Got a chance to check on the progress of our FG-1D Corsair project while on a trip to Australia.  The project is owned by the not-for-profit organization I started back in 1979.  Originally named the Weeks Air Museum, it has now been renamed the World’s Greatest Aircraft Collection to reflect a broader and more inclusive purpose.  I purchased the project in the 1980′s from a gentleman in Seattle, WA and later donated it to the organization.

Checking out the progress on the Main Spar

The airplane appeared in the racing scene after WWII and sported the name “Joe” on the side .  It had an extra fuel tank installed behind the cockpit and was used in the Bendix race from LA to Cleveland.  It’s a fairly complete project but had a corroded upper spar cap that needed to be replaced.  A Warbird restorer in Australia had a project with the wings cut off and needed a good center-section to build a jig for his.

We struck a deal where he would replace our spar cap for the use of our center-section.  While apart, we paid for any additional restoration work that needed to be done, which included a new firewall and attending to some minor corrosion.  All the work has been done except for the final manufacture and installation of the new spar cap and then reassembly.

It should be a fairly straight forward restoration from here on out.  I’m sure my restoration team will begin to get excited about the project once we get it back to Fantasy of Flight.

Kermit

Arriving in the TP-40N

I got a chance to fly my TP-40N over the the Tico Airshow this March and participate in honoring the AVG Flying Tigers.  They were the pilots that signed up to help the Chinese before America entered WWII and were forever remembered for the shark-teeth painted on the cowling.  The reason I don’t have the shark teeth painted on this airplane is because it came out later in the war and is the only factory-built dual-control TP-40 flying in the world today!  Also, we have another P-40E that does have the shark teeth on it!

Line-up of P-40's in attendance

It had been years since I had been to the show as I generally stay don’t attend them like I used to, having done so for many years.  Put on by the Valiant Air Command, the show helps support their onsite museum.

Kicked back watching the show!

Tico was the first airshow I attended back in the early 1980′s in aircraft such as the P-51D Cripes A’Mighty and my Grumman Duck.  It brought back many fond memories of my early days.

On Stage soon!

Three P-40′s, including myself, attended and it was fun to fly with them for the crowd.

Kermit

The year I hooked up with family and friends again and headed up to the Canadian Rockies west of Calgary to go Heli-skiing.  The lodges are out in the middle of nowhere and you can’t get there in the winter except by helicopter.

Waiting for the helicopter in front of the Bobbie Burns Lodge!

There, you find yourself in the middle of about 25 square miles of skiing just for you and about 40+ guests.  It was a great trip with a lot of great exercise and some breathtaking scenery.

Another day . . . another mountain . . . another run!

I really look forward to this trip every year and have been doing it now for over twenty years.

Kermit

Got a chance to go to the annual Living Legends of Aviation again.

 

Shot taken from my table at the Gala, which is held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA

They always have a pre-party the night before and this year it was in a big hangar at the Van Nuys airport with many of the latest jets on display.  One day!

I got a chance to catch up with an old friend, Cliff Robertson, a famous Oscar winning actor for his role in Charlie.  I first met cliff when he visited my museum in Miami in the late 1980′s.  After showing him around, I took him up in my original WWI Avro 504 with a rotary engine!  He never forgot me!  I later got to spend even more time with him when he became the first Chairman of the EAA Young Eagles Program.

Cliff and I at Pre-Legends Party!

He also starred with our DeHavilland Mosquito in the films Mosquito Squadron and 633 Squadron and used to own a Stearman, a Spitfire, and a Messerschmidt 108!

On the cutting edge of trend . . . or hopelessly behind the times? Actually, just being ourselves!

I couldn’t believe he had started growing a ponytail so I couldn’t resist taking a picture from of us behind!  I think we were the only ones at the party with ponytails!  It’s great to hook up with old friends and meet new ones.

It was a great event and it’s fun enjoying the glamor and the glitz!

You never know who you might run into!

And sitting at the table next to me . . . Harrison Ford and his wife Calista Flockhart!  I first met them, and got to know Harrison when he was the third Chairman of the Young Eagles Program while being on the Board of the EAA.  He’s an avid flyer and enjoys flying his Husky, Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and Cessna Sovereign.

Looking forward to next year!

Kermit

Got invited out again to the Kelleher/Agather Quail Hunt in west Texas again and had a blast.  I’ve blogged about it before so won’t go into the details of the event but this year had some interesting and fun twists.

My Roommate!

Guess who my roommate was?  Country Star Aaron Tippin!  He did some singing for the group on an old guitar and I got a chance to bang out a few songs on an old piano they have at the ranch house where we all gather to eat, drink and be merry.

Shamans Bud "Light" Feather and Kermit the Brave "Lost-his-Feather" pleading to the Great "Spirits" to show up later for the evening's festivities in an actual Indian ceremonial cave complete with petroglyphs!

As is the protocol, we drive around the 200,000 acre ranch all day in search of the elusive Quail (I’ve never had the heart) and gather in the evenings to tell tall tales with aviation greats such as Bob Cole (Jimmy Doolittle’s copilot), Dick Rutan (around the world flight), Bud Day (longest POW in Vietnam), Tex Hill (highest scoring Flying Tiger, now deceased), Sean Tucker (airshow performer extraordinaire / heli-ski partner), Clay Lacy (movie pilot), and an assortment of Air Force generals, etc.  As I mentioned before, most of the shots fired are with a glass and based on the groups past hunting record Fish and Game is considering giving us a conservation award!

My carriage for the trip!

This year was a great surprise when I got a chance to fly out from Ft. Worth and back in a Cessna Citation Jet.  I got to ride up front and actually got to take-off and land it.  What a blast!  I am hoping one day my Stayhealthy investment will pay off so I can get my own personal transportation.  I guess I’d better get my Instrument Rating first!  We’ll see!

Aaron listening to Naked in Jamaica!

During the weekend I got a chance to play Aaron my songs Naked in Jamaica as well as Daddy’s Little Girl! He was impressed!  What a great fun group of guys.  I can’t wait until next year!

Kermit

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