Vintage Airplane - May 2012

Published on February 2017 | Categories: Documents | Downloads: 27 | Comments: 0 | Views: 183
of 44
Download PDF   Embed   Report



Vintage May2012.indd 1

5/1/12 1:52 PM

may 2012

The New 2013 Ford Mustang

We Amped Up The Attitude

The Privilege of Partnership

The 2013 Mustang features an aggressive new look. From its redesigned
front end with a more prominent grille to the LED accents in the head and
tail lamps, the 2013 Mustang is a sleek representation of modern power.

EAA members are eligible for special pricing on Ford Motor Company
vehicles through Ford’s Partner Recognition Program. To learn more
on this exclusive opportunity for EAA members to save on a new Ford
vehicle, please visit

When it’s time to perform, you benefit from the power of choice – the 650
HP Shelby GT500, the Hi-Po Boss 302 with 444 HP, the legendary 5.0L GT
with a tire smoking 420 HP, or the 305 HP, 31 MPG V6. Purely Mustang.


Vintage May2012.indd 2

5/1/12 1:55 PM

Vol. 40, No. 5




Straight and Level
Blue skies, old friend
by Geoff Robison



4 Espie “Butch” Joyce
5 5,000 Breakfasts a Year and Growing
Fulfilling a member-requested need
by Steve Krog



VAA’s EAA AirVenture Volunteers of the Year
by Patty Dorlac

7 The Tale of an Extraordinary Gipsy
Swiss de Havilland DH-60G Gipsy Moth HB-AFO still going strong
by Stefan DeGraef

14 John Underwood
2011 VAA Hall of Fame inductee
by H.G. Frautschy


Light Plane Heritage
Exploring the Amphibian Historically and Technically
by Bob Whittier


2012 VAA Elections


Leverage Your Fly-In, Leverage Your Group


by Roger Thiel


The Vintage Mechanic
Semi-monocoque fuselage structure
by Robert G. Lock


The Lure of Airplanes
by Philip Handleman


The Vintage Instructor
Airport at Sunset
by Steve Krog, CFI


Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy



EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Director/Editor
Business Manager
Senior Art Director

Rod Hightower
J. Mac McClellan
H.G. Frautschy
Kathleen Witman
Olivia P. Trabbold

Manager/Domestic, Sue Anderson
Tel: 920-426-6127
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 920-426-4828
Independent Business Relationship Representative, Larry Phillip
Tel: 920-410-2916
Email: [email protected]
Classified Advertising
Tel: 920-426-6809


FRONT COVER: de Havilland DH-60G HB-AFO is based at Biel-Kappelen aerodrome in northwestern
Switzerland near the well-known Lac de Bienne. It’s now owned by Willy Kampfer, a retired Swissair B747
captain, who worked on the pretty biplane trainer when he was an aviation apprentice. Read more about it
starting on page 7. Photo courtesy Stefan DeGraef and Edwin Borremans.

For missing or replacement magazines, or
any other membership-related questions, please call
EAA Member Services at 800- JOIN-EAA (564-6322).

BACK COVER: Most VAA members have a soft spot for a favorite airplane (or two, or three…) and the Ryan
ST-A is often near the top of the list for many folks. This spectacular watercolor by artist Barry Ross depicts a
beautiful example over the hills near the San Francisco Bay area. Walter Bowe and Dr. Carlene Mendieta are
the caretakers of this fine example. For more on Barry’s art, visit his website at


Vintage May2012.indd 3

5/1/12 1:56 PM

Geoff Robison
president, VAA

Blue skies, old friend


t is with a very sad heart that I
report to the VAA membership
that the vintage aircraft community recently lost a very dear
friend. I know that many of you
were closely acquainted with Butch
Joyce, and I can state with great certainty that anyone who called Butch
a friend was as deeply saddened with
his loss as I was. When I was recently
asked to reflect on my friendship with
Butch, I had to remark that he was
one of those rare individuals whose
friendship just happened to unexpectedly sneak up on you.
Butch was one of those champions of old airplanes who would just
quietly work his magic on you until
“very suddenly” I owned a taildragger and I was wrestling with it to keep
it somewhere close to the centerline
of the runway. He was simply infectious with his love of everything old
with wings. When it came time for
Butch to step aside as the president
of our organization, I was absolutely
astounded when he approached me,
wanting to promote my name as the
next president of the VAA
I remain humbled by serving this
association as Butch’s successor. To
my everlasting gratitude, Butch remained involved in the association
by serving on the VAA board of directors until his passing. As you can
imagine, he served as a wonderful
mentor to me throughout our friendship. My heart goes out to his wife,
Norma, as well as his family and
many friends in North Carolina. Blue
skies and smooth, grassy runways to
you, my friend. The vintage airplane
movement has lost one of the most
gallant soldiers to have ever served us.

I just got home a few days ago from
Oshkosh after attending the VAA
spring board of directors meeting and
the first Vintage weekend work party
in preparation for Oshkosh 2012. I
am a bit concerned here, as I have recently learned that there are now a
number of pictures floating around
the Vintage community that depict
me with a shovel in my hand, and
worse yet, it appears as though I am
actually using that shovel to move
some dirt. You’ve got to help me out
here, friends, because if those pictures
are seen by my wife, I am certain to be
spending fewer days in Oshkosh having fun. Now we wouldn’t want that
to happen, would we? Please!
Speaking of fun. Too often we all
tend to get caught up in the mundane
daily tasks of a routine life, when in
fact we have the excitement of aviation at arms’ length. Oftentimes we
need to just open the hangar door
and take in the wonderful aroma of
aviation around us.
Are you a lot like me, and have you
allowed the pleasures and “fun” of
aviation to slip to the sidelines because of your busy lifestyle? Well,
I’m a bit inspired here by all this talk
about these wonderful memories and
experiences my friends are having.
I’m now very much inspired to shake
off all things negative that have kept
me from enjoying these simple pleasures that in fact are not just at arms’
length, they are virtually at my fingertips, and all I need to do is reach
out and restart the process. So, you
better watch out! I hope to see you in
the pattern! Anybody got a nice Piper
Cub for sale?
The VAA board of directors spring

meeting went very well. A vast number of the directors commented on
how much business we were able to
accomplish in just a short couple of
days. All of the subcommittee meetings were well-attended, and everyone
came together and made a great deal
of progress. The association’s finances
continue to concern your board of directors and our staff of two, and we
are continuing to develop and implement a new fiscal policy in response
to these challenges. We must continue to watch our bottom line and
keep the ink black. Non-dues income
funding mechanisms will continue
to be our primary target of opportunity to keep the VAA on sound fiscal ground. We will continue to work
hard to offer a good balance of AirVenture programs that you have become accustomed to enjoying at the
convention each and every year.

VAA is about participation:
Be a member! Be a volunteer!
Be there!
Do yourself a favor and ask a
friend to join up with us.
Let’s all pull in the same direction for the overall good of aviation.
Remember, we are better together. Join us and have it all.
Come share the passion!
Hope to see you at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the 60th annual celebration of flight — July 23 through
July 29, 2012.

2 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 4

5/1/12 1:57 PM

EAA, AOPA Request Exemption to
Third-Class Medical Requirements
Your time to comment is now!
On March 20, 2012, the longawaited exemption request regarding third-class medical certificates
was formally submitted by EAA and
AOPA. The reaction to this request
has already been strong and positive.
More importantly, now is the time
for you to forward your comments to
the FAA on the proposal.
EAA and AOPA submitted the proposal jointly because the exemption,
if granted, would increase the level of
safety and significantly reduce a substantial economic and regulatory burden for those who fly recreationally.
The organizations are asking the FAA
for an exemption to the current regulation that requires all pilots hold at least
a third-class medical certificate to exercise the privileges of a private or recreational pilot certificate. The exemption
request would give pilots who fly recreationally the option of either retaining
a third-class medical or, instead, participating in a recurrent online education
program that will teach them how to
self-assess their fitness to fly.
The aeromedical education prog r a m w o u l d e x c e e d t h e FA A’s
currently mandated training. Participating pilots would be required to
hold a valid driver’s license and conduct a meaningful self-assessment
prior to each flight. The self-assessment required in the exemption will
be similar to what pilots do now between AME visits, except pilots will
have a higher level of knowledge for
the self-assessment after completing
the required education program.
The requested exemption would
help to mitigate the increased risk inherent in transitioning to unfamiliar
and sometimes distinctly different
aircraft, which is the only alternative
currently available to the FAA’s thirdclass medical.
The complete exemption request
is now posted and open for public

comments; visit www.SportAviation.
org for a link to the docket. EAA and
AOPA also have created a guide for
commenting on the proposal, which
is also available at www.SportAviation.
org. Don’t wait—let the FAA know
that you support this important exemption request!

Friends of the Red Barn
Before we nailed down the details
of this year’s Friends of the Red Barn
campaign, we asked each of last year’s
contributors for their ideas on what
they wished for when it came to events
or ways for us to express our appreciation for their valued contributions.
As you would expect with a program
that has more than 125 participants,
for each person who said we could do
away with something, someone else
said we should be sure to keep it!
Consequently, the only change at
this time is that we are including an
opt-out provision for the name badge
for those who don’t want to receive it.
Another request that came in as
a benefit of being a middle to high
level donor would be the option
for close-up “seating” (really, closeup standing) for the Monday night/
opening night concert. This year it’s
the Steve Miller Band.
We checked, and we are able, this
year, to get a few sets of tickets for
the close-up location! So on Thursday, July 12, we’ll do a random
drawing here in our office from all
donors at the Silver Level or above
(if we did it below that level, the IRS
wouldn’t allow for much or anything in the way of a tax benefit to
those below a Silver). We will notify
the winners shortly afterward. Winners must pick up their tickets at the
Red Barn on the pre-Sunday or Monday of AirVenture.
There’s still plenty of time to get
your donation in; you can use the
form available on our website at www., the form published
in the March issue of Vintage Airplane,

or the form sent to you via mail if you
were a donor over the past few years.

VAA Lifetime Memberships
We know that many VAA members are EAA lifetime members. Did
you know you can also be a lifetime
VAA member? If you’re looking for a
way to show your commitment to the
mission and activities of the Vintage
Aircraft Association, a lifetime membership is a great way to do it. For most
of us, being an aviator or aviation enthusiast is a lifetime avocation or profession, and if vintage aircraft are a
big part of your way of life, consider
joining VAA as a lifetime member. For
more information, contact VAA headquarters at 920-426-6110 or online at

VAA’s 40th Year
Among all the celebrations surrounding the 75th anniversary of the Piper
Cub and activities that will take place
during EAA AirVenture, we have another milestone to celebrate. This year’s
convention will mark the 40th year
since the founding of this EAA division
in the fall of 1971. Since then we’ve become one of the highlighted areas of the
EAA convention. We look forward to the
next 40 as well, and to seeing as many of
you as possible during this year’s convention as we continue to work together
to “keep ’em flying!”

75th Anniversary of the Piper J-3 Cub
Cubs 2 Oshkosh
There’s plenty of great planning taking place in both Hartford, Wisconsin,
the home of the Cub Club, and here
in Oshkosh, as we all look forward to
celebrating the 75th birthday of one of
aviation’s great icons, the J-3 Cub.
If you’re planning on attending,
we hope you’ve taken a few minutes
to check out the website at www. That’s a great
place to start, with information on
flying into the event and links to
the celebration.


Vintage May2012.indd 5

5/1/12 2:19 PM


Espie “Butch” Joyce

P AST PRESIDENT OF THE V INTAGE Aircraft Association, and director
emeritus of EAA, Butch Joyce, of
Madison, North Carolina, passed
away Sunday, March 25, 2012.
He was 68.
B u t c h J o y c e ’s f i r s t l o g b o o k
entry for a half-hour of dual instruction at age 10 in a J-3 Cub
was made on September 9, 1954,
but his roots in aviation go all
the way back to his birth. His
father, Espie Sr., was a pilot and
owned a variety of aircraft when
his son was growing up next to
the local airport near Mayodan,
North Carolina. In fact, as a little
boy, Butch’s propensity to hop
into any airplane in which a ride
was offered earned him a firm
“discussion” with his mother,
L e n a , w h o d i d n ’t q u i t e a g r e e
with Butch’s trusting nature in
that regard!
While in college and serving in
the Army (where he served with
the elite Special Forces “Green
Berets”), he built a Pitts Special biplane and became an EAA
member, serving as EAA Chapter
8’s president during the 1960s.
Later in that decade, Butch became involved with an aircraft
group whose primar y interest
was older airplanes. That group,
now VAA Chapter 3, rekindled
his love for antique and classic
aircraft, and he would go on to
own and fly a Staggerwing Beech,
Monocoupe, UPF-7, Clipped


November 1990—Butch in front of
one of his favorite aircraft, a Monocoupe, at EAA’s Pioneer Airport.

Wing Cub, and a Model 35 Bonanza, among others. Over the
years he served as president of
EAA Chapter 8 and VAA Chapter
3. He started his service to the
national membership in 1981,
when he was appointed to the
Antique/Classic Board as an advisor. Butch began the Type Club
tent in 1982. He was elected
president in 1988, and he held
that position until 2004, a span
of 16 years. During that time he
also served as the chairman of
VAA’s activities during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Butch said he
was most proud of the fact that

in 1991, in cooperation with the
Aviation Unlimited Agency, he
initiated the creation of the VAA
Aircraft Insurance program.
During his years as VAA president, Butch also served on the
EAA board, and he was presented
with the EAA President’s Award
in 2004.
After stepping down as VAA
president in 2004, Butch was
elected to continue to serve on
the VAA board, providing his
counsel and guidance to his fell o w b o a r d m e m b e r s a n d VA A
Of course, for many of us,
B u t c h w a s f a r m o r e . M e n t o r,
friend, and confidant, Butch
was one of our most enthusiastic members and officers, and we
will miss his wise counsel and
gentle but firm guidance.
Butch’s funeral service took
place on Friday, March 30, in
Mayodan, North Carolina. If you
wish to remember Butch with a
donation, the family asks that you
consider a donation in Butch’s
name to the EAA Vintage Aircraft
Association, P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI, 54903, and/or Hosp i c e o f R o c k i n g h a m C o u n t y,
P.O. Box 281, Wentworth, NC
27375 www.HospiceOfRockingham
Our thoughts are with his wife,
Norma, and his children, and we
ask that you keep them in your
prayers and thoughts as well.

