San Diego Antiquer Chapter Newsletter for

Volume 51-Issue 5
Sep—Oct 2009
Chapter Officers
General Meeting — September 24
Our fall meeting this year was held at Joe
and Genny Pribilo’s hangar at Classic Han-
Tom Weeks
Past President
Bob Von Willer
Howard Merritt, Norm
Erb and Tom Cline
Vice President
Steve Byers
Mike Gretton
Bob Blanchard
. . .
to balance out between entrees, side dishes,
and desserts.
Such was certainly the case this
year in that we had an abundance of
dishes in all categories. A number of
casserole dishes were offered including Joe Pribilo’s special baked bean
pot. Also, there was an embarrassing
number of desserts including several
varieties of cake with a delicious
Stephanie & Steve Byers
Len Buckel
Chris Olstad
Bob Blanchard
Inside this issue:
Pot Luck Meeting . . . . . . 1
Event Calendar . . . . . . . . 2
Chapter Activities . . . . . . 2
Prop Wash . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Palms-Pines Race . . . . . . . 4
Polo Field Fly-In . . . . . . . 5
Gillespie Field Notes . . . . 6
STM-2 Wins Award . . . . 7
Chapter Information . . . 8
Feature Photo . . . . . . . . 8
Photo Appendix . . . . . . . 8
Volume 51-Issue 5
gars, Gillespie Field. Further, it was a “pot
luck” dinner at which members bring their
favorite dishes to share. It was a time for
family favorites to be prepared and enjoyed
by all attendees. Also, pot luck dinners give
our own chapter food service planners,
cookers and servers a bit of a respite. We do
not assign dishes to be brought by various
members since history as shown that for
some inexplicable reason, the offerings tend
pumpkin pie. There
was plenty of food,
even enough to
serve the usual
“seconds” crowd.
The Pribilo hangar was spacious and
neatly laid out with
tables and chairs by
President Tom
Weeks’ set-up crew.
Around 40 people
(See Page 3)
Page 1
Event Calendar. .
Oct 17—Redlands, CA Airport Fly-In.
Oct 18—Catalina Airport 50th Anniversary.
Vintage Aircraft, call 310-510-0143
Oct 22-24—Copperstate Fly-In, Casa
Grande, AZ, see
Oct 24—Annual Halloween Party, Steve
Byers Hangar at MYF, 6:00-11:00.
Oct 24—2nd Jacqueline Cochran Fly-In,
Thermal, CA. 1-877-359-3503
Nov 7—Flabob Airport Veteran’s Day Celebration, call 951-683-2309 X104.
Nov 13-14—Arizona Aircraft Expo. Scottsdale Airport, Register early at
Dec 12—AAASDC Annual Business
Meeting. Breakfast served from 10:00 to
12:00. Fran Bera’s Hangar, Speer Field, Gillespie, Field. (See adjoining article.)
Jan 23—AAASDC Annual Recovery and
Awards Banquet. Cardinal Room, King’s
Inn Hotel, Mission Valley. (See adjoining
article.) Call 619-499-0539 for tickets.
Future Chapter Activities . . . . .
Annual Halloween Party, Saturday,
October 24, Steve Byers Hangar,
Montgomery Field. Yes, its time to
schedule and plan our ever-popular
annual Halloween Party. The program
will follow the form of prior parties
which for the most part have been
highly successful. We will be serving a
complete dinner featuring rib-eye steak
with all the trimmings. We will have a
band (playing outside the hangar) along
with the usual revelry. This event has
several purposes, the first being to
have fun with scary costumes, and the
second to raise funds for our annual
scholarship program. An important
difference this year is that we are limiting attendees to 150 members and
guests. Price will be $20.00 per person.
Tickets will be available on September
24th from Len Buckel . Note this event
in your calendar and be prepared to
buy your tickets well in advance to
make sure you will be able to attend
this BOFFO event!!
Prop Wash by President Tom Weeks .
We had another interesting and fun
meeting in September. Thanks to Joe
and Genny Pribilo for use of their hangar. The food was good and plentiful
and the metal-working demonstrations
were very entertaining. (See article.)
Each presenter had valuable insights on the tools they brought. I
think we should continue these tutorials. Undoubtedly, we have many
knowledgeable members who could
continue the series on a variety of topics, such as fabric covering, and painting, for example. Or a member could
inform us about their particular restoration project. If anyone is willing, let us
know and we will include you in a future meeting.
