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Bits and Pieces

Editorial - Caring for Our Old Ones

By Ian Brown, Editor - Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

We feature an article this month about a 1936 de Havilland Hornet Moth. As you will see, these older aircraft were really part of the Experimental Aviation movement with sometimes sub-optimal performance. Without caring for these older aircraft, especially through museums and private owners willing to put in the effort to keep them flying, we risk losing an incredible legacy, and sometimes a creative solution to a problem.

Another of our "old ones," and I'm sure he'll forgive me for calling 94 years "old," is George Neal, the owner for 40 years of the featured Hornet Moth. An inductee into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, he was responsible for test flying the legendary DH Beaver, growing up a bicycle ride away from de Havilland's Downsview, Ontario, manufacturing site. He also did the first flights on both the Otter and the Caribou.


Larry Loretto Gets a Briefing from George Neal

The Royal Canadian Mint recognized Mr. Neal by engraving his cameo on the 1999 $20 silver coin that depicts a de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. Apparently his favourite aircraft are the DH Chipmunk which he still flies, and the DH Beaver.

You can read an excellent interview with Mr. Neal here.

Aircraft built this long ago become "experimental" again because there are very few living, and certainly not in the regulatory bodies, who have the capacity to fully understand the maintenance quirks of these early flying machines.

The active fly-in season is drawing to a close. Many September fly-ins will have already happened across the country by the time you receive this. We appreciate the efforts of thousands of volunteers including Air Cadets, EAA and COPA members, and airport staff. They will have already welcomed hundreds of aircraft, but the best time of the year is about to begin - the fall-colours flying in calmer air. I count 31 fly-ins in the month of September, which must be one of the busiest of the year. Enjoy the vibrant daily changing colours of autumn. Post some of your best photographs on our Facebook page mentioned below.

If you are receiving this EAA Bits and Pieces e-newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe to receive it every month. You don't have to be a current EAA member, or even a Canadian, although the content is definitely slanted towards Canadian EAA members. You will not receive any advertising as a subscriber, and the e-newsletter itself carries almost no advertising except the reminder that EAA's excellent C-PLAN insurance is available. If you would like, you can check out previous issues. Feel free to forward Bits and Pieces to your flying friends. Lastly, we are always on the lookout for contributors, either for full articles or items relating to electronics, a builder's tip, or a trip you made. Thanks to Larry Loretto for his excellent account of the acquisition of his new project - the de Havilland Hornet Moth. He probably has other tales to tell, having been a crop duster, president of Ottawa Aviation Services, Air Canada pilot, COPA director, and who knows what else.

We update our Facebook page with current events, so feel free to forward me any information that you would like to be made available to a wider audience.

If you are rebuilding or maintaining an older aircraft, you are doing something special for us all. Maybe you just sit at the airport cafe listening to older pilots recounting memories of their exploits. Cherish those moments. Like fabric on an antique aircraft, you're getting the straight dope.

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