VA Vol 50 no 4 Jul-Aug 2022

Page 1





Message From the President

July/August 2022



Getting ready for the big show

Publisher: Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board

VAA President Susan Dusenbury

Proofreader: Tara Bann

Vice President of Publications, Marketing, Membership, and Retail: Jim Busha / Senior Copy Editor: Colleen Walsh Copy Editors: Tom Breuer, Jennifer Knaack Graphic Designer: Cordell Walker, Brandon Wheeler

WELL, THIS YEAR certainly passed

through in a hurry! Here we are just a couple of weeks away from another EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, and Vintage is ready! We have planned, organized, purchased, printed, constructed, cleaned, painted, repaired, seeded, fertilized, and more. Thank you to all of our pre-AirVenture volunteers who joined in on the three work parties we hold annually in the months of April, May, and June. Thanks, too, to Vintage volunteer Dennis Lange who lives close enough to Oshkosh to volunteer year-round. Dennis is my go-to guy when something needs to be checked out or when an unscheduled repair needs to be managed. Dennis also manages the battery upkeep and general maintenance and storage needs on all of our equipment (motor scooters, golf carts, Gators, and Arthur the truck) during the winter months. Vintage will kick off AirVenture 2022 with coffee and doughnuts at 7:45 a.m. on Monday in the Vintage Hangar. Please join us. This is your opportunity to fortify yourself with caffeine and our famous Tall Pines Café doughnuts before you trek through the EAA grounds in search of all of those aviation treasures! The coffee and doughnut klatch will be followed by the unveiling of “Morning Mission” in Charlie’s Park at 9 a.m. “Morning Mission” is a beautifully carved statue commissioned by Charles W. Harris (1927-2017) and created by local Tulsa artist Clayton Coss to honor the pilots of World War II. “Morning Mission” was donated to the Vintage Aircraft Association by the

Charles W. Harris Foundation. Please join us at this unveiling ceremony as we salute our military pilots.

ADVERTISING Advertising Manager: Sue Anderson /

CONTACT US Mailing Address: VAA, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903



On page 6 in the May/June issue of Vintage Airplane, Susan Dusenbury was incorrectly identified as running for vice president of the Vintage Aircraft Association. She is in fact running for re-election as VAA president. We apologize for the confusion and for the oversight. — Ed.

Email: Phone: 800-564-6322

Visit for the latest in information and news.

Current EAA members may join the Vintage Aircraft

At our Vintage board of directors meeting this past April, the board voted to expand our youth activities at Oshkosh during the convention. We are in the preliminary planning stages now and are looking at a completion date of 2023 at the earliest.

Association and receive Vintage Airplane magazine for an additional $45/year. EAA membership, Vintage Airplane magazine, and one-year membership in the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association are available for $55 per year (Sport Aviation magazine not included). (Add $7 for International Postage.) Foreign Memberships Please submit your remittance with a check or draft drawn on a United States bank payable in United States dollars. Add required foreign postage amount for each membership. Membership Service P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086 Monday–Friday, 8 AM—6 PM CST Join/Renew 800-564-6322 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh




Contents FE AT UR E S

12 SUN ’n FUN Photo gallery

20 Myrt Rose A vivacious and gracious free spirit By Sparky Barnes

30 Keith Kocourek’s Round-Engined Ambassador de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver N22KK By Budd Davisson

42 Rare Breed A 1931 Viking Kitty Hawk B-8 debuts anew By Sparky Barnes

52 Lemon-Kissed Piper Aeron Fout’s surprisingly sporty and lovable Vagabond By Sparky Barnes


July/August 2022


July/August 2022 / Vol. 50, No. 4


Message From the President

By Susan Dusenbury


Vintage News


Hall of Fame


How to? Select and Use Aircraft Plywood

By Erin Henze

By Robert G. Lock


Good Old Days


The Vintage Mechanic Elementary weight and balance By Robert G. Lock



COV ER S Front Keith Kocourek and his de Havilland Beaver form up on the EAA photo plane just north of Oshkosh. Photography by Leonardo Correa Luna

Back A rare Kitty Hawk sits in its element on grass at EAA AirVenture. Photography by Jack Fleetwood

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? Send your thoughts to the Vintage editor at For missing or replacement magazines, or any other membership-related questions, please call EAA Member Services at 800-JOIN-EAA (564-6322).


VAA News

Welcome Home! EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 Vintage area highlights

THE EAA VINTAGE AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION is excited to welcome one and all to our annual aviation homecoming extravaganza. Here are some of this year’s highlights:

• The Vintage Aircraft Association will kick off EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 with coffee and doughnuts at 7:45 a.m. on Monday, July 25, in the Vintage Hangar. Come and enjoy the camaraderie. • Once the doughnuts are gone, we will be unveiling a beautifully carved statue commissioned by Charles W. Harris (1927-2017) and created by local Tulsa artist Clayton Coss to honor the pilots of World War II. Titled “Morning Mission,” the statue was donated to the Vintage Aircraft Association by the Charles W. Harris Foundation. Please join us for the unveiling in Charlie’s Park at 9 a.m. • On Wednesday, July 27, VAA will hold its annual membership meeting at 5 p.m. in the Tall Pines Café to be followed by our annual picnic at 6 p.m. at the same location. Ticket sales are limited for the picnic, and we recommend you purchase tickets early. Tickets are available for sale at the hospitality desk in the VAA Red Barn.

• The Beechcraft Bonanza Diamond Jubilee. VAA will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the iconic Beechcraft V35 Bonanza. We are expecting a huge gathering, with hundreds of the Bonanza type expected to migrate to AirVenture. • In conjunction with the Diamond Jubilee, Bonanzarelated items will be available for purchase in our iconic VAA Red Barn store, along with dozens of new Vintage branded items. Bring the family by the Red Barn Store, shop, wear your Vintage Aircraft Association apparel with pride, and enjoy a free bag of popcorn while you sit on the side porch with old friends. • VAA will also offer a variety of workshop activities and demonstrations in the Vintage Hangar, along with a variety of type club information tables set up throughout the hangar. • For your added enjoyment, the Ladies for Liberty will perform a collection of patriotic songs and music from the WWII era. Look for a schedule of their must-see appearances posted in the Vintage area. • As always, there will be hundreds and hundreds of vintage aircraft on display throughout the Vintage area showcasing not only the golden age of flight but also the decades after right up to 1970 with a magnificent display of classics.


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CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF THE CESSNA 195 International Cessna 195 Club announces annual convention in Joliet, Illinois THE INTERNATIONAL CESSNA 195 Club Inc. announced this year’s annual convention will be held in Joliet, Illinois, September 7-11, 2022. The event will be based at the Joliet Regional Airport at 4000 W. Jefferson St. It is expected to draw more than 200 member-participants and their unique vintage aircraft, along with fly-outs and activities at other locations in the Chicagoland area. Established in 1969, the club is composed of members from around the world who are enthusiasts of Cessna’s 195 airplane. Its mission is to further the enjoyment, preservation, and operational safety of Cessna’s first purpose-built aircraft, which was a pioneer for today’s general aviation industry supporting business and personal transportation. This convention is, in part, a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the aircraft, which was built from 1947 through 1954. Additionally, the event supports the Cessna 195 Foundation Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that awards scholarships to young and disadvantaged persons interested in pursuing aviation educations that can lead to highly sought-after careers in related fields. Members engage in other community benevolent activities throughout the year. Many members also actively support and participate in the world’s largest youth outreach program, EAA’s Young Eagles program. Young Eagles, which offers kids ages 8-17 free flight experiences with qualified pilots, has introduced aviation to more than 2 million children in 90 countries, all free of charge. During the convention, there will be daily flight activity at the Joliet airport, and many activities will be held at the airport during daylight hours (public rides will not be available at this venue). There is no admission fee for the general public. Tax-deductible donations may be offered to the foundation in person or by mail. For more information, contact event chair Chris Thomsen at, or cochair Coyle Schwab at


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2022 Hall of Fame Inductee

Forrest Lovley BY ERIN HENZE

FORREST LOVLEY, EAA 19414, has had a lifelong passion for vintage aviation. Forrest learned to fly in Minnesota during high school and “at age 18, just after graduation, made a solo flight from Minneapolis to Maine and returned in a Model A-powered Pietenpol Air Camper, which had been built in 1933, some 30 years earlier,” according to Forrest’s lifelong friend James E. Ladwig, EAA 24879. Forrest was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served in the Army Airborne. In 1976, Forrest married his wife, Linda, going on to raise two sons, Vaughn and Matthew. Alongside raising a family, Forrest managed to restore a large number of antique airplanes. Forrest has restored over 15 vintage aircraft. Alongside a couple of Wacos and a handful of Pietenpols, he’s also managed to restore a variety of notable aircraft. In 1972, Forrest restored an original Model A Pietenpol Sky Scout with a Chevrolet Vega auto engine, N12942, winning Best Auto-Powered Homebuilt at Oshkosh ’72. Five years later, Forrest restored the Kari-Keen Sioux Coupe, NC10721, one of the only 32 KariKeen Sioux Coupes ever built, which won Grand Champion Antique at Oshkosh ’77. In 1980, Forrest rebuilt the Wittman Big X, a one-of-akind build by Steve Wittman from 1945. In a July 1980 EAA Sport Aviation article about the restoration of the Wittman Big X, author Jack Cox commented on the speed and proficiency of Forrest’s work. “We’ve told you in the previous articles how Forrest is the fastest gun in the Frozen Nawth when it comes to cranking out a restoration or a 100% homebuilt,” Jack said. “He builds or restores aircraft in months rather than the years we have come to expect from others … and little need be said here regarding the quality of his work. The Grand Champion trophy he has at home is eloquent enough testimony.” Retired engineer and fellow vintage restorer James Wilson, EAA 29605, met Forrest through these famous aircraft.


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Forrest on Left, poses with Matty and Elsie Laird along with Ken Love on far right.

“The first time I met and talked to Forrest was in the early ’70s when he brought his Vega-powered Pietenpol to Oshkosh,” James said. “In 1977, when he came in his KariKeen, I realized how often his name appeared with cool antiques and homebuilts and that he was the ‘go-to guy’ for all kinds of small radial and antique airplane information.” Forrest is indeed the “go-to guy” when it comes to antique restorations. Many aviators owe gratitude to him, including the CEO of Lilja Corp. and vintage aircraft collector Walter Bowe, EAA 426319. “I cannot recall the number of times I have called Forrest to ask questions on engine maintenance, operations, and overhaul questions,” Walter said. “The great thing about Forrest — if he does not know the answer, he will be honest and let you know; however, immediately he is on the hunt to pursue the answer for us avid antiquers. I would not begin to guess the number of airplanes that are still flying because of his involvement in aviation.” Greg Herrick, EAA 402961, president of the Aviation Foundation of America, thoroughly agrees with this sentiment. “I have called upon him many times with questions related to aviation history, particular aircraft restoration issues, or questions about parts sourcing, or engines from the OX-5 onward — really just anything about vintage aircraft,” Greg said. “Forrest has never wavered in his answers or support of our ‘great cause.’” Despite all his hard work, Forrest still isn’t done with his restoration work. Airport commissioner and aviation author Noel Allard, EAA 109779, explained Forrest’s current project. “In no way is Forrest sitting on his laurels; he continues now working on restoring an aircraft that has challenged him, perhaps the most, a 1929 Cessna DC-6A, which he has owned for a couple decades or more,” Noel said. “During hundreds of hours, he created a complete new one-piece wing for it, which is a work of art.”


