• Opportunities for Flying and Hangar Flying Abound

    Posted on April 4th, 2014 John Dorcey No comments

    While winter weather continues in Wisconsin – snow is forecast for the northern half of the state, spring is definitely in the air. More and more activities, either about flying or involving flying, are appearing on the calendar. Over the next few weeks you have numerous opportunities to hear some interesting flying stories, attend two fly-in breakfasts (one with educational seminars), participate in a spot landing contest where proceeds go to charity and attend the 59th annual Wisconsin Aviation Conference. The only question is which events will you take advantage of?

    S.J. Wittman Birthday Fly-in Breakfast
    Saturday, April 12
    Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH), Oshkosh
    The Steve Wittman Chapter (Chapter 252) of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) will be holding its annual S.J. Wittman birthday breakfast celebration. The event is held in the airport’s terminal building located at 525 West 20th Avenue. For those flying in you’ll park at the terminal ramp on the NE corner of the airport.

    In addition to the a eggs, sausage and all you can eat pancake breakfast, a special focus on the Wittman Tailwind aircraft will be conducted. A Young Eagles event will be held in conjunction with the event. Women in Aviation, Oshkosh Chapter will be selling cupcakes as a scholarship fundraiser. The event runs from 7:30 until 11:00 a.m. Steve Wittman was born April 5, 1904; the event celebrates the famous air racer’s 110th birthday. For more information contact Dennis Moehn at 920-810-1046.

    Oshkosh Chapter, Women in Aviation
    Tuesday, April 15
    EAA AirVenture Museum, Oshkosh
    Sergeant John Jones of the Wisconsin State Patrol will explain aircraft types used and modifications to make them suitable for law enforcement purposes. He’ll cover training requirements, how the specialized technology in the aircraft operates, as well as communication and coordination systems with ground support troopers. John’s presentation includes numerous stories and photos of real world events highlighting the range of activities in which flying troopers are involved. The program begins at 7:00 PM and is open to the public. The Women in Aviation, Oshkosh Chapter meets monthly and membership is open to all pilots and aviation supporters.

    Fox Valley Technical College
    Saturday, April 26
    Spanbauer Aviation
    Center, Oshkosh
    FVTC’s Aviation Center’s Seventh Annual French Toast Breakfast Fly-in includes breakfast and two educational seminars. Breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m. and runs until noon. The French toast breakfast with yummy sides is an amazing $5. Local flight instructors Tim Lemke and Keith Myers will each present a safety seminar. Tim will address “The Art of Trim Control” and Keith’s presentation is “FARs Every Pilot Should Know.” The FVTC Spanbauer Aviation Center is located at 3601 Oregon Street in Oshkosh. The school’s ramp is on the east end of Delta taxiway.

    59th Annual Wisconsin Aviation Conference
    Monday – Wednesday, May 5 – 7
    Patriot Center, Rothschild
    Wisconsin Aviation Conference 2014 logoThe 2014 Wisconsin Aviation Conference begins with two networking events, golf and sporting clays, during the day. A welcome reception and dinner on Monday evening provides attendees a chance to meet and catch up with friends and associates. Tuesday morning the conference program begins with topics designed to be of interest to everyone in the aviation community. Sessions and presenters include: industry updates by the FAA and Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics, Wildlife Hazard Management, Strategic Planning, the Wisconsin Aerospace Consortium, NEXTGEN, General Aviation Hangar Construction Trends, and more. Visit www.wiama.org for more information.

    EAA Speakers Series
    Thursday, May 15
    EAA AirVenture Museum, Oshkosh
    Tom ThomasTom Thomas will present “Landing a C-97 at Dodgeville” as the final presenter in this year’s Speaker Series. Many of you have seen the C-97 parked outside the Don Q Inn on Hwy. 23 in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Tom will share his story of the role he played in landing that huge airplane on the short runway that once graced the Don Quinn property. Tom will discuss this experience, which took place in 1977, with explanations of preflight and runway preparations, aircraft operations, and other facts about the flight. The program begins at 7:00 PM, is open to the public and is free of charge. FMI: 920-426-6108.

