Volunteers do most of the Wathen Center work. We have big jobs and little jobs, and you work on your own schedule. Right now we are looking for help in all areas, especially:
Building or restoring an airplane often requires the use of tools and machinery which are too big, too expensive, or too complicated for a single individual to buy for a single project. An introduction to the use of such machinery is also important for "hands-on" education of young people. At Flabob, we obtained the machine shop which pioneer homebuilder, race and airline pilot Ray Melberg had put together over many years. We have added to it by donations and acquisitions, and now have what we need to equip a pretty comprehensive airplane machine shop. We have a Bridgeport, a large brake, an open-throat shear, an ex-Lockheed hydraulic press, several lathes, saws, and more.
The problem is that all this good stuff needs to be organized. We need several kinds of help here. First, we need one or more people with a machine shop background, preferably in aerospace, to come in and figure out how to arrange the machines for greatest utility and accessibility. That done, we will need to shove them around (or guide the forklift for the bigger ones). Once we get the machines and tools in their best places, we will need one or more knowledgable persons to supervise their use. They will need to check out prospective users on the machines they want to use, and OK them, or arrange for more training where needed. They will check out bits, tools and consumables. Especially when the kids are there they will provide close supervision for safety. We will also need people who can teach proper and efficient use of the tools and machines.
The Melberg Builders Center will be available free of charge (except for a nominal fee to cover costs of consumables) to Flabobians, EAA members and Aviation High School students. We hope to spark a renaissance of homebuilding at Flabob, and to empower new generations of youngsters with some of the skills our country is so recklessly exporting.
EAGLE SCOUT PROJECTSWe have been fortunate to have had a number of great Eagle Scout projects, ranging from building signs through bench construction to stanchions for our planned museum. There are opportunities for more. If you are an Eagle Scout looking for a qualifying project, or are mentoring an Eagle Scout, give us a call.
Some of our best projects have been the ideas of the volunteers themselves. Take a look at the Wright Brothers mural as you come into the airport, or the Pegasus statue informally called the "Charley Horse" in honor to its donor Charley Webber. If you have skills or ideas for something you think would help out, let us know.