Editor Comments by Steve Whittenberger
Great Flying on the Horizon. Summer is nearly gone….along with some hot bumpy flying weather … but hey … the best flying weather is just around the corner this fall. We have three Swift fly ins this month at Triple Tree in South Carolina, West Coast National at Jackson, CA and of course The Red River Swift Wing at Fredericksburg, TX … why not join in the fun with these planned events or just go flying… anywhere, anytime….and you might want to take a friend with you and share the joy of flight … there is NOTHING like it. . So hopefully wherever you are exercising your Swift for the next couple of months you will really enjoy some crisp weather, blue skies and a tailwind or two. I can’t wait….SJW
“It is hard enough for anyone to map out a course of action and stick to it, particularly in the face of the desires of one’s friends; but it is doubly hard for an aviator to stay on the ground waiting for just the right moment to go into the air. ” Glenn Curtiss, 1909
Executive Director Comments by Pam Nunley
We are steadily working to get our parts relocated into the new building. This process seems to be working well. Parts are being moved one or two sections at a time. This process is slower, however, is allowing us to place every part into a new, clean box with proper labeling and place it in its new location. A new inventory is also being taken as we place each item on the shelf. This process will make our operation much more efficient.
Many thanks to Buddy & Bill Kientz, Paul Mercandetti, Perry Sisson and Ken Coughlin for their help during the last month. If you have a day or two to spend helping us during this process please give me a call here at HQ’s and let me know your schedule.
Visitor traffic in the Museum has been brisk this summer. We have enjoyed lots of visitors ranging from local visitors to those from the Chattanooga, Knoxville and Atlanta areas and many other states as well. We are listed in the Athens/McMinn County and Tennessee visitors directory which sends us many visitors traveling up and down 1-75 and US 411 highways. It is extremely important that we keep our sights set on the completion our new Museum hangar. The deterioration of our present Museum hangar is an ongoing expense and concern. When our visitors make the effort to come to our facility we want to put our best foot forward so they will want to encourage their friends to also visit us.
Welcome to our most recent NEW MEMBERS
Scott E. Rozell — Houston, TX
Andrew Geraghey — Corona, CA
Jim Ward –N3344K— Kremmling, CO
Keith McCarty — Huntsville, TX
Ila Moses — Cleveland, TX
Bob Schuette — Bartlesville, OK
William Baron — Santa Cruz, CA
Maj. Jason Redmon — Kapolei, HI
Chris Mangels — N78113— Wasilla, AK
James Nikodem — N21 FA— Crystal Lake, IL
Get to know these new members and roll out the “Swifter” welcome mat!
Board Chairman Comments by Will Roberson
As you may know I have been really busy this summer with a political campaign that just consumed all of my time …but that is finally over … and though I learned a lot I am anxious to get back to my Swift and flying. Many of you also get squeezed by outside events that keep you from flying as much as you like…but in the end…. you have to make time for flying and your Swift. My plans are to really exercise my Swift and make it all the way to the West coast this year and enjoy the excellent hospitality of Dave and Mary Richards and all the Swifters at Jackson, CA. Anybody that wants to tag along on a great trip west … give me a call.
Swift National 2015: We have not finalized a location for Swift National for 2015 but we do have an offer from Jerry Kirby along with other Tennessee Volunteers and the SSAG to host it at Bowling Green, Kentucky next year. Bowling Green has a lot to offer: Corvette Museum, Mammoth Cavern, etc and a good airport that would be similar to the facility we used at Dayton. The Bowling Green location is not set in concrete so if anyone wants to volunteer to host it in say… Texas….Santa Fe…etc. Please forward your thoughts before the November Board Meeting. We must finalize the location by November in order to get the registration packages to you in late January. Pre-registration works best and helps the hosts plan the hotels, meals, trips, events etc. If you are not interested in hosting in 2015 perhaps another year would suit you and your friend’s best. Please let us know. Everyone seems to like moving Swift national around a bit and we will also be cycling back to Athens, TN at some point. When we get our facility finished… that would be a great time to once again rendezvous at Swift Hq. To get you started … we have a good checklist set up on what to do and how to do it. It’s a bit of work… but also a whole lot of fun.
