Our first featured speaker of 2014 will be Chapter 431 member Doug Tomas of East Troy, Wis. He will be giving a presentation on his great-uncle, who was a flight engineer on a B-24 and shot down over northern Italy during WWII. His research turned up some surprises, correspondance with surviving crew members, a special connection with a B-24 in the National Museum of the US Air Force and ultimately a trip to Italy for a special dedication in 2011.
Doug’s presentation will be held in conjunction with the Brodhead Historical Society on Monday, March 31st at the Bank of Brodhead after a short business meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Doug Tomas grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and from an early age had a love for aviation. He earned his private pilot’s license at age 17, attended his first EAA fly-in and convention in Rockford, Illinois, in 1969, and has been hooked ever since. Doug is an A&P mechanic with and IA certificate, working mostly on antique/classic aircraft, and maintaining and flying his 1949 Piper PA-16 “Clipper”, in East Troy, Wisconsin. He also is a co-owner in an Aeronca 7AC Champ in Stoughton, Wisconsin.
Every summer during the fly-in season, Chapter 431 collects a number of items in the “Lost & Found” box in the chapter building. Most are insignificant, but the two items below look like they need to return to their rightful owners.
Are these jackets yours? If so, drop a note to the webmaster and we’ll get it back to you.
UPDATE: Dean Coryell submitted some excellent photos of the ski fly-in. Check them out HERE.
The weather didn’t look too promising for a fly-in of any kind on Saturday morning, with low clouds and snow falling from sunrise right through Chapter 431′s monthly meeting at 9:00 a.m. But by the time the chili was put out for serving and the fire pit was roaring outside, the clouds started to thin out and the snow turned light and scattered. By about 11:00, the first skiplanes started arriving and we had ourselves a fly-in!
About four inches of fresh snow dropped on top of the nice base that was already on the field and light winds kept it from blowing around.
In all, nine skiplanes flew in from surrounding airports in Illinois and Wisconsin and folks drove in from as far away as Iowa to make our 2014 Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In a great day. As always, thanks to everybody who made the effort to come to Brodhead Airport and to all the members who cleared snow, made chili and cleaned the hangar.
Check out our photo gallery from the day HERE, and if you have any pictures you would like to send us to add to the gallery, just contact the webmaster.
Field Condition Report (1/31/2014): There is plenty of snow on the ground at Brodhead Airport with more expected on Saturday. Some places on the runways are wind eroded with grass sticking through but is fine for ski-equipped aircraft. The snow is too deep for wheeled aircraft. The wind looks to be light with pleasant temperatures in the 20s.
EAA Chapter 431′s annual Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In is set for Saturday, February 1, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Brodhead Airport. As always, fly in, drive in or walk in for a mid-winter break and join us for some winter flying. Chili and all the fixins’ will be available in the Chapter Building for a free-will donation.
Chapter 431 has long hosted an annual skiplane fly-in in the middle of the long, cold Wisconsin winters to get local pilots out of their hibernation and join us for some homemade chili and hangar flying, and for those properly dressed, some chatting and commiseration around the fire pit. The event usually falls around Groundhog Day, so the name has sort of stuck.
Dennis Price of Austin, Texas sent us a disk full of several hundred pictures from the 2013 MAAC Grassroots Fly-In, we put them up in our photo gallery section. Click HERE to see some high quality shots of just about everything that moved over the weekend event.
Cheeseland Chapter EAA 431 has received a major donation to the chapter’s building fund. On December 30, 2013, the board of directors of the Alfred & Lois Kelch Charitable Trust presented Chapter 431 with a check for $71,942 to be used in the effort to design and construct a new building on the Brodhead Airport. The formal announcement was made at the regular member’s meeting on Saturday, January 4, 2014 by Kelch board members Kent McMakin and Bill Liimatainen.
Mike Weeden, president of Cheeseland Chapter EAA 431 (left) accepts check from the Kelch Charitable Trust presented by board member Bill Liimatainen.
The donation is a major boost to the building project, which has been under consideration for several years. The purpose of the new building will be to improve the airport facilities and the chapter’s capabilities for educational and social engagement in aviation. It will feature flexible sized meeting areas, an aircraft and component display area, multi-use restrooms, secure storage and a modern kitchen.
Preliminary plans call for an enclosed area of 70 x 50 feet with an additional outdoor area protected by an overhang. The drawings below illustrate the floorplan and site plan as they exist at this time, but the planning is still in the early stages.
Join us in thanking the Alfred & Lois Kelch Charitable Trust for their generous support of Chapter 431. Visit the Kelch website HERE.
Another First Flight at Brodhead Airport in November!
Chapter 431 member Roy Spach recently got his Kitfox project in the air after a flurry of work over the summer and fall. Roy tells the story…
First flight of our Kitfox 3, N93RM was November 3rd, with Gene Calkins at the controls. Since then, Gene has put on approximately 1.5 hrs of flight testing. He will continue test flights until tweaking is finished and operational parameters are established.
This kit was purchased in 1991 by two gentlemen in Louisville, Ky. Sadly, in 1993 one of the partners flew west and the completed portion of the plane, remaining kit parts and a 582 Rotax were stored in a garage until October, 2009 when it was purchased and moved to Wisconsin. The new owner sold the Rotax and replaced it with a 2180cc VW conversion. In June of this year I became the 3rd owner of what was billed as an airworthy aircraft. This was not totally accurate. Since purchase, the engine has been rebuilt, all accessories replaced and controls re-rigged. Gene says it now flies very nice. I am sure I would have been overwhelmed had I not been privileged to be advised/assisted by Professor Kitfox Gene with additional information and encouragement from all the neighborhood guys; Si, Matt, Bill, Dan, Archie and many more with names I can’t recall. I can’t imagine how I will ever be able to return all the goodness. Thanks to all. Also wish to thank “The Avionics Place” out of RFD for making the trip to C37 to install the radio and transponder.
Sunshine and tailwinds to all. –Roy
Kitfox 3, N93RM. Photo provided by Roy Spach.
Nice job Roy, Professor Kitfox and everybody else!
EAA Chapter 431 member Eric Berens of Stevens Point, Wis. celebrated a major milestone on the restoration of his 1929 Travel Air with the first flight on Friday, November 15, 2013. Eric sent the following information:
NC 666H is a 1929 Travel Air, Model 2000 with a Curtiss OXX-6 engine, dual ignition, liquid cooled, 102 hp, a 102″ Ole Fahlin propeller, 30×5 inch wheels. Restored by Kent McMakin at the Brodhead Airport. Chad Willie helped with the engine. It is painted in its original colors “Travel Air Blue”, with silver wings. Original period instruments are installed and the interior is duplicated from original fabric. Peter Bryn, a long time, well known Travel Air flyer and collector of Dazey, N.D. owned and soloed in this aircraft on October 24, 1936 and it remained with his family from whom I got it. Terry Bryn, Pete’s son, reviewed his Dad’s logbook noting that NC 666H’s last flight was October 24, 1937. So last Friday’s flight was its first flight in 76 years and 22 days.
NC666H takes off on its first flight after restoration.
Eric Berens talks to pilot Tom Hegy while Kent McMakin looks on.
Last year, a used Wind-T was donated to Brodhead Airport and this past week, several members got it mounted on a new stand and wired up for lights. The 40-year old homemade Wind-T was taken down and retired from service.
The new Wind-T, in the words of Gene Calkins, “…is one of them fancy store bought jobs” and the lights will be upgraded to high efficiency LED bulbs over the next several months.
Thanks to Gene, Si Smith, Archie Henkelman and Roy Spach for all the hard work.