At our last board meeting, we
discussed how we could increase our
Volume 51-Issue 5
flying activities. A
lot of us are looking for an excuse
to roll the airplane
out and go somewhere. A suggestion was made to
start an e-mail notification system. A
potential air traveler would e-mail the details of the
planned trip to Len Buckel at
[email protected] as soon as date, time and
destination were known. Len would then
forward the email to the membership
(thanks Len). So, whether you are going
out for a cup of coffee, or that $100 hamburger, or an overnight trip to a favorite
location, that information could be shared
with fellow members. Along with being
Annual General Business Meeting,
Saturday AM, December 12th, 2009,
Fran Bera’s Hangar, Speer Field at
Gillespie. This will be a Saturday
morning event with a complimentary
breakfast served by the Chapter’s cooking team from 10:00 to 12:00AM. This
is an important chapter meeting in that
a new board of directors is to be
elected and results of elections to
change our by-laws will be determined
and announced. One by-law change to
be voted upon by regular members is
an increase in annual dues from $15.00
to $20.00, the first such increase in 60
years! In using the Saturday/Breakfast
approach to this event we are repeating
a successful Saturday/breakfast meeting
staged earlier this year. So, make your
plans now to attend. The date is sufficiently early in December not to cause a
conflict with Christmas events.
Annual AAASDC Recovery and
Awards Dinner, Saturday, January
23rd, 2010, 6:00 to 10:00PM. We are
going back to our more traditional
venue for this year’s dinner, the Cardinal Room of the King’s Inn Hotel in
Mission Valley. A choice of prime rib
or salmon will be available, the selection to made when tickets are purchased. Tickets will be on sale at the
Annual Business meeting in December.
This dinner is the premier event of the
year and features The award of the
aviation training scholarships for 2009.
Also, there are other program events
which have become more or less traditional for the recovery dinner. More
details will be provided in the Nov-Dec
issue of the Antiquer Newsletter.
* * * * * * *
able to visit with fellow members,
this is a way to meet new people and
discover new flying destinations!
Hope to see you all at the Halloween Party on October 24th
Tom Weeks, President
Page 2
General Meeting — Continued . . . .
attended but there would have been room for 20 more. It was
a very enjoyable, pleasant evening, particularly when the temperature abated.
The meeting was opened by President Tom Weeks who
summarized upcomBob VonWiller & Steve Byers
ing chapter activities,
particularly the Halloween Party scheduled for Saturday,
October 24th at
Steve Byers’ Hangar.
Tom introduced Bob
Von Willer who
served as MC for the
evening’s entertainment, which was a
series of demonstrations of metal forming and fabricating using various machines. Bob VonWiller began by demonstrating the use of a “shrinking” machine used for changing the
shape and size of metal parts. Hands-on experience was
gained first by Steve Byers, followed by Gary Gobel and Howard Merritt. The demos were considered successful since no
emergency action with
Gary Gobel
band aids and tourniquets was necessary. (See
Mike Farris next
discussed the science of
riveting and the importance of proper rivet
bucking tools to handle
special circumstances
with very limited space
and access. Mike demonstrated the superiority
of tungsten metal bucking bars, with much
higher density than steel,
to provide the mass needed to stretch to the very end of fingertip control. Mike and partner Jim Ward used this technique
frequently during the recent restoration of the Blanchard/Burke Ercoupe wings.
John Kerr was on hand with his magical “English
Wheel” along with several example of his metal forming wizardry. John is a gifted presenter and must have been sought
out by students for his talent as a lecturer during his high
school teaching career. John demonstrated the use of the English Wheel in forming compound curves in sheet metal and
Volume 51-Issue 5
had the audience
“riveted” (pardon the
pun) to the process.
To John, metal working is as much a
“thinking” process as
it is a physical one.
He stresses that the
worker must concentrate on what is happening in the metal,
Howard Merritt
and sense where
the next step might
take him. No
doubt, John feels
there is a mystique
to forming sheet
metal and he describes that interaction in a most interesting and entertaining manner.
The meeting
John Kerr
was adjourned
around 8:45PM and
a large coterie of
people turned-to in
returning the Pribilo
hangar to some state
of normalcy. In all,
it was a very successful and enjoyable
evening with good
food, camaraderie,
and interesting and
relevant entertainMike Farris
ment. Our thanks to
the Pribilo’s for
hosting the meeting, and to our metal forming presenters for
an interesting evening. See you all at the Halloween party on
October 24th, for more good food, good fun, and entertainment! (See Page 8 for more photos.)
