Saturday, January 30, 2010


This intermission is a break between stories. A lot has been going on at the museum and updates are coming. In the mean time, here are a few items to help keep you informed.

In addition to being an active volunteer at the museum for the past year, Rene completed his senior year at Skyline while staying active in Scouting and the Dallas police explorer program

Rene proudly displays two awards he recently received from the Dallas Police Department program. We are happy to have this young man as one of our volunteers.
Miguel is working on a new series of pictures at the museum. It is always fun when he comes and we understand that he may have some pictures from the CAF to share as well.

It is fun to take snapshots as Miguel and his crew do their work.

We are glad to see almost everyone smiling when they visit the Cold War Air Museum

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

$100 Hamburgerski

A time-honored tradition among pilots is the "$100 Hamburger", a trip to another airport for lunch. The weather was so fantastic on Sunday that we decided to take Mi-2 Bord 211 out to get a Hamburgerski.

The Mil Mi-2 is a bit slow for cross country flight, but it has excellent visibility from which to view the Texas countryside.

Because it is an unusual aircraft,
the Mi-2 becomes "an airshow everywhere it goes".

Almost before Bruce can get his flight bag out of the Mil,

someone shows up to see the little helo and its crew.

Of course, in Texas, barbeque is the preferred Long Distance Lunch of choice. Hard 8 BBQ in Stephenville has an excellent selection of sausage, ribs, brisket, and other meats.

The Hard 8 is legendary among pilots and this last Sunday it more than lived up to its reputation... it was necessary for all pilots to recalculate Weight & Balance for the trip back!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Soviet Big Iron Saturday

A "flying" museum, like the Cold War Air Museum must exercise their aircraft, or at least the engines and systems on a regular basis.

Saturday was a work day for our many volunteers and supporters. A number of aircraft were brought out for engine start and exercise.

The Mi-2's and Mi-24 are run up on a regular basis.

Starting the Mi-24 can be exciting. The aptly named Saphir APU has a tendency to blow out any excess fuel during its start cycle. The sight and sound is impressive. Once again, our thanks go to Miguel for this outstanding picture. This picture and a number of others can be found as a desktop display on the "wallpapers" page at the museum main web site.

Fuel sales for the "big iron" help support the airport.

Visitors commented that it felt like they were on a Soviet air base. For a short time Saturday, that feeling was understandable.

The MiG-23 is still undergoing restoration while the L-39's at the museum fly regularly.

With local and world-wide coverage from our web sites, we often gain new associates. One of our new associates is a former Russian pilot and MiG-23 instructor who is currently employed at a major flight training center at DFW. He is a big help with systems knowledge and practical experience in the MiG-23.

Vadim and Jon debrief their MiG-23 taxi test.

The MiG-23 looks like it's going supersonic, just standing still.

The massive R27-F2M engine in the MiG-23 makes a wonderful, unmistakable howl as the power comes on.

No Mud Today! Just lots of happy noise from turbines turning and burning, consuming Jet-A.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mil, Mi-24 "Gate Guardian" Update

We've run a series of stories before about the Gate Guardian project here at Lancaster. This airframe, Bord 122,  became available for static display after one of the Mi-24 helicopters on its way to the Cold War Air Museum encountered a bridge (the disassembled helicopter was on the back of a truck at the time), while on its way to its new home.

After a series of events involving shipping companies, insurance companies and salvage bids, our sister museum on the airport, the DFW wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) received this donated airframe. Since then, they have been diligently working to bring the Mil up to display status. The external sheet metal, seen here, has received a number of repairs and the non-working transmission has been remounted and braced to receive a set of blades.

The CAF crew's patched and painted set of blades will be mounted later this summer.

When the exhibit is ready, its new home will be on a reinforced pad outside the CAF museum. The site will be visible from the main road feeding the airport. For more stories about the "Gate Guardian" project, click on the Bord 122 label. below.

