“TREAT YOURSELF to Adventure” suggests a visit to Massey Aerodrome to take a ride in a glider or a Biplane. Bob Dierker conducts the tour on a frigid December day – describing the joy of Soaring. Note a minor correction to the reporter’s narrative: We have a DC-3 twin piston engine airliner (1937) NOT a DC-9 twin engine jet airliner!
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Blue Skies prevailed for another great December Fly-In!
After dawning rainy & foggy the weather cleared as predicted for the first plane to arrive at 10:20 AM. With the forecast for sunny & mild (mid 50’s) we were thankfully ready for the expected onslaught that ultimately arrived only slightly delayed. As usual, the grass was firm & dry for the nearly 160 guest planes that arrived by 1 PM. Who knows how many pilots were discouraged by the early weather and chose not to come? There were well over 125 drive-ins and the local car club had a good showing despite the wet roads. December weather has proven surprisingly reliable for us.
We want to express our sincere thanks to the many volunteers that made this a success – both in the kitchen and on the field! And a big thank you to all our friends who brought food items to share.
Grassroots aviation means taildraggers with a special place in our hearts for radial engined planes. Four Stearman flew in plus our two in the hangar made 6 on-field. Radial engines included a 1943 Howard DGA-15P, a 1952 Cessna 195 and our favorite BIRD by which we mean Mike Pangia’s “Lindbergh Bird” the 1930 Brunner Winkle Bird N727Y with Kinner power.
Liaison aircraft had a very good showing with six:
Dan O’Donnell’s sparkling Aeronca 7AC newly restored as an L-16 N878
Paul Smith’s very authentic, award winning 1944 Piper L-4H N79731 (#82)
Richard Wallin’s beautiful award winning Aeronca 7BCM L-16 N9325H
Jon McLanahan’s 1955 Fuji LM-1 N8020K (Lynchburg, VA). The Fuji is a Japanese license-built 4 place Beechcraft derived from the T-34.
Our friend, John Chirtea showed off his pristine newly acquired 1965 Alon A2 (Ercoupe follow-on) to replace the one he very graciously donated to the Massey Air Museum.
There were 3 gyro-copters (Autogyro GMBH) and one Robinson R44 helicopter, many Piper Cubs & RVs plus uncounted Cessnas and low-wing Pipers.
With one Cirrus and quite a few new design Light Sport planes there was something for everybody.
We repaired and painted our life-size “Corsair” model in tribute to a past friend of Massey, Navy Commander Alberto Santa Maria who flew Corsairs off the carrier USS Palau and became a senior Test Pilot for Boeing-Vertol on the CH-47 Chinook. See accompanying article in “Latest News” below.
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The MASSEY AIR MUSEUM honored Alberto H. Santa Maria, Cmdr., U. S. Navy (1924 – 2010) at the 17th Annual Open Hangar Party & Fly-In held on December 3, 2017. As a tribute to Alberto, our “Corsair” was restored and repainted to represent the F4U-5 Corsair shown in a photo as flown by (then) Lt. Santa Maria. The photo was taken by a Navy photographer after a deck strike accident aboard the USS Palau (CVE-122) in 1949. While on a cruise off Newfoundland with Helicopter Development Squadron Three (VX-3) out of Atlantic City, NJ, Lt. Santa Maria received an early cut command from the Landing Signal Officer (LSO) with the result seen here – however, the LSO,not Santa Maria was held responsible. While this could havebeen a fatal accident, it was not due to poor airmanship on his part.It is a dramatic photo and Alberto liked to share it, we were privileged to hear him recount this story and many others when he attended previous Open Hangar Parties at Massey Aerodrome where he was a member of the Massey Air Museum.
Alberto went on to have a distinguished career as a helicopter test pilot. Among the achievements of Alberto H. Santa Maria:
Test Pilot (Navy Exper. & Devel. Sqn. VX-3, tailcode XC)
Senior Test Pilot (Boeing-Vertol) – CH-47 “Chinook”
Engineering Test Pilot (All American Engineering)
Engineering Test Pilot (Atlantic Aviation)
Bell HU-1 A / UH-1 Iroquois “Huey”
Member Society Experimental Test Pilots
Member Quiet Birdmen (“QB”) (Wilmington Hanger)
First pilot to log 1000 experimental hours in the “Chinook”
Performed the first water landing tests in a “Chinook”.
Interest in aviation ran in the family as Mr. Santa Maria’s father (also Alberto) joined the RCAF in 1917 and flew a Sopwith Camel in WWI “over German trench lines.”
Below are Al Santa Maria’s own notes on back of photo of F4 Corsair on it’s nose:
“A Landing Gone Awry” on Jeep carrier CVE-122 Palau shortly after WWII. The straight landing deck is only 400 feet long. The Landing Signal Officer (LSO) called for a throttle “cut” a little too early. The other photo shows the damage to the approach end of the deck. Photo taken January 12, 1949, by a Navy Photographer off the coast of Newfoundland. The ship was working with the Navy Experimental and Development Squadron VX-3 out of Atlantic City, NJ. (Squadron VX-3 had tailcode XC assigned to them)”
Al liked to say “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing” — He was EXTREMELY fortunate, judging from the damage to the approach deck, a few inches lower would have totally destroyed the plane.
An early model Sikorsky R-5 (Navy HO3S-1) helicopter is visible behind the Corsair’s tail.