Page 3
Fran Bera and Mary Ford Race from “Palms to Pines”
The “Palms to Pines” air race has been an annual affair for the
past 40 years and actually, it is the longest-running race for female
pilots and one of the only
contests of its kind in the
U.S. Fran Bera, aviatrix
extraordinaire, has competed in the past 16 of
those races, coming in
first 7 times and second 3
times. The race begins in
Santa Monica, CA and
ends 700 miles later in
Bend, OR with an overnight stop at Red Bluff,
Ca. Time checks are
taken at Merced, CA and
Redmond, OR, as well as
at Red Bluff, CA, and Bend, OR. This year, Mary Ford made her
first trip with the good fortune of being selected as Fran’s copilot.
There were 18 aircraft competing, most from California but a few
from Oregon, and Washington. Since the pilots fly different kinds
of aircraft with varying performance characteristics, handicaps are
established to “level
the playing field” a
Since many of
the women pilots
have competed over
a number of years
there is great camaraderie among the contestants. As well as
seeing and visiting
with old friends, the
race requires honing
piloting skills, high
Mary Ford lookin’ “Cool”. . .
levels of concentration and maintenance of situation awareness. One pilot commented that.
“Basically, what’s required is precision—you fly your very best,
most precise course from Point A to Point B, so to that extent,
you are competing against yourself.” Most of the pilots are in
their “graying” years with Fran enjoying her 84th year. Like many
other similar aviation organizations, the group is actively seeking
younger participants to ensure that the event can continue.
Mary Ford considers her participation in the race to be one of
the outstanding flying events of her life. Mary maintains that Fran
is just as skilled in the cockpit as she was years ago as a young
Volume 51-Issue 5
Fran Bera with Mt. Shasta off the left wing
pilot and flight instructor. Unfortunately, like a lot of us,
Fran’s knee is beginning to bother her, particularly when
boarding and exiting the aircraft. Like flying in general,
it’s the ground that’s the nemesis in the flying equation.
Fran’s not sure she’ll compete next year. It looks like knee
replacement surgery may be required to make that possible.
I’d like to be able to say that “Fran won another one”,
but that would not be technically correct. She and Many
came in second, with a difference of 15 seconds. Actually,
they were in first place at the Red Bluff, CA stopover, but
an adjustment in their handicap kept them out of the winner’s circle at the finish line. Not of concern though, Fran
will always be number one with her many friends and flying associates throughout the world, and particularly with
we “Antiquers” in the San Diego area.
Ed. Note: Thanks to Mary for use of the great photos.
Mary’s video of the race is available at
Page 4
Polo Grounds Fly-In — September 26-27
For the second time this summer,
our “antiquers” got the opportunity to
fly into the Polo Grounds at Fairbanks
Volume 51-Issue 5
Ranch to display their aircraft during
classic polo matches at the San Diego
Polo Club. The weekend of September
26-27 showcased
the USPA Spreckels
Cup matches on
Sunday. As usual,
the fly-in was coordinated by Bill Allen
with Chris Reilly on
the radio serving as
ground coordinator. The display
adds the interest
and drama of classic aircraft to the
event and gives our
members the opportunity to land on the
short-cropped nap of
the polo field and become a part of the
week-end’s festivities.
Arrivals were between 4:00PM
and 6:00PM. To
those of us who
seldom get a
chance to land on
grass, the experience is almost
sensual. The approach and landing at the field is
usually a “nonevent”, but requires an extra
bit of concentration and
judgment from
the pilots to
obtain the
hoped for nods
of approval
from the viewing audience of
prior arrivals.
All attendees were in-
Martha Horvitz & Bill Allen
Steve Byers with
amphib Super Cub
vited to attend a “Red Baron” bash on
Saturday evening after all aircraft were
nested for the night. This year, the fare
was Mexican with fajitas the featured
entrée. Typically, there is considerable
interest in the planes by polo fans (many
of whom are airplane buffs) on Saturday
evening and particularly Sunday morning
and during the matches Sunday afternoon. Many of the display pilots make a
day of it on Sunday by bringing chairs
and a picnic lunch and watching the
matches Sunday PM. Departures on
Sunday are delayed until the crowd has
dispersed, usually around 5:00PM.
For the September 26th fly-in, 12
aircraft joined the fun in perfect weather.
Displaying aircraft were Bill and Linda
Blaylock in the RV-8, Mike Weaver in
his Bucker, Glenn Cruz flying a Maule,
Tom Weeks in his Cessna 140, Wally
Dier and Donny Prim in Wally’s PT-17
Stearman, Bill and Claudia Allen in the
(Continued on Page 7)
Page 5
Gillespie Fly-Out Notes, by Len J. Buckel
On June 25th, Don Ganoe in his Cessna 182 and Butch
Kruse in his Maule left for Idaho. I saw them eating breakfast in the Gillespie Field Café as they waited for the ceiling to
lift. They said that Dick Doll in his Cessna 170 was also going to Idaho, but not with them. Don and Butch returned on
July 4th, with pictures of the nice batch of fish they caught.
