Sunday, September 30, 2012

Savoia-Marchetti S.56 at the Carolinas Aviation Museum


Saturday was Museum Day at the Carolinas Aviation Museum and the Jellystoners were there! One of the more recent displays is this 1930 Savoia-Marchetti S.56C, built (under license) by the American Aeronautical Corporation of Port Washington, New York. It was restored in 1985 and pronounced Grand Champion, Antique Division at Oshkosh that year.

Why is it here?
Because in 1931 Zachary Smith Reynolds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina flew one just like this from England, across North Africa and Asia, to Hong Kong.  It took four months to complete the 17,000 mile journey.  He died two years later.  Shot dead, apparently.  The case was never solved.


It appears the 125 hp Kinner had to be propped "Cub style" from behind. . .



Monday, September 24, 2012

Flying Fish Memphis

First Officer Will Payne and I stumbled upon the Flying Fish restaurant in downtown Memphis, Tennessee Saturday evening.  We figured any place that had a catfish with B-25 wings on it's sign was worth a try!

One down, seven to go. . .

Friday, September 21, 2012

Life Comes Full Circle For Brother Baker

It's no secret the Baker crew are die hard Luscombe heads.  Pop Baker has owned several over the years.  He even taught Joe how to fly in 43 Bravo.  Combined, they have several thousand hours (possibly more) in the All-Metal airplane.  They have the touch!  Imagine my surprise when I learned their Luscombe addiction was not always so!  If we venture back three generations, we discover Grandpa Ray Baker was the local Aeronca dealer at City Airport in Detroit, Michigan.

Here is a promotional photo from way back when.  The kid on the right is Joe's Uncle Dale.  He eventually grew up and retired from TWA.

According to Joe, this Aeronca K inaugurated airmail service to several towns "Up North."

The Boeing 247 swooped in to City Airport and off loaded the mail to the waiting "K." That's how it was done at Baker-Eberle, Detroit City Airport, back in the day.

Let's not forget Grandma Baker. . .

Or her grandson, Joe---third generation Aeronca driver.  Just don't tell the Luscombe folks!

Grandpa Ray Baker's "Sporting License."  Number 17, signed by Orville Wright!

Grandpa Ray & TWA Captain Dale Baker.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Brother Baker's Ferry Service

Brother Baker called mid week asking if I had anything planned for Friday or Saturday.  A guy in Chapel Hill, North Carolina had bought a 1947 Aeronca L-16 that was based in Alexander City, Alabama.  He did not have a tail wheel endorsement, so he needed someone to ferry the airplane to it's new home at the Lake Ridge Aero Park in Durham, North Carolina.  The airplane had been idle for a few months and needed some work.  By the time that was finished, the original ferry pilot had run out of vacation time.  It was quite the kerfuffle!  But the mechanic looking after the airplane knew a guy that knew a guy. . .  A few phone calls later---Brother Baker is going to need a ride home from Lake Ridge Aero Park.

By the time the L-16 rolled in to Jellystone Air Park Friday evening, Brother Baker had ridden the airlines to Birmingham, Alabama, driven 1.5 hours to Alexander City, Alabama, flown 1.5 hours to Peachtree City, Georgia, two hours to Greenwood, South Carolina, and another hour to Rock Hill, South Carolina---where yours truly was there to greet him.  He said his butt was sore!

As we were pushing the airplane back on the tie-down, we noticed a large crack in the tail wheel tire.  In some locales this would be a major setback.  Not at Jellystone Air Park.  If there's one thing we have in abundance, it's spare tail wheel parts!  The eight inch Scott tail wheel uses the same tire as the eight inch Maul tail wheel.  Oh, if only everything else was as easy. . .

Saturday morning's formation flight to Lake Ridge Aero Park took exactly two hours.  The Champ is slower than the Luscombe, and only slightly faster than the Hatz. . .

New owner Tim Johnson, and his crew, were there to greet us.  Yes, Kahuna shirts are the standard uniform at Brother Baker's Ferry Service.

Since Tim needs a tail wheel endorsement, Joe took the kids for a ride.  They thought the "Pull Ups" were cool!

Tim graciously allowed me a trip around the pattern---with Brother Baker in back, of course.  This was my first time in a Champ.  The gear is much softer than the Hatz or the Luscombe.  That is a good thing because the Lake Ridge runway is pretty bumpy.  My first impression of the Champ?  It rides like a 1969 Olds Toronado with worn out shocks.  According to Pop Baker, the L-16 has different gear than the standard 7AC.  Maybe that is why it feels so mushy.

The L-16 will live next door to the Lake Ridge Aero Waco.

I guess every airport has a hoarder.

And every airport needs a nice looking Cessna 140.  (Just don't tell the Luscombe folks I said so.)