.” Acknowledging that Willard was not an
experienced telegraph operator, Beck
wrote that, “a special code had been
arranged for him.” However, none of
Willard’s “impulses” were recorded
on the ground receiver.
An attempt to receive a message
from the ground had been scrubbed
10 days earlier. Hubert Latham, a
French aviator, had agreed to receive
the “first ever” message in his Antoinette monoplane. Latham’s monoplane had been selected because its

14 JULY 2011

“engine is practically noiseless when
compared” with the other planes at
the air meet. “Silence,” wrote Beck “is
an essential factor to the successful
reading of telegraphic codes or the
successful undertaking of human
speech by wireless telephone.”
Of great concern to the experiment’s sponsors was the fact that an
“electrical discharge” was involved in
the actual receiving of the message
from the ground. Thus it was of “great
importance that the gasoline tank be
thoroughly insulated in order to prevent possible ignition from a spark.”
Avoiding such an aerial catastrophe
was to be overcome by using “one of
the guy wires on the Antoinette machine as the static ground and to drag
from the tail of the airship an aluminum wire of great capacity and weighing less than two pounds though 130
feet in length as the antenna.”
Unfortunately, as Beck told it, “the
god or gods of the elements” stepped
in. On this particular day, being “aloft
was dangerous to life and limb.”
Latham’s beautiful Antoinette monoplane was demolished in an accident.
Latham survived the crash, but a mere
12 months later he died a mysterious
death in the French Congo.
Beck understood that aviation was
in its infancy and that “we must creep
before we walk.” While the experiment to send a message had failed
due to an air wreck, Beck concluded
it had been “reduced to a mere question of providing mechanical devices
for deadening the sound of the propellers, shutting out the noise of the
rushing wind and providing some
simple means for placing the received
message in written form on some
sheet or sheets of paper.”
He knew this because of his own
achievement of sending the first ever
wireless message from an aircraft to
the ground. Receiving a message involved simply reversing the process.
Editor’s note: Some sources claim that
Beck’s success with the wireless was foreshadowed by a successful test by James
McCurdy on August 27, 1910 while flying over the Sheepshead Bay Race Track
in Brooklyn, New York.

Sources:
Chief Warrant Officer Mark J.
Denger, Dominguez International Air Meet, California
Aviation History, www.MilitaryMuseum.org/Dominguez.html
Lt. Paul W. Beck, Aviation Meet
From War Viewpoint, How
Army and Navy Will Take Part,
San Francisco Examiner, January
6, 1911, 5.
Lt. J.C. Walker Jr., War Problems to be Solved In Air, San
Francisco Examiner, January 7,
1911, 3.
Lt. Paul W. Beck, What Army Is
Striving For, Opening Day a
Big Success, San Francisco Examiner, January 8, 1911, 76.
Lt. Paul W. Beck, Wreck Spoils Wireless Experiment, San Francisco
Examiner, January 11, 1911, 2.
Lt. J.C. Walker Jr., Biplanes in
Wind Please Army Man, San
Francisco Examiner, January 11,
1911, 2.
Lt. Paul W. Beck, Airplane Wireless Experiments Today, War
Expert Reviews the Aviation
Meet, San Francisco Examiner,
January 18, 1911, 2.
Lt. Paul W. Beck, Wireless Adds
New Link To War Chain, San
Francisco Examiner, January 22,
1911, 67.
Flashes of Purple Glint From
Aeroplane in the Sky to Earth,
San Francisco Examiner, January
22, 1911, 67.
Lt. Paul W. Beck, Novices Meet
Mishap By Striving, Praised
by Beck For Game Effort, San
Francisco Examiner, January 23,
1911, 3.
Lt. Paul W. Beck, Aviation in War
Advanced, Expert Reviews the
Meet, San Francisco Examiner,
January 26, 1911, 3.

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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 15

From the Archives: Reprinted from Popular Aviation, Dec. 1935

First Regular

Airmail Flight
BY

LIEUT. H. LATANE LEWIS, II

The pilot is receiving his last-minute orders before shoving off with the mail. Once more old Jenny
makes history.
he world’s first regular airmail line was operated by
the United States Army
back in 1918, when a fleet
of old Jennies were pushed back
and forth between New York City
and Washington, D.C., a distance
of two hundred and twenty miles.
It is true that in 1911, Earle Ovington flew special mail for a distance of three or four miles during
a period of one week. But that was
simply a stunt and was in no sense
a regular airmail line. The Army’s
route was later taken over by the
Post Office Department and was
the beginning of the great airmail
system that we have today.
The planes used were slow, under-powered and usually overloaded, and they operated out of

T

16 JULY 2011

the fields that no self-respecting pilot would take a second look at in
these times. But those were the days
of wooden ships and iron men.
Chief pilot on the line was a
handsome youth just out of his
teens, Lieutenant James C. Edgerton, who had an unusual knack of
finding his way about the sky under any conditions. Today, as he
sits at his desk in the Department
of Commerce, Edgerton still has a
distinctly military bearing in spite
of his civilian clothes. He is getting
a little gray about the temples, but
his eyes light up and a smile constantly tugs at his lips as his memory takes him back to those hectic
days of the first aerial postman.
May fifteenth was the day that
the experiment in mail carrying be-

gan. There were impressive ceremonies, political speeches, bouquets of
flowers for the flyers, and the President of the United States himself
went down to the Polo Grounds
and wished the pilot who was to
carry the mail to New York, “God
speed.” Almost as soon as he left
the ground the youngster became
bewildered, however, and finally
came to earth twenty-five miles in
exactly the opposite direction.
Better luck was with Jim Edgerton bringing the mail south. He
landed on schedule, having averaged about 90 miles per hour on
the flight. There was much handshaking and back-slapping and the
young lieutenant came in for some
of the ennui of a matinee idol.
The second day’s mail went

through with considerable difficulty. The pilot scheduled to make
the flight hopped off from Philadelphia and pointed the blunt nose of
his Jennie southward toward Washington. The checkerboard fields and
streams sliding beneath his wings
soon became a jigsaw puzzle and
one that he couldn’t piece together.
The flyer realized that he was hopelessly lost. He barged around for
awhile and finally decided to come
down and ask directions.
Landing on the race track at
Bridgeton, New Jersey, forty miles
off his course, he became involved
with a group of curious
horses which cracked up
the ship. The mail was sent
back to Philadelphia by truck and
started out in another plane with
another pilot. About thirty miles
out his engine began to miss and,
as it was getting dark, he turned and
high-tailed back to his home field.
Jim Edgerton stepped forward
and offered to save the face of the
new service and take the mail on
to Washington in spite of darkness
and a bad engine. Night was coming
on in earnest by this time. If his engine should conk on the trip down,
there would be no flares for him to
release and land by, nor would he be
able to bail out with a parachute, for
this was before the day of the Caterpillar Club. And at Washington he
would have no floodlights to illuminate the Polo Grounds. It would
mean coming into that narrow field,
which was surrounded by tall trees,
in utter darkness.
But Jim was an impatient and
adventurous young man, so he
hopped off without a moment’s
hesitation. Below him the earth
looked like a canopy of black velvet set with diamonds.
Down at Washington there was
considerable excitement. Word of
the flight had quickly spread and a
throng of people, wondering what
kind of wild man this was who
would pull the whiskers of death so
nonchalantly, had gathered to see
him break his neck. But Jim Edgerton
had a habit of laughing at the morti-

cians all through his eventful flying
career. He was the least perturbed of
all as he came roaring down from the
north and circled the inky pit into
which he must bring his ship at the
speed of an express train.
There were about half a dozen
automobiles parked around the
field and Jim estimated his approach from their headlights. Spectators heard his engine stop, then
the shrill scream of the wind on
his struts and wires. Then they
caught sight of a ghost-like silhouette against the night sky, coming
down in a dizzy slideslip. An in-

stant later a gray phantom swept
across the field and settled down
to a perfect landing. The mail had
come through!
Edgerton was the first pilot who
ever flew into a thunderstorm. Up
to that time, flyers all over the world
looked upon electrical storms as a
deadly menace and had avoided
them as they would a plague. Orders had been issued that no mail
pilot should take off if weather conditions were unfavorable.
At Philadelphia, one afternoon
during the middle of July, Jim had
his ship tuned up and was ready to
shove off, but down towards the
southwest storm clouds were gathering. It was against orders to fly
under such conditions. Jim fumed
about the hangars.
Mail flying was no fair weather
job, he thought. To be of value it
had to go through under all conditions. The motto of the later day pilots, “The mail must go!” was Jim’s
motto then, too. He gave the order for the mail sacks to be loaded
aboard the old Jenny. Mechanics
shook their heads apprehensively
as he roared down the field and disappeared over the gray horizon.
He dodged the storm as far as

