What a great year 2008 has been here at the Massey Aerodrome! Thank you all for your encouragement and support.
Our biggest story for 2008 has to be the facilities. We received a very generous contribution from Ralph DeGroodt to be applied to a new door for the shop. And an un- restricted donation from the Art Kudner foundation, which we applied to the door. The rest of the money came from the generosity of the Museum Membership.
The door has a vertical beveled siding and a solid row of small paned windows reminiscent of a 1930's era hangar wall however it is a very modern hydraulically operated door that swings up to open the entire end of the hangar. The siding and windows are insulated vinyl. It has provided a dramatic improvement in looks and comfort. Not only can we now see outside, we can actually heat the building,. Thank you Ralph, Art and Museum Members and the regulars that installed it John, Jimmy, Larry Tasker, Don Sloan, Don Hooker, and Bill Dougherty who painted the frame both inside and out.
Of course the biggest facility progress is the new terminal building announced last year. The building was enclosed in mid-summer and we have been working to finish the interior and grounds work. The exterior is now finished and the interior partitions are installed, insulated, dry-walled and painted. Next is to install the interior doors, trim, cabinets, restroom facilities, etc. We still have plenty of work to keep us busy. We are doing most of this work ourselves and hope to be finished early this year.
We did use the building as an overflow area during the Open Hangar Party in December, so many of you have seen the progress first hand. It really looks great. It will be a great facility for the general flying community as a terminal building, as well as a great place to show the Museum artifacts. The collection of artifacts continues to grow. The library section of the new building will start out in good form.
We just had our 8th annual Open Hangar Party. About 300 friends came to share our joy over the past year and hopes for '09. As a Fly-In it was an almost complete bust. As a Get-Together it was a great success. It was a very cold and windy day. Only one brave pilot challenged the 25 to 35 knot crosswind to come by air. Our previous record low aircraft arrival number was four aircraft, following a nine-inch snow a few years ago. However, these minor issues don't stand in the way of a great time and we had one again this year.
As many of you know, at this event, the Museum supplies the ham, turkey and roast beef as well as the hot cider, cocoa and coffee. And, many of those attending bring Hors D'oeuvres, etc. It is a formula that has worked very well. The more people that come, the more food is brought. Everyone has plenty to eat and none gets wasted. By the way, I think a new and interesting development has begun at this party. A certain level of competitiveness among the food presenters seems to exist. Which was the best potato salad? Ken Rysnar's, Margie McKeown's? Did you try any of those molasses cookies? Who made them? How about that Salmon Dianne Nielson made! If it is becoming a competition, we are all winning. It is just great. The Hors D'oeuvres and deserts are getting better by the year. We are surely going to keep this system.
Just like last year, the big fly-in this year was the Chili-Fiesta fly-in in April. There were almost 150 planes and 500 visitors. The chili supply was enough to feed everyone. And, the competition to see whose chili gets eaten the quickest was as strong as ever. It was really a great event.
Once again we borrowed some of the bean field for aircraft parking and put mostly tail draggers on that field. People and planes are still coming from greater distances each year and there seem to be more special planes here for the fly-in.
This year we will hold the event two weeks later due to conflicts with Sun-N-Fun and other events. Put it on your schedule for Saturday May 9, 2009, Rain date 10th, 11am to 4pm. And, bring your camera.
We scheduled the Young Eagles Day to start a little later this year because in the past we were having trouble with ground fog in the mornings at that time of the year. The pilots had to wait for sufficient visibility due to fog and low clouds before they could get here. We now start at 11am in case the weather needs to burn off. Problem solved! This year all went well and over 30 youngsters got free plane rides.
We had a special addition this year. Glen McKeown (Anthony's father) works for Wawa and arranged for a very nice donation of juices from Wawa It was a big hit for young and old.
If the EAA Chapter 240 is willing, we will have another Young Eagles Day on August 22nd 2009. Mark your calendar tentatively for that day. We should start the flying at 11am.
This fall we had another WW II liaison Aircraft Re-enactors Squadron here for a weekend encampment. There were several L-Birds. They didn't have the ground-based group here this year so the event took on a more aviation theme complete with search and rescue exercises. We don't know the exact date for next year's encampment, so watch for an announcement on the web page (masseyaero.org).
