December already and we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. This time of year is especially memorable for us as we give thanks for all we have and cherish the memories of yet another year in our lives. The Christmas holidays are always a time of joy and remembering and produce a special camaraderie among those of us in special groups of friends such as Swift. We had a terrific year with a lot of remembrances of fly ins, outings, progress in our flying, completion of the office and parts building and making those small changes to our Swifts that make them even better. Having said that, we also start looking forward to “next year” with some plans for our lives and our Swifts. What’s on your “bucket list”? Taking that long planned trip to a favorite destination? Upgrading your avionics? A new panel? Visit some old friends across the country? Whatever it is ….now is the time to do it. We hope one item on your bucket list will be Swift National at Dayton. It should be memorable and promises to be one of our larger gatherings in recent years. You will receive a packet in January depicting all the events, locations, and directions and most importantly a signup sheet that will tell us what you plan to do at Swift National. It is very important you think this over and fill it out and send it to us promptly… As this will greatly aid us in our planning. We are asking for you to pre-register including sending a check representing your desires as to meals, hotel, museum visit, visit to Wright Flyer Museum (right next door) and/ or a ride in the Wright Flyer “B” model. etc.
Executive Director Comments
Things are moving along rapidly in the new building. At long last, our sewer system is up and running and Parts Department shelving is moved in and being assembled. The office equipment will not be moved until our new phone and internet system is installed. We will have the benefit of new high speed service, not previously available here on the airport. New main lines are being installed to accommodate Swift and the FBO. This is to be completed by mid December. Beyond the obvious benefit of better service, we will realize a savings of just over $100. per month. As stated before, your new facility will offer us a much more efficient operation.
Christmas is upon us! Don’t forget all the goodies your Parts Dept. has for you and your Swift friends. We have caps, shirts, jackets, wall clocks, polishing supplies and parts galore. Call with your orders not later than Friday, Dec. 20th to insure delivery in time for Christmas.
We have had many requests for the 10″ Swift Wall Clock. At right is a photo of the new version. Same face art but a much nicer brushed aluminum finish to compliment your Swift! Get one for the hangar, office and home… A bargain at $20.00 each+ shipping.
Christmas and New Years Holiday Hours:
Swift Parts and HQ’s Office will operate on a limited schedule
Monday, December 23rd. We will be closing December 24th and will re-open Thursday, January 2, 2014. In years past we have remained closed through the first week of January for inventory. However, in light of our move to the new facility, we will be postponing inventory until later in the month in order to allow for a smoother and more efficient transition.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Swift Filled New Year!
Board Chairman’s Report by Bill Kientz
During November, we had a board meeting in Athens to discuss several issues. One of which was… of course… the new building. It is really nice and will be a welcome change for all of us… especially pam and her helpers. The office is well designed and will make our HQ operation much smoother and efficient. The heating, air conditioning, lights and sewer are all hooked up and we will have room to store all the drawings and memorabilia properly. As of this writing we hope to have Pam and the office moved in by mid-January 2014. Equally important is the new parts facility. It will be large enough to house all of our parts and will be arranged for easy access to the shelves. Part of the shelving was up and Dave Carpenter’s layout plan is working well. We hope to finish all the shelving also in January. We all owe a great deal of thanks to Pick Freeman and Jack Nunley who built the mezzanine for us as well as the work Dave Carpenter and Paul Mercandetti have done on the shelves (which were generously donated by Stan price. A great team effort. The mezzanine is large and well suited for our needs. The stairway leading up to it is wide and stable … a far cry from that old rickety ladder we have used before. Many of our parts will fit nicely up there and we have additional room over the offices that could be easily be retrofitted for even more space. A good design and well done.
We were pleased that McMinn County Mayor Gentry took some time out of his busy schedule to visit us during the board meeting. He is very positive about the county’s support for us and is confident that the county will be able to support us in getting the perimeter road finished fairly soon. This road provides access to our area and will also extend around to other airport facilities. This was good news for us as it will save us funds.
