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What’s been going on?

January 28th, 2013


When you’re getting near the end of a project, there’s lots of visible progress.  In fact it seems like every day there’s something new and cool to report.  Not so much during the early stages of projects though.   We’ve been hard at work on the three TravelAir projects currently in the shop.  Mostly just a lot of grunt work though, nothing really sexy or high profile.  We are getting really close to final assembly on the Sky Siren project.  Once it comes together for good, there’ll be plenty to report.

Stay tuned…

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Bruce’s TravelAir for Sale

October 22nd, 2012


My buddy Bruce has decided to put his 1929 TravelAir 4D up for sale.  Now this is not your ordinary run of the mill TravelAir, far from it.  First of all the 4D’s have the rare “outrigger” style landing gear.  This is a gear that was designed to have easier ground handling and also afford a higher gross weight.  Only about 65 TravelAir biplanes of configuration were ever built.

Bruce worked on the restoration for several years on his own before bringing it to Hemet in 2004 where we worked together to finish it 2005. Since then, it’s been on every Barnstormers Tour, been to the east coast several times, won most of the major awards including Grand Champion at Blakesburg and Casa Grande just to name a couple. Even though it’s been a consistent award winner, it’s no hangar queen.  Bruce has put over 800 hours on it since completion and you don’t put that kind of time on an airplane if it doesn’t fly right.  This thing is made for traveling.

At the end of last year’s flying season, the Wright R760-8 was ready for some attention, so it was overhauled and didn’t miss a beat during this year’s season.  He’s asking $180,000 and you couldn’t begin to reproduce it for that price.  It’ll probably wind up in Europe, that’s where a lot of the antiques seem to be going these days, but whoever does buy it, they’re in for some nice flying.

There are a bunch of pictures taken during the restoration here.

Contact me if you’re interested or know someone who might be.

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Flabob Flying Circus

October 3rd, 2012

jennyThe first annual Flabob Flying Circus is now just a fond memory, but what a great one.  The weather was perfect, the planes were spectacular, the pilots were all first rate pro’s and everyone seemed to have a great time.

We put 52 different planes in the air during the “Cavalcade of Flight”.  Those planes plus the other 70 plus on display made this first time event a wonderful success.

Once we’ve fully recovered, we’ll be posting as many pictures as possible at the event website Thanks again to everyone who participated.  Let’s do it again next year!

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Wow What A Summer!

September 10th, 2012


Where to begin?  Well first of all the Cabin Waco made it to Oshkosh with no problems.  We spent a nice week at Airventure parked in Phillips 66 Plaza next to the the Flabob DC-3 and Aeronca Chief (mycustomessaywriters).  At the end of the week the Waco was awarded runner-up in the custom antique category.

After Oshkosh, it was back to California to get the Monocoupe ready for the American Barnstormers Tour.  Sheila and I had a nice leisurely flight to Fargo ND where we met up with the rest of the barnstormers, then it was off to Brainerd MN, Eau Claire WI, Manitowoc WI, DeKalb Il, a nice couple of days in Iowa City, IA and finally the big Antique Airplane Association Fly-In at Blakesburg, IA.  3830 miles in the Monocoupe, 28 different airport stops and 15 states.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer vacation!


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Houston astros camo hat

August 25th, 2012

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I’ve always liked the look of a Nixie Tube Clock. They are Cold War-era clocks (now seen as steampunk) with metal coils in glass casings. I decided I wanted to build one, but the pieces were harder to find than I anticipated. SparkFun doesn’t carry the boards or kits and it seems they’re only found in Eastern Europe on eBay. The glass tubes themselves are not being produced anywhere that I could find, so the only ones available were used from a seller in the Ukraine also off eBay.

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Waco Photo Shoot

July 13th, 2012

We took the Cabin Waco out for it’s first photo shoot yesterday.  Mike Shreeve came out with his camera and “Pops” Newman was kind enough to offer the use of his PT-19 as the camera ship.  A little overcast, but pretty nice none the less.

Super guys and a super morning.  Thanks to all!


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Sometimes you’ve just got to step back

July 5th, 2012


I love this picture of the guy looking at his car. It hangs on the wall right outside of my office and I look at it every day. The first time I saw it, I instantly understood it and felt connected to it. If you work with your hands, you understand it too.

Last week, I was working in the shop with Nando and as we finished  installing the cowling on the Waco, we both became that guy in the picture.

We just stood there with our arms at our sides taking it in.

Neither of us said a word. Nothing needed to be said.

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Waco Flies

June 25th, 2012

In the previous post, the Waco went from being an inanimate object, to a living breathing thing, but there was still one step left.  One big step.  That step was taken last Wednesday when we ran out of things to do.   We’d been living on “To do” lists for the past few weeks, but by the time lunch rolled around on Wednesday, there was only one item left on that list.  FLY!

So we flew.

Took her around the pattern for about 20 minutes, watching temps and pressures, talking to her, listening while she talked to me.  Everything went great and she’s a real sweetheart.  Oh sure there are the normal little rigging adjustments, oil drips, uncooperative radios, etc, but as of Wednesday, she’s back in the air where she belongs.  We couldn’t be happier!


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It’s Alive…

June 2nd, 2012

There’s a very definite moment in time when a project goes from an inanimate object to a living breathing thing. To me that moment is when the engine is run for the first time. For the Cabin Waco project that occurred this last Wednesday. Like most first starts, this one was not without a certain amount of drama, but in the end it fired up and ran great. Check one big box, savor the moment and move on to a long list of boxes that still need to checked before the first flight. cid_102afcff-50a1-4d17-91ff-c5977a070a17oc_cox

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Cabin Waco Outside

May 4th, 2012

Last Saturday we were part of a small private party held here on the field. It was a typical fun day giving N3N rides and such, but we also took the opportunity to push the Cabin Waco out on the line. It’s the first time it’s been outside since we installed the wings and it sure looked nice sitting out in the sun.waco-outside

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