4 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 6

5/1/12 1:58 PM

5,000 Breakfasts
a Year and Growing
Fulfilling a member-requested need




hat began as a VAA service to AirVenture attendees has grown to serve
thousands,” according to Tall Pines
Café Chairman Steve Nesse. “The Tall
Pines Café, launched in 2002, came about as a result of requests from AirVenture attendees. There was no food service available to attendees camping near their airplanes
parked at the south end of Wittman Field,” he added.
Continuously looking for more and better ways to
serve the VAA members, the VAA board of directors
(BOD), at the urging of board member Steve Nesse,
agreed to establish a temporary food service facility near
the south end of the EAA grounds.
“Back in 2001, we surveyed a number of attendees who were camping near their airplanes in what is
known as the South 40. By far the biggest request was
for some form of food service at a reasonable price in
that area,” Steve commented.
Armed with that information, Steve prepared a business plan and made a presentation to the VAA board
of directors at its fall 2001 meeting. The presentation
covered establishing a temporary kitchen and seating
area to serve breakfast to attendees throughout the
weeklong event. The BOD unanimously approved the
plan with one caveat: No VAA dues money was to be
expended on this venture. Steve accepted the challenge and immediately went to work.
The VAA Tall Pines Café, located just south of the
Ultralight area on the EAA grounds, became a reality beginning with the 2002 EAA AirVenture. Staffed entirely
by volunteers and completely funded through donations, this idea soon became reality and was ready to
serve breakfast to any and all 2002 AirVenture attendees.
“The first year or two the café looked like a small
tent city, similar to that found in the old West of the
1880s. Both the kitchen and seating area consisted of
two large white tents,” stated Steve, adding, “advertising consisted of a small sandwich board sign in front
of the tent and word of mouth. Approximately 1,500
breakfast meals were served that first year.”
Kitchen equipment and appliances for the first year
of operation came about through Steve’s tireless effort
contacting various EAA/VAA chapters. Many of these
chapters lent the needed equipment to make the kitchen
a reality. Steve, along with a couple of dedicated volun-

Volunteer Dave Resler cooks scrambled eggs for the
hungry early morning crowd at AirVenture 2011.
teers, spent many weekends in the cab of his truck toting
kitchen equipment to Oshkosh from a four-state area.
After two years of operation, the Tall Pines Café was
deemed a success and renewed effort was put forth to
make the operation more permanent. EAA management
approved building a permanent structure to house the
kitchen. Again Steve went to work and gathered the needed
donations for building materials. A volunteer building
crew was assembled, and the kitchen became a reality.
Steve turned to board member Bob Lumley for help
acquiring the needed kitchen equipment for permanent
installation. Bob, a vice president of a commercial construction business specializing in the construction and
repurposing of retail and commercial buildings, was
able to locate a portion of the needed equipment for the
continued on the page 40


Vintage May2012.indd 7

5/1/12 1:58 PM

VAA’s EAA AirVenture

Art Morgan
Behind the Scenes Volunteer
of the Year 2011

Dale Masters

Pat Blake

Dale Masters, right, is congratulated by VAA
Flightline Safety co-chairman Michael Kosta
upon being selected as the Art Morgan Flightline Volunteer of the Year during AirVenture 2011.
Dale has been volunteering for the Vintage
Aircraft Association for 13 years and comes to
us from Cicero, New York. He started attending AirVenture about 15 years ago and decided
that he wanted to spend all of his time with
the older planes. He loved their classic beauty
and their lines, the engineering that went into
them, and the history they created.
Dale has been parking airplanes and also
runs “the point” (a critical aircraft taxiing spot
for vintage airplanes on the Papa taxiway) during the week. He enjoys meeting interesting
people from all over the world and enjoys the
interaction with the other volunteers. Working with the other volunteers is great because
they all want to be there and enjoy the people
and airplanes as well!
Dale and his wife, Nan, drive every year
from New York, and Nan also volunteers in the
first aid building at Camp Scholler.
When asked about his most memorable moment on the line, Dale replied, “I would have
to say when Jack Roush ‘parked’ his Beechcraft
Premier I right in front of me.”



Art Morgan
Flightline Volunteer
of the Year 2011

Pat Blake

Pat Blake, wife, mother, registered nurse,
and VAA volunteer, was the VAA’s 2011 Behind
the Scenes Volunteer. Attending her first EAA
convention in 1985, for much of the last 18
years she was the ultimate behind-the-scenesvolunteer-of-the-year as mom to the Blakes’
two boys, allowing Dad to volunteer full-time.
When the boys grew old enough to join the
ranks of volunteers, Pat went to work for the
VAA’s Operation Thirst, providing drinks and
snacks to volunteers. In 2008 she became
manager of the day-to-day operation. Other
responsibilities include organizing the annual
chicken dinner for volunteers, organizing the
nighttime air show supper, and serving as the
unofficial social director for the VAA’s chairs.
Pat never thinks of this as work, but rather as
an honored privilege for her Vintage family.
Pat is a joy to work with, and her lovely
smile (along with the cool drinks and snacks),
brightens our day when she and her wonderful
helpers cruise down the flightline!

6 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 8

5/1/12 1:59 PM

The Tale of an


Swiss de Havilland DH-60G Gipsy Moth
HB-AFO still going strong

Vintage May2012.indd 9

5/1/12 1:59 PM


or almost 70 years, de
Havilland’s DH-82 Tiger
Moth biplane family has
gained its well-deserved
place in the aviation
world’s “hall of fame” as a dedicated
World War II pilot training aircraft
for countless numbers of Allied aviators. In the postwar years, the Moth
soon became obsolete as a military pilot training asset. But this de
Havilland Moth family descendant
quickly gained international success
around the globe as a leisure aircraft,

due to its low price, easy maintainability, and abundance of airframes,
spare parts, and engines. Lesser
known by many biplane owners
and aviation enthusiasts around the
world is DH-82’s predecessor, the de
Havilland DH-60 Gipsy Moth, developed in the early ’30s as elementary (military and civilian) training
aircraft. With various examples of
the DH-82 Tiger Moth still flying
nowadays in almost all western European nations, the population of
“active” DH-60 Gipsy Moths is far

more numerous. One of the key representatives of this majestic Gipsy
in Europe is Switzerland-based DH60G HB-AFO, nowadays based at
the rural airstrip of Biel-Kappelen in
western Switzerland.

Gipsy Moth Survivor
de Havilland DH-60G Gipsy I
Moth c/n 1878 was constructed at
DH’s facility at Stag Lane Airport in
Edgeware (Middlesex, United Kingdom) in 1931. Its Certificate of Air-

8 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 10

5/1/12 2:00 PM

All external control cables are inspected visually during the preflight walk-around and inspected in detail during periodic 50hour inspections.

Flown by the pilot from the back seat, the front seat cockpit is deprived from all flying instruments but still retains the control stick.

DH-60G HB-AFO is now owned by
Willy Kampfer, a retired Swissair B747
captain. As a teenager, Willy serviced
the aircraft in 1960 as an aircraft
mechanic apprentice.


Vintage May2012.indd 11

5/1/12 2:00 PM

The Segelfluggruppe Oberaargau used the DH-60G HB-AFO as a towing tug for its gliders. In 1961, the aircraft was
grounded and stored in a garage, its registration canceled and its future highly uncertain.

Moth HB-AFO is based nowadays at Biel-Kappelen aerodrome in northwestern Switzerland near the well-known Lac
de Bienne.

10 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 12

5/1/12 2:00 PM

Its initial
flying career
in Switzerland
proved to
be rather
disastrous. . .

The Gipsy I engine is fed by simple gravity from the overhead fuel
tank built in between the two upper wings above the front seat,
containing 19 gallons (i.e. 86 liters).

worthiness Nr. 3231 was issued by the British
Air Ministry on October 16, 1931. Registered
CH-325 some two weeks later, the aircraft
was based at Dubendorf aerodrome, east of
Zurich. Its initial flying career in Switzerland
proved to be rather disastrous, being badly
damaged while attempting an emergency
landing in 1932, as it hit trees in the landing
pattern. Almost immediately after having
been repaired in 1933 the aircraft hit power
cables and was grounded. DH-60G CH-325
was one of 10 Gipsy Moths to be entered
in the Swiss civilian registers since the aircraft was popular with various sections of
the Aeroclub de Suisse, scattered around the
various Swiss aerodromes all over the country. Used for initial pilot training, the Swiss
Gipsy Moth armada was frequently hit by accidents, enforcing frequent rebuilds and cannibalization of crashed aircraft.
After storage for almost five years, CH-325,
becoming HB-AFO after a reorganization of
the Swiss civilian register, was repaired at
the Fliegerlager Grenchen (southwest of Basel) and sold to the Aeroclub of Suisse section at the nearby Langenthal aerodrome.
This Segelfluggruppe Oberaargau used the
DH-60G as a towing tug for its gliders, unfortunately not without any accidents. And finally, in 1961, the aircraft was grounded and
stored in a garage, its registration canceled
and its future highly uncertain. Some three
decades later, in 1992, British architect Chris
Tucker, living in Switzerland, purchased the
airframe and started an in-depth restoration
of the worn-out Gipsy Moth. Assisted by
the Airla Flugzeug Service overhaul/maintenance company at Langenthal-Bleienbach

A vintage cockpit as it should be; no digital instruments (save for
the small one in the corner), just the old-school analog displays
and switches.

. . . British architect
Chris Tucker, living in
Switzerland, purchased
the airframe and started
an in-depth restoration
of the worn-out
Gipsy Moth.

Vintage May2012.indd 13

5/1/12 2:05 PM

aerodrome, the aircraft was restored
to pristine and airworthy condition
in 2003. The “newborn” HB-AFO,
wearing striking marine-blue and
silver colors, made its maiden flight
on December 17, 2003, at the same
time commemorating a century
of powered flight by the Wright
brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, exactly 100 years earlier. The
de Havilland Gipsy I engine with
four upright cylinders and a 5-liter
total displacement provides 85 hp.
Built as well in 1931, the engine
was completely restored to zero
hours in 1997. Consuming around
30 liters per flight hour (about 8
gph), it offers its pilot a range of
300 kilometers! The Gipsy I engine is “fed” by simple gravity from
the overhead fuel tank built in between the two upper wings above
the front seat, containing 19 gallons (86 liters).

Change of Ownership
On April 27, 2007, the aircraft
was sold by Chris Tucker to its present owner, Willy Kampfer, a retired
and very experienced Swissair B747
captain and a lifelong DH Gipsy fanatic. Although his purchase of his
own de Havilland was his first, Willy’s connection and affection for
HB-AFO started well before: In the
early ’60s, when he was a 17-yearold mechanic apprentice under the
supervision of a licensed aircraft
mechanic at Langenthal. He was
responsible for the servicing of this

biplane. During a simulated takeoff run in September 1960 on the
empty Langenthal aerodrome, he
revved the engine too high and
HB-AFO unintentionally became
airborne. Fortunately, he was able
to correctly put the aircraft down
within seconds, and Willy discovered his love for flying. He started
lessons in 1964 at the age of 24, beginning his airline flying career by
entering the Schweizerische Luftverkehrsschule Hausen am Albis,
south of Zurich. Initial flight training was instructed on the Bucker
Jungmann and Jungmeister (for
aerobatics) taildraggers, giving him
the tailwheel experience needed
decades later to master the DH-60G
Gipsy Moth. Having successfully
completed initial training, all students were instructed on the Piaggio P-149 and DC-3, also used for
instrument rating. Finally Willy
started his Swissair flying career in
December 1965, flying as a copilot on a piston-engined Convair
Metropolitan with 44 passengers
from Zurich to Geneva. His last
line flight as a captain of B747-300
HB-IGE was flown to Boston-Logan
airport as SR126, carrying around
250 passengers. The SR127 BostonZurich return leg was his farewell
flight, marking the end of a long
commercial airline pilot career on
December 28/29, 1996.
His first post-rebuilt flight on the
HB-AFO was nearly as eventful as
his 1960 experience; while transfer-

ring the airplane to its new home
base, good weather conditions in
Langenthal (altitude 480 meters)
were prevailing with a light easterly
wind, temperature minus 5ºC, and
the grass runway surface frozen. After three flights with landings in
Langenthal and a final adjustment
of the carburetor, he then transferred the plane to Motiers (altitude
732 meters) in the Val-de-Travers
near Neuchatel—only to find the
local airfield covered by a layer
of 10 inches of powder snow. Although the landing was uneventful, the pilot was almost frozen!
With a landing and takeoff run
of some 120 meters, the aircraft is
easy to fly and has no documented
wind speed limitations. However,
Willy Kampfer selected 25 knots
in runway direction and 10 knots
crosswind as his personal limits
while flying HB-AFO. The leading
edge slats, mounted on the upper
wing, deploy by aerodynamic force
around 55 mph (88 kilometers/
hour) by floating softly from retracted to fully deployed position,
and vice versa.
The aircraft has flown some 1,300
hours, including 67 post-restoration hours in the aircraft’s second
life. Hampered by the small range
of the aircraft, HB-AFO is until now
very rarely seen outside Switzerland.
However, Willy is hoping to show
the marine-blue Gipsy Moth to aviation enthusiasts around Western Europe in the near future.

12 MAY 2012
Vintage May2012.indd 14

5/1/12 2:05 PM

Spinning Lamp
Illuminated images spin around in the cylinder. Approximately
8.5 inches high.


Aeronautical Jacket
Perfect for men and women to wear depicting a
sectional chart. Simply tuck this light weight jacket
in the airplane and you are ready for any weather.


Vintage Journal
Lined journal is great for making lists, planning, reminiscing
about flight travels, etc. 7.5 x 9 with 100 pages.


Travel Mugs
Vacation, here we come! These
mugs have a wonderful soft
texture, smooth, but not slippery. Curved in at the middle for
a good grip.
52661139000031 Orange
5266139000020 Red

Telephone Orders: 800-843-3612
From US and Canada (All Others Call 920-426-5912)
*Shipping and handling NOT included. Major credit cards accepted. WI residents add 5% sales tax.

