Friday, August 17, 2012

Ben Stein Honored for Generosity

Today Actor/Economist/Man of Many Talents  Ben Stein was given 
two awards for his generosity to the veterans of Bonner County, Idaho.

The first award was a beautifully engraved glass plaque in the shape of the state of Idaho,
with a  marble base, laser-cut to the shape of the United States of America.
(This is a very poor picture, and will be replaced/enhanced by a better picture soon.)
Bill Collier, Secretary of V.V.A. 890, holds up the plaque to be admired my Mr. Stein. 
He is assisted in the presentation by Lt.Col. James Barr USMC, retired.

Over the past few years Mr. Stein has very generously supported
Viet Nam Veterans of America Chapter 890
with its various veterans-helping-veterans activities in the area,
most notably helping out with the expenses of our local Stand Down each June. 
 This year  V.V.A. 890 provided surplus military gear to almost 1200 veterans of all stripes. 

In addition, Marine Corps League Detachment #1110
provided nearly 900 lunches for veterans attending the Stand Down.

Mr. Stein was also awarded his very own


with H-34 helicopter device
for his generosity is supporting the H-34 restoration project.

James Barr,  Ben Stein, Bill Collier
wearing their "crew" hats.

Ben Stein was most happy to receive these small tokens of our appreciation,
and repeatedly thanked us for our service. 
He proudly displays both of these awards on a table in his living room.

OOOHHRA!  Ben Stein.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Charley at the E.A.A. fly-in.

We towed Charlie to the local E.A.A. fly-in on Saturday August 11th, 2012.
She was a hit.
We met a lot of aviation-intersted people and gathered a few dollars in donations for the cause.
We were a bit short on staff as this was a busy week-end all around, so we never got around to lifting  the two side rotors to the fully extended position.
Participants were Howard Bigelow, James Barr, Bill Collier, Ken Conger.
Barry "I need a bigger hammer" Gage, who did the fine job of replicating the tail rotor blades, and his charmimng wife Tracy, stopped by with his beautifully restored 1929 Chevy Coupe and added its beauty to the helicopter for a while.(see last photo)

Here is USMC ret.  LtCol. James Barr preparing to tow Charlie
across the airport to her position at the fly-in.
Come to think of it, this is probably the only time this helicopter has been on a runway in several decades!

A most beautiful and charming young lady, Linda from Tucson, stopped by to admire Charley.  The admiration was mutual.
Barry Gage and Tracy's 1929 Chevy Coupe. 
He did a fantastic job of making this old car brand new again.

Someone asked if the helicopter makes much noise.  We were truthfully able to
answer that is makes about as much noise as a Ford F-150 pick-up.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Here is Charlie on display at the "Lost in 50's" old car show, Army side.
Thousand of people come to Sandpoint every year to celebrate old cars of any and every vintage.

This is the very first time we had all four rotor blades on, and had them spread.  It turns our lifting the blades into place is a challenge.  We also had no rotor brake to keep the tranny from turning, so the whole assembly wanted to turn whenever we lifted a blade with the special blade-lifting tool.  Once the rotor turned so much we lost control;  a blade slipped out of the tool and crashed down onto the blade saddle, breaking one of the pockets off AGAIN!  Fortunately we have several spare saddles and we can easily repair this.

Dick Williams manning the business side of old Charlie.  We gathered nearly $200 in donation from the public, and made a lot of wonderful contacts with people interested in the old machine. Everett Wood and Bill Stevens were very helpful during this event.

A bit out of sequence time-wise here, but this coming Saturday the 18th of August, 2012 Charlie will be
attending the E.A.A. fly in at Sandpoint airport. Can something attend a fly-in if it has to be towed?  YES. Come on down.  Pancake breakfast 0800-1000.

Lost in 50's parade, continued

When the last post about Charlie was made, she was in the middle of the "Lost in 50's"  Parade through downtown Sandpoint.  Immediately after turning left from 1st Ave onto Cedar Street, Charlie blew a tail wheel tire.!!!
We had anticipated that by beefing up a furniture dolly to serve as a spare tire, so that we could at least get the helicopter out of the parade so as to not impede the progress of the parade.

We got the furniture dolly out of the belly of the beast to place the tail wheel on it. Rather than slow the parade by getting out the hydraulic jack, we simply went to the side of the road and asked for volunteers to lift the tail up.  Six beefy guys instantly lept out to assist.  As they lifted the tail up, we placed the dolly under it.  The dolly crushed down through it like it was made of toothpicks!

Now we had a dilema--if we continued on until we were no longer choking the parade to a halt, we risked ruining the magnesium rim, an item we thought was irreplaceable. There was also a small risk that scooting the magnesium rim on the street might generate enough heat to ignite the magnesium,  with the very real possibility in that event that this could ignite the entire helicopter!  Once ignited, this entire helicopter will become ashes in less that 15 seconds.  I have seen this happen.
What to do?

We knew that we were only two blocks from a place where there would be room for us to edge over and let the parade pass, so we decided to take the risk and proceded on the crushed dolly with only the ruined tire rubbing on the road at first.
Soon the weight wore through the old tire, and the mag rim began to leave a silver streak on the pavement.  It looked like we might be able to save the rim, but it was wearing down fast. This could be the end of Charlie's public appearances if we ruin the rim and cannot find a replacement.

We did make it to the wide spot in the road, and were able to let the rest of the parade pass.  Now we had a problem of what to do with our H-34. A neighbor who lived right there came out with a metal dolly and offered it for our use.  We got the same volunteers to once again lift the tail and placed the flat tail wheel tire on this second dolly.  Once again the dolly was crushed!  see picture below of second, crushed dolly. Finally, after much consideration, we decided to call a tow truck.

The nice folks from Clyde's towing showed up almost immediately, and rigged a wide strap sround Charlie's tail, and moved her only about 100 feet into a small triangular city park.  We figured that since we were so very close to our assigned show spot for the car show the next day, there was no sense in taking the helicopter all the way back to the hangar at Sandpoint airport, and then returning her all the way back into town the next morning by tow truck.  The thought also was that if we towed her home, she was done for a while and would not be in the car show. at all.

Of couse we could not leave Charlie out in the open in the park without a guard, so some one had to spend the night with her.
All you H-34 drivers out there, eat you hearts out.  I got to sleep in an H-34 for the night.
I know that many times in my flying career I had naps in various helicopters, but
this may very well have been the first time I ever over-nighted in an H-34.

Afterr a short and very miserable night's sleep, Clyde's folks showed up again at 0530 and towed Charlie backwards the two blocks to our assigned static display station on Cedar Street.
After the car show, we got yet a third tow, this time all the way back to the hangar at the far side of the airport.  All the time we kept thinking, "What is going to be the cost of not one, nor two, but three tows and about two hours of the time of the tow-truck crew?"  This was going to be one humoungous bill, we kept thinking. 
As it turns out, Clyde's did not charge us a bit for the three tows. 
If you are ever in the Sandpoint area and need a tow, please call Clydes.
The three members of the Clydes crew were awarded "Charlie crew" hats for their superior service.