possible and then, as he came over
the “Susquehanna River, he ran
smack into it. It was a violent line
squall, the storm most dreaded of
all by aviators, and the kind that
sent the mighty Akron and Shenandoah down to destruction. On the
ground, trees were being uprooted
and houses damaged.
“It was the bumpiest ride I ever
had, before or since,” chuckles Jim
Edgerton today, as he recalls the
vivid impression it left on him.
“We were thrown all over the sky.
The rain and hail were so thick that
I couldn’t see the wingtips. The
propeller was all chewed
up and I had to throttle
down the engine. But,” he
adds modestly, “I came out right
on the course.”
And the mail was landed in
Washington on time.
That flight, and the others like it
that Edgerton made, probably did
more than anything else to give the
public confidence in the reliability
of the airmail. Frequently, he flew
through dense fog and relied entirely on the crude instruments of
those early days to keep him in the
air. On one of these flights he escaped death by as narrow a margin
as was ever vouchsafed a pilot.
He shoved off in heavy rain and
soon ran into thick weather. He
barged on into it, flying blind for
awhile and then climbing up on
the top of the stuff. It was so thick
that even the birds had to walk. After about an hour and a half, he
decided to try to find the ground
to check his course. He was coming down in a fast glide, when suddenly he noticed that just ahead
the mist appeared darker than the
rest. He yanked the stick back hard
and saw the swirling waters of the
Chesapeake Bay miss his landing
gear by a scant three feet.
It was a close call. Jim swung
the nose of his ship around until
the compass pointed northwest
and hedgehopped along just high
enough to clear the houses and
threes that shot by under him in
rapid succession. Even at that low

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 17

had broken and was dangling alaltitude the fog was so thick
most in the shining arc of the
it was like being submerged
propeller. If it became entangled
in pea soup, but occasionin the prop, it would shatter it to
ally there would be a break
a million splinters and probably
and Edgerton would catch
tear the engine loose.
a glimpse of the ground and
Throttling down, Jim maneuknow where he was.
vered as best he could to keep
As he passed over Havre
wire and prop from that fatal
de Grace, there suddenly
embrace. Below him were plenty
loomed up dead ahead a
of flat broad fields into which
church steeple. He was right
he could have glided. But that
on it before he saw it. He
would mean delaying the mail,
banked for all he was worth,
so the plucky youngster kept gostanding the old crock right
ing and finally sat down safely
up on her ear, and missed
With the mail aboard, the pilot proceeds to warm in Washington.
the steeple by a miracle.
Altogether Edgerton made
But the crowning thrill up the OX-5 which animates the Jenny.
fifty-three trips and never failed
of the day came a little later
to bring the mail through on any
as he passed the Army Proving
Authentic dope on the
of them. On only one did he have
Ground at Aberdeen.
controversial subject,
a forced landing.
“We were flying at an altitude of
“Who flew the first
He was over Camp Meade, Maryabout 150 feet,” Edgerton recalls.
land, when a magneto shaft broke.
“Visibility was practically nil. Sudairmail?” In spite of the
denly there was a terrific bump, almany claims to priority, by There was a terrific jolt that almost
jumped the engine out of the ship.
most as violent as if the plane had
For once, Jim had to come down
struck something. That afternoon, various pilots, we believe
and come down in a hurry. He
Army authorities at Aberdeen
that this is the real
looked below him and his heart
called up and said that an airplane
answer to the problem.
stood still. He was plunging straight
had flown over there and almost
An old Jenny, as usual,
towards the heads of hundreds of
collided with a shell fired from a
marching men on parade!
16-inch gun!”
does the work.
Is it any wonder that Edgerton’s
Lower and lower sank the helphair has turned slightly gray?
less Jenny. Edgerton flattened his
On another occasion, Jim got of a lead pencil were spurting out. glide as much as he dared and tried
caught in a vicious summer thun- Soon the whole forward part of the to squeeze over the soldiers. He was
derstorm over Baltimore. He was fuselage was saturated.
almost knocking their hats off, but
Jim watched the lightning play- still the Yanks continued to hold
flying his faithful old mount, No.
38274. The turbulent air tossed ing about the metal parts of the their ground.
the frail wooden Jenny about like plane and waited for the spark
“I just skimmed over their heads
a ship on a rough sea. One instant that would blow him to shreds and and landed on the very edge of the
her nose would be pointed straight splatter him all over Baltimore. But parade ground,” Jim laughingly retoward heaven and the next instant Lady Luck was riding with him lates. “It was my old outfit and they
Jim would see the ground rush- again and the spark never came. certainly gave me a welcome.”
ing up at him just over the engine He rode out the storm and brought
It was just a bit demoralizing to
cowl. He needed spurs and stirrups those precious letters in right on the military discipline of the pato ride that crate, for she was buck- the stroke of the clock.
rade to have an airplane drop down
Baltimore almost proved to be out of the sky and land in its midst.
ing like a bronco in a Wild West
rodeo. Peals of thunder drowned Jim’s jinx. A few days later he was And then to find that it was piloted
out the roar of the Hisso engine pushing the mail over the Mary- by one of the old members of the
and blinding flashes of lightning land metropolis when suddenly organization indeed called for a
above the steady drone of the en- rousing greeting. Jim got it all right,
cleaved the sky about him.
Suddenly, he saw gasoline begin gine, there was a high-pitched but immediately set about to repair
to leak from the tank which was metal twang like a guitar player his engine and then pushed on.
carried just below the top wing be- tuning his instrument. One of the
On August twelfth, 1918 the Artween the center section struts. In drift wires, which extended from my’s airmail days came to an end and
several places along the edge of the the nose of the plane to the struts it turned the flying of the mail over
tank, streams of fuel about the size to keep the wings from buckling, to the Post Office Department.

18 JULY 2011

AirVenture & Ford Together Again
<EH:<K;B;:;NF;H?;D9;I
š REO Speedwagon Concert: Monday

š Cruisin’ Legends: See Mustangs and

6:00PM next to the Ford Hangar

more @ Knapp Street near Warbirds

š Fly In Theater: Nightly Sunday –

š Model T Experience: Tour in a Model

Saturday 8:30PM @ Camp Scholler

T @ “Cruisin’ Legends”

š “Blues Brothers” Tribute Party:
Saturday 6:30PM @ Ford “Hangar of Blues”
š Free Ice Cream: Nightly in the campgrounds – from the Transit Connect

<EH:>7D=7H7JJH79J?EDI
šUSS Henry Ford “Cat Launch”: Race
your friend on dual Zip Lines!
šBungee Burner: Leap to new heights
on this bungee-trampoline combo!

šFree Top Gun Hat: At the Ford Hangar!
šBlue Angels Edition Mustang:
One of a kind build for the Young
Eagles benefit

šLincoln Legends and Heroes:
Autographs from living lengends
šRock Ladder: Climb to new heights!

To Follow the Line
This was the way I had learned navigation: to follow the line
BY

E. JEFF JUSTIS

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR

My son and I spent the better part of
six years restoring an Aeronca 7BCM.
Jeff was 13 years old when we started
the project, and 19 when we finished
in 1980. He earned his private pilot
certificate in that taildragger. After
years of enjoyment, the time finally arrived to find a new home for N66361.
The occasion was bittersweet. I was
sad this was probably the last time I
would fly the Aeronca 7BCM my son
and I brought back to life in 1980,
but happy I found a good home for
the craft that had been a part of our
lives for 14 years. It was 1994 . . .
She needs to be flown, and re-

20 JULY 2011

sponds quickly to my urging as I
push the throttle control forward
to begin a low-level, no-radio, notransponder flight from Charles W
Baker Airport in Millington, Tennessee, to Eagles’ Landing Airpark,
a fly-in community just south of
Griffin, Georgia.
My onboard navigational equipment is composed of an erratic compass and a sectional chart with a
yellow line drawn to my first refueling
stop. I felt as if I was back in time, in
1953, when the miracle of flight became personal for me. This was the
way I had learned navigation…to follow the line. In the 41 years since that

time, I admit to being spoiled: first, by
low-frequency “beams,” then VORs,
DME, RNAV, LORAN, and now GPS.
But for this flight, I left all that behind.
Turning to a heading of 120 degrees, I wait for the compass to
stop its oscillation; it continues to
swing with each bounce and each
yawing movement, but I average
the swings and continue slowly en
route. I move my finger along the
line and look for checkpoints. I remember how I used to “bracket”
my position and once again realize
the importance of the river or railroad I would have to cross, thus assuring at least one line of position.