However, this work and dedication isn’t simply so he can fly the aircraft. “His goal never has been to just make an airplane flyable again; he is dedicated to making each artifact a flawless flying machine,” Noel said. “A walk around one of his restorations will turn up no dings, no temporary fixes, no deviations from the original.” Forrest’s friends and fellow antiquers can’t say enough good about his work and character. “Forrest is generous in sharing the great knowledge he has acquired about antique airplanes, and equally generous in sharing parts to the owners of airplanes from which they had originally come,” James Ladwig explained. “He says, ‘I’m not giving them to you; I’m giving them back to the airplane to which they belong.’” Addison Pemberton, EAA 153948, president of Pemberton and Sons, reiterates this sentiment. “I find Forrest an invaluable resource for technical support for one-of-a-kind treasured antique/ vintage aircraft,” Addison said. “Forrest always has the right answer and is always happy to help. He has a deep passion for the old airplanes, and is a craftsman and true aviator, highly respected in our little world. Forrest is a household name in the old airplane community. He has earned the respect and admiration from my family and friends.” Through all the dedication and hard work Forrest has put in, he has stayed humble. “Personal relationships Forrest has had with Matty Laird, Bernard Pietenpol, Steve Wittman, and all the rest of us attest to the respect he has garnered in our community,” James Wilson said. “I know of no one who has quietly done more for the interests that we hold dear. Forrest has well earned his place in the VAA Hall of Fame.”

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Select and use Aircraft Plywood AIRCRAFT PLYWOOD IS A very versatile form of wood called a veneer. Thin layers of wood are cut from a round log, to approximately 4’ x 8’, and the grain lines are laid at 90 degrees to each other, thus giving superior strength in two directions, whereas solid wood will only give strength in one direction — lengthwise. Plywood will come in an odd number of plies: 3-, 5- and 7-ply, each consisting of a veneer. Common thicknesses are 1/16”, 3/32”, 1/8”, 3/16”, 1/4”, 3/8”, etc. Aircraft plywood comes in 90-degree and 45-degree sheets. At right is an old partial sheet of 3/32” mahogany 45-degree-grain plywood that I have had since around 1959; it is a beautiful example of this great plywood. Common hardwoods that are used are mahogany, birch and basswood. Some plywood may be pressed with two outer plies of mahogany or birch and have a poplar or basswood core. I had a sheet of 1/4” stock that was entirely basswood. To determine if a wood is either hardwood or softwood, the shape of the tree leaf must be known. Softwoods come from conifer (cone bearing) trees with small needle-shaped leaves, while hardwoods come from trees with large flat leaves. Spruce and Douglas fir are common softwoods, while oak and maple are common hardwoods. It’s the shape of the leaf of the tree. At right, the rotary method is used to cut the very thin veneers used to manufacture plywood. The log would be mahogany, birch, basswood, or poplar. Aircraft plywood is manufactured to specification MIL-P-6070 that calls for shear testing after immersion in boiling water for three hours. Waterproof glue is used to bond the veneers together, and a hot press is used to apply pressure while the adhesive cures. When the plywood sheet is removed from the hot press, one side will be relatively smooth (A side) and the other side slightly rough (B side). When gluing I always use the B side because of its roughness to allow better penetration of the adhesive being used.


July/August 2022


I will also gently hand-sand the side to be bonded using coarse sandpaper — I don’t want to remove material but rather just put some scratches in the surface to promote better adhesion. This is particularly true of bonding birch plywood. In the illustration below is a sketch of 3-ply and 5-ply plywood. When making a scarf on plywood, each of the plies will appear equal in width if the scarf is done accurately. The technique used in making scarf joints to plywood is the same as making scarf joints to a composite laminate — the difference is the laminate has plies of reinforced fiber cloth that give the same appearance as a veneer grain line. In the sketch below, assume a line that slopes from the top ply to the lower ply and is 12 times the thickness of the plywood sheet. That is the length of a scarf joint on a stressed plywood skin. Actually, making a scarf splice on a plywood skin is no great mystery — it just takes a little practice using the trusty disc sander. The taper of the splice will be 12 to 1, this for plywood 1/16” thick, the splice will be 3/4” in width. There may be times when plywood must be formed around a leading edge that will require soaking or steaming the wood to soften it. There are times when it will be necessary to only soak just a portion of the wood where it bends at the point of the leading edge. I have made a soaker by fabricating some 3” diameter PVC pipe into a form to hold water. Rip-cut an opening along the length of a piece of 10” plastic pipe, glue end caps, and fill with hot water. Place the section of wood (up to 8’ in length) into the slot and allow to soak for about three hours. I made a jig to hold the plywood in the curve I wanted and allowed it to dry. When finished the plywood fit perfectly.


Good Old Days

From the pages of what was ... Take a quick look through history by enjoying images pulled from publications past. 10

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July/August 2022



f you’ve been in the heart of the Vintage area during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, you’ve likely noticed flags flying high atop an arched sign that has “Bill and Myrt Rose Park” emblazoned on it. The park was dedicated in 2015 and includes the Rose Memorial Plaza — a special showcase area where the everpopular Vintage in Review sessions are hosted by Ray Johnson. Pause for just a moment to ponder the provenance of this park — and then read on to learn about its benefactor, Myrt Rose. Myrt is a vivacious and gracious free spirit, fueled by a never-quite-satiated appetite for living L-I-F-E in capital letters. She embraced opportunities with an uncommon zest when they intersected her pathway. As laughter bubbled up from a well-spring within her, she proclaimed: “I’ve tried a lot of things and I was never great at anything, because I kind of looked around and kept finding other interesting things to try. I never became wonderful at anything, but I’ve had a great life!”


Myrt grew up in Orange, Massachusetts, and wanted to be an artist — and that she became, in a rather unconventional way. She has drawn from a richly diverse palette the bold and textured colors from a sweeping spectrum of life. Vibrant shades of blue and yellow hint at her Swedish ancestry, the wide-open sky and sunshine, and her beloved J-3 Cub, Winston. Her radiant outlook epitomizes Sir James Barrie’s quote: “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” Her life has been filled with surprises, starting with her birth. Her parents, Ed and Eva Harper, had expected a baby boy. “I was supposed to be named John Maxwell after both my grandfathers,” Myrt quipped, “but then they named me after both my grandmothers! My dad always said we were going to take flying lessons at one of the old World War II airports in Orange, and I thought that was great, but we never did.”


Myrt Rose “When I got into parachuting and then met Ted, it just changed my life totally. I love flying, and if I hadn’t gotten into aviation, I don’t know what I might have done, but I’m so glad I didn’t get married right out of high school,” Myrt said. “Ted and I got married in 1964, and even after we divorced later on, Ted remained my best friend until the day he died in a parachuting accident in October 2011. That was very tragic; he was a great guy.”


Myrt started taking flying lessons just after marrying Ted. She soloed in a Citabria, and in 1970, she earned her private. In the late 1970s, she bought a 1941 Piper J-3 Cub (N35224) when she was teaching art at schools in Marshfield, Massachusetts. “The Cub was blue and yellow and had been used as a trainer at a military school in Virginia,” Myrt said. “I just looked at him and said, ‘That’s a Winston! He’s a wonderful boy, and I painted a smile on his face, so he flew around for years and years with a smile. Winston became a large part of my life, and the school enjoyed early-morning flyovers. One Halloween, I landed Winston on the schoolyard. I was dressed as the Red Baron, looking for Snoopy

An athletic type, she enjoyed basketball and was a Red Cross swim instructor, but wasn’t shooting for any particular goal. “Quite frankly, and I hate to even admit this, I don’t think I ever really looked ahead into what I was going to be,” she said. “I went to Endicott College for two years and got my interior design degree, and then I got a degree in art education from the Massachusetts College of Art.” After six years of college, and much to her parents’ dismay, Myrt spent a winter in Aspen skiing and learning to be a silversmith.


Myrt literally jumped at the next opportunity. “Parachuting came into Orange, so I started jumping. My first jump was in 1960, when I was 24,” Myrt mused. “Oh, my gosh! Can I believe I’m 86 now? How’d that happen?!” She met her first husband, Ted Strong, while parachuting. He was also a pilot and together they operated Strong Enterprises, a parachute manufacturing company and a parachute center in Pepperell, Massachusetts. Myrt has made 100 jumps, including tandems — making two jumps into the Oshkosh air show.


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— the kids loved it! Winston had a 65-hp engine, and I used to hand-prop him. I was worried that he was going to run away from me down the runway, so I propped him from behind and held on to him.”


Since jumping out of airplanes and flying airplanes was so much fun, the next — albeit unanticipated — step upward for Myrt just happened to be wing-walking. It all came about during the time that she and Ted had an exhibitor booth at Oshkosh for Strong Parachutes. In 1973, they started selling emergency parachutes for pilots and became good friends with many air show performers, including Walt and Sandi Pierce. “They used to stay with us in Massachusetts when they’d go on their circuit around the country, and I’d go out to the airport and help her. They performed as The Flying Pierces and invited me to fly from Fort Lauderdale out to San Diego, doing air shows all the way across the country and back again,” Myrt said. “Kirby Grant, ‘Sky King,’ was our front man and announced the show!”



In 1976, the Pierces asked Myrt whether she’d like to become the wing-walker for their American Barnstormers act. The ever-intrepid Myrt happily agreed. “Walt and Sandi called me shortly before Oshkosh began, and I was supposed to meet [them] there and practice on a Thursday and Friday, since I’d never been on the wing before,” Myrt said. “I arrived on Wednesday, but Walt got weathered in and didn’t arrive until Friday night, and we weren’t allowed to practice the day of the show. So the first time I was ever on the wing was during the show at Oshkosh! But I’d seen Sandi do it enough, so I thought I could do it. Riding the wing was a big rush; it’s exciting and fun, and it’s sort of a free feeling in many ways. You’re free-climbing out of the cockpit up on the wing as the 450-hp Stearman climbs, and then you put a seat belt around your waist and lean against that stanchion in the middle of that top wing before doing aerobatics! It was a fabulous time!”


Myrt continued riding the 450-hp Stearman’s wing until 1981. Her mother became ill after her father had passed away, and Myrt, deeply appreciative of the wonderful upbringing her parents lovingly bestowed upon her, wanted to personally care for her mother. She and Ted were separated by then, so she quit teaching art, sold her beloved Winston, and moved in with her mother in Boca Raton, Florida. “She had a stroke on one side and couldn’t speak, and there was no way I could fly since my mom was so sick,” Myrt said. “I took care of her for five years. After my mom died, I didn’t know what to do or where I was going, and that’s when I met Bill.”


Bill Rose discovered Myrt at Oshkosh in 1985, when he went to the Strong vendor booth to inquire about parachutes — Myrt was there selling parachutes for ex-husband Ted. In his memoirs, Bill wrote that he was drawn to her “magnetic, winning personality.” They soon began years of courtship and enjoyed many adventures (including a 34-day jaunt down the Mississippi in a paddleboat he’d designed, complete with a helicopter landing pad). They married in September 1992. Bill’s sense of humor imbued the following quote from his memoirs: “Every morning Myrt brings me coffee and a burnt donut in bed. What more could a man want?”


The Roses enjoyed flying a variety of aircraft from their private 2,200-foot grass airstrip at their home in


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Myrt Rose Barrington, Illinois. Myrt often mentioned, “I wonder what happened to my Winston?” Unbeknownst to her, Bill began a quest to find the prewar Cub. Bill wrote: “So I did some detective work, scouring through the FAA records to find where that airplane was. I found it in Boston and bought it. … We took the 65-hp engine off and put on an 85-hp and installed an electric starter.” Bill had Winston completely restored and painted just like it was when Myrt owned it. On Myrt’s birthday in 1991, Bill nonchalantly asked what she was going to do during the day. She told him she was going to go down to their airstrip and fly a Chipmunk. “He said, ‘Okay, I’ll help you push the Chipmunk out of the hangar.’ Well, that was a little weird because he never did that before,” Myrt said. “So we walked down, and Winston was on the runway and he was all restored. I said, ‘It’s Winston! Oh, my gosh! He was looking beautiful and had a smile on his face, and it was such a surprise!” “After many tears of joy, she hopped in and didn’t come back for an hour and a half,” Bill wrote.


The Roses’ fleet of antique, classic, and contemporary airplanes included, at one time or another, a 1946 Bellanca 14-13 (N86705); 1946 North American Navion (N949); V-tail Beech C35 Bonanza (N717D); two Twin Bonanzas (N150V, N4349D); 1938 Ryan STA (N18904); Ryan STA (N7779); 1937 Ryan STA (N17346); 1941 Ryan ST3KR (N54403); Ryan STM (N13743); 1937 Ryan STA (N17368); Ryan STA Special (N17347); 1942 Boeing PT-17 Stearman (N52511); North American SNJ -5 (N2023); 1933 Fairchild 22 C7D (N14768); four Canadian-built de Havilland Chipmunks (N180WR, N18048, N90504, N56EF); 1944 Grumman G-21A Goose named Lucy (N600ZE); Grumman Mallard (N100BR); and Piper Super Cub on floats (N3575P). Vintage Airplane author Norm Petersen aptly described Bill as: “... not your everyday, household antiquer who goes from one airplane to another. He is one of those rare individuals who jumps into something he really likes with both feet and a total commitment!” (“Rose’s Ryans,” Vintage Airplane, May 1988).



“Because he had all these airplanes, all his airline pilot friends used to come up to Barrington just before Oshkosh, because it took them a few days to get used to flying the antiques or other small planes. It was fun to watch them,” Myrt said with a laugh, “and then we would all fly to Oshkosh.” They flew in groups, and Myrt led the pack — well, sort of. She was the first to take off, and Bill took off last. “Then Bill was the first to get there, and I was always the last. Bill had a company that produced pork products [Rose Packing Co.], so the day before we would all leave for Oshkosh, he would send up an airplane loaded full of hams and give them all out to the tower controllers. So when we came in, they would announce, ‘Roses’ Raiders arriving,’ and we’d get a straight-in approach, always. We never went around!”


Bill had a few other aircraft through the years as well, including King Airs and Bell Jet Ranger helicopters. Myrt discovered that flying helicopters presented quite a challenge. “I got my helicopter rating at age 60, because Bill had a helicopter and I wanted to fly it,” Myrt said. “I took lessons around Barrington, and then I went down to Texas and got my rating at the school at Fort Worth.”


Myrt is one of those refreshing individuals who is driven by plain and simple curiosity and a genuine desire to experience, hands-on, whatever may tickle her fancy. That, coupled with abundant opportunities and a good-natured sense of humor, has allowed her to deposit a wealth of memories in her memory bank — not all of which are aviation-related. They run the gamut from being a ski bum and then living in the South American jungle, to scuba diving for sunken treasure for a summer in the Bahamas. In 1997, she gave Bill a surprise 70th birthday party and rode the Stearman’s wing again over Marco Island. For his 75th, she surprised him with a circus party. She hired an entire circus, trained with them before they went to Wing South Airpark, and rode in on an elephant while dressed in a flesh-colored body suit.


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were taildraggers — so that’s what I flew. I like flying Winston at Marco Island in Florida, but often have a hard time with this paved runway, and there’s almost always a crosswind. I made some bumpy landings recently and I’m thinking, ‘What’s the matter with me? I’ve had this airplane for 40 years, so why am I having such a hard time with this?’ And then I go, ‘Oh! I hope it isn’t because I’m older!’ But I did have a great flight the other day, when Winston took me over Marco Island — it was glorious and calm!”


Both Ted and Bill championed Myrt and encouraged her aerial activities — except perhaps on one rare occasion. “Bill came down to the hangar and said he wanted to teach me how to do some maneuver,” Myrt said with a laugh. “And after we went up and came back down, he said, ‘Well, that’s the end of that — we’re not going to do that again!’” The most fulfilling gifts that Myrt derived from parachuting, flying airplanes and helicopters, and riding the wing were, she said, “a feeling of joy and excitement, and a feeling of accomplishment. I feel very fortunate and blessed for all the things I was introduced to, and the people I’ve met. The people are so fascinating, and all so different.”

Myrt points out with alacrity that she “never stuck with anything long enough to be the top wingwalker or top air show pilot. So I never felt totally confident that I could go out on my own, because something else came along that I wanted to do. But I did get my single- and multiengine land and sea, and helicopter ratings.”


Along the way, Bill gave Myrt a 1956 Chipmunk. “It was totally restored and beautiful! Of course I love Winston, but I loved the Chipmunk because it had a little more power and versatility. I’m very sorry I sold it after Bill died,” Myrt said. “We had a grass strip, and it was a taildragger — most of the airplanes he had



Bill was an enormous influence in Myrt’s life, and their wide-ranging common interests enhanced their close relationship throughout 26 years. “He offered areas that I probably wouldn’t have been able to experience if it hadn’t been for him. He opened doors for me, encouraged me, and went along with me,” Myrt said. “I could have done a lot more, and I didn’t take advantage of a lot of things that I probably should have. Anyhow, we were always flying somewhere or doing something — we had a small island on a lake in the north woods, and we lived on the water there. We did a lot of seaplane flying in the Goose and Mallard, going back and forth to our cabin and flying to our home in Marco Island and Barrington.”


This year, Myrt will celebrate 45 years of being at Oshkosh — whether as an exhibitor, parachutist, wing-walker, or pilot flying in with her own airplane. She continues to revel in the excitement of AirVenture —especially in the Vintage area. “When Bill and I went to Oshkosh, the Vintage area was where we spent most of our time, and we used to camp out with a lot of friends. We totally enjoyed flying the old airplanes, and want them to be preserved and remembered. We didn’t want these old airplanes to die in everybody’s mind,” Myrt said. “They’re very important because they’re aviation history.” After Bill passed away in 2010, Myrt wanted to memorialize him in some way. Initially, she considered having some kind of bronze marker or statue placed in the Vintage area. “But then I thought, ‘No! I’d rather spend the money and have the whole thing look better for everybody to enjoy — not just a statue sitting there,” Myrt said. “I think Bill deserved a lot of acknowledgment, because he was very generous and


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gave so much to the people of Vintage and EAA. And it was a big part of my life, too, and I still love it! Bill was a character, and our aviation life was Vintage.”


Myrt has logged around 3,000 hours’ flight time, and counting. “I’m still flying my boy, Winston, and I’m looking ahead and realizing the time ahead is a lot shorter than the time behind me — and that worries me! I shouldn’t worry about that, though,” she laughed. “I want to keep flying, and traveling, and exploring the world, and I’d like to play with baby elephants!” She has already arranged to donate Winston to Vintage, whenever the time comes to relinquish “her boy.” She recently donated a 1929 Ford pickup truck to Vintage, as well. “That truck belonged to a man named Arthur, who was like a grandfather to me. I used to ride around on his farm in it when I was a little girl, and it was given to me before he died. I named it Arthur, of course, and I just gave him to Vintage a few years ago. So Arthur and Winston will be together in the Vintage area.” Myrt’s indefatigable zeal is perhaps best elucidated by a few words from Youth, a poem penned by Samuel Ullman: “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; … it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life. … Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. … Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.” Next time you’re in Bill and Myrt Rose Park at AirVenture, ponder those words and these two gregarious and beneficent aviators … and be inspired to embrace life to its fullest, hands-on.



Shop Vintage Aircraft Apparel From hats, T-Shirts, and socks, VAA has brought the merchandise you love from AirVenture to their online store! Check back often, as stock will be updated soon.


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How many utility airplanes can be named that are as legendary as the de Havilland Beaver? Let’s see, there’s the Super Cub, the DC-3/C-47 and … and …. Although many folks will undoubtedly disagree, that seems to be about it. To many, the Beaver is really the only utilitarian/bush airplane. All the rest are pretenders to the throne. Considering the enormous amount of effort and money companies and individuals have invested in keeping Beavers flying, there has to be some substance to their legendary status. One thing is for sure: Those who own or fly them glory in both their utility and their rugged beauty. One of those is Keith Kocourek, EAA Lifetime 331046, of Wausau, Wisconsin.



The first step in Keith Kocourek’s restoration of his Beaver involved Kenmore Air pulling the wreckage out of a tree with a truck. Then they re-manufactured it.


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“Truth is, aviation was nowhere in my life or my family,” Keith said. “I knew about the Oshkosh fly-in, of course. You can’t live in Wisconsin and not know it, but I wasn’t attracted to airplanes. Then, after I was tasting some success in the car business, I was on a trip to Alaska. Part of the trip was a flight in a C-206 on floats to picnic on an island. I was sitting in back and talking over the seat backs to the pilot. He then invited me up front and did the usual, ‘Hold this and move it a little.’ BAM! Two weeks later I was taking flying lessons, and the fever hasn’t let up. And, after flying for 32 years, it’s not about to.” It wasn’t long before Keith had a handful of airplanes. “In almost no time I had a Bonanza, but having an engine go into severe rough and almost come apart over Denali in Alaska sort of forced me into a Baron, then a King Air, and now an M2 Citation — and I fly them all. For fun, I have a 2004 Top Cub; a Rare Aircraft, Redman-restored ZPF-7 Waco; and an SNJ. Along the way I had a Stearman and a R-985 powered V-77 Stinson, so I’ve had, or have, a little of everything, but the Beaver is the one that for sure is staying with me as long as I’m able to fly.”

That seems to be the universal sentiment amongst those who are lucky enough to fly Beavers. It very much pleases pilots, and that’s probably because the de Havilland DHC-2 may be one of the first aircraft that was designed by the marketplace, not by the marketing or engineering department. When World War II was in its closing phases, de Havilland Canada knew for a fact that it was going to be financially hurting because so much of its manufacturing was aimed at the military and that was about to disappear. So, shortly after the war it launched an intensive market research project in which it sought out as many Canadian commercial aircraft operators as possible and asked them what they would like to see in a new airplane. At that point in time, the late 1940s, Canada was even more of a frontier country than it is today. It had hundreds of locations that couldn’t be reached by roads, many of which were located on rivers or lakes. The airplane was already a transportation staple, but that industry was making do with a variety of 1930s workhorses and some ex-military aircraft, all of which were happier with longer, smoother runways and bigger waterways than were often available to them.

