Just a quick heads up to let you know that we'll be spending the whole weekend again at the hangar, continuing on annual inspections. Both Stearmans are nearly wrapped up, which means it's onto the big Texan. With all three airplanes down for annuals, we're temporarily grounded. But not for long! Hopefully Old Man Winter gets tired of the Midwest and leaves us alone for much of 2011.
In between annuals and hibernating, Brian and I have started tossing around some restoration ideas for the Stinson 108-2 project we have stored at my parents' farm. One thing we both agree on... after being in a corn crib for over thirty years, it's going to cost a lot more and take a lot longer than we expect. I dread thinking of the amount of sanding and fabric work involved (this is where having kids would come in handy). But the idea of the finished taildragger keeps the daydreams going. Who knows? Maybe we'll grab a wing, pull of the fabric and do a little sanding...
So what do you do in the winter when it's too cold and snowy to fly? Brian and I are using the downtime to start on annuals (I'm still scrubbing grease out of my nails from cleaning behind the Red Baron's engine). Although some days it's hard to find the motivation to brave the negative-temp cold and wait for the hangar to warm up. This weekend however, come blizzard or sunshine, we'll be busy bees at the hangar. The Sokos and Brian's brother Travis will be in town and at the hangar with us. So, stop by - we'd love the company... and the extra hands :)
Here are some more party pics from the hangar on New Year's Eve.
L to R: Keith, DJ, Ray, Mark and Brian at the party
L to R: Travis, Mark, Jean, Judy, Randy
Dan Soko getting schooled by the Ledet boys.
Dan Soko & Jim Pippert watching the slide show
Matt Michael and Matthew Sawhill
Here are some photos from the New Year's Eve party at the hangar. I'll post more tomorrow. Enjoy!
The guys took lighting seriously for the party. Dan Soko even strung lights in the cowling of the Red Baron. Definitely a bright idea!
Annabelle got plenty of attention (and food!) at the party.
Paul & Cheryl Austin made the party.
Craig Martin (left) visits with Craig Sommerfeld (right), likely complimenting him on the AWESOME ribs he brought to the party.
Matthew Sawhill was the night's official Tech Guy. He brought all the gear to watch a slideshow of photos Dan Sokolowski put together. It was a big hit.
The party's just getting started... and everyone is glued to the screen, watching the slideshow.
I don't have the photos from the party ready for the blog yet, so to pass the time, I thought I'd pass along a neat setup we saw at this past year's Stearman Fly-in.
This is an experimental Stearman owned and flown by Thomas Thomas (no, seriously, that's his name) of Canada. Below is the unique engine and funky prop he slapped on the front. That's cool, but the coolest part is the bomb gear he added to the handles. The clasp is strong enough to hold a bowling ball (his favorite bomb), which he can release by a quick tug on a cable in the cockpit.
Kudos to Thomas Thomas for his ingenuity and cool factor!
360 HP Russian engine with a Briggs & Stratton gear drive
Well, it's official. 2011 is here to stay. I'm proud to say we wrapped up 2010 in style. Despite the weather, the hangar party was great with plenty of friends and food (stories & pictures will be posted later this week)... and Annabelle is already missing the attention. Hmm, maybe we should have parties more often? :)
After a lazy weekend, it's back to work.
Stay warm, stay healthy, and most importantly, stay happy!