|Museum Chatter 2013|
Jim Douglass - February 22, 1940-February 10, 2013
Jim Douglass went west on February 10, 2013 - we are profoundly saddened to have lost our friend, founding partner and catalyst
for the creation of Massey Aerodrome and Museum. Jim Douglass lived his dream of owning a grass airport; as Airport Manager he oversaw
Massey Aerodrome's success and many Museum acquisitions. Jim was the mentor we turned to when we didn't know how to proceed on our
projects. He taught us how to install fabric covering and appreciate the legacy technologies of grass roots aviation. Jim was our
connection to the aviation community where he seemed to know everyone. He had the vision of a simple airport with the atmosphere of
earlier times where you could stop in just to talk. The airport, being a museum, provided Jim the opportunity to educate young and
old with a personal guided tour through the hangars and back in time. Very often, the visitor would be a veteran aviator wanting to
expose their grandchildren to the airplanes of their youth. Lovers of aviation and friends of Jim Douglass will always be welcome to
visit us at Massey Aerodrome. Jim was a visionary and we are resolved to endure the loss of Jim's inspiration, wisdom and friendship
in order to preserve his dream.
Weather (good or bad) has a great impact on our activities here at the airport:
10th Annual Chili Fest Fly-in on May 11, the showers may have been all around us but the weather on the field was actually good - it never rained. So while we had the same normally good drive-in attendance only a few (10) brave flyers flew in. With plenty of food and good friends with whom to talk aviationů.who could complain?
Massey Air Museum welcomed EAA Chapter 240 (located at New Garden Flying Field-N57) for a Young Eagles Day on August 17th. The Young Eagles program introduces young people ages 8-17 to the world of flight by providing free airplane rides. John Leslie was the Chapter 240 Coordinator. Twenty five youngsters enjoyed their first flying experience while our Don Hooker cooked hot dogs and dispensed donated cookies.
The Biplane Fly-in scheduled for August 18 was cancelled due to inclement weather as was The VSA Glider meet scheduled for October 11-13.
The Open Hangar Party, December 1, was a great success with sunny skies and temps near 50░ attracting approximately 130 guest aircraft to the delight of the spectators crowding "Mt. Massey". Among the interesting planes were 2 beautiful Great Lakes, 2 twins (Cessna 310 and Beech Duchess) and a "Lil Stearman" with 110 hp Rotec (not Rotax) radial engine made in Australia. Our new runway number markings ("20" and "02") were a great help - how many grass strips have that? The taxiway that was inaugurated last year on the west side of runway "02" worked well but eventually filled with overflow aircraft parking. We can always use aircraft parking volunteers for our events; please let us know if you would like to help us with this task.
Massey Aerodrome was fortunate to have been discovered by the Vintage Sailplane Association and Rusty Lowry (VSA V.P. East) four years ago. Since then the VSA has held formal and informal meets here providing instruction which, upon completion, will result in Glider pilot and Glider towing certificates - not to mention the camaraderie and sheer enjoyment of the soaring experience. Thanks especially to Nick Mirales, Nick Wirtz and Rusty Lowry who also supplied the GS 2-33A two place glider and Pawnee tow plane.
Nick Mirales brought his Biplane Air Tours (Stearman rides) to Massey one weekend a month all summer. Having Nick flying out of Massey was a welcome addition, adding to the grass roots ambiance on those weekends. We saw many happy smiles from those taking advantage of the convenience of flying out of Massey.
Don Hooker's numerous contributions this year include: Fabrication and design of the rear fuselage and tail (elevator and rudder) of the 1911 Wright Glider Replica - that portion which owner Jimmy Dayton had not completed. The 1911 original was destroyed and the Wright brothers left no drawings so it was necessary to extrapolate dimensions from photos with the intention of utilizing the same materials and methods of construction. For display, we decided to limit the fabric covering to the upper surface of the upper wing plus elevator and rudder to show the construction of the Wright design and beautiful woodwork done by Jimmy Dayton and Don Hooker. Jimmy had conceived of this project with the goal of actually being able to fly it at the 100th Anniversary of Gliding held at Kitty Hawk, NC. Following completion by Don, the glider was hung from the ceiling at Massey, a work of aviation art and the center piece of the Museum.
Don Hooker and Jan Tone restored for display, a 1961 Boeing T50 300 HP gas turbine engine that powered a U.S. Navy anti-submarine drone helicopter. We also have a useful teaching tool for school children visits, "Outstanding Achievements in American Aviation".
Our proximity to Washington D.C. and the Dover Air Mobility Command Museum makes Massey Air Museum a convenient stop for aviation enthusiasts, often with interesting stories. Recently a visiting couple asked if I had ever heard of a C-47 (DC-3) having been converted to a glider. When I answered in the affirmative, the woman said her father was the pilot of a C-47 (DC-3) field-converted to a glider (XCG-47) which he flew in tow behind a C-54 for 1,800 miles from the Philippines to Tokyo, Japan in 1946 and that she had the almost daily letters that he had written to her mother which described the demonstration in detail. I had not been aware of this "second" C-47 glider conversion and encouraged her inclination to publish her father's story due to its importance to aviation history.
