Museum Chatter for 2015

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Museum Chatter, Dec 2015

"The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the pleasure too great, for it to be neglected as a sport." Orville Wright

By any measure 2015 was a momentous year at Massey Aerodrome. As you may know, we had lost two founding members: Jim Sypherd in 2011 and Jim Douglass in 2013, and we felt there was a need to take action to ensure that Massey Aerodrome and Massey Air Museum will endure and prosper into the future. The most important development for 2015 is that five enthusiastic new partners have come on board to help John Williamson continue to fulfill our mission to strengthen and preserve grassroots aviation here in Maryland. The new partners are familiar faces at the airport having spent many hours here, they are: Robert Dierker, Bill (Doc) Dougherty, Rusty Lowry, Nick Mirales and Don Sloan. They have a passion for the grassroots aviation that Massey represents; you can read their résumés in the accompanying Kent County News article.

The other big story is that the Potomac Antique Aero Squadron will hold the former Horn Point Antique Aircraft Assoc. Fly-ln annually at Massey (Sat. June 11, 2016). This is one of the very few judged Antique Aircraft Assoc. events and as such always attracts the finest antique airplanes. The Potomac Antique Aero Squadron will continue to conduct the Fly-In as they have in the past, but it now will benefit from our long smooth runway, open approaches and great facilities that we expect will attract many who did not appreciate the narrow tree-lined runway at Horn Point. We can't wait.

One of the benefits of hanging out at the airport is meeting some of the interesting people that stop in from time to time. On Nov. 7, Rusty Lowry was accompanied by his friend and

fellow U.S. Navy Test Pilot School class of 1983 graduate, astronaut Ken Cameron (Col. USMC, Ret.), who flew three missions in the Space Shuttle. He served as pilot on STS-37 (April 5-11, 1991) and was the commander on STS 56 (April 9-17, 1993) and STS-74 (Nov. 12-20, 1995). A group of us went to Twinny's for an extraordinary lunch listening to Ken describe the intricacies of landing the world's heaviest glider in a severe and unpredicted crosswind at Edwards AFB (the Space Shuttle Atlantis: "L/D around 4, landing weight: 190,098 pounds"). We all selfishly allowed him to talk while his soup got cold, although he said he didn't mind and rather enjoyed talking to a group of pilots who could appreciate what he was saying - we took that as a compliment!

Some of the Museum accomplishments this year were: John and Jack Williamson, Tony Saienni, Bob Dierker, Bill Dilling, Joe Molz, Bill Dougherty and other volunteers worked on the restoration of the Schweizer 1-26 glider donated by Rusty Lowry. Bob Dierker was able to borrow a mold in North Carolina so that John could fashion a new fiberglass front cowling, (fiberglass work being a first for all of us). 1st flight was June 20 and everyone agrees that it flies beautifully. Tyler Cohen and Bill Dougherty painted the top of the wings and engine cowlings of the DC-3, the grey undersides are yet to be done, still a work in progress.

Don Hooker has framed and displayed many of our donated aviation prints and constructed a folding screen to mount them for display.

Jaime Giandomenico donated a large collection of scale model airplanes and also a group of display cases that had been stored in a hangar at Ocean City Airport (it appears to be someone's life work). Don Hooker and Jan Tone have cleaned all the models, resurrecting those that hadn't been in the case from years of dust and neglect. They have placed the display cases containing the models in the back hallway and also along the office wall.

that were donated by Jaime Giandomenico. They had been stored in a hangar at Ocean City Airport and Don and Jan Tone resurrected the models from 30 years of dust and neglect.

With the help of Don Hooker, we received a grant from Kent County and the Museums of Kent County for a flagpole which we will erect at the SW corner of the Museum and to also install a canopy over the west entrance door to the library.

We insulated the shop ceiling with sprayed-on urethane; it should stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, making the work of restoration more comfortable. We also replaced the shop heater, which had given us 15 years of good service and was probably 30 years old so we aren't complaining. Tony Saienni installed new fluorescent lighting in the paint booth while we had the use of the borrowed scissor lift from the insulation work.

A new 48' x 12' hangar door was installed on the north side of the west hangar. We now have four matching hangar doors. These are wood frame doors (covered with plastic siding) which we built utilizing tracks and pulleys from very sparse kits. All the labor was Massey's and everyone pitched in to get it accomplished. Since the front of the hangar had to be dismantled to accommodate the much larger door, we hired a contractor to replace the metal siding. We also hired a concrete contractor to replace approximately 8 feet of the floor to make for a smooth new apron. The greatly enhanced ability to move planes in and out of this hangar increases its capacity by two planes.