I heard that the Bob Blanchard/Pat Burke Ercoupe was
to the point of being rolled out for the August 2nd Antique
Display at Gillespie. So, I went by the terminal, and sure
enough, the “Coupe” was there! Bob said that they are close
to getting it licensed, after weighing it and completing some
minor work. On August 20th, Bob told me that the bird was
finished and licensed. Then during the week of August 30th,
I saw the “Coupe” flying touch and goes at Gillespie. Bob
was getting his biennial review and test flying the recently
restored bird. Pat Burke has been taking flight instruction in
a Brand X airplane at Montgomery Field and her instructor
who has Ercoupe time was checking Bob out.
On August 18th, former long term Chapter member
Leon Mittman came by my hangar with a man that had just
passed his private pilot check ride the day before at age 84!
What an outstanding thing to do at that age! Wayman
Dunlap told me that he is going to have an article on him in
the September Pacific Flyer.
On September 3rd, I saw a new airplane to me. A
Cessna (I thought 180) flying at Gillespie. Later, Bob Turner
came by my hangar and said that he had been checking-out
Tom Cline in Tom’s recently restored Cessna 185. That was
the plane I saw. Tom has been working to rebuild it for some
time and it was good to see it in the air.
It almost seems that this is the season for flights of rebuilds. Jack McGee called me on September 4th and said that
his Piper J4 would be returning to Gillespie in a “few days”.
It has been under rebuild for quite some time. Jack did a lot
of work on it and then took it to the Bakersfield area to be
finished. Later in the month Jack said the J4 is flying.
It think that all who attended the September 24th Chapter
Meeting at Joe and Genny Pribilo’s hangar would agree that it
was tops. It was a great location, and John Kerr’s presentation on the English Wheel was outstanding. There was an
excess of good food. I usually don’t care for potlucks, but I
may have to change my mind after this one!
On September 26th, EAA Chapter 1 had their 54th Annual Open House at Flabob Airport. Attending were
“Sparky” Sparks in his KR, and me in the Piper J3 Cub. Dan
Francis were there in his Air Cam, which can really climb!
We had a temperature inversion layer that morning when it
was cool on the ground but 92 degrees at 3000ft. MSL. It
cooled down as I descending into Flabob. I refueled there,
Volume 51-Issue 5
for $3.81 per gal. By using a BP credit card, you can get
back 5% of the price or 15% of the cost. Joe Pribilo went
to the Lake Riverside Open House this day. Around Lake
Elsinore, I could hear a lot of radio traffic at Lake Riverside. Passing over Lake Elsinore, I spotted the MARS seaplane fire tanker parked there.
As I neared Gillespie on my return, I heard Donna
Smith call in at San Vicente Reservoir. She and Bruce were
returning from Idaho in their Kitfox. On their initial trip
back they detected some roughness in their engine so they
switched to commercial air. When the engine was checked
by mechanics there, no roughness was found, so they had
to airline it back to Idaho, pick up the Kitfox and return it
to Gillespie. No engine problems were experienced.
On Sunday, September 27th, the usual breakfast group
from Classic Hangars gathered at the Gillespie Field Café.
Among the group were Earl Hickman, Craig Kennedy,
Curtis Hopkins, Russell Clemens, John and Jerry Hickman,
and Joe and Genny Pribilo.
John Hickman was planning to leave Gillespie at noon
on the 27th and fly to a Bucker fly-in in Florida. He was to
meet up with Joe Vasile at Blythe, CA, who was flying a
“Tigre” powered Bucker. The Tigre is known as the “hand
grenade” Bucker as they have a tendency to “blow up”.
That is why most Buckers are now Lycoming powered.
Before John left, he learned that Joe’s plane had a low tire
at takeoff which went flat during his landing at Apple Valley. The people there dismantled the tire and installed a
6.00-6 inner tube in it. John finally left about 3:30PM and
called later to say that he had met up with Joe, and they
were staying overnight at Chandler, AZ.
On Monday, we heard that John and Joe had reached
El Paso, TX with no problems. On Wednesday, Sept.
