Meanwhile, in Wyoming

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Mick Quaal’s Beechcraft Twin Bonanza up a big pole by the side of I-90 in Wyoming.  – August 2017
(Picture by Glenda Kiger, used with permission)

Today my friend Glenda Kiger posted picture on Facebook (that’s it up above)  that caught my eye.  A yellow twin-engined aircraft up a very long pole apparently somewhere in Wyoming.

A quick Google search confirmed my first thought that it’s a Beechcraft Twin Bonanza. It may be a D50E model but the differences between the models are fairly small. I’m happy to accept it’s a D50E and move on.  The Twin Bonanza was first flown in 1949 and production began in 1951. The United States Army adopted the Twin Bonanza as the L-23 “Seminole” utility transport, purchasing 216 of the 994 that were built. (Wikipedia)

That pole, though, is obviously pretty big. The wingspan of a Twin Bonanza is 45 feet, fuselage length about 31 feet. Google and YouTube (and my Mark 1 eyeballs)  suggest the pole is 70 feet tall.  I was also interested in what appears to be some kind of device under the aircraft that might be a pivot, which would allow the aircraft to rotate with the wind, making it one heck of a weather vane.   Other posts on the web suggest that the propellers rotate freely in the wind.

The aircraft is apparently owned by Mick Quaal (hence the big “Q” on the side – you can see the rest of the name when you enlarge the picture) and is located to the east of Sundance, Wyoming, just off I-90. I had a trundle round in Google Earth to see if I could see it, but a 45-foot yellow dot in the vast Wyoming countryside didn’t stand out, sadly. Never mind, I shall try again another time.

There is also a rather nice YouTube video of the aircraft being hoisted into its current resting place.  An article in the Sundance Times (Wyoming) suggests the aircraft was put there in the summer of 2014.

Anyway, it’s something something nicely quirky for National Aviation Day here in the United States. Thanks Glenda!

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Support Your Local Fly-In

Today (November 5th) at the Atkinson Municipal Airport in Pittsburg, I attended a Veterans’ Appreciation Warbird Fly-in. It was nice for several reasons. I didn’t have far to go – the airport is abut two miles from where I live. I’ve never seen so many people at the airport and never seen such an interesting gathering of types. It was a very pleasant morning and my thanks to all the folks who made such an effort to put it all together. It would also be appropriate to remember all the veterans who were there, and those who weren’t.

All the photographs in this blog entry are my own work and  licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Nanchang CJ-6

A couple of Nanchang CJ-6 having fun during the morning. (Own photo)

 

T6 Arrival

One of the three T-6s in attendance. This one is interesting having “modern” RAF roundels and the crest of No 1 FTS (the oldest military pilot training school in the world – celebrated its centenary in 2009) on its rudder. It wears an all black scheme reminiscent of the Tucanos currently flown by 1FTS at RAF Linton-On-Ouse, Yorkshire.

 

Grumman FM-2 Wildcat and Cessna 0-1 "Bird Dog"

Grumman FM-2 Wildcat N551TC and Cessna 0-1/L-19A ‘Bird Dog’ 51-12167 N5242G – Veterans of different wars, together at the Atkinson Municipal Airport, Pittsburg, KS.

 

T-33 arrives

If this really is Lockheed T-33A-5-LO 56-3689 then it has a fairly interesting story.   Joe Baugher says: “3689 assigned to NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), Ellington Field, TX. Registered as NASA 939. Assigned to NASA Langley Research Center, Langley Field, VA Sep 28, 1970 to Mar 30, 1971. Registered as NASA 513. Assigned to 155th TRG, Nebraska ANG, Lincoln, NE. Registered to Heritage Air LLC and flying again, using the old NASA registration number of N939NA.”

 

FM-2 Wildcat N551TC

FM-2 Wildcat Bu.47160 N551TC. This example has had quite a life postwar. According to the Warbird Registry it was used as an instructional airframe by a trade school in Montana between 1950 and 1956, at which time it was sold and converted to be a crop sprayer. It seems to have been rescued and restored again in the early 1970s.

