Warbird Projects of mine

JTSpeedDemon

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Yes, that's right. I've been working on World War 2 aircraft! Big step up from go karts!
I've started spending every weekend volunteering at the Vintage Flying Museum in Fort Worth, since I'm planning to become and aircraft A&P mechanic (Airframe and Powerplant). This is very valuable experience I can't get anywhere else, they're fantastic with letting me work on these aircraft! I mean seriously name one other place that'll let a 15 year old boy work on one of a kind warbirds!
We recently said goodbye of Fifi, which was for awhile the only flying B-29 Superfortress in the world, and we also said goodbye to Diamond Lil, the B-24 Liberator. Both will now be staying at the new CAF museum in Dallas, although they will return to our museum for tours and sometimes maintenance possibly.

Instead of the big 4 engine bombers I've fallen in with the Special Kay crew especially. As part of the crew we're doing a bunch of repairs and upgrades to make Kay more suited for tours and long distance traveling. Special Kay is the only remaining airworthy Douglas A-26K Counter Invader in the world. Out of 40 built in the 1960s, 6 remain worldwide, and Special Kay is the only flying one. In short the A-26K was a special mission A-26 that the US military hired On Mark Engineering to upgrade. They rebuilt the airframe to 0-hour spec, put in a better wing structure, fitted tip tanks, added 500 HP per engine, bigger tail, etc. It is a hot rod, and a key tool in raiding the Ho Chi Minh Trail back during the Vietnam War.
Right now we're fixing Kay's nose area, there was an accident awhile back where the gear was loose at high speed since SOMEONE forgot to put a pin in, so we're fixing everything that got messed up. Just the other week I pulled out both carburetors, working with Chuck, one of the primary engine mechanics. It was a 2 man job and hoooo boy it was a great use of my mechanical skills. Yesterday I was refurbishing the nosewheel strut and replacing the nosewheel compartment seal.
Other stuff I've been doing is tail work on the Douglas C-47, an Aeronca T65 restoration, and engine teardown on the A-26B port side engine!
 

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Bansil

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JT, you are blessed. The ole girls need love. I really enjoy reading 20 yr old blogs on some of them being restored..
I missed a chance to see fifi and doc.....😟

I have seen/ridden in lots of 1960+ helicopters and planes, BUT, the ole ones make me smile, cringe and cry at the same time.

To be a tail gunner....and come home...😕 was s blessing, read about the birds...and crews...those are/were the real heros.

(not to take away from ground troops at all!!!)

The stories are frightening and energetic
 

JTSpeedDemon

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Having a blast working on Special Kay lately! Chuck taught me how to safety wire, what was really interesting was climbing on top of the port side engine (2,500 HP water injected Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp BTW), and then I had to lean off the front edge of the engine and safety wire the pushrod shaft fasteners while hanging upside down off the front of the engine! It was fun, a great test of my spatial working capabilities too!
 

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Denny

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Those guys that fought in WWII had big huge balls that clanked when they walked. My grandfather died when I was 7. He would never talk to me about the war. So the stories I knew were from overhearing him talk to other vets. So I put the pieces together with the help of the internet and discovered he helped liberate Dora Mittelbau (sp?) concentration camp. Where they built the V2 rockets. He won 2 bronze stars also.
 

Denny

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One other thing keep your ears open and mouth shut while working. Ask intelligent questions to the old timers. This way the old timers will figure out quickly that you really are interested in learning and they will open up to you and you get the bonus of learning even more. That is what I used to do and I was welcomed into anybody’s shop or garage in town. If you screw around or are a distraction you will see how fast people will shut down to you. Most important of all, always thank them for the opportunity.
 