The volunteers from the Dover Air Mobility Command Museum finished their work on the WWII WACO CG-4 Combat Glider and transported the last section (a partial wing built at Massey with help from Tony Saienni, John Williamson, Ralph DeGroodt and others) back to Dover to be mated with the fuselage previously restored and covered by them at Massey. Don't miss seeing the completed glider the next time you visit the Dover Air Mobility Command Museum.
Mike Young continues to work his magic on our library collection. Mike has been working every week on getting all of the wonderful books that are donated to us in order and cataloged under the Dewey decimal system; it seems an unending task as donations continue to flow in. Mike's enthusiasm is contagious; he is always ready to help out with any task needed. Take a good look at our library when you visit, it contains many wonderful aviation titles - some rare. Thanks to Mike you can now search for books in our library by author, subject or title. It is a lending library and you are welcome to sign out books in normal library fashion.
Last year (2012) we received the very substantial gift of a 1963 Cessna 182 and three Blanik L-13 gliders. While the Blaniks' are grounded by an AD and may never fly again, the Cessna has already been restored to flight status and performs extremely well as a glider tow plane. The Cessna had sat "out of annual" at Bay Bridge airport for over a year and required a ferry permit to get it to Massey. We then removed and reskinned the rear fuselage which, while dented, was not structurally damaged and prepared it for Rick Councell to paint. John Williamson replaced the "jump door" with a standard door, installed a restored rear seat, and installed a new, larger oil cooler, new engine baffles and ignition wires. Thanks also to Larry Tasker, Tony Saienni, Bill Dilling, Ralph DeGroodt and Bill Dougherty for their work on the project.
Ralph, Tony and Larry completed restoration work on the 1940 J3L Cub project that Jim had started. This rare Lycoming powered Cub was restored to like new condition and Ralph swears it's one of the sweetest flying Cubs he's ever flown. The plane was quickly sold but is still based at Massey.
Jim's Stinson V-77 restoration is languishing while we look for a buyer - as is. This was Jim's signature project on which he lavished his attention to make it a perfect airplane. Jim's father and he had owned and flew this same aircraft over 50 years ago! This plane was one of 500 Lend-Lease Stinson's given to Britain in WWII and then civilianized by Vought upon return to the U.S. after the war, hence Jim's decision to restore it as a "warbird". Massey Air Museum is prepared to assist with the rebuild of this project, contact John Williamson for information.
In the restoration stages at the moment are Don Sloan's 1965 Citabria and a Spanish Elizalde Tigre cut-away engine (used in the C.A.S.A. 131) being prepared for display by Don Hooker and Jan Tone.
Every year many projects are completed with little fanfare, but they all contribute to what makes Massey Air Museum interesting to all our visitors.
Despite heavy use by Turbo Thrush crop seeders this fall, the runways looked good after aeration and overseeding which we're planning to repeat again this spring. The never ending mowing was handled primarily by volunteers Bob Thompson, Bill Dilling, Larry Tasker and others with John Williamson looking after the normal maintenance activities on top of mowing chores including repairing the beacon. In addition, the back wall of the shop was totally rebuilt as was the side wall of the rental house, all having been accomplished in-house by John Williamson with the valued assistance of Pat McAneny and Jack Williamson.
The same Dover volunteers that restored the Air Mobility Command Museum's WACO CG-4 glider here at Massey also "bird proofed" the DC-3 by installing wire mesh on the engines and over the many holes.
John Williamson & Bill Dilling retrieved Baily Moyes Dragonfly N6167D from Lawrenceville, NJ on a trailer. It flew again on Oct. 6, 2013. (bought by Bill Coxon, Sudlersville, MD).
In the last two years 2 Piper Cubs, a Schweizer 2-22 glider, the Dragonfly & the Cessna 182 were all resurrected to fly again here at Massey.
This is our annual appeal for your continued support. There has been continuous progress this year with a slight tilt towards gliders thanks to the Vintage Sailplane Association and the Cessna 182 tow plane donated by "Midshipman Aviation Inc.".
We consider Massey one of the custodians of American aviation tradition flowing from the Wright Brothers to today. Massey
Air Museum has accomplished a great deal since being transformed from a crop dusting strip surrounded by corn and soy bean fields to today's state by Jim Douglass' vision and the dedication of the founding members and their cadre of volunteers.
We feel we have a great thing going here for a lot of people and we need your help to continue it. If you have an interest in preserving Grass Roots Aviation at Massey, please join us with your membership now. We have enclosed 2014 membership cards for all current and past members with the hope you will renew for 2014.
Mail tax-deductible contribution:
Massey Air Museum, Inc.
33541 Maryland Line Road
Massey, Maryland 21650
John Williamson 410-928-5270