Eighty-Eight days and a wake up until Swift National ….June 4-8 at Wright Brothers Airport (MGY) in Dayton, Ohio. HELP….HELP…HELP. We need your help. Job 1 is to get registered. PLEASE do so at your earliest convenience… translated that means NOW please. The better the count … the better we can plan to give you the very best convention. You can download the registration form here. This should be a blowout time in Dayton … much to do … much to see … old friends….new friends … the Wright B Flyer… lots of beautiful Swifts AND the fabulous National Museum of the USAF. NOTE: Remember … if you register early (by May 4) you will receive FREE a beautiful Wright B Flyer desktop model… autographed by the last living direct line descendent of the Wright Brothers. (If for some reason you can’t register early you may be able to purchase one for $30 … first come first serve.) The Southern Swift Air Group (SSAG) is sponsoring this fly-in for Swift and will do all we can to make it memorable. Also remember that early registration will save you $10 a head.
When you do send in your registration…. Please include all names of attendees so that we can make name tags for them. Additionally, we need you to indicate the size of shirt you normally wear. This helps in ordering shirts, etc. so that we don’t end up with 3000 or so size XXXL and 2 medium and 2 large. Any questions… please call Bud or Sylvia Brown at 706-498-3929 or 706-2456973. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also coming up is Sun n Fun. Once you get this newsletter you will only have about two weeks left before this fun and interesting fly in. Swift is making a push this year for more presence at Sun n Fun much like we used to enjoy. We will have our own parking line and will have a table in the type tent to “show the Swift flag”. We will also have a premier parking spot for N3271 K (our “for sale” bird) which we hope will stimulate the sale of this good Swift. HELP HELP HELP. If you are planning to attend Sun n Fun we could use some help in manning the Swift table in the Type Tent. This will be set up in 2 hour shifts much like we have done at Oshkosh for years. It is simple, easy duty and nice to sit down in shaded comfort for a couple of hours. If you can help out on this contact Bill Kientz at 314-409-5169 or email at wkientz@sbcglobal. net.
Executive Director Comments
As many of you know I fractured my ankle and subsequently had to undergo surgery to repair the damage. Unfortunately, getting to and from the office has been a much greater challenge than expected. Between working from home and making trips to the office when possible coupled with help from Ken Coughlin we are keeping things going. I’m now on my third cast and mobility is still restricted to “no weight bearing” for another two weeks. It has been a tremendous help to have Ken here volunteering. He is able to stay another 2 weeks. This will definitely buy me time to get re-established on a more extended schedule. As always, many thanks to Ken and all of you who sent cards and notes of encouragement. It means more than you know.
Speaking of schedules several Board members have discussed how to make our operation go more smoothly. The predominant idea is to curtail the times for ordering parts somewhat which will allow me to keep up with all the other requirements of getting the job done such as working with the county, getting the office and parts moved to the new building, keeping up with raffle requirements, payments to all our other entities etc. Accordingly, we plan to go on a new schedule starting March 24th that will accommodate all of Swift’s needs. You will be able to call and order parts Monday, Wednesday & Thursday. Our “Tech Support” volunteers will still be available at their personal numbers for calls when needed. This should provide ample opportunity to get parts to you in a timely manner. Additionally, you may send an email anytime and we will get to your order as soon as possible. Of course, if it is a dire emergency or an AOG situation we will do our best to meet your needs as quickly as possible. Essentially, with a little planning there should be very few critical needs. We hope this will work well and we solicit your support. As always we are here for you the member! Your feedback is always welcome.
Dues and Donations: Our dues have been some of the lowest in the industry over the years and we use them to fund daily operations and upkeep of our facilities… plus ….keep the doors open for all members for readily available parts. Many members over the years have voluntarily increased the amount of the check they send in for dues ($45 for individual…$55 for family) by some amount. Some regularly send a check for $ 100 and we use those extra funds to apply to expenses. You might be surprised how much this helps keep us solvent. All of the funds are tax deductible and both you and Swift benefit. An example might be that if we had a minimum of 300 members providing this donation it would amount to $16,500….a substantial boost for our bottom line. As you know we are a volunteer organization and a 501 (c) 3 non profit. We live off fundraising and donations… so anything you can contribute over and above your yearly dues would be greatly appreciated. Please consider it. It may not seem like much but it would sure go a long way helping to sustain YOUR organization. Thanks so much for your help.