Fund Raising: As we get back into the swing of things for Swift this fall I feel I need to ask your help with ideas and events to keep raising funds for Swift. N3271K still has not been sold and that is unfortunate as this is a really good Swift looking for a good home. There have been a couple of offers but we still haven’t settled with anyone. So PLEASE … if you know of anyone interested in a good Swift … well documented, up to snuff, low time engine and prop, sliding canopy … this is a good opportunity for someone at a very reasonable price. Contact Dave Carpenter, Parts Chairman, for more information and/or steer them to Dave at 859-661-2811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other ways to raise funds over the years have been through donations of parts, aircraft, other items we can sell or auction etc. So if you are thinking about a donation… NOW …is a good time to get started in order to take advantage of tax breaks for donating to a 501c3 nonprofit organization. This really helps Swift and allows you to clear out some items you just don’t need or want any more. The end of the calendar year is rapidly approaching. Please give this some thought.
I want to also take note of the ongoing efforts of Jim “Frog” Jones who is already well down the road to get corporate sponsors for next year’s Swift National and hopes to top the $12,000 or so we made this year at the silent auction and raffle. This effort will undoubtedly pay dividends when we have a silent auction and raffle at next year’s fly-in. Well done Froggy.
We will be thoroughly discussing fund raising at the November Board Meeting at Swift HQ . Please let me, Pam or any Board member know of any ideas you may have in that regard. Your ideas are welcome and valuable to Swift.
One more easy way to support your Swift organization is to simply add a few dollars to your annual dues when you send it in. That extra $50 or $ 100 dollars really adds up fast for us when many people participate… and a lot do!
Bottom Line: Let’s keep our Swift organization healthy and all get behind the effort to get the rest of our facility funded. A realistic goal is to have it complete in less than 18 months. If we all get together and push we can get it done. In the meantime, thanks for all your support to Swift. — Will Roberson.
Gene Gillott — Intrepid Swifter for Over 50 Years
Our list of Swifters who have had their Swifts over 50 years keeps on growing with the addition of Gene Gillot to this exclusive group. Gene joins Swifters, Pat Moore, Bill Shepherd and Porter Houston …. and like them he has a long and storied flying career. Gene bought his Swift (C-FKXY) on December 31, 1963 for $4500 and just kept flying it all these years.
Gene relates that as a youth he was never much interested in flying and it was more of a spur of the moment thing to start flying lessons. After accumulating a grand total of 37.5 hours (1.5 of which was his private pilot check ride) Gene saw a Swift for the first time a thought that it was really cool. It was for sale but he didn’t have any money so he tried to get a loan and that went something like this: The loan officer at the Credit Union stated that he would have to insure it against loss. But Gene knew he could never get hull insurance for a complex aircraft such as the Swift with only 37.5 hours of flying experience. But being persistent he argued that the following was true: 1) The loan was LIFE insured and 2) As the loan officer well knew when a small plane crashes … the pilot is invariably killed… therefore there was no need for hull insurance. Well, the loan officer bought it and the rest is history. (Ed note: pretty ingenious argument for sure.)
His check out consisted of 1 … repeat 1 … circuit in the left seat. (Wow). The previous owner instructed him to approach at 80 mph and aim for the numbers. Don’t do anything till the wheels touch the tarmac and then coast to a stop. Gene says this required about 5000 feet of runway but it did work and he survived the first 100 hrs using this procedure.
Obviously Gene was a well above average pilot and kept learning and growing with his Swift. He developed his skills to such a high degree that he eventually became a member (# 2) of the Canadian Snowbirds formation team. As many of you remember the Snowbirds were an exceptional formation team for many years.
Gene says: “The Swift has been more than just another aircraft. It has introduced me to a world of adventure, challenges, a never ending learning curve and some of the greatest people that I have ever known. Flying with the Canadian Snowbirds was one of these instances where all of the above elements were present.” Congratulations and well done Gene!!!!
