Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Welcome to the fifth annual open hangar party at the Massey Aerodrome. We can report another great year of progress and real reasons to celebrate.
Because I write this report I will pull rank and tell my personal story first.
After many years of knowing I had a "slight" heart murmur my regular Doctor, Dr Wun heard some extra noise in my heart. After a bunch of tests I was advised by the head of heart surgery at the Washington Heart Hospital there was a 20% chance if I didn't have my aortic valve replaced I would be dead within a year.
Those odds got my attention so I had the surgery. It was a very special experience, as I am sure you might figure.
Washington Heart is consistently one of the top heart hospitals in the country. They average ten open chest surgeries a day and can do as many as twenty-five. Sounds good to me.
My memory may be a little confused about some of the details. But, this is how I remember it.
I was wheeled into a room with about a dozen gurneys lined up. A very nice man with a Jamaican accent took out a razor and proceeded to give my legs and groin a close shave. That wasn't much fun but it was over quickly.
They then wheeled me into the operating room. It was a big room loaded with equipment more than I have ever seen in one room.
Things got a little fuzzy then. But, as I remember it, a giant of a man with a big red beard, wearing a red and black shirt, carrying an axe in one hand and a chain saw in the other came into the room.
He stood over me and fired up the chain saw. Then he used it to cut a foot long slice down the center of my chest. Then someone inserted a Jaws of Life spreader in my sternum and spread my chest about a foot.
I don't remember much after that. Painkillers you know. I am told they removed my old valve and replaced it with one from a pig.
So now I can really claim to be (at least in part) a male chauvinist pig. It is good to be back!
Now, about the year's activity at the aerodrome.
You probably noticed the new blacktopped driveway and parking area. It was a major improvement. We have Ashish Solanki and the Maryland Aviation Administration to thank for their financial support. It is a benefit of being a public use airport. Without their help we could not have afforded it.
David A. Bramble Inc. re-shaped the area to solve some drainage problems and did the paving. They did an excellent job and we appreciate it every time we drive in and out of the place. We are real proud of it.
The restoration shop has been busy. John Williamson finished the restoration of his Cessna 150. He swapped its 100-horse engine for one with 150 horsepower. I guess he just can't escape his hotrod youth. He plans to equip it for glider towing.
That project took about two years to complete. John also squeezed in enough time to remodel his house to Emily's specifications. They almost doubled the size of their house.
Larry Tasker completed the construction of his new Kolb Mark III Extra experimental aircraft. The plane qualifies under the new FAA rules as a Light Sport Aircraft. That project took about one year. It looks and flies great.
We had a VERY short notice job (four days) to make some tube and fabric repairs and paint an auto gyro It is a prototype destined to become an un-manned aerial vehicle. We got it done on time
There is also a Piper Cub wing-recovering job under way in the shop now.
Special thanks to Patty Allen and Bill Malpass for taking up the ever-present grass-mowing job while I was out of service. They even added a sunshade to the old Farmall tractor.
Jim Sypherd continues to show up with great things needed to maintain and improve the place.
The fly-in activities mirrored last years, except we had great weather for all three events. There were between fifty and one hundred planes at the last open hangar party and a like number at the Chili-Fiesta -Fly-In. The Young Eagles Day was also very successful.
We had several group tours. Two stand out. There was a group of twenty pre school students from Middletown DE. My big concern developed as I gave the kids a very short introduction to what we do here. The glassy eyed response gave me pause. What do you say to keep three year olds interested?
The problem evaporated as we entered the hangar. They were like kids in a candy store. The wows, ahs and general excitement was tremendous. I was off the hook! The kids loved the planes. They had obviously never seen a plane up close. One youngster actually ran up to Jim Kay's Smith Mini-Plane and literally hugged it saying, "This is my favorite". Their artwork is on display on the drawing table in the office.
The other notable tour was a group of students from the Kent County's Horizons Program. It is a part of a national program that provides educational enrichment experiences for the children. They were the highest energy and most enthusiastic group of kids in my memory.
Their main interest was to sit in a plane. I volunteered my Cub. I stood by and helped them in and out of the plane and helped keep order in the waiting line. The line never got any shorter. Then I realized they were all getting back in line for a second or even third try. It was a great experience for all! Me too.
Thank you Betsy Gibb for bringing them.
The Museum membership has started to grow. In addition to the founding-four the membership now includes:
Ralph De Groodt Ind
Bud Leonard Ind
Jay Gleits Fam
Larry Tasker Fam
Frank Minnick Ind
Les Moorhouse Ind
Bill Conway Ind
Earl Mc Mullin Ind
Kevin Kurtz Fam
Ben Matwey Ind
Jim Kay Ind
Hunter Harris Ind
Al Santa Maria Fam
Dave De Groodt Fam
Keith Dodwell Fam
Tyler Campbell Pat
Roger Robinson Ind
Harvey Lynch Ind
Charlie Thuet Ind
Bill Dilling Ind
Paul Cartwright Pat
Thank you for your support and encouragement. We hope you will continue next year. P.S. If you have not gotten a Massey Air Museum hat please see me.
We also have a growing list of financial supporters as follows.
Bob Nelson x3
Jim Barnette x2
Charlie Thuet x2
Dr. Fred Lohr
Tyler Campbell x2
Earl Mc Mullen
Kent Pilots Asstn
We have also received donations of aviation related artifacts from the following:
Col. Ray Burleson
We have a pretty big job jar now and some plans are forming for the future, several are quite ambitious.
We have decided the termites have rendered the front half of the shop/office/lounge and restroom building un-repairable. We are studying our options for replacing it.
We need a storage facility for tractors, mowers and other maintenance equipment as well as future projects.
We also have requests for more hangar space, runway lighting and fuel sales.
We plan to start the approval process with the County this winter. Wish us luck!