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Flight Paths
February 4  |  Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Sherman tank equipped with Did you know the Sherman tank has a siren? Provided by the Mars Signal Light Company of Chicago, the siren is a quick and easy way for primitive communication with those immediately outside the 30-ton armored behemoth. A quick blast on the "horn" could mean, "Move" or "Watch out" or, in our case, it means, "Heads up, we’re firing." Mars made lights and sirens before the war and still are in business today as Tri-Lite, making...

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December 29  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
A Mitsubishi Zero design mystery solved Anybody that has built a model of a Mitsubishi Zero has wondered about those strange "biscuits" that stitch their way down the side of the fighter’s engine cowling. Today, we get to see what is underneath. Hooks connect the top half of the engine cover to the bottom. The oval covers ensure that the hooks have no way of coming loose in flight. The "biscuits" are held in place by Dzus fasteners on the top and bottom.

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December 17  |  By Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Collection
Putting a debate to rest: Shooting through the engine There was a ton of drama and debate after we re-posted a discussion of the Fw 190 D-13’s armament arrangement from a Classic Under the Cowl. How could a bullet pass not only through the hub of the 190 but through the whole engine? And hey, wink, wink, if bullets pass through the engine, how do they not get all oily? I’ve trundled together three different drawings to give you guys a rough idea of what’s going on. All...

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December 10  |  Cory Graff, Flying Heritage Museum
Little relics found in old military vehicles You never quite know what you are going to find when you look inside a sixty year old vehicle. While prepping the M55 Self-Propelled Howitzer for paint, a restorer found this primer shell (left) tossed into a mechanical bay decades before. The little "bullet" helps set off the powder in the gun breech. The explosion pushes the big projectile out the gun’s 8-inch diameter barrel. The other discovery is a bit more odd. The FHC’s T-34 came from the Czech...

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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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