Vintage May2012.indd 15

5/1/12 2:06 PM

John Underwood
2011 VAA Hall of Fame inductee


John W. Underwood of
Glendale, California, was
honored in last fall’s VAA
Hall of Fame induction
ceremonies, which took
place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in the Founders’
Wing of the EAA AirVenture Museum.
Author of a dozen aviation books (including Of
Monocoupes and Men, The
Stinsons, and Acrobats in
the Sky, among the dozen)
and numerous articles
concerning aviation history, John has had a lifelong fascination with
airplanes since he was a
little boy of 7. His life has
been immersed in aviation ever since. In 1949
he learned to fly at the famous Glendale School of
Aeronautics as he worked

for Grand Central Aircraft. His working days
there were filled with refurbishing surplus World
Wa r I I a i rc r a f t i n c l u d ing P-51s, Curtiss-Wright
C-46 Commandos, and
B-25 Mitchell bombers.
Later, as an aviation
technical writer and illustrator, he continued to
earn a living in the industry, all the while amassing
a vast collection of photographs and aeronautical
materials. His work in the
center of one of aviation’s
most active locations, the
Los Angeles basin, saw
him working for Lockheed, being friends with
famed Lockheed test pilot
Tony LeVier (with whom
John worked on the restoration of a Velie Mono-

A lifelong affair with aviation was rooted deeply
in John’s childhood, starting with model aircraft,
including this rubber-powered pair, a Monocoupe and
Art Chester’s Goon racer.
14 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 16

5/1/12 2:53 PM

A longtime friend was noted lightplane and glider
designer Volmer Jensen. John is enjoying a flight
with Jensen’s Sun Fun glider, a hang glider designed
by Jensen based on decades of lightweight glider
experience. Its rigid structure and predictable
aerodynamic responses made it a favorite amongst
rigid-wing glider enthusiasts.

coupe), air racing and test pilot Gordon Israel, pilot/
designer Alden Brown (creator of the Brown racer),
and even Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan.
John’s dedication to “getting history right” often
sees him lending materials and photos to other authors so more people can be made aware of exactly
what happened when. His longtime help to us personally here at VAA HQ has been invaluable for both
our editorial work and for our members, who are often the beneficiary of his knowledge and aeronautical collection.
VAA is pleased to include him in its Hall of Fame,
honoring his contributions to the modern-day efforts to keep the world of vintage aircraft alive and
vibrant through his writings and research.

John Underwood, left, shares a moment with test
pilots Gen. Chuck Yeager (center) and Tony LeVier.

Skeeter Carlson’s clear Mylar-covered Curtiss Jenny was
a delight for John to experience.


Vintage May2012.indd 17

5/1/12 2:07 PM

Light Plane Heritage
published in EAA Experimenter JUNE 1993





EAA 1235

o make use of the long, level
landing areas provided by
nature in the form of lakes,
rivers, and bays, a few pioneer aviators replaced the wheels of
their primitive airplanes with floats to
create seaplanes.
As time went by, the number of
airports increased. While flying over
them, seaplane pilots found themselves
wishing they could land there to rest,
eat, phone ahead for weather information, and buy gasoline.
Obviously, then, what they really
needed was an airplane that could operate from either land or water. They
remembered that back in 1911, Glenn
H. Curtiss left the wheels on one of his
pusher biplanes, attached a float under
its amidship area, and created the very
first crude amphibian. Since the wheels
were not retractable, we have to guess
that the slim bike tires on those wheels
cut through the water and let the plane
take off from and on water. After all, it
was quite light and slow—like a modern ultralight. It is reasonable to assume
that water flow caused the wheels to
start rotating, which could have further
reduced resistance.
In 1913 the Englishman Thomas
O.M. Sopwith built and flew his “Bat
Boat,” the first true amphibian by reason of having wheels that could be
retracted for water operations. While
much work was done during World War



Editor’s Note: The Light Plane Heritage series in EAA’s Experimenter magazine often touched on aircraft and concepts
related to vintage aircraft and their history. Since many of our members have not had the opportunity to read this
series, we plan on publishing those LPH articles that would be of interest to VAA members. Enjoy!—HGF

16 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 18

5/1/12 2:07 PM


Experimental Commonwealth Trimmer of late 1940s
retracted wheels into neat hull-mounted streamline
I with flying boats and seaplanes,
apparently the armed forces in that
conflict could find little military use
for amphibians.
When peace returned, aviation
people began work on airplanes
suited to private and commercial flying. This included amphibians. That
word comes from the Greek amphibious meaning “to live a double life.”
In the early 1930s the spelling amphibion became popular (particularly
by Sikorsky), but with the passage of
time amphibian has come to be the
accepted form.
A vast amount of effort has gone
into developing this type of aircraft,
as you will come to realize as you
read this article and study the illustrations. Only in the amphibian
field has such a great variety of configurations been devised, all in an
effort to make acceptable compromises between inherent handicaps
and demanding requirements. Not
infrequently, Catch-22 situations are
Here’s an example. Because a
hull’s bottom must withstand the
considerable pressures created by
clipping wavetops at high speed on
takeoff and coming down on water
at the rate of sink typical of coming in for a landing, it must be quite
sturdy. But because an amphibian’s
hull bottom is likely to be somewhat wider than that of a seaplane
float, areas, and thus bending loads
on structural members, are greater
and up goes the airframe’s weight.
Either intentionally or in an emer-

As you can see from this Grumman Widgeon, tip floats
must be positioned neither too high nor too low.

gency, a seaplane or amphibian will
someday come down on grass, mud,
snow, ice, or whatever, so the keel
or keels must be amply strong. And
that’s a weight no landplane has to
carry around.
A practical amphibian must have
a retractable landing gear, which is
bound to be heavier than a nonretractable one. With a simple retractable gear, the wheels will remain out
in the airstream and create drag. For
stability on the water, a single-hull
flying boat or amphibian must have
steadying floats mounted somewhere out on its wings. These may
look small enough, but along with
their supporting struts they add
weight and frontal area not found
on landplanes.
Because of its considerable diameter, an air propeller is a problem to
locate on any airplane and in particular on an amphibian, where its tips
must clear some part or another of
the hull due to engine location. Because striking spray can quickly and
seriously damage fast-moving blade
leading edges, a propeller should, as
far as is feasible, be located where the
hull and wing will offer maximum
shielding from spray. This usually
results in a high-mounted engine,
which causes propeller thrust to create a strong nosing-down force. A
common way of coping with this
is to set the stabilizer at a negative
angle of incidence to create a counterbalancing download on the tail.
Since a tail download has the invisible but very much present effect of

adding to the overall load which the
wing must support, it adds to an amphibian’s actual flying weight. The
necessary extra lift adds to drag and
burns fuel.
Sometimes engines are mounted
so that the thrust line is tilted downward. In cruising flight the propeller
blast thus strikes the upper side of
the stabilizer so as to create a download. When the engine is throttled
back, both thrust and download
are decreased. It is characteristic of
amphibians that when their landing gears are lowered, their centers
of drag move even farther below
their thrust lines than when in level
flight. Study the large trim tabs on
the horizontal tail of the next Lake
amphibian you see, for one example
of how a designer coped with this
change-of-trim problem.
Fuselage frontal area has a direct
effect on any plane’s drag, as we come
to fully appreciate when viewing the
slim in-line engines, very narrow fuselages, and reclining pilot positions
typical of racing planes. But, an amphibian hull must be wide enough
to afford adequate buoyancy when
at rest in the water and dynamic lift
when planing along swiftly during
a takeoff run. So amphibians tend to
have broad, high hulls offering a lot
of frontal area.
It would be hard to mount an engine in the nose of an amphibian,
although we have to acknowledge
that it can be done, as is shown by
the Loening and Grumman amphibians that were built for the Army and


Vintage May2012.indd 19

5/1/12 2:07 PM


Figure 1. In 1930 designer S.S. Rabl sketched these proposed waterplanes for the old Modern Mechanics
magazine. Surprisingly, the twin-float seaplane turned out to be the lightest.
Navy. But in most civilian amphibians, the engines are mounted in nacelles atop the hulls, which of course
adds frontal area not seen in landplanes. It’s worth noting that because
of their nose-mounted engines and
lack of wingtip floats, overall frontal
area of twin-float seaplanes is usually
less than in most amphibs.
Another way to reduce frontal
area is to install the engine down inside the hull and use a chain, belt, or
shaft drive up to the propeller. The
Spencer-Larsen of 1938 had 125/150
hp, straight-four, air-cooled Menasco
engine in the hull aft of the passenger area. A shaft went up to a gearbox ahead of the pusher propeller.
These types of drive offer an opportunity to incorporate whatever reduction ratio might be felt desirable.
Gears and their related bearings

and housings require quality design
and manufacture if they are to be dependable. Chain drives can be noisy,
can present lubrication problems,
and can break suddenly. Long chain
and belt drives can experience flapping and vibration problems. An
engine in the hull just ahead of the
seating area can tear loose and fly
forward in a crash. Because gasoline
vapor is heavier than air, it collects
in the bilges of any enclosed hull
and creates a serious explosion hazard. The Coast Guard has elaborate
regulations for boat engine compartment ventilation, fuel, and electrical system details to cope with this
Locating the engine down in
the hull can interfere with passenger or baggage space. Yet it significantly lowers the center of gravity.

Shown above and in the opening photo of this article is the newest
amphibian design in the lightplane world. Introduced at Sun ’n Fun ’93,
the SeaRey was designed by Kerry Richter and Paige Lynnete.

The propeller shaft supporting structure for a shaft or belt drive must
be sturdy to cope with forces generated by the propeller, and may
therefore be heavy or create air resistance. Because of their long noses
and obstruction-free bottoms, amphibians as a class resist nosing over
and suffer minimal damage in forced
It’s fun to daydream about amphibians and make sketches of imaginative designs, but successful ones
are the result of able calculation of
the loads, weights, and forces involved. In 1930 a meaty little magazine called Modern Mechanics was
being published in Minneapolis. It
later moved to New York, became
Mechanix Illustrated, and finally,
Home Mechanix (which ceased publication as a stand-alone publication in
1996—HGF). The editor got the idea
of printing plans for a single-seat flying boat to be powered by a vee-twin
motorcycle engine in the 15- to 17hp category. His reasoning was that
such engines were then cheap and
readily available, and that a flying
boat operated from miles-long lakes
would be feasible, despite long takeoff runs and slow rate of climb.
He put this idea up to Sam S. Rabl,
a well-known naval architect who
also had aeronautical experience.
Rabl sketched and did calculations
for the three possible layouts shown
in Figure 1. The first was a monoplane flying boat having a long,
upswept aft end to support the tail.
Where two seaplane floats have four
side panels to a flying boat hull’s
two, he initially thought this design
would be lightest.
But this hull would require a
broad, strong bottom to handle wa-

18 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 20

5/1/12 2:08 PM

The 525-hp Fokker F-11 of 1928,
right, had wheels mounted at outboard ends of swing-up sponsons.

The Spencer-Larsen amphib of
1938 had a Menasco engine in hull,
shaft and gear drive to propeller.
Tip floats and landing gear combined in swing-up units. Tapered
steps reduced air drag but were
laborious to make.

This sketch shows ease with which
twin-float seaplane can approach
a dock.

The 1933 Seversky (ancestor of the
Republic P-47) had twin floats that
pivoted up to bring tail wheel into
use for runway landings.

ter loads, would need two wingtip
floats, and the afterbody would have
to be strong and thus heavy to absorb twisting loads created by the
rudder. This design went too far over
the agreed-upon 500-pound maximum weight. Also it was feared that
in a crash, the high-mounted engine
would pivot down onto the pilot.
Furthermore, Rabl calculated
that to trim this plane against the
high thrust line, a download of 27
pounds would be required on the
stabilizer. Setting it at the necessary negative angle would then create a strong nosing-up tendency in
power-off flight.
A sesquiplane having its tail
mounted on two booms was then
evaluated. One would think that
the favorable bracing angles seen in
the boom layout would produce a
strong yet light structure. But calculations showed that to get necessary strength with the materials and
methods feasible for homebuilders
of 1930, this layout would be even
heavier. A contributing factor was
the many steel fittings needed to tie
things together.
Then a low-wing, twin-float seaplane was investigated. In it, all major loads such as engine mount, float
strut attachments, wing, fuselage,
and pilot seat were concentrated in a
small area, and so a light but strong
structure resulted. This ship figured

out to be acceptably light, so out the
window went the editor’s flying boat
dream ship.
Up until the early 1930s most amphibians were biplanes, and not just
because that light and strong type
was then popular. A study of photographs of them shows us that the
biplane truss made it possible to position the lower wings at the tops of
the hulls. This had the happy result
of putting all of the streamlined tie
rods and struts well above water level.
But because of the many wing parts
needed, biplanes were expensive to
manufacture. Their high-mounted
top wings raised an amphibian’s center of gravity and added a lot of wind
in crosswind operations.
The deepening depression in 1930
caused designers of all sorts of planes
to look to the cheaper-to-build monoplane. In amphibians having externally braced monoplane wings, tie
rods or struts had to run from the undersides of the wings to attachment
fittings well down near the waterline.
That was not good. The lower ends
of struts and tie rods were liable to
ordinary corrosion, or in salt or polluted water, to galvanic corrosion.
Constant hosing-off, inspection, and
maintenance were vital. Also, lowriding rods and struts could easily
clip driftwood or small buoys.
Seaplane designers calculate the
displacement of hulls and thus de-

termine where the waterlines will
be. The need to make certain that
rod and strut terminals will sit an acceptable distance above the water
is an example of the importance of
such calculation work.
FAA requirements for type certification of amphibians and flying boats under 12,500 pounds
state that wingtip floats must have
a righting moment of at least 1.5
times the upsetting moment caused
by the aircraft being tilted by any
overturning force that can reasonably be expected to act upon such
an aircraft. Since a crosswind should
have less tendency to overturn a
monoplane than a top-heavy biplane, some weight and frontal area
can presumably be saved by choosing the monoplane and building
smaller tip floats.
The higher a wing is positioned,
the longer must be the struts which
support tip floats, and they will thus
weigh more and have more drag.
The 45-foot span of the Loening
OL-8 Navy amphibian positioned
the tip floats so far outboard that no
struts were needed. The squat hull of
the Privateer P-2 carried this monoplane’s wing so low that again no
float struts were needed. Today’s
Lake amphibian has similar strutless
floats and uses them as fuel tanks. If
tip floats ride too far above the water
when an amphibian is floating level,


