John’s New Blog

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Hello. John, here. I will try to make this worth your time.

Beginning this Friday, the 16th, three of our talented pilots (Lance and Nancy Robertson and Carter Teeters) will learn to fly B-25 “Grumpy” from the left seat as “pilots in command.” The following weekend they will fly a “check ride” with an FAA examiner. I have no doubt all three will achieve their “type ratings” for he B-25. This will allow HFF much more operational flexibility for air shows and other demonstrations. Eventually, we hope to support an ongoing “ride along” program. For those around Paine Field this weekend, there will be many opportunities to watch our B-25 take off and land. By Sunday the landings will be as smooth as silk.

While the B-25 training is underway, I will flight test the F7F Tigercat’s new wheel and brake system. Like many old warbirds, the original wheels were made of magnesium. Over time, these cracked and in two cases lead to rather catestrophic failures when one part of the two-part wheel broke loose. So our Bill Ashworth and Jim Martinelli devised an alternative wheel and brake system using components from more recent warbirds. Machine shop work adapted brake fittings and spacers, but for the most part, the new system represents a clean substitution with a single-piece aluminum wheel. We have shared our engineering with the owners of the other four flying Tigercats and offered to provide machined parts. This weekend we will perform accelerate/stop tests to validate or challenge our system. Assuming the brakes work well on the ground after takeoff speed has been achieved, I will let the brakes cool, taxi back and fly the Tigercat around Puget Sound. For Grumman fans, this likely will occur on Saturday.

Hope to see you at HFF, Kilo-6, Paine Field.

John Sessions