Posts Tagged ‘aircraft’

CALL Goes to Robbins AFB Museum of Aviation

February 22, 2012

As promised, here’s a post on the Saturday Columbus Academy of Lifelong Learning (CALL) trip to the Robbins U.S. Air Force Base Museum of Aviation..

I have been wanting to go to the aviation museum for years, but never got around to until CALL folks decided to go.  I’m really glad I got to see it.

When you first walk in you are really impressed with a display of one of the world’s greatest jet fighters, an F-18.

The Stearman World War II trainer hanging above the F-18, though, was the one that really resonated with me. That’s because I flew in the front cockpit of one as it did aerobatics for a TV news feature many years ago. It was a hoot. .

If I remember what Chief Anderson, the original flight instructor at Tuskegee University, who trained Red Tail pilots, told me, the bi-plane was used for early training of the Tuskegee Airman,  but the trainer shown below replaced the bi-planes.  This display honors the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

There are so many great aircraft to see, but no doubt one of the most impressive is a B-29 like the one that dropped atom bombs on Japan to end World War II.  Sitting in front of it is the casing of an A-bomb.

If you like airplanes, especially military airplanes, you’ll really enjoy a visit to the Robbins Air Force Base  Museum of Aviation.

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Linn Gets Ready to Fly the Airplane He Built

May 23, 2009

Want to buy a brand new airplane for less than $180,000, which is about what you would pay for a new Cessna?  Easy.  Just build your own for $50,000. That is, if you don’t count the labor that you put into building it yourself.  How do I know that?  My friend Linn Hall told me.  He should know.  He did it,  and it’s ready to fly. He has already taxied it around  a little, and he says the Federal Aviation Administration has already inspected and licensed it. 

Linn Hall rolling his RV-6A out of his hangar, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, GA

Linn Hall rolling his RV-6A out of his hangar, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, GA

Oh, if you do plan to follow Linn’s example and build your own plane, you’ll need not to be in a hurry.  It has taken Linn eight years to build his.  It is a kit plane,  but things like wings did not come assembled.  He had to do it, and it took 16,000 rivets.  He had to cut out the dash panel,  and since he didn’t get it quite right a couple of times, he had to keep doing it. 

Linn Hall shwoing how he had to cut out ports in the instrument panel, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, GA

Linn Hall showing how he had to cut out ports in the instrument panel, Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, GA

 

RV-6A Cockpit

RV-6A Cockpit

“You must have enjoyed building it to have spent that much time doing it.  How many days a week did you work on it?”  I wanted to know.

“Oh, five days a week.  Not all day, of course. I have to make a living.  I’m a data systems administrator at TSYS.  And, yes, I did enjoy building it. It gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment.”

Linn, who is originally from Oklahoma, came to Columbus to work at TSYS.  A veteran single engine plane pilot,  he brought a Moony with him.  He liked the plane, but he said it was just too expensive for him to maintain.  That’s one reason he built the RV-6A.  He said, “If you own a plane like a Moony, or Cessna,  the FAA says you have to use their maintenance service.   However, if you build your own plane, the FAA allows you to maintain it. That’s a lot cheaper.”

The RV-6A,  a two-seater whose parts and building plans are sold by RV of Seattle, Washington, will cruise at about 185 m.p.h, with gas tanks that will allow you to fly about four hours.   That mean, as an  example, you could fly it from Columbus, GA to Washington, D.C. in a little less than four hours and have a few gallons to spare.

Linn Hall and me in posing in front of his RV-6A.  Fellow retired brodcaster Don Nahley took this picture.

Linn Hall and me posing in front of his RV-6A. Fellow retired broadcaster Don Nahley took this picture.

Being an experimental craft,  he gets to use some parts not approved by the FAA for commercially built planes.  Instead of an aluminium propeller, he is using one made of  a graphite composite over maple wood. It provides better fuel efficiency and more speed. 

Turnabout is fair play so I took this shot of Don and Linn

Turnabout is fair play so I took this shot of Don and Linn

He also uses a dry cell battery, which he says is better than the wet cell ones used in commercially built aircraft. 

Dry cell battery in Linn's kit plane

Dry cell battery in Linn's kit plane

Why hasn’t the FAA approved those for commercially built planes?

“They just haven’t gotten around to inspecting and approving them yet.  I’m sure they will eventually.”

“Are you going to take anyone with you on your first flight?”

“No. The FAA won’t allow that.  I have to have over 40 hours in the plane before I can take anyone up.  I have flown one like it so this won’t be the first time I have flown in an RV-6A, but that 40 hours  has to be in this plane.”

After putting on a few finishing touches,  Linn plans to take his maiden flight early next month.  I’ll let you know how it goes.