Vintage May2012.indd 21

5/1/12 2:08 PM

Above left – The Argonaut of 1935 used a straight-four
Menasco to minimize frontal area. Not so accessible for
maintenance, though. Above right – Curtiss-Wright built
a few LeBlond-powered amphibs based on the “Junior”
parts. The engine here is reasonably accessible for servicing. Right—Keystone-Loening Commuter of 1929 was
powered by a 300-hp Wright engine. Note the opened
hatch to the front of the windshield that presumably
acted as propeller guard when docking. Note, too, how
high the propeller thrust line is in relation to the ship’s
center of drag.
they will allow it to tilt objectionably to one side and then the other
as it taxis or swings at a mooring. If
too close to the water, the low one
can clip a wave top, and that’s not
good when moving fast. Study the illustrations and notice how tip floats
are rigged at an appreciable angle of
incidence. This is to minimize the
chance of digging into a wave when
moving fast.
One reason many amphibian designers favored the biplane configuration is that the wingspan can be
comparatively short, as in the Keystone Loening Commuter. This is
useful not just in hangars but also
when taxiing through crowded
yacht mooring basins and approaching docks.
A twin-float seaplane can slide up
alongside a low-lying dock easily, but
as the photo of the Boeing B-1 flying
boat illustrates, wingtip floats have
an inherent docking problem. New
pilots get coaching in such matters
from experienced ones when checking out in amphibians.
We can’t go into detail here but
can point out that a common procedure is to taxi straight toward a dock,
shut off the engine at an appropriate time, open the foredeck hatch,
hop out onto the dock, turn around
to strong-arm the amphib’s contact

with the dock, and then run mooring lines from port and starboard
tip floats to the dock. The ability to
go forward easily and quickly is the
hallmark of a well-designed amphibian. When approaching a dock going straight into the wind, things
can go nicely. But when there’s a
strong tail wind or appreciable river
cross-current, things can get frantic.
At some docks there will be willing and very welcome helpers, but at
unattended docks, amphibian pilots
are on their own.
Some amphibs have tractor propellers; others have pushers. Baffles
on air-cooled cylinders didn’t become common on smaller engines
until around the mid-1930s, so
many earlier designers favored the
tractor layout for the sake of getting
the strongest possible prop wash
over the cooling fins. Some amphibs have used four-bladed props
to blow or suck cooling air past the
cylinders as well as possible, short of
going into the complexity and expense of special blowers. Those who
favor the tractor layout claim less
disturbed airflow into the propeller.
Some pusher installations have had
vexing problems with turbulent or
inadequate airflow into their props.
A forgotten reason why tractor props won out over pushers on

World War I landplanes was that
it’s easy for mechanics to stand in
front of nose-mounted engines and
props to start the engines by pulling through the props. While the
many struts and brace wires adjacent
to the prop of a pusher could prevent the unwary from walking into
a whirling prop, they also made it
hard for mechanics to step quickly
away after propping a pusher engine
to life. To be truly practical, any amphib should be powered by an engine that can be fitted with a starter
that is both convenient and reliable.
A pusher propeller on an open
cockpit amphib can be seriously
damaged by almost anything that
the airstream might blow out of the
cockpit. When either a pusher or
tractor prop is too close to an open
cockpit, occupants can lose fingers
when they point to something without thinking of the nearness of the
whirling blades. On tractors, forward hatches can be designed to
ward people away from the propeller
when they emerge from the hatch,
as on the Keystone-Loening Commuter. But we want to ask ourselves
what might happen if the hatch
blew open while in flight, or a hot
spot in a cylinder caused a shutdown engine to unexpectedly kick
back. The tractor-versus-pusher de-

20 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 22

5/1/12 2:08 PM

Above—Simple, economical Privateer P-2 of 1930 had
110-hp Warner. Note prominent down-tilt to the trust
line and short distance between main and tail wheels—
made for skittishness on runways. Above right – Tri-gear
Curtiss-Wright/Courtney amphibian solved the short
wheel-based problem. The nose wheel retracted straight
up and acted as a bumper. Left—The tip floats on an amphibian or flying boat such as this Boeing B-1 can pose a
problem when coming alongside a dock. Amphibs have
been built with retractable and even inflatable-deflatable tip floats to alleviate this awkwardness.

bate will undoubtedly go on for as
long as there are amphibians. Some
homebuilt Volmer amphibs have
tractor engines; others have pushers.
In an open-cockpit amphib with
a high-mounted tractor engine, the
outer portions of the prop blades may
send strong, annoying, and fatiguing
pulsations back onto the occupants.
The adoption of fully enclosed
cockpits got away from the hazards
and discomforts of open ones. But
as you study various amphibians,
ask yourself how you’d hand-prop
the engines if the battery went dead
and how you’d get at the oil dipstick
when preflighting. In some cases a
stepladder or a plank laid across a
pair of sawhorses would let you get
at the engine for periodic checks.
But in others you’d probably decide
to build a well-thought-out scaffold.
Thousands of hours have been
spent over drafting boards figuring
out retractable landing gear layouts.
Probably the simplest arrangement
is to have a sturdy tube running
through the hull, with downwardextending landing gear legs mounted
on its outboard ends. Rotating the
tube will swing the wheels up out
of the water—but not out of the airstream. This arrangement will give a
narrow wheel track under what will

probably be a top-heavy airplane.
Positioning the wheels farther apart
can lead to bending forces likely to
call for heavier parts.
It’s logical to have the wheels
swing back and up, for then airflow
can help to raise them quickly after taking off. But if the wheels are
at all heavy, we’d want to figure the
effect on rearward center of gravity travel—a CG that shifts too far
aft can have a serious effect on stall
and spin behavior. Struts or streamline tie rods on an externally braced
plane can get in the way of rearward
wheel retraction, in which case forward rotation may be the only solution even if it looks awkward. The
advent of cantilever wings did away
with struts and tie rod problems.
Armed forces and wealthy private
aircraft owners tend to put a premium on speed. On planes such as
the various Grummans we thus see
quite elaborate retraction linkages
that tuck wheels snugly into wells
on fuselage sides. The experimental
Trimmer amphibian that appeared
after World War II tucked its wheels
into streamlined pods affixed to the
hull sides.
The Fleetwings Seabird of the mid1930s had open-topped pants fitted
around the wheels. When the wheels

were retracted these fitted up against
the hull sides to create low-drag
wheel housings. Centrally mounted
wheels combined with wingtip skids
as used on sailplanes have been experimented with on amphibs. They
reduce weight, drag, and cost and
work well on sailplanes that are
towed along taxi strips with someone
walking along to hold one wingtip.
But on powered planes they seem
to have worked indifferently. Taxiing
under power and crosswind landing
could be hairy, and pilots missed the
directional control afforded by right
and left wheel brakes.
The 1928 Fokker F-11 had swingup stub wings. When they were in
down position they put the wheels
onto the ground. Being buoyant,
when in the up position they served
as stabilizing sponsons.
The Spencer-Larsen of 1938 had its
main wheels fitted into the aft ends
of swing-up floats. Fat airplane tires
have substantial volume and hence
floatation, so in a way this idea made
sense. But we must wonder about the
effect of long immersion in water—
especially salt water—on the wheels,
bearings, and brakes.
As you study these amphibians and
others, note the varying distances between the main wheels and the tailcontinued on the page 40


Vintage May2012.indd 23

5/1/12 2:08 PM

Notice of Annual VAA Membership Meeting—to be held Sunday, July 29, 2012, 9:30 a.m., in the Vintage Hangar,
south of the Vintage Red Barn, on the EAA convention grounds, at the annual convention of the Experimental Aircraft
Association, Inc., Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Notice is hereby further given that the annual election of the officers and directors of the EAA Vintage Aircraft
Association will be conducted by the ballot distributed to the members inside this May issue of Vintage Airplane.


Following are three pages of the biographies of the people who are running for election in 2012. The ballot is
inserted in this magazine and is to be completed and mailed to the VAA to arrive on or before July 19, 2012.

For Election to President

For Election to Secretary

New Haven, Indiana

Albert Lea, Minnesota

Geoff began flying in 1982
and received his private singleengine-land certificate in 1983.
He attended his first EAA Oshkosh fly-in in 1983 and immediately became active in the
Vintage Aircraft Association
( VA A ) . H e b e g a n v o l u n t e e r ing with the Aircraft Parking &
Flight Line Safety Committee in
1983 and served as the cochairman of this committee
for about 15 years. Geoff also served as the chairman
of the VAA Security Committee and on the VAA Convention Committee as well during that same period.
He served as an advisor to the VAA board of directors
for seven years, has served as a director since 1996, and
was elected president in 2004. He is currently flying a
Cessna 120 and a Cessna 170A and is engaged in the
restoration of a 1940 B Model Funk aircraft. Geoff also
currently serves as a tour coordinator for EAA’s Aluminum Overcast B-17 Tour and has participated in this
EAA program since 1998. After spending three years
with the U.S. Army in Europe as a military policeman
in the early ’70s, he returned from military service and
became a police officer and later the police chief in his
hometown of New Haven, Indiana. He now serves his
community as a city court judge and has done so for
more than eight years.

Steve was born in Albert Lea,
Minnesota, and grew up on a
farm near there. Having a deep
interest in aviation, he received
his private certificate in 1967.
In 1975 he purchased a 1946
Navion from his father. After
joining EAA in 1967 at Rockford, Steve has attended each
EAA convention since. A charter member of VAA Chapter 13, he has served as vice
president and president of that chapter. Currently he
serves as chairman of the Metal Shaping Workshop
and Tall Pines Café at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. After
serving two years as an advisor and later as a director,
he has been serving as secretary of the Vintage Aircraft
Association since 1991.


Griffin, Georgia
Ron Alexander learned to fly
at age 16 in his hometown of
Bloomington, Indiana. He went
into the U.S. Air Force in 1964
and completed pilot training in
1965. He served a total of five
years in the Air Force, including
a combat tour in Vietnam. After
military service he was hired by
Delta Air Lines in 1969 as a pilot.

He retired as a captain in 2002 after 33 years of service.
Ron has been involved with antique airplanes since
1975 when he first began restoring a PT-17 Stearman.
In 1979 he founded Alexander Aeroplane Company,
which was later sold to Aircraft Spruce. Ron also developed the SportAir Workshops which are now being
presented as the EAA SportAir Workshop program. He
lives in Griffin, Georgia, where he has several antique
airplanes including a Stearman Model 6 and a Curtiss
Jenny that is under restoration. He is developing an
antique airplane museum that replicates the original
Atlanta, Georgia, airport.

22 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 24

5/1/12 2:09 PM



Lovell, Maine

Harvard, Illinois / Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Earning his commission in
the U.S. Navy in 1976, Steve
completed undergraduate pilot
training in 1978, Navy Fighter
Weapons School (Topgun) in
1979, and test pilot training in
1981. He flew fighter aircraft
from the decks of the USS Ranger,
Constellation, Kitty Hawk, and
the Enterprise. Recently retiring
from airline flying, Steve earned
type ratings in the B-727, B-737, B-757, B-767, FK-28100, and DC-9. Some of his more challenging work
with the airline included positions as check airman,
FAA designee examiner, and certification as a maintenance and engineering test pilot. Owning and restoring several aircraft including Beech Staggerwings, Twin
Beeches, Cessna 195s, and vintage warbirds, Steve
earned his A&P certificate with inspection authorization. He is currently building his retirement home on a
Maine lake and has started new flying adventures with
floatplanes. Joining EAA in 1986, Steve currently serves
VAA as the chairman of classic aircraft judging, volunteering countless hours in improving aircraft judging
standards. Steve has been a VAA director since 2002.

Along with her late husband,
Dick Hill, Jeannie has restored
three award-winning vintage aircraft: a 1931 Kinner Bird biplane
and two 40-hp Taylor Cubs. She
still owns the 1933 E-2 and 1937
J-2 Cubs, along with a Tri-Pacer
and a Bamboo Bomber. She has
published newsletters as secretary
of the Bird Biplane Type Club and
has coauthored and edited two
books and numerous aviation articles. Jeannie mentors
young people pursuing aviation careers and aids pilots
involved with medical certification issues. She has worn
many chairman hats during her 40-plus years of volunteering. For the past many years, she’s served as chairman
of the VAA Headquarters Information, Press/Media, Shawano Fly-Out, and the annual picnic. Years ago she started
the Pioneer Airport video interviews, which continue during conventions and have been adapted by EAA’s Timeless Voices program. Jeannie helped establish EAA Chapter
1414 at Poplar Grove, Illinois, her home airport. Jeannie
was elected to the board as a director in 1990. She looks
forward to continuing to serve both the VAA and the general aviation community for many years to come.



Plainfield, Indiana

Hartford, Wisconsin

As a child, Dave built almost every type of flying model airplane.
Dave learned to fly in J-3 Cubs in
1958 in Indianapolis, where he
and his wife, Wanda, moved so he
could attend pharmacy school at
Butler University. He has owned
an Aeronca Chief, an Aeronca
Scout, and two Tri-Pacers. Dave
has been working on and restoring
airplanes since 1969. Currently he
is restoring his 1946 Aeronca Chief. After his retirement,
he enrolled as a student in the Vincennes University Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) program in Indianapolis and
graduated in 2005. He is now an A&P instructor there.
For five years Dave served as the president of the Hendricks County Board of Aviation Commissioners to build
a new airport (2R2), which opened in December of 2001.
Dave attended two EAA conventions in Rockford and has
attended all but two fly-ins in Oshkosh. He served as a
judge of the antique aircraft category for 25 years, served
as co-chairman of Antique Judging, and now serves as the
Vintage Aircraft Association chief judge. He also serves as
the VAA Development Committee chairman.

Steve “migrated” to Wisconsin in 1982 and continues to
reside in Hartford, Wisconsin.
Family friend and mentor Carroll Bressler introduced him to
the pleasure of aviation by giving him his first ride when he
was 12 years old. Steve has been
“hooked on aviation” ever since.
He earned his private certificate
in 1969 and completed his training in 1972, obtaining commercial and flight instructor certificates as well as instrument and multiengine
ratings. Steve retired from and sold his marketing communications firm in early 2007 and established Cub
Air Flight LLC, a primary flight school for sport and
private pilot students who want to learn in a tailwheel
airplane. He also provides tailwheel training for vintage aircraft owners. Steve and his wife, Sharon, who
also flies, own several aircraft. Steve and Sharon have
been EAA AirVenture Oshkosh volunteers for well
more than 12 years. They also own and manage the
Cub Club, the Luscombe Association, and the Taylorcraft Owner’s Club, three very active type clubs.


