Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas at the Old Fort (Fort Parker Flying Field)

Late Fall and Winter time can be some of the best flying days in Texas.  This past weekend our friend Jed Keck hosted us at Fort Parker Flying Field for the day in conjunction with the annual Christmas at the Old Fort celebration at historic Old Fort Parker.  Rachel and I flew the yellow '46 Taylorcraft in from Deer Pasture airfield after having to wait out low ceilings for most of the morning.  When we arrived, Leann was already there with the rest of the kids in the Suburban and also her Mom and Dad had flown in via their '39 Taylorcraft from Tick Hill Airfield.  It was a fun day with an 1800's style visit from Santa, a re-enactment of a Native American-Indian wedding ceremony, a cowboy shootout, black-smithing, glass-blowing, and other period craftsmanship.  This was my second trip to Fort Parker Flying Field.  It was certainly not the last.  In fact, we are now talking about holding a Texas Taylorcraft Fly-in there on March 31, 2012.  In addition, we are looking forward to attending the International Biplane Association's - Old Fort Biplane Music Fest (Fly-in) there on June 2, 2012.

Enjoy these photos taken by Jed Keck.

NEW - Order your 2012 Taylorcraft Lover's Calendar today!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Buddy Rides

I think the most gratifying aspect of old airplanes is the opportunities we have to share them with others.  Thanksgiving day at Deer Pasture Airfield was a special time.  God blessed us with beautiful weather, a great time with extended family members enjoying food, and fun stories and spending time with each other.  And after the turkey and stuffing, after the games and laughs, the kitchen was cleared, photos were taken of all the families present... then it was time to go check out things at the Hangar.  My great nieces and great nephews were surprised when they realized I had already done the pre-flight inspection on the Taylorcraft.  At that point... there was nothing left to do but fly!

What a glorious day it was.  For the triplets, Justin, Kailyn, and Shilyn... it was their very first airplane rides.  For their big brother Colton, it was his first time at the controls... to fly himself.  For their Mom and Dad... it was a chance to re-live the memories of flying in the old days with Grandy (My Dad).  For me... I can hardly explain the feeling I had to see the expressions on their faces and to hear their stories at the end of the day.

I flew 12 sorties of Buddy rides... over 2.5 hours.  A light breeze... direct cross-wind.  So fun for me just to practice airwork and landing skills.  But the absolute best is sharing the blessing of flight!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The way God intended man to fly

This is absolutely the finest flying video I have seen.  Thanks to Taylorcraft flier, Jim Brewer, for sharing such wonderful scenes from the Great State of Alaska.  No more words necessary... just enjoy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guest Post - The Top 5 Advances in Avionics

Your Comments are Invited:

The following is a short article by Philip J. Reed, titled "The Top 5 Advances in Avionics".  I have agreed to post this article, although Barnstmr's Random Aeronautics neither endorses nor intends to promote Redstone College, Cirrus, Chelton Flight Systems, or any of the companies mentioned.  The topic is intriguing to me on several levels. Increasingly, these new avionics technologies are finding their way in general aviation and in antique airplanes. And so I believe it is pertinent to the readers of Barnstmr's Random Aeronautics who primarily have interests in vintage airplanes and general aviation.

I am requesting feedback from our readers.  Please click the "Post a Comment" link below and write to tell your experience with old airplanes and avionics equipment.  Please give your opinion on the following:

1. Have you seen, flown, maintained, or noticed any of these 5 types of avionics equipment in old airplanes? If so, tell us which ones and the type of airplanes.

2. Do you think these devices (portable or installed) take anything away from the "vintage" flying experience?

3. Have you experienced an event in which one of these devices improved (or might have improved) the operational safety of the aircraft or the intended flight mission?

4. Have you experienced an event in which one of these devices caused a problem?  (anonymous responses are recommended here).

5. Which of these devices would you consider a "must" for the old airplane of your choice?  Why?

Thanks for your participation in my poll.  TLB

 Click on Article to Enlarge Image

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FEATURE ROBIN - Sept. 2011 - Richard Epton

This month I'm posting the the following text and a few photos from Richard Epton of his Curtiss Robin J-1, NC781M. The following was originally published in the 3rd quarter 2008 issue of the Curtiss Robin Flyer.

Click on Images to enlarge

Many of you may remember that Ron Waldron (and Harry Wooldridge) had been working on the restoration of a Robin J-1.
What a beautiful job in completing this airplane! It was soon sold. The lucky caretaker of this wonderful bird is now Mr. Richard Epton of Brooks, GA. Here are some excerpts from Jim Haynes’ email, Jan 19, 2008:
“Hi Jim. Thank
you very much for the call. I am very pleased to become involved in the Curtiss Robin ‘family’ following my purchase of N781M from Ron Waldron last year…My name is Richard Epton. I came to the USA from England in Jan 1980 and have lived just south of Atlanta ever since. I run a company based in Fayetteville, GA. I currently still own a Bucker Bu.181 Bestmann and the Curtiss Robin and my son owns the Twin Navion.”