R-985: Pratt and Whitney’s contribution to the world of art.


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The wish list that was compiled by de Havilland included mostly obvious requirements: all-aluminum construction, more power, shorter takeoff and landing distances, quick adaptability from wheels to skis to floats, larger useful load, more accessible cargo space, bigger cargo doors, lower landing speed, ease of handling, and seating for six to eight passengers. The prospective customers wound up getting more than they expected when Pratt & Whitney of Canada made surplus 450-hp R-985s available to de Havilland at attractive prices. This was used in place of the six-cylinder U.K. Gipsy and represented a gross increase in horsepower. When the airplane went into production in 1948 it took a few years for it to catch on, but when it did, it really caught on. The U.S. Army was the biggest customer with over half of the roughly 1,650 Beavers that were built going to it. The Army kept them in inventory from 1954 to 1974, at which time they were surplused, put their civvies on, and joined the workforce. The final Beaver rolled off the production line in 1967.


ABOVE: The flight deck of a Beaver actually is a flight deck. BELOW: The necessities for coming ashore.





Rather than waiting and snapping up a Beaver from Trade-A-Plane, Keith went a different route. “I like building things,” he said. “I like taking nothing and making something out of it. So, I contacted Rob Richey at Kenmore Air in Seattle, who has been operating Beavers on floats for generations. They fly 6,000 Beaver hours per year and, of necessity, have developed a complete on-site rebuild capability for every part of the airplane. This includes rebuilding damaged airframes and everything that’s needed to keep a Beaver working. They have FAA PMA approval to manufacture many of the airframe parts that are being aged out or simply worn out or damaged. So, we went looking for a project.” The airplane Keith decided to rebuild actually needed remanufacturing. “It wasn’t simply damaged,” he said. “It was pretty much destroyed. It was just a pile of parts. First off, it was an ex-Zambian Air Force airframe. So, it had lived a hard life. On its last civilian flight before I got it, it was taking off of a narrow, tree-lined runway in the San Juan Islands and a wind shear slammed it into a tree as it lifted off. This caused a violent cartwheel and, according to the guys at Kenmore, they pulled it out of the tree with a truck. There wasn’t a single piece of the airplane that wasn’t crushed, wrinkled, or torn. In fact, I’d say that we only used a small percentage of the original airplane. The total rebuild consumed a shade over 6,000 man-hours! And, we didn’t even think about trying to rebuild the wings. We just took a set of Kenmore remanufactured ones off the rack.”

Just enough glass to make it useful but not enough to detract from its vintage feel.


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Since a new fuselage wasn’t available, Kenmore Air replaced the skins and the frames, which basically created a new fuselage. “Because of the extent of the damage and the overall deterioration of the airframe from having lived a hard life, by the time we were done, it was technically a zero-time fuselage although there is no way to state that in the logs,” Keith said. “In fact, one of Kenmore’s standard programs is to rebuild an airplane and give it a zero-hour fatigue life rating. All of the components that see loads and fatigue are replaced. Plus, with the airplane all apart, they can epoxy prime everything before assembly so there’s a lot less concern about corrosion when operating on floats, which we do most of the time. “Kenmore has all the jigs necessary to rebuild fuselages, wings, etc. to maintain alignment,” he continued. “Plus, all of the drawings are available so, where necessary, the part can be legally ‘owner built’ to the drawings. So, this fuselage was basically built from scratch. At the same time, we were able to incorporate a lot of mods that make the airplane that much more usable.


The space behind the voluminous back seat is where you put your bicycles or 50 gallon drums.



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This is easy when having the work done at Kenmore because they own so many STCs for modifying and updating Beavers. This includes installing the so-called Alaska cargo door. This opens up the side of the fuselage so you can roll in 55-gallon drums. More important, it creates a big aft cargo area that, in our airplane, has two bike racks and can also accommodate a couple of passengers in sling seats so, in total, the airplane can carry eight passengers.” The heart of the Beaver, and so many other vintage airplanes, is the ever-present 450-hp R-985 Pratt & Whitney. It has been out of production for nearly 70 years so some parts are becoming harder than others to find. We talked to Kenmore’s vice president of sales and consulting, and he said the company Kenmore now uses for overhauling engines has a massive number of new old stock (NOS) spares, but in a lot of cases, Kenmore doesn’t want to use NOS stuff. For instance, many of the bearings, bushings, rings, etc. are available as brandnew manufacture, and in many cases they are using materials that are far superior to the original. Crankshafts, however, are apparently getting harder to find but not impossible, and he said cylinders can generally be hard chromed and then machined back to new limit dimensions, so that’s not a huge

problem either. However, the number and cost of rebuildable cores is a problem because the number of cores is declining so the cost is increasing. When talking about the availability of Beaver airframe parts versus the same parts for something like a Cessna 185, Kenmore said it has fewer parts problems with Beavers than it does the Cessna, and it works on both of them. It also said that because so many Beavers are military surplus there are big gaps in their logs because none of the military logs are with the airplane. This means Kenmore has to work from scratch and assume everything is wrong until it can be inspected and everything made right. All of that work clearly paid off. Keith’s 1965 de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, N22KK, was awarded the Vintage Contemporary Grand Champion Customized Gold Lindy at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021. In terms of upkeep on the aircraft, Keith said, “I use Ben Redman, who restored my Waco to maintain the Beaver, too, and we do an annual every six months. I like it when he calls and says, ‘It’s Arctic ready.’ That means it’s perfect and ready for a trip to the Arctic. When I had the Beaver done it was to get it as close to perfect as was mechanically possible. I was only going to do this once in my lifetime, and I have zero interest in selling it, so getting it right is worth the investment in time and money.” So what does Keith do with the Beaver now that it’s done? “We have it on floats most of the time, and one of my greatest joys is to fly Young Eagles in it,” he said. “The general countenance of the airplane is that of being an aerial St. Bernard — big and friendly and kids love it. It’s


a big Cub, and we can cruise around at low altitude letting them really absorb the experience, and I guarantee that experience stays with them. In the long run, that benefits aviation. I have a bobblehead beaver on the panel, and on takeoff I have kids say, ‘Go, Beaver, go!’ I gave a controller a ride, and the next day, when I was leaving, she said, ‘Go, Beaver, go!’ over the tower frequency.” Kids aren’t the only ones who love the aircraft. Keith said he can pull in next to something like a Gulfstream, and people will walk past the Gulfstream — completely ignoring it — as they focus on the Beaver. “People just love to poke their heads inside and see what it’s like, and they feel comfortable asking questions,” he said. “It’s a comfortable kind of airplane. As recently as a couple weeks ago, I landed in Sarasota, which is a pretty busy airport with lots of exotic airplanes. As I was taxiing in, the tower asked me if I had time for a few questions, and we had a neat little discussion about the airplane. It just brings that out in people. “My family always says that the Beaver is a ‘friend to all,’” Keith said. “People climb all over it, and I never say ‘no’ to a ride. You just gotta love it!” Big friendly airplanes bring people into aviation. It’s possible that the R-985 itself might be aviation’s best salesman. However, put it on the front of something like a Beaver and have guys like Keith Kocourek stuffing kids and friends in it to go flying with him, and you just know the rides will have the same effect on them that the C-206 ride had on Keith. That’s a good thing. A very good thing!







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f four Kitty Hawk biplanes on the FAA Registry, Bob Coolbaugh of New Market, Virginia, is confident that his is the only one that will ever fly in his lifetime. And fly it has! NC975M has a rather colorful history — from flight training and ride-hopping to calamity and neglect. Now, this grand ol’ gal has debuted anew, the wind strumming its wires and its Kinner drumming a steady rhythm as it flies over the countryside and right into the heart of the man who dared to revive it for one last dance.



The first B-2 Kitty Hawks (powered by various engines) were designed by John Summers and built by Bourdon Aircraft Corp. at Hillsgrove, Rhode Island, in 1928. The B-4 model was powered by a 100-hp Kinner and was manufactured in 1929. In 1930, Bourdon merged into the Viking Flying Boat Co. at New Haven, Connecticut, where the B-8 model, powered by a 125-hp Kinner, was produced. “The Kittyhawk is ever ready to soar into the skies from landing fields of green … ever eager to climb on up into the clouds from waterways of blue. For this flying symbol of freedom, safety and power can be changed from a land plane to a sea plane quickly and easily … She is almost impossible to spin, so easy to fly, so responsive to the controls,” touted Viking in its advertising. Aviation historian Joseph Juptner wrote: “Although quite plain in outline and simple of mechanical form, the ‘Kitty Hawk’ B-8 was a well-mannered machine with a loveable, subtle and girlish charm; general opinion voiced it a nice airplane to own and a very pleasant airplane to fly” (U.S. Civil Aircraft, Vol. 4).


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Though only 34 Kitty Hawks were produced, they nonetheless made their mark in history. Nancy Hopkins, a commercial pilot and official hostess of Roosevelt Field at Long Island, shined a spotlight on Kitty Hawks by putting her airmanship on display during the 1930 National Air Races. She placed fourth in the Women’s Dixie Derby, flying her 100-hp Kitty Hawk (NC30V) from Washington, D.C., to Chicago in 19 hours and 18 minutes. She also competed in the Women’s Dead Stick Landing contests, winning second- or third-place prizes five days in a row. By October 1930, Nancy was happily employed by the Viking Flying Boat Co. in New Haven to demonstrate and sell Kitty Hawk biplanes. Kitty Hawks often garnered media attention as well. In 1930, Don Prentiss of Keene Valley flew his Kitty Hawk in a publicized air meet in front of thousands at Plattsburgh Mobodo airport in New York. In June, brothers Jack and Roger Tyne of Binghamton, New York, bought a Kitty Hawk to continue their training for their transport licenses. In October 1932, Count Bernard d’Escayrac of France learned to fly and earned his license in 15 hours’ time in a Kitty Hawk at Roosevelt Field. In December 1936, four international light seaplane altitude and speed records were set by Crystal Mowry, flying Kitty Hawk NC753Y, during the Miami International Air Races. In 1942, Rep. Andrew Somers of New York (a World War I naval aviator) was saluted in the local press for his five sons and daughters who all logged numerous hours in the family’s Kitty Hawk. As for NC975M, it made its own special niche in history, right from the beginning — and is still doing so.



Volunteers Rick Clarke, Bob Scholtes, and Tom Lavery with the Kitty Hawk.

Bob has restored seven aircraft through the last 30 years, and just prior to tackling the Kitty Hawk project, he built a replica of the 1911 Curtiss pusher to commemorate the Centennial of Naval Aviation. He flew it in 19 air shows throughout the United States, and then sold it. Those funds catalyzed his quest for yet another restoration project, and when perusing Barnstormers, he happened upon an ad that aroused his curiosity. “A Kitty Hawk was for sale, and the ad stated it had been in an accident but had an overhauled engine. The price was supposed to include all the manufacturing rights for Kitty Hawk aircraft,” Bob said. “I called Andrew King, and he said there was one at the New England Air Museum, but it wasn’t flying.” So Bob and Andrew went to take a look at the project. They were taken aback by what they saw. “Our mouths hit the floor when we saw this thing. It was in a canvas-covered little tent on wooden pallets sitting on dirt floors. The fuselage was all twisted,” Bob said. “When you touched the wings, it sounded like Pick-Up Sticks inside. The engine was sitting on a tire on the ground, and the prop blades had splintered tips.” Bob looked through the logbooks and soon realized that the original 125-hp Kinner B-5 had been replaced with a “very low-time, war surplus 160-hp Kinner R-56 from a Ryan PT-22. It was installed and flown 600 hours until it quit and the Kitty Hawk crashed, but it hadn’t been overhauled. The seller did have about 95 percent of the factory drawings from Allan Bourdon, who started the company, and a stack of succession letters wherein Bourdon assigned the rights to use the drawings as needed to repair an airplane. Those letters went down through four or five more owners, but that didn’t constitute the rights of a type certificate.” Bob declined to purchase the project for the asking price but made an offer just in case the seller couldn’t find another buyer. Six months later, Bob received a call and placed the proverbial check in the mail. Bob, his son John, and Andrew drove to Connecticut in 2012 and loaded the tattered remains of the Kitty Hawk into a box truck and drove it home.


