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Flight Paths
November 19  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
FHC's new UH-1B Huey now has matching helmet Upon release of the FHC’s new UH-1B Huey, an enthusiast named David Warren e-mailed us to show us an image of a helmet. He’d found a brightly-painted flyer’s helmet that was from the same unit — 1st Cavalry, 9th Regiment, A Troop — as our gunship. "Big Mike’s" (PFC Mike Newman’s) helmet carried a version of the same "Red Scorpion" motif as the nose of our Huey. Our mechanic, Kelly Zimny, who is quite a skilled...

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November 5  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Plane parts fill the floor during inspection season During inspection season, the floor of the Flying Heritage Collection looks like a model builder’s table. Parts and pieces of aircraft lie on moving blankets under the wings of the planes. These (armored) panels belong to the Il-2 Shturmovik. Note the baggies, filled with fasteners, attached to each of the pieces. Soon enough it will be time to put the plane back together.

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October 16  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Special contraption makes removing plane props easier Have you ever heard of a Sweeney Tool? Yeah, right? Me neither. But pulling props is made a whole lot easier with this specialized contraption for grabbing a Hamilton Standard propeller and getting it safely and quickly off the airplane. Here’s a shot of the Sweeney engaged on the P-47’s "fan." The unit also has a torque multiplier that helps us tighten down the prop’s big retainer nut without the use of an eight-foot long bar, a couple of burly...

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October 9  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Shipping plane props requires careful math, a snug fit This winter, the FHC mechanics are sending out a whole gaggle of propellers to be inspected. Now that the props are off the planes, FHC staff has to find a good, safe way to transport the props while almost totally assembled. The big props (and their stands) have to fit snugly in the back of a semi-truck and if the rack and attached props are too tall, too wide, or the angle isn’t just right, you’re sunk. Get out the protractors, plumb-bobs, and dust off those algebra...

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September 25  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Vintage planes get inspected, repaired as flying season ends Now that the Fly Days are over, mechanics at the Flying Heritage Collection turn to inspections and maintenance on FHC’s vintage aircraft. Periodically, it comes time inspect or overhaul a propeller. This off season, it seems, lots of propellers are due for maintenance. In all, seven props—B-25, P-47, P-51, Bf 109, Fw 190, and others—are going to be pulled, disassembled, crated and sent off for service in order to have them back in tip-top shape for next...

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September 17  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
How a Huey helicopter gets around The FHC is always on the move. With so many aircraft, they are always getting switched from place to place. One might wonder, how do we move the Huey? The heavy helicopter is on skids after all … Staffers attach a set of wheels to the skids near the helicopter’s center of gravity. With the wheels in place and jacked up (or jacked down) below the skids, a towbar is attached to loops in the forward part of the skids. With a tug in front and a little down pressure on the...

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September 10  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Aircraft's side keeps its mission Suspended from the ceiling of the FHC’s gallery is Scaled Composites’ White Knight carrier aircraft. If you look closely, on the side is a scoreboard of sorts, exhibiting the lifting/launch missions undertaken by the airplane. Images of SpaceShipOne indicate times White Knight lifted the small spacecraft. The first time was May 20, 2003. On August 7, SpaceShipOne was released, gliding to the ground, indicated by the looping ribbon below the silhouette of the craft. As...

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August 27  |  By Cory Graff
'Mighty Mouse' rockets were a terrifying opponent The Flying Heritage Collections’s UH-1B Huey gunship is equipped with a pair of seven-shot 2.75-inch rockets.

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July 30  |  Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Boeing engineer revolutionized hydroplanes with Slo-Mo-Shun IV Summer in Seattle means Seafair. While the Flying Heritage Collection’s planes take part in the Boeing Seafair Air Show, there used to be aviation ties to the hydroplane races too. In the late 1940s and 1950s, two main factions developed in the hydro world. The teams from Detroit, drawing on their experience with building automobiles, created boats that were all about muscle and power. The men of the Seattle teams, many of whom had "day jobs" at Boeing, used...

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July 16  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Tank's hatch offered soldiers escape The escape hatch located in the belly of the Sherman tank has long been a point of conjecture and a favorite and a favorite plot device for Hollywood movie-makers. As you can see, there is such a thing. This photo was shot of the FHC’s Sherman. Some say it was there for the crew to switch drivers with some degree of safety. Others say it was there in case the tank overturned or somehow, the hatches were blocked or damaged. Others note that fires in Shermans grew fiercer when...

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July 9  |  By Cory Graff Flying Heritage Collection
Which plane is which? In the skies over Korea, the American F-86 Sabre and the Soviet-built MiG-15 looked quite similar. It was very difficult to tell one smoky silver speck from another. A few seconds of indecision could prove deadly. Even up close, the two planes still look quite similar — intake up front, swept wings, and little bubble canopy. One of the most distinctive features of the planes was their tails. An F-86 has horizontal stabilizers that are attached to the rear of the fuselage. The...

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June 18  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
WWII history takes to the skies Two of the fighters scheduled to take to the skies at the Flying Heritage Collection’s free Fly Day on June 20 made history as America’s top ace-makers during World War II. The U.S. Army’s North American P-51 Mustang flew in Europe and the Pacific. Flyers of the legendary P-51 are credited with shooting down some 4,950 enemy fighters. A total of 275 Mustang pilots became aces — shooting down five or more enemy planes in combat. The only fighter to surpass...

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June 5  |  By Cory Graff Flying Heritage Collection
The FHC’s Spitfire Mk. Vc has what is called a "universal wing." The wing design is less complex than earlier models and thus was able to be build quicker. One interesting aspect of the new wing was it allowed squadrons to pick the types of weaponry they would like to fly with on a particular mission. The universal wing could carry eight .303 machine guns, four 20 mm cannons, or a mixture of the two. The FHC’s Spitfire is currently set up with two cannons and...

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