“When I collected the Robin from Ron, the wind was blowing pretty strong but straight down the runway. I asked Harry what rotation, stall, and over-the-fence speeds were and got the only response that a seasoned flier could give me.. ‘It will tell you…you will know’. We lined her up and slowly advanced the J6-5 and sure enough, by the time the throttle was at the stop, the tail had come up on its own and we were airborne. Around the patch and setting her up was extremely easy with the elevator trim being very effective. Strong legs and arms were a benefit when I played sport and they came in handy with the Robin! A gentle giant and paperwork done took off for FZG (Fitzgerald) at 1800 rpm with the help of the headwind I saw a groundspeed of 53 mph. Arrival at FZG was uneventful and a crowd gathered immediately… She’s a hit wherever taken.

Robin had only 3-1/2 hours on the airframe and engine since restoration by Ron and his friend Harry, now has approx 12 hours on it. The presence of exhaust fumes in the cockpit was very noticeable after the collection flight. This became worse and eventually noticed that where the exhaust pipe (positioned under the engine) is welded to the collector ring, a weld had failed. Actually, whilst the weld was exceptionally pretty, there simply was not much of it and suspect that was not the required penetration. Prop and collector ring taken off for re-welding. Cracks were starting to go into the collector ring itself. The collector ring was new. The action of the exhaust pipe, going up and down, had created a crease on its sides which had also cracked. Had someone been pulling up and down on the exhaust pipe and caused this, I do not know, or was it simply the engine vibration…. Our answer was to re-weld and strengthen the attach point to the collector ring and to attach supports to the exhaust pipe from the engine sides, through the cowling, to a sleeve around the exhaust pipe underneath in the belief that the exhaust would then move with the engine in unison. … All comments welcome. Looking for any and all assistance re comment, ideas, tips, etc. etc.” …

Since 2008, Richard and his Robin have been active and flying around the Georgia area and seems to be a fixture at the Peach State Aerodrome. On 9-27-2011, Richard emailed me saying that he is planning to do an engine change o
n his Robin. He is putting his J6-5 engine up FOR SALE (See the Curtiss Robin Page for details). The next time you See Richard and his Robin, it may be flying overhead with a Curtiss OX-5 engine.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Visit with Jerry Ferrel to see his Monocoupe

This past Saturday morning, my friend Jerry Ferrel called and invited me out to see his wonderful Monocoupe 90A, NC 11767. Jerry is 84 years old. His airplane is 76! But both are in great shape. Jerry hasn't flown the 'coupe since June this year. "Its just been to 'blame' Hot!", he exclaims! And he's right. Certainly this summer has been brutal in Texas. Its good that Jerry has a nice insulated hangar to keep his bird protected from the weather. He'll not make it to Blakesburg this year but hopes to keep flying around Central Texas this fall. Here are some photos of NC11767.

This is another one of those Central Texas airplanes restored in the mid-1980's by Stuart Holmes. Jerry has sure kept 'er in great condition.

New Blog Features

Announcing new features on our blog...

Barnstmr's Random Apparel
We thought it might be fun to combine some of the memorable images from this blog with my wife's hobby-business called "Stitchin'-N-Stuff". Check out the Apparel page above to see our new screen-print T-shirt designs for the Fall of 2011. You can be one of the first to get one via pay pal or see us at Blakesburg - Sept 1, 2011.

Barnstmr's Random Aeromail
Sign up today for our new E-newsletter called "Barnstmr's Random Aeromail". We promise this won't flood your in-box with endless information. Instead, we hope this will be a way for you to stay in touch with whats happening on our blog.

Since 2008, we have enjoyed sharing stories, photos, and information through this medium. While it is somewhat random, we really do try and stay focused on a specific time-frame and narrow list of topics pertaining to the world of vintage airplanes. Some call it the "golden age" or others call it "civilian aviation of the '20's & '30's". Whatever it is called it is a most special period of aviation history in our opinion. If you agree and wish to stay in the loop, give our newsletter a try. Click below.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Dick Fischer's Curtiss Robin J-1

Another Robin is coming along in Southern California, being restored by Dick Fischer - Curtiss Robin J-1, NC517N. He's the guy famous for building copy-sets of the 28X4 and 30X5 Bendix wheels as used on Curtiss Robins and many other antique airplanes. Dick sent me these photos awhile back (maybe 2 years ago) and exclaimed he had just finished building his Exhaust collector from scratch. Looks like a great job, Dick. Although I haven't had a recent update from Dick on his Robin, I thought this might encourage him to send us some more current details. These photos leave little doubt about Dick's workmanship. It will be great to see this old bird in the air again soon!

By the way, Dick also owns another Robin, NC5049, a model B. Here's a photo of that bird from its earliest days.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vintage DER (V-DER) Delegation Added

I am very pleased to announce that my DER delegation has recently been expanded by the FAA to to include the special delegation, Vintage DER (V-DER).

Click here for more information.

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