of the Models
the fall of 2009 my two grandsons, Logan (then 9), and Sawyer
(then 7) came to visit us from their home in Idaho. As was our
custom, they wanted to have a “hangar day”, where they would
go to the hangar with me for a few hours and build whatever they
wanted to from a box of wood scraps.
On this particular occasion Logan said, “Grandpa, I want
a model that looks like your airplane.” I gave him a small piece
of 3/4” plywood, and told him, “Now look at my airplane, and
draw the shape you want.” Logan had soon drawn a very nicely
I made up the wings, I-struts, tail, and landing gear legs
from scraps of aluminum sheet. The wheels were cut from 1/8”
Masonite using a hole saw. Using a larger hole saw, I cut out a
set of discs from 1/4” plywood for the engine cowling, and spun
a piece of wooden dowel on the lathe to make the spinner.
We took the model home to show the family, and Logan was so
proud of my pride in it that he wouldn't take it home. He wanted
it to stay with me. I used it as a tool to help me visualize what
I wanted to do in my airshow routine in the real airplane.
Not long after, we found some wooden spools that were the
perfect size and shape to use as engine cowlings, and we found
some 1” diameter wooden wheels at a local craft store. I used
the new parts to make up a refined model, using heavier gauge
aluminum for the wings, the I-struts, landing gear and horizontal
tail. I shaped the struts to more closely match those on the real
airplane. The wooden fuselage and wheels were finished with a
sealer and varnish, giving them a nice satin shine.
This model became the inspiration for a new idea. Wouldn't
it would be fun to give away a model at every airshow we fly! Just
walk through the crowd of spectators after my flight, looking for
that little boy or girl who had a twinkle in their eyes when they
saw the model, and give it to them! And that is what we decided we
Each model is autographed on the left side of the cockpit,
and serial numbered on the bottom-center of the lower wing. Giving
away a model is one of the things I look most forward to at each
airshow, in the hopes that it may be an inspiration to some young
child to pursue whatever dream they may have. It is a token of our
appreciation to the fine folks who come for a day of family
entertainment, and who support those of us who love to fly and
perform for them.