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Jun 2009
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  The fact that our country is in themidst of the worst recession we haveexperienced in the past 25 years madelittle impression on attendance at thePylon Racing Seminar (PRS) conduct-ed by the Reno Air Racing Association(RARA) at Reno-Stead airport, homeof the World’s Fastest Motor Sport onJune 17 thru June 20. This seminar ismandatory for all parties interested inqualifying for the September air race.There were at least 60 racing air-craft in attendance representing theUnlimited, Sport, Jet and Formula 1racing classes. Noticeably absent werenew entrants to the Biplane andT-6 classes.RARAannounced that very fewAir Race sponsors opted out of the2009 Races scheduled for September 16 thru 20.“Strega,” a highly modified P-51,won the Unlimited Gold Race in 2008and owner Bill Destefani immediately AAHS FLIGHTLINEAAHS FLIGHTLINE 168 Third Quarter 2009 American Aviation Historical Society www.aahs-online.org   - 2009 Reno Air Races Preview-Meet the AAHSStaff -The “Aluminum Albatross”-Lufthansa’s LockheedConstellation Restoration-Re-Branding the AAHSeNewsletter Regular Sections-Wants & Disposals-President’s Message-Photo Archives Report-Book Reviews-New Members Highlights of What’s Inside: By Charles E. SBy Charles E. Stewarttewart War Hawk, LLC’s Curtiss P-40N, N1195N, race number 17, from Meridian, Idaho. (All photos by the author) 2009 Reno2009 RenoAir Races PreviewAir Races Preview Bill Destefani’s highly modified P-51 “Strega,” to be flown by Steve Hinton, Jr. Blue colored text in this document indicates links.  announced his retirement from Air Racing (again). Lastyear’s rumors of young Steve Hinton, Jr. flying “Strega”have finally come true! Hinton will fly “Strega” in the 2009races as he was certified in “Strega” at the PRS.Another void in the Unlimited class in September will be Michael Brown and his three racers! He sold his Tigercat“Big Bossman” and two Sea Furies, “September Pops” and“September Fury,” to Rod Lewis, owner of “Rare Bear” andthe P-38F “Glacier Girl.” It is hoped at least to see thatgorgeous Grumman rounding the pylons once again!Afew new Unlimiteds will be racing at Reno inSeptember. Two P-40s, an F4U-4 Corsair and a T-28B.Considering the number of new airplanes in the SportClass and their relative performance one might expect thisclass to be the future of Unlimited Air Racing!For more information or tickets click onto:http://airrace.org/aboutRARA.php  AAHS FLIGHTLINE No. 168, Third Quarter 2009 2 www.aahs-online.org  Clockwise starting with photo below  Sport #75 Thunder Mustang, George Giboney, DesMoines, Wash.F-1 #54 Cassutt III M, Jim Jordan of Las Vegas, Nev.Jet #12 Aero L-29 Delfin, Mike Mangold, Victorville, Calif.Jet #25 Aero L-39 AlbatrossSport #69 Lancair Legacy, Tom McReynolds, Palo Alto,Calif.Unlimited #18 P-40E from Meridian, Idaho, with Unlimited #81 P-51D “Lady Jo” flown by Dan Vance. Note: All Formula 1 photos on the F-1 race course, Pylon 5. All Sport Class photos on the Sport race course, Pylon 5. All Unlimited photos on the Unlimited race course, Pylon 4.   [Editor’s note: Following WWII the commercial aviation industry was awash in a sea of change. Thewar-generated material restrictions were no longerapplicable, and the need for long-rangetransportation capabilities was ever changing by aglobalizing world market. In retrospect, it issometimes interesting to speculate on what might havebeen, such as this imaginary press release from early1950s. Sit back and enjoy a story that could have been.]  (New York, October 1949) – It has recently beenlearned that following its first successful test flight in 1947,the Hughes H-4 was spirited away to a small tropical islandin the South Pacific. Although a large hanger was built inCalifornia to house the H-4, and photos showing the planein the building were released to the press, new information proves they were actually pictures of a scale model.Meanwhile, in a cavernous underground factory on thisunnamed island, Hughes began construction on a fleet of thegiant flying boats.Howard Hughes, the prime mover behind TWA, wasdetermined to prove the value of his magnificent flyingmachine after his confrontation with the CongressionalCommittee. Under his direction six more of the flying boatshave been assembled and tested in total secrecy. With thelifting of wartime restrictions on critical materials such asaluminum, the new planes have been constructed of metal.The srcinal wooden H-4 has been modified to commercialconfiguration and will be the first to be placed into service.TWAhas just announced the introduction of their newtransport, dubbed “Aluminum Albatross.” In keeping withTWAtradition, each plane has been given a descriptivename. Playing on the size of the aircraft, they have beennamed Hercules, Titanus, Mammoth, Amazon, Colossus andBig Foot.The planes are magnificent! Huge panoramic windowsallow the passengers to observe the less fortunate travelerson the slower transatlantic ocean liners. On the inauguralflight last week, the Captain of Mammoth gave his passengers a rare treat when he buzzed the Queen Mary.There were no (printable) comments from the voyagers onthe ship, but the pilot had to return the British flag that wasaccidentally wrapped around one of the floats.The competition between TWAand Pan AmericanAirways is well known. Word of TWA’s intention to place afleet of Aluminum Albatrosses into service caught Pan Amcompletely by surprise. Pan Am has been searching for acomparable plane and even considered a six engine, double-hulled version of their popular Model 314 Clipper. This plane was actually under development by Boeing, theModel 320,* but was quickly abandoned because theconstruction jigs for the 314 flying boat had been destroyed. 