Our friend Miguel recently visited the CAF end of the airport and added some photos of their planes to his Flikr page. We are looking forward to better weather so he can continue to add more pictures of both museum's aircraft.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

History of the L-39 in Bulgaria

A follow-up to the L-29 history blog is naturally the L-39 history. Several L-39s are at Lancaster and 3 of them are ex-Bulgarian so I thought this might be interesting.

While most L-39s produced were of the L-39C version, Bulgaria ordered 36 of the L-39ZA which began arriving in 1986 at the 3rd UBAP in Kamenetz airbase where it replaced MiG-15UTI and MiG-17 jets. By the end of the year 12 L-39s had been delivered. The first was bord 827 (c/n 633827) which first flew on September 1, 1986. The regiment officially accepted the L-39 in service in 1987 and during that year Bulgaria also received a further 6 L-39ZAs and a TL-39 simulator which was installed at Dolna Mitropoliya airport.

The plane has a greater capability than the L-29. It has the characteristics of a lightweight fighter with a wide range of use for close combat support because of its mountable weapons. The handling is heavier than the L-29 however (especially with the ZA modification’s mounted 23-mm gun) but was warmly welcomed by the Bulgarian pilots because of its excellent aerodynamics, safety, economics and equipment. Even so, while it was normal training procedure for the cadets flying the L-29, it was forbidden to practice entering and exiting a spin in the L-39. It was initially used by cadets who were pending to fly on the strike aircraft Su-22M4, MiG-23BN and Su-25 while the L-29s and some MiG-21PFMSs were used for the cadets meant to fly on MiG-21 and MiG-23 interceptors. After the retirement of the MiG-21PFM at Kamenetz, all cadets began using the L-39 for training and usually flying the L-29 before flying the L-39. As the numbers of airworthy L-29s began decreasing in the 1990s, the L-39 gradually became the main trainer. Another 18 machines were delivered in 1990, 16 of which went to re-equip the 1st squadron at Shtraklevo airbase.

The additional delivered aircraft led to a plan in the early 90s to use the L-39 alongside the main combat aircraft at the various combat regiments. Initially pilots would go to Kamenetz to perform flights on the L-39 however in 1996 L-39s were distributed throughout various airbases which included Dobrich (MiG-21, Su-22), Ravnetz (MiG-29), Bezmer (Su-25), Cheshnegirovo (MiG-23BN) and Graf Ignatievo (MiG-21). The idea was to use the L-39 so that the new pilots who had recently graduated can fly on it until reaching the required 200 flight hours before being allowed to fly on the main combat aircraft in the given regiment. Additionally combat pilots used it to maintain proficiency which was much cheaper to do in an L-39 than a MiG or Sukhoi aircraft. In 1998 Shtraklevo airbase was closed and any remaining L-39s went to Kamenetz. In 2000-2002 Dobrich, Ravnetz and Cheshnegirovo were also closed. L-39s remained at Graf Ignatievo since the pilots of the newly relocated regiment from Ravnetz needed to maintain proficiency. The lack of enough airworthy MiG-29s was the main reason L-39s remained there. During the years L-39s participated in various exercises the most famous of which are the Cooperative Key series. In 2006-2007 Kamenetz airbase was also closed and all remaining L-39s were transferred to Dolna Mitropoliya airbase.

Only one airframe was lost since the plane entered service. The accident happened with bord 917 on October 2, 1990 during a low level formation flight. After a pilot error, in order not to hit the lead plane the cadet in the chase plane throttled back the engine all the way to position “stop” which naturally resulted in the engine stopping. Despite the instructor’s best efforts to restart the engine, it didn’t work. The low altitude left little hope of a successful ejection and the plane crashed with both pilots perishing. Of the 35 L-39s that survived 12 are still in service with the Bulgarian air force although none are currently flying. At least 7 have been sold to the USA with 3 at Cold War Air Museum. 5 were sold to Ethiopia and the rest are either stored or sold to unknown customers.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mil Mi-24D Bord 118 from Aviation Graphic

Museum associate Miguel has been working with Aviation Graphic to produce a poster of our Mil Mi-24D Bord 118. The result is a poster suitable for framing as shown below. Miguel and Ivan researched the history of Bord 118 and Miguel provided high-quality photos of Bord 118 to the artist so that the resulting poster is both visually and historically accurate.