Gear Up Landing by Steve Roth
Will it happen to you? It happened to me. Gear up landing My Swift is equipped with a small red gear warning light (not the original light) on the upper left corner of the instrument panel …so it is NOT in direct view and does not blink. After my incident I wanted a better gear warning system, especially during times when I was not looking at the panel (On my incident I was landing in bad weather and was not watching the panel). Yeh, I know, I should have done a GUMP check…. should have. YOU do one every time you land..right? Right?
I wanted both a visual and audio gear warning. Sure, there are lots of ways to use a buzzer, etc but I wanted something better … with audio directly into my headset. I bought an Electronics International AV-17 Voice Annunciator, along with a necessary AVI- I inverter module. Both are available from Aircraft Spruce…. combined cost $270 … and a description of both are in the Spruce catalog. Installation is quick and easy … the AV- 17 module is a small plastic box which can be cable tied to something behind the panel. The audio output line connects to the audio panel or directly to any headset jack. AS described, the AV- 17 is activated when an alarm output goes to ground. Since I wanted to connect it to my gear light, I used the AVI- I inverter and connected it directly to my + 12V gear light. Thus, when the gear light comes on I get a soft female voice in my headset saying “Check Landing Gear” which remains on as long as the gear light remains on. A bonus is that the AV-17 constantly monitors my buss voltage so if the alternator goes off line the voice announces “Check Buss Voltage”. Other alarm outputs can be connected to alert to oil temp, oil pressure, etc. using alarm outputs on El and JPI instruments.
I told a new Navion owner at my field about my installation. He did not pursue the Annunciator..saying he had a loud horn and didn’t need it. Several weeks later he landed gear up!! As with my Swift, there was little airframe damage, but it required a costly engine and prop replacement.
So … can’t happen to you? It only takes one event or something non-standard in your approach to land or a go around … or something to get you out of your routine. The Annunciator might be $270 well spent. (Ed note: Good advice Steve)
Electrical Failure by Todd Bengtson
Last month while making a routine trip from my home in Tyler, TX to visit my parents for coffee, I suffered an alternator failure while on an IFR flight. I was able to return home without problems but I thought the failure and my thought process might be a good review for all of us. The flight began from Tyler uneventfully with a 1500 ft ceiling and tops around 4000′. My initial climb out and level off at 6000′ went as planned. I was cruising happily in smooth air above an overcast with reported weather at my destination being 2000′ broken. I soon noticed that my battery voltage was lower than normal. It caught my attention and after a little trouble shooting I found my alternator had “gone south”. I elected to return home as it was closer than my destination and Tyler had better approaches. Once I advised ATC of my intention to return to Tyler because of the electrical failure I made the turn and headed home. I advised ATC that I was going to turn off all radios and that I would turn them back on and contact them when I was 15 miles from home.
I was VFR on top at this time but my battery voltage continued to drop. I knew I would make Tyler comfortable with my current fuel so I elected to slow down and get the gear down with the battery I had left.
My iPad …which is usually my backup GPS came in handy as the primary navigational aid. I was also planning to use it if needed on the approach into Tyler. Weather was improving and as I neared Tyler the overcast became broken. I was able to descend with ATC approval to minimal vectoring altitude. This allowed me to determine that I would be safe proceeding to Tyler ..VFR at 1500′. 1 cancelled with ATC and then turned the radios back off until I contacted Tyler tower for landing… which was uneventful. Here are a few take home points: 1. Monitor your battery and alternator with your periodic sweep of instruments …. early recognition of an impending problem gives you more time to plan and save the battery. 2. Get all non-essential electrical drains off immediately after making appropriate communications. A hand held GPS or iPad and a hand held radio that all operate independently are essential. 3. Think about when your gear can come down… nothing dictates the gear must come down only in the traffic pattern. 4. If IFR … get to VFR if able. I hope an electrical failure never happens to you but chances are it might. If dealt with in a thoughtful manner it will most likely be no emergency at all. Remember… aviate first, navigate second and finally communicate. — Todd Bengtson
Never Give Up by Paul Barnett
(As many of you know Paul Barnett has been working on an 85 Hp Swift for many years. With the help of Scott Anderson they finally finished N80567 and walked off with some “heavy hardware” this year at Oshkosh. In a word… this is one beautiful restoration. Many of you Swifters have gone through the process and know how much time, work and money is involved. This is Paul’s story. Well done. -Editor)
While perusing the aviation classified ads one Fall afternoon in 2004, a brief one-line ad in Trade-A-Plane caught my attention; “FOR SALE -1946 Globe Swift, 85 hp call ” I said to myself, why not? I dialed the listed number and followed by what I presume was “Hello” in French, the gentleman said “Oh Hello”. The conversation was very pleasant despite the obvious language barrier, my total lack of French and his very broken English, we finally concluded that I would send an email and he would respond with pictures. Weeks went by and I finally received a response with a few photographs attached. By this time it became known that Mr. McKay only checked email every 6 weeks at the public library during his 2-hour break between his two scheduled doctor appointments. Needless to say, our interaction was very brief and we would possibly go 4 to 6 months between exchanges.