Down low it was fun once more
watching the small towns pass,
even being able to read the names
on water towers.
In north-central Mississippi,
there appears a vast forest spreading out beneath my wings, an illusory remnant of the glorious
wilderness that once extended
from the East Coast to the Great
Plains. Now, clear-cutting scars are
evidence of man’s meddling, graffiti on our planet’s face.
I am surprised at the hills of
North Mississippi; at higher altitudes they flatten into the terrain, but here, at 1,000 feet above
the ground, the hills are alive with
depth and color.
My craft and I, intruders in his
world, pass a circling hawk. I look
down and try to see the tiny creature I am sure he sees, but where
he must perceive the slightest rustle of the brush, I see only patterns
of green and brown and the bright
blue of reflected sky.
Enough of this sightseeing. I should
have crossed this highway a couple
of miles farther to the north. I make a
slight correction. Highways! They crisscross this land, cutting it into smaller
and smaller bits; these scratches of
man meant little when there were
fewer men, but now they separate deer
from deer and life from life.
At the edge of a field, pebbled by
round bales of hay, rests a red tractor
awaiting direction by another of my
species. He too enjoys the special relationship with machines that man,
of all Earth’s creatures, strives for.
There is a conflict, however, between
the spiritual aspect of controlling my
machine to see in perspective the
land below and the necessity to endorse the polluting technology that
makes it possible. It is not quite the
same conflict that we experience between a desire to cherish all life and
the necessity to eat. That conflict, I

Jeff Justis was just 13 when he and his family embarked on the restoration of
a 7BCM Champ. The photo above is just one of the photos of him alongside his
teenage years project. In just about every photo he has a grin on his face just
like this. In the top photo, as he and his dad prepare to send The Champ to a
new home, Jeff takes one last look at the landing gear

I felt as if I was back in time, in
1953, when the miracle of flight
became personal for me.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 21

suppose, is the essence of life.
Soon the forward horizon bulges
upward as I approach old tectonic
ridges aligned northeast-southwest
near Birmingham. The dark green
of the forested ridges contrasts with
the lighter, verdant hues of man’s
cultivation. Ahead, a sharp razorbacked ridge prompts a climb to
3,000 feet. I teeter across the top and
slide down toward the broad valley
on the eastern side. My first landing after one hour and 45 minutes is

welcome. As a no-radio aircraft, I am
careful to follow the standard pattern and glide down final, touching
down on the much-too-long-forThe-Champ runway of Posey Airport.
Most cross-country flights in
the ’50s were from grass strip to
grass strip. A red gas pump would
be brought into service by the colorful operator/mechanic of these
old aerodromes. Aeroncas and
Luscombes were everywhere, and
Cessna 195s were the elite air-

Jeff and his dad, E. Jeff Justis, look over their covering handiwork in the backyard.

22 JULY 2011

planes. Now, on this ramp, my
Aeronca is an anachronism.
A King Air is being readied for corporate passengers, and my little taildragger is lost on the large apron.
Fortunately, we modified the 7BCM
with a starter and generator so I do
not have to find someone to help me
get started. In years past almost every lineman was proficient in handpropping, now it’s almost a lost art.
Soon I am on the way to my
next stop, Lagrange, Georgia. I am
fooled by the appearance of a large
airport, an old military field, at 12
o’clock on the horizon. Only when
I get close enough do I realize this is
not the field I am supposed to overfly, and that I am 10 miles south of
where I am supposed to be.
Sometimes it’s easy to fix on a
point once fooled into thinking it
is on the chosen course. Constant
vigilance is required for this type
of navigation. I overfly a multifingered lake, one of many manmade lakes filled by damning rivers
and streams that once flowed freely
into the larger Tennessee or Sewanee
rivers and on to the Gulf of Mexico
or the Atlantic Ocean.
I could fly on to my destina-

A foil tape antenna ground plane was just one of the nifty little touches added
to The Champ as the two Jeffs restored their airplane.
Doesn’t ever yone use Champ
tail sur faces as decorative elements in their household decorating? Mrs. Justis is a ver y
patient woman.

tion, but I will have to locate an
unfamiliar grass strip, and I want
to fly around a little without worrying about fuel. Once again, the
large runway at Lagrange ahead offers little challenge, a far cry from
the tree-surrounded fields of the
past that required a slip on final to

steepen the approach, clearing the
trees, the slip quickly straightened
and the nose held high for the satisfying swish-swish of the wheels as
they are brushed into motion by the
grass. Now, with a slight crosswind I
can approach the broad asphalt runway diagonally, the long taxi to the

ramp taking nearly as long as the
flight itself.
The cost of this slow flight is certainly minimal, with fill-ups after
two hours averaging 15 or so dollars. Besides, the trip has been fun so
far, relearning old navigation tricks,
and seeing the country down low.
Now I have only a few more miles
to navigate to Eagles’ Landing. The
fly-in community strip is near Williamson, Georgia, and just east of a
northeast-southwest-oriented railroad. I decide to proceed due east,
find the railroad, and follow it
northeast toward the destination.
I cross a highway but see no railroad. A few miles further, still no
railroad; I must have passed it. After a 180 I find the highway again
but no…wait, what is that? That is
an abandoned rail line for sure, and
it does parallel the road. I continue
northeast, scanning the horizon,
passing pretty fields and houses.
I locate one airport with houses
neatly lining both sides of the single
runway, but it is not Eagles’ Landing.
Soon I see Griffin, Georgia; I have
come too far. I ease The Champ into
a bank to try again, back down the
rail line and…here’s a golf course…
and yes, there are two grass runways meeting in a “V.” I circle and
make a low pass over the northwest
runway, watching my friends wave
from their yard. “What a nice place
to live,” I think, as I line up on final.
I glide just above the grass and
settle slowly onto a field that will
surely make this little airplane of the
’40s feel at home. I hope so, because
she started her rebirth in the ’70s
when my children were small, I was
younger, and my wife allowed elevators and rudders and stabilizers to
stay in the dining room.
This Aeronca has been a part of our
family, but now, to stay happy, must
move on to a place where she will be
flown. That is the true destiny of any
airplane worthy of the name.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 23

Vintage Chapter Locator

Visit the VAA chapter nearest you and get to know some great old-airplane enthusiasts! You don’t need
to be a pilot to join in the fun—just have a love of the great airplanes of yesteryear.

Chapter 27 of Delaware, Ohio, hosts a monthly pancake breakfast where attendees enjoy the camaraderie among the airplanes.
CALIFORNIA

INDIANA

OHIO

Hayward, CA, VIN 29
Meeting: 2nd Thurs., 6:00 p.m.
Hayward Airport:
See website for hangar info.
Gary Oberti, President
Phone: 510-357-8600
E-mail: info@vaa29.org
Website: www.vaa29.org

Auburn, IN, VIN 37
Meeting: 4th Thurs., 7:00 p.m.
DeKalb County Airport (kGWB)
Hangar A—VAA 37 Clubhouse
Drew Hoffman, President
Phone: 260-515-3525
E-mail: drewhoffman@vaa37.org
Website: www.VAA37.org

Delaware, OH, VIN 27
Meeting: 3rd Sat. 8-10AM, May thru Sept.
Delaware Municiple Airport (DLZ)
Terminal Building
Woody McIntire, President
Phone: 740-362-7228
E-mail: wjmcintire@cs.com
Website: www.EAAdlz.org

CALIFORNIA

KANSAS

OHIO

Sacramento, CA, VIN 25
Meeting: 2nd Sat., 9:00 a.m.
See chapter website for location.
Robert Opdahl, President
Phone: 530-273-7348
E-mail: bopdahl@sbcglobal.net
Website: www.Vin25.org

Overland Park, KS, VIN 16
Meeting: 2nd Fri., 7:30 p.m.
CAF Hangar,
New Century Airport
Kevin Pratt, President
Phone: 913-541-1149
E-mail: kpratt@vaa16.com
Website: www.VAA16.com

Zanesville, OH, VIN 22
Meeting: 2nd Fri.; 6:30 p.m.
Perry County Airport
John Morozowsky, President
Phone: 740-453-6889

CAROLINAS, VIRGINIA
Walnut Cove, NC, VIN 3
Meeting: Contact President
Susan Dusenbury, President
Phone: 336-591-3931
E-mail: sr6sue@aol.com
Website: www.VAA3.org

LOUISIANA
New Iberia, LA, VIN 30
Meeting: 1st Sun., 9:00 a.m.
LeMaire Memorial Airport Hangar 4
Roland Denison, President
Phone: 337-365-3047
E-mail: vaa30@cox.net

FLORIDA
Lakeland, FL, VIN 1
Meeting: Contact President
Bobby Capozzi, President
Phone: 352-475-9736
E-mail: mx180a@aol.com
Website: www.FSAACA.com

