tbmI recently flew the last airplane from what was the Weeks Air Museum in Miami to Fantasy of Flight.  It was my Grumman TBM Avenger Torpedo Bomber from WWII.  I flew this airplane until it was damaged by Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992.  Over the years many airplanes were either trucked out of Miami or flown out after being made flyable.  The TBM is the last airplane to finally come home and is somewhat the end of an era.  There is only one wing left on display at the now Wings Over Miami Museum and once that leaves, the only thing left of mine in Miami will be my mother!

I flew the TBM back from California in the 1980’s after purchasing it where we put it in the colors of George Bush Sr. who flew them during the war and was shot down twice.  He was running for President at the time and the Republican National Party asked me to fly it up to Tampa for a press event.  I arrived early as the FBI had to check it over for bombs.  I told them it used to have a Torpedo!  

Anyway, when the then Vice-President Bush arrived and came out of  Air Force 2 with Barry Goldwater in tow, he bee-lined it straight for the cockpit of the TBM.  After following him up the wing and leaning over the side of the cockpit as he looked around like a kid again he said, “Kermit, I think if my life depended on it, I could take this off and get it around the patch!”

Over the years the guys at the Museum down there worked on it for me after getting the TP-40 flyable.  I went down last summer to test-fly it for the first time in over 15 years but had some magneto problems.  We sent them off for overhauled and recently went down and installed them.  After one safe 40-minute test flight over the airport I launched off for an uneventful flight to Fantasy of Flight.  Since we were on a ferry permit we will not be able to fly the aircraft until we do some additional work to bring everything up to airworthy standards.  We need to change out some fuel tanks, overhaul some instruments, clean it up a bit and put a paint job on it.  Once we do this it will be a great addition to Aircraft of the Day!



I recently returned from the Living Legends of Aviation Gala Event in Beverly Hills, CA.  It’s a grand party at the Beverly Hilton and is held annually.  

I was inducted into this fun and prestigious group three years ago which combines up to 70 people that are either celebrities in aviation or celebrities that are into aviation!

Last year I was walking out after the event and someone came up to me and said, “Mr. Weeks . . . Kurt Russell would like to meet you.”  Now how cool is that!  

Check out http://www.airportjournals.com/legends/ for pictures of who attended the latest event!


pic2.jpgI just learned how to put pictures up on my Blog so check them out.One is of a new friend that came for a tour of Fantasy of Flight that I met at the Living Legends of Aviation Dinner I attended last January in Beverly Hills. I was inducted several years ago and my new friend was inducted this year. He had his private Boeing 707 up at the Oshkosh Fly-In.


pic1.jpgThe other friend is a well-known film director from New Zealand. He did a couple of films about “Rings” and another recent one featuring a very Big Gorrilla! I got a chance to fly in one of his absolutely gorgeous SE-5 reproductions with another friend of mine outside of Wellington, NZ while he stood in the middle of the airfield with an HD Camera. I was very fortuante to spend my Birthday at his house with his family on my last round the world trip. They gave me a signed statue of the Big Gorilla grabbing an airplane on the top of the Empire State Building!


PS – Now that I know how to insert photos I will go back and insert earlier posts!  If you click on the picture it might show up larger and clearer.

Having traveled around the world, then to Oshkosh and then to the west coast, I am finally home for awhile!

I just returned from San Francisco where I acquired a reproduction aircraft of the “Miss Los Angeles” Racer that is one of the characters featured in my book “All of Life is a School”.  This new addition of “Missy”  will bring the total number of characters I will have on display at Fantasy of Flight to five of ten!  I am working on a plan to display the aircraft at the Reno Air Races Septemeber 10 – 14 to help promote the book sales and have it home sometime after.

By the end of my trip I also hit a major milestone in my book “The Journey Never Ends!”  I have completed semi-final drafts of the ten main chapters that describe my experiences during the ten Monroe Insitute Programs I attended beginning in January of 2006 and ending in November 2007.  It was an unbelieveable experience  that was basically  exploration of consciousness that was nothing short of profound, phenomenol and at times unbelievable.  I have a rough Introduction and Summary as well.  I will continue to edit and proof read as time allows and hope to publish the book sometime in 2009.


As most of you know Hurricane Andrew devastated the Weeks Air Museum in Miami in August of 1992. As we were digging out of the rubble in Miami and rebuilding the Museum down there we slowly began the development of Fantasy of Flight here in Central Florida. Many of the airplanes were either sent out for repair or slowly moved to Central Florida. A new group of enthusiasts continued on with the Miami facility as the Wings Over Miami Museum.

My last flyable airplane on display in Miami was a Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bomber. Over the years, the Hurricane damage was repaired with the intention of flying it to Fantasy of Flight. Well, last week was the big date to test fly the aircraft and hopefully bring it up. I had last flown the TBM since just before the Hurricane over 15 years ago and needed to get recurrent at the same time I was test flying the airplane as the FAA requires a re-currency check on any airplanes over 12,500 lbs. The first flight went great and my only concern was I had recently been flying my little Grumman Wildcat fighter and when I got the TBM off the ground I thought the control stick had somehow been set in concrete! I couldn’t believe how heavy the controls were compared to the Wildcat. It all slowly came back to me and I became comfortable very quickly.

While I got my recurrency check complete, I was not able to fly the airplane home as it developed some ignition problems. We had to take the magnetos off as well and order a new set of spark plugs. As soon as that is fixed, we will get the airplane up to Fantasy of Flight! I drove home with the check-pilot and we then jumped into the Ford Tri-Motor and I got recurrent in that. So, if you come to visit in the future there is a chance you may see the Grumman Wildcat, the Grumman TBM or the Ford Tri-Motor in the pattern!

I am also about to head off around the world with a first top in Maui to work on a book about my 10-Program experience at the Monroe Institute. If you think you might be interested in exploring Inner Consciousness and Out of Body experiences, check out www.monroeinstitute.org. I hope to have most the book, “The Journey Never Ends!”, edited by the end of this year.

I’m then off to New Zealand to spend some time with Peter Jackson (director of Lord of the Rings and King Kong). He is a WWI airplane nut like me and has an amazing bunch of airplanes being built up. I loaned him 3 WWI German Mercedes engines and will get to see the first one running on the stand while I’m down there. He is using them for patterns and is in process of building engines from SCRATCH! We also just send him a crankshaft for a Hisso for one of his SE-5’s he built. I hope to get to fly one while I’m there. I had also loaned him the front and rear turrets off my Lancaster Project as he is under development to redo the “Dambuster” film! He had about eight full-size Lancs built out of fiberglass. I am sure he will do a great job and can’t wait to see the film!

Then I’m off to Australia for some business meetings, but not before I stop in and look at my Kingfisher and P-39 projects in Wangaretta, north of Melbourne. I continue on to London to check on the final stages of my Hawker Tempest V project, which we are bringing up to displayable condition. Everything has been rebuilt to airworthy standards but we are currently just trying to get it displayable for Fantasy of Flight. I have two Napier Sabre engines for it and one day hope to make it fly!

I get home just in time to catch up for a few days and then head to Oshkosh to promote my book, “All of Life is a School!” It’s all about the Journey so enjoy what you love to do!


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