Thursday, December 23, 2010

What a year! Looking back at 2010 I wonder where it all went so fast. Having moved into our new facility at the end of March after breaking ground the November prior made for an interesting time. The move was a feat in itself. Thanks to all for your support and to those who said it couldn't be done, well.......come on by and we'll show ya around.

Personally, I had the joy of another great year with my family doing what we love to do. The best part about working with family, you can say what you want to get things done. The worst part, you can say what you want to get things done...... Working with family and our tight knit group in the shop plays a major role in the creative process. I believe it demands a higher level of standard and pride beyond what can be found in a factory or corporate setting type of shop. Everyone in the shop is an integral part of the process equally important in their contributions to the end product. Each year brings a new set of challenges and accomplishments for our team. I look forward to seeing what we can do in 2011. Immediate family aside we also have our extended aviation family that gets larger every year. I know it sounds cliche to say such because you hear this often with different aircraft manufactures but, we really do gain family in what we do. So many "customers" have become very close to us and a very important part of our lives. So call me a bit bias but I think aviation people are the greatest on earth and that's why its so easy to make such great friends when you play with airplanes.
Looking ahead to next year I'm very excited to see all the great friends we have throughout the industry. Often seeing everyone is only a yearly event but we talk on the phone regularly. The best laughs and memories are made at the shows with you all. I feel very fortunate to call many of you friends and look forward to making new as well. Happy New Year to all!! I'm already excited about the possibilities for 2011!



P.S. One of these days I'll figure out how to get the photos and text the way I want them on this darn thing!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stearman? Really a Stearman?

We've done them before and we'll do them again. Actually my first rib stitching lesson from Dad was on a Stearman wing. This may be somewhat of a surprise since we're known as Waco people. After witnessing and admittedly partaking in some of the lively banter between Stearman and Waco folks I'm sure we'll take a few in the ribs over the one in our shop, um I mean two, oh wait, THREE!?! These things are multiplying! Actually we have two in restoration and one airworthy for sale. To date Wacos are our most numerous restoration however we still do handle airplanes in the other category from time to time. Staggerwings, Stearmans, Great Lakes, a Luscombe or two and I think I see a Howard in our near future.....very near.

The two Stearmans in restoration are quite the contrast. One is a stock Navy N2S-3 that will remain so. The other will be an airshow airplane and is already a notable one at that.

A feature of each will appear on the blog soon. We're looking forward to seeing these well built beloved trainers through restoration.

The N2S-3 arrived last Thursday....

Wrapping Presents the RARE way!

We recently finished an extensive recover and repaint on NC16009 a 1936 ZQC-6 Cabin Waco. This exercise was to bring the aircraft up to standard for our friends in Brazil. The structure, interior and overall quality of this aircraft is excellent. It was restored elsewhere about 14 years ago and the paint that was used was very brittle. A complete recover and repaint was in order and our guys made short work of the process. We also converted the brakes to new Cleveland's, built a new oil tank and tightened up the firewall forward installation.
Once all the work and the export C of A were complete we spent last Tuesday containerizing the C-6 for its trip to Brazil. From quietly residing in a hangar on Washington Is, Wisconsin, to our shop awaiting new owners to Brazil where it will get cared for, flown, and enjoyed regularly. This Cabin Waco doesn't know it yet but, it's going to have a great new life. It will be fun to see it join the F-2 and Fairchild in Brazil! We'll be on hand in Brazil to assemble and fly it soon. With our current weather situation I can't wait!

A short clip sent by the F-2 to let us know all is well.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Genesis of Kilo-7

ZPF-7 - production code name; Kilo-7

We are very fortunate to have yet another customer that fuels the creative process and pushes us to new limits. A remanufactured beyond new standards WACO by RARE with flare. I can't wait until spring to roll this baby out. All new tip to tail with great custom features. All the woodwork is complete and the fuselage build up is underway.

It might get boring around here if we were just putting together another WACO like the last one and the only change ups were colors or the instrument panel. With our list of options and the customer being an integral part of the process we're having a ball! Check back for more progress photos of Kilo-7.

K-7's wing set ready for cover. New front cockpit access door. New Instrument panels.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Repaint Reporter Volume 69 Number 2: The Waterborne Trend

PPG has been our finish of choice for 20 years. Although we're still capable of doing an old school dope finish the most popular option on our birds is PPG polyurethane. Founded on Roy's vast paint experience, Dan and Jeremy are the two responsible for our final product today. The whole shop pitches in for the entire process leading up to color. We're pleased to be recognized by PPG for our work in the latest issue of PPG Paint Reporter. Below is a link to the publication, you'll find us on page 22.
Repaint Reporter Volume 69 Number 2: The Waterborne Trend