The Los Angeles Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has donated its Wright Flyer Project to the Tom Wathen Center. Under Wathen Center auspices, the current team of volunteers will complete the flying replica of the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer, the world's first successful powered airplane, at the Wathen Center's Historic Flabob Airport in Riverside, California.
John Lyon, Chairman of the Board of the Wathen Center, said "We are grateful for the decades-long support AIAA has provided to this project, and to the dedicated and talented team of aerospace volunteers who will complete construction and move into the testing phase at Historic Flabob Airport."
This is the third full-scale Wright Flyer replica associated with the AIAA. The first, a non-flying static replica, was destroyed in the arson fire at the San Diego Aerospace Museum. The second was designed for testing in the large wind tunnel at NASA Ames, Moffett Field, and yielded the first complete aeronautical data on the Wright Flyer. Among other uses, the data were used to complete an accurate simulator, whose flying characteristics are highly challenging, and which is now in use at the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base. NASA'S report on the Wright Flyer Project is available on the NASA website at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/. The original wind-tunnel replica is now displayed in the lobby of the FAA building on Aviation Boulevard in Lawndale, California.
The third replica, nearing completion at Flabob Airport, has small but significant modifications to make it safe to fly, and it is intended that it will be flown at Flabob when complete. It will be a key display at Flabob's first annual Flabob Flying Circus, featuring a Cavalcade of Flight -History in the Air, to be held September 30, 2012.
Chief Engineer for the project, Cal Tech Professor Emeritus Fred C. Culick, will continue to head the team of volunteers who are building the replica. Professor Culick is the principal author of a detailed history of the project, which is available online at http://www.wrightflyer.org/Papers/AIAA_Wright_Flyer_Project_1978-2008.pdf.
The Wathen Foundation uses the fascination of flight to uses the fascination of flight to inspire the love of learning for successful careers and satisfying lives. The acquisition of the Wright Flyer Project will teach the early history of the airplane and the development of aviation. The project may be visited most Saturday mornings in its front-line hangar west of the Flabob Airport Cafe.
Few things are as satisfying as learning that your efforts have inspired someone else to dogood work. We were therefore very pleased to receive an email from Steven Sorge of Wisconsin updating the good work of the 88Charlies. We met Steven at a meeting of Aeroscholars mentors which we hosted at Flabob. We saw him again at Oshkosh Airventure and at the Antique Airplane Association Fly-In at Blakesburg. He flies a unique and beautiful Stearman Speedmail. Steven had been thinking about how he could do more to use aviation for the benefit of young people, and his visit to Flabob helped him to take a big step. He wrote to Tom Wathen: "I wanted to drop you a line to tell you that you've influenced me a quite bit here recently, in that I have started up a not for profit corp to promote aviation thru the restorations of older aircraft, with students and their parents." Steven and some friends founded the 88CHARLIES Restore A Plane Foundation at Palmyra (Wisconsin) Airport, identifier 88C, hence the "88Charlies." The 88Charlies teach kids to restore airplanes, and are now working on a Porterfield 75C which has not flown since 1945. Recently, Steve brought us up to date: "I am happy to report now, that after just 20 months, we have 24 registered students, 10 adult mentors, a year round heated (important in Wisc) and air-conditioned classroom, 3 aircraft projects, 2 flyable aircraft (in process of being licensed) and another project on the way." Just like Flabob, the kids earn credit toward flying lessons. Here is a link to the 88Charlies website. 88Charlies, you go! Thank you, Steven. And if anyone else would like some tips, advice or help in starting up your own aviation education efforts, please let us know.
FLABOB'S OWN MENDOZA BROTHERS
Hualdo and Nando Mendoza are numbered among the best covering and painting hands in the nation, at an age much younger than most of the old-timers who can do this kind of work. To learn how they grew from a troubled background to their present status as solid Flabobians, read this story in the Riverside Press-Enterprise.