Where American Legends Live On: Yanks Air Museum Welcomes AOPA to Chino, California

By Donia Moore

Setting the Stage

Imagine a younger America where patriotism was the order of the day and dashing heroes boldly flew legendary aircraft, fighting wars to defend American ideals of freedom at all costs.  Envisage new and unconventional aircraft turning the tides of history forever. Discover more than 200 fully restored proud American legends of yesterday living on at world-class Yanks Air Museum in Chino, Calif.

A Stellar Trio 

The “sister” ship of the famous “Ryan N.Y.P.” Spirit of Saint Louis, piloted by Charles “Lucky” Lindberg. The aircraft is made of welded chrome-moly steel tubing, solid spruce spars and covered with fabric (Yanks Air Museum) The lanky, quiet young U.S. mail-carrier ambled out to the airstrip and climbed into his Ryan B-1 Brougham. On May 20-21, 1927, this former barnstormer/wingwalker wasn’t flying his regular route. He was on his way to accomplish the first solo non-stop New York to Paris flight. He caught the imagination of the world. The popularity of his five-seat passenger transport sky-rocketed. Demand was so high among aviators that production of the B-1shot up to three planes a week for a price of $9,700.00 per plane. Only 142 of these were eventually built. Today, the only flyable Ryan B-1 in the world, the “sister” ship to Charles “Lucky” Lindberg’s “Spirit of St. Louis,” is at Yanks Air Museum in Chino, Calif. 

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Blue Skies and Tailwinds to In Flight USA Writer Charlie Briggs

Charlie BriggsOn Tuesday, Aug. 26, during the In Flight production week, we learned that our newest writer died suddenly. Charlie Briggs, 84, joined our monthly staff of writers in January of this year. His mission was to bring “real-world” experiences to our pages, reflective of the thousands of aircraft owners and flyers who simply lived with an airplane as a permanent family member. Charlie was a pilot for more than 65 years, having a career that included ranching, agricultural services and consulting, computer technologies and business concept development. On our pages, Charlie reminisced about his life in the sky and in so doing touched many hundreds of our readers who reacted with “something like that happened to me…” or “ha, you think that story was funny, I can top it!” Overall, in eight short months, Charlie charmed his way into the hearts of his In Flight family… staff and readers alike.

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Skies to Stars: Aperture Envy

By Ed Downs

Thirty Meter Telescope (artist’s rendering) (Thirty Meter Telescope Project)One can just see the wrinkled brows, wondering what is meant by the title of this month’s Skies to Stars. Taking telescopic cross countries’ to the residents of our solar system, the stars and planets of our Milky Way galaxy and the wonders of distant galaxies all require one common factor, the ability to collect light. In the world of reflector-based telescopes, meaning that a mirror gathers light before being concentrated into a viewing device (eyepiece or digital), the bigger the light gathering mirror, the better. This is referred to as the “aperture” of the scope in question. This amateur astronomer uses a reflector with a 12” aperture; consider being at the bottom end of large aperture amateur viewing. It is not uncommon to see amateurs using apertures of over 24”, ones reserved for professionals only.  Yes, I envy them!

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World War II Weekend 2014

By A. Kevin Grantham and Stan Piet

Greg Shelton’s stunning performance in his FM-2 Wildcat was one of many highlights of the show. (A. Kevin Grantham)Seventy years ago, on June 6, 1944, the largest invasion in history took place when the Allied Forces landed on the shores of the French coastal town of Normandy. This monumental affair put an end to Adolf Hitler’s total domination of the European continent and eventually brought about the successful conclusion to war with Germany. The men and women who can still relate to what is was like to be part of the D-Day invasion are rapidly passing on to a better world, and many wonder if future generations will remember the sacrifices that were made to rid the world of tyranny. No one can predict the future, but the members of the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum are determined to never forget as each year they stage an air show extravaganza affectionately known as World War II Weekend.    

The event was held at Spaatz Field (Reading Regional Airport) in Reading, Pennsylvania over the June 6-8, 2014 weekend under bright blue skies with white puffy clouds. The warbrids feature at the show included the Yankee Air Museum’s Boeing B-17G Yankee Lady, Douglas C-47, and their North American B-25 Yankee Warrior. Rounding out the medium-bomber force was Tom Duffy’s B-25 Takeoff Time, Delaware Aviation Museum’s B-25J Panchito, and Mid-Atlantic’s own B-25J Briefing Time. The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) also had their Consolidated LB-30/B-24A on station. This particular aircraft presented the public a rare opportunity to ride in an early model bomber.

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Going the Extra Mile

With its sleek lines and efficient high-aspect ratio wing, the four-seat DA-40XLS cruises at 150knots TAS on the 180 HP of the IO-360. This equates to about 16mpg while eating up the distance at over three miles a minute. The composite construction results in a smooth airframe. Fuel capacity has been increased to 50 gallons in a pair of wing tanks. (Diamond Aircraft) DA-40XLS Flight Report

By David Brown 

The long-winged Diamond DA-40 has been steadily entering the market in the four-seat fixed-gear general aviation aircraft, which has been long dominated by the Cessna 172. With sleek and sturdy composite construction, the DA-40 can show a clean pair of heels to the competition.

Diamond has not been resting on its laurels but has been continuously improving the DA-40. I was eager to fly the latest version, the DA-40XLS. I met up with the XLS on the ramp at Long Beach Airport in Southern California. The day did not seem promising for our mission with a thick overcast blanketing the area, but Robert Stewart, my demonstration pilot, was not dismayed. With a full avionics fit and integrated autopilot, the DA-40XLS was fully IFR capable, and the inclement weather would give us a chance to see the advantages of the system under instrument conditions.

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