Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lancaster Airport, 1st Annual Air Race - 30 April 2011

Special event days start early for the Cold War Air Museum located at the Lancaster Airport. More activities and events attract more visitors and we are happy to see them.

Brad gets a turn as "PIC" on this run to the ramp with the MiG-21. Contrary to appearances, the pitot tube is not really going through his head, although it might have tried if he had come to a sudden stop.

The Commemorative Air Force and Cold War Air Museum both brought aircraft out to the ramp for visitors to see.

Once the static displays were was set up, the wait for visitors began. The goal today was to bring pilots and planes to the airport. Gusty winds and an overcast delayed the start of events and kept some away, but everyone had fun and a larger crowd is expected next year.

Arriving aircraft parked across from the static displays.

The "Race" did not put aircraft in close proximity to each other. A timed event, each plane flew against the clock with different categories based on speed. This year, there were no jet or helicopter entries (maybe next year).

These events are a popular way to promote flight activity and interest in general aviation. With well prepared documentation and a good pre flight brief, no one was in any doubt about where they were going or that safety (as always) was paramount.

The briefing material included aerial views and GPS coordinates of the overfly points along the route.

At the finish line, a crew stood ready to record the exact time an aircraft passed over the checkered flag. Jon turned on some smoke as he approached to be sure he would be seen.

The bright red and white CJ likes to be flown and is popular at events.

After each flight the airport crew would compare notes (at least that's what we think they're talking about).

Although this event was targeted at planes and pilots, a small crowd drove to the airport as well. Everyone visited the displays and most walked over to the Museums to look inside. This was good practice for the upcoming June 25th event, when a crowd of several thousand is expected.

The restaurant was filled and a live band provided music.

The band, appropriately named Vinny and the Jets, took a break to pose with the MiG. Playing mostly oldies, 60's and 70's hits, the music fit right in with the cold war aircraft.

After an event, everything gets put up again. This time it's Johnny's turn to drive the MiG. He managed to stay ahead of the aircraft all the way back. Good job Johnny!

And with a great big Texas thanks to everyone that came out today for their help, we'll be doing this again in June, but with more aircraft and people!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cold War Air Museum - Labels

Projects at the Cold War Air Museum often involve a number of people and many details.

Placing N numbers and labels on an aircraft is one of the many details necessary to complete each project.

Changing critical labeling in the aircraft to English makes the aircraft safer and more convenient to operate. Many of the English label sets were still available from the original Polish factory. Others had to be made.

With some of the original non-critical labeling still in place, there is an interesting mix that adds to the feel and authenticity of the aircraft.

The aircraft lighting system is equipped with both red and white lights for variable lighting conditions and night ops.

Rheostat adjustments allow lighting levels to be increased or decreased. The overall effect at night is dramatic and suitable for fine low budget movie special effects.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mi24 Road Trip

The Cold War Air Museum, Mi-24 frequently flies in the North Texas area and is a popular attraction wherever it goes.

Although the Dallas Metroplex is home to millions of people, the Texas countryside is only a few flight miles away. Small farms and ranches abound in the flat to slightly rolling countryside.

Texas, especially to the West, is very dry. Before GPS, spotting lakes and rivers made navigation easier, because they were relatively few and far between. This riverbed, filled from a recent rain may soon be dry again.

A helicopter and wide open spaces just naturally go together.

With a handshake across the windscreen, Johnny almost looks like he is symbolizing the joining of the East and West. The Mi-24 at the Cold War Air Museum is a joining of the best of both.

Kids love to see the big green beast and we love for them to see a part of cold war history.

The Museum is open every Saturday 10-4 at the Lancaster Airport (and generally we are also open on Sundays as well, when volunteers are working on aircraft), but not today, Easter Sunday, April 24th, 2011. Come see us next weekend or stop by and say hi if you see us at any local event in the area.

And with thanks to Andy Nixon for sharing these fun photos with us.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cold War Air Museum - Diverse Interests, Common Goals

Recent posts on the Cold War Air Museum Blog have featured the L29 and MiG-23, both "Gas Guzzlers" by the standard of the Hi Max below.

To say that the Hi Max is tiny compared to the MiG-23 is an understatement. Its fuel burn  per hour  is approximately equal to the MiG's fuel burn  per second  in burner.

