What a great year 2009 has been here at the Massey Aerodrome! Thank you all for your encouragement and support.
Our biggest stories for 2009 have to be the new terminal building and the full size replica of a WWII Corsair F4U fighter plane.
The Terminal Building is in full use. The main atrium area is a great get-together spot. In addition to our own use as with the Open Hangar Party and the Chili Fiesta Fly-In, other groups find it a great place for lunches or dinners. We hosted the Wilmington QB's for a summer picnic and the International Vintage Glider group had a Pizza Party here. All the visitors find it an interesting stop on the museum tour.
Don Hooker (our Tuesday Docent) has taken the lead on decorating the space with artifacts as well as organizing the growing library. His Merlin engine display and the Wright Brothers room are looking great. He is about to start on a propeller display. We continue to receive donations of aviation artifacts and books and are building a noteworthy collection.
The big Stinson Reliant restoration project moves in and out of the building as space in the shop requires; visitors find that an interesting item too.
The Corsair project started in December of 2007. David Tallichet's
94th Aero Squadron restaurant at the College Park Airport in College Park, Maryland had a full size replica of an F4U Corsair as a theme decoration. The underpinning structure had deteriorated to the point they were concerned about the plane falling from its pedestal mount. They wanted it out of there before the snow season started. Our friend Lee Schiek from the College Park Airport set us up to get it.
Jimmy and John rigged a custom crane for the back of Jimmy's tow truck. We borrowed Andy Schlosser's heavy duty trailer and took the plane down from its mount, disassembled it and brought it home.
It took Jimmy, John, Doc, Larry, and me, the week before Christmas, to get it home. It sat as a "someday project" till this summer when John spent a fair amount of time beefing up the internal support structure and re-assembling the plane.
It is now proudly mounted on a pylon, in flying position, beside the restoration shop. The pylon was sand blasted and epoxy painted by Tony Monza, a neighbor in the auto restoration business. The plane is a real eye-catcher when viewed from the road or the flight line.
The plane is so realistic many people think it is real. We even had one visitor complain we should not mistreat such a valuable and historic aircraft so badly by leaving it outside. (He would be right if it were real. A real one could be worth 2-3 million.) It's a great addition to the museum.
We got a call from John Taylor at the Brandywine airport (West Chester). He said they had a 1000 gallon fuel truck they wanted to sell to us for $500.00. It sounded too good to be true. Jimmy went to seal the deal and found John had indeed misspoken, or we misheard; it was $5000.00.
The real problem was Jimmy fell in love with the truck and announced "we have to buy it". So we did. Jimmy, John and Rex fixed it all up and it is now ready for service.
The remaining problem is we depleted our treasury to buy it, and are now "saving up to fill it up". At $3-4/gallon, 1000 gallons is a fair sized nut for us. We will get it done by the upcoming flying season. We will buy fuel for less and sell for less.
Another "someday project" that has been started is the Wright R-2600 14-cylinder radial engine. The 1700 horsepower engine was donated to the museum by Scott Wood, the radial engine restoration man from the Smithsonian Institution. It was an engine he owned, that had sat in the California Desert for a reported 40 years. It was originally on a B-25 bomber during WWII.
Scott delivered it to us following his visit here for the 2007 Open Hangar Party. He saw what we were doing and decided this would make a good home for it.
John had wanted to "get inside" a radial engine for some time. They are a bit mysterious as...