Well the 2014 AAA/APM Fly-in will certainly go down as one of our most memorable events, though more likely in an infamous sort of way than due to record attendance. We had a very challenging week with weather both here and across the country that cut our attendance figures by 30-35% over our 2013 record attendance. Still, even with all the challenges we faced, be it via mother nature or human nature, we had a safe event.
The AAA/APM Fly-in takes a massive effort yearly to prepare for and execute. It would be impossible for our small full time staff of four people to accomplish this task. Fortunately we have a loyal and growing number of volunteers who spend their time, talents and money to help make the AAA/APM Fly-in happen. Without their help and dedication the AAA/APM Fly-in is simply not possible. So with apologies in advance to anyone I may have missed, if you enjoyed our 61st annual event, make certain to "Thank" the following 101 individuals and 4 service organizations for their hard work and dedication in making the 2014 AAA/APM Fly-in a safe and fun event for all participants.
Jimmy Rollison, based at Yolo County airport near Davis, CA, has been buzzing the Napa Valley in his Aeronca C-3.
Posted in Chapter News | September 15, 2014
Details on the Texas Chapter Website.
Kristopher Hull sent us an update on the Spirit of St. Louis replication being built in Washington State:
Last summer I sent in some photos of John Norman's SoSL replica under construction, and I figured I would send in some more detailing the progress on it, and a plea for help!
In the past year, John has finished framing out the wings and has hung the wing on the fuselage to properly build up the attach fittings and hardware, as well as fit check everything. The main tank has been completed, and true to the original, it is made from riveted stainless with solder sealant. The tank was just recently installed into the fuselage to check its fit, and to assemble the support cradle. It fit with 1/8 inch clearance all the way around! The next steps are to complete the build on the wing and cover it, and completely strip the fuselage for final welding and paint before final assembly of all components this winter.
As for the plea for help, John is in urgent need of a set of 9 intake valves, all 18 valve springs, and a complete set of piston wrist pins for his original Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine. Without these, the project is dead in the water. If you know of source for these parts, please contact John Norman at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website.
Kristopher Hull Photographer/mechanic - TEAM Spirit
Greg Wilson sent an update on his PA-22 tailwheel conversion:
Glad to see that the fly-in went well despite the weather. I was unable to attend this year but spent the time getting my latest project ready to fly. It is a 1954 Piper PA-22-135 tail wheel conversion. Purchased as a disassembled project it took about 18 months to complete. I’m sure no other member has had a project take longer than expected...
On a serious note I used the Stewart's glue and paint system and a seeping fuel line leaked autogas dissolving the glue and blistered the paint. It was non-ethanol gasoline. Stewart said it is the injector cleaner in the gas that is the problem yet their books do not say anything about compatibility problems. I just want others to know that it could be an issue with autogas and the Stewart system glue and finish. I am waiting for the rain to stop here now and then it will finally fly. Thank you to Jim Younkin for the inspiration on paint scheme as well.
Though we realize conditions were less than ideal, if you attended the 2014 AAA/APM Fly-in and took a few or a lot of pictures and/or video, we’re in need of any or all images/video you captured. These images may be used on the website, in the Antique Airfield Runway, other type club & specialty publications we produce and in the latest "Brent Taylor Productions" video, of which the first (working title of "Lakesburg 2014") is already in production. If you would, please send the full size files via email or mail us a CD. Of course proper credit will be given for any content that is used. Thank you!
While most know Antique Airfield for the annual AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in and our annual Pumpkin Drop, another annual event is held a week or two after the AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in. That event is the "Rusty Shaw Memorial Fun Fly," and it consists of a loyal group of RC Sailplane enthusiasts who spend the weekend launching RC sailplanes into the air above Antique Airfield using electric winches.
The reason for the name of the event? Rusty Shaw was a well-known and very talented RC Sailplane builder/pilot as well as a loyal volunteer around Antique Airfield. When Rusty died a few year ago the event went from a sanctioned AMA event to a "Fun Fly" which seems to be a more fitting style event and one which we're certain Rusty would approve of. So if you're an RC Sailplane enthusiast or interested in learning more about the sport of RC Sailplanes plan on being at Antique Airfield the middle of next September to join in the fun.
Some of the many different RC Sailplanes that were flown over the weekend
That trailer either holds a full scale power glider or a very large scale RC Sailplane!
A group getting ready for another round of flying. Notice the electric winches on the ground which are used to launch the sailplanes.
AAA Lifetime member Jim Porter (center with transmitter in hand) is another well-known RC Sailplane enthusiast
Posted in Chapter News | September 15, 2014
Texas and Michigan Chapter Newsletters. Fly-in Reports & Announcements, Photos, Flying in Hawaii, C-124 Flying, and more!