Vintage May2012.indd 25

5/1/12 3:02 PM



Brookfield, Wisconsin

Riva, Maryland

A native of Athens, Georgia,
Bob is currently the vice president for a Milwaukee-based construction firm. He soloed in 1968
in a Piper PA-11 and holds a commercial pilot certificate. Bob is a
lifetime EAA and Vintage Aircraft
Association member. He’s also a
charter member of VAA Chapter
11 in Brookfield, Wisconsin. As a
volunteer Bob has, since 1984, designed and managed
the construction of additions to the VAA Red Barn, the
new Vintage Hangar, as well as the Vintage area entry
arch and other Vintage buildings. His EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh responsibilities include the selection and purchase of VAA logo merchandise and setting up the Red
Barn sales area prior to the convention. Bob was also a
volunteer at Pioneer Airport, participating in its Young
Eagles program with more than 300 missions. He serves
as Santa for the EAA AirVenture Museum Christmas in
the Air program and is on the EAA Nominating Committee. In 2009 Bob was a recipient of EAA’s President’s

Soloing in 1965 on his 16th
birthday, Steve now holds commercial, Single Engine Land,
Multi-Engine Land, IFR, tailwheel, and rotary ratings and
an HAB. Steve owns a Beech Bonanza (three Lindy Awards), a
Twin Beech (one Plaque Award),
a Cessna 140A, and a Bell 47G.
He is also in the Civil Air Patrol,
where he teaches aerospace education. Steve has served
as the president of the World Beechcraft Society, the
North East Bonanza Group (NEBG), and the Mid Atlantic Bonanza Society. He has been on the Board of the
American Bonanza Society (ABS) and the Beechcraft
Heritage Museum (BHM). Steve is presently the vice
president of the Twin Beech 18 division of the BHM).
He owned and ran the OXKO Corporation for more
than 20 years and was the founder and first president
of the Anne Arundel High Tech Council. He presently
works for the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. Steve is
a member of the VAA, EAA, AOPA, BHM, NEBG, and
the ABS, and is an FAA volunteer in the FAASTeam for
safety education.

Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Lawton, Michigan

Joe joined EAA in 1976 and became a lifetime member in 2002.
Joe is also a lifetime member of
VAA (VAA 5982).
Joe earned his private pilot
certificate in 1978 and bought
his first airplane in 1979—a 1955
Piper Tri-Pacer. He flew it for about
a year and then converted it to PA20 Pacer (tailwheel) configuration.
During this time Joe helped form
EAA Chapter 706 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Over
time Joe has earned commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with airplane and helicopter ratings, as
well an A&P certificate with IA.
Joe has been actively involved with EAA, serving as a
technical counselor and flight advisor, and has been an
officer in two EAA chapters. Joe was one of the five original members of the EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council.
Since 2011 Joe has been working as a flight instructor
at Cub Air Flight in Hartford, Wisconsin.
Joe currently owns and maintains three vintage aircraft—a Cessna 180, a Piper Super Cub, and a Waco UPF7. He has previously owned a Piper J-5A Cub Cruiser
and another Super Cub. Joe built and flew a Sonerai II
homebuilt and also owned a homebuilt Pitts S-1C.

Tim joined EAA in 1988 and
is now a lifetime member. He
began taking flying lessons and
attended his first EAA Oshkosh
convention that same year. He
has attended every convention
since then. Tim earned his private pilot certificate in 1989 and
later added a tailwheel endorsement and an instrument rating.
He joined VAA in 1994, about
the time he began volunteering with the VAA Contemporary Aircraft Judges, and currently serves as the vice
chairman of the group. Tim owns a 1958 Cessna 172,
which he purchased in 1994 and has slowly restored
over the years. He is currently building a Van’s Aircraft
RV-7. He is an active member and past president of
EAA Chapter 221 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Tim is an
active Young Eagles program participant having flown
more than 500 Young Eagles over the years. He earned
his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University
of Michigan and is an environment, health, and safety
manager for a major pharmaceutical company. Tim
has been happily married for more than 25 years to his
wife, Liz, who also actively volunteers with the VAA.

24 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 26

5/1/12 2:09 PM


Vintage May2012.indd 27

5/1/12 2:10 PM

Leverage Your Fly-In,
Leverage Your Group



At our midwinter meeting of
the Potomac Antique Aero Squadron, we enjoyed the company, as
always, of our “same loyal faces”
(sound familiar?), but discussion
gravitated toward ways to “leverage” our coming annual antique
airplane fly-in, which for us meant
new ways to promote our event and
our group, to publicize our hobby/
avocation, and especially, to attract
new members.
Our first new idea was to depict
our event as a “Gallery of Affordable Aviation.” Compared to the
prices of light-sport aircraft, ultralights, etc., our antique airplanes
are the value leader for all of aviation, especially as an entry point.
At our fly-ins, the PAAS will put up
a banner with those words, have
ownership facts and figures available, and line up member/owners
to give information to newcomers
about their planes, our hobby/avocation, and our group.
Since our winter meeting, many
other ideas have blossomed and are
included here, as idea-makers for
your consideration:


Antiquers are usually “givers,”
and without them we wouldn’t
have our hobby/avocation. But as
you do all of this giving, give yourself credit! Members of your group
are highly historically aware and
are often very willing to make their
aircraft available for the aviation
community and the general public to enjoy. Your group’s members
are qualified to be interviewed by
the mainstream media and interested persons, and their knowledge
of classic eras of aviation is valuable and not known by others. Your
group likely includes experts on aircraft restoration, antique airplanes,
historic aviation, and more. The
names oh-so-familiar to us: Cub,
Aeronca, Taylorcraft, Luscombe,
and all the rest—are not known to
the overwhelming majority of the
rest of the world, and it’s easy to
lose sight of this.
For this article, we’re going to
metaphorically “fly our course”
away from straight highways and
railroad tracks. We’ll steer a bit to
the left and right as we consider
many other ways to “leverage”

your group and its events.

Invite and Involve Other
Aviation Organizations
Many groups could use your
fl y-in as a destination or featured
locale, not just to attend, but
also to hold a rally, and make announcements and awards, with
photo opportunities. Here are
some examples.
—Your local EAA or VAA chapter.
If your event is not actually part of
a chapter activity, why not invite
them to partner with you? There’s
often plenty of aviation enthusiasm and manpower available.
—Your state aviation board or
other entities could announce
or induct a hall of famer or present a lifetime achievement award
against the backdrop of your beautiful old airplanes.
—A retirement ceremony or tribute to an area aviation person.
—A local aviation university,
trade school, or flight school could
publicize their work of course, but
also have awards or ceremonies.
—Same for the Silver Wings,

26 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 28

5/1/12 2:14 PM

other aviation fraternities, the 99s,
and other flying theme groups of
all sorts (flying Shriners, dentists,
legal eagles, etc.).
—A publicity/sales opportunity
for operators of residential airparks,
fly-in resorts, and aviation-themed
self-published authors, just to name
a few.
—Model aircraft groups: 1) traditional balsa modelers, with limited rubber band or glider flight,
and youth with molded plastic
kits for tabletop display are “feelgood,” but for your group members to decide. 2) Powered/fl ying
R/C scale aircraft: Beware of perhaps some feeling of encroachment by your members, consider
the physical practicality at your
fly-in site, the timing of performances relative to your event, and
the mandatory issue of specialized
insurance (if it’s an AMA [Academy of Model Aeronautics] sanctioned event, insurance coverage
under its banner will be extended
to its operations during your
event), both by the visiting scale
aircraft group and yours as hosts.
—Aviation-themed crafts enthusiasts: whirligigs, kites, etc., or other
craft media that depict aviation.
— N a m i n g R i g h t s : Yo u a l s o
have the right to call your fl y-in
“Aviation Heritage Days,” “Living
History Classroom,” etc.
Involvement of nonaviation presenters can be a touchy subject;
only your group can decide your
policy on this. If it comes up as an
issue, don’t ignore the comments.
It’s always better to work it out well
before the event.

Reach Out to the Mainstream Public
These are “new blood” ideas that
move “out of the aviation box.”
—Invite area Scout troops, Explorers, or Air Explorers. They will
usually be glad to hear from you,
and it exposes those of Young-Eagle
age to your group. Boy Scouts and
Girl Scouts offer an aviation merit
badge. Ask if someone in your
group is willing to be the counselor

for these badges. And all of this
won’t hurt one bit in the ongoing
political stance for your group and/
or your airport.
By the way, the antique boating hobby/avocation has a program for youth judges, with the
slogan: “One-time youth judge,
lifetime wooden boating enthusiast.” Could this idea be on the
horizon for the antique airplane
interest as well?
—Consider informal participation of antique car enthusiasts by
placing a paid notice in Hemmings
Motor News under “Events” by state.
(I strongly suggest you indicate: no
entry fee, judging, or trophies.)
—Have your fly-in be a waystop
for a sports-car rally, high-tech scavenger hunt, etc. (and put out donation cans for your group alongside
the goal!).
—Art and photography groups.
There are aviation associations for
these interests, but consider involving local art or photography groups
not already allied with aviation.
—A manufacturer promoting a
product that is very, very new—to
use your antique aircraft for contrast.
There are potentially many
more ideas in this category. Also
note many of these will trigger
organizational issues for consideration by your membership,
including: crowd control, car
parking, permissible distance from
exhibit airplanes, revetments and
boundaries, tape or string barriers, taxiway/ground control procedures, and willingness of your
members to serve as guides or docents. These human factors will
determine the whole profile of
your “leveraging.”

Encourage Media
Decide with your group on limits
of media participation. You could
invite TV and radio stations, newspaper reporters, etc., but beware of
member burnout and a feeling of
encroachment here. Also beware
of having too many media displays
distract from your physical event.

However, there are now many newtech ways of recording and depicting aircraft restoration, vintage
aviation, interviews of antiquers,
etc. And, if you have a shelter, media activities are especially welcome
if you have marginal weather.

Strike Up the Band
Before you invite a band, make
sure the concept and their type of
music is acceptable to your membership. The band may be willing
to play for free. To narrate awards
programs, public dedications, or
fly-bys, arrange in advance to use
their sound system. Or: consider
procuring or borrowing a sound
system, or contracting with a DJtype who has a system you can also
use for club or visiting group purposes through the day.

Use What You Have
Using what you already have
on-hand, create a show of historic
—A seminar on stick and rudder skills. With the mags off and
the prop stopped of course, have
the owner/pilot of an antique
(I’m visualizing a Cub-type here)
sit inside with hands and feet on
the controls, and narrate how the
airplane is maneuvered, while onlookers can see the ailerons, rudder, elevators, trim, and brakes in
operation. (No matter how familiar this is to you, most of the rest
of the world has never seen it.)
Again, a solid audio reinforcement
system can really help make this a
great part of your event.
—As a group visits your fly-in, invite a member of that group (especially of youth age) to sit inside the
airplane (with engine off of course),
while your member/owner narrates
how the aircraft is flown.
—Simply open up the cowling of
an aircraft. Your engine compartment itself is a display for the majority of people. (Again, for possible
narration by a member/owner.)
—Take off a couple of circular
inspection panels and narrate subjects such as rib-stitching, wooden


Vintage May2012.indd 29

5/1/12 2:14 PM

spars, bolt-safetying, annual inspections, etc.
—Narrate vintage checklists like
the words CIGARTIP, GUMP, etc.
This can be entertaining for pilots
of modern aircraft.
—Conduct a seminar on navigation by sectional charts. This could
be depicted as a safety seminar for
pilots in case of failure of electronic
navigation systems. For this, it is
ideal if one of your group has preflown a route being depicted and
taken pictures from the air of features on the ground, for review and
comparison to the chart by your
audience members. Such a narration could even extend to a description of flying by VOR stations and
the now-defunct A-N quadrants.
—On the ground, demonstrate
the rectangular air traffic pattern
used at most noncontrolled airports, possibly with a wall chart. Or
you could have fun with this: Mark
off an area on the grass and have
your members walk as if they were
airplanes in that pattern.
—Hand-propping demonstration. With the mags off and a pilot at the controls, and brakes on,
performing the sequence for starting an airplane by hand-propping, including verbal calls and
brake checks.
NOTE: An actual mags-on handpropping start in front of an audience can subject your members
to performance anxiety and is not
recommended. And check your insurance even for a mags-off demonstration. Any such demonstration
must be conducted in every respect
as though the engine could start.
Hey, it’s happened!
—A Parade of Flight. (If insurance permits, for both your group
and its individual members/pilots.)
Do this with a careful (and mandatory) briefing, and have your
group’s planes fly in a long trail formation with plenty of separation.
If you create such a formation, you
may wish to have it take place near
the end of your event, with pilots
doing fly-bys and then departing,
which will have your (preferably

narrated) parade as the crescendo
of your event.

Promote Your Own Group
Have a sign-up table and smiling club members ready to receive
money and make change (unless
your group has a policy against
drop-in sign-ups at major events).
—Donation cans: Instead of
handling these last or as an afterthought, place them at the top of
your list. Decorate them with images of antique aircraft. Consider
affixing slogans like, “Vote here
for historic aviation preservation,”
or “Sign up here for next year’s
fly-in,” etc. (Consider group promotion and fundraising to be as
important as your fly-in director,
runway flagman, etc.)
—Food service. If these “leveraging” ideas require your group to
enlarge your event, consider inviting an existing civic or other group
that already has a food preparation
setup to attend, and allow them to
keep the vast majority of the profits. (This can be a member burnout
and liability issue, so there are times
when it makes sense to let another
group, with experience managing
such an operation, take the lead.)
—Consider inviting political
leaders. This is a joke setup with
unlimited punchlines and might
or might not be acceptable to your
membership. But your fly-in is a
“best foot forward” day for your
group and your airport and could
be the sort of fun appearance and
photo-op that public servants like.
—Political thrust. Whether or
not you have area leaders visit your
fly-in, all of these “leverage” ideas
should, ideally, be strategized with
ongoing political value in mind, to
be cited as your group or airport relates to your community, county,
region, state, etc.
All of these ideas are intended
for an outdoor event, but of course
variations of them can be applied
year-around to your group’s nonaviation events. Here are some
more idea-makers.
—Your club’s “speaker’s bureau.”