MINNESOTA

ILLINOIS

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Lansing, IL, VIN 26
Meeting: Contact President
Peter Bayer, President
Phone: 630-922-3387
E-mail: c180bayer@comcast.net

North Hampton, NH, VIN 15
Meeting: 2nd Sat., 11:00 a.m.
Hampton Airfield 7B3
Robert Drake, President
Phone: 603-942-9242
E-mail: flyer172h@comcast.net

Albert Lea, MN, VIN 13
Meeting: 2nd Thurs., 7:00 p.m.
Albert Lea Airport FBO
Steve Nesse, President
Phone: 507-373-1674

OKLAHOMA
Tulsa, OK, VIN 10
Meeting: 4th Thurs., 7:00 PM
Hardesty South Regional Library
No meetings in July, Nov. & Dec.
Joe Champagne, President
Phone: 918-257-4688
Email: skypal@groveemail.com

TEXAS
Spring, TX, VIN 2
Meeting: 4th Sun., 2:00 PM
David Wayne Hooks Airport (KDWH)
Fred Ramin, President
Phone: 281-255-4430
Email: fredramin@sbcglobal.net

WISCONSIN
Brookfield, WI, VIN 11
Meeting: 1st Mon., 7:30 PM
Capitol Drive Airport Office
Donald Hyra, President
Phone: 262-251-1778
Email: phs1@ww.rr.com

Want to Star t a VAA Chapter?
It’s easy to start a VAA chapter. All you need to get started is five vintage enthusiasts. Then contact the EAA Chapter Office at 920426-6867 or chapters@eaa.org to obtain an EAA Chapter Starter Kit. EAA has tools to help you get in touch with all your local Vintage
members, and they’ll walk you through the process of starting a new chapter.

24 JULY 2011

Vintage
Mechanic

THE

BY ROBERT G. LOCK

Early fire-extinguishing system

When Albert Vollmecke joined
Arkansas Aircraft Company in September 1927 he brought fresh ideas
from his native Germany regarding
aircraft design, stability, and safety.
He would, on occasion, return to
Germany to bring back something
new for the company. In 1928 Arkansas Aircraft Company changed
its name to Command-Aire Incorporated, and the production run
of new ships increased in its Little
Rock, Arkansas, plant.
After one such visit to Germany, Vollmecke returned with
the rights to import and sell the
PHYLAX fi re-extinguisher system
patented (GB 0267542) March 10,
1926, and manufactured in Berlin
by Phylax Feuerlosch-AutomatenBau GmbH. The PHYLAX fireextinguisher system consisted of
a tank containing the extinguishing liquid. From the tank, which
was usually installed in the pilot’s
cockpit or control cabin, sprinkler
lines led to the parts of the plane
where fires usually break out, such
as the carburetor and oil sump on
the engine. See Illustration 1.
The unit was manufactured in
Berlin, Germany, and CommandAire had the sole distribution
rights in the United States, installing them on planes it manufactured. Illustration 2 shows an

Illustration 1
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 25

advertisement from AVIATION,
November 1928, using the OX-5
powered model 3C3 ship to demonstrate the system.
The PHYLAX system consisted
of a pressurized tank of fluid with
associated lines and nozzles leading to the engine compartment of
the ship. Note here that the unit
is manufactured in the United
States by the Aero Supply Manufacturing Company located in
Long Island, New York. The cost
of the unit is $70 in this May 1929

advertisement in an aviation magazine. Illustration 2 shows the
manufacturer’s advertisement for
the product.
In a letter dated April 10, 1929,
Mr. Wiley Wright, assistant sales
director for Command-Aire Incorporated, wrote:
“Command-Aire, Incorporated
acquired the exclusive franchise
rights for PHYLAX automatic fi re
extinguishers in the United States,
Mexico and Central America. This
extinguisher is the only automatic

Illustration 2
26 JULY 2011

fire extinguisher available and is
standard equipment on many European lines. It is manufactured
by PHYLAX Bau of Germany and
is receiving great response in the
United States at the present time.”
In this factory Illustration 3
and from the fi les of Albert Vollmecke is a 110-hp Warner engine
mounted in the Command-Aire
model 3C3-A ship. Note the engine cowling being neatly fitted
around cylinders and associated
tubes. The 3C3-A had a very long
nose due to its light weight, necessitating a longer arm for
weight and balance control. In
this photo the PHYLAX sprinkler
heads are visible behind the magnetos, down near the carburetor
and behind the oil inlet hoses on
the accessory case of the engine.
Illustration 3 is an original factory photograph of the PHYLAX
system installed in the nose of a
model 3C3-A.
Illustration 4 is the same photograph with some details removed
and other details added, principally the identification of the PHYLAX automatic fuse that fi red the
bottle of extinguishing fluid and
the sprinkler heads. These illustrations taken from a Command-Aire
original factory brochure from the
files of Albert Vollmecke.
Illustration 5 on page 27 is a
sketch from the PHYLAX patent
0267542 dated March 10, 1926.
A general description of the PHYLAX system is contained within
the patent and states, “The invention relates to a fire extinguishing
device intended for use particularly with motor-cars, aeroplanes,
motor boats, and the like, in
which extinguishing fluid released
under the control of fuse cords or
cables ignited by the fire, is conveyed to the seat of the fi re automatically through the flame.” In
the sketch the discharge line into
the engine compartment is shown
as item “o.” Line “b” comes from
the automatic fuse located in the
engine compartment down near
the carburetor. The patent does

Illustration 3

Illustration 5

Illustration 4
not indicate what type of extinguishing fluid was
contained within the tank; however, soda-acid was
widely used in those days, and carbon tetrachloride
was invented in 1912 by the Pyrene Company.
In a communication from Command-Aire President Robert Snowden regarding the purchase of
stock options in the company, he states, “Our exclusive franchise for the sale of Phylax automatic
fire extinguishers should, if the War Department approves this extinguisher as standard equipment at a
test to be made next week, net the corporation more
than $50,000 annually. This extinguisher has been
approved in all the European countries and the War
Department has admitted to us that this is the only
automatic fire extinguisher for airplanes in America
and our patent rights on this will hold in this country and Mexico.”
What is not mentioned in any publicity regarding
PHYLAX automatic fire-extinguishing equipment is
that it was brought to Command-Aire Incorporated by
chief designer Albert Vollmecke. Vollmecke visited his

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 27

Illustration 6

Pyrene fire extinguishers
were made of brass and
were nicely polished.
They were not high-pressure units
but required the use of a hand pump
to generate pressure to expel
liquid from the cylinder.

28 JULY 2011

homeland on a regular basis and
always brought back some new invention or new ideas on design and
safety. This system was certainly
ahead of its time safety-wise and a
credit to Vollmecke’s focus on stability and safety for his designs.
Above, in this original factory
photograph (Illustration 6) of a
Command-Aire 3C3-T fuselage on
the assembly line at the Little Rock
plant, the PHYLAX system can be
seen mounted in the rear cockpit just behind the front seat, in
the center of the photograph. The
chemical bottles with two lines
tied to the side tubes run forward
to the engine compartment. One
line is the automatic fuse, and the
other is the extinguishing fluid.
Considering this is the year 1928,
it’s a remarkable achievement in
the advancement of safety by Albert, chief designer for CommandAire Incorporated.
The factory also installed Pyrene hand fire extinguishers in
the rear cockpit. The Pyrene unit
was more adaptable to existing
ships as was the PHYLAX system.

ton or linen fabric, and the only
dope available was cellulose nitrate that burned like a torch when
lit. Watching nitrate dope burn
reminded me of a Fourth of July
sparkler, very intense and hot. If
a nitrate-doped ship caught fire in
the air, there was no extinguisher
that would put out the flames.
The PHYLAX system had an automatic sensor that would trigger the
bottle’s valve open and send the
chemical into the engine compartment. The Pyrene extinguisher was
more for ground use because you
could not operate the bottle and
fly the airplane at the same time.
By today’s standards these extinguishing systems seem archaic, but for the time back in
the 1920s, they were the thing to
have in your automobile, boat,
or airplane.
Editor’s Note: WARNING! Antique carbon tetrachloride fire extinguishers like the Pyrene occasionally

show up either contaminated with
the original agent or, worse yet, with
the full charge of agent still inside.
Carbon tet is treated as a hazardous substance (its use was banned
in consumer products in 1970) and
should be dealt with accordingly.
In fact, carbon tetrachloride, when
heated by a fi re, will create poisonous phosgene gas (World War I’s
“nerve gas”), something that would
defi nitely ruin someone’s day if the
fire hadn’t done so already! In its
standard form, this substance is very
toxic to the liver, and a single significant exposure can result in sickness
or death.

Have a comment or question for Bob Lock, the Vintage
Mechanic? Drop us an e-mail at
vintageaircraft@eaa.org, or you
can mail your question to Vintage
Airplane, P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903.

