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Flight Lead
A Note From the Editor
There is just something about this time of year that leads to reflection. Sometimes that leaves us with a warm feeling, sometimes not. My hangar, like many of yours, is quiet, and it's been a week since weather and work have seen fit to let me fly. Heading into the holidays, the opportunity to fly may get worse before it gets better. Time to polish, fix what I can, bug my ever-faithful mechanic, and start counting the days to seeing friends at the National Warbird Operators Conference (NWOC).
The more I sit here and stare at idle aircraft, the more I find myself thinking about the friends that these wonderful machines have brought into my life. The stewardship of historic aircraft is an important part of this reflection, but the human relationships are what comes to mind this time of year.

It seems like a long way to Sun 'n Fun and certainly an eternity to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, but looking back they're not that far off at all. Ever notice how time compresses or stretches depending on what it is we daydream about? So here is a little prod to get through the winter doldrums, and a blatant poke for newsletter content. Call your friends and talk about the great times you, your pals, and warbird squadron mates have had this year. Adventures, air shows, trips - it all counts. Then write it down and share it here. Hope to hear from you soon. Now where did I put that registration form for NWOC?

Harold Cannon
Editor, EAA Warbirds Briefing

Safety Brief
Safety News and Issues
Brake Dancing
Imagine having two brake failures in a two-week span. Richard Hess had this happen to him several years ago in separate L-39s. It inspired him to find a deeper understanding of the brake system on a modern jet fighter. He details his discovery in "Brake Dancing" an article he wrote for Warbirds magazine in March 2007.
Test Flight
Maintenance and Restoration News
Halifax Progress Report
In August 1945 while on weather patrol, this aging bomber sprung a fuel leak and, while trying to return to base, was forced to ditch off the Hebrides Islands west of Ireland. After floating for 7 hours, the crew was rescued and LW170, one of the last RCAF combat Halifaxes to have survived the war and the scrap yard, sank gently out of sight into the deep. Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) was formed to eventually raise and restore this bomber. Read their latest progress report.
GI News
Updates on Government Issues and Advocacy
EAA, NAFI Submit Comments on Flight Training Certification NPRM
EAA is emphasizing that new FAA pilot proficiency rule proposals could be harmful to the warbird community if adopted as currently written, as EAA and NAFI each submitted comments to the FAA in the past week regarding a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on pilot and flight school certification rules. The deadline for those comments was Nov. 30. EAA agreed with many of the proposals in the NPRM, but new pilot-in-command rules that demanded proficiency checks for single-piloted, turbojet aircraft could cause added financial burden with no foreseeable increase in safety. Read more
Mission Profile
Decemberís Featured Stories
Lightning Strike in Texas
EAAer designs, builds his own two-thirds scale P-38
When a new homebuilt appears on the scene, it usually creates a buzz in the aviation community. And then along comes someone like Jim OíHara, 81, EAA 464767, of San Angelo, Texas. Over the past 15 years, OíHara, who was a professor in aeronautical engineering at Tulane University, has been hard at work in his hangar at San Angelo Regional Airport/Mathis Field designing, building, and now, flying a two-thirds scale replica of one of historyís most popular airplanes, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Read more
WWII Aircraft Returned to Airfield 65 Years Later
In 1944, a PT-17 Stearman biplane came to Eagle Field, near Dos Palos, California, and was stricken from U.S. Army Air Forces records in June 1945 at the end of the war. It is particularly interesting that Nancy Ginesi-Hill is the current owner of this aircraft and has lived and worked at Eagle Field for several years helping to restore the field. Read more
Florida Air Museum Opens New Pearl Harbor Exhibits
The 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is this month, and the Kissimmee Air Museum near Orlando, Florida, is opening a new interactive exhibits that features some never-before-seen photos of the attack. Read more Corsair
Minnesota Honor Flight Network Travels to Washington, D.C.
Warbirds Member Documents Trip
Every so often something comes across the Internet that really grabs my attention. Sometimes itís a flashy air show video clip, sometimes itís a news piece, and other times itís just a joke. One of our members, Max Haynes, Warbird 552698, is doing great work with his camera and website. Recently, his website photo essay grabbed my attention. Read more
Donations Sought for Doolittle B-25 Reunion
The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association, in cooperation with owners of North American B-25 Mitchell bombers from all over the USA and Canada, are planning to host 25 of these famous WWII warbirds April 16-18 during their 68th reunion at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Read more
EAA B-17 Ride Spurs Bomber Vets to Share Stories With Squadron 4
A few years ago, my manager told me his neighbor was a B-17 pilot. At that time, the Aluminum Overcast tour visit to Squadron 4 was a few months away. We tried to encourage him to attend, but he declined. The B-17 tour the following year got the same results from him. Vets
This year, as the date of the B-17 tour approached, I asked my manager if his neighbor would be interested in attending. This time he accepted! When the day arrived, we finally met Col. John Firlit of the U.S. Air Force. Read more
From the EAA Warbirds Community
The Warbird Island message forum at Oshkosh365 is as active as ever. Have a look at the list below and follow the links to read the actual questions and discussion topics. Oshkosh365

Issue 2, December 2009

Gun Camera
Tennessee Museum Features Flying Warbird Collection
The Tennessee Museum of Aviation has provided a nice video teaser of its sterling collection of warbird aircraft. Featured are an A-1H Skyraider, two P-47D Thunderbolts, and a T-28 Trojan, based at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation in Sevierville, Tennessee. The pilots are R. Neal Melton (founder of the museum), John Shoffner (son of the late Roy Shoffner who financed the final restoration of Glacier Girl), and Jeff Sardella (full-time A&P mechanic for the museum). The camera ship is a Beech 18, also based at the museum.

Watch the video


The Underappreciated Constitution
The troop-moving requirements of the Second World War spawned the design of a number of large aircraft that came to completion at the end of the war. The HK-1 Spruce Goose was one example, as were the Convair XC-99, the Lockheed Constellation, and the Lockheed Constitution. The latter is the least known and is featured here. All flew, but only the Constellation survived as a successful design. While all good airplanes, they were approved when the war looked grim and cost was not the main issue. Many orders were cut back or canceled, however, as the war turned around. Although these planes were test flown, there was no longer a military need as budgets were slashed and the hoped-for boom in postwar aviation fizzled. While the Constellation went on to economical fame and glory, here is the story of a strong runner-up.

Watch the video


Honor Flight
Photo Gallery

View the gallery | Read the story

EAA Radio The Misty Pilots
During the Vietnam war the United States formed a top secret squadron that flew low and fast over the jungle to disrupt troop movements and supplies moving south along the Ho Chi Minh trail. The missions were dangerous and exciting according to the pilots that flew them in F-100F Super Sabres and went by the call-sign "Misty". Dick Rutan, who served as a Misty, hosts this program with other Misty pilots at Theater in the Woods from AirVenture 2008.

FEB 18-21, 2010 - 16th National Warbird Operator Conference, San Diego, CA. Visit

APR 13-18, 2010 - Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, Lakeland, FL. Visit

APR 16-18, 2010 - The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders 68th reunion at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Effort to host 25 Mitchell B-25 bombers at the event - donations sought.

JUL 26-AUG 1, 2010 - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI. Visit

If you were a pilot of a US heavy bomber during WWII, which aircraft would you prefer to fly in combat?

Vote now

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