Vintage Aircraft Online
Issue 5   2009

With winter hammering the fold-up doors of our unheated hangar, our thoughts turn to projects that can be done in the home shop (or the heated hangar of a generous friend!). One feature of this edition of Vintage Aircraft Online is a nifty little restoration project if your airplane uses the older AAF Type A7 or similar magneto switch. If your switch uses the larger handle style of the Type A7, we'll show you how you can use the old switch to conceal a new, modern key-type mag switch. It's even better if you have an unserviceable switch you can modify.

H.G. Frautschy
H.G. Frautschy

This is just one example of the way we can all share the knowledge we have as a community. If you're working on something that you think might benefit your fellow members, how about sharing it with us? We'll take care of the presentation; all we ask is that you share some photos and a description of what you're working on.

E-mail us at and we'll help you get started. Don't worry - it's not nearly as difficult as you may think!

We've been pleased to see so many members interested in the vintage designated engineering representative (VDER) run by the FAA. For years the FAA has relied on the expertise of the designated engineering representative (DER) to create data to support a modification, alteration, or repair of vintage airplanes, and the VDER will give the community a streamlined way to get their data approved for a field approval or a supplemental type certificate. There's some confusion in just how an individual can be appointed to a VDER position, so we've created a brief article to help explain it a bit further.

We're also highlighting the recent issues that have come to light with the issuance by the FAA of a far more restrictive set of rules than anyone thought possible related to through-the-fence agreements (TTFAs). Please read the news item related to those issues, and Earl Lawrence's editorial about TTFAs. While TTFA issues are directly related to airports that accept federal funds, it doesn't take much imagination to see how they could be expanded to affect other airports in the future, all in the name of "security." They impact hundreds of airports and thousands of pilots who enjoy living and working in close proximity to their airplanes, many of whom are members of the Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA).

To cap this edition off, we have a Timeless Voices interview with Ruth Richter Holden, whose father was one of TWA's founding fathers. So get your mouse button finger limbered up, warm up your cup of coffee, and let's get started on this edition of Vintage Aircraft Online!

H.G. Frautschy Editor, Vintage Aircraft Online
Editor, Vintage Airplane magazine
Executive Director, VAA

VDER Update
Since the announcement earlier this year that the FAA was creating an addition to the DER program administered by the regional aircraft certification offices (ACOs), the VAA has spoken or written to more than three dozen members interested in applying to become a DER. During our conversations, it's become clear there are some misconceptions regarding the qualifications needed to be appointed a VDER.  Read more
An Airport Christmas (Valley) Story
The airfield at the wonderfully named Christmas Valley, Oregon, is not a facility one would think would be in the center of a national aviation debate. The airport has only five taxiways leading to a single airstrip, primarily used by homeowners with their private aircraft hangared adjacent to their houses.  Read more
The Final Word
By Earl Lawrence, EAA Vice President of Industry and Regulatory Affairs
The FAA released a new Airport Compliance Manual, or Order 5190.6B, this past October. The document went from an original 94 pages to 691 pages! This policy covers the compliance items an airport must meet to qualify for federal funding of airport improvements. This funding comes from fuel taxes paid by pilots and aircraft owners like you. Read more
Hamilton Metalplane
Thirty-five years ago, Jack Lysdale and a small group of volunteers completed the restoration of the only remaining Boeing Hamilton H-47 Metalplane. The airplane was built in 1929, and it went to the Canadian Forest Service and was later owned and flown by the 
famous great north pilot Joe Crosson, flying it on floats and wheels all over northwestern Canada, the lower 48 states, and Alaska. The Hamilton served as a bush plane until it was taken out of service July 10, 1947. By the time the bits and pieces were brought back to the lower 48, the project was in pretty rough shape. Read more
Technical Tidbits
Modifications for the AAF Type A7 Mag Switch
Back in the mid-1990s, Tom Baker brought a Taylorcraft to the EAA Fly-In that was so good it won the Grand Champion Classic award. It goes without saying that the airplane was neatly done, but one little modification in particular really caught my eye. The AN AAF Type A7 magneto switch had been changed in a very clever way - Tom had hidden a modern keyed switch right inside the handle of the original switch!  Read more A7 Switch
Great Web Links
From the EAA Vintage Community
Great Web LinksThe Red Barn message forum at Oshkosh365 is as active as ever, and it continues to grow in popularity. Have a look at the list below and follow the links to read the actual questions and discussion topics.
Timeless Voices
EAA's efforts to compile an oral history of aviation's pioneers and those who have helped make aviation such a fascinating part of our nation's history has culminated in EAA's Timeless Voices project. Ruth Richter Holden
Hundreds of videos are now archived at EAA Headquarters. We continue to create online versions of those videos so that members and others who have an interest in aviation can watch and learn from those who have come before us. This month's featured interview is Ruth Richter Holden.

Ruth's first memories are of aviation. Her father, Paul Richter, learned to fly in 1924 from Jack Frye and became one of the original stunt pilots of the 13 Black Cats flying circus. In 1926, Richter, along with Frye and fellow pilot Walter Hamilton, founded the Aero Corporation of California. Over the next two decades, this company grew into TWA-Trans World Airlines. Many years later in 1988, Ruth decided to follow up on her own dream to fly and began taking flying lessons at age 54. She earned her private pilot ticket and flew recreationally on a regular basis. Over that time, she created a website dedicated to the memory of her father and TWA. In 2005 she received an inquiry regarding the history of a Lockheed Electra 12A that was for sale and had been owned and used by TWA in the 1940s as a flying test bed. When Ruth came to the realization that her father had flown the plane, she mortgaged her house and bought the airplane sight unseen over the phone. Watch the video.

Hints for Restorers
Flared tubing fittings are used in every aircraft restