Aviators Helping Aviators
By Doug Combs
The Luscombe Endowment, Inc.
Those of us who own airplanes and fly them for recreation find the fleet is generally 30 to 70 years old. Few mechanics nowadays are familiar with these old birds, and many shops will turn away maintenance on these vintage airplanes unless that owner can provide the mechanic with reasonable technical data or parts support. This is where we find aviators helping aviators through organizations called “Type Clubs.”
Type clubs usually offer newsletters and shared owner/mechanic technical expertise. They often have rare or lost manuals needed for maintenance, or they have a tribal knowledge of problem areas in different “types” of vintage airplanes. Some have websites and blogs where one can access help in a timely fashion. A thorough listing of such organizations can be found at http://www.vintageaircraft.org/type/index.html.
The Luscombe Endowment, is a type club, an IRS 501(C) 3, non-profit organization, and we provide the benefits of technical support to Luscombe owners on their airplanes as well as assistance in sourcing hard to find parts, a blog, and online articles. We also help other airplane types by maintaining a good stock and selection of vintage mechanical brake parts and replacement specialty ball bearing pulleys for those vintage airplanes. The Luscombe Endowment provides manuals and parts for the Goodyear disk brakes, Cleveland drum brakes, as well as the Shinn and Firestone drum brakes that were used on Aeroncas, Swifts, Taylorcraft, Interstate, Funk and others.
Knowing where to source these parts, manuals, and technical data, makes a type club an invaluable resource to the owner wanting to ‘do it right;’ yet the cost of membership is often less than $40 per year.
The Luscombe Endowment posts much technical information on its website at www.luscombe.org, but we also offer membership subscriptions to the Luscombe Association for whom we write expert technical articles on a bi-monthly basis. (One can call us at 480/917-0969 for membership subscriptions or other questions, or order online.)
The Experienced Luscombe Endowment crew has restored more than 125 Luscombes and the author has personally been involved with vintage airplanes since before 1975. Our website, support network and parts exchange has been supported by the donations of airplanes, parts, cash, and especially by the Luscombe WIN ME raffle tickets sold on a fully restored Luscombe airplane.
The Luscombe Endowment has restored and raffled 13 of these airplanes since 1993. Our 2011 WIN ME Luscombe is a fully restored 8E, with extended baggage, an O-200 engine, lightweight accessories, transponder, encoder, radio, hydraulic brakes and many other improvements.
We only sell 3,000 tickets, and fewer than 700 remain for sale. Information on our fundraiser raffle can be found at www.luscombe.org/. Your support of the Luscombe Endowment’s preservation efforts is very much appreciated.
Having this kind of support makes the proper care, maintenance, and feeding of these older airplanes possible, and it improves operational safety for individual operators, as well as the fleet generally. Please take the time to investigate type club support for your airplane and learn of the wonderful assistance available to you. For more details on type clubs visit www.vintageaircraft.org/who/typeclub.html.