3  AAHS FLIGHTLINE No. 168, Third Quarter 2009www.aahs-online.org   A SUSPECT HISTORY OF THE SPRUCE GOOSE AIRLINER  By Lloyd Jones  Auburn-Lewiston Airport in Maine has become theepicenter of Lockheed Constellation Starliner activity sinceLufthansa purchased Maurice Roundy’s three Starliners inDecember 2007. Lufthansa operated four L-1649As in passenger and cargo service from 1957 to 1966 and iscurrently restoring former TWAStarliner N7316C to fly oninternational missions. This is no normal restoration, but athree year effort that will result in a pristine “like new”airliner when completed. This author visited Auburn onMay 29, 2009, and toured the Lufthansa restoration hangar with Michael Austermeier, Lufthansa’s on-site restoration project manager.Since arriving at the hangar in November 2008,Starliner N7316C has been stripped of all components. Thelanding gear assem- blies have beenremoved for overhauland the aircraft issupported by jack stands and speciallymade cradles. Manystructural compo-nents, including thecontrol surfaces andleading edges, have been sent to Tulsa,Okla., to be refur- bished by Lufthansasubsidiary Bizjet.The capability to perform this type of work has recently been established at the Auburn facility and work is ready to begin on refurbishing the triple-tailed empennage and other structural components. Six Wright R-3350 engines have been sent to Ray Anderson Airmotive in Idaho for overhaul.The multitude of parts removed from the aircraft, and thosecollected by Maurice Roundy over the years, have beenevaluated, cleaned, cataloged, inventoried and stored for further disposition. Some parts can be used “as-is,” but themajority will be refurbished before reuse. Acompletesurvey of the aircraft fuselage has been completed anddefects marked and cataloged for repair. Work has also begun on reversing the freight door conversion completed in1960, with workers removing rivets and sheet metal. Thecurrent Maine-based workforce will be supplemented with  AAHS FLIGHTLINE No. 168, Third Quarter 2009 4 www.aahs-online.org  It is not exactly known how Pan Am was able to obtainone of the giant flying boats. Rumors indicate it was won ina poker game. In any case, Pan Am has managed to acquirean “Aluminum Albatross,” calling it “Clipper Universe.”Due to be placed in service early next year, Pan Am isoffering bookings for two unique nonstop flights between New York and Los Angeles. One will take off from NewYork, head east over the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Red Sea,Indian Ocean and Pacific arriving in Los Angeles four dayslater. The second is for individuals in more of a rush. After departing New York, the aircraft will transit down the EastCoast to Miami, then across the Gulf of Mexico andCaribbean to the Isthmus of Panama. After crossing to thePacific, it will run up the west coast of Mexico arriving inLos Angeles in slightly over 24 hours after departure.Pan Am’s new queen-of-the-air is being touted asoffering services associated with first class ocean liner travel! The great wings were large enough to providestaterooms with bunks for the first class passengers, whilethose in coach will find the reclining seats quitecomfortable. Amodern kitchen in the tail is able to preparefood to be served in a dining area having panoramicwindows, overlooking the scenic vistas below.In the front is a magnificent library, and in the evening,recorded music will be played as passengers dance on thefloor in the forward viewing area. At night, powerfulspotlights, mounted in the leading edge of the wings and inthe float pylons, illuminate the area beneath the plane as itskims low over the ocean.For those with a bit more energy, a shuffle board has been built into the cavernous area between the top of thecabin and the fuselage. This is reached by a small escalator  behind the cockpit area.With a total passenger and crew capacity of 426, TWAand Pan Am are able to offer a quality of air travel thatcannot be matched by competing, land-based aircraft.*Historians take note: This was a real Boeing designstudy. Hughes Aluminum Albatross (continued from page 3) Lufthansa Lockheed Constellation Restoration By Ralph M. Pettersen Michael Austermeier, Lufthansa’srestoration project manager for the Connie.Lockheed Constellation N7316C early in the process of restoration as seen in May 2009. (All photos by theauthor)
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