Family, Friends, Food, Florida, Flying, Fun and good memories, but not necessarily in that order…..part 2
Louis Gardner was kind enough to put up with Joe Caputo and me for an entire day that turned into quite a memorable one. The tour of the American Aero Services shop in New Smyrna Beach, FL, was the icing on the cake, but most important was meeting a new friend in person after quite a few years. We had a ball, and I think Louis’s wife Sandy is probably still recovering. Thanks, Louis, we appreciate it more than you know.
Taking me into a working restoration shop is sort of like letting me into airplane heaven, as shops like this were where I came of age and learned my trade many years ago. Seeing all of that brought back a flood of memories, good, bad and funny. So please forgive the quality of the photos, because every time I stopped to take a pic, something else caught my eye, the kid in a toy store urge hit, and off I went. So:
A shameless plug for the Nose Art Group Build! This is the nose art on the Collings Foundation’s B-17, “Nine-O-Nine”. This airplane and several others belonging to the foundation are here for their winter heavy maintenance.
A couple of views of the B-17. Note the very faded OD paint. This airplane gets flown a lot and spends much of her time outside. I can’t help but think that this is what an in service airplane would have looked like many years ago.
#3 and #4 engines on the B-17 opened up for maintenance. The airplane is outside, so many things are covered to keep the elements out. These are Wright R-1820’s.
Nose art, B-24 “Witchcraft”.
The B-24 on the ramp.
#1 engine on the B-24. #2 has been removed for overhaul. These are Pratt and Whitney R-1830’s, basically the same engine used by the C-47. Another TBM in the background. The paint on this one is pretty faded, too, but for some reason the panel lines aren’t all outlined in a darker color…
B-24 nose turret. The bombardier’s position is directly under the turret, must have been an interesting place to work. The guns, BTW, are elevated and depressed via sprockets and a bicycle chain. The metal strip across the bombardier’s glass is the windshield wiper.
The starboard engine on a P-38. These are Allison V-1710’s, also used on the P-40. The prop is a Curtiss electric unit. Personally, I prefer Hamilton Standard props!
View of the P-38. She’s pretty much disassembled. An interesting find was the blocks of lead bolted into the nose to compensate for the weight of the missing guns and ammo boxes.
Port outboard radiator on the P-38. There are four of them, held in place by metal straps that are lined with rubber strips to prevent damage to the radiators. The booms are interchangeable from left to right.
The first of two P-51’s in the hangar. This one is the two seat C-model, which has been completely stripped and disassembled.
The second P-51. She’s on jacks for the retraction test, and the radiator has been removed for overhaul. It’s secured in the same fashion as the P-38’s radiators.
My baby, the C-47. I was a flight mechanic on these for several years back in my freight dog days and this is the first flyable Gooney I’ve seen in quite a while. “Placid Lassie” dropped paratroopers on D-Day over Normandy, one of the few surviving C-47’s with documented combat history. Good view of a Hamilton Standard 23E-50 propeller.
A couple of quarter views of the C-47.
Starboard engine on the C-47, “Eager Eileen”.
Port engine on the C-47, “Idlin’ Ada”. P&W R-1830’s. The bell shaped device is the ram air scoop for the airplane’s heating system. Heat is taken from a shroud around the exhaust stack and blown into the airplane by that scoop. A second small scoop on the fuselage under the cockpit mixes cold air via a cable operated flapper valve with the hot air for temperature control. Simple, yet effective. Most of the time, anyway…
An F6F-3N Hellcat. This one just had the wings installed and is well on to the way to being flyable again.
This is a wing jig holding the center section of a PBY. Rumor has it the rest of the airplane is elsewhere on the field being rebuilt, though we didn’t see it. This airplane is also powered by R-1830’s.
Another blatant plug for the Nose Art Group Build! B-25 “Tondelayo”.
Tail markings on the B-25.
Hangar shot with the B-25 against the far wall. This gives you some idea how big the hangar is. There are machine and overhaul shops at the opposite end of the building.
An interesting machine – Grumman TBM-3E. Notice the vertical fins on the stabilizer and the modified canopy that screams of the ASW version. It’s hard to tell if the airplane was built like this or modified somewhere down the road, as many restored warbirds had previous working lives before the restoration craze hit. This one has the standard bomb bay instead of a belly radome.
I can’t begin to thank Louis enough for giving us the grand tour. This is the second time I’ve made good friendships through iModeler, which just proves that scale modeling can bring together people from all walks of life. I encourage all of you here to try to hook up with other members who may be close to you. You never know what might happen!