I am very proud of all the progress we have made this year, the people, the fly-ins, the new building and a new spirit that I detect permeating Swift activities. Many thanks for all your support and volunteerism this year and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year! It is time to reflect a bit and set our goals for 2014. From all indications it promises to be another great year for swift.
A Swift Christmas Story
This is from the lore of Swift. Way back in 1945 at a factory in Saginaw, Texas there were a couple of successful gents who had just wrapped a very good year of support for the American war effort by producing aircraft and parts for Uncle Sam. John Kennedy and Bud Knox had built their business well and they were already thinking hard about what to do with Globe Aircraft as the war effort was winding down … as surely it must …after the defeat of Germany and Japan. It was Christmas eve and after the traditional eggnog, cookies and well-wishing at the company Christmas party … they had sent the employees on their way with a hopeful promise for a nice Christmas and a prosperous new year.
The snow had begun to fall and was accumulating rapidly so these tired but happy men were about to be on their way when they heard a loud knock on the door. Old Bert, the floor superintendent, was still there and he headed over to answer the door. Again, a loud knock on the door that sounded most urgent. As Bert got there and opened the door a stranger asked if he could come in and… Bert said, “of course …. how may I help you?” The stranger (who had a funny beard and a strange looking red suit on which sort of made him glow …. like a saint) said his name was Nicklaus (something or other… it was kind of mumbled) and he could use some help. By this time Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Knox had arrived at the door. Introductions were made and after a short discussion of the man’s problem… Mr. Kennedy said to Mr. Knox….”Bud, don’t we have that prototype out in the far shop that might address this man’s problem?” “Tell you what” said Bud, “let’s go out there and check it out.” So..Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Knox, Bert and Nicklaus headed out to the shop. Once they got there and uncovered the machine, Nick’s eyes lit up…..”This will do very nicely …. can I buy it from you?” “No, no … it’s not for sale but we can loan it to you for a bit if that would help.” said Mr. Kennedy. Nicklaus said “that would help him solve his immediate problem that night”….so they moved the machine out through the hangar doors. He hooked it up to his rig… climbed aboard and away he went making a wide path through the deepening snow and shouting, “ho ho ho… Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night”. Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Knox smiled and were very happy they could help Nick out and then headed for home themselves.
John Northey reports that the Canadians are still hard at it even though it surely must be getting pretty chilly way up there. John and his group did a tour around Vancouver for the 38th year running. As John describes it “The Swiftbirds flew around I I Cenotaphs in the Vancouver area in a 7 ship formation and were augmented by a few fixed gear birds… but… all of the pilots are members of Swift and all are FAST qualified.” A few of the old guard Swifts were not available for this go ’round but they were surely there in spirit. Good job John and to all the others. Excellent formation… hope you guys can make Swift National next year at Dayton where we are planning a special fly by to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy.
Pat… N2387B… And… People Along The Way
By Pat and Vicky Moore
This all started in 1958 when I started flying an Aeronca Champ at Crystal Airport, MN. I progressed from the Champ to a Cessna 140 and got my license in 1959.1 saw my first Swift in 1959 and thought it was really neat. I heard all the horror stories.. “Widow maker… hard to land… etc.” But I also heard glowing stories from 3 owners, got rides with them and caught their enthusiasm for the Swift. In May of ’61 1 heard of a nice Swift down in Astana, Iowa and went to see it…. N2387B. It was a plush 145hp, low time, beautiful condition for $4000. Pretty spendy back then but worth it. I had it flown up to Crystal Airport and by that time I had over 200 hrs. flying time, was comfortable with wheel landings in the C 140 and I was able to check out in the Swift in 2 V2 hours.
Over the next couple of years I went to a lot of fly-ins… one of which was to Rockford in 1962 and I met Charlie Nelson who was there in one of his earlier Swifts. I also ventured down to Pittsburg, KS to look at a Meyers 145 and in the same hangar was the Johnson Rocket …. the same one that now sits in the Swift Museum. I also had a yen for speed and decided to convert the 145 to the Lycoming 150. That took almost a year after which I flew to New York in 1964 and on the return trip stopped in Dayton. So it will be almost exactly 50 years next year at Swift National since my first visit to Dayton.