Originally delivered in May 1981, Bord 118 has served in different helicopter regiments in the Bulgaria Air Force. First housed with the 44th VAP (Vertoleten AvioPolk) or Helicopter Air Regiment at Plovdiv airport. In the fall of 1982, Bord 118 took part in the first major Warsaw Pact joint exercise in Bulgaria named “Shield 82” among 60,000 allied troops which included units from the northern-tier Warsaw Pact countries.

After successful participation in “Shield 82”, Bord 118 was moved to the newly created 13th VPBV (Вертолетен полк бойни вертолети) Attack Helicopter Air Regiment of the 10th Combined Air Corps. Both regiments, the 13th (flying Mi-24 attack helicopters) and the 44th (flying Mi-2, Mi-8 and Mi-1) served at Krumovo Air Base until May 27 1983, when all the Mi-24 Hind helicopters were transferred to Stara Zagora Air Base. On August 18 1994, the 13th VPBV was reorganized into the 23rd VAB (Vertoletna AvioBaza) or helicopter airbase (23.VAB).

In early 2000 and due to order of battle changes, Stara Zagora Air Base was closed and once again Bord 118 was relocated back to its old “new” home at Krumovo, serving with the 2nd Attack Helicopter Squadron of the 24th VAB (24.HAB) . Bord 118 last served its duty to the Bulgarian Air Force in 2002.

The final poster is 12x16 inches and does not have the watermark in the background. The poster will be available soon at the Aviation Graphic website and Museum Store for 11 Euros plus shipping. Check back for the listing if it is not yet shown on-line. Thanks, Miguel!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Cold *REALLY* Cold War Air Museum Day

Texas has mostly good, temperate weather throughout the year (and lots of flat empty land). For that reason, many bases and flight schools were located here during the cold war years. Sometimes however we have a cold spell. Last Saturday the weather got down into the teens (-10c).

Although we had planned to fly several aircraft to another airport, the event was canceled because the kids (and adults) at the other airport proclaimed it to be "too cold" to look at cold war aircraft. We were happy to reschedule the flight for warmer weather and happy that we have other aircraft on display indoors at the Cold War Air Museum. Since the aircraft were out and ready to go, we made some local flights with those that braved the cold of the day.

Jon showed up early to get the L-39 ready.
Any excuse for Jon to wear his Ushanka hat is a good excuse for Jon.

Tracey, a multi-engine, instrument rated commercial pilot, flew with Jon. Her boots were a hit and complimented her ZSH-7 Helmet (and Jon's hat).

On cold days, there is a noticeable increase in the jet's performance.

The Mi-2 also flew.

Our friend Miguel took pictures on this (Cold) Cold War Air Museum day. To see more of his photos, visit his Flikr page.

- A day in cold war history -
January 14th

The first flight of the MiG-17 (Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-17) occurred on 14 January, 1950. The design was a direct descendant of the MiG-15 and direct predecessor to the MiG-21, MiG-23 series. Worldwide production exceeded 10,000. Originally a cannon equipped day fighter, it was replaced by supersonic, all weather aircraft.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Aerovodochody L-29, a cold war era jet trainer

The associate that started all the local jet warbird interest talks about the Aerovodochody L-29 and how the first aircraft came to Lancaster before the Cold War Air Museum was formed.

Thank's Roma!

A number of L-29's are based at the airport and associated with the museum. For more stories, click on the "L-29" label below. Come see an L-29 "in real life" at the Lancaster Airport near Dallas. The museum is open every Saturday.

(bumped — video with improved audio posted)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Commemorative Air Force - DFW Wing

Our sister museum on the airport is the DFW wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF).

The CAF has historically focused on aircraft of the WWII era. With a hangar full of aircraft on display, the DFW wing is a local attraction and our museums compliment each other in many ways.