Illustration 7
Pyrene fire extinguishers were
made of brass and were nicely polished. They were not high-pressure
units but required the use of a
hand pump to generate pressure
to expel liquid from the cylinder.
These extinguishers were generally mounted in the rear cockpit
to be accessible to the pilot of the
ship. Command-Aire would install a Pyrene fire extinguisher for
$7 in 1928 and 1929. It was a “factory extra.” Illustration 7 shows a
Pyrene fire extinguisher.
Pyrene had been around for
some time, having invented the
carbon tetrachloride extinguisher
in 1912. Fire was and is still a
large concern for aviators, but
not as much as back then. All the
early ships were covered with cot-

1903: Samuel Pierpont Langley’s “Aerodrome”
attempts to take off from a floating platform.

Langley may have been the
father of carrier aviation, but
even Poly-Fiber fabric couldn’t
have made this work. Good
ideas tend to stick aro u n d ,
though. Hey! We named our
first carrier after him.

last and last. The instruction
manual is very clear and fun
to read. It’s easier than falling
off a... well, you know.

polyfiber.com

information@polyfiber.com

800-362-3490

Poly-Fiber has stuck around,
too, about forty years worth.
With Poly-Fiber you’ll get a
beautiful covering job that’ll
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 29

Vintage
Instructor
THE

BY Steve Krog, CFI

Vintage flying is very much alive!
Author’s Note: We held a small open house at the
flight school hangar this past Saturday. Though the
weather was not conducive to give many rides, we still
had about 60 people show up, enjoy a brat or hamburger, and talk about flying or learning to fly. Interest
in flying is not dead! One of my pet peeves is how we,
in general aviation, go about attracting individuals to
learn the pleasure of flight.
Nearly every aviation publication I read carries articles and editorials about the downward spiral of general aviation. Flight schools are having a hard time
attracting new students. “Doom and gloom” reigns,
with little positive to report on the horizon. This always reminds me of the proverbial three wise monkeys who embody the principle “See no evil, hear no
evil, and speak no evil.” We all complain about the
problem, but no one ever offers solutions. It seems as
though by not doing anything about the challenge, it
will eventually go away and right itself.
Many of the aviation organizations are wringing
their respective hands, giving great lip service to the
drop in pilot numbers. Some, like EAA, have launched
activities to attract new pilots, such as the Young Eagles program. This has been a good start, but it will not
fill the ever-increasing void for more pilots.

What are we all missing? FUN!
Four years ago I chose early retirement from a 38year career in marketing. My dream was to establish
a small flight school using Piper J-3 Cubs for all flight
operations. Thanks to a lot of moral support from my
wife, Sharon, I launched the flight school with two
Cubs. My thought was, if I could share my passion for
FUN flight with a half-dozen or so new students each
year, I would be doing my part to help attract individuals to the joy of general aviation/pleasure flight.
I opened the door on April 1, 2007. After one week
I had 22 new students appear from nowhere and sign
up for flight lessons in a Cub. Four and a half years
later the trend continues, 20-24 new students sign up
each spring.

30 JULY 2011

The student make-up is a real cross-section of America. My youngest student to date began flight lessons
at age 14 and the oldest was 77 years young. I’ve mentioned some of my students in previous articles. At
year’s end 2010, while converting our student files
from paper to computer, I was amazed to discover that
in the previous two years, I had given instruction to
more than 200 individuals. Some were new students,
others were individuals in search of a tailwheel endorsement, and many were older individuals who had
pursued flight training early in their lives but gave it
up to raise a family. Now they had the time and still retained the burning desire to get back into flying. What
attracted these individuals to the flight school? FUN!
And the fun challenge of flying J-3 Cubs!
Here’s a small cross-section of this year’s group
of students:
•A retired U.S. Navy lieutenant who flew F-4 Phantoms off carriers in Vietnam. He hasn’t done any flying in more than 10 years, but he’s been building a
Skybolt, which will soon be finished, and he’s returning to his lifelong love—aviation. He also has two
young sons who want to fly and will soon be joining
the group of student pilots.
•A young CPA from Iowa whose grandfather was a
friend of Bernie Pietenpol and who has built two Piets.
The CPA used two weeks of his vacation time to learn
to fly so that he can fly the airplane(s) that his grandfather built and take his grandfather for a ride.
•A career military person, semiretired from his second career in Chicago real estate. He’s always wanted
to fly powered aircraft. Years earlier he obtained his
private pilot glider rating as did his son as a fatherson experience.
• An electrical engineer employed by the largest
medical equipment manufacturer. He’s previously
flown a lot of radio-controlled (RC) airplanes. After
a job transfer and relocation, and following a breakfast flight ride with a friend, he decided to pursue his
dream of learning to fly.
•A 30-something auto repair service manager who
has wanted to learn to fly for years. After seeing the

Cubs flying every day, he decided to pursue his passion for flight.
• A national chain hardware store employee who
has had a dream of flying, driving nearly two hours
each way to learn to fly in a Cub.
•An aviation writer/video producer who already has
a sport pilot certificate but desires to obtain a private
pilot certificate, and do so in Cubs.
• A 30-something young family man who sells
construction equipment attachments. While deer
hunting a year ago he learned one of his hunting
friends had recently learned to fly in Cubs. For three
days they talked airplanes and flying, rather than doing much hunting. Upon his return from the hunting trip, he drove to the airport and signed up for
lessons in the Cub.
• A professional musician from the Chicago area
who always wanted to learn to fly. Although not yet
old enough to have a true “bucket list,” learning to fly
a Cub was number one on his list.
With two exceptions, these individuals had never
before flown or flown in tailwheel airplanes but always
had a dream of learning to fly in a Cub—just like dad
or granddad did many years ago.
Although no one in this group comes from similar backgrounds or professions, there is one common
denominator among every student—FUN! None of
these students are learning to fly to pursue a career
in aviation (although I’ve worked with a couple who
have done so). Rather, they are learning to fly, or getting back into flying, for the FUN and CHALLENGE of
flight. They all have a true love of flight and seeing the
world from 500 feet with the door and window open.
I have also worked with a number of students who
began taking flight lessons but quit after a period of
time. They still had the passion for flight but gave it
up. When asked why, the responses fell into one of the
following four categories:
•I began taking lessons but after three or four lessons, I’d be assigned to a different instructor. After 30
hours of dual, three instructors, and still not having
soloed, I quit.
•The instructor wasn’t teaching me anything. He
was more interested in building time than teaching.
•The flight school’s personnel was taking advantage
of me. I was on a budget, and they kept trying to convince me to take lessons in a more expensive airplane.
•The flight school atmosphere was very unfriendly.
I was treated as a lowly student, and employees acted
like they were doing me a big favor just talking to me.
Certainly not all flight schools can be categorized by
one of the four responses above. There are many good
schools out there that truly do offer good value in a
friendly atmosphere. If you know someone who has
had a bad experience with a flight school, you might
suggest he or she try another school before giving up
on the dream of being able to fly for FUN.

Take a moment and think about how you first became interested in airplanes. What triggered your
pursuit of learning to fl y? Did you have a buddy or
maybe a family friend who encouraged you? Or even
became a mentor? Do you remember your first flight
lesson? Do you remember the day you made your
first solo flight?
Remember that passion and sense of accomplishment? Don’t hesitate to share it with anyone expressing an interest in learning to fly.
At Cub Air Flight we sell FUN. When individuals
visit the airport to inquire about learning to fly, we
know they have made the commitment in their own
mind. It then becomes our responsibility to make
the visit friendly. A friendly environment is a FUN
environment. Kids are always welcome. If a prospective student has children with him or her, we invite
the kids to sit in the planes. At the conclusion of our
discussion we emphasize the following statement: If
you learn to fly with us, it will be FUN, CHALLENGING, and SAFE!
I don’t believe there is a shortage of pilot prospects,
but there is a shortage in how we all go about attracting these people to become active participants in pleasure flying. Remember, flying is FUN. Let’s make an
effort to help others share in that FUN!

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were, and in the 40’s and 50’s, these tires were perfectly in
tune to the exciting times in aviation.
Not only do these tires set your vintage plane apart from
the rest, but also look exceptional on all General Aviation
aircraft. Deep 8/32nd tread depth offers above average
tread life and UV treated rubber resists aging.
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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 31

by H.G. FRAUTSCHY

MYSTERY PLANE
This month’s Mystery Plane comes to us from Bruce Voran.

Send your answer to EAA, Vintage Airplane, P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Your answer
needs to be in no later than August

20 for inclusion in the October
2011 issue of Vintage Airplane.
You can also send your response via
e-mail. Send your answer to mystery

plane@eaa.org. Be sure to include your
name plus your city and state in the
body of your note and put “(Month)
Mystery Plane” in the subject line.