Consider having your qualified
members listed as available for public talks, lectures, appearances, etc.
on historic aviation, aircraft restoration, and other “antiquer” topics.
—Schedule a symposium. This
can be outdoors or indoors over the
winter. Your group can create it or
cooperate with another entity on
historic aviation. Make sure you
have a theme or agenda, a qualified
panel, a leader/facilitator, and resonant program content.
Indeed, considering the state of
the economy, challenges to aviation, and avgas prices, your area’s
other aviation entities should be
looking to your group to “leverage” them!
And so, your event already is a
“Gallery of Affordable Aviation,”
a destination, a media event, and
an opportunity for pageantry and
parade. It is an educational and ceremonial opportunity, reunion site,
community rallying point, political
fuel, and artistic and visual magnet.
And these self-promotional ideas
are especially appropriate for those
of us who venerate the antique airplanes: Look at any of the magazines
from the classic era and you’ll see
nothing but rock-hard promotion,
from a gritty, earlier time in which
everything was—leveraged.
INSURANCE NOTE: Make sure each
of your member’s aviation insurance policies permit the concepts
detailed herein, and that this review is acceptable to your members. This may include coverage
for participation in fly-ins, and
for long, trailing group fly-bys,
even if not technically formation
flying. And check your group/
event policy re: overall liability,
ride-hopping, food service, etc.
Outside the scope of this article
would be venues in which a separate organization invites or hires
your group to attend, where
there is an advertised admission
price for the public, or where alcohol is served.

28 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 30

5/1/12 2:14 PM




Semi-monocoque fuselage structure
Fuselage structures can be classified as monocoque, semi-monocoque, and truss, which defines the
type of design and construction use
for fabrication. Monocoque structures use outer skin to carry all flight
loads, while semi-monocoque structures have stringers on the inside of
the skin to carry some of the flight
loads. Monocoque structures are
very difficult to repair, and when
damage or degradation occurs some
components must be replaced in
their entirety, or at least large entire skin sections must be replaced.
Semi-monocoque structures can be
repaired if the damage is local and
does not exceed a certain size, by
riveting on patches, either flush or
scab (external overlapping). An example of a monocoque structure is
shown in Illustration 1 that will immediately be recognized as a John
Northrop designed Lockheed Vega.
In the Lockheed Illustration I one
can immediately see the laminated
wood bulkheads in the foreground
with the left and right molded
plywood skin bonded in place to
those structures in the background.
There’s an assembled Vega in the upper right corner of the photograph.
These types of structures can be
fabricated from wood, aluminum,
and composites. Since the skin carries all flight loads, any repair must
produce 100 percent of the original
strength. In plywood structures the
scarf patch, if properly executed,
will meet the 100 percent require-

Illustration 1

Illustration 2

Vintage May2012.indd 31

5/1/12 2:15 PM

Illustration 3

Illustration 4

Illustration 5
ment. But with aluminum structures the repair will
only reach 80 percent maximum strength across the
patch; that is why this type structure will need replacement of the entire skin panel if it is damaged.
On the other hand, semi-monocoque construction
allows repairs to be made to an aluminum structure because the skin does not carry all the flight loads. Illustration 2 shows an aluminum semi-monocoque structure.
Illustration 2 is extracted from Civil Aeronautics Bulletin No. 27, Pilots’ Airplane Manual by N.O. Anderson,
September 1940. It a semi-monocoque aircraft float
assembly and depicts all components for a structure of
this type.

Illustration 6
Illustration 3 shows typical stringer shapes. Most
structures used an aluminum extrusion for stringers;
however, aluminum could also be bent into angle or
“zee” shapes for stringers. If the structure is fabricated
from aluminum, the stringers are riveted into position, and flight loads are transferred to the stringers
through attaching rivets. If the structure is fabricated
from wood, the flight loads are transferred into the
stringer from the skin via bonding adhesive.
The same is true if the structure is fabricated from
advanced composites; however, new processes will cocure the stringers to the skin, shown in Illustration 4.
Co-curing describes a method of construction whereby
the skin plies and stringers are laid up as a complete
assembly. It is then placed in an autoclave and cured
under pressure at 250°F or 350°F. The sample of the
structure in this photo is a state-of-the-art wing skin
produced of unidirectional carbon fiber prepreg composite material.
Illustration 5 extracted from Aircraft Materials and
Processes by George F. Titterton shows a stainless steel
fuselage aft section from a seaplane, possibly a Fleetwings Sea Bird amphibian. The formers and stringers
of this semi-monocoque structure can readily be seen.
Although stainless steel is heavier than aluminum, it
was selected for the Fleetwings because of its corrosion
resistance to saltwater.
Repairs to semi-monocoque structures are made in
accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, if
those instructions are available. If there is no manufacturer’s data, consult the FAA AC 43.13-1B for guidance. When repairing semi-monocoque structures with
aluminum skin, there are several types and shapes of
patches that can be fabricated and installed. However,
one must weigh the time required to install a surface
or flush patch against replacing the entire panel, if
replacement is possible. Many owners do not want
unsightly surface patches on their aircraft; therefore,
panel replacement is the answer, if the panel is not

30 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 32

5/1/12 2:15 PM

Illustration 8

Illustration 7
large and access to bucking rivets is available. It is not
my intent here to describe in detail how to design and
make repairs, but to provide insight in the thought process when determining just how to repair the skin of
an aluminum semi-monocoque structure. Illustration 6
shows Figure 4-16 extracted from AC 43.13-1B.
The AC 43.13-1B provides general information about
the maximum size of the patch and the number of
rivets required in each side of the crack. Once again,
100 percent of the original skin strength cannot be
achieved with a riveted patch repair. If 100 percent
strength is required, then the entire skin panel would
have to be replaced, which, as a side benefit, gives the
best final appearance.
The AC also speaks to splicing of stringers that is
used to support and supplement strength in a semimonocoque structure. Typical stringer repairs are
shown in Figure 4-17, although stringer splices are
more difficult because the reinforcement must be bent
to shape and must fit the inside or outside of the original stringer. Illustration 7 shows typical stringer repairs. As in the stressed skin repairs in Figure 6, the
AC calls out the number of rivets on each side of the
splice. Looking at these sketches one can readily see
that fabricating a doubler (the shaded sections) can be
challenging and time-consuming.
Repairing stressed plywood skin is somewhat easier
than repairing aluminum (however it all depends on

the mechanic’s skill level). Here the AC 43.13-1B details
several different types of repairs; however, the only repair that has no size limit is the scarf patch. The scarf
patch is sanded to a taper of 10 times skin thickness
(10T) using a disc sander. The scarf patch gives grain
continuation and places the bond line in shear (shearing load) and, if accomplished properly, is completely
flush. However, the airworthiness of any bonded joint
depends on the person making the repair because different adhesives require different clamping pressure,
cure times, and temperature restrictions. Once a scarf
joint is clamped and cure takes place, you cannot detect if the adhesive cured correctly or incorrectly. One
should always glue up a sample and then test it to destruction. When making test articles, always replicate
the actual repair as closely as is possible; that is, use
same adhesive batch, same clamping pressure, same
cure temperature, and same cure time. Illustration 8
shows a plywood scarf joint.
Above, (Illustration 8) the left photograph shows a
birch leading edge plywood about to be joined using
a scarf joint. Scarf taper is 10T; therefore, a 1/16-inch
plywood skin would be tapered by sanding to 5/8
inch in length. When the two sections are joined, a
nailing strip applies pressure to the bond. After the
cure is complete the strip is removed and the joint
sanded for a smooth surface. The leading edge is on
my Command-Aire wings.
Semi-monocoque structures are the most popular
when designing and constructing aluminum aircraft. Inspection of aluminum structures is visual, and the focus
is corrosion and cracking. There are areas of the structure
that are impossible to inspect thoroughly, such as lap
seams. An indicator that corrosion has formed within
a lap seam can be detected by closely observing topcoat
paint along the seam. If the paint is bubbling up, it is a
sure sign of corrosion. If the paint blisters anywhere else,
it is a sign of filiform corrosion.


Vintage May2012.indd 33

5/1/12 2:15 PM

The Lure
of Airplanes


he lure was airplanes,
beautiful airplanes. Or,
more precisely, it was
hand-painted profiles of
the winning aircraft of
the Great War.
I stumbled upon a treasure of exquisite books, handsomely bound
folios really, containing page after page of meticulously drawn,
full-color renderings of the sleek
pursuit ships flown to glory by
the great French aces. The richly
detailed depictions of Nieuports,
SPADs, and more almost leapt
from the thick, glossy paper to give
fitting expression, an impeccable
face, to the machines behind the
legends that enthralled a 12-yearold aviation enthusiast like me.
The text and captions were
printed in French. That was understandable because this impressive
collection of gorgeously illustrated
albums of World War I aircraft was
housed in a Paris bookshop. The
colorful scale images, which constituted the crux of these hefty
volumes, “spoke” a universal language, a dialect, you might say,
that transcended culture, nationality, or, for that matter, age.
The airplane profiles, in all their
majesty, had a mesmerizing effect.
Leafing through the folios caused
me to lose track of time. During
my perusal, I was in the bookshop
only in the corporeal sense for
my head was, well, in the clouds,
imagining the dramatic maneuvers of chivalrous pilots locked in
aerial duels. A half-hour, maybe
an hour ticked by. I was in a king-

dom unto myself, as if a traveler
in Emily Dickinson’s poem which
muses “There is no frigate like a
book To take us lands away…”
In the tightly scheduled itinerary that my mom had organized
for her three children on the summer trip to the major capitals of
Europe, this part of our day had
been allotted for window-shopping. Suddenly, it dawned on
me. My mother would be worried
about what had happened to her
middle child. I felt momentarily
as if I had fallen overboard into a
vast and strange sea.
My mother had meticulously
planned the trip far in advance; it
was the first time abroad for all of
us. Dad wasn’t able to take off from
work, so it was a gutsy thing for
Mom to single-handedly pack up
and chaperone her children — two
preteens and a newly turned adolescent. Exposing us to other cultures was her oft-stated reason for
the whirlwind journey, but part of
her motivation was her own hankering to see exotic places from
having had her sense of adventure
titillated by magazines and books.
It was 1963 and the gleaming
blue-and-white Pan Am jets out of
Idewild (later to be renamed John F.
Kennedy International) enabled the
Atlantic crossing with a level of service rarely experienced in commercial air travel since. The air transport
back then was as much fun as the
immersion in our destinations.
On the day of my bookshop escapade, we had taken a breather
from the surfeit of museum and

32 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 34

5/1/12 2:15 PM

palace tours. Together we strolled
along either elegant Avenue Montaigne or the equally sumptuous Rue
du Faubourg
F b
S i tH
é (I don’t
d ’t
remember which from so long ago.)
Nowhere was the incipient transformation of the once scrawny garment trade more visible than on
the imposing, almost intimidating,
channel we paced that summer day
in Paris. For a middle-aged woman
who had grown up in a small town
on the outskirts of Cleveland and
whose children were themselves
hitherto cloistered in the American Middle West, the long row of
mainly high-end apparel stores, ensconced in the block’s ornate façade, exuded a baroque splendor
almost as if it were an adjunct of
Versailles or the Louvre. This was
a far cry from our hometown best,
the Halle’s and Higby’s department
stores of metropolitan Detroit.
For a 12-year-old dreaming of
flight, clothing stores, no matter
how hoity-toity, didn’t register. In
fact, for me such retailers continue
to be boring places (as my wife,
Mary, freely attests). I ambled ahead
of my mother and siblings until a
few doors down the street I came
across the bookshop, an establishment that grabbed my attention.
When I stepped out of the bookshop after the indeterminate lapse,
my family members were nowhere
to be seen. It quickly sunk in that
we had been separated. There I was,
alone in Paris. What to do?
We had walked to the shopping
district from the hotel, so walking
back on my own oughtn’t to be
much of a strain. It would be a matter of simply retracing the outbound
route in a city noted for its memorable landmarks. I’d be like the waifs
in the old fable who found their way
across unfamiliar territory by backtracking with the help of the bread

b d
along the way, only
nly my
markers would be the unique statues and street-corner
ner architecture
passed earlier in thee day
In the unfolding saga, my mother
tried to keep her wits. While guarding her two other children with
iron-like grips around their wrists,
she acknowledged afterwards that
at this juncture she nearly fainted.
Also, Mom later confessed to fearing the unthinkable, a kidnapping
and worse. She scrambled back
and forth, peering into windows in
search of her missing son, but to no
avail; our paths were irretrievably
divergent by then.
Without a working knowledge
of the native tongue and, as a
stranger from abroad, not knowing anyone to call for help in this
beautiful but unfamiliar city, she
frantically entered a shop noted for
its lovely silks. The shop just happened to be the closest place when
the sensation of despair overtook
her. Mom wondered if she would
ever see her son again. In the depth
of her fright, she threw herself to
the mercy of the first sales clerk
within earshot. That clerk proved
to be a godsend. A delightful bilingual woman not quite in middle-age, she instantly picked up on
the motherly distress and consoled
with a most welcomed empathy.
The Paris gendarmes needed to
be alerted that there was an American boy of average height and
weight, attired in suit and tie, aged
12 who went missing in the late
morning on the city’s streets. The
clerk made the call on the shop’s
telephone, but the duty officer at
the precinct station insisted that
any missing person’s report be filed

in the station. The clerk took
the requirement in stride,
stride showing
no sign of letting up her involvement in finding the lost boy.
Calm and focused, the clerk connected with my mother on a visceral level, though we were to learn
that she was neither a spouse nor
a mother herself. She seemed to be
impelled by a humanitarian ethic,
the wish to offer the gift of kindness to someone in dire need, to
be a beacon of light in the City of
Lights. Without a moment’s hesitation, Mom’s new friend grabbed her
things and flagged down a taxi for
the ride to the station. Along the
way, with my mother, brother, and
sister squeezed into the cab, the
clerk introduced herself. My family
was so very glad to be accompanied
by Marri Lou Bercot.
Years later, I perceived a parallel
between Mademoiselle Bercot and
one of her illustrious countrymen.
In 1943, the pilot-author-philosopher Antoine de Saint-Exupery had
a similar choice to make, albeit on a
far grander scale. After France’s fall
early in World War II, he made his
way to the United States where he
held court in the literary salons of
Manhattan and the arts colonies of
the Hamptons.
This is when he produced his
classic children’s book, Le Petit
Prince, which tells young and old
alike much about the meaning of
life. But the expatriate was far from
content. His country’s politics were
bitterly divided between the objectionable Petainists, on the one
hand, who shamelessly collaborated with the Nazis under the Vi-


Vintage May2012.indd 35

5/1/12 2:16 PM

chy banner and, on the other hand,
the unbending Gaullists who demanded obeisance to an ideological purity. Saint-Exupery sought a
middle ground that looked to the
eventual postwar France when he
wished all Frenchmen, regardless of
their wartime politics, might be reconciled without recrimination.
Alas, the dreamer’s vision was
premature, some would say idealistic. Disenchanted with the course of
political events, his solution was to
ask, indeed lobby hard, to rejoin his
squadron. I think, too, he felt uneasy in the well-heeled lifestyle he
had adopted so far removed from
the calamitous occurrences befalling much of the world as war raged.
To fly again in the cause of humanity’s future would surely transcend
politics and give renewed purpose
to life. Also, it meant he would be
in the company of believers.
He had served virtually from the
war’s beginning in the autumn of
1939 through the spring of 1940, flying reconnaissance missions in an
antiquated Potez. He knew at the
time that the Battle of France was
lost, at least until America might be
induced to enter the fray. Also, with
the deterioration of conditions on
the battlefield he suspected that no
one at headquarters had use for the
recon photos he brought back from
harrowing flights over enemy positions. Undeterred, he and his squadron mates kept flying their assigned
missions until the inevitable debacle.
The cause was galvanizing even if
futile. The greater motivation, however, is alluded to in Saint-Exupery’s
wartime reminiscence, Flight to Arras.
It was the camaraderie among his
fellows, the bond that united these
stout-hearted men. So, they flew
on until there was no sky left for a
Frenchman of their convictions.
More than three years after his
exile from Nazi-dominated France
and despite suffering the ever-worsening pains of crashes sustained
in his varied flying career, SaintExupery, the inveterate airman, realized his destiny demanded that
he return to be with them, his

brothers in the sky, to again prowl
over his native land to make it free.
It wasn’t the easy thing to do; it was
the right thing to do.
It was a most pleasant July day,
and I wasn’t really lost. Amid the
bustle of the city, I easily retraced
my way back towards our hotel,
passing remembered landmarks
of one kind or another on the return walk, including the impressive
Place de la Madeleine.