In July 1965…1 sold N2387B to Ken McCord… who was from my area in Minnesota and kept N2387B at Benson Airport …. a grass strip. He let a friend fly it and the engine quit on takeoff and he bellied it in ….gear up. In 1966, Ken bought another Swift… N781 22 (a I 25hp) which would be a donor bird to rebuild N2387B. At about this time I got into Corvette racing and got married for the first time… Marginal decisions. But… I became a silent partner in N2387B, did all the work of restoration for which I had the privilege of flying this Swift. Ken never did check out in the Swift and felt more comfortable in his Bellanca.
In 1969 we moved the bird to a hangar at Lake Elmo where I met Jim Montague. Also, the local FBO had this teenager ….Mark Holliday…. working there for his parents. I recall it was right around this time that Mark was old enough to solo and he ended up flying many of the planes at his dad’s dealership. Shortly after that… while still in his teens he was delivering Bellancas, Champs, and others all over the U.S. It seems to me he also acquired his first Swift during that time which helped Lake Elmo become the Swift mecca that it was for many years. N2387B has been in this very same hangar since.
It was a pleasure to know Jim Montague and we went to a lot of fly-ins together. Sometimes, Jim would bring his little girls along in their jump seats in his own Swift. Lots of great memories of those days… Rockford… Ottumwa, IA… Kankakee, IL … Kentucky Lake Dam …and eventually to Oshkosh. At Seymour, IN…I met Mike Pirowskin and saw the door on his Swift… which inspired the one I currently have on N2387B. While my Swift was down in 1970 1 put in C-150 seats and the door.
The late ’60s & 70’s were exciting with Dave D’Arcy showing the prowess of the swift with his aerobatic routine. This inspired lots of big engine conversions and lots of mods. Who out there will admit to putting on tip tanks? Corbin cowls? Vince Fette was working wonders with fiberglass and dorsal fins were all the rage.
Once again… feeling the need for speed…I took N2387B down for another conversion in ’74 & ’75 while also gaining two sons. Needless to say, my wife at the time was not enamored with this venture at that time. The conversion was to an amazingly fast Lyc. 180..prop extension and fiberglass cowl. It looked sleek with the tip tanks removed. However, the FAA was not amused and grounded N2387B after only 57 hours of flying. More misfortune followed when Ken died later in 1976. 1 became full owner once again in 1979 when I bought N2387B and the hangar from his estate.
For a few years I struggled with the FAA over the engine but took up sailing and skiing plus I took custody of my two boys and became a single dad. Finally the FAA agreed to a compromise which meant to keep the prop, lose the extension, change the mount and trade the 180hp for a Lycoming 200hp … 10-360 albeit with a dampened crank. (See … there goes that speed thing again). In the process of doing this I also decided to make my own all metal cowling and a plenum for cooling. This time I was blessed and had the support of my new wife Vicky who inspires me to keep moving and keep improving.
Finally in 1992, Swift 2387B was licensed again and it was just like riding a bike … you don’t forget how to fly a Swift. Many great adventures followed… East coast in ’99..Westover in 2006… Oshkosh many times and I can’t forget getting beat by Charlie in a race at Sun ‘n Fun one year. The work never stops… install ram air system… closed the slots … 4 into I exhaust… you know the drill. Next up … sticks and a canopy (hmmm maybe I should get that hangar heater before that)….my best to all my Swift friends over the years. You are all special. So my odyssey with N2387B has lasted over 50 years and this bird has been a key part of my life all during that period. A wonderful journey and I know there are many, many other unique Swift stories in Swiftdom….hope we can share them the next time we get together. Pat Moore
(ed. Note: Pat and Vicky seem to be everywhere and do a lot of volunteering to help Swift when and where they can and have been stalwart supporters of Swift for many years. Many thanks.)
