Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Adrift in NYC

Well, I guess the days of having only three short-calls per month are over.  The new normal seems to be six per month.  Crew Scheduling just assigned another one for tomorrow, so that makes it three days in a row this week.  Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.  I'm a line holder in March (which starts on the 2nd for Big D) so this is it for reserve---at least for a month anyway.

It's not as nice here today as it was yesterday.  The rain moved in while I was perusing the local bookstore, so it was a soggy walk back to the crash pad.  I could have hailed a taxi, but since both trucks are getting new sets of tires today, I thought I should save my shillings!  I'll dry out eventually.

This would have been a great time to finish the blog story on the History of Pond Branch Airfield, but the PBA Airport Manager is slow with his offerings, so it will have to wait. . .

I'll sign off with a picture from the morning walk-about.  "Cheese of the World" is located on Austin Street in Forest Hills, New York.  It sounds exotic, so I will dedicate it to the EG!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

First Pull

The Mighty Continental 85!

Greetings Brethren!

As you can imagine, a sixty-five year old airplane requires a lot of TLC to keep it in top form.  It also requires a substantial support network, especially when the manufacturer ceased operations decades ago---as is the case with the Baker family's 1947 Luscombe 8A.  Since "support" is an ongoing process, generally, there are no real surprises during annual inspections.  Points of emphasis this year:  A 500 hour magneto inspection, and a carb heat muff that needs to be repaired (hopefully) or replaced. 

Expert Mechanic, Tim Graf, inspects the magnetos.  I thought the hammer was a nice touch!

Both magnetos passed inspection with flying colors.  Repairing the carb heat muff is proving to be more difficult.  Apparently, welding aluminum is not an easy task.  The first guy Brother Baker offered the job to decided it was above his skill level.  The next guy said he could do it, but then backed out---said he was having trouble getting his shop set up.  Currently, the muff is on it's way to a shop in  Ronkonkoma, New York.  That's on Long Island folks, and is where Brother Baker originally planned to send it---before he learned of "options" closer to home.  Hopefully, it will return in a week or so.  And what happens if it can't be repaired?  Well; the good news is a new muff is available.  The bad news is it costs five hundred and thirty-one bucks!  Keep your fingers crossed. . .

Yesterday, the mighty Continental 85 fired on the first pull of the prop!  I found that inspiring---after seeing magneto parts spread out on the workbench!  Except for the wayward carb heat muff, 43 Bravo's annual inspection is complete.  The folks at Jellystone Air Park are hoping the carb heat muff returns from it's Long Island vacation in time to attend the next Pond Branch Airfield* flour bombing contest, scheduled for April 21, 2012.

Started on the first pull!

Check out that new baffle support arm!

*Pond Branch Airfield:  Mile marker 43, I-20, west of Columbia, South Carolina.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Scenes From Back in the Day

Atlanta, Georgia

Birmingham, Alabama

Charlotte, North Carolina

Coconut Grove, Florida

Kansas City, Missouri

Miami, Florida

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waco 125

Greetings Brethren!

Just finished another recurrent training in Atlanta, Georgia.  Two days in the MD-90 simulator and I'm good to go for another nine months!

Monday afternoon I was able to squeeze in a quick visit to the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum.  The latest addition to the museum's collection is a Northwest Airways Waco 125, that until recently, was on display in the Minneapolis airport terminal building.  If you are like me, you've probably never heard of a Waco 125.  I was familiar with the 9's and 10's (and the various other letter combinations) but not a 125.  Like George, I was curious. . .

Here is what the museum has to say about the Waco 125:

This Waco 125 - the only one remaining of its kind in the world - was purchased by Northwest Airways in 1928, just two years after the airline's founding.  It is the last of the Waco 10 biplanes with the Siemens-Halske 125-horsepower radial engine, manufactured in Germany and distributed in the U.S. by Ryan Aeronautical Company.

Northwest Airways used this "Siemens Waco" for sales demonstrations (the airline was a Waco dealer), flight instruction and charters, but not for scheduled services.  Northwest operated a small fleet of Wacos primarily to carry air mail until 1936.

This Waco 125 was restored and donated to Northwest Airlines by Capt. Daniel F. Neuman (Retired NWA Pilot) in memory of his wife, Vona Jean Neuman, on December 16, 1985.  The name "C.W. Holman" painted on the plane honors Northwest's first chief pilot, Charles "Speed" Holman, a famous stunt flier.

Additional information for the airplane geeks of the world:  Maximum takeoff weight is 2,060 pounds.  Max range is 575 miles at a cruising speed of 96 mph, and the purchase price in 1928 was $6,500.


In addition to the Waco, the museum also houses a Stinson SR-8E Reliant, a Curtiss-Wright 6B Sedan, and Ship 41---the first DC-3 to carry revenue passengers for Delta Air Lines on December 24, 1940.  It is also home to The Spirit of Delta, a Boeing 767-200 that was purchased with employee contributions and donated to the company in 1982.  I flew the Spirit on many occasions when I was a 767 First Officer, and fondly remember a "grease job" landing in Portland, Oregon, one afternoon (wet runway, of course) in 2004. 

The EG's father started his airline career at Northeast Airlines.  These next few pictures are in honor of Captain Buzz Flett, DAL, Retired.

Northeast Airlines Stinson Reliant

The EG says that when he was growing up, his sister had a yellow case just like the one in this display. 
The Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Pair of Firsts

Benny Zimmer & Joe Baker

Congratulations to Benny Zimmer and Brother Baker on their pair of firsts---Benny's first solo, and Joe's first student solo sign off!  The big event happened on Monday, January 30, 2012 , at Lancaster, South Carolina.

The first takeoff:

The first landing:

The Trophy:

Welcome to the club Benny!  Way to go Joe!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Five Hundred Bucks . . .

43 Bravo's Carb Heat Shroud

That's the going rate for a new one!  Time for plan B!  Stay tuned. . .