    Landings for Lunches
    Entire month of May
    Wausau Downtown Airport (KAUW)
     A charity flying challenge, giving airplane pilots an opportunity to compete in a spot landing contest. Proceeds from the 2nd annual event benefit The Neighbors’ Place. During the entire month of May, pilots will attempt to land with their main wheels on or as close as possible to a box marked on the runway. Pilots will donate one dollar and a non-perishable food item (or an additional dollar) each time they compete. Donations will be split between prize money and contributions to The Neighbors’ Place. Contact John at Wausau Flying Service for more information, 715-845-3400 or visit www.WausauFlyingService.com.

    Plenty of opportunities for you to “get back in the air” this spring. Bring a friend to any, or better yet all, of these events.

  • Gallatins, Corbens and Baby Aces

    Posted on January 3rd, 2013 John Dorcey No comments

    After publishing its first book, Forward in Flight, the History of Aviation in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame (WAHF) had a dilemma. Like many of us, the organization found it had too much stuff. That is, too much history to fit into one book. The solution was straight forward, publish an annual newsletter and share more of Wisconsin’s aviation history. While searching for early documents of the organization we became reacquainted with the five issues of Forward in Flight, the Newsletter of Aviation History in Wisconsin. Michael Goc wrote the following story for the Fall 2001 issue of the newsletter.

    Gallatin brothers Baby Ace under construction

    Gallatin brothers Baby Ace under construction

    Oscar and Harold Gallatin were students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in 1930 when the decided to build an airplane. They obtained plans for a Corben Baby Ace along with a set of landing gear struts from the factory in Madison and, according to Corben’s instructions, modified a Model A Ford motor to power their plane. With no workshop of their own, the young men used a shop at MSOE and the basement of the Sommerfield Methodist Church on North Case Street as assembly points. The Methodist pastor had decided that home-building was an act of love not labor, so the Galatian’s were not violating the Sabbath when they kept at it on Sunday afternoons and evenings. As a bonus, the boys could partake of the weekly Sunday dinner prepared by the ladies of the Epworth League, “at low cost.”

     

    After completing the tube framing and fabric covering, the Gallatins moved their Baby Ace to a hay loft on North Marshall Street to mount the wings and install the motor. When they completed assembling the plane, the brothers wanted to fire up the engine, but had no gasoline. Harold stuck the tip of the acetylene welder in the carburetor intake, Oscar propped the motor, “and it started on the second pull.” The brothers started flying the plane in 1932 at the Waukesha Airport. Harold later recalled that it was “the first and last Baby Ace built in Milwaukee until the EAA began in 1951.”

     

    The Gallatins built at least three airplanes in the 1930s and 40s, including an original design logically called the Gallatin. The low-wing, single-place, monoplane was powered by a two-cylinder Aeronca engine. On a test flight out of Waukesha, a wind spar bracket failed, and Oscar died when the plane crashed.

     

    Waukesha Airport, ca 1934

    Waukesha Airport, ca 1934

    After World War II Harold had a hangar where he kept building airplanes and became known for his use of the Wankel engine. He hung onto the plans for his 1930s Baby Ace and, a few years before the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was organized, shared them with EAA founder Paul Poberezny. His well-publicized adaptation of the Corben Super Ace gave Poberezny and the EAA a boost in its early days. Gallatin himself signed on as EAA #20, an appropriate gesture for the man known as the “father of homebuilding in Milwaukee.”

    Source materials for this story include materials from the WAHF archives and the Harold Gallatin papers.

    Harold Gallatin served on EAA’s board of directors for three years. He died in Waukesha, Wisconsin on November 28, 2002. On hearing of his passing EAA President Tom Poberezny said, “Harold was a true representative of the grassroots aspect of the organization, he was there back in the beginning.”