Recapping 2015 events.

The 13th annual Chili Fiesta Fly-In, May 9, just squeaked in. The weather was perfect - that is, after the ceiling lifted and the fog bound were able to depart their home bases. So we got a later start, but those that came were rewarded with comfortable temps, the usual good food and some very interesting airplanes, 3 of which had won awards at Oshkosh! Marlin Horst's 1929 Fairchild 71, Stanley Sweikar's 1929 Fleet Model 2, and Mark Meredith's 1951 de Havilland DHC-1 Super Chipmunk which made a dramatic smoke-on take-off.

August 15th, EAA Chapter 1536 sponsored and provided food for our Young Eagles Day at which we flew 40 enthusiastic kids. We had beautiful weather, great attendance and 6 volunteer pilots, Ray Iseminger, Rusty Lowry, Dan Shuron, Don Sloan, Rob Dant and John Williamson who donated their planes to fly the Young Eagles. The kids all seemed to have a great time exploring the air and airplanes, this was the first time flying for most of them.

October 9-12, The Vintage Sailplane Rally was CAVU - blue skies the whole time, finally! The WBOC TV guys were there shooting video all day Saturday, although they had only planned to stay an hour, they seemed to be having a good time! If you haven't seen it yet, take 5 minutes to view the video of our Vintage Sailplane Association Rally (link to VSA:, produced by WBOC-TV).

They captured the essence of the Massey experience pretty well, Bravo! "Outdoors Delmarva" host Captain Willie Dykes got a glider ride with Bob Dierker and his cameraman got a ride with Nick Mirales in the Stearman, both getting to check off a long held bucket list item. The very complimentary episode entitled "Vintage Sailplane Fly- at the Massey Air Museum" aired Oct. 20 2015. Link: YouTube Video.

Dec. 6 - Open Hangar Party & Fly-In: Wow...what a great day....perfect weather, blue skies, calm, warm (for December) in the mid-50's. Over 175 guest planes, countless drive in guests, we had more food than ever before but managed to eat it all! We had finished the new hangar door and siding just in time. We were treated to some very rare and interesting antique airplanes including 3 Cessna 195's, Mark Meredith's Super Chipmunk, Pamela Lance's Little Toot, some very fine RV's with great paint schemes, Peter Meyer's brand new Carbon Cub, John Bright's spectacularly painted Cessna 180, 8 Cubs, 5 Super Cubs and Piper Pacers, 2 Taylorcraft, (one an L-2), a very rare 1942 Aeronca L-3, 2 Aeronca L-16's, even a Cessna 337 Skymaster and a Yak 52. The antique stars were the 3 Kinner engine biplanes, two were 85 years old! Joe Flood brought Jerome Yochelson's rare 1930 Fairchild KR-21 (the KR stands for Kreider-Reisner Aircraft Company of Hagerstown, MD which Fairchild took over in 1929).

Andy King was kind enough to stop at Massey to allow us to view the very rare 1941 ex-RCAF Consolidated Fleet Finch while on a ferry flight with it from CT to VA. You may remember that Andy also flew the 1911 Ely-Curtiss pusher replica with builder, Bob Coolbaugh when they visited Massey in 2011.

Last, but most assuredly not least is the historic 1930 Brunner-Winkle Bird BK once owned by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, bought by Charles to complete her pilot training in Sept 1930. Restored by Joseph and Anna Fichera of Kentmorr Airpark in Stevensville, MD and now owned by Mike Pangia of Poughkeepsie, NY. It flew for the first time in 66 years in 2012 after 12 years of work by Joe and a host of volunteers including the young Gretta Thorwarth who, while still in grade school, was able to do the necessary work in tight spaces where the men couldn't fit. Gretta, also of Kentmorr Airpark, accompanied the Bird to Massey dressed in period attire appropriate for a 1930's aviatrix. We felt transported back in time on seeing her walking with the Bird, wing in hand. (See Air & Space Magazine, April 2013 Lindbergh's Trainer: The Brunner-Winkle Bird" by Paul Glenshaw.

More News.