Bob Coolbaugh owns and restored this Kitty Hawk with help from his many friends.


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Virginia’s College of William & Mary (W&M) was founded in 1693 and is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. In September 1931, according to the W&M Libraries website, W&M’s president, Julian Chandler, established a department of aeronautics in conjunction with the Riordan School in New York City. The college operated the Williamsburg Municipal Airport, and the “flight school was the first ever to be incorporated into the curriculum of an institution of higher learning.” W&M purchased NC975M new in 1931; it was the second Kitty Hawk for its flight school, which employed two WWI pilots as instructors. But the flying curriculum was short-lived due to the Great Depression, and barely a year after the program commenced, the airplanes were sold. Chandler purchased NC975M so his son could continue flying it to earn his ratings.


NC975M then endured several short-lived ownerships, first by Edward Willis of Richmond, Virginia, in January 1935; then a year later, it landed in the hands of Waldemar Hagberg of Springfield, Massachusetts. Skyhaven Inc., of Rochester, New Hampshire, acquired the Kitty Hawk in October 1941, rebuilding it and installing a 160-hp Kinner R-56 in 1947. Mounted on EDO L-2260 floats (obtained from Kitty Hawk NC753Y), it reined in renewed glory as a popular ride-hopper from Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. NC975M continued in that role after Bill Muzzey of Lakeport, New Hampshire, became the new owner in July 1951. Intrigued by the Kitty Hawk’s seaplane history, Bob embarked on an internet search and discovered a Lake Winnipesaukee forum. He posted a query, and lo and behold, historical photos and personal memories of NC975M started flooding the forum. “Bill Muzzey and his wife, Carol, flew seaplane ride-hopping off Lake Winnipesaukee,” Bob said. “I’ve been in touch with his son, who said, ‘The interesting thing is that my mom flew that airplane as much as my dad. She was a commercial pilot, and Dad was doing other work, so Mom would go down to the dock if there were people lined up there, and she’d fly the ride-hopping.’” NC975M flew away from Lake Winnipesaukee when Bill sold her to James Pashley of Flushing, New York, in October 1957. But she returned to her watery nest in August 1962, splashing down upon the lake once again with William “Bill” Harmon of Exeter, New Hampshire, at the controls. Flown as a ride-hopper until 1968, Bill dismantled the Kitty Hawk for a well-deserved restoration at Laconia airport. In 1974, the seaplane got back up on the step and lifted gracefully off the lake for a couple of hops. The third flight ended anything but gracefully.



28 feet, 4 inches 28 feet 22 feet, 11 inches 54 inches 8 feet, 8 inches 1,950 pounds 1,178 pounds 772 pounds 3 125-hp Kinner B-5 35 gallons 3 gallons 149 mph 95 mph 42 mph 730 fpm 14,500 feet 425 miles


The Kitty Hawk logo was embroidered on leather for the front cockpit.


Bob made contact with Bill Harmon, then in his 80s, who conveyed the story of how the airplane crashed. “Bill was an American Airlines pilot, and he was giving a ride to his base chief pilot and his son. Bill turned away from the lake on his climb-out, and the engine quit cold. He made a cartwheel crash landing, ending upside-down in antiquer Dick Jackson’s backyard. Fortunately, nobody was hurt,” Bob said. “The official report stated the cause as a simultaneous dual magneto failure. Dick was at the scene and said it probably was, in the sense that there was no fuel dripping out of the tank, no avgas on the ground, and no smell of avgas anywhere around the crash site. Bill put the airplane in storage, intending to restore her to flight, but instead wound up selling her to Michael Milligan of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, in August 2007. She remained untouched in an open storage space until 2012, when I went to look at her.”


With the story of the crash in mind, Bob carefully examined the fuel system plumbing while disassembling the airframe. He saw four outlets at the bottom of the fuel tank. “One of them was to drain the tank, and one had a sump below the bottom of the tank and was plumbed to the fuel shut-off valve and gascolator. The fuel selector valve had off, reserve, and main. There was a standpipe on the sump side, which kept about 45 minutes’ worth of fuel (about 7 gallons) in reserve. There were two flush fittings, one in the forward corner and one in the opposite aft corner on the bottom of the tank for the reserve,” Bob said, “but it was all plumbed together, so it didn’t matter whether you selected main or reserve — all the fuel would drain out. So I think that’s why the engine quit — it was fuel starvation.” During the restoration, Bob fixed that problem and later tested it high over the airport. As the main tank ran down and sputtered, he switched to reserve and the engine came back to life, just as it should.


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Prior to installing the engine, Bob sent the Kinner to Brad Ball in California for inspection. “Brad told me if the crank was bent, he’d send the pieces back and charge for the time it took to take it apart, because there are no more R-56 Kinner crankshafts. Fortunately, the crankshaft was good, and he began overhauling the engine to zero time.”


The restoration became a family affair, along with weekend help from Bob’s Navy buddies Rick Clarke and Tom Lavery. Together, they stripped the wings and salvaged the fittings. Bob bought spar blanks and had a Mennonite carpentry shop at Dayton, Virginia, CAD the factory drawings and run them on its hightech CNC router. At the shop’s insistence, Bob stood by the machine as it cut out every lightening hole and angle. It took a full day to make eight spars. With the spars completed, Bob and his father started building up the wing panels, per the drawings. “It took forever because there were so many little pieces, and you could only build one rib a day. You built the first half in a jig and let it sit at least eight hours or overnight. Then I’d pop it out of the jig and take a rib I’d built the previous day, flip it over, and put it back in the jig to glue the gussets on,” Bob said, “then that had to dry for eight hours.” The wing has a USA-27 low-speed, high-lift airfoil, and there are 68 nearly identical ribs. The top wing panels simply bolt together, sans center section, with two cabane struts joining the fuselage. A Bourdon Aircraft Corp. ad touted: “Advanced Engineering — We use a cabane because it is lighter, stronger, more rigid, requires no rigging and is simpler than a center section. It permits easy access to the cockpit and requires only very slightly heavier spars on a small ship. Pilots will not accept poorly designed cabanes with eccentric fittings, but Kitty Hawk’s is properly constructed.”

Upper wings built by Ted Davis get prepped for cover by Rick Clarke and Bob.


Numerous components had to be fabricated, including a brand new engine mount and the landing gear with its shoulder-mounted, oil-over-spring main shock struts. The lower longerons were tweaked and twisted, especially in the cross structures where the seaplane fittings were, so they were repaired as necessary. That task, however, was a bit of a fiery one. “Bill had protected the longerons from corrosion by filling them with linseed oil and sealing them. When I started cutting the longerons loose, linseed oil started pouring out of them, and we were filling up 5-gallon buckets from the four longerons,” Bob said. “When we started welding new sections on, the oil caught fire — and little-bitty pinholes became mega-blowtorches, so that got real colorful!” The original cockpit cowling still had the W&M green and gold colors, preserved under multiple layers of paint. Bob didn’t want a green airplane, though, so he used Ceconite and dope to finish the Kitty Hawk with an art deco-style blue-and-orange paint scheme. He had Patty House of Sign Design in Purcellville, Virginia, hand-paint the factory logo and registration number on the tail.



When it came to upholstery for the Kitty Hawk, Bob wanted to dress up the grand ol’ gal for its last dance with some comfy leather finery. With a cowhide, factory drawing, and cushions in hand, he went straight to Columbus Tuck’s little shop in a little town north of New Market. Bob was already familiar with Columbus’ quality workmanship — he’d sewn finely detailed upholstery for four of Bob’s restorations. The cost was so reasonable that Bob thought it wasn’t fair to Columbus, so after twisting his arm, Bob paid him twice the price — he would have paid even more, but 80-year-old Columbus wouldn’t accept it. Columbus also fashioned the leather strips for the cockpit coaming, and Paul Workman of Bedrock Aero in Zanesville, Ohio, drove out to Bob’s place and did a beautiful job of deftly installing the coaming on the cowling. Bob wanted the unique Kitty Hawk logo placed prominently in the front twoplace cockpit to enhance passengers’ cognizance of this rare biplane. He saved a perfect piece of leather, and enlarged the Kitty Hawk logo so it would fit neatly between the upper curved part of the instrument panel and the bottom flat side. His template was sent to Canada, and a CAD program was created that would run on a Canadian-built embroidery machine. But sometimes, the best-laid plans run awry. The logo ended up being sewn upside-down on that last piece of leather from the hide. Dismayed but determined, he figured out a way to use the embroidered logo. He made an oval frame out of copper pipe cut in half lengthwise, placed some padding behind the leather, and then placed the copper frame around it and screwed it to the aluminum panel. It’s an elegant touch, and it’s large enough for passersby to appreciate.


It took eight years for Bob and his friends to resurrect this badly damaged Kitty Hawk and entice it to become living history. Bob’s wife, Wini, bolstered him with encouragement throughout those years, and meticulously sewed protective cockpit covers. Many antiquers who offered tremendous help — whether knowledge-wise or hands-on — included Jim Wilson, Ted Davis, Joe Santana, Terry Bowden, Jon Nace, Bruce Senger, Forrest Lovley, and Mark Lightsey. NC975M took a bit of coaxing at first to get it accustomed to being airborne again, and Bob patiently worked through any issues that arose. Describing its flying characteristics, Bob said, “The factory test pilot, after landing the prototype, told Allan Bourdon, ‘She flies like a hawk and lands like a kitten.’ She cruises comfortably at 80 mph. The four ailerons are pushrod controlled but very short, so roll rates are rather sedate. The large, trimmable stabilizer and walking-beam elevator are very adequate, but the Lloyd Stearman-style rudder is pretty small, especially with the 160-hp Kinner.” After a bit of local flying, Bob felt the Kitty Hawk was ready to make its celebrated debut. “I decided to barnstorm her with the Andrew King Farm Team in July 2021. So we flew from Virginia across the West Virginia rocks and trees to Springfield, Ohio, then to Hagerstown, Indiana, and the Dirksen Farm. Then we flew to the Brodhead Pietenpol Reunion and Oshkosh, Wisconsin,” Bob said. “The crash in 1974 should have ended her history, but something kept her broken bones together until I was led to her. I really love this airplane; it’s the last one flying, and all I want to do is have people see it. People should understand that she’s a cranky old lady, but she’s had a better life than I have!”


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Gather up your friends and family, pack your blanket or lawn chairs, bring some munchies, and settle in to an outdoor movie experience that is one-of-a-kind! Relax and unwind while watching blockbuster and classic aviation movies on a five-story high screen.