Board Chairman’s Report
by Bill Kientz
As you might remember we have been trying to sell this asset for an extended period. The sale was hampered somewhat by a very poor aircraft market in general and there were a few issues with N3271K that needed to be addressed. It… IS… a good solid bird … fresh engine overhaul… sliding bubble canopy…and other items. Since it didn’t sell and since we missed the opportunity to raffle it this year we took a hard look at this Swift from the viewpoint of a potential buyer. Frankly there were several items that needed addressed. It was a safe bird, airworthy and well within certification parameters but it needed a fresh look and inspection. Bo Mabry and a handful of SSAG volunteers decided to take on the job of getting N3271K up to snuff. The bird was ferried to 18A (Canon, Georgia) and through the generous use of Bud Brown’s heated hanger serious work began with a complete teardown of all the offending areas. Right up front let’s give credit where credit is due. Bo Mabry, Dave Carpenter, Bud Brown, Will Roberson, Charlie Sidenstricker, Pick Freeman, Jim Jones and Steve Whittenberger have spent dozens of man days, personal funds and engaged in a cooperative effort while working on this bird for the benefit of Swift. Bottom line: It is coming along nicely.
A fresh annual is nearly 90% complete. The engine was pulled (twice) to correct some installation deficiencies and allow for improvements in routing cables, lines, etc. The prop has been checked, AD notes complied with and this prop is now certified by a licensed prop shop and re-installed; the tail wheel has been pulled, overhauled and a new tire and tube installed. The horizontal tail caps have been refurbished, painted and installed. New C-150 seats will be installed with new covering. The interior will be updated and color coordinated.
New Hooker harnesses have generously been furnished by Hooker and installed… what a great addition! Many thanks to Hooker for their support. New wheel covers (P-5 1) have been purchased and installed. The prop spinner has been repainted to match the contrasting stripes on the bird. The hat shelf was refurbished and stiffened. Flap bolts were replaced with new hardware. A full gear check and adjustment were accomplished. Canopy rails removed and refurbished. In other words… no area on N3271K has gone uninspected, adjusted or repaired and there are a lot of hours upside down in the belly of this Swift by Dave Carpenter, Will Roberson, Pick Freeman and Bo Mabry. This is a really good solid Swift. There is some more tweaking to be done but we are well down the road to completion.
TARGET: Fly N3271K to Sun n Fun April 1, 2014.
What we need and fast.
- A G-Meter (to fill a hole in the panel).
- A panel mounted Apollo GX-55 GPS or equivalent to replace the existing and outdated Loran.
- Airspeed Indicator. Although we have a serviceable airspeed indicator it* is pretty ….shall we say. … tacky. (We are pretty sure it came out of the oldest airplane built by Glenn Martin or the Wright Brothers.)
Someone out there must have these items they have pulled in the last couple of years and would be willing to donate to Swift. (Remember its tax deductible!) We could also use an older but serviceable handheld GPS … perhaps a Garmin 295, 296 or 396 or, any other serviceable handheld GPS. When do we need them??? Yesterday.
*The deadline we are racing against is to get N3271K to Sun n Fun. This will enhance our probability of getting it sold and we can sure use the funds to keep
the doors open at Swift HQ. Please Help!!!
Status of the Globe Swift factory bricks.
As mentioned before, we have approximately 150 of these bricks from the original Globe Factory which was built in Saginaw, Texas in 1942. We will sell these bricks to Swift members only as a memento of the birthplace of our Swifts. These bricks not only represent a link to the very early days of Swift but they are also a link to a time in our country when we were involved in a global war of unprecedented scope never before seen in our history. It was a time of total commitment by Americans fighting to preserve our way of life and the freedom we enjoy. That generation (often called the Greatest Generation) had been hardened by the rough life of the 1930s, the depression and hard times. When challenged by our enemies they responded with total dedication to the mission at hand with a “never give up attitude and can do approach”. It is interesting to note that although our Swifts are nearly 70 years old they are still the same rugged yet beautiful aircraft that first came off those production lines in 1946. The hands that forged our Swifts were the same hands that provided significant war materials to defeat our enemies. If you close your eyes and listen you can almost hear the sounds of the production lines … you can visualize the workers swarming over the various parts and putting the Swifts together for delivery to customers. Exciting times for sure. So to commemorate our history and provide you with a direct link to our Swift origin…..The Swift Brick program will be announced to you in the very near future and we hope to have it fully in place before Swift National. Stay tuned.