Alas, the dreamer’s
vision was premature,
some would say idealistic.
The hotel’s high-ceilinged lobby
was decorated at the time in subtle
mauve tones that projected an oldworld charm. I got as far as the elevator when its operator, a uniformed
boy only a few years my senior,
looked at me and in broken English
inquired if I was “Philippe Hand-oman?” I nodded, and a bemused look
illuminated his face. Come with me,
he said, and I followed.
As I later learned, an all-points
bulletin had been issued by the
Paris police, and the hotel’s staff got
a call to be on the lookout. My brief
notoriety was about to cease; the
sooner the better for all concerned.
The alert elevator operator
handed me off to the head concierge. Attired in a double-breasted
mauve uniform to match the building’s décor, the elder gent, in manner and tone, resembled Claude
Raines in the role of the French
prefect in Casablanca. It was like
dropping into the scene where after
being presented with his winnings
from the croupier’s table in Rick’s
Café the supreme authority declares that he is “shocked, shocked”
to learn that gambling is going on,
only in my case the man in charge
waved his finger at me as he chortled “naughty, naughty” with the
grin of someone who had once
been young and done likewise.
He sat me down behind the semi-

circular desk and though he kept
grinning, he wouldn’t let me out of
his sight until my mother and siblings came to claim me. It seemed
forever before my family members
arrived from the police station. I’ll
never forget my mother’s expression
when she first laid eyes on me. To be
sure, there was anger for my having
caused such a commotion, but it was
superseded by the relief in knowing I
hadn’t met a terrible fate. Her mixed
emotions were revealed upon her
first words. Don’t ever do that again
she lectured as tears welled up in her
eyes. I got the message.
It wasn’t until the following summer, during a return trip to Paris,
that I met Mademoiselle Bercot. My
mother, brother, sister, and I arrived
at the silk shop at a prearranged
time. It was my opportunity to
thank this upstanding individual for
her assistance when Mom needed
it desperately. We walked into the
shop at the appointed hour.
“Ah, this is little Philippe?” a
woman radiating consummate
poise asked rhetorically as she
smiled in my direction. It was hard
not to blush. When I hazarded
a glance at her, I saw a very gentle and attractive lady. Her beauty
wasn’t the physically seductive sort
that modern media proffer as the
accepted template, but the kind
that stems from the way one carries oneself, suggestive of a quiet
dignity underlaid with a deep and
abiding character.
It was an honor to meet Mademoiselle Bercot.
Three decades after our Paris
trip, Mom passed away. Two years
later, Dad followed. Among the
chores necessitated by their deaths
was clearing out the valuables in
the safety deposit box that they
shared. As I rummaged through
the confined space, an envelope
surfaced. It had the alternating red
and blue hash marks denoting air
mail handling and was addressed
to my mother. The postmark read
“Paris, Gare Montparnasse.” The
single pale blue onionskin sheet
inside, folded in thirds lengthwise

34 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 36

5/1/12 2:16 PM

and once in width, brimmed with
a delicate and graceful script. It was
dated Sunday, September 29, 1963.
It turned out that my mother
and Mademoiselle Bercot had corresponded. The crackling onionskin
letter contained an expression of
thanks for the gift Mom had sent as
a token of her gratitude for the courtesies she received in her hour of crisis. Mademoiselle Bercot’s letter was
laced with grammatical missteps but
overflowing in its humility.
Our newfound friend of a generation ago wrote that she hoped one
day to take up Mom’s invitation to
visit us in Cleveland. Though we
were never blessed by such a visit,
the essence of the letter conveys a
heartfelt and timeless message that
more than sufficed:
“[M]y gesture to help you find little Philip did not need a renewed
thanks fromyou, [sic] as my reaction
was in my opinion a human spontaneous behaviour [sic] which I would
have loved to feel have [sic] I been
in similar circumstances. More congenial and spontaneous feelings between people would certainly help
to make a better world, and this is
always a daily goal for me.”
In the wanderings of youth, I
had crossed an uncertain threshold
and landed unexpectedly upon a
treasure of eye-catching images of
streamlined biplanes, the fastest and
most maneuverable flying machines
of their time. The bonanza captured
my imagination, and in doing so it
caused an additional excursion that
led to yet another unexpected fortune, an encounter with the profound soul of a caring person.
As we age, we are prone not to venture out unless there is a cognizance
of what awaits us at the other end.
Sadly, by inhibiting youthful indiscretion, we step on youthful curiosity. In some ways, it is better never to
grow up for then we retain the natural impulse to uncover the unknown,
which at times may lead to riches like
the discovery of folios with beautiful
pursuit plane paintings and the acquaintance of such admirable people
as Marri Lou Bercot.

Come Celebrate the 75th birthday of Piper and the Piper J-3


A Family-Oriented Fly-In
William T. Piper Airport (LHV), Lock Haven, PA 17745

June 20-June 23, 2012

Featured Planes: Piper J-3 Cub, L-4 and PA-16 Clipper

Greg Koontz and the Alabama Boys J-3 comedy
appearing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

tSeminars tStatic Displays tFly-Bys tGreat Food tFun tFellowship
tCamping tUnder-Wing Camping tAwards tNightly Live Band
tEntertainment tCorn Roasts tTours tMotel Transportation
Friday is member appreciation day. Member’s pass is 1/2 price.
Daily Pass (includes flight line): $8: ages 18-adult, $4: ages 13-17,
Free: children under 12
Primitive Camping and under wing: $15/night
RV Camping w/o hook-ups: $20, with hook-ups: $25

All Makes and Models of Aircraft Welcome
Call: 570-893-4200
Fax: 570-893-4218
Email: [email protected],
PO Box J3, Lock Haven, PA 17745-0496


Vintage May2012.indd 37

5/1/12 2:16 PM


BY Steve Krog, CFI

Airport at sunset


here is nothing more peaceful and serene
than a country airport near sunset. The
daylong 25-mph crosswind has died to a very
light breeze. A single Aeronca Chief is in the
traffic pattern practicing a few takeoffs and landings
as the last vestiges of the orange sunrays stretch across
the clear blue sky.
A pair of sandhill cranes, which have found a
home on a small pond on the southeast corner of the
airport property for the past four years, gracefully
fly low overhead on a flight path back to the pond.
The bullfrogs at the pond have been singing for over
an hour.
As daylight comes to an end for another day, all is
peaceful. Pilots, who have been flying their airplanes
for pleasure for the past two hours, have put their
airplanes away for the day, leading edge bugs have been
wiped from the wings, and the windshield cleaned, in
readiness for flight again tomorrow if the weather is
conducive to pleasure flying.
A young mother with two young boys in tow has
driven onto the ramp area. We wave to her and invite
her and the boys to come to the hangar and look at
the airplanes. The boys are quite shy at first, but with
some prodding from Mom they approach the J-3 Cub
parked in the front and excitedly state, “Mom, this
is the airplane that was flying over our house today.”
The mother laughs and says, “Every time you fly over
the house the boys stop what they are doing, look to
the sky, and point at the airplane overhead. They are
fascinated by the yellow airplanes.”
I invite the boys to have a closer look and ask if
they would like to sit in the airplane. Again very shy,
they look to Mom for an “okay.” I assure her that they
won’t hurt anything and show them how to get in the
Cub. The step is just high enough that the 6-year-old
can just barely reach it. He hangs onto the doorframe
and hoists himself up and quickly crawls into the front
seat. The 5-year-old requires a little help to reach the
step but ably climbs into the rear seat.
Once in the Cub I explain how to move the control
stick, pointing out the moving ailerons and then have
them look back toward the tail while moving the stick

forward and back. They see the elevator move and are
fascinated by how the moving control stick makes the
controls move.
A few minutes at the controls and Mom breaks
out her cellphone camera and asks if she can take
pictures of the boys. I give her an okay, but first place
the intercom headsets on the boys and turn them
on. They giggle and can’t believe they are talking to
one another. Pictures are taken and she comments
that she will have to print them for placement on the
refrigerator at home, as well as for “Show and Tell” at
school tomorrow.
Soon it is time for the boys to exit the Cub and head
for home, so excited they can’t wait to tell Dad about
their airport visit. I invite Mom and the boys to come
out anytime and, with her approval, the boys can go
for a short plane ride the next time.
Once the boys have left, those of us who have
gathered migrate back to the picnic table in front of
the hangar to again enjoy the peace and serenity at
the airport. One of the guys comments, “Well, I think
you’ve just signed up two more students. They will be
back in a few years wanting to learn to fly the Cub!”
As calm again settles, a small flock of geese pass
overhead. It’s near dark now and the normal honking
and squawking is silent. The geese have been feeding
in a nearby stubble field and are now headed back to a
nearby pond for the night.
Then someone points out a red fox that has appeared
from the southern tree line and slowly makes its way
across the runway. It’s almost dark out now, so the fox
is comfortable to move freely while on the hunt for an
evening meal.
As the stars begin to appear, several of the guys begin
pointing out different constellations. I’ve always been
fascinated by the constellations, but I’ve never been
able to connect the dots to see and recognize them.
Except for the Big and Little Dipper, that corner of the
creative side of my mind must still be locked away.
Then someone points out a satellite high overhead
moving rapidly from south to north. It’s the first one of
the evening, and all eyes quickly turn to the sky. Soon a
second and then a third satellite are spotted. We often

36 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 38

5/1/12 2:16 PM

have contests to see who can spot the most satellites
in a 15- or 20-minute period. It is not uncommon on a
clear night to see at least 10 pass overhead.
Soon it is time for all to call it a day. As the hangar
guys and gals begin to leave, we all pause and comment
on what a beautiful day and evening it has been.
As the last pilot leaves, I begin lowering the hangar
door, calling an end to another great day in paradise.
The Cubs all seem to be sitting at the ready, anxious
for another new day to begin and prepared for another
challenging day of students learning how to handle
their controls. Sometimes I think they might want
a day off after bucking and bouncing in the traffic
pattern for hours on end. But they never seem to mind.
They sometimes remind me of a well-trained young
dog. Though very tired from a full day of activity, they
can’t wait for the next sunrise and another day filled
with fun and excitement at the airport. But now it’s
time to get some rest.
As the hangar door closes and the door is locked,
I oftentimes will sit alone at the picnic table for a
few more minutes and think about the great day
and beautiful evening I’ve had the pleasure of
experiencing. So calm, so peaceful, so quiet, and so
serene. Is there any better place in the country to
spend a few reflective minutes?
The airport is a great place to spend a day. I love every
waking moment that I’m there, but I especially love
the last hour of the day. As I sit and reflect on the day’s
activity, I think about the six or seven students with
whom I flew. Each made progress toward learning to fly,
and at least one of them made their first solo flight that
day. It brings a huge grin to my face as I think about
how that student acted after the first flight lesson and
then how they felt after completing three solo takeoffs
and landings. What an achievement for them.
With rare exception the new solo flight student
can’t stop talking about the flight. The conversation
usually begins with, “I can’t believe how short the Cub
gets off the ground and the way it climbs when you’re
not sitting in front of me! And it seems to float forever
when landing.”
When a first solo flight occurs, the other folks at the
airport all drop what they are doing and gather in front
of the hangar to offer their personal congratulations.
All await the traditional shirttail cutting, then follow
with another round of backslapping, handshaking,
and good-natured ribbing.
Any one of you reading this article certainly has a
love for and great appreciation of flight. But the true
“icing on the cake” is the fun and camaraderie that
take place at a small country airport. There are no finer
friends, I’m convinced, than those who are active at
the airport.
As I finally get off the picnic table and head for the
parking lot I think, yes, it was another great day at the
airport. I can think of no other place I’d rather be.



‡ (.232/<


Vintage Tires
New USA Production
Show off your pride and joy with a
fresh set of Vintage Rubber. These
newly minted tires are FAA-TSO’d
and speed rated to 120 MPH. Some
things are better left the way they
were, and in the 40’s and 50’s, these tires were perfectly in
tune to the exciting times in aviation.
Not only do these tires set your vintage plane apart from
the rest, but also look exceptional on all General Aviation
aircraft. Deep 8/32nd tread depth offers above average
tread life and UV treated rubber resists aging.
First impressions last a lifetime, so put these jewels on and
bring back the good times..…
New General Aviation Sizes Available:

500 x 5, 600 x 6, 700 x 8

Desser has the largest stock and
selection of Vintage and Warbird
tires in the world. Contact us
with your requirements.
Telephone: 800-247-8473 or
323-721-4900 FAX: 323-721-7888
6900 Acco St., Montebello, CA 90640
3400 Chelsea Ave, Memphis, TN 38106
In Support Of Aviation Since 1920….


