Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Powerwashing a Le Rhone Rotary

Here's Glenn powerwashing the Museum's Le Rhone Rotary engine off the Sopwith Pup. It uses Castor Oil for lubrication and after a certain time, the oil will congeal and harden. Since the engine hadn't been run in 6 or 7 or 8 years, it's pretty much frozen the engine up tight.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fixing the Squeak

Glenn had test flown the Canuck on April 9th. While pulling the prop thru after the flight, we heard the most god-awful squeal. The next day, Glenn took the engine off the airplane and began taking it apart to find out what was going on inside of it. He found a cam bearing getting insufficient oil. He had it back on the airplane and running 2 days later.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Al Stix flies the Canuck.

Al Stix, owner of the Canuck and Co-Owner of Creve Coeur Airport takes off in the Canuck saturday morning. Al went around the patch three times, landed, then let me fly the airplane.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I flew the Canuck today.

Al Stix made me the offer of a lifetime today-flying his 1917 Curtiss Canuck in exchange for nothing. A few quick words of advice from Glenn Peck, Al lends me his helmet and I climb into the cockpit. Everything is already set. Al tells me a few words of advice and then backs away. I'm on my own.

I look over the nose to get my attitude. I don't even think about it because I know instinct will take over once I start rolling. I add power. The airplane slowly starts moving. I bring the stick forward to neutral and push the throttle all the way forward. The tail just barely comes off the ground and all of a sudden I'm heading up in an OX-5 powered elevator. Climb straight ahead. Lower the nose to level to turn. Throttle back to 1200 rpms to get rid of the vibration. Look outside! You're flying a Canuck (Jenny)!

I make my first pass. Glenn has my camera and I want to be sure he gets at least one of me flying this plane. Even at 60 mph, he and Al just whip by my cockpit. It's almost noon and the wind is picking up, so I'm really concentrating on the airplane. It's like flying a kite. Definitely a rudder airplane. Lots of adverse yaw and just a tad bit underpowered. This pass I would not try to land on because it feels so weird. I don't worry though, I'll deal with that later. I go around and set up for another pass.

I line up with the runway for the second pass. This time I'm more comfortable and I could easily land out of it.

The third time is the charm. I set up for a landing, leaving a little power in to make a soft landing on the grass.


I head over to the far right side of the runway and swing her around to the left. Glenn was right (as usual). It doesn't want to turn with the skid. I blast the throttle, forward stick to lighten the tail and back taxi down the runway.

I'm a Jenny's to Jets pilot.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Introducing Myself and Skyler

That's me, on the right. The alert one is Skyler. I took the picture 3 years ago on our way to Oshkosh. We'd just had a big lunch at Satchmo's, a restaurant in St Louis that we frequent.
For you photography buffs, the photo was taken with a 15-30mm lens on a Canon 10D. The 15mm equals 24mm on a film camera. I have a Tokina 17mm that I like the look of better for this type of picture and it's a smaller lens.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Introducing Glenn

Meet Glenn (not a small wooded area) Peck. My best friend and one of the top five tube-and-fabric mechanics in the country. You've probably never heard of him but he likes it that way. He's the Director of Maintenance for the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum (HARM). He also gets to fly the planes (and take me for a ride if they're a two-seater!). He's pictured here with the museum's De Havilland Dh-4 after an evening flight.