Monthly meetings help keep the membership up to date and involved. The DFW unit has been successful at attracting new members and maintaining multiple flying aircraft, even in the present difficult economic times. A number of "CWAM" officers and directors are also active in the CAF and attended their meeting today.

The fun the group has together and the respect they have for each other was evident in the recognition, certificates and awards given out for the 2009 operating year. This handcrafted award is unique. Shirley, the recipient, is one of the many hard working examples of why this group is a success. By the way, we also like to attend their functions because they have food!

Among their many fund raising demands was this new propeller for their recently acquired Stearman. As announced at the meeting, "come see it", most aviation enthusiasts have never seen a NEW propeller for such a vintage aircraft.

The CAF R4D, a military version of the venerable DC3, is very popular at airshows. But keeping these aircraft flying is a constant job and requires constant fund raising. If you are a member of the DFW wing, bear in mind that these fine aircraft and this fine unit deserves your support.

If you are not a member, please consider visiting the CAF and the Cold War Air Museum at the Lancaster Airport. HAVE A FUN DAY with the kids (young or old) and help us continue to display and fly our aircraft, so our children (our future) can see, touch and experience a part of history.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mil Mi-2, Bord 212 work continues

As we have previously done with the Mi-2 currently flying at the Cold War Air Museum, we are having to replace a portion of the belly skin that was damaged by corrosion on helicopter number 212.

Work is progressing at a good pace. The bottom skin has been removed and the interior of the fuel compartment will be cleaned and treated before it is closed up again.

The old damaged skin will be placed on top of a new sheet of aircraft aluminum so that all dimensions and holes can be carefully traced out.

After all the dimensions are transferred, Charles turns the new sheet into a perfect match for the old.

As work progresses, we will continue to bring you update reports.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Day in Cold War History, January 1

Over the years of the Cold War, the start of a new year was often set by treaty as a time for change among the nations of the world. At the Cold War Air Museum blog, we occasionally shift from current events at the museum to the past, so our readers can remember (or learn of) events that helped form our present. In celebration of New Years past, we offer the following "January Firsts":

1 January, 1958 - The European Economic Community takes effect

A series of treaties beginning in 1948, led to the formation of the European Union that exists today. One of the pillars leading to the EU was the establishment of a common trading community. At the time, the loss of sovereignty, (especially regarding trade protection) and individual currency controls, was hotly debated.

1 January, 1962 - The U.S. Navy Seals are formed

The establishment and recognition of unconventional warfare units, be they Green Berets, Seals or Spetsnaz reflects a shift away from conventional force structures as nation states first recognized the dead end of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) and later realized, or have begun to realize, the high cost of conventional warfare. Force projection evolved through "proxy" conflicts during the cold war and is likely to continue to evolve in the future.

1 January, 1972 - Full Formal Relations between the U.S. and China take effect

The largest remaining Communist Nation in the world, China, borders on many other countries and has beem directly or indirectly involved in conflicts with the U.S., the Soviet Union and other countries over the course of the last 50 years. While normalization of relations between the U.S. and China has not resolved all issues of concern between the countries, it has led to the countries becoming major trading partners, to the economic benefit of both.

1 January, 1983 ARPANET shifts to Internet Protocol
1 January, 1985 Domain Name structure is established

The impact of the communication of ideas and cultures across national boundaries is without parallel in history and the world is still adjusting. News of freedom (or governmental oppression) now flows quickly to every corner of the world.

1 January, 1992 - Russian Federation declares independence from former Soviet Union

A combination of 83 member states, the Russian Federation covers one ninth of the worlds surface, the largest land area of any country in the world. Rich in natural resources and now free from the restraints of its former communist system, this former enemy is re-establishing its wealth and power through energy sales to Europe.

To return to the aviation theme of the blog and in support of the coverage of the re-emergence of the new Russia, a video of the joint performance of two Russian aerobatic teams is linked below.

Credit and thanks is acknowledged to YouTube and Wikipedia for various references and links within this post.