|Museum Chatter, December 2010|
What a great year 2010 has been here at the Massey Aerodrome! Thank you all for your encouragement and support.
Welcome Potomac Antique Aero Squadron members. Your board felt with our common interests you might like hearing from us.
Our biggest stories for 2010 have to be the new maintenance equipment storage building, our new rotating beacon, the restoration projects underway and the people who help make it all happen.
The new building is a 56' x 56' pole building. It was built with the help of the State of Maryland Aviation Administration funds and a private contributor. The $50,000 building looks a lot like a hangar, but State funds are not available for such buildings. However, they once again came through with a 90% grant; this time to build a Maintenance Equipment Storage Facility. The State has been very helpful to us since we opened our doors. We thank the Administration for their help.
The private contributor is a regular visitor here, either in his antique airplane or by car. He told us the place reminds him of his youth and having his first flight at an airport like ours. He gave the Museum an unrestricted grant which we used to cover our 10% share of the building cost.
He further plans to donate his airplane sometime in the future. He hopes we will use it to provide the same type flying experience for future kids' first flights. Of course we will. That is what we do!
The Rotating Beacon story goes back several years to when we received an FAA light tower from the Wilmington Delaware Airport. We immediately began looking for a beacon to put on top of it. We put the word out to everyone we knew in the industry.
Eventually word came back of one that might be available from the Altoona Pennsylvania Regional Airport. The Airport Authority there wanted to sell it. After a brief negotiation (begging) session on the phone with the airport manager and his review of our web page they agreed to a VERY friendly price. I got in my 340,000-mile pick-up truck and drove to Altoona the next day to pick it up. The shock was how big it was; it filled the back of the truck.
We also found it was in great shape and works perfectly. Doc cleaned it up and John and a team of 70+ year olds used the cherry picker to mount it on the tower. It is quite simply magnificent. You may have seen it on December's open hangar party invitations and you will see it more in the future on our, about to be printed, new brochure.
Another frequent visitor and good friend of the museum made a very generous "restricted" contribution.
This one altered the sequence of the restoration of the Stinson Reliant. We had just finished the covering process on the fuselage and were about to start on the wings. He came by and said he "wanted to get involved in the Stinson restoration", more specifically in the engine overhaul. I welcomed the offer expecting he meant turning wrenches etc. He did, but went on to say he also wanted to help financially.
His interest and financial help made it possible to start on the engine restoration. So we did!
Most of the parts are at Bill Bohannon's shop in Ohio. He is 89 years old and goes to work every day. He is one of a very small group of people with actual knowledge and experience about rebuilding these particular engines. He has agreed to mentor us through the overhaul process.
How I met him and how he became involved is another story for another time. Leave it to say he is yet another example of a senior citizen working in aviation who has inspired me to do what I do.
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.
Don Hooker continues to take the lead on decorating the space with artifacts as well as organizing the growing library.
The Corsair has withstood the onslaught of several high wind events while swaying about on its pylon-mount. It really looks like it wants to fly!
The 1000 gallon fuel truck is now restored and in service. The dilemma we faced regarding the money for its first fill-up was solved by Al Johnson of Air Enterprises Inc. He volunteered to have it filled for us and we could then work off the cost over time. We have done that and it is now all Museum fuel, available for the members.
The Wright R-2600 14-cylinder radial engine is now a very popular attraction. John and Rick Counsell were the main players on the disassembly and reassembly work. Tony Saienni, Fredrich Schmidt and Bill Dilling worked with John and Doc on the cosmetic efforts.
The engine is a great teaching tool because John left a cylinder off as planned, thus making the interior workings visible.
The 1955 Schweitzer 2-22 glider fuselage has been covered with fabric. The wings have been rebuilt and are ready for fabric work. John, Ric, Tony, Gavin, Larry and Doc have put in a lot of hours on this project. We hope to have it flying this Spring.
Ralph DeGroodt's 1939 Piper Cub is nearing completion. Ralph and Tony, his primary helper, both take the time to do things at the highest quality level and this plane shows the results of that kind of effort.
