Road Trip!

This week I had the opportunity to take a trip to Wright-Pat (i.e. The National Air Force Museum) with Harvey Alley, a long-time friend who was an aircraft mechanic in WWII. Some EAA types may recognize his name in relation to aircraft photography:

Road Trip 3

It was less than an hour out of our way to go through the Toledo area. Bill Wirzel graciously agreed to allow us to stop by for a visit. Many of you are familiar with Bill, or at least have seen pictures of “63” on the web. Bill has often displayed 63 with wheels (Original and BT-13), skis and floats (see Bureau number 2003 on the “Fleet” page).

Bill spent at least a couple of hours with us, in his barn, basement and his hangar at the local airport. He really contributed to my N3N knowledge base. Here you see us in the basement going through files on his various airframes (Bill is the one with hair on top…). Bill has 11 airframes, two that are airworthy (2003 and 2865) one rebuild that is nearing completion (2673). In addition, he has 8 airframes in trailers, more on that later.
Road Trip 1

He took us out the airport to see “33” (2865). He keeps an R-3350 in the shed next to the hanger – MY KINDA’ GUY (channeling Animal from the Muppet Show). Learned so much about the aircraft and the people behind them (Mike Posey’s R-1340 conversion is AT-6 FWF).
Road Trip 2

Bill has reached the point in life where he knows that he won’t restore all 8 project aircraft and he wants to see them back in the air, so he has decided to let some go. He has a range of possible projects, info on the “For Sale” page.

I think that I have been to Wright-Pat more than a half dozen times (the first time was in 1969!). They always seems to have new stuff – I think part of it is that you can’t absorb everything that you see, information overload sets in. I somehow never noticed that the US had cloned the V-1 and put some clones on a ship for use in the Pacific theater. The war ended before they could be used in combat.

So we have to post at least one photo of a museum aircraft. How about the very cool radiator louvers on the front of this Spad?


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