Now Now Showing S h ow in g SATURDAY JULY 23 Top Gun (8:30 p.m.)

SUNDAY JULY 24 The Big Lift (8:30 p.m.)

MONDAY JULY 25 Air Force One (8:30 p.m.)

TUESDAY JULY 26 The McConnell Story (8:30 p.m.)

WEDNESDAY JULY 27 Jet Pilot (8:30 p.m.)

THURSDAY JULY 28 Wolf Hound (8:30 p.m.)

FRIDAY JULY 29 Top Gun: Maverick (8:30 p.m.)

SATURDAY JULY 30 Toward the Unknown (8:30 p.m.)


July/August 2022


Last summer, a limber 23-year-old Aeron Fout exercised his jungle gym skills and climbed into the cabin of his 1948 Piper PA-17 Vagabond, squeezing past a dry bag full of supplies that was strapped onto the passenger side of the bench seat. Straddling the control stick, he settled into the pilot’s side of the small cabin and commenced his 2,300 nm round-trip solo flight from Merritt Island, Florida, to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s likely that he’s the first pilot to ever fly this Vagabond west of the Mississippi River.



eron has been around small airplanes since before he could walk, and he grew up hearing his father David’s stories of flying. That kindled Aeron’s interest in general aviation, along with a flight in his Uncle Larry Cox’s Cirrus. As a teen, Aeron went through ground school and passed his written exam before taking his first flying lesson in a Cessna 152 in 2015. He soloed well before he had his driver’s license and had logged 41 hours when he passed his checkride in his family’s Cherokee on his 17th birthday in 2016. “It was kind of funny, my dad would drive me to the airport, and then I would get in the plane and go do my solo cross-country somewhere on the other side of the state and return, and have to wait for a ride home,” Aeron said. “My mom was my very first passenger right after my checkride. Then I flew into SUN ’n FUN. My dad always tells people that he pushed me in a stroller at SUN ’n FUN, and now I fly in there in my own airplane!”

LET’S MAKE A DEAL Aeron earned his instrument rating in his family’s well-equipped Grumman Cheetah in 2018 but only flew it about 35 hours the next year. Realizing its capabilities were underutilized, Aeron decided he’d rather have something more economical and fun to fly. In 2019, he advertised the Cheetah for sale, indicating he’d entertain a partial trade for a J-3 Cub or similar. W.J. Burdis of Pennsylvania responded to the ad, saying he used to own a Cheetah and wanted another one. He asked Aeron to consider a partial trade for “one of the nicest Vagabonds in the world.” Aeron knew hardly anything about Vagabonds, except that they were tailwheel Pipers. “I didn’t know that it was side-by-side seating, or that it was the first of the shortwing generation,” Aeron said. “But when I saw the pictures of his Vagabond, I thought, ‘This is the ultimate deal, because this airplane is gorgeous!’”



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Aeron and his father went to see the Vagabond, and Aeron was smitten at first sight. “It was such a cute, happy little airplane. When I sat in it, Burdis was standing under the wing, looking at me. He said, ‘Yeah, you’ll love it. It flies like a Pitts!’ Well, I was a little bit intimidated by that, because I hadn’t soloed a tailwheel airplane yet,” Aeron said, “and I was having a hard enough time learning in a J-3 Cub. But we ended up making the whole deal happen, and during the process, I came to realize how special the Vagabond is.”

PRACTICE, PRACTICE Yielding to prudence and caution, Aeron hired a ferry pilot with Vagabond experience to fly the PA-17 from Pennsylvania to Merritt Island. This highly responsive, short-coupled Vagabond was the first tailwheel airplane that Aeron soloed, and he immersed himself in pattern work the first year he owned it, making about 400 landings. His persistent dedication paid off. “We’re based on a paved runway that has a reputation for strong crosswinds, so I just sort of got thrown right into the worst conditions while trying to learn how to handle this airplane on the ground,” Aeron said. “I’ve come to love how quick it handles and how well balanced the controls are. It was a great experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!”


Specs 1948 Piper PA-17 Vagabond (Specs as originally manufactured.) Aircraft Specification No. A-805 Eligible to be flown by a sport pilot. WINGSPAN: LENGTH: HEIGHT: EMPTY WEIGHT: GROSS WEIGHT: USEFUL LOAD: SEATS: ENGINE: FUEL: OIL: MAX SPEED: CRUISING SPEED: STALLING SPEED: RATE OF CLIMB: SERVICE CEILING: CRUISING RANGE:

29 feet, 3 inches 18 feet, 7 inches 6 feet 650 pounds 1,150 pounds 500 pounds 1 pilot, 1 passenger Continental A65-8 12 gallons 1 gallon 100 mph 90 mph 45 mph 530 fpm 10,500 feet 250 statute miles

The first iteration of the Piper Vagabond — the plain-Jane, Lycoming-powered, rigid-geared PA-15 — went from the drawing board to the prototype’s first flight in a mere 88 days in 1947. Designed to use up a cache of available parts and generate sales to save the company, Cub wings (minus 3 feet from the inboard section) and ailerons were used. Hence, the Vagabond became the first short-wing Piper. Production began in early 1948, and 347 PA-15s were manufactured. William T. Piper Jr. shared his personal sentiment about the Vagabond with the author in 2001: “They’re great little buggies to hop around in, and actually, they’re the ones that started all the planes that later came along.” The Continental-powered, bungee-geared PA-17 was the second iteration, of which 214 were produced. Thanks to Vagabond sales, the company’s ink went from red to black by the end of 1948. The PA-17 had dual controls and was dubbed the “Vagabond Trainer.” It has indeed lived up to that moniker ever since by training new pilots and pilots who felt they already knew how to fly. PHOTOGRAPHY BY CONNOR MADISON


N17VG’S MODIFICATIONS • Aero-Fabricators (Wag-Aero) individual lap belt and shoulder harness system • Steve’s Aircraft skylight • Transparent lower door panel • Wag-Aero 11.5-gallon aluminum wing tanks (original header tank removed) • Grove single-disc brakes • Steve’s gascolator installed • Changed the registration number from NC4699H to N17VG • Teledyne Continental Motors C85-12F engine installation incorporating an O-200 crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons • Aircraft battery electrical system • Luscombe Model 8F (Hanlon-Wilson) exhaust system and heater mufflers • William C. Bainbridge III B&C Specialty Products Model 320-1 starter • Sun visor by Rosen Sunvisor Systems LLC • ACS Products Co. Lang D-501A tailwheel assembly • B&C 433-H permanent magnet generator with PMR3 regulator and 505-1 PM/OV • Trig ADS-B transponder, Flightline comm radio, PS Engineering intercom • TAF-L oil filter adapter and Tempest oil filter

AWARDS • SUN ’n FUN 1979 (previous restoration), Best Classic Restored Up to 100 HP • SUN ’n FUN Aerospace Expo 2021 (current restoration), Best Custom Classic 0-100 HP • AirVenture 2021, Classic Category, Custom Class I (0-85 hp) — Bronze Lindy • SUN ’n FUN Holiday FlyIn Festival 2021, Best of Show Aircraft • SUN ’n FUN Aerospace Expo 2022, Reserve Grand Champion, Custom Classic

Courtesy Aeron Fout – AirVenture 2021 Bronze Lindy


July/August 2022

SERIAL NO. 17-97 NC4699H rolled out of the Piper factory at Lock Haven on June 24, 1948 — its destiny and longevity a mystery waiting to be unfurled by its own prop wash. Despite their innocent appearance, Vagabonds possess a sassy responsiveness that has reminded pilots time and again that they dare not be complacent. This one in particular suffered extensive damage to its landing gear, wings, and prop in August 1949 and again in October 1950. Yet it did land, from time to time through the decades, in capable and caring hands — such as when it won an award at SUN ’n FUN in 1979. “I think it’s cool that even with all of the beating it’s taken, it’s still ended up being a nice example of a Vagabond,” Aeron said. “That makes me feel good that it’s been well loved at least through some of its history.” A previous owner, who was at first a reluctant pilot, found herself joining the ranks of those who unabashedly love the Vagabond. Nancy Normark of North Carolina learned to fly in NC4699H. When she went for her checkride in 1989, the examiner admitted he didn’t know how to fly a Vagabond and she was on her own — she passed with flying colors (“Ron and Nancy Normark” by Jack Cox, Sportsman Pilot, Winter 2005). NC4699H continued flying through the Carolina blue skies for a number of years, but after a hand-propping incident rendered it unairworthy, it was put out for bid by a salvage company.

WRECKAGE TO RESPLENDENT In July 2010, Hugh Stoops of Belleville, Illinois, won the bid on Phoenix Aviation’s aircraft salvage award for N4699H. He commenced a four-year-long, ground-up, extensive restoration, which included several modifications. The airframe was disassembled, sandblasted, inspected, repaired as necessary, and painted with Randolph Rand-O-Plate in olive drab. The tubing in the top area of the cabin was coated with Superflite urethane in polar gray. The longerons and the cabin’s vertical tubing were treated internally with boiled linseed oil. The airframe was covered with the Superflite System VI process and finished in Cub yellow. He also completed a thorough engine overhaul and installed a new Sensenich wooden propeller. In 2016, W.J. Burdis became the next caretaker and added a few more mods to the Vagabond. He also changed NC4699H’s registration number to N17VG. (See sidebar for a cumulative listing of modifications.) Two years later, this happy Vagabond landed in Aeron’s hands and heart.




One of the impressive features of N17VG is its neatly laid-out, modernized instrument panel. Aeron put a lot of thought into how he wanted various avionics installed in the panel, ever striving to retain a classic and symmetrical feeling to the layout. Through careful measuring and planning, he achieved his goal of blending yesteryear’s ambiance with a modern electrical system and avionics. Aeron’s cosmetic touches for the interior included having the bench seat reupholstered with brown leather, and instead of placing carpet on the floorboard, he fashioned a removable covering made of laminated teak-and-holly, marine-grade plywood. It was a bit of a challenge to make sure it could be slipped in and out of the cabin for annual inspections without interfering with the flight controls. Aeron gave the wood a glossy finish by brushing 10 coats of varnish on it, sanding each coat until he had the clarity he wanted. One of Aeron’s airport buddies, EAA Chapter 724 President Dwayne Waters, owns a restored Pacer and “has been an inspiration to me in my short-wing Piper journey,” Aeron said. “I just wish there were more people my age at this airport that were interested in vintage airplanes.”

N17VG caught the eye of EAA’s Jim Busha (vice president of publications, marketing, membership, and retail) during SUN ’n FUN 2021, spurring a chance meeting that served as a catalyst for Aeron’s solo cross-country to Oshkosh. “Jim came up to my parents, who were at the plane, and asked whose it was. My dad said, ‘It’s my son’s plane, and he’s out walking around.’ Jim told him about the upcoming commemoration of shortwing Pipers at Oshkosh, so my dad called me back over to the plane,” Aeron said, “and Jim told me they liked the airplane and the fact that a young guy like me was flying it. They took some photos and suggested I fly it to Oshkosh and have it recognized as part of the short-wing Piper celebration.”

