Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Vintage Aero Flying Museum

I've read somewhere on the Net, how motorcycling is as close someone get to flying without actually leaving the ground. Today, I visited a museum where vintage flying machines are repaired and flown as they are at the same time preserved for future generations.

Sure, I rode today but only to Andrey's house since the snow covered streets both at my neighborhood and Andrey's caused me to wimp out and instead ride with him in his car to go see the Vintage Aero Flying Museum. Andrey was going there to look over some airframes that the museum needs him to re-cover with fabric to make them flyable again.

A little food porn for the yearrounders who frequent this blog, made by my loving wife

Not exactly great riding conditions for two wheels but doable if you go slow

Conditions at Andrey's neighborhood were similar to the above. So my inner voice told me to leave Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Airhead at Andrey's house and ride in his Mini Cooper to the airfield. Yeah, I know, me in a car.....who knew? I didn't want to ride Natasha, though she was rideable, due to the "cobbled together" way her new clutch cable is installed. The new clutch lever assembly will be here Wednesday I am told.

Turns out, my trepidations were unfounded for the most part. It was dry and clear roads almost all the way to the air park near Hudson, CO. About an hour's ride away from Andrey's house. I kept kicking myself as we approached since road conditions were so good. As we got near the airport, the roads turned to dirt with snow on them but still, they were doable!

Once inside the airpark we drove over to the hangars where the museum works on repairing/restoring/building vintage aircraft. The hangar with the white truck outside is where I shot the following pictures. I also met Andy, the owner of the museum, Matt and Stuart who were working on the aircraft. Friendly bunch of guys. I trailed along behind Andrey and Andy as Andy explained to Andrey what he needed form him in terms of work. The work being to re-cover the bare wooden frames below with fabric and paint them. A rare skill apparently, which is why Andrey was asked to be there today.

Even the above snow was highly doable, just go slow

Here's Andrey with one of the aircraft he worked on in terms of the fabric covering of the airframe, he does good work eh?

I believe these are the airframes that Andrey will be covering with fabric over the next few weeks if not months

Another shot of the aircraft Andrey worked on, pretty isn't it?

In an adjacent hangar, I met Mike and DJ who were building an aircraft from manufactured parts. I really liked this Navy aircraft from "back in the day".

Andy then took us in his car below to the hangars which house the display aircraft and all the uniforms and memorabilia associated with these vintage aircraft which flew in World War One.

Aircraft for display and yet flyable. These were in the movie "The Aviator"

If you think the aircraft are beautiful, you must also see the museum's militaria, photos and uniform displays. They were a treasure trove to a history major like me and Andy gave us the dollar tour of the displays. Some incredible stuff there, if you're a fan or student of WWI or WWII Air Combat militaria, this place is a must see! I'll definitely be taking the family here to see this great preservation of aviation history.

Andy, the owner, is carrying on his father's work in maintaining and expanding this vintage aircraft museum. It's non-profit and I believe they depend on donations from visitors and charities such as the Gates foundation. I'll definitely be coming back to this museum, they need all they help they can get in fixing up their aircraft and I might learn some new skills along the way. Andrey agreed to do the work of covering the aircraft and he'll be spending quite a few Saturdays over the next year I think working at the museum.

You can get more information about the Vintage Aero Flying Museum here: LINK Unlike other displays of vintage aircraft, every single aircraft there is flown on occasion. What a cool place, even though its not motorcycling-oriented, it's well worth a visit or three.

Once we got back to Andrey's place. I said my goodbyes and rode out of the mostly cleared up streets to my usual spot for snowy day pictures of Brigitta:

Lots of nice scenery in the vicinity of Hudson, CO. Barr Lake, a state wildlife preserve looks promising for a future ride and I saw some picturesque farm buildings that might yield some nice pictures. All the more reason to go up there again soon.


Andrew Thomson said...

Great old planes! If you're ever in NZ check out Peter Jackson's hobby:

Unknown said...


I really like planes. You get better traction while banking for a turn, it's just that you will be in big DOO DOO if a clutch cable breaks

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Very cool pictures. I expect to hear how you got a ride in one of these babies come spring.

We have a mueum like this that has airshows and dogfights from the late spring through the middle of October. It is the Rhinebeck Aerodrome (Rhinebeck, NY). I have never been there, but you may have inspired me now.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

redlegsrides said...

Andrew, thanks for the link and for visiting.

bobskoot, yeah, you can't quite just coast to the side of the road when something goes wrong in one of those planes!

Jack, it would be really cool to get a ride in that red tri-plane. We shall see.