Monthly Meeting Minutes – February 2023

A Post Pandemic High Turnout – 77 in attendance and 63 breakfasts were sold.  With the cold morning, attendance was slow at the start but accelerated toward the end of the breakfast service.  The breakfast crew kept the line fed with the help of new members, Shannon and Santina Forrest, on the pancake grill and serving line.

Call to Order – Dick Keyt called the meeting to order and recognized all the breakfast service volunteers.  Dick invited any guests to introduce themselves.  Robert Boyd joined Jill and Piper for this meeting.  Robert flies an Erickson S-64 Air-Crane for aerial firefighting.  The family has a J-3 Cub and live on a 3000′ grass strip (TX36) south of Granbury.  Rich Grove is the son-in-law of John McComas and currently serving as a Captain in the USN with a total of 37 years of service.  Mary and John Peck, who recently moved to the Landings, own a Stewart 70% Scale P-51 and Mooney. Dick encouraged a future program about the Stewart P-51.  Andy Hale, son of Larry Hale, is a VP for Chapter 1629 in Marysville, OH.

Air Academy Scholarship Recipient – John Bowen announced that Tania Magallanes won the 983 scholarship to attend the Air Academy just before the start of AirVenture.  She is a junior at Granbury High School, has participated in the S-21 Eagles Nest project, received 2.3 hours of dual instruction toward her PPL, and desires to become a commercial pilot.  Her parents and family were also in attendance.  Congratulations to Tania and we look forward to hearing of her experiences at this year’s Air Academy!

Safety Minute – No Input

Project Reports

  • Steve Bloomquist – Reported his Kitfox S7 kit is supposed to arrive in a couple of weeks but with supply chain issues who knows.
  • Ray Lewis – Getting a lot of flight time in his recently completed AutoGiro MTO Sport.  His son is working toward his license so he can fly it too.
  • Bob Moreau – Has been working with the fire department.  They are in need of a non-flightworthy general aviation airframe to use for training.  Please contact Bob if you have something that could be donated.
  • John Bowen – G35 Bonanza has been going through restoration for the last 2 years.  He will be getting training to satisfy insurance requirements.
  • Keith Brown – Completed the fuselage mate of the tail cone and now has an RV-14 canoe.  This is their second RV-14 project.  When asked whether he plans to keep it or sell it, he said it depends on the quality of workmanship when it is completed.
  • Dick Keyt – Reported Dave Anders has been in town for the last 10 days working on mods for two Lancair Legacys (One is Michele Sonier’s)

Treasurer Report – Bill Eslick reported that the chapter has approximately $54,800 in the account after the sale of the spare donated engine that brought in $27,250.  As reported at the last meeting that income will be used to purchase additional shares toward ownership of the house and hanger.  Bill also mentioned the donated books and items from the fly-in auction are available at the back of the chapter hanger.

September Fly-In – Bill Eslick reported that the Fly In committee continues organizing and holding to the date of September 23rd.  He passed around a list of committees and volunteer signup opportunities.  A couple key positions remain open.

Wright Brothers Master Pilot – Tom Thibault announced he and Tom Woodward are soliciting names for those who would like to be considered for the Master Pilot Award (50 years of piloting experience).  If enough names are collected the FAA would likely do an in-person award ceremony.  Tom circulated a sign-up list and said they will assist in filling out application.  He asked that any others not in attendance at this meeting be told of the opportunity and to contact them.

Featured Speaker – Following a short break, John Proctor took the microphone to highlight aviation experiences that few people in the world could match.  He was raised on a ranch east of San Diego where is mom told him “Curiosity is always looking around the next corner.”  That became an inspiration for an uninhibited pursuit of everything aviation;

  • Ground Supporting Transcontinental Balloon Crossing
  • Flying Thousands of Hours in Search & Rescue
  • Crossing the USSR in a Cessna 185
  • Round the World in a Grumman Albatross
  • Putting a Homebuilt Biplane on Floats
  • 2500 HP Raceplane Project

If all those flying adventures weren’t enough of a challenge, he also survived Stage 4 throat cancer! In 1991, when the Soviet Union communism was coming to an end, he completed a cross country flight in a Cessna 185.  He described how he lost 23 pounds during the 32 days, often subsisting on Vodka as a required substitute for contaminated drinking water.  During some airport negotiations he was able to secure a Russian pilot’s license.

John decided to buy a 1954 Grumman HU-16 Albatross seaplane from an Arizona boneyard in 1992.  Once airworthy, he described how Davis-Monthan gave him a one hour window to get the Albatross in the air for a check flight.  He made it just in time after repairing one of the engines that failed to start initially.  He spent three years restoring the airplane and converting it into a motorhome with wings and pontoons. It had all the comforts of home including a galley, queen size bed, heating, air conditioning, and washer/dryer. A 9KW alternator, driven by a 16 hp V twin, furnished power and for fresh water there is a desalination and water purification plant that delivered forty gallons per hour. All garbage was incinerated on board. He had a dive compressor to support three sets of scuba gear.  Then, he and his wife (now ex-wife, also a pilot) left on a trip around the Pacific Rim in early 1995. For 18 months, 42,500 miles and 52 water landings in nine oceans, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, John, with an ATP and an A&P, was the senior pilot, mechanic and flight planner.

His latest project is a race plane designed and built by Dave Rose that has 2 Corvette engines in series producing 2500 HP through counterrotating propellers.  It will have a rotation speed of 250 MPH and capable of a max speed of 600 MPH.

John currently lives on a grass strip in Rosebud, TX.  He donated a book and DVD to the chapter about his adventures in Russia, “Viktor, Vodka, and Raw Fish.” They will be available in the chapter book rack.  We appreciate John’s enthralling presentation to our chapter!

About Walkergp

Retired Lockheed Martin Engineering Senior Manager