A MOM’S REQUEST Aeron’s mom, Kathy, was listening carefully to the plans being made for a flight to Oshkosh, and with motherly concern, she made a request. “My mom said, ‘If you’re going to fly all the way up there, I’d really like for it to have a transponder so that I can track you on FlightAware.’ So the next day, my dad and I went into the vendor exhibits at SUN ’n FUN and bought a transponder system,” Aeron said. “We had already purchased an alternator system, but this proposed flight to Oshkosh was what prompted us to go ahead and install it.”

Here’s a peek inside the Vagabond’s engine room; this airplane has an electrical system and a push-button start.


ALTERNATOR AND TRANSPONDER Aeron’s next-door hangar neighbor and A&P/IA mechanic Charlie Fleming is one of the local aviators who, in a grandfatherly way, has taken Aeron under his wing. Charlie helped Aeron with the installation of the B&C lightweight alternator and voltage regulator rectifier system. “I actually built the voltage regulator on the bench with Charlie’s supervision. He has a background in mechanical and electrical work on the space shuttle, and that’s the quality of work that he’s tried to teach me to do,” Aeron said. “It was a really cool, hands-on learning experience to do the avionics wiring and build wiring harnesses.” The Trig ADS-B transponder installation provided another learning experience for Aeron, as Charlie taught him how to crimp the pins for the transponder’s electrical connections. “There was a lot of custom fabrication and wiring to make that system fit in this airplane,” Aeron said. “Now I always joke with my dad and say that the Vagabond has space shuttle wiring in it!” They added Garmin USB ports on the panel so Aeron could charge his iPad and phone during his flight to Oshkosh. Aeron also added a removable Dynon attitude indicator with synthetic vision for his long cross-country, since he didn’t want to solely depend upon ForeFlight on his iPad.

STATIC SYSTEM Aeron enjoys the fresh-air feeling of flying with the Vagabond’s window open, and when sideslipping on final approach, he noticed erratic airspeed indications. “Back in 1948, they just let the airspeed indicator and altimeter get static pressure from behind the instrument panel, and when we were installing the transponder, it dawned on me that we didn’t have a static source for it,” Aeron said, “so we bought a Piper-specific pitot-static tube.”


July/August 2022

Running the static line through the wing and circumventing the fuel tank proved to be a major feat. But they persevered, and succeeded in routing the line from the wing down behind the panel and connecting it to the airspeed and transponder. “We took it over to the avionics shop for the transponder certification. They actually tested the static system, and it passed all the tests at 20,000 feet — which was probably a very ‘overkill’ thing to do,” Aeron said. “But since I had just finished my instrument rating, I wanted to come up with a set of numbers to consistently fly by … even though the purists and the old-school tailwheel guys will tell you to fly by the seat of your pants.” After the static system was installed, Aeron noticed that he lost about 10 mph of indicated airspeed, reflecting only a 95 mph cruise, so he adjusted his other speeds to fly accordingly.

AERON’S AIRVENTURE ADVENTURE To date, Aeron’s longest solo cross-country and longest flight in his Vagabond was to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2021. He described it with exuberance, saying, “It was a bucket-list trip and the most fun I’ve ever had in an airplane! I did a little bit of local flying around at different places I stopped, and I detoured out to Creve Coeur Airport at St. Louis. I never flew more than three hours at a time, and most of my legs were two and a half hours. “I know I have more than an hour of fuel left when the fuel level drops below the sight gauges, but I’m ready to land by three hours, and I’m not comfortable when I can’t see the fuel level.” Aeron had a sentimental mascot flying along with him: a little Piper teddy bear. His mom bought it for him at the Vintage Red Barn during their first visit to Oshkosh in 2015. “That little Piper bear was in the Cherokee when I got my license,” Aeron said, “so I figured I’d put him on the glare shield of the Piper Vagabond and fly him back to Oshkosh.” In addition to the adrenaline of flying solo to AirVenture, Aeron’s adventure was enhanced in another way. Wes Whitley is another of Aeron’s grandfatherly mentors and hangar neighbors, and he happens to have a videographer brother. Wayne Whitley films general aviation and adventure videos for fun and posts them to his YouTube channel. “Wayne asked me what I thought of the idea of filming the trip to Oshkosh, and I told him that I loved the idea, as long as it didn’t take away from my focus on actually flying,” Aeron said. “So Wayne and Wes played the role of a little film crew along the way, driving their RV and rendezvousing with me at my stops. I think it’s just so cool that those guys took the time to put together something for my trip.” (View WhitleyVideos’ Aeron’s Amazing Cross Country Adventure to Oshkosh 2021 Part I at eRLiLsTzdSU, and Part 2 at Aeron adopted the role of a true vagabond pilot when he made an overnight stop in Carrollton, Georgia, and made himself at home by sleeping on a recliner in the pilot’s lounge that night.


A SPORTY SURPRISE Aeron is enjoying his Vagabond immensely; he flew 100 hours last year and hopes to do the same again this year. He loves the way it flies — its sportiness and how light it is on the controls — and one of his favorite things to do is taking other pilots flying in it who’ve never been in a Vagabond before. “I just love seeing the surprised look on their faces when they take the controls for the first time,” Aeron said. He also loves just how underappreciated the Vagabond seems to be, despite its historical significance. “I love telling people the story of what that plane actually meant for Piper,” Aeron said. “And I also love running into people at air shows and interacting with them in a way I never expected. I sat with the airplane at SUN ’n FUN and AirVenture, and I couldn’t believe how many people came up to me and told me about their experiences with a Vagabond or knew somebody who had one.” In light of those recent experiences, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Aeron fly another cross-country — perhaps a pilgrimage to Sentimental Journey at Lock Haven, the birthplace of N17VG, might be in the works. After all, the airplane has been highly modified for just that type of mission.

VAGABOND TRAINER Adapting a type of saying he’d heard previously, Aeron said: “I tell people I took my checkride in a Cherokee, but I truly learned how to fly in a Vagabond. It’s just really taught me way more than I could ever put into words about stick and rudder flying, and the importance of keeping flight controls coordinated.” Then, adding a punchline of his own, Aeron said, “I have more respect for this tiny, cute little yellow airplane than anything else I’ve ever flown, because I know how quick it can bite me. I tell people it’s the cutest-looking and scariest little thing I’ve ever seen! This little plane is just something special, and I don’t ever plan on parting ways with it.”

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The Vintage Mechanic ROBERT G. LOCK

Elementary weight and balance THIS EDITION WILL FEATURE a discussion of an

important subject: weight and balance. It’s of particular importance when it comes to aircraft stability and safety. I’ll focus on those issues that will aid in understanding the dynamics of the subject. We will not discuss how to actually compute the empty weight and center of gravity location at this time. That data is readily available in many publications. The one I like to use is FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 43.13-1B, Chapter 10. In fact, I use the sample weight-andbalance report, including the equipment list and loading schedule as shown on pages 10-22 and 10-23 of the AC. First on the agenda is a brief discussion of longitudinal stability. This stability can be defined as movement along the longitudinal axis and around the lateral axis of the airplane, or stability in PITCH. Positive stability is when an aircraft tends to return to the state of initial equilibrium position (trimmed level flight) following a

Figure g 1


July/August 2022

Figure 2

disturbance. Neutral stability is when an aircraft remains in equilibrium in a “new” position following a disturbance. Negative stability is when an aircraft tends to move farther in the same direction as the disturbance that has moved it from the initial position. A good reference for stability tests is FAA AC 90-89A, Chapter 5, Sections 1-3. This publication is titled Amateur-Built Aircraft & Ultralight Flight Testing Handbook. Reference data on weight and balance, test flights, and other pertinent material is included. Figure 1 shows three types of static stability. Sketch (a) shows positive static stability; the marble tends to move toward the center and will finally come to rest as each oscillation gets smaller. Sketch (b) shows negative static stability. Once disturbed, the marble rolls off the surface. Sketch (c) illustrates neutral static stability, as the marble will move but will assume another position. Dynamic stability is the time history of the movement of the aircraft in response to its static stability tendencies following an initial disturbance from level flight. Figure 2 shows positive longitudinal dynamic stability. Dynamic stability is positive when the aircraft is displaced and tends to return to its original flight path in a reasonable amount of time. Sketch (a) shows the aircraft displaced along its longitudinal axis, and Sketch (b) shows the aircraft returning to its original patch with minimal oscillations. Compare this to negative longitudinal dynamic stability as shown in Figure 3. Here the aircraft is displaced, and the oscillations tend to move it away from its original flight path as the oscillations increase over time.


Figure 3

Good static and dynamic longitudinal stability depends on the size and location of the horizontal stabilizer, its location (distance) from the lateral axis, and a slight NOSE HEAVY condition of the aircraft. That NOSE HEAVY tendency is a most important factor in weight and balance. Center of gravity location is given in inches within the center of gravity envelope established by the manufacturer. The datum is an imaginary vertical plane selected by the manufacturer from which all horizontal measurements are taken with the aircraft in its level flight attitude. An example of the datum of a biplane could be the lower wing leading edge. Items of equipment forward of the datum would be measured with a minus (-) number, and aft of the datum would be measured with a plus (+) number. A NOSE HEAVY airplane would be expressed as a minus (-) moment, and a TAIL HEAVY airplane would be expressed as a plus (+) moment. The center of gravity forward and aft limits (CG envelope) is referenced to the datum line, but is actually a measurement on the mean aerodynamic chord (MAC). On a biplane, the MAC is an imaginary airfoil located between upper and lower wings that, if the airplane were a monoplane, would exhibit the same pitching and rolling tendencies as the biplane. Center of gravity ranges may be 27 percent to 34 percent MAC depending on the airfoil shape, but when translated to the datum line, it might be something like -3 inches to +4 inches relative to the datum line. If the datum line were the lower wing leading edge, then a typical center of gravity range would be 3 inches forward to 4 inches aft of the leading edge. Figure 4 shows the MAC of a biplane. When weighing an aircraft for the purpose of computing the empty weight center of gravity (EWCG), all items of required and optional equipment must be installed, and all other equipment must be removed. With the aircraft on scales and leveled laterally and longitudinally, the fuel should be drained, leaving only the residual fuel, or that fuel in the system that will not

come out with the airplane in level flight. The oil should be drained, leaving only residual oil. The scale weights can then be recorded. Measurements taken should be the distance of main wheel centerline to datum, and main wheel centerline to tail wheel centerline. The aircraft is then removed from the scales, and the tare (any extraneous material such as chocks) weighed and recorded. Then, using AC 43.13-1B pages 10-22 and 10-23, compute the EW and EWCG location. Occasionally the manufacturer will provide an EWCG range, and if the EWCG falls within this range, no further forward and aft computations need be made. An example is the Boeing Stearman Model 75 aircraft. The CG range is (-1.5 inches) to (+7.1 inches). The empty weight CG range is (-1.0 inch) to (+0.5 inch)—“when EWCG falls within this range, computation of critical fore and aft CG positions is unnecessary.” However, most older airplanes do not have an EWCG range, so critical forward and aft CG locations must be computed. Again AC 43.13-1B page 10-23 shows how to compute critical forward and aft CG locations. At this point one can compute on paper the entire weight-and-balance scenario for any loaded condition. I computed every loaded condition for the New Standard D-25 biplane I flew: full fuel/solo, full fuel/two passengers, full fuel/four passengers as well as minimum fuel/solo, minimum fuel/two passengers, and minimum fuel/four passengers. By doing this, a pilot can see what the CG location is for each condition. You can also load the airplane to maximum capacity, and if the weight goes over the maximum allowed, a loading schedule can be established. When I loaded the New Standard (on paper) to maximum gross weight, it exceeded the published limit. Therefore, I had to provide loading instructions within the operations limitations. The loading instructions read: “Maximum baggage weight is 60 pounds. Under certain loading conditions, no baggage may be carried. Restrictions for maximum gross weight (3,400 pounds) loading: When carrying 4 passengers, maximum fuel is limited to 31 U.S. gallons and no baggage is allowed.”