APRIL’S MYSTERY ANSWER
We enjoy your suggestions for
Mystery Planes—in fact, more than
half of our subjects are sent to us by
members, often via e-mail. Please
remember that if you want to scan
the photo for use in Mystery Plane,
it must be at a resolution of 300 dpi
or greater. You may send a lowerresolution version to us for our review, but the final version has to be
at that level of detail or it will not
print properly. Also, please let us
know where the photo came from;
we don’t want to willfully violate
someone’s copyright.
The April Mystery Plane was no
mystery for many of you north of the
U.S./Canada border. Here’s an extensive answer by a first-time responder,
Mr. Lynn Goyer of Sherwood Park,
Alberta, Canada:
The Mystery Plane photograph appearing on page 36 of our April 2011
copy of Vintage Airplane is a Supermarine Stranraer. I believe the actual air-

32 JULY 2011

craft in the photo is of Canadian civil
registry, CF-BXO, formerly Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 920. This photograph would have been taken at some
time between 1962 and 1967 after an
overhaul at Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC), and possibly while in service
with Stranraer Aerial Enterprises. The
location strongly resembles the Fraser
River dockings at the Vancouver airport. The aircraft had undergone a respray with a bright red cheat line. The
aircraft had also been re-engined with
Wright R-1820 by Queen Charlotte Airlines (QCA) replacing the original engines of British design and manufacture,
the 920-hp Pegasus X. The aircraft was
constructed with an all-metal hull and
metal-framed fabric-covered wings in
addition to a fabric-covered empennage.
The Supermarine Southampton, as
it was first known, (Stranraer) was designed by the famed R.J. Mitchell at the
Supermarine Aviation Works as a coastal
general reconnaissance flying boat

(beaching gear required) for the Royal Air
Force (RAF) in 1933. The prototype first
flew in October 1934 with two Bristol
Pegasus IIIM engines rated at 820 hp.
The production aircraft were delivered to
the RAF with Pegasus engines delivering
920 hp, entering service in April 1937.
The British-built machines, of which 23
were ordered and only 17 being built,
were all delivered by April 1939.
In Canada, Canadian Vickers Limited of Montreal, Quebec, produced 40
examples, and [they] were delivered to
the RCAF. The first Canadian-built aircraft flew on 14 October 1938 with pilot
Herbert Hollick-Kenyon at the controls.
Production ceased in 1941 after delivery
of the 40th example. The aircraft was
deployed to the Canadian east coast for
convoy patrol, while in the west it was
tasked with prowling the coastal waters
and reaches for Japanese intruders. The
aircraft began to be phased from RCAF
service in favour of the Consolidated
Canso by 1944.

David Nixon supplied us with the April Mystery Plane shot of CF-BXO,
a Canadian Vickers-built Supermarine Stranraer.
Two RAF Belfast freighters were dispatched, and the disassembled aircraft
was transported to the United Kingdom
where the machine is currently one of the
centerpieces of the collection.
The aircraft type had many names.
The most familiar (and printable) were
Stranny, Strainer, and Flying Meccano
Set. The least affectionate was the Whistling S***house, as when the lid to the
throne was lifted there was direct access
to the great outdoors and there emitted a
loud whistling noise.

Bill Bishop of Mulgoa, New South Wales, Australia, sent along this photo
of the surviving Supermarine Stranraer.
QCA began buying several examples
and was instrumental in convincing
the Canadian Department of Transport
(DOT) to issue a civilian Certificate of
Airworthiness (C of A). One of the first
aircraft so issued was CF-BYI, which began passenger service from Vancouver
north to the Queen Charlotte Islands and
Prince Rupert on 5 March 1946. The aircraft was certified for 20 passengers. CFBYI, also known as the Haida Queen,
flew until 24 December 1949 when it
crashed in Belize Inlet, some 240 miles
north of Vancouver, BC. The accident
claimed the lives of two passengers, with
two passengers and the three crew members being rescued; however, the aircraft
was wrecked. The remains of the aircraft were abandoned on the beach. In

1980 the Canadian Museum of Flight
and Transportation in BC salvaged the
wreck for possible restoration. As late as
April 1952 QCA still had two Stranraer
in service, CF-BXO and CF-BYM. Pacific
Western Airlines (PWA) also operated
the type throughout its aerial network
in western Canada and the Northwest
Territories.
Stranraer CF-BXO began its civilian
life in 1944 with Labrador Mining and
Exploration in eastern Canada and later
entered service with QCA as the Alaska
Queen. Eventually removed from service, the aircraft was resurrected in 1962
and overhauled. It once again provided
yeoman service until 1967. CF-BXO was
obtained by the Royal Air Force Museum
in Hendon, United Kingdom, for display.

Other correct answers were received from Hillis Cunliffe, Millbrook, Alabama; Brian Baker, Sun
City, Arizona; Wesley R. Smith,
Springfield, Illinois; John Whitehead, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Scott
Church, Cochrane, Alberta, Canada; Jay Broze, Walla Walla, Washington; Jerry Paterson, Kent,
Washington; Jamie Patterson, Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada;
Dennis L. Bedford; Peter Lubig,
Shanty Bay, Ontario, Canada; Toby
Gursanscky, Clontarf, New South
Wales, Australia; Larry Knechtel, Seattle, Washington; Werner Griesbeck, Aldergrove, British Columbia,
Canada; Jack Erickson; State College, Pennsylvania; Gerry Norberg,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Lars
Gleitsmann, Anchorage, Alaska;
Thomas Lymburn, Princeton, Minnesota; and Lane Older, Bellingham, Washington.

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 33

VAA NEWS
continued frpm page 5

urday, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Early-bird
arrivals can shop on the pre-convention weekend as well, during limited
hours. Show your VAA membership
card (or your receipt showing you
joined VAA at the convention), and
you’ll receive a 10 percent discount.

VAA Volunteer Opportunities
Are you an ace pancake flipper?
If you’re not one yet, we can help!
The VAA Tall Pines Café is looking
for volunteers who can help provide
a hearty breakfast to all the hungry
campers on the south end of Wittman Field. If you could lend a hand
for a morning or two, we’d appreciate it. If that’s not your cup of tea, feel
free to check with the VAA Volunteer
Center, located just to the northeast
of the VAA Red Barn. The volunteers who operate the booth will be
happy to tell you when your help is
needed each day. It doesn’t matter if
it’s just for a few hours or for a few
days—we’d love to have your helping hands! There is no need for you
to contact us ahead of time; you can
talk with us when you arrive.

VAA Judging Categories
and Awards
The VAA’s internationally recognized judging categories are:
•Antique: Aircraft built prior to
September 1, 1945
•Classic: September 1, 1945 - December 31, 1955
•Contemporary: January 1, 1956
- December 31, 1970
Any aircraft built within those
years is eligible to park in the Showplane parking and camping areas.
If you wish to have your aircraft
judged, let the volunteer know
when you register your aircraft and
camping area. If you want your aircraft to be judged by VAA volunteer
judges, you need to be a current
Vintage Aircraft Association member. VAA contributes a significant
portion of the costs related to the
EAA awards that are presented to

34 JULY 2011

the award winners. Judging closes at noon on Friday,
July 29. The Awards Ceremony will be held Saturday
evening, July 30, at 6 p.m. in the Vintage Hangar
just south of the VAA Red Barn.

Designated Smoking Areas Near Flightline
Smoking on the flightline at EAA AirVenture is prohibited because it’s a hazard to all aircraft. There are several
designated smoking areas with butt cans along the flightline, well away from aircraft and refueling operations.
Designated smoking areas will be south of the ultralight runway; near the Hangar Café; near the Warbirds
area (northeast corner of Audrey Lane and Eide Avenue); the Wearhouse flag pole area; the shade pavilion north of the control tower; and near the Ultralight
Barn. Locations will be indicated on EAA’s free convention grounds map. The admission wristband also
instructs visitors that smoking is allowed only in designated smoking areas.

More on the Web
Visit www.AirVenture.org for more information on
EAA AirVenture 2011.

EAA AirVenture Is Almost Here . . .
Are You Ready?
Just a few short weeks from now, many of you will
make the annual pilgrimage to Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture 2011. Are you ready? Here are several handy
online tools on the AirVenture website that can help
you take care of any last-minute concerns.
Visit www.AirVenture.org and find out what you
need to know about The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.

You’re cleared to stay connected.