Joe Molz has finished his Piper Pacer's fuselage and tail feathers - next up are the wings. His meticulous attention to detail has apparently transferred well from his previous restoration, an outstanding Austin Healy 3000. He might have thought we were crazy when he was told it would take 3 years to restore the Pacer, but he's 18 months into it now and he works 5 days a week on it - of course, he's learning as he goes.

Rusty Lowry brought Art Nall's Piper L-4 to Massey to install a gas tank in the wing including fabric, dope and painting the patch. After participating in the 70th anniversary of Victory in WWII "Washington DC Fly over," Art felt his airshow schedule required long-range tanks.

This fall, BWI airport will be installing a ten panel display of "Maryland's Aviation History" including a panel entitled "Maryland Aviation Museums" of which Massey is one of eight. We furnished a photo of Don Sloan's Stearman, Photoshopped as flying over the DC-3 along with Ralph DeGroodt's Cub and Don's L-16 on the ground. Thank you to Dennis Maroulas of Hampton Bays, NY for creating this image on Photoshop and for his assistance with the photography at Massey. Dennis regularly makes the long trip from Long Island to be here.

Don Sloan has always been generous with offering rides to deserving persons and on Sept. 5th he was able to fulfill the long-held wish of Dave Cox of Hartley, DE with a "Dream Flight" in his Stearman.

Bill & Molly Moyes of New South Wales, Australia visited John & Emily Williamson in September. Bill has been building hang gliders for over 40 years and John has known him almost as long. John started out as a waterskier, then flying as "kiteman" on skies, adopted boat launching of hang gliders and eventually moved from hang gliders to airplanes. He still owns a Moyes Dragonfly tug and a Bailey Moyes Tempest Ultra-light glider (one of only about a dozen made).

Daphne Hayes sent us photos of our DC-3 taken by her father, (view in photo library) Fred N. Spackman, in 1943 while he was training with the RCAF in Lethbridge, Canada.

Ray lseminger and Ed White have purchased Jim Douglass' Stinson V-77 project. Due to its size, the fuselage will remain at Massey and they may decide to work on it here. Ray took one wing home to get a start on the work. They are also currently building a Hatz Biplane.

Nick Mirales' Biplane Air Tours has had a successful year selling Stearman rides in 2015 and he plans to expand the schedule for 2016. Contact Nick: call 410-535-4136. Email Website:

Bob Dierker will be offering rides in his Schweizer 2-33 glider all season as well. You can contact Bob at: 410-699-1697 or at the airport.

The Aviation Hive is a new aviation social website, aimed at pilots and aviation enthusiasts. It was initiated by NJ pilot, Angela Leedy who has visited Massey in her Top Cub. We're posting our events on it in addition to Social Flight,

EAA Chapter 1536 meets here the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 am. Prospective EAA members are welcome to attend - just show up. Email: Facebook:

We are saddened to report the death of Stanley John Sweikar, Jr., 76 of Dameron, MD, on February 5, 2016. Stanley was the good friend of two of our partners, Rusty Lowry and Nick Mirales; he loved vintage aviation having owned a Cessna 195, Oshkosh award winning 1929 Fleet 2, 1946 Taylorcraft and 1941 Culver LFA. Biography


Refer to our Website Event Calendar for latest event updates. Events will include the 14th Chili Fiesta Fly-In, the 45th Antique Airplane Fly-in, Biplane Fly-in, Young Eagles Day, Vintage Sailplane Rally, and the 16th Open Hangar Party & Fly-In.

We encourage everyone to look at our Photo Library occasionally; pictures are usually posted within a few weeks of our events.

Finally, we wish to extend a heartfelt thank you for the dedication of all the Museum members and the cadre of volunteers that keep us flying.

The new partners, along with founder John Williamson, promise to maintain the tradition expected from Massey Aerodrome. We consider Massey to be one of the custodians of the grassroots American aviation tradition which having begun with the Wright Brothers continues to this day.

This is our annual appeal for your continued support. Massey continues to grow and improve thanks to aviation friends who remember and appreciate history while recognizing the difficulty of maintaining that link to our past. We are here working to restore aircraft practically every day, please stop in for a visit.

If you have an interest in preserving Grassroots Aviation at Massey, please join us with your tax deductible membership now. We have enclosed membership cards for all current and past members with the hope you will renew for 2016.

Mail tax-deductible contribution:
Massey Air Museum, Inc.
33541 Maryland Line Road
Massey, Maryland 21650

John Williamson 410-928-5270

2015, Massey Air Museum