Thursday, July 19, 2012

Interesting Happenings in Vintage Aviation

I recently learned information about two interesting projects. There are many reasons to discuss both but I’m going to leave it at a bare minimum. Why?  I really just want to see them fly; for the first time and again.
Rhinebeck News
With little fanfare, it appears Rhinebeck has contracted Ken Cassens to finish the museum’s Spirit of St. Louis replica. This is the same plane he had been working on when tainted new blood arrived on the board of directors and ran everyone off, including Ken. And please note that “ran everyone off” is being extremely kind. Those people never should have been involved with the organization yet the story is an all too familiar one. They came in with ideas of making it their playground, wanted to run it like a Fortune 500 company, and subjected most of the people keeping Rhinebeck alive to torture, thus running them off. Sound familiar? Now though, with better blood returning, perhaps Rhinebeck will catch its second wind.  If you want more, just scan the internet.  It's out there.
Lockheed Vega(s) Being Restored
A few years back, I spoke with John Magoffin just after he and a friend had decided to split up the projects they had hoped to rebuild. John kept the metal Lockheed Vega and his partner kept the Pilgrims. Back then John stated he intended to get the Vega restored and that was exciting news. Now though the new exciting news is that his Vega is starting to take shape in an Arizona shop and wow is that exciting to see. But, since I’m guessing you already knew about John’s Vega, I thought maybe you’d like to know another one is in the works to return to the air.
I am told that Kermit Weeks has contracted Kevin Kimball to rebuild the wing on his Vega so that it may fly again. Although it will likely be a while before it is complete, it should be worth the wait. You know its funny how these things happen; some relatively unknown guy rebuilds his Vega and overnight Kermit’s pops up for restoration. The dynamics of vintage aviation are amazing. Often times all it takes to get more planes in the air is a challenge from someone who rolled up their sleeves.
Someday I hope to be able to tell you about the rabid restorer who says he is actively looking under every rock for a Stuka.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What can we do to get Kermit to restore his Douglas A-20?

I was hoping he'd do it before my buddy - and WWII A-20 driver - Lt jg Jim Duffy Ret, (12th USAAF, 47th BG, 86th BS Lt) passed away. But with Jim's health seriously in decline, it doesn't look like that will happen.