Admission, Parking, Hours
www.AirVenture.org/planning/admission.html
Find or Share a Ride to Oshkosh
www.AirVenture.org/rideshare
Site Map
www.AirVenture.org/planning/schedules_maps.html
Where to Stay
www.AirVenture.org/planning/where_to_stay.html
AirVenture NOTAM
www.AirVenture.org/flying
Alternate Airports and Waypoints
www.AirVenture.org/flying/alternate_airports.html

Get Your EAA AirVenture 2011
NOTAM Booklet
Printed copies of the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
2011 Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) can be downloaded directly from the web at www.AirVenture.org/
flying. It can also be ordered by calling EAA member-

EAA’s online community
Participate...

Access...

Connect..

in group discussions
and forums

personalized news,
weather & events

with like-minded
aviation enthusiasts

REGISTER
at www.oshkosh365.org

VINTAGE AIRPLANE 35

Nominat
ions

C A L L F OR V I N TA G E A I R C R A F T A S S O C I AT IO N

.OMINATE YOUR FAVORITE AVIATOR FOR THE
%!! 6INTAGE !IRCRAFT !SSOCIATION (ALL OF
&AME!GREATHONORCOULDBEBESTOWEDUPON
THATMANORWOMANWORKINGNEXTTOYOUON
YOURAIRPLANE SITTINGNEXTTOYOUINTHECHAP
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INYOURCIRCLEOFAVIATIONFRIENDSTHEMECHAN
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INDUCTEEˆBUTONLYIFTHEYARENOMINATED
4HEPERSONYOUNOMINATECANBEACITIZEN
OFANYCOUNTRYANDMAYBELIVINGORDECEASED
HIS OR HER INVOLVEMENT IN VINTAGE AVIATION

MUST HAVE OCCURRED BETWEEN  AND THE
PRESENT DAY (IS OR HER CONTRIBUTION CAN BE
IN THE AREAS OF mYING DESIGN MECHANICAL OR
AERODYNAMIC DEVELOPMENTS ADMINISTRATION
WRITING SOMEOTHERVITALANDRELEVANTlELD OR
ANY COMBINATION OF lELDS THAT SUPPORT AVIA
TION 4HE PERSON YOU NOMINATE MUST BE OR
HAVE BEEN A MEMBER OF THE6INTAGE !IRCRAFT
!SSOCIATION AND PREFERENCE IS GIVEN TO THOSE
WHOSEACTIONSHAVECONTRIBUTEDTOTHE6!!IN
SOME WAY PERHAPS AS A VOLUNTEER A RESTORER
WHOSHARESHISEXPERTISEWITHOTHERS AWRITER
APHOTOGRAPHER ORAPILOTSHARINGSTORIES PRE
SERVINGAVIATIONHISTORY ANDENCOURAGINGNEW
PILOTSANDENTHUSIASTS

To nominate someone is easy. It just takes a little time and a little reminiscing on your part.
s4HINKOFAPERSONTHINKOFHISORHERCONTRIBUTIONSTOVINTAGEAVIATION
s7RITETHOSECONTRIBUTIONSINTHEVARIOUSCATEGORIESOFTHENOMINATIONFORM
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s)FYOUCAN HAVEANOTHERPERSONCOMPLETEAFORMORWRITEALETTERABOUTTHISPERSON
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Mail nominating materials to:6!!(ALLOF&AME
%!!6INTAGE!IRCRAFT!SSOCIATION
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/SHKOSH 7) 
Remember, your “contemporary” may be a candidate; nominate someone today!
&INDTHENOMINATIONFORMATwww.VintageAircraft.org ORCALLTHE6!!OFlCEFORACOPY   
ORONYOUROWNSHEETOFPAPER SIMPLYINCLUDETHEFOLLOWINGINFORMATION
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s6!!AND%!!NUMBER IFKNOWN.OMINEEMUSTHAVEBEENORISA6!!MEMBER
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BEWORTHYOFINDUCTIONINTOTHE6!!(ALLOF&AME
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s(ASTHENOMINEEALREADYBEENHONOREDFORHISORHERINVOLVEMENTINAVIATIONANDORTHE
CONTRIBUTIONYOUARESTATINGINTHISPETITION)FYES PLEASEEXPLAINTHENATUREOFTHE
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s!NYADDITIONALSUPPORTINGINFORMATION
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s)NCLUDEANYSUPPORTINGMATERIALWITHYOURPETITION

36 JULY 2011

ship services at 800-564-6322, but
given the time from when you read
this until AirVenture, it may not arrive in the mail in time for your departure. We suggest downloading
the NOTAM.
The NOTAM contains the special
flight procedures in effect for Wittman Regional Airport and alternate
airports from 6 a.m. CDT on Friday,
July 22, to 12 p.m. CDT on Monday, August 1, 2011. All pilots who
fly into the event are expected to
know the special flight procedures
prior to arrival. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh runs from July 25 through
July 31. For additional EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011 information,
visit www.AirVenture.org.

Call for VAA Hall of
Fame Nominations
To the left is our information
for nominations for VAA’s Hall
of Fame, which is presented each
year during a special dinner. This
year’s dinner will be held Friday,
October 28. We’ll have more on
this year’s inductee, John Underwood, in a subsequent issue of Vintage Airplane. If you are interested
in purchasing tickets to attend the
dinner to honor the inductees,
contact EAA’s Matt Miller at 920426-6886 or mmiller@eaa.org.
We would like to take this opportunity to mention that if you
have nominated someone for the
VAA Hall of Fame, nominations
for the honor are kept on fi le for
three years, after which the nomination must be resubmitted.

Upcoming Major
Fly-Ins
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Wittman Regional Airport (OSH)
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
July 25-31, 2011
www.AirVenture.org
Colorado Sport International Air Show
and Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-In

Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC)
Denver, Colorado
August 27-28, 2011
www.COSportAviation.org
Mid-Eastern Regional Fly-In

Grimes Field Airport (I74)
Urbana, Ohio
September 10-11, 2011
http://MERFI.com
Copperstate Fly-In

Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ)
Casa Grande, Arizona
October 20-22, 2011

W

Country Legend Roy Clark’s Personal
I N Piper Tri-Pacer Airplane!

Free Flying Lessons!
Free Pilot License!

Proceeds from
this raffle

SAVE
AMERICAN
KIDS LIVES!

www.wingsofhoperaffle.org
Only 2000 tickets
will be sold
1 ticket $50
3 tickets $125

www.Copperstate.org
Southeast Regional Fly-In

Ther e’s plenty mor e . . .

Middleton Field Airport (GZH)
Evergreen, Alabama
October 21-23, 2011
www.SERFI.org
For details on hundreds of upcoming aviation happenings, including EAA chapter fly-ins,
Young Eagles rallies, and other local aviation
events, visit the EAA Calendar of Events located at www.EAA.org/calendar.

and other goodies at
www.vintageaircraft.org
VINTAGE AIRPLANE 37

VINTAGE
TRADER

S o m e t h i n g t o b u y,
sell, or trade?
Classified Word Ads: $5.50 per 10
words, 180 words maximum, with boldface
lead-in on first line.
Classified Display Ads: One column wide
(2.167 inches) by 1, 2, or 3 inches high at
$20 per inch. Black and white only, and no
frequency discounts.
Advertising Closing Dates: 10th of second
month prior to desired issue date (i.e.,
January 10 is the closing date for the March
issue). VAA reser ves the right to reject any
advertising in conflict with its policies. Rates
cover one insertion per issue. Classified ads
are not accepted via phone. Payment must
accompany order. Word ads may be sent via
fax (920-426-4828) or e-mail (classads@
eaa.org) using credit card payment (all cards
accepted). Include name on card, complete
address, type of card, card number, and
expiration date. Make checks payable to EAA.
Address advertising correspondence to EAA

What Our Members
Are Restoring

Publications Classified Ad Manager, P.O. Box
3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086.

MISCELLANEOUS
www.aerolist.org, Aviations’ Leading
Marketplace.
Rare find Lycoming 0-145 parts
inventory, blocks, bearings, rings,
shafts & much more. $20,000
at 1970 prices, $5,000. Six four
cylinder case aircraft magnetos,
$300. Call for more details, (FL)
863-494-6749, Hal

SERVICES
Always Flying Aircraft Restoration,
LLC: Annual Inspections, Airframe
recovering, fabric repairs and
complete restorations. Wayne
A. Forshey A&P & I.A. 740-4721481 Ohio and bordering states.

38 JULY 2011

Are you nearing completion of a restoration? Or is it done
do and
you’re busy flying and showing it off? If so, we’d like to hear from
you. Send us a 4-by-6-inch print from a commercial source (no
home printers, please—those prints just don’t scan well) or a
4-by-6-inch, 300-dpi digital photo. A JPG from your 2.5-megapixel
(or higher) digital camera is fine. You can burn photos to a CD, or
if you’re on a high-speed Internet connection, you can e-mail them
along with a text-only or Word document describing your airplane.
(If your e-mail program asks if you’d like to make the photos
smaller, say no.) For more tips on creating photos we can publish,
visit VAA’s website at www.vintageaircraft.org. Check the News
page for a hyperlink to Want To Send Us A Photograph?
For more information, you can also e-mail us at vintageaircraft@eaa.org or call us
at 920-426-4825.

