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New Spray Booth Update

April 3rd, 2011

We’re up, we’re running and boy is it nice. We passed the inspections with no problems and immediately got to work with a couple of Waco elevators. No trash, no overspray, just beautiful results.
Nando is one happy painter.

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New Spray Booth

March 3rd, 2011

We’ve been busy for the last couple of months and not just building airplanes! For quite a while (years) we’ve been working with the Airport, City building department, Air Quality agencies, etc to get a spray booth licensed and installed. Patience and perseverance usually have a way of working things out and this case was no different. Our new booth is installed and it’s a thing of beauty. Just a couple more inspections and sign offs and we’ll be ready to go. We don’t do a lot of painting by industry standards, but when we do, we want it to be perfect and that will be much easier now.
Can’t wait to crank this baby up and see what she’ll do.

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Crossing the Finish Line…

December 31st, 2010

4133238661_332c408f71_bI can’t believe we’re already rounding the pylon of another year, and what a whirlwind year it’s been. From Paris to Blakesburg, and all points in between. I can’t thank all our customers and associates enough. You are the ones who make this operation the success that it is. Thanks again to each and every one of you and sincere best wishes for a happy, healthly 2011 with even more fun filled adventures. I just hope 2011 slows down enough for us to enjoy it!

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Santa came a little early this year.

December 17th, 2010

I’ve been in the market for a power hammer for quite a while now. Almost every project that comes through the shop needs some degree of sheet metal work and often that involves some pretty complicated shaping. Over the years I’ve accumulated most of the tools necessary for metal shaping including English Wheels, Air planishing hammers, shears, brakes, slip rollers, bead rollers, etc, all the way down to shot bags, hammers and dollies. For really moving metal however, you can’t beat a power hammer for it’s speed and ability to either stretch or shrink. I’m happy to report that we now have a power hammer in the line up and it’s a beauty. Built by Steve Powell of Powell Hammers it’s a Pettingell 2M style hammer and we’re looking forward to putting it through it’s paces. If you’ve got a metal forming project that you need help with, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Weighing in at over 2500 pounds, it’s no wonder Santa had to make a seperate trip!dscn1521s

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New project arrival.

November 17th, 2010

dscn1263Last week I traveled to Atlanta to pick up this Waco YMF-5. The plan was to fly it back to Flabob where we would re-cover and repaint the airplane. This particular Waco is serial number 3 of the new airplanes built by Waco Classic Aircraft in Battle Creek, Michigan. Built in 1986, it’s accumulated over three thousand hours while giving rides from New Hampshire to Hawaii. Although it’s held up well, after 24 years the automotive polyurethane used on the fabric was really beginning to fail and it was time to have a look inside and then give the girl a nice shiny new dress.
The trip to California started off well enough, but the engine developed a problem along the way that ended the flying in Deming, New Mexico. If you have to get forced down somewhere, Deming is a great choice. Tony and the guys are alway helpful and in this case loaned me the “A” frame and some of the tools necessary to get the airplane disassembled so we could finish the trip on a truck and trailer.
The airplane is now safely unloaded at the shop and we’re beginning the disassembly process. If you’re a fan of the YMF series of Wacos, be sure to check back as bring this one back to better than new condition. It’s going to be a beauty.

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Family Portrait

November 2nd, 2010

You know it’s a good day at work when you look outside the shop and see three vintage racing planes sitting outside the window. There was some shuffling going on to get ready for this weekend’s Veteran’s Day festivities. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, so I got the Caudron out so it could join in too. This is the first time that all four of Tom’s racers have been together and they made for quite an impressive sight. How big is your toybox? More pictures here.dscn1248

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Cabin Waco Progress

October 8th, 2010

It’s been a busy summer. Between getting the Caudron to Oshkosh and then taking the Hatz for a little vacation, there’s been a lot of flying, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten about the Waco project. Much to the contrary, it’s taken it’s place front and center and we’ve been making great progress. The wing covering was finished and all four wings were painted with their metallic blue base color. The lower wings have had the airplane’s distinctive “wing” logo applied while the uppers are now ready for the same treatment.
The fuselage woodwork has also moved into high gear. The woodwork on a Cabin Waco is some of the most intricate you’ll ever find, and the Waco factory definately had their own way of doing things. There are no parallel tubes in the front cabin area, yet the window frames and channels have to be perfectly aligned or the windows will bind or rattle. Throw in a bunch of curves for the fabric stringers, and don’t forget the fuel lines that are routed through the same area.
They called it the Advanced Aircraft Company, and said “Ask any Pilot”. I say “Ask any Restorer”……..
Updated pictures in the current projects area.


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New Home For An Old Friend.

September 21st, 2010

Shortly before leaving for Blakesburg, I met with Chris, the new owner of NC622H, the TravelAir E-4000 we had restored for Granger several years ago. Chris took the airplane for a couple of circuits around the pattern at Flabob, was happy with the airplane’s handling, so he topped off the fuel and headed for home. Not a small thing when home is in West Virginia! With the exception of a flat tailwheel tire in Tucson, the airplane performed well and after 13 fuel stops over the course of 5 days Chris and the TravelAir arrived home without incident. Congratulations Chris and family. We hope you enjoy many years of great TravelAir flying fun and memories.

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Hatz to Blakesburg.

August 16th, 2010

Why would anyone in their right mind want to spend the better part of 10 years building a small open cockpit biplane from nothing more than plans, then once it’s finished, climb in and set out on a trip halfway across the U.S.? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’re clearly looking at the wrong website. If however, you’re one of the lucky ones who understands, feel free to follow along.

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Wow, What a Trip!

August 4th, 2010

In typical Oshkosh fashion, we were working on the airplane until after midnight the night before we left, but we got it together and departed on Thursday morning July 22nd. After a couple of overnights along the way and the normal weather dodging, we arrived at a soggy Oshkosh on Saturday afternoon and settled in for a wonderful week.
The Caudron was extremely popular and very well received and we were pleased and honored to received a nice award as runner-up antique replica. We all had a great time showing the airplane and anwering questions, especially “how do you fit in this thing?”.
Monday morning we pulled up stakes and started a hot ride home. The middle of the country was absolutely baking, but we arrived home without incident on Tuesday evening.
What a great trip and thanks to everyone involved, Tom, Christophe, Stephane, John, Nando, and everyone else at home and in the shop who helped pull this one off and were rooting for us the whole way.
I never want to do this again! Until next year…….

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