Those special events continue to be an important focus of our activities. However our regular activities have also stepped up a notch or two this year. We have added our first regular docent. Don Hooker, originally from jolly old England, now from Galena Maryland, "toddled" on in here one day and "allowed" that he might be interested in volunteering (We love his British-ness). He has raised the bar on our guided tours. And, he put together a "Docent Guide Book" on all the planes here. It is very well done. Don is not one to sit around waiting for visitors to show through the place. He has become a major work contributor. He bolted the wings on the DC3 and helped with the carpentry work on the new building. We also have "allowed" as he could help with the sweeping and cleanup duties. He sees dirt and disarray where some of us somehow don't. And, he is willing to do something about it. He a great asset and is here every Tuesday.
On the flying front we continue to increase the activity at the Aerodrome. A few of us volunteer plane rides for other organizations. The USO, VFW, Tuskegee Airmen Organization, etc. use the rides as fundraisers for their groups. You meet some really great people through this. One was a Col Charles McGee, one of the few remaining original Tuskegee Airmen. He had been Dover for the annual Tuskegee Airman dinner and Don Sloan invited him to Massey for a ride in his Stearman. He said the flight brought back great memories for him. He remarked the Stearman was the first plane he ever flew. It was an even greater event for us. We got to meet a very special man, and he spent enough time with us to actually get to know him some. It was one of our
highlights. Thank you Col. Sloan and Thank you Col. McGee.
The light tower is finished and waiting for an original rotating beacon. The windmill is up and spinning in the wind.The DC3 has made great strides. A lot of the parts John and Jimmy retrieved from one being scrapped in Florida last year have been installed. The interior cleanup continues. A lot of people come to tour it every year. It looks great, lighted at night for the Christmas holidays.
Our very existence and continued success as a museum is a direct result of the efforts of our volunteers. Here is an idea of just how much support we have from them.
There are several types of volunteers, loosely differentiated by the amount of time spent here. The help comes in many forms but a day is still a day for each.
At six to seven days a week and about fifty weeks a year John Williamson and I are the time leaders. John tends to get things done while I ponder things to do.
Our regulars are here about three to four days a week. These are Don Sloan and Larry Tasker. Don is restoring a 1947 Cessna 140 and, provides entertainment for visitors on any given day by flying big Pratt powered Stearman. Larry this year has been heavily involved in construction of the new terminal building and fussing over his 1947 Cessna 170
Jim Sypherd puts in almost the same amount of time in two or three day chunks of time throughout most of the year. He does most of the heavy grounds and building maintenance and improvements.
We have some almost weekly helpers. Don Hooker is here every Tuesday as our only docent and all-around helper. Rex Kershaw comes almost every Sunday for heavy equipment repair. And Bob Thompson does grass cutting duty in that season
Some are here several weekends per year. Bill Dougherty on the DC-3, the new door and a gas light project this year. Bill Malpass, Pat McAnney, Steve Fisher and Jim Kay, the interior of the new building. Ruth Tasker comes in a few days per month to decipher my checkbook scratchings and put them in Quicken.
Rob Dant does our web page. It is fantastic! Check it out at masseyaero.org
This is just a partial list. It does not include those who help with the Chili-Fiesta Fly-In, The Young Eagles Day, and The Open Hangar Party. It also does not include any of the most important group of all, those of you who come to our events and are regular visitors here. Without you we would not have the activity that makes the Massey Aerodrome such a special place to visit.
Of special note are those who fly-in here thereby providing a lot of the aviation activity. And, dare I say the special "senior" more experienced aviation visitors who bring themselves and their stories for all to hear and enjoy.
I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't close with an appeal for your continued support. We have a great thing going here and need your help to continue it.
The membership sign-up last year was great,183 members to date! We are good guardians of your funds and they help bring lots of joy to lots of folks. Please Join!
Mail your tax-deductible contribution:
Massey Air Museum, Inc.
33541 Maryland Line Road
Massey, Maryland 21650
Massey Air Museum Inc.
410 928 5270