The Oil Pump Tester

There are lots of ways to have fun. For example, I have found a group of Bluegrass Pickers here in Morgan Hill near where we are staying. They get together a couple times a week and play Bluegrass together. Other times I have fun by volunteering at a small local Air Museum at the airport in San Martin called Wings of History. One of their restored airplanes is a Peitenpol Air Camper, a kit plane from the 1930’s. It is powered by a Ford Model “B” engine. It is nearing the end of its restoration effort. Recently a debate has been raging in the hanger around the adequacy of the oil lube system and a new improved Model “A” oil pump was secured. Last Tuesday I helped remove the engine from the Pietenpol one more time. We flipped the engine and removed the pan. We extracted the oil pump and the crew decided we needed to test the old pump compared to the new pump and see if it really was able to pump more oil. I more or less agreed to design and build a test apparatus for the pumps. Ideas were flying back and forth while I took some basic dimensions from the pumps. Read More »

Oshkosh Fly-In:

Bleriot XI

Breriot XI bis, First US Air Mail, 1911

Judy and I just today left Oshkosh, Wisconsin and the EAA Air Venture fly-in. We spent nearly two weeks camping right at the airport, (Whitman Regional,) and got to be up close and personal with about every aircraft you can imagine. We walked around under the new Boing 787 Dreamliner, and studied a flying replica of the 1911 Bleriot XI that delivered the first sack of air mail on September 23, 1911. By the way Lewis Bleriot flew the original model of this aircraft across the English Channel on July 25, 1909, and claimed the 1,000 Pound prize for the first channel crossing.
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Frazier Lake Airport

Here is a story about one of the most unique airports I have ever seen. It is about five miles out of Gilroy, California where we have been staying for the past month. I have been volunteering again this fall at the Wings of History Air Museum. One of my fellow volunteers suggested that we should visit the Frazier Lake Airport open house this weekend.

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Prop Shop

My son Glen and I worked in the Prop Shop at the Wings of History Museum over the weekend. What we were doing was painting something. It is not exactly a prop as in airplane propeller. Yet it is a prop in another sense: Read More »

2009 in Review

I guess that I have gotten into the habit of providing a little statistical review the first of each year. I promise to make it brief. Read More »


We are back in Gilroy California. Last spring I spent some time volunteering at the Wings of History Air Museum. See my blog for May 12, 2009,

At that time I was helping build a new wing for a Pietenpol, “Air Camper” that had landed in a plowed field after an engine failure. When I got back today the crew was still working on the wings for the Pietenpol. They have the fabric stretched over the left wing and it has been stretched drum tight and saturated with nitro dope.

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Playing With Airplanes:

When I was a boy I built model airplanes and dreamed of flying. As a teenager a buddy and I took over a botched P-38 Lightning, “Comet Really Flies Kit.” It was supposed to be powered by rubber bands. We had to create some of the bulkheads from the plans, since the preprinted wood had been broken and mutilated. We almost finished it when we got a brilliant idea. We each had a small Cox “Thimble Drone, 0.049 cu. in.” gas airplane engine from our multi-crashed trainer airplanes. We would install these engines in this tiny little airplane with 36 inch wingspan. To make a long story short we succeeded even beyond our grandest dreams and flew this airplane on control lines for hours and hours.

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Ode to a Pie:

O Lemon Meringue Pie, I yearn for your flavor;
‘Tis always a delight, ’tis wondrous to savor;
I wait a whole year for your taste.

Your tart lemon filling, such a rich golden hue;
The meringue peaks and valleys, delightful to view;
Until April each year I must wait.

The tart taste of lemons, an aroma so fine;
A crisp golden shell, so complete and divine;
I get a year older with haste.

Once such a prize, with a friend I did stake;
Play chess; to the winner, a present we’d make.
We’d both win in the end, it was fate.

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Mittry Lake

Sometimes our life is one long campout. This has been one of those weeks. We joined up with a small group of friends near Yuma, AZ. We were camped on the desert on the shores of a small backwater off of the Colorado River called Mittry Lake. We were almost roughing it. We had no electric, no running water, no cable TV, no cell phone and no internet. We did have sparkling clear skies and a full moon each night. We sang songs around the campfire, had pot luck meals and coyotes yelping right under our windows in the middle of the night.

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We are here in Gilroy California observing old family traditions with our son, Glen and his family, Barb, Cody, Patrick, Bryce and now Lizy, Smellfish, Marlin, Sunny and Chocolaté. Yes the turkey is in the oven. The gals will be “slaving over a hot stove all day” to bring us two kinds of dressing, sweet potatoes, home stewed cranberry sauce, three kinds of pie and all of the trimmings. Read More »