Changing of the Guard at the Red River Swift Wing
As we reported last month Stan Price has stepped down after 15 years of running the RRSW and Steve Wilson has stepped in to carry the RRSW Flag. Steve has a very interesting and extensive background in aviation and has seen and done almost everything you can do within GA. Here is his story. (Extracted from the RRSW newsletter).
Steve is a native of Elkins, WV and got his first ride in an aircraft (which he remembers) at age three in a Stinson SR-10. When only 8 or so his parents would drop him off on Saturdays and Sundays at the local airport and he would spend his time looking at all the aircraft, talking to pilots and spending untold hours in the cockpits of those wonderful machines. There was not a single pilot or aircraft on that airport he did not know well. Someone once told him that the sense of smell evoked the most vivid memories. Steve can attest to that. The smell of those old airplanes, a combination of butyrate dope, fuel, oil, and mildew still sticks with him to this day. Occasionally he says he still gets a whiff of it when he inspects an old airplane. Steve saw his first Swift at Elkins airport in 1948 and it was love at first sight …but it took him another 20 years to have his own.
When he was 17 he had a friend whose father was a Dentist. His friend needed someone to drive him to the airport since the friend had lost his license due to reckless driving. Because he was taking his friend to the airport for lessons his father paid for some lessons for Steve as well. He did not have a logbook and never soloed but nonetheless he was hooked on flying. College and the military intervened and his flying was put on hold until 1964. At the time he was living in Arlington, VA and started taking lessons in a J-3 Cub. The lessons were $6.00 plus $4.00 for the instructor. He soloed in one week but it took another year to get his private license. Steve then bought a Luscombe 8A in 1967 and started building time. Within a year the VA program started and within a few months he had a commercial, seaplane, multi-engine and an instructor’s certificate. Steve quickly figured out that in order to own an airplane he had to be able to work on it… so he began the quest for an A&P rating.
During this time he heard about a “basket case” Swift in Philippi, WV. He was able to negotiate an even swap of the Luscombe for the Swift. He remembers the day well…February 22, 1969. It then took him 18 months to get Swift N77753 (S/ N 3525) flying. He still owns/flies this Swift today…. 45 years later.
Steve’s GA career was starting to take off and in 1971 he went to work for Apache Airways, Inc… of Falls Church, VA flying an Aero Commander. He stayed there until 1976 and then moved to Saint Charles, Illinois in 1977 after a short stay in Rockford, IL. He went to work for Leyvan, Inc. of West Chicago and worked for them as a pilot, mechanic and whatever needed done until 1987. Steve says one of the nice things about working the West Chicago job was all the different airplanes he got to fly and work on … everything from a Breezy to a Staggerwing Beech. Some aircraft were amateur built some standard airworthiness types. Dozens of aircraft. His boss had a thing for Cessna Skymasters and owned 11 over the years … (Steve’s comment…”I still hate working on that airplane”.)
In 1987 Steve went to work for the NTSB as an Air Safety Investigator (fancy name for aircraft accident investigator). Steve credits his varied GA background for helping him get that job. Two things helped him in the day to day work….his experience as an insurance investigator and his A&P rating. He retired from the NTSB in 2000.
He and his wife Barbara moved to Pecan Plantation near Granbury, TX in July 2000. Barb retired from the FAA after nearly 28 years (mostly as an aircraft controller) in 2002. Barb is a native Texan and “military brat” while Steve is one of those who say: “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could”.
Formation – Getting Ready for Swift National
As Winter turns to Spring….pilot’s thoughts naturally turn toward….. formation?!?! Well maybe. None the less… at least some of the troops are thinking that way. There are rumblings from out at Diamond Point talking about getting to Dayton in June …and we all know what that means. The Burrito Brothers will once again be bringing their “greatest show in the air” formation team. Hearing from the East Coast …the Carolina Sea Dogs….formidable competitors all….are also gearing up… fresh from their stirring performance at the Georgetown SSAG fly in. Also, we are hearing that the Canadians are leaning toward a run at Dayton….and that would be great to have those cool dudes in the mix. But perhaps “firstus with the mostest” just might be the Tennessee Thunderdogs. This team is made up of Jerry Kirby, Sam Swift, Paul and Sandy Mercandetti and Jim Roberts. (Photos upper & right) See you all at Swift National in June and we will get it all sorted out in Dayton (MGY).