Leon Basler has been piloting since the age of 14. His interest in flying has paved the way for a multitude of opportunities and jobs over the years, from his service in the Air Force to work as a corporate pilot. Throughout his career he has owned several planes, most of which have come and gone. But these days only one particular plane remains in his possession – a 1946 Aeronca Champ 7AC. And it just so happens the plane he owns today is the very plane he first flew in as a teenager.
Leon was raised in historical Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, a small town 60 miles south of St. Louis and located along the west bank of the Mississippi River. Having a fascination with flying as far back as he can remember, Leon lived only a couple of miles away from a neighboring farm that contained an airstrip and hangar. “I loved chasing after planes as a kid,” Leon said. “It didn’t matter what I was doing – whenever a plane flew overhead I stopped whatever I was in the middle of, jumped on my bike, and followed it to the airstrip.”
Leon’s curiosity led to a friendship, both personal and professional, with the operator of the farm, a man in his 30s named Louis Sexauer. Louis, who was known by others as Louie, soon took Leon under his wing and began teaching him the mechanics of flight and the various functions of the plane.
Where most kids his age were learning to drive cars, Leon was substituting his bike for planes and learning to fly with Louie at the helm, serving as Leon’s instructor and taking him up in the air in his 1946 Aeronca Champ. Instruction from Sexauer was conducted in an informal and non-conventional fashion. Leon learned how to become a pilot by receiving flight lessons whenever Sexauer was able to fit it into his schedule.
“I got over to the airstrip as often as I could,” Leon said. “Some days Louie was too busy working on the farm to take me up, other days we only had enough time to fly for a few minutes. And then there were days where we were able to complete a full hour in the air.”
In exchange for the lessons, Leon helped with work around Louie’s farm, which included haying, maintaining the airstrip and washing and polishing Louie’s 1946 Aeronca Champ.
The instruction continued into Leon’s senior year of high school. When Leon became competent enough for solo flight, Louie and Leon flew to the Sparta Regional Airport in Illinois, located just across the Mississippi River. Louie spoke to a flight examiner, and told him he had been working with Leon. He assured the examiner that Leon’s skill level met the standards required to receive a solo endorsement. Based on Louie’s guarantee, the examiner gave Leon a pre-solo and flight examination to demonstrate his abilities and knowledge, which he passed.
All because of Louie’s generosity and friendship, Leon was able to receive his certification at such a young age. “Louie was very courteous and giving with his time. He never asked for anything in return, he was just happy to pass along his knowledge and love for flight with someone who shared the same passion,” Leon said.
After high school Leon enlisted in the Air Force. He remained in touch with Louie and learned years later that he sold the plane Leon first learned to fly in. It was the early 1970s, a time where Leon was just beginning his career as a pilot.
More than three decades later, Leon began to wonder about the current state of the plane, and whether it was still operational. In the early 2000s, Leon was transitioning to a move to Bismarck, North Dakota, and decided to find out who owned the plane, more than thirty years after last flying it.
“I always wondered where the plane was,” Leon said. “I wanted to find out who had it. So I was able to track down the tail number through the FAA Registry, and learned it was sold to a pilot who lived in Farmington, Missouri, about 20 miles west of Ste. Genevieve.”
The owner of the plane was Mick Coleman. Leon phoned him and learned Mick had restored it in the late 1970s. Leon asked if he was willing to sell the plane, but Mick resisted, telling Leon the plane wasn’t one he was willing to part with it.
The calls continued off and on for several years. One call got Leon in touch with Mick’s brother, and during the conversation Leon brought up the possibility of selling the plane. Mick’s brother said Mick probably wouldn’t sell, but he took Leon’s information and told Leon he would pass it along to his brother.
Not long after that call, Leon received a call from Mick, asking if he was still interested in buying the aircraft. Before agreeing, Leon wanted to see what condition the plane was in. So he arranged for a friend who lived in Missouri to travel to Farmington in order to see it firsthand.
Leon learned from his friend that while the plane had been restored, one critical element had been neglected – the plane was no longer in one piece. He decided to take a chance and see it for himself. With a borrowed trailer from Kent Pietsch, Leon traveled from North Dakota to Missouri, all the while unsettled about the overall condition of the aircraft that had been stored away and virtually left alone for more than three decades.
But when he showed up and laid his eyes on the plane for the first time in more than three decades, he was surprised by what he saw. “I couldn’t believe how good its overall condition was after sitting over that period of time. Other than a little dust, it was reasonably well represented for the amount of time it sat,” Leon said.
Leon purchased the plane and brought it to its new home in North Dakota. For the next year he worked to reassemble the plane with the professional assistance of Gary Johnson and the crew of Pietsch Aircraft and Restoration in Minot.
And now, the plane that Leon learned to fly in nearly fifty years earlier is back in his hands. These days, every time Leon steps into his plane, it recalls those early days of life in Missouri, chasing planes on his bike and eventually following his dream of becoming a pilot.
“Each flight brings back the memories of learning to fly as a young kid and the lifelong relationship with the person that made it happen, Louie Sexauer,” Leon said.
(Story by Brian L. Gray)