 

Slepcev Storch

Slepcev Storch N78018 “The Slepcev Storch (English: Stork) is a Serbian type-certified, kit and ultralight STOL aircraft, designed by Yugoslavian-Australian Nestor Slepcev and currently produced by Storch Aircraft Serbia in several different versions. The ultralight version is a 3/4 scale replica of the Second World War Fieseler Fi 156 and is supplied as a kit for amateur construction or as a complete ready-to-fly-aircraft. The aircraft was first flown in 1994. It was originally manufactured by Slepcev’s company, Slepcev Aircraft Industry of Beechwood, New South Wales, Australia. The company was later renamed Storch Aviation Australia. The aircraft was type-certified in 1999 to the Joint Airworthiness Requirements – Very Light Aircraft (JAR-VLA) standard. Production then moved to Serbia where a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale microlight category model was developed.” (Wikipedia)

Nebraska Scavenger Hunt

Last week my wife was up at a conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. Having the afternoon off I decided to see if I could find any old aircraft worth visiting in the area, given that we knew we’d be visiting the Strategic Air and Space Museum the following day. What followed was a slightly delightful odyssey across South-East Nebraska taking in four small municipal airports which had old military aircraft in varying states of preservation on their land.

This is what the drive looked like most of the time – it wasn’t what you’d call crowded. 🙂

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First up was York Municipal Airport, which had this rather nice RF-84F on display – this is Republic RF-84F-10-RE Thunderflash 51-1935  which according to Joe Baugher probably didn’t serve in the USAF or Nebraska ANG but was supplied to a NATO country (others in the production line went to Turkey, West Germany and the Netherlands) before being returned to MASDC for disposal.

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After a long drive and a brief excursion up a dirt road I came to the Municipal Airport at Fairbury,  where I saw this rather sad looking T-33  – Lockheed T-33A-1-LO  51-9111.   It was, as you can see,  in a pretty sorry state. The cockpit canopy has gone, and a section of the vertical stabilizer.   My 10-year old guide book implied there was an F-100 somewhere in Fairbury but I didn’t see it at the airport.
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A little way further on I came to Beatrice (not pronounced the way I say it!) and saw another T-33 in a slightly less sorry state. Lockheed T-33A-1-LO 51-8880, which seems to have had some lights added to the wingtips for signage illumination purposes.

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As things were starting to get late, it was time to head to my last stop at Crete, where I found an interesting F-86D  at the Municipal Airport.  North American F-86D-40-NA Sabre 52-3735.   I couldn’t help noticing the badge of the Seabees on the concrete plinth.

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This was the formal ending of the afternoon’s activity but I had a couple more examples to show over the following days before we came back to Kansas.

I didn’t want to contend with the Lincoln traffic on a Friday afternoon,  but after we saw a KC-135 land at the ANG base adjacent to the airport we had a poke around on Saturday morning and found  57-1495 parked on the fence line. Joe Baugher says it’s a KC-135E which started life as a Boeing KC-135A-BN Stratotanker.  I’m not absolutely sure if this is an active aircraft since the other KC-135s in the background look like KC-135R  models with the re-engine mod done.   No doubt someone can set me straight.  🙂   There is supposed to be an F-86L, a T-33, an F-4 and something erlse at the ANG base but I only caught a faint glimpse and couldn’t work out where to go to get closer.

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Up at Ashland, and at the Strategic Air and Space Museum. A few Aircraft are now being displayed outside.

2015-05-30 11.46.12Chief among them is Rockwell International B-1A Lancer 76-0174, which was previously on display at Wright-Patt and  moved to Nebraska at the end of  2003.  I don’t think the paint scheme is exactly accurate for this specific aircraft, or how much it’s faded, but it looks impressive for now.

Inside the atrium,  I understand actually the Atrium was built around it, is a certain Blackbird. Lockheed SR-71A, AF Serial 61-7964 (c/n 2015).

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And hidden around the back, while the airframes are being reshuffled, is one of my personal favourites,   Avro 698 Vulcan B.2 XM573.  It looks a little folorn, but not as folorn as the wingless EC-135 sitting next to it (just off the left edge of my picture here).   ‘573 sat at Offutt AFB gathering moisture and rust from 1982 until 1998 or thereabouts, (look at the jet pipes if you want your own proof)  and looks likely to gather a little more before they bring it inside again.

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And finally, up a pole on I-80 advertising the Strategic Air and Space Museum we find Republic F-105D-15-RE Thunderchief 61-0069.    As I’ve said in a few places before this machine is a documented Vietnam war combat veteran, having shot down a North Vietnamese MiG-17 with an AIM-7 missile on June 3, 1967.   0069 was held by a museum in San Bernadino, CA until the Strategic Air and Space Museum bought it and hoisted it up its pylon on the Interstate.   It seems rather an unsuitable end for such a veteran.

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All in all it was a very enjoyable weekend even if I do differ with the  Strategic Air and Space Museum on a few of their approaches to preservation and conservation. However they are the ones on the ground doing the work in difficult circumstances, so I’ll save my armchair quarterbacking for some other place.