Once again RRSW pulled off a fabulous Swift rendezvous in Texas. The weather was near perfect and this fly in went off without a hitch. Barb and Steve Wilson were the organizers and gracious hosts and the attendees were fully impressed by their preparation and hospitality. The impressive backdrop of the Pecan Plantation clubhouse was the setting but the beautiful Swifts added the final touch of glamour.
Swifters came from all over Texas of course but there were also some long distance flyers from Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky. Steve Roth and Lynn Dawson from Virginia got the furthest away award followed by Perry Sisson and Carolyn Graves from Florida. There was a lot of formation flying going on and Pick Freeman from South Carolina got his Wingman card and David Anderson got his Flight Lead card. The viewer’s choice awards went to Wade Gillaspie and Perry Sisson. Well done.
You can get the complete write up on this fly in at the redriverswiftwing.org website. Some great pictures and more from Stan Price. Next year the RRSW is headed back to Fredericksburg, Texas and the grand airport hotel. These Texans put on a great show… why not put this on your bucket list for next fall …. you’ll be glad you did.
Rookie at Reno by John Johnson
(This is the continuation of John Johnson’s rookie year at the Reno Air Races… SO OFF WE GO TO THE RACE.)
It is now Sept. 3rd and time to head back to Reno for the main event. After a delayed start due to weather we launched around 1:30 and headed for Scappoose, Oregon to top off fuel and then head on down to Klamath Falls, for our overnight stop. There we met our ground crew driving my truck and pulling the 16 foot trailer. After a good night’s rest we departed Klamath Falls for Reno-Stead airport.
The next morning we went down to our pit area to configure it and prepared it for our home for the next I I days. The motor home we had arranged for arrived as did the truck and trailer… and amazingly enough all the parts were there and we had not forgotten anything. After the pit was configured properly we started disassembling the aircraft to prepare it for the technical inspection committee. This involved removing the right side panel, all the access panels on the empennage, the engine cowl, all accessary panels and the two May west panels where the wheel wells are located. I then requested a slot to be towed to the inspection area where a group of expert mechanics inspected every aspect of “old 49”. They were looking for safety issues and possible other items that some racers do “to enhance” their performance. This whole procedure took about 2 hours and then we towed “49” back to our pit area to fix the one discrepancy …. a small hairline crack in the exhaust manifold.
The next day we attended the RARA briefing and the T-6 briefing which would become a daily standard for the duration of the races. But all had gone well up to this point and we were ready to go practice on the course. We scheduled a time to go out on the course with other t-6’s and also set up multiple timers to see what “49” would do after all of our modifications. Since I was a rookie I had to go out to the hold area and wait for an opening. Almost immediately I was cleared in and I ran my 5 laps and then landed. My crew had figured I was going about 200mph.
The next morning we began applying some of the 15 rolls of aluminum tape to the fuselage to inhibit air flow and reduce drag and we also taped all the gaps in the canopy. We added about 50 lbs. of lead weight into the tail and secured it to optimize the cg of the airplane and installed a small tailwheel. We then started to clean and wax the entire airplane to make it go faster.
We hoped we would get additional speed out of all these fixes.
The next morning we were out on the course again and made a speed of 203 MPH which was an improvement. We tweaked the prop some and I worked on manifold and mixture settings for optimal performance. In the afternoon session i flew 204 mph so it was improving a bit but we had expected more. All racers go through this process ….trying to eke out that last little bit of speed for the races to come.
It was now time to qualify for position. Once again we entered the course from the west with only 3 aircraft on the course. I flew the 3 warm-up laps….then called “clock” and ran 2 laps for qualification. After my run and landing I headed for my pit and was told I had run 204mph. We would try another qualification attempt in the morning. About that time a friend and fellow racer told me he had a “racing prop” for sale if I wanted it. I decided to go for it and we installed it late in the day. It only took 6 of us 35 minutes to remove the old prop and install the new one. What a great pit crew. The next morning we flew with the new prop but got only 201 mph out of it. We had varied the rpm, changed the index number, and installed a new prop governor, and balanced the prop at 6:30 am the next morning.