Our Corsair is a life-size fiberglass model of an actual F4U-1D Corsair (from which the mold was taken) which was owned by David Tallichet’s Military Aircraft Restoration Company . The model was made by a company also owned by David Tallichet specifically for his Specialty Restaurants business to be displayed outside his World War II themed restaurants. They were able to capture all the surface detail when they made molds from the real airplane – you can count every rivet & dzus fastener. This model was displayed for many years outside the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant in College Park, MD until obtained by Massey. We dismantled and moved it to the airport in December 2007 and installed it on a new pylon at the airport on June 27, 2009. The paint, having suffered from being exposed to the weather for ten years at Massey and an unknown period at the restaurant, we decided to take advantage of the need to repaint it to change the identity to that of a Corsair flown by a friend of Massey, Alberto Santa H. Maria.
The Massey Air Museum wishes to thank Chris & Dee Jennings and The Museums of Kent County (MD) for funding the painting and marking of our Corsair in honor of Alberto H. Santa Maria. Thanks also to Bill Lee of the Air Mobility Command Museum (Dover, DE) for repairs and bird-proofing, Nick Mirales for painting and decal application and Chris Jennings for painting preparation.
Two Portraits of Alberto H. Santa Maria, Jr. USNR No. C-23305:
U.S. Navy Accident Report January 12, 1949:
BELOW is enlargement of right half of report above:
Stock photo of a different Corsair landing on a carrier, Landing Signal Officer (yellow shirt – left) giving “CUT” signal with the paddles.
7 LSO Standard Signals (Note two signals are Mandatory):
Alberto H. Santa Maria in McDonnell F2H Banshee:
Transferred from VF-933 to HU-931 NAS Willow Grove, CDR. HS 931. Alberto H. Santa Maria with NAS Willow Grove HS-932:
Escort Carrier USS Palau (CVE-122) underway:
Marine Corps Piasecki HRP-1’s (such as flown by Alberto Santa Maria) are shown aboard the USS Palau:
First off, the image above has nothing to do with our episode. As you may recall, last December a remote location crew from “Mysteries at the Museum” came to Massey to shoot background footage for an episode to air approx. 6 months later. The episode finally aired on July 6th, 2017 and is scheduled to repeat on Sat. Sept. 2 at 9 AM EST – after that you will have to be persistent to find it. The episode is: Season 15, Episode 10
“Don Wildman showcases a pocket watch used by a ruthless gangster in 1920s Chicago, an aircraft that disappeared over Australia after encountering a UFO, and the first daredevil to brave Niagara Falls.”
We are featured in the second 8 minute segment of the episode – “A Cessna 182 that disappeared over Australia after encountering a UFO” and have little more than a minute of time on air – but something is better than nothing. It starts with Don Sloan’s Stearman buzzing the field, a couple shots inside the museum (the ejection seat for some unknown reason?), Nick’s hands cranking open the hangar door, C182 fast taxi and ends with about 5 seconds of time lapse of clouds passing over the C182 sitting in the grass (they spent a couple of hours recording the time lapse). The premise of the segment is (very) hokey but again it’s basic cable!
46th Antique Airplane Fly-In held June 17th, 2017, conducted by the Potomac Antique Aero Squadron (PAAS) chapter of the Antique Airplane Assoc., (Former Horn Point Fly-In). Hosted by Massey Aerodrome MD1.
PAAS Contact: Mike Strieter 301-440-5294, Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgVOLUNTEERS WANTED for next year! This is your opportunity to get involved in a good group with a fine history.
Yes, the weather hurt us again with only 20 planes flying in, but as you’ll see by the pictures below, it was still a very satisfying day. Heavy fog early became a low ceiling until we started seeing some blue patches around 10:30. It’s often the case that there will be weather around us while we remain dry. Helen Woods was the first to arrive – in a Searey from Bay Bridge, she said she made it by following the river at 100’ (hopefully an exaggeration). Planes trickled in and finally the eventual award winners arrived with Mike Pangia’s Bird bringing up the rear. PAAS postponed ending the judging to accommodate the stragglers. Many locals drove in, filling up the parking lot and keeping the Millington Fire company food stand busy. The weather cleared from the south with the heavy rains well north of us in PA. Joe Flood made it from South Jersey in his RV-4, I can’t believe he does it in 15 minutes though. Eventually the sun came out, surprising some of us with a real sunburn.
Massey Aerodrome has initiated an award of it’s own for 2017 – The “Massey Choice Award” from the Massey Air Museum presented to the airplane that best exemplifies the Spirit of Grassroots Aviation. This is in addition to the Awards from the Potomac Antique Aero Squadron. The winner received a bottle of Chandelle Winery Aviation History Labeled Sauvignon Blanc along with a certificate thanking the recipient for honoring Massey with the presence of their beautifully restored aircraft. Started by the family of Hap Arnold, the Chandelle Winery ceased production this year after 30 years and so this is the last availability for this wine (we have stashed away a few bottles for next year and the near future).
Our choice was an easy decision, we unanimously chose the 1930 Brunner-Winkle Bird BK (N727Y), belonging to Mike Pangia of Poughkeepsie, NY. This plane has a special attraction for us because it was restored not that far from here by Joseph & Anna Fichera (Kentmoor Air Park) of Stevensville, MD. This is the actual airplane that Charles Lindbergh bought for his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, in which to teach her to fly. It had the reputation of being an honest handling plane.
Just a reminder – Remember you are helping Massey when you useAmazon Smile!
When you shop at Amazon Smile they will give 0.5% of your purchase price to your selected charity. Just start at smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com and select Massey Air Museum, Inc. as your charity. Your Amazon price remains the same. (Add it to your Favorites)