Figure 4


The Vintage Mechanic ROBERT G. LOCK

A sample loading schedule is shown in AC 43.13-1B page 10-23. Once the EW and EWCG have been computed along with the critical forward and aft loading, the equipment list should be established. Again, AC 43-13-1B page 10-23 is a good source for information. When I do a weight and balance, critical forward and aft loading, loading schedule, and equipment list, I use AC 43.13-1B as a guide for my paperwork. If any of my computations don’t fall within the center of gravity range established by the manufacturer, it may be possible to ballast (if the aircraft is nose heavy). Here, AC 43.13-1B paragraph 10-22 and Figure 10-16 show how to compute for installation of permanent ballast in the aircraft. Here, ballasting a nose-heavy condition is easier than a tail-heavy condition. Weight and balance is of great importance for establishing good longitudinal stability for the aircraft. To have good stall/spin recovery tendencies, the CG must be located forward of the center of pressure (lift). When this relationship is established, if the airplane is stalled, the nose will fall below the horizon and recovery will be normal. If the CG is aft of the center of pressure (CP), it may not be possible to lower the nose to effect a positive recovery from the stall/ spin. The aft CG is the most dangerous, because it is almost impossible for ballast to move the CG forward because the minus (-) arm is so short. The tail-heaviness tendency of an aircraft must be dealt with during the restoration process. However, for slight tail-heaviness tendency, one can adjust the stagger of the wings aft (decrease stagger), in an attempt to move the CP aft of the CG. But this is usually not effective because of the limited movement of wing stagger. In my days of antique airplane restoration, I’d say that many of the airplanes produced in the early days by the factory were tail heavy. It’s nice to know this when the airplane is completely disassembled. Probably the most important factor in a good-flying airplane will be the length of the engine mount, which will locate the weight of the engine and prop far enough forward of the datum line to set the EW where it should be located. This is particularly true with the Travel Air 2000/3000/4000 series that were modified from the original engine to the Continental 220-hp radial. In observing Travel Airs that have been modified to the Continental W-670 engine, I find various lengths of engine mounts; it’s almost like the original modifier took a shot in the dark. Thrust lines also vary considerably. I always think that if the airplane is slightly nose heavy, I can easily ballast the tail post with a small amount of weight. But if the airplane is tail heavy, then I have a real problem on my hands, particularly if the airplane has just been completely restored. When I was restoring my 1929 Command-Aire 5C3 I knew that the original factory airplane was tail heavy. You could tell because the large baggage compartment located aft


July/August 2022

of the pilot’s seat was restricted to only 5 pounds of baggage. So I moved the engine mount forward 1 inch and installed a Wright R-760-8 engine, which moved the CG even farther forward. A preliminary weight-and-balance check with the airplane (fuselage uncovered) on scales and leveled showed the CG toward the forward limit. The photograph below (Figure 5) shows the weighing of the Command-Aire with the fuselage uncovered to establish the preliminary EWCG location. So I placed the battery aft of the baggage compartment, which acted as ballast. Locating the battery box and battery aft helped move the EWCG to a better position. Figure 5 shows the location of the battery box in the aft fuselage.

Figure 5

When I was finished and test flew the airplane, the CG was perfect. In level flight the trim handle was in the center of its travel. One of the first of many test flights of my Command-Aire over central Florida’s green swamp. Note the position of the horizontal stabilizer, with the elevators streamlined, which indicated that the center of gravity location is where it should be. My efforts paid off with the finished product. The chief designer of Command-Aire, Albert Vollmecke, told me that the tail post of the fuselage structure was oversized so as to accept a window sash weight in case ballast was needed to restore the proper CG location on new airplanes. They used a single aircraft design and then installed different types of engines, whatever was available. That made weight and balance a critical issue—how does one get the correct arm on the various engine and prop installations? Sometimes they got it right, and sometimes they didn’t. The center of gravity location is so important to me that I do a check of the EWCG location before covering the fuselage if I have any doubts as to its position. When I restore my Travel Air 4000 I’ll do the same thing and get the CG located in the correct place on the MAC.


Next, a rare view of an aircraft being hoisted for a landing gear retraction check at Fantasy of Flight. The landing gear is about 4 inches off the ground at this point. Note how the ship is balanced. The Grumman Duck with its landing gear retracted by means of a hand crank in the left side of front cockpit. Note how the retraction of the gear did not change the center of gravity. I guess one could call this “Duck on a rope,” or “Dangling duck.” I recall in my early days of building flying models, I was taught to check the balance of a model by placing my fingers at about one-third (about 30 percent) the wing chord and raising the ship. If it was nose heavy or tail heavy it was very apparent. You are doing something similar when computing weight and balance of a real airplane. In conclusion I would like to throw in a little theory of flight. Longitudinal stability is stability in pitch. The aircraft is designed to be slightly nose heavy in level flight. This slight nose-heavy tendency is offset by a lifting force down (download) on the horizontal stabilizer. When the

aircraft is in cruise and trimmed for level flight, the amount of download exactly offsets the nose-heaviness tendency. If the aircraft is pitched up, airflow over the aircraft is reduced and downward lifting force on the horizontal stabilizer is also reduced. With a slight nose-heaviness tendency, the nose will fall below the horizon, airspeed will increase, and the downward lifting force on the horizontal stabilizer will increase, raising the nose. When these pitch oscillations decrease and the aircraft returns to level cruise flight without input from the pilot, the aircraft displays positive static and dynamic stability. That’s what we really want for the best flying qualities. Extremes in forward or aft CG locations will alter the stability tendency toward neutral or negative stability, which is what we don’t want. For further information on weight and balance, consult the Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook, FAA-H-8083-1A. It’s very good. So, folks, we need to get the center of gravity location on the money for good control. Pay attention to the details during restoration for best results.

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On Wednesday, July 27, Vintage will hold our annual membership meeting at 5 p.m. in the Tall Pines Café, followed by our Annual Vintage Picnic at 6 p.m. at the same location. Ticket sales are limited for the picnic so I recommend that you purchase tickets early if you want to attend this event. Tickets for the picnic are available for sale at the hospitality desk in the VAA Red Barn. Vintage has a full slate of events planned during the week, including the forums held in the Vintage Hangar, the metal-shaping demonstrations held in the shop on the south side of the Vintage Hangar, and the antique engine runs and hand-propping demonstrations held in the Vintage Village. Vintage also offers a variety of workshop activities and demonstrations in the Vintage Hangar. If you love to read aviation-themed books, then the Vintage Bookstore is the place for you. You will certainly want to check out our VAA Red Barn Store. Not only are VAA Red Barn Store Chair Mary Knutson’s designs unique, but quality is her top priority. And don’t forget to take a break in the shade at Charlie’s Park. All of the above are just a sampling of the activities and events at Vintage during EAA AirVenture 2022. The entire schedule of events

and activities along with their days and hours of operation will be placed on our website at no later than July 1, 2022. Also, printed copies of the full schedule of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 Vintage Daily Events will be available at the hospitality counter in the VAA Red Barn, at the Vintage coffee and doughnut kickoff in the Vintage Hangar on Monday morning, as well as in the package each pilot gets upon arrival in Vintage parking. At our Vintage board of directors meeting this past April, the board voted to expand our youth activities at Oshkosh during the convention. We are in the preliminary planning stages now and are looking at a completion date of 2023 at the earliest. More information on this will be available as we work our way through the process/project. Blue skies!

Classifieds AIRCRAFT

Lockheed Lodestar L-18/C60 A/CTT 10,743 hrs, 1820-56 A & AS Engs. L 200:28, R 242:10 hrs, 33D50 Props L 70:46, R 70:46 hrs, SOH, Late model, Hi gross wt, Raised tail, Extended nose/ Radome, many mods & upgrades; BOOKS “To Look Upward: One Flight Instructors Journey” Rob Mixon Amazon WANTED Need a Sensenich W-76RM-2-46 for a Lyc O-235C1B in good condition/360.609.2418,

COPYRIGHT © 2022 BY T HE E AA VIN TAGE AIRCR AF T A SSOCIAT ION. ALL RIGHT S RESERVED. VINTAGE AIRPLANE (USPS 062-750; ISSN 0091-6943) is published and owned exclusively by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association of the Experimental Aircraft Association and is published bi-monthly at EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Rd., PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54903-3086, email: Membership to Vintage Aircraft Association, which includes 6 issues of Vintage Airplane magazine, is $45 per year for EAA members and $55 for nonEAA members. Periodicals Postage paid at Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Vintage Airplane, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. CPC #40612608. FOREIGN AND APO ADDRESSES — Please allow at least two months for delivery of VINTAGE AIRPLANE to foreign and APO addresses via surface mail. ADVERTISING — Vintage Aircraft Association does not guarantee or endorse any product offered through the advertising. We invite constructive criticism and welcome any report of inferior merchandise obtained through our advertising so that corrective measures can be taken. EDITORIAL POLICY: Members are encouraged to submit stories and photographs. Policy opinions expressed in articles are solely those of the authors. Responsibility for accuracy in reporting rests entirely with the contributor. No remuneration is made. Material should be sent to: Editor, VINTAGE AIRPLANE, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Phone 920-426-4800. EAA® and EAA SPORT AVIATION®, the EAA Logo® and Aeronautica™ are registered trademarks, trademarks, and service marks of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. The use of these trademarks and service marks without the permission of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

DIRECTORY OFFICERS PRESIDENT Susan Dusenbury 1374 Brook Cove Rd. Walnut Cove, NC 27052 336-591-3931

SECRETARY Dan Wood 75 Walton Place Dr. Newnan, GA 30263 678-458-3459

VICE PRESIDENT Dan Knutson 106 Tena Marie Circle Lodi, WI 53555 608-354-6101

TREASURER Paul Kyle 1273 Troy Ct. Mason, OH 45040 262-844-3351

DIRECTORS Jerry Brown Greenwood, IN 46143 317-627-9428

Ray L. Johnson Marion, IN 765-669-3544

George Daubner Oconomowoc, WI 262-560-1949

Steve Nesse Albert Lea, MN 507-383-2850

Jon Goldenbaum Riverside, CA 951-203-0190

Earl Nicholas Libertyville, IL 847-367-9667

John Hofmann Columbus, WI 608-239-0903

Joe Norris Oshkosh, WI 920-279-2855

Tim Popp Sun City, AZ 269-760-1544

ADVISERS Jesse Clement

Kevin McKenzie

Luke Lachendro

Charlie Waterhouse

Kathy McGurran

Maxwell Wenglarz


Phil Coulson

Robert C. Brauer

Ronald C. Fritz

Dave Clark

Robert D. “Bob” Lumley

Gene Morris


July/August 2022

Amy Lemke

© 2022 Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc.





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