JTSpeedDemon

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One other thing keep your ears open and mouth shut while working. Ask intelligent questions to the old timers. This way the old timers will figure out quickly that you really are interested in learning and they will open up to you and you get the bonus of learning even more. That is what I used to do and I was welcomed into anybody’s shop or garage in town. If you screw around or are a distraction you will see how fast people will shut down to you. Most important of all, always thank them for the opportunity.
100%
Ever since I told them about my plan to go to A&P school and become a professional A&P mechanic, they just can't wait to teach me stuff. Chuck taught me to safety wire of course, just yesterday they had me help install the Rolls-Royce jet engine in the T-33 Shooting Star, the list goes on and on! They've already talked about how when we get Kay flying they want me to come along as a crew member whenever we go on cross country tours again! Eventually I want to become a good enough pilot that they'll let me at least co-pilot the Kay, because in perhaps 10 or less years we might find ourselves needing a new pilot, the current 2 are pretty old.
They afford me a lot of respect, they'll let me spontaneously take guests up to tour the inside of the C-47, and I even get special privileges to poke around in the non flying planes. I figured out how to open the door to the Piaggio floatplane and I opened up the canopy on the F-86F we have. It's a fantastic place, and I even get to talk to a 3 star general sometimes hehe.
 

Bansil

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Your a good kid, bud.......no disrespect by calling you "kid" intended 😉

Our military history has always amazed me, my wife has finally "gotten it" after 22 years, our honeymoon had us walking the trench at Antietam and staring over the fields...50,000+ kia in 1 day :cry:

Here favorite "tour" was the self guided North Carolina battleship, where she hugged a 6 ft tall mixer 😛

And the tours of the lookouts and landing fields on the NC shores as we watched and hunted u-boats off our coast in WWII.....there are several sunk...most people don't have a clue....
 

Denny

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I think the f-86 Sabre is one of the most beautiful birds ever built. I’m not into flying or heights in general but one thing I had always wanted to fly in was a Huey uh-1. My dad was stationed at a Nike missle base in the Army 15 miles from home. He lived at home the whole time he was in the Army except for basic training and Hercules missle training. We lived around a few Nike bases near Chicago. There were quite a few due to the oil refinery’s in Whiting and East Chicago Indiana. One day my dad and I were riding motorcycles by Wolf Lake and a Huey sets down it was really foggy. We were a few miles from one base. So my dad wants to talk to the guys and I want to check out the chopper. We went over they were ordered to set down because of the fog. My dad gives me $10 bucks and tells me to run to the store and get a bag of ice and a case of Pepsi for the guys. So I did. When I came back they wanted to give me a ride over the lake. But I’m afraid of heights! So the get me in, strap me down and fit me with a headset. I would not let them get over 10 feet off the water because I figured out in my 10 year old brain I figured I could survive a crash from That height. We ended up staying with those guys till the fog cleared. Later my dad told me they could get in big trouble for giving a civilian a ride. One of the best days ever!
 

JTSpeedDemon

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Your a good kid, bud.......no disrespect by calling you "kid" intended 😉

Our military history has always amazed me, my wife has finally "gotten it" after 22 years, our honeymoon had us walking the trench at Antietam and staring over the fields...50,000+ kia in 1 day :cry:

Here favorite "tour" was the self guided North Carolina battleship, where she hugged a 6 ft tall mixer 😛

And the tours of the lookouts and landing fields on the NC shores as we watched and hunted u-boats off our coast in WWII.....there are several sunk...most people don't have a clue....
My grandpa used to be a sonar man on the U.S.S Somers, there was multiple times in the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam where they actually found a USSR submarine parked directly underneath a U.S carrier, crazy times.
 

JTSpeedDemon

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I think the f-86 Sabre is one of the most beautiful birds ever built. I’m not into flying or heights in general but one thing I had always wanted to fly in was a Huey uh-1. My dad was stationed at a Nike missle base in the Army 15 miles from home. He lived at home the whole time he was in the Army except for basic training and Hercules missle training. We lived around a few Nike bases near Chicago. There were quite a few due to the oil refinery’s in Whiting and East Chicago Indiana. One day my dad and I were riding motorcycles by Wolf Lake and a Huey sets down it was really foggy. We were a few miles from one base. So my dad wants to talk to the guys and I want to check out the chopper. We went over they were ordered to set down because of the fog. My dad gives me $10 bucks and tells me to run to the store and get a bag of ice and a case of Pepsi for the guys. So I did. When I came back they wanted to give me a ride over the lake. But I’m afraid of heights! So the get me in, strap me down and fit me with a headset. I would not let them get over 10 feet off the water because I figured out in my 10 year old brain I figured I could survive a crash from That height. We ended up staying with those guys till the fog cleared. Later my dad told me they could get in big trouble for giving a civilian a ride. One of the best days ever!
NICE! Just this last Saturday we actually had a pair of Hueys fly over Meacham airport, which is where we're based. It was quite a sound, they couldn't have been more than 100-200 feet off the ground but they were COOKIN'!
 

