Pictures of Fairchilds under Restoration.
This is a short and dirty account of the trip as Mark Howard documented the process much better than I did.
Mark also graciously provided the transportation, trailer, and his time for 4 straight days. Mark is the man when it comes to PT’s, their history, operation, and taking them down/transporting them. His help was invaluable. We left early Friday morning and drove all the way thru to Flagstaff AZ….It was a -4 degrees that night!!!!
Left Flagstaff early and got to Phoenix early about 9:00 and started tearing the ole girl down CAREFULLY. While doing the disassembly, we noted that she was in really good shape for having sat in a hangar for almost 13 years. She’ll need a lot of TLC and minor repairs, but is in really good basic shape….200 hrs on the engine and prop….
We worked till 11:00 Saturday night getting her disassembled, loaded, and tied down….this pic was taken after we got the parts loaded. One thing that really made me realize how much I like airplane people was a guy named Dave….He stopped by to see what was going on and I needed a few tools I had neglected to bring. Dave went down to his hangar, rolled his big toolbox back, and helped us for almost 6 hours. What a great guy. Had he not helped us, we would have had to complete the disassembly and loading on Sunday and been even further behind….
This is one of the many fuel stops we had….always strange looks and sometimes thumbs ups from the passersby….
We made it to the gate at Page about 1:00 this afternoon. Man, we are tired!
Still have to crane the fuselage off the trailer but she is home….Mark is in the back and my brother is in the front!
Much thanks goes out to everyone who sent along their best wishes for us and prayers that were said along the way. The only glitch we had was getting stopped after we sailed past a commercial truck check point and were pulled over by a policeman stationed there a few miles down the road….He walked up to the window and the first thing he said was “Don’t ya think it would have been easier to fly it home?”!!!!!! We laughed so hard….I should have told him we were flying IFR!!!! He was an airplane guy and after checking our wide load permit and noting we were not a commercial run, he let us go!
A few days later we had her offloaded and safely nestled between the C-118 and KC-97 in Marks museum hangar….
She started life as PT-23 42-47591 Mfr’s # 2403 AE(meaning she was built by Aeronca) at a delivered cost of $8,597.00. Delivered on 4-13-43, she was one of a batch of 26 that served with the 70th AAFFTD at Lafayette, LA. Operators: James P. Wilmot and Ray Hylan opened summer 1942. No mishaps were recorded for this airframe during its wartime service.
Offered for sale at Hannibal, MO. 18 April, 1946 for $415.00 to Lawrence F. McKay. Went thru several owners and spent a good amount of time towing gliders for the White Sands Soaring Association logging hundreds of tows. Had a Hamilton Standard 2 B-20 prop in 1981 like used on Cessna 190/195’s that was eventually removed and replaced with a wood Sensenich. The engine and pr op both have about 230 hours on them.
The following is from a letter written by Howard Ebersole to Larry Edgar.
Enclosed are a couple photos I’ve had. About the PT-23. After the Timm mishap (late May 1960), I bought a tired PT-23 out of Compton, California for $800 on September 10, 1960. On my way back to Alamogordo I stopped by Gus Brieglieb’s place and saw how his PT-23′s were equipped and got a Schweizer tow hook. He also was using metal climb props, or a metal prop that was ground adjustable for climb, and later I bought one of those and got it OK’d by our FAA friends in Albuquerque.
Ed Brandiger helped with the installation of the prop and I think I got it from a crop duster outfit in Hayti, Missouri. I recall the requirement for the prop was for a certain static RPM. Ed and I found it would go faster with a tail wind than into the wind and I think that is what we did for the dumb FAA guy when he came down to look at it.
Whatever it takes…
On January 2, 1961 son Roy and I were on a CAP search and rescue mission in the PT-23
looking for 4 hunters who were overdue in a Piper Tripacer. We had been up around Corona, and then came back and were northeast of Carrizozo on a contour search around a fairly big mountain when the Continental 220 apparently swallowed a valve. Heading for Carrizozo, with a fairly rough engine, it swallowed another and then it really shook. 5 out of 7 ain’t too good! 20 minutes later I landed at Carrizozo and called Ed. He came up in a T-Craft, listened to it and agreed I had a problem. He said, “As long as it held together for 20 minutes to get here, it’ll probably hold together to get back to Alamogordo, but I’ll take your son with me, and follow you home”. It held together OK, but it was time for an IRAN. Which is what happened during the winter of 1961.
I bought the Timm engine from the club, we overhauled it (Ed and I) and also stripped the fabric and cleaned up, recovered and repainted the PT-23. It took all winter. The picture of my son Kurt by the PT-23 was when it came out of Ed’s hangar in the spring of 1961, early June.
When I went to Alaska in 1962 I let WSSA use the PT if they would hangar it and pay the insurance. In 1964 I sold it to them for $2,000. I understand they sold it for $10,000 quite a few years ago. And today, there is a color photo of the same ship, for sale by a guy in Texas for $35,000……
Ramona Duncan of “Ramona’s” restaurant and Walter Mullins, Mayor of Alamogordo
pose in the PT-23 during this show and tell by a WSSA club member in the early ’70s.
The club did a lot of promotional work during these years to expand the membership.
By the mid to late 70′s however, things were looking grim. The club finally sold the
aging PT-23 and bought a Bellanca Scout. Chuck Dugan and Art Davis worked hard to revive
the club, and things began to turn around.
From 1958-1963 Beginnings
And 1964-1979 Ups & Downs
Jeremy Harris's F24-C8C
I would like to thank all of the members who have helped me
out with questions and
parts over the last few months, I think this camaraderie is very important for the
health of the group. I thought I might also make a suggestion for the website. How
about a list of members by geographic location who would be willing to lend there
experience to others? Sometimes being able to see an assembly or part or talk face
to face can solve a world of problems.--Jeremy Harris