Milestones of Flight Museum

Miles Bowen

Originally published October 1997

Because of the unusual venue of this meeting, a formal call to order was not issued. In other words, this meeting "just happened". Those who attended filtered in out and around to see what there was to see, so there was no time at which everyone was in sight at once for an official head count.

Program:

For those who did not attend, the minutes will consist mainly of what there was to see at the Milestones of Flight.

Outdoors, there were several artifacts reminding us of the earlier days of aeronautical fire fighting. Among them were a C-119 and a British Argosy, both used to parachute fire fighters and equipment into the fire area. According to Dave Kleiman, the curator of the museum, the C-119 was particularly popular for this purpose due to its rear clam shell doors.

Also in residence outside the museum, was a well worn (you could SEE through the tail!) KC-97, formerly used by the Air National Guard.

Indoors, the largest collection of parts still in formation belonged to the fuselage and center section of Howard Hughes' B-25 that Mr. Hughes had converted for his personal use. An interesting choice of airplanes for personal transport, due to the fact that you would have to be a gymnast to scale the wing's center section to get from the relatively civilized rear air-stair door to the cockpit.

Mr. Kleiman reported that there used to be an A-26 at the museum, but was traded to Kermit Weeks for the hangar in which the museum now resides. Formerly, the entire collection was outdoors.Among the smaller aircraft belonging to the museum was an apparently complete Pietenpol AirCamper nicely fitted with a Model A Ford engine, and the partially completed fuselage of a Wing Derringer (2-place twin).

From the early days of rotary wings there was a relatively complete specimen of a Sikorsky HQ-19 formerly used by the U.S. Forestry Service.

Powerplants available for perusal at the museum range from a 1910 Hall Scott engine of 30 hp (purportedly used to power irrigation pumps), to an alcohol/liquid oxygen rocket engine of about the size and shape of that used to power the X-1 to the first supersonic flight, although Mr. Kleiman could not verify this particular engine's original purpose.

In between, there were two YJ93 turbojets used to power the XB-70 Valkyrie experimental supersonic bomber, one still fitted with the afterburner section. Also, there was an R-2800 with a sign stating that it had once been on a DC-3. (Does there need to be more research here?) Last but not least, what aviation museum would be complete without an OX-5?

Keeping the memorabilia company were several flying/flyable aircraft belonging to Chapter 49 and 1000 members: Mac Mendoza's beautiful 210 hp Swift, Steve Erikson's Fiesler Storch (temporarily down for engine change), and the George Gennuso/Chuck Firth Stinson 108 awaiting about a week's worth of TLC to be eligible for separation from its shadow.

Thank you, Mr. Kleiman for a very educational and entertaining meeting.

Surprise PPTAF Raid:

In attendance at his first meeting since joining Chapter 1000, Chris Reeder made the mistake of flying his Pitts S-1C in. Of course, he was detained pending inspection by plain clothes PPTAF officers. All would have gone well for Chris had he remembered the high-fructose bribes for the inspectors. As it was, we put a curse on the AEIO-320 engine, resulting in two start attempts before escape was possible.


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Revised -- 22 April 1998