One of the strengths of the Museum is the diversity of interests among the volunteers and associates that come together to share interests in flying, history and passing on that heritage to others. One of the associates previously featured, Homer Webb (principal at a local alternative high school), has adopted this beautiful little aircraft. With a fuel burn of only 2.5 gallons per hour, the jet guys can only mutter "it was a lot more fun when Jet-A was only a Dollar a gallon" (and some can remember when surplus fuel was only $0.10 per gallon).

Fast or slow, big or small, loud or not-so-loud, vertical lift or fixed wing, the Museum is a place where we all enjoy a common interest in flying machines, their operation, sharing their history and sharing with others stories of a time when so many of these machines were born. We are fortunate that Homer's willingness to accept and excel at challenges is typical of our group.  Fly Safe Homer!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

MiG-23 Progress

One of the more interesting components of the MiG-23 is the PGL-30M Hydraulic Powered Speed Regulator, a device that uses fuel to feed a vaned drive which in turn powers the AC generator.

Rather than using a complicated gear reduction mechanism to drive the AC generator from the engine rotation, the designers at MiG decided to use fuel pressure through a fluid labyrinth to obtain the constant RPM needed by the AC generator.

This works beautifully, producing a constant (plus or minus 2%) RPM... except when the PGL-30M leaks. Of course, when it leaks, it leaks fuel, which is the case with the Cold War Air Museum's MiG-23.

The MiG-23 doesn't do anything in a small way when it comes to fuel. Until the device was removed it was necessary to put a 150 gallon plastic stock tank under the aircraft to catch the drip.

Here Jon holds the leaking PGL-30M, the grimace on his face evidence of the fact that the device is even heavier than it looks.

The museum has located a replacement regulator, which we expect to be arriving in the near future.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Moving right along", an L29 story

A recent series of hanger relocation's around the Cold War Air Museum brought an L29 project temporarily out of storage.

One of the interesting stories for a future post is about how these aircraft were taken apart and shipped from their original homes to Texas.

The L29 divides easily into five major sub-assemblies, the nose, tail, wings, mid-section and engine (plus some extra parts).

The mid section, shown above, is the key puzzle piece. After you attach the nose, lower the gear and mount the engine, you have something that looks like a tricycle speed racer, useful for basic engine checkout and test. Wings, tail and a horizontal stab then complete the puzzle.

More than ten of these classic jet trainers have been reassembled or brought back to flying status with the assistance of the local group of fliers and mechanics.

The nose section contains the pressurized cockpit. Until the aircraft is reassembled, checked and certified, the owner can only sit inside and make loud "whooshing" noises. With today's fuel prices that sometimes seems like a desirable alternative even for the fliers.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

ArtSciencePhotos Contribution

Chris Williams, a new associate at the Cold War Air Museum is a frequent and welcome visitor.

His website, displays some of his professional work. Chris recently came out and took some candid shots to share with us. We are looking forward to more contributions from Chris in the blog.

This shot caught a busy crew loading up the MD500 for a flight to North Texas on an animal population control mission.

Larry concentrates on his preflight cockpit checks in this colorful shot.

And, they're off. The MD500 is a great performer, even with three big guys and all their gear.

The hunt was fun for all even though the wily animals did not put in their expected appearance.

The target rich environment for photographers at the Cold War Air Museum sometimes includes transitory populations of other interesting machinery. These tractors came from another fine collection and are temporarily being housed in some of the scarce spare space at the museum.

Knocking about the Museum, Chris and his special associate Bobbi got a rare opportunity to sample from the variety of tastes and interests on display. The Jets, Props, Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft are sometimes complimented by other vehicles and equipment on display, in storage, and in use.

A sepia tint seems just right for this shot of Bud and Jon in the Mutt ( See Warbirds on Parade for another picture of Phil's Vietnam era jeep). The tint makes the picture look older (and the passenger younger, thank you Chris).

And the R44 gets a rare appearance in the Blog with Renee in the cockpit. At a low sun angle, and partially back lit, Chris augmented the picture with some black and white technique to bring out more detail and drama.

Thanks Chris! We look forward to more contributions and an upcoming Blog post that will feature you and your good work.