AOPA's Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes - Nov. 24 Photos and Commentary

November 11, 2009

Photos and Commentary

Your Waco is approved to fly! But winter is a problem.

Nov. 26 � The FAA has granted field approval for use of the Cleveland wheels and brakes, a process that for some reason took several weeks and required the intervention of AOPA's government and technical affairs staff. Less difficult approvals for the fuel monitoring system and the ELT have also been granted, and a new, more legible airworthiness certificate is now ours. That means Rare Aircraft officials in Owatonna, Minnesota, could not test-fly the aircraft if desired. The question is, is the air temperature in Minnesota high enough keep the cylinders hot during the break-in period? If not, oil would glaze the cylinder walls. It is possible a special winter cowling will be built to keep the engine warm for flight tests. But how about the pilot? We need 15 to 20 hours of flying for proper engine break-in. In other news, AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Al Marsh traveled to Long Island last weekend to track the airplane's history. He saw a picture of the AOPA aircraft, one taken 20 years ago, hanging in the pilot lounge of Mid Island Air Service. A park ranger at Floyd Bennett Field (that airport will be restored as a national historic site starting in 2005) suggested Marsh check the Rudy Arnold photo collection at the National Air & Space Museum. Upon his return to Frederick, Marsh traveled to Washington and found a black-and-white photo of the AOPA Waco taken at Floyd Bennett Field in November 1940. Or rather, it is just a negative. A picture will be printed and delivered to AOPA soon. Look for it in a future edition of AOPA Pilot. Also included will be a story about Marsh's search for the Waco UPF-7's history, a search aided greatly by friendly Long Islanders from Islip to Brooklyn.