Sunday, April 1, 2012
Sky and I went out and washed the plane this morning. Since the airport uses mineral-rich well-water, we took 10 gallons of our own and a garden bug sprayer to rinse it off. The airplane was covered with pollen, it seemed especially bad this year with our lack of a real winter and an early spring.
The misty morning began cool and windless. Glenn Peck swung the prop the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum's Mono Monosport-the soul survivor of its type as I held onto the tail. The engine took 3 swings to start in the cool morning air but soon settled in to its familar Kinner idle. Glenn squeezed himself thru the tiny door and gave me the "I have it" sign so I could clear the aircraft.
He taxied the smug-nose Mono-plane out to the grass runway, s-turning to see over the nose. Turning onto the grass runway, I quickly sped to the side of him, driving down the side of the runway to get into position.
The plan was to make a couple fast taxi runs to test out the landing gear which required some work after initial taxi tests. He did these, then applying full power, charged down the freshly mown runway, raised the nose and the airplane became airborne for the first time since 1952. Holding it just a few feet above the runway to check rigging and balance issues, Glenn flew it two-thirds of the way down the runway before cutting the power and letting it settle back to the runway.
He taxied back and pulled to a stop besides me, motioning for me to come over. I went over not knowing what to expect and he was laughing. "The little thing doesn't want to come down. It's go a lot of ground effect," he said chuckling.
"So, are you going to do it or are we going back to the hangar?"
"Oh no, I'm going flying," he said with a big grin on his face.
"Well, what are you waiting on?" I backed away from the plane and he eased the throttle forward to taxi back to the runway threshold.
He lined up and paused a few seconds to collect his thoughts. Then pushing the throttle forward, began his takeoff roll as I raised the camera to my eye. At 9:13 AM the little plane left the ground and climbed back into a sky it hadn't seen in over half a century.
This Monosport is one of 15 built. The aircraft was the forerunner to the Monocoupe. The factory offered it with the choice of either a Warner or Kinner engine.
The pictures are of the two takeoffs and landings Glenn made this day. The aircraft needs a few tweaks as most restorations do but the plan is to fly it Monday or Tuesday to do some air-to-air photography of her. There are no current plans to have the plane go to Oshkosh or Blakesburg.