Sunday, July 12, 2015

Chuff Chuff Chuff

You meet the most interesting people as a pilot, and while it may be personal bias talking, I think you meet even more interesting people when you build your own airplane. Part of this is because you can become something of a mentor to people that bought their airplanes already built, like I did with my RV-6.  One of those people, who we will call The Judge, bought an already built RV-12, had it painted, and now keeps it nearby over at MadCo, which you may remember as my airport-of-choice for buying avgas.

I was helping do a little work on his plane one day when he suggested that we fly somewhere together. I had just the destination in mind: I thought he light like to fly out to Darke Co. to visit with the CEO of Schmetterling Aviation. It took awhile to get it done, what with rainy day after rainy day after... you get the drift. It's been a lousy summer for flying, unless you're a mosquito; they're eating it up!

We decided that The Judge would lead the flight from MadCo to KVES. We had a brief wait at the end of the runway while another plane landed.

Once in the air, I tucked in just behind, below, and to the left.  This worked out well, but as we were cruising along, I was able to take brief peeks at my panel to ensure that nothing was in the process of going awry whilst I wasn't looking. One thing that really got my attention was a traffic indication of an airplane flying from either KVES or Piqua to MadCo. He was right on our course line, albeit being reported as flying 200' below us. That's far too close for comfort, so I asked The Judge to make a 20 degree turn to the left. We flew off the Direct-To course line for a few minutes to get some clearance, then returned to course. As we did. we saw that plane pass in front of us no more than half a mile away.

Thank you, ADSB!

Being the youngster in the group, I rode in the kiddie seat.

As it turns out, this was the day of the Antique Farm Implement show at the county fairgrounds. I like old hardware in general, and tractors in particular.  Still, while walking through the flea market I saw this old propeller for sale.

I would be more inclined to believe this story had I not later seen a beat up old guitar being advertised as John Lennon's first guitar, and carrying a $19,000 price tag.

The "for complete story go to" thing leads to precisely nowhere.

As it turns out, though, it could be true. The 'Heath' mentioned above started a airplane company that became best known for the Heathkit line of electronics and kits:
Their products over the decades have included electronic test equipment, high fidelity home audio equipment, television receivers, amateur radio equipment, robots, electronic ignition conversion modules for early model cars with point style ignitions, and the influential Heath H-8, H-89, and H-11 hobbyist computers, which were sold in kit form for assembly by the purchaser.
Heathkits were influential in shaping two generations of electronic hobbyists. The Heathkit sales premise was that by investing the time to assemble a Heathkit, the purchaser could build something comparable to a factory-built product at a very significantly lower cash cost. During those decades, the premise was basically valid. Commercial factory-built electronic products were constructed from generic, discrete components such as vacuum tubes, tube sockets, capacitors, inductors and resistors, and essentially hand-wired and assembled. The home kit-builder could perform the same assembly tasks himself, and, if careful, to at least the same standard of quality. In the case of their most expensive product, the Thomas electronic organ, building the Heathkit version represented very substantial savings.
The Heath Company was originally founded as an aircraft company in 1912 by Edward Bayard Heath with the purchase of Bates Aeroplane Co, soon renamed to the E.B. Heath Aerial Vehicle Co. Starting in 1926 it sold a light aircraft, the Heath Parasol, in kit form. Heath died during a 1931 test flight. The company reorganized and moved from Chicago to Niles, Michigan. In 1935, Howard Anthony purchased the then-bankrupt Heath Company, and focused on selling accessories for small aircraft. After World War II, Anthony decided that entering the electronics industry was a good idea, and bought a large stock of surplus wartime electronic parts with the intention of building kits with them. In 1947, Heath introduced its first electronic kit, the O1 oscilloscope that sold for $50 - the price was unbeatable at the time, and the oscilloscope went on to be a huge seller.
It probably would have been worth $250 just for the hub.

My affinity for old tractors probably comes from learning to drive one way back in my pre-teen years. While we lived in a city, we also had a farm that we would go to every weekend. We had a Farmall M and a Ford Jubilee, but that doesn't limit me to looking at only those two brands.

Which isn't to say that I don't like the old Farmalls the best!  When I first started driving one, I had to get off the seat for my short little legs to fully depress the clutch.

Unable to resist the lure of the CHUFF   CHUFF   CHUFF of an old single piston engine, we finally tracked it down. Even with all of the mechanicals exposed and a fairly decent understanding of engines, we still took awhile to figure out where all of the requisite parts were, as you will hear in this short video:

The oil is a consumable, just like gas. It doesn't recirculate in the way modern engines do.

This old tractor caught my eye, primarily because of its color.

This is my favorite picture of the bunch. Although I was too small at the time to get up to eye level with it, this is the way I remember our old tractor - not as a pristine, better-than-new restoration, but as an aged implement kept in a dusty old barn.

As The Judge and The CEO are both interested in equine sports, we passed through one of the horse barns.  Other than the radio, this is a picture I could have taken sixty years ago.

As we were leaving the fairgrounds, I thought my eyes were deceiving me - it seemed like I was looking at a twin engine airplane parked in a field.

I was!

Even stranger was this immense croquet court. I can't even manage a guess as to what this is used for!

Back at the airport, my favorite statue ever is still there, expectantly watching the eastern skies waiting for the westward bound air mail plane to arrive. I have no idea, nor can I find an record of, KVES having anything to do with the old airmail routes, but there he is, incognizant of his place in history, but waiting and waiting just the same.

The two birds look quite sharp together.

The new autopilot panels have simplified the flying to the point where I can kick back and be a passenger, more or less, should I chose to. With a 67 degree OAT, it was quite a comfortable ride.

Piqua, OH.

The bugs were out in force, so I had some clean up to do when I got back.

The Windex and microplush towel are cleaning supplies. The other bottle holds a type of repellent: I drink it to keep me from jumping right back into the plane and going flying again!

1 comment:

Hugo said...

So, Dave, how did you get the propeller home.

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