The Museum recently acquired a very rare composite of most all the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronaut’s signatures on a letter to a North American Rockwell engineer named C.O. Aldrich extending their appreciation for his work on the nation’s space program. The letter is exhibited in the Rotunda.
We have begun a program to relocate many of the Hall of Fame portraits from the walls to some specific aircraft locations that relate to the honorees careers. This was originally envisioned as a way to make room for more portraits, but it appears Museum visitors are spending even more time reading the narratives located at the new locations.
The basement crew has been working on the very difficult to design and build station 93 of the Hughes Racer. This frame, in addition to the forward cockpit bulkhead, will ultimately hold the wing in place. It also defines the floor locations for the fuel and oil reservoirs and expansion tanks. Although our San Diego State University student design volunteers have gone back to school, we expect them to see them back in the basement periodically to continue their fine work.
We have removed the Zenair “Zodiac” project from the ceiling trusses at Gillespie Field and brought it to the basement. Here it will provide additional volunteers an opportunity to assist in a light-sport home built project that might ultimately fly.
Work continues on our projects at Gillespie Field. The Boeing FB-5 forward fuselage and cowlings are being skinned and engine compartment components are being installed. What will remain unknown, to most who will view the FB-5 when completed, is the face that several of the engine components were actually fabricated from styrene foam and made to look like aluminum. Grinding and shaping these parts to make them look original is painstakingly slow, but the results are fantastic. George Rowley continues work on the upper wing of the airplane and is faced with a daunting task. Additional volunteers are needed to help him out.
Wing ribs for the Aeronca L-3 restoration are complete and wing assembly will begin shortly. The fuselage has been repaired, thanks to the talents of Don Russell, and it will be shipped to Gillespie Field for final aircraft assembly. The L-3 is being restored to flying condition.