The National Museum of the United States Air Force
This museum will… of course … be the centerpiece of Swift National this year. In a word….it is fabulous. Currently it is housed in three gigantic hangars and a fourth identical hangar has been now funded and will open in about 24 months. If you go to the web site of the National Museum of the United States Air Force you can take a virtual tour of the facilities.
Or you can just poke around in the web site and pursue whatever captures your interest. It might be useful to do a little of this before you go in June just to narrow down some of the topics you want to see when you visit. I guarantee you ….you can not cover it all in a day or even two or three days.
The exhibits cover… separately… the early days prior to WW I, WWI and up to WW II; the development of aircraft over the years; WW II (all the theaters), Korea, the Cold War; Space; Art Gallery, Air Aces; Flying the Hump; Presidential Aircraft; Bob Hope Exhibit; Fighting U Boats in US waters; Ploesti Raid; Doolittle’s Raiders (including the goblet and toast cabinet); the Candy Bomber used in the Berlin Airlift; a whole section on Missiles and Space; Bendix Trophy Racers; and on and on.
Additionally there is a large book store and merchandise section and outside is a Memorial Park and some larger aircraft are displayed in the Air Park. The Memorial Park itself is interesting and displays some memorials to units of the Air Force. There are three IMAX theaters and as we get a little closer we will let you know what will be showing in
the theaters since they change the movies frequently. We will probably be able to get some tickets as a group or you can purchase them when you first get to the Museum.
This will be an all day visit and there are ample benches among the displays that you can rest a bit or you can go to the second floor and visit the snack bar … which is where we will individually eat lunch. Around $5-6 dollars or so. There are also scooters and wheelchairs available. If you will want to use one it is best if you tell us in advance and we will reserve them.
One more possibility is the Restoration Area where various projects are ongoing plus the section on Presidential aircraft. These facilities are currently situated on the other side of the runway and if “Sequestration” funds have been restored, we may be able to visit these areas. We will have to take a bus over to these areas as they are near the active runway. We’ll let you know in time for you to sign up for these areas if you are interested. One project over there now is the original “Memphis Belle” undergoing restoration.
As we mentioned before…
Our visit will be on Friday June 6, 2014. Exactly 70 years to the day since the D-Day Invasion at Normandy. We do not know at this time if there will be any special event but we will let you know. You may also want to consider going to the Museum on any of the days you are in the Dayton area. The Museum is FREE and you can stay as long as you like.
We cannot overemphasize the quality, completeness, professionalism of this National treasure. It will be a very memorable visit.
More on the Museum as we get closer to Swift National. Needless to say, we at SSAG are really excited about this National. Very unique, very special, very memorable. See you there!
Please send in your registration ASAP.
Birds — Interesting Facts
Rule One: Don’t hit them with your aircraft….it makes a smelly mess and can do severe damage to your precious Swift and if it comes through the canopy or windshield it will surely give you a headache. (Ask Steve Wilson about his encounter en-route to Diamond Point last year.)
However, birds are interesting.
- Peregrine Falcons have been clocked at 217 mph in a dive. So if one passes you …just wave and let it go….it is about to smack into some unsuspecting prey ahead and below you.
- Guess who is the fastest in wing flapping flight? You got it: A Swift can do over 105 mph. Don’t expect to do formation with one….they are not checked out in formation nor do they have a FAST card.
- The heaviest bird is a Great Bustard (no that is not a misspell). These suckers can go up to 40 lbs or more and if they get too heavy they cannot take off. (Much like an aircraft that is overloaded). Under no circumstances hit one of these with your aircraft.
- The largest bird … the wandering albatross….wingspan of 12 feet or more and they can glide for hours without beating their wings … they may even sleep while gliding (sounds like a few pilots I know).
- Smallest? Hummingbird of course. They are also the international acrobatic champion… despite claims to the contrary of many National Acrobatic teams. They can hover, fly backwards, inverted, sideways and anything else you can think of. They weigh about the same as a penny.
- Altitude champion? Ruppell’s vulture. Evidence… collision with an airliner at FL 410. I don’t fly with Ruppell’s vultures … but I routinely fly in formation with just plain old buzzards in my Champ.
- Birds are VFR only. They are not trained or qualified on instruments but they do have a built in GPS that can get them from Alaska to New Zealand.
So there you have it….all the useless information you can possible need when flying in the realm of the birds.