Vintage May2012.indd 39

5/1/12 2:17 PM


This month’s Mystery Plane comes to us from the
EAA archives/Cedric Galloway collection.

Send your answer to EAA, Vintage Airplane, P.O. Box
3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Your answer needs to
be in no later than June 10 for inclusion in the August
2012 issue of Vintage Airplane.

You can also send your response via e-mail. Send your
answer to [email protected] Be sure to include your
name plus your city and state in the body of your note
and put “(Month) Mystery Plane” in the subject line.

We enjoy your suggestions for Mystery Plane—in fact, more than half of our
subjects are sent to us by members, often via e-mail. Please remember that if
you want to scan the photo for use in
Mystery Plane, it must be at a resolution of 300 dpi or greater. You may send
a lower-resolution version to us for our
review, but the final version has to be
at that level of detail or it will not print
properly. Also, please let us know where
the photo came from; we don’t want to
willfully violate someone’s copyright.

38 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 40

5/1/12 2:17 PM

The A-38-1 was powered
by a 450-hp Walter-built
Bristol Jupiter IV radial,
which gave it a maximum
speed of 118 mph and a
cruising speed of 106 mph.
The February Mystery Plane came to our attention through Wes Smith of Springfi eld, Illinois.
We received one answer, from Thomas Lymburn
of Princeton, Minnesota. Here’s his letter:
“The February 2012 Mystery Plane is the 1929
Czechoslovakian Aero A -38. Your photo is one
of two A-38-2s delivered to the French airline
Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne, or CIDNA by Aero Vodochody. Developed
from the earlier Aero A-23 and A-35, the A-38
featured a two-man cockpit moved forward, an
enlarged passenger compartment for eight seats,
and a toilet and baggage space in the rear. The
cabin had doors on each side for easy entry.
“The A-38-1 was powered by a 450-hp Walter-built Bristol Jupiter IV radial, which gave it
a maximum speed of 118 mph and a cruising
speed of 106 mph. Its range was 500 miles. The
A-38-2 used a 420-hp French Gnome Rhone 9A2
radial. Its performance was similar to the Jupiter
powered model. Wingspan was 54 feet 11-1/2
inches, length 50 feet 2-1/2 inches, and loaded
weight ran from 7,050 to 7,200 pounds.
“Three A-38-1s were delivered to the Czech
airline Ceskoslovenske Statrti Aerolinie, or CSA,
registered L-BACB, OK-ACC, and OK-ACD. ACD
lasted in service until July 1936. The two A-39-2s
were delivered to CIDNA in May 1929 and were
registered F-AJLF and F-AJLG.
“Aero had been formed as Aero Tovarna Letadel in 1919 near Prague, initially to build
Austrian Phoenix fighters under license. It
manufactured a series of airliners, fighters, and
bombers of its own design and others under
license, including the Bloch MB-200 bomber,
up to WWII In 1921, its Aero A-10 was Czechoslovakia’s first commercial aircraft.
“Stroud’s European Transport Aircraft Since
1920 (Putnam, 1966), Taylor’s Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation (Portland House, 1989), and
Eden and Moeng’s The Complete Encyclopedia of
World Aviation (Barnes & Noble, 2002) all provide basic data on the Aero A-38, with Stroud’s
work having the same picture on page 36 of
Vintage Airplane.”

Scan this QR code with your smartphone
or tablet device to view our complete line

hat OOur
ur M
embers AAre
re RRestoring

Are you nearing completion of a restoration? Or is it done and you’re
busy flying and showing it off? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Send
us a 4-by-6-inch print from a commercial source (no home printers,
please—those prints just don’t scan well) or a 4-by-6-inch, 300-dpi
digital photo. A JPG from your 2.5-megapixel (or higher) digital camera is
fine. You can burn photos to a CD, or if you’re on a high-speed Internet
connection, you can e-mail them along with a text-only or Word
document describing your airplane. (If your e-mail program asks if you’d
like to make the photos smaller, say no.) For more tips on creating photos
we can publish, visit VAA’s website at Check the
News page for a hyperlink to Want To Send Us A Photograph?

For more information, you can also e-mail us at [email protected] or call us at 920-426-4825.

Vintage May2012.indd 41

5/1/12 2:17 PM


S o m e t h i n g t o b u y,
sell, or trade?
Classified Word Ads: $5.50 per 10
w o rd s , 1 8 0 w o rd s max i m u m , w i t h
boldface lead-in on first line.
Classified Display Ads: One column
wide (2.167 inches) by 1, 2, or 3 inches
high at $20 per inch. Black and white
only, and no frequency discounts.
Advertising Closing Dates: 10th of second
month prior to desired issue date (i.e.,
January 10 is the closing date for the March
issue). VAA reserves the right to reject any
advertising in conflict with its policies. Rates
cover one insertion per issue. Classified ads
are not accepted via phone. Payment must
accompany order. Word ads may be sent via
fax (920-426-4828) or e-mail ([email protected] using credit card payment (all cards
accepted). Include name on card, complete
address, type of card, card number, and
expiration date. Make checks payable to
EAA. Address advertising correspondence to
EAA Publications Classified Ad Manager, P.O.
Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086.

MISCELLANEOUS, Aviations’ Leading

Always Flying Aircraft Restoration, LLC:
Annual Inspections, Airframe recovering,
fabric repairs and complete restorations.
Wayne A. Forshey A&P & I.A. 740-4721481 Ohio and bordering states.
Restoration, fabric, paint, fabrications,
paperwork. With 53 completed projects,
Waco’s, Moth’s, Champs, Lakes, Pitts etc.
Test flights and delivery. Indiana 480-2092680 [email protected], www.

There’s plenty more . . .
and other goodies at



continued from page 21

continued from page 5

skids or tail wheels. Short “wheelbases”
on some of these top-heavy airplanes
made them prone to ground looping.
When most airfields had turf or gravel
surfaces, tailskid shoes being dragged
along such surfaces helped a lot to keep
them going straight. But the 1930s saw
the appearance of more and more paved
runways, and pilots quickly learned
that hard metal skid shoes could slide
sideways just as easily as dead ahead.
We saw some wild ground loops!
So tail wheels—fixed, lockable,
or steerable—began to appear. The
1933 Privateer P-3 had a steerable tail
wheel whose streamlined housing
served as a water rudder. The Courtney-designed Curtiss-Wright amphib
of 1935 adopted the then-radical tricycle landing gear to make landings
less wild and woolly.
The smaller Argonaut that also appeared that year had its tail wheel set
at the extreme aft end of the hull to
give a longer “wheelbase” and stronger directional control. With such a
tail wheel location, the aft ends of
hulls had to be made strong enough
to cope with tail wheel stresses.
Today we have epoxy adhesives,
all sorts of moldable plastics, composite materials, a wide selection of tubing, very light and compact ultralight
engines that drive small-diameter
propellers, and computer-assisted engineering. Already several light and
ultralight amphibians are on the market in both kit and completed forms.
Ultralights need little room in which
to take off and land, and as a result
have wonderful versatility. It’s a safe
guess that we’re going to see an everincreasing number of amphibians.
Designing a really good small amphibian is undoubtedly an engineering challenge. But then, compare what
we see at present-day EAA fly-ins with
the much less sophisticated homebuilts of 20 and 30 years ago. Just ask
Al Reay and some of the others how
much fun it is to fly back and forth
between the Ultralight area at EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh and the seaplane
base on Lake Winnebago!

price of just hauling it away. Steve
and a small core of very dedicated
volunteers located other equipment,
and with his trusty truck and group
of volunteers, they went to work reconditioning and transporting the
equipment to Oshkosh.
For many weekends prior to
the next AirVenture this dedicated
group of volunteers could be found
on the EAA grounds properly installing the commercial kitchen appliances to meet necessary building
and food service codes. This operation is inspected annually for compliance for both food and fire safety,
and it’s never failed to impress the
authorities with the operation and
professionalism of the Vintage crew.
Today the Tall Pines Café has become an early morning daily stop
for EAA AirVenture Wittman Field
campers as well as many attendees.
Nowhere else on the EAA grounds
can you get a hearty breakfast of
eggs, toast, pancakes, coffee, and
milk for a very reasonable price!
In fact, more than 5,000 breakfast
meals were served during EAA AirVenture 2011.
When asked what’s next for Tall
Pines, Steve replied, “Part two of
our business plan is to add a permanent picnic-style shelter, eliminating the tent used for serving the
meals and as the dining area. However, we’ll first need an okay from
EAA management. Then we’ll go to
work gathering donations to cover
the building materials. From that
point forward, with the help of the
many loyal volunteers, we’ll complete the building.”
Steve concluded, “I can’t express
my thanks enough to the volunteers who have helped make the
Tall Pines Café a success. Without
the volunteers this venture would
never have become a reality.”
Thanks to Steve’s tireless efforts,
food service at a very reasonable
price is now available to all folks
young and old at the south end of
Wittman Field.

40 MAY 2012

Vintage May2012.indd 42

5/1/12 2:17 PM


Enjoy the many benefits of the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association

Geoff Robison
1521 E. MacGregor Dr.
New Haven, IN 46774
[email protected]

Steve Nesse
2009 Highland Ave.
Albert Lea, MN 56007

George Daubner
N57W34837 Pondview Ln
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
[email protected]

Dan Knutson
106 Tena Marie Circle
Lodi, WI 53555
[email protected]

Steve Bender
85 Brush Hill Road
Sherborn, MA 01770
[email protected]

John S. Copeland
1A Deacon Street
Northborough, MA 01532
[email protected]

Espie “Butch” Joyce
6257 NC 704
Madison, NC 27025

David Bennett
375 Killdeer Ct
Lincoln, CA 95648
[email protected]

Phil Coulson
28415 Springbrook Dr.
Lawton, MI 49065
[email protected]

Steve Krog
1002 Heather Ln.
Hartford, WI 53027
[email protected]

Jerry Brown
4605 Hickory Wood Row
Greenwood, IN 46143
[email protected]

Dale A. Gustafson
7724 Shady Hills Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46278
[email protected]

Robert D. “Bob” Lumley
1265 South 124th St.
Brookfield, WI 53005
[email protected]

Dave Clark
635 Vestal Lane
Plainfield, IN 46168
[email protected]

Jeannie Hill
P.O. Box 328
Harvard, IL 60033-0328

S.H. “Wes” Schmid
2359 Lefeber Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
[email protected]

Ronald C. Fritz
15401 Sparta Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330
[email protected]

E.E. “Buck” Hilbert
8102 Leech Rd.
Union, IL 60180
[email protected]

Gene Chase
8555 S. Lewis Ave., #32
Tulsa, OK 74137

Charles W. Harris
PO Box 470350
Tulsa, OK 74147
[email protected]

Gene Morris
5936 Steve Court
Roanoke, TX 76262
[email protected]

John Turgyan
PO Box 219
New Egypt, NJ 08533
[email protected]


Vintage May2012.indd 43

Joe Norris
[email protected]

PO Box 3086, Oshkosh WI 54903-3086
Phone (920) 426-4800

Fax (920) 426-4873

Web Site:
E-Mail: [email protected]
Current EAA members may join the Vintage Aircraft
Association and receive VINTAGE AIRPLANE magazine
for an additional $42 per year.
EAA Membership, VINTAGE AIRPLANE magazine and one
year membership in the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association is available for $52 per year (SPORT AVIATION magazine not included).
(Add $7 for International Postage.)

Membership in the Experimental Aircraft Association,
Inc. is $40 for one year, including 12 issues of SPORT AVIATION. Family membership is an additional $10 annually. All
major credit cards accepted for membership. (Add $16 for
International Postage.)


Robert C. Brauer
9345 S. Hoyne
Chicago, IL 60643
[email protected]

Ron Alexander
118 Huff Daland Circle
Griffin, GA 30223-6827
[email protected]

Membership Services

Tim Popp
60568 Springhaven Ct.
Lawton, MI 49065
[email protected]

Please submit your remittance with a check or
draft drawn on a United States bank payable in United
States dollars. Add required Foreign Postage amount
for each membership.

Membership Services
Monday–Friday, 8:00 AM—6:00 PM CST

Join/Renew800-564-6322 [email protected]
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

[email protected]

Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft Hotline
877-359-1232 [email protected]
Auto Fuel STCs


EAA Air Academy

[email protected]

[email protected]

EAA Scholarships


[email protected]

Library Services/Research


[email protected]

VAA Insurance Plan


EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan

[email protected]
800-853-5576 ext. 8884

EAA Hertz Rent-A-Car Program

[email protected]

VAA Editor/Executive Director

[email protected]

VAA Office


[email protected]

Copyright ©2012 by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association,
All rights reserved.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE (USPS 062-750; ISSN 0091-6943) is published
and owned exclusively by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association of
the Experimental Aircraft Association and is published monthly at
EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Rd., PO Box 3086, Oshkosh,
Wisconsin 549023-3086, e-mail: [email protected] Membership to Vintage Aircraft Association, which includes 12 issues of
Vintage Airplane magazine, is $42 per year for EAA members and
$52 for non-EAA members. Periodicals Postage paid at Oshkosh,
Wisconsin 54902 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER:
Send address changes to Vintage Airplane, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh,
WI 54903-3086. CPC #40612608. FOREIGN AND APO ADDRESSES—
Please allow at least two months for delivery of VINTAGE AIRPLANE
to foreign and APO addresses via surface mail. ADVERTISING —
Vintage Aircraft Association does not guarantee or endorse any
product offered through the advertising. We invite constructive
criticism and welcome any report of inferior merchandise obtained
through our advertising so that corrective measures can be taken.
EDITORIAL POLICY: Members are encouraged to submit stories
and photographs. Policy opinions expressed in articles are solely
those of the authors. Responsibility for accuracy in reporting rests
entirely with the contributor. No remuneration is made. Material
should be sent to: Editor, VINTAGE AIRPLANE, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh,
WI 54903-3086. Phone 920-426-4800.
EAA® and EAA SPORT AVIATION®, the EAA Logo® and Aeronautica™ are registered trademarks, trademarks, and service
marks of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. The use of
these trademarks and service marks without the permission of the
Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

5/1/12 2:18 PM

Vintage May2012.indd 44

5/1/12 2:18 PM

Sponsor Documents

Or use your account on


Forgot your password?

Or register your new account on


Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Back to log-in