We were down to just 3 trials and as I started the next attempt I had radio problems and had to abort the run. Now we were down to only 2 trials left and my speed was still 201 mph. Since we were running out of time we decided to make a trial run that afternoon. I did my qualification laps but now the speed was down to 199mph….certainly not what we wanted but …we were in the race. Still no clue on the decreasing performance. Next was the first “heat race”. I was seeded 4th of 5 which meant there was one slower than me.
We did the standard departure to the west and were a bit surprised when they called us in a bit early to the race course. I scrambled, used a lot of cutoff and barely got into position before the release. Off we went downhill toward the race pylon with my #49 accelerating slightly ahead of the others which were on my left. I was maintaining my position with #6 on my right which was fine until pylon #I. 1 tried to pick up #78 on my left but could not see him so I had to swing wide at the pylon and find him visually. He had slid inside behind #69 and now I was way too wide and had to reposition back inside #78 …. but the damage was done. Lesson learned! Never let the guy to your left get out of your sight …. even if it means pulling the throttle back. After 5 laps we finished, landed and headed TO THE pits. Very tired, hot (the temp in the cockpit reached 140 degrees that day) and disappointed in that we only reached 201 mph that day.
The next day we had off due to the GOLD and SILVER races and we decided to change the prop back to the regular one. Why not? We had made 204mph with it before. So the next day would be our last race and since I had finished last I would be on the outside. But I vowed not to get blown out at the first pylon and would give it my best.
The last race proceeded smoothly around the holding pattern in right echelon, then line abreast… then the downhill run to the race pylon. This time my sight picture was much better as I had a good view of all opponents. I looked left to pick up #78 and #69 and saw that they were starting to slide in behind# 12 and #54 (who is in the lead). I immediately slid in but held the high line on #78 and as we turned around PYLON #3 1 called #78 and told him I am on his right. He acknowledged and I converted my altitude to airspeed and we went down the backstretch with me gaining rapidly on him. But as we approached pylon #5… I still did not have the lead so once again I flew the high line and kept his head in sight around pylon #9. From there down the homestretch I again turned my altitude into airspeed and attempted another pass. But I came up short and again went high around pylon#3. This time I called on the right and made it past #78 on the backstretch and #78 called “you have the lead”. Then I set my sights on #69 who was immediately in front and down low at 50 ft. altitude. I called and told #69 that #49 was on his right and we were neck and neck past the “home pylon”….but once again I couldn’t complete the pass and had to go high again at pylon #1. One lap to go … but #69 is doing a good job holding me off. But on the backstretch …. I am in the lead but #69 will not call me clear so I have to go high once again around the pylon and then I dive on him as we approach “HOME pylon”. We are neck and neck but I got aced out by less than half a length at the finish.
I was elated, exhausted and felt I had done a good job in this race. This was without a doubt the most intense and exhilarating formation flying I have ever done. What a thrill.
Blues: You may be in for a treat if you are going to sun `n fun in 2014. The Blue Angels are scheduled to be there 1-6 April. Pilot mall: Sun ‘n fun has built a new pilot mall on the Sun ‘n Fun campus. Check it out if you go.
Red Bull Racing: Red Bull is resuming their worldwide race schedule in 2014. No, you don’t have to go to China or Abu Dhabi to see them. They will be at Texas Motor Speedway… Sept. 6-7 and Las Vegas Motor Speedway Oct I 1-12. Tickets are available.
Wright “B” Flyer: Legislators from Ohio and North Carolina are teaming up to defend the legacy of the Wright Brothers. Seems Connecticut passed a law earlier this year claiming Gustave Whitehead flew two years earlier than the Wright brothers. Apparently, there are several discrepancies in this claim. Whatever, you can see and fly in the Wright “B” Flyer at Swift
National next June: Sign up forms will be in your registration packet in January.
That is Jim “Frog” Jones and lifelong friend Gene Christian with their favorite airplanes. (hope that big old DC-3 doesn’t eat Jim’s Swift.) Gene flies this DC-3 all over the country for American Airline’s Heritage Foundation.