My brother Bob's 1947 Piper Vagabond is making steady progress. He has decided to cover the plane using the Stewart System in place of the traditional nitrate/butyrate dope process we typically use. It uses water-born products having no VOCs. It will provide us with a firsthand learning experience on this new process. We'll see how it goes.
Don Sloan's Cessna 140 is still for sale--- he thinks? It's a great little tail dragger with fresh covered wings and the engine was just overhauled. Whenever he flies it he usually asks himself "Why am I going to sell this? It's such fun to fly!" His Aeronca Champ project has picked up a case of the slows. It has taken a back seat to a Citabria project bought from Joe Jenkins. That project is moving along quite nicely. The engine is just back from an engine shop, the wings are done and the fuselage is ready for cover.
As in past years the big fly-in was the Chili-Fiesta Fly-In in April. For 2011 we are scheduled for the 30th with a rain date of May 1st, 11am to 4pm; write it down! It's always a great event.
In '10 there were almost 150 planes and 500 visitors. The chili supply was enough to feed everyone. We did run out several times during the day, but the continuing supply, as more visitors arrived carrying their chili, saved the day
People and planes are still coming greater distances each year and there seem to be more special planes here for the fly-in. This year there were several award winning caliber planes. Bring your camera.
We again scheduled the Young Eagles Day to start a little later in the day. We had great weather and a banner year for the Young Eagles. For 2011 we are scheduled for August 27th starting at 11am. Let your kids age 8 through 17 know about the free plane rides here on that day.
We had our second annual Vintage Sailplane Meet here in October 2010. It is just the kind of grassroots flying we encourage. We had more gliders and people than last year. They came from as far as Chicago! They had some very special gliders, including one that established altitude, distance and time-aloft records back in 1948. It got the record flight here, too.
They were set up to give rides and many friends and neighbors were able to go. Some had their first-ever glider ride. They will be back October 7th through the 10th 2011.
The 10th Annual Open Hangar Party was weather challenged. It was a cold and blustery day. Only 15 planes flew in. Unlike last year, the runway was in great condition but the flying was no fun. We did have about 200 visitors come by car to share the party atmosphere. Plan on Sunday Dec. 4th for this year.
Regarding Future Plans, this we know..
We are going to remove the tall trees at the approach end of Runway 20 and replace them with lower-growing varieties.
Additionally, many visitors have asked about the large pile of structural steel stored alongside the DC-3. It came from a large local building that recently became available, and one of the LLC members funded the purchase of it.It could make another great hangar.
However, we have a unique situation here at the Aerodrome. The property is owned by the Massey Aero LLC. The LLC is owned by the four museum founders, John, Jimmy, Bill and me.
The museum, as primary occupant and, operator of the aviation activities at the Aerodrome, is the primary beneficiary of property improvements.
As the LLC builds more buildings it runs the risk of over-developing the property, which makes it less saleable to anyone but the museum.
Both the LLC and the museum would like to build it but the LLC doesn't want to take on the necessary debt, nor does it want to take on the obligations associated with another State grant. So, for now, all building is on a temporary hold.
My fondest dream is; when the LLC members are ready to sell, the museum will be in a position to buy the property. Then the problem goes away.
The following is true as ever; our very existence and continued success is a direct result of the efforts of our volunteers and the continuing support from our friends and visitors. The Aerodrome has become a wonderfully active place for people to visit, volunteer or just sit a while.
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.
We are now almost 400 members strong. We have sent out 2011 membership cards to all current and past members with the hope you will renew for 2011. For those few who didn't renew in 2009 we are holding your low member number open, so be sure to renew now and keep your low number.
For all past, present and future members; we are good guardians of your funds and they help bring lots of joy to lots of folks.
With the recently added volunteers we are able to do more but sometimes we are "supply challenged". Please Join! Your dues go a long way.
Mail your tax-deductible contribution:
Massey Air Museum, Inc.
33541 Maryland Line Road
Massey, Maryland 21650
Massey Air Museum Inc.
410 928 5270