pearl111

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JT I wish you the best of luck. I believe that what you are doing in this stage of life will cary you far in life.
So continue on and you will be very successful in life.

Good luck, and best wishes .
 

Bansil

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Where I work, across the street they have been doing 3 rotor upgrades/changes for 20+ years....they do not sound the same as the chop,chop from 2 rotors.

They rebuild heuys for lots of countries over the years...

I always liked huey's ,the black hawks scared me due to engine failures in gulf due to sand in airbox's

We had to clean filters and pre cleaners daily on our tanks, couldn't imagine aircraft maintenance, I had a chance to ride in an f16 at Holloman air base while stationed at fort Bliss I....chickened out,, did stand on tarmac when it went verticle with afterburner...wow...Sloan rode with them....
 

JTSpeedDemon

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Where I work, across the street they have been doing 3 rotor upgrades/changes for 20+ years....they do not sound the same as the chop,chop from 2 rotors.

They rebuild heuys for lots of countries over the years...

I always liked huey's ,the black hawks scared me due to engine failures in gulf due to sand in airbox's

We had to clean filters and pre cleaners daily on our tanks, couldn't imagine aircraft maintenance, I had a chance to ride in an f16 at Holloman air base while stationed at fort Bliss I....chickened out,, did stand on tarmac when it went verticle with afterburner...wow...Sloan rode with them....
Yeah aircraft maintenance is no joke, it's very intensive, and rightfully so!
Also that's a shame you declined the F-16 ride, I would've taken that in a heartbeat!
 

Bansil

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Way too many cold ones that day to ruin the insides of her....but I still wish I would have. But after seeing Sloan back on the tarmac... :p he was in bad shape....they make sure you throw up :lolgoku:

I did get a 1st hand look at a pirouette from a couple hundred feet to 50 or so strapped into gunner seat with door open on a huey....the guys wanted pictures of some deer, pilot was old skool Vietnam driver, he pitched that girl left and 2 corkscrews later we well below any established deck....that was frightening fun....did I mention I was on leftside of the bird....:ack2::thumbsup::roflol::bannana:
 

JTSpeedDemon

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wow ive never worked on something that old or big!
Yep they're pretty massive! I think most of our collection in the hangar dates back to the 40s or 50s, Special Kay has a '64 serial number but that's because On Mark remanufactured her, but she was originally built back in....'44 I wanna say?
The C-47 is from the late 30s IIRC, the T-33 Shooting Star.... I think that's late 40s or early 50s.
But we did just get Diamond Lil, the B-24 Liberator back for a few weeks! I'll probably get a chance to work on her at some point, then Fifi the B-29 Superfortress will also be coming back in preparation for our Ride Day on October 19th. DEFINITELY gonna try to get a chance to work on that one if I can!
 

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JTSpeedDemon

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:cheers2: Please post pics of Fifi and Diamond Lil when you can, they all need to be remembered
It's incredible, I didn't realize this until recently but Diamond Lil is one of TWO airworthy B-24s GLOBALLY. WOW.
Same number as Fifi lol. So for airworthy B-24s it's just Diamond Lil and Witchcraft. For airworthy B-29s it's just Fifi and Doc.
And the odds of getting to work at the ONE museum that has (well technically, had) one of each? Off the charts. :2guns:
Oh and don't forget Special Kay is the 1-of-6 and only airworthy A-26K :D
 
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