30th, they made it to Pensacola where they took a day to
visit the Navy Air Museum there. They reached Live Oak,
FL, the site of the Bucker fly-in, on Friday, Oct. 1st. On
Sunday AM, October 4th, they departed the fly-in for Atlanta, GA where the Bucker with the hand grenade engine
will be based. John and fellow Bucker owner Jim White
were flying west but were delayed by weather at Demopolis, AL through Monday, Oct. 5th.
Weather was a continual problem through the south;
although, they were able to cover 400 miles on Wednesday,
Oct. 7th, and make it to Hillsboro, TX The weather
looked better to the West and they hoped to cover considerable ground on Thursday. (I will have to finish this saga
in the Nov/Dec issue of the Antiquer—LJB.)
Page 6
Polo Grounds Fly-In — Continued . . .
Chris Reilly
C3R Stearman, Bob and
D’Marie Simon in the Stearman N2S3, Martha Horvitz in
her Supercub, Steve Byers in
his amphib. Supercub, and
Bob Turner in his J-3 Cub. It
was a very special flying weekend, and I’m sure all participants will be looking forward
to next year’s polo ground
display weekends.
Allen Airways Ryan Wins Top Warbird Award
Donny Prim &
Claudia Allen
Bob &
The National Aviation Heritage
Ball overhauled a spare C4S supercharged Military. They saw limited use until 1946
Invitational is a competition open to
Menasco engine for use in the aircraft.
when they were sold to a surplus dealer.
aircraft at least 45 years old which
Jeff Trappet, the second civilian owner
The Allen’s Ryan was built in 1940 at
have been restored to their original
Ryan Aircraft, San Diego, and exported to restored the S-30 airplane. In 1981, Bill
configuration. It is held each year at
contacted Trappet and offered to trade
the Netherlands East Indies along with
Stead Airport, Reno, NV, during
him a Boeing Stearman PT-13-D
the week of the Reno Air Races. Bill Allen flying the Top Warbird Award Ryan STM-2
straight across!! Surprise: he took the
offer! Bill’s Stearman became the
Trophies are presented in
first ever to go to Australia.
several categories: (1) Antique,
built prior to 1935; (2) Classic,
Once the airplane was in San
built after 1935 but at least 45
Diego, several of Bill’s friends and
years ago; (3) the “Hap” Arnold
his late son restored the airplane. It
award for aircraft used in a miliwas finished in 1984 and flew for
tary capacity; and (4) the Peoples
many years, winning awards at fly-ins
Choice Award, most popular
in San Diego, Arizona, and across
votes. Bill and Claudia Allen
were surprised, and delighted
To many of us, the Ryan STA,
that their recently restored Ryan
STM is the epitome of the classic,
STM-2 was selected for the “Hap Ar- many others used for training Dutch and
sport aircraft, with beautiful, clean lines
nold” warbird award. In fact, the bird Javanese student pilots. With the Japanese and the grace provided by an inverted four
had just been trucked over for the
invasion of Indonesia, 33 Ryans were
cylinder engine. Our sincere congratulaevent from Rick Atkins facility, Ragshipped to Australia. Once there, the
tions to Bill and Claudia on receiving the
time Aero, at Placerville, CA. Brad
RAAF purchased them from the Dutch
prestigious NAHI top warbird award!
Volume 51-Issue 5
Page 7
Antique Airplane Association
San Diego Chapter
P. O. Box 711212
Santee, CA 92072-1212
Phone: 619-449-0539
Email: [email protected]
“Keep the Antiques
Featured Photo . . .
Fran Bera and Mary Ford,
in the “Featured Photo” on
the right, were winners in the
recent Palms to Pines air race
from Santa Monica to Bend
Oregon, a distance of 700
miles. It was Mary’s first trip
as Co-pilot and it was Fran’s
16th trip (and counting). Of
those 16 races, Fran scored
first place 7 times and second
place 3 times. The current
race was a second place but
The San Diego Chapter of the Antique Airplane Association holds meetings at various locations in San Diego around the Gillespie Field
area. Meetings are announced through the
Chapter Newsletter, The San Diego Antiquer.
Membership is open to all interested parties.
Dues are $15.00 per year. Contact Len J. Buckel
at 619-449-0539, or at [email protected] for an
application and for general information . . .
we still consider them
out Page 4 inside for
the story and more
photos. Congratulations to Fran and
Photo Appendix . . .
Dottie Buckel, Genny Pribilo
and Dorothy Trafton
Jim Ward
Pat Burke
John Kerr
Michael Gretton
Volume 51-Issue 5
Donna & Karl Johanson
with Dotty Buckel
Mary Ford
Mary Ford
Page 8