VINTAGE
AIRCRAFT
ASSOCIATION
OFFICERS
President
Geoff Robison
1521 E. MacGregor Dr.
New Haven, IN 46774
260-493-4724
chief7025@aol.com

Vice-President
George Daubner
N57W34837 Pondview Ln
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-560-1949
gdaubner@eaa.org

Secretary
Steve Nesse
2009 Highland Ave.
Albert Lea, MN 56007
507-373-1674
stnes2009@live.com

Treasurer
Dan Knutson
106 Tena Marie Circle
Lodi, WI 53555
608-592-7224
lodicub@charter.net

DIRECTORS

Steve Bender
85 Brush Hill Road
Sherborn, MA 01770
508-653-7557
sst10@comcast.net

Dale A. Gustafson
7724 Shady Hills Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46278
317-293-4430
dalefaye@msn.com

David Bennett
375 Killdeer Ct
Lincoln, CA 95648
916-952-9449
antiquer@inreach.com

Jeannie Hill
P.O. Box 328
Harvard, IL 60033-0328
815-943-7205

Jerry Brown
4605 Hickory Wood Row
Greenwood, IN 46143
317-422-9366
lbrown4906@aol.com
Dave Clark
635 Vestal Lane
Plainfield, IN 46168
317-839-4500
davecpd@att.net
John S. Copeland
1A Deacon Street
Northborough, MA 01532
508-393-4775
copeland1@juno.com
Phil Coulson
28415 Springbrook Dr.
Lawton, MI 49065
269-624-6490
rcoulson516@cs.com

Espie “Butch” Joyce
704 N. Regional Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27409
336-668-3650
windsock@aol.com
Steve Krog
1002 Heather Ln.
Hartford, WI 53027
262-966-7627
sskrog@aol.com
Robert D. “Bob” Lumley
1265 South 124th St.
Brookfield, WI 53005
262-782-2633
rlumley1@wi.rr.com
S.H. “Wes” Schmid
2359 Lefeber Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
414-771-1545
shschmid@gmail.com

DIRECTORS
EMERITUS
Robert C. Brauer
9345 S. Hoyne
Chicago, IL 60643
773-779-2105
photopilot@aol.com

Charlie Harris
PO Box 470350
Tulsa, OK 74147
918-622-8400
cwh@hvsu.com

Gene Chase
2159 Carlton Rd.
Oshkosh, WI 54904
920-231-5002
GRCHA@charter.net

E.E. “Buck” Hilbert
8102 Leech Rd.
Union, IL 60180
815-923-4591
buck7ac@gmail.com

Ronald C. Fritz
15401 Sparta Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330
616-678-5012
rFritz@pathwaynet.com

Gene Morris
5936 Steve Court
Roanoke, TX 76262
817-491-9110
genemorris@charter.net

John Turgyan
PO Box 219
New Egypt, NJ 08533
609-752-1944
jrturgyan4@aol.com

TM

Membership Services Directory
Enjoy the many benefits of EAA and
EAA’s Vintage Aircraft Association

TM

EAA Aviation Center, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh WI 54903-3086
Phone (920) 426-4800

Fax (920) 426-4873

Web Sites: www.vintageaircraft.org, www.airventure.org, www.eaa.org/memberbenefits E-Mail: vintageaircraft@eaa.org

EAA and Division Membership Services (8:00 AM–6:00 PM
Monday–Friday CST)
membership@eaa.org
800-564-6322
FAX 920-426-4873
www.eaa.org/memberbenefits
•New/renew memberships •Address changes •Merchandise sales •Gift memberships
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
888-322-4636
www.airventure.org
Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft Hotline 877-359-1232
www.sportpilot.org
Programs and Activities
Auto Fuel STCs
920-426-4843
EAA Air Academy
920-426-6880
www.airacademy.org
EAA Scholarships
920-426-6823
Library Services/Research
920-426-4848
Benefits
AUA Vintage Insurance Plan
800-727-3823
www.auaonline.com
EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan
866-647-4322
www.eaa.org/memberbenefits
EAA VISA Card
800-853-5576 ext. 8884
EAA Hertz Rent-A-Car Program
800-654-2200
www.eaa.org/hertz
VAA Editorial/Executive Director
920-426-4825
www.vintageaircraft.org
VAA Office
920-426-6110

airventure@eaa.org
sportpilot@eaa.org
stc@eaa.org
airacademy@eaa.org
scholarships@eaa.org
slurvey@eaa.org

membership@eaa.org
membership@eaa.org
vintage@eaa.org
tbooks@eaa.org

EAA Members Information Line
888-EAA-INFO (322-4636)
Use this toll-free number for: information about AirVenture Oshkosh; aeromedical and technical aviation questions;
chapters; and Young Eagles. Please have your membership number ready when calling.
Office hours are 8:15 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Monday - Friday, CST)

MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION
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Membership in the Experimental Aircraft
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VINTAGE AIRPLANE 39

Flying
Outside

the Fishbowl
BY

If you’ve ever watched fish in
an aquarium, you’ve probably noticed how they respond differently
to their surroundings. There are
those that zip around the tank in a
mad dash to nowhere. Some seem
to sit and not go much of anywhere, and some will swim from
one end to the other, turn around,
and do it again.
The latter are the ones that remind
me of myself. I seem to fly in a fishbowl. I go from one end of our valley to the other and back and forth
between the mountain ranges. That’s
the extent of most of my travels . . .
fly so far, bump my nose on the glass,
turn around, and go back the other
way. The Valley is a beautiful place
to see, but that’s not what keeps me
here. Besides the time factor in getting
places, there’s a comfort zone that I
tend to stay close to.
I don’t think I’m alone. As humans we are comfortable with what
we know. As pilots that can make us

40 JULY 2011

S. MICHELLE SOUDER

proficient by practicing things we
know over and over, or it can make
us lazy. When something becomes
so ingrained that we do it from habit
only, we may not be thinking about
what we’re doing.
On a night cross-country some
time ago I found out just how easy
it is to forget things that I hadn’t
used in a while. While night may be
a little more challenging, it still requires the basic pre-flight planning
of any cross-country and following
the same procedures to get into the
airports. It was an excellent learning
experience and a great trip, but getting the rust knocked off my piloting skills took a little while.
It was absolutely beautiful (even
though very cold) to fly that night. I
love the view from the sky after dark.
I enjoy going places away from the
Valley. The world doesn’t end at the
mountains. I only choose to make it
so. Maybe that needs to change.
One thing I do know is that

whether I go far or stay in the comfort zone I can’t let complacency take
over. Those skills and experiences
need to be stretched from time to
time regardless of where I fly. An unexpected situation or emergency is a
bad time to find out I don’t remember how to do something.
Complacency also allows fear
to creep in where it doesn’t belong.
Some fear (I think) is a natural part of
flying, but it can also unnecessarily
keep us grounded because we won’t
get past our self-imposed limits and
become better pilots through experience. (Note: experience does not require taking stupid chances.)
Are you flying in a fishbowl? . . .
If so, maybe it’s time to climb up
and get out a little. If staying in your
comfort zone is where you’re going to be, at least challenge yourself
from time to time, or have someone
else (even an instructor) make you
stretch a little. Don’t let the fishbowl make you lazy.

It’s gonna be a big year at Oshkosh.

Join us for a week-long celebration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation,
including a special air show Wednesday. See the hottest naval aircraft
in historic colors all week on ConocoPhillips Plaza.

B-29 Superfortress “FIFI”

REO Speedwagon

eVenture

Tribute to Bob Hoover

The first visit since 1995
for the world’s only airworthy
B-29 Superfortress

Oshkosh rocks Monday during
the opening day concert, presented
by Ford Motor Company

Innovation will be on display
and in the air with the Electric
Flight Prize Competition

Tuesday afternoon air show
featuring aircraft and maneuvers
he made legendary

Tribute to Burt Rutan

Super Saturday

Salute to Veterans

His aircraft designs changed the
face of AirVenture–and aviation.
Special air show on Thursday

Presented by Southwest Airlines
featuring the Night Air Show,
Daher-Socata Fireworks,
and the “Wall of Fire”

Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band
courtesy of Disabled American
Veterans on Friday

The World’s Greatest
Aviation Celebration
July 25-31 | AirVenture.org/attractions

For more information and to buy your advance ticket
s visit AirVenture.org. But hurry, the advance purch
ase discount ends on June 15.
Advance tickets made possible by