Learning to Fly

My friend Bob with our PA-22 Tripacer. This was the airplane I learned to fly with. Had some great times with this plane, taking up friends and making trips to New Hampshire and Maine while our seaplane was being built.

Read more: Flying Fun

We contracted with Jim Allen of Allen aviation in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, to put our project together. Bob knew what he wanted and designed a great bush plane based on the PA-12 airframe. Jim took care of the mods and approvals, and did an outstanding job of finishing the aircraft. We purchased a set of EDO 2000 floats from the Twitchell's at Turner Aviation, and flew the plane up there to have them fitted to the plane. Below is a picture of the modified PA-12 back at East Haddam CT, on our launch trailer.

Some of the giveaways that this is no ordinary PA-12 are the wing booster tips, PA-18 flaps on the wings & counter balanced elevators, rear access door to the long fishing rod storage compartment, skylight over the pilot seat (awesome views when looping the plane). A trained eye would see PA-18 engine cowlings installed for the O320 engine conversion, and the oversize "Borer" prop. Much more laid under the surface. This was an amazing and fun airplane that let us fly into tiny ponds to fish where no one else could go.

Below is a picture I took flying our TriPacer, while Bob flew the PA-12. I got my seaplane rating in this plane and had some very memorable time with this machine.

I sold the Seaplane to buy our first home back in 1982, but I didn't give up flying altogether. I was Danny's copilot for quite a few years and we had a lot of fun flying to different breakfast joints. Here's a nice shot I took of Danny's plane all finished, including the wheel fairings.

We would fly to any airport that had a restaurant serving breakfast. Johnny Cake, Sturbridge, Westerly, Block Island, even landed on the Ice in Alton Bay New Hamshire to get breakfast! The picture below was taken on the lake at Alton Bay.

My kids also got to experience flying in small planes, courtesy of Danny and his Stinson. Michele and Danny just before taking another breakfast trip.

Below, Todd & Joy getting ready to go up.

Through flying, I met another great friend, Danny. He also bought a vintage fabric airplane which needed a restoration. Below picture of the plane before he started, being towed home  to begin the project.

He stripped off the fabric and disassembled everything. He sandblasted tubing, did weld repairs to the metal framework, and epoxy coated the whole thing before putting a new fabric skin on it. Here's a shot of the project when it was at my garage in Bristol. Doesn't look like much of a flying machine at this stage. You can see it was a thorough restoration, and not just a cover up.

The metalized wings were removed and restored to the original fabric condition. Here one of the wings in the paint booth after it was re-fabriced.

A couple of years, and many, many hours of labor later, here she is ready to fly at Meriden Markham Airport.

Flying with Danny