Fast forwarding 6 years, a friend of mine, Justin Kelly and I drove 1,578 miles in 25 hours without stopping other than for fuel and food only to find ourselves in the suburbs of Montreal, Canada. Asking myself time and time again, how could there possibly be an airplane here, I continued to follow the lead of the Garmin GPS. Arriving at the address, 38 Avenue Stanley, Lachine, QC as given my Mr. McKay, we found a small house over-grown by vines and bushes with the number 38 displayed on the door-trim; matching up with the address given.
I approached the door cautiously and knocked only to be greeted by a feeble yet zealous man saying ….”Oh hello Paul, how was your journey?” Our greeting and exchange was pleasant; however, I would be remiss to say that I was boiling with excitement to see the airplane; therefore, I asked, “Where might the airplane be?” Mr. McKay remarked ….”Oh it’s in the hangar in the back-yard …. come have a see.”
Peering over the fence into the back-yard, it looked like a jungle and nothing resembled a hangar, much less an airplane; keeping an open mind, we carefully opened the sagging picket gate and made our way into the back yard. With great pride, Mr. McKay makes his way toward what resembles my grand-father’s wood pile covered in visqueen plastic… almost like a magician unveiling his assistant in the disappearing/reappearing act, Mr. McKay unveils his prize 1946 Globe Swift.
My heart sunk, instead of an airplane, I’m thinking, hangar art, quickly realizing this project is far beyond my ability, I made a call to a friend of mine, Scott Anderson of Athens, TN. Scott, a noted Swift Expert and Restoration Guru, agreed to take a look at the project.
Obviously, renegotiation was in order, Mr. McKay and I came to an agreement which resulted in the consummation of the sale of Globe Swift GC-1A serial number 70 I would now be the third owner/caretaker. Justin and I proceeded to coordinate our disassembly of “the hangar” and prepared to carefully load the remains of the 1946 Globe Swift. This would be a good time to mention that the picture of the plane which I thought I was driving from one end of North America to the other to acquire was actually taken in 1980 following it’s new paint-job …. today is August 24th, 2010. Airplane parts were scattered throughout the house and back-yard, it took the balance of Tuesday and most of the day Wednesday to scrounge up everything Swift related that had been presumed “carefully stored” for nearly 34 years.
I gave Mr. McKay my word that “if” I am able to restore his airplane, it would be to it’s original condition.
With the proper Canadian aircraft de-registration paperwork in-hand and fast approaching the 5 o’clock rush-hour traffic, we headed for the boarder. Having towed another Swift for nearly 50 trouble-free miles without a “wide load permit”, I felt that our 10′ 3″ wide- load would make it from Montreal, Canada to Athens, TN on the premise that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission; after all, permits for Canada and the multiple states along our route; that would be far too expensive.
In an attempt to cross the border into Champlain, NY, we were greeted by two armed agents who graciously escorted us to a cinder block room with no windows and a steel door. One hour and forty-five minutes we were detained due to border agents’ discovery of “excessive levels of radiation …… ahh, there is a box behind the driver’s seat with 3 instruments; these instruments were original to the 1946 aircraft and contained Radon on the dials to allow them to glow in low-light conditions.
Finally, we were released and back in the United States; given our excessive width, it was agreed that the further down the road we made it at night, the greater our chances of evading DOT agents. Aside from a wrong turn in the wee hours of the morning that necessitated a detour through the Smokey Mountains, oh yeah, tunnels and all …. we arrived in Athens, TN at 6:00 a.m. Friday.
Scott Anderson met us at the McMinn County Airport around 9:00 a.m. to assess the “project”; after 20-30 minutes Scott essentially said he was beginning to scale back a bit and felt the complexity would be more than he was willing to tackle.
Airplane Project now turns into Hangar Art …. off to Mississippi; we stop for fuel and hit the road, a quarter of a mile from the interstate my phone rings, it’s Scott. “Did you mean what you said? What did I say? You want it completely original even if it takes five years to complete.” I respond, “As long as it’s original, I do not care how long it takes.” Scott responds, “I’ll do it” Immediately, I hung the phone up in fear that he may change his mind, we returned to the airport; what took one and a half days to load …. we unloaded in less than fifteen minutes. Scott’s assessment was very accurate; he had a pattern by which to disassemble an airplane and reconstruct a new airplane. Corrosion was a consistent theme throughout the inspection phase of the project.
Scott’s in-depth knowledge of the Globe Swift and his close proximity to the Swift Museum Foundation Headquarters and Parts Department was invaluable to the task at hand.
Over the course of nearly four years, Scott carefully resurrected an airplane that in Scott’s words ….”was headed to Airplane Heaven.”
Given that this aircraft was delivered from the factory in 1946 to it’s first owner/caretaker, a Canadian Coal Mining Company, the original US registration number, NC80567, was released back into the pool of available N-Numbers.
Late Spring following the purchase of the aircraft in 2010, I felt it would be prudent to obtain the original N-Number as delivered from the Globe factory in 1946, NC80567. With a quick search of the FAA website, I discovered N80567 was assigned to a 1976 Cessna 185 owned by Charles Ireys of Tok, AK. I was hopeful the Cessna 185 would not be in flying condition and possibly the owner would relinquish the registration number to me. Numerous efforts were made to contact the Cessna 185’s owner; my research indicated the affiliation with an Alaskan-based exploration company; as it turns out, this was the beginning of the exploration season so office-time was very limited. An email response indicated ….”we we are in the field prospecting and will be in contact at the end of the season.”
Realizing the chances were very slim, I attempted to contact Mr. Ireys early Fall, low and behold, we connected. In my best effort to convince Mr. Ireys of my sincere need to obtain his aircraft’s N-Number, his story was just as convincing given that he purchased his airplane new from Cessna with the registration number N80567.
Months would pass and I would send a brief email update with a photo or two attached in an effort to plant a seed in the mind of a fellow pilot in hopes that he would feel the passion with which the resurrection of this aircraft has been approached. Finally in 2013, Mr. Ireys agreed to relinquish his N-Number in exchange for a similar number; quickly, I composed a list of available N-Numbers.
May 2, 2014; sixty-eight years later, NC80567 was assigned to Globe Swift GC-1A serial number 70. As is the case with many projects of this magnitude, there were several hurdles to be crossed in an effort to obtain an Airworthiness Certificate for an aircraft imported from outside of the country. From the first week of May 2014, Scott spent countless hours corresponding verbally and in writing with all ranks of the FAA and numerous designated representatives; what more could Scott have asked for on his birthday, July 23rd, than the issuance of the coveted Airworthiness Certificate. The theme of the project was short and simple, “Never Give Up”. Despite the numerous obstacles that presented themselves, we remained focused and confident throughout the project. Scott and I would like to personally thank the numerous people who graciously extended their hand in an effort to assist with the resurrection; unfortunately, we would certainly miss proper recognition if we were to list individual names; so please know, your support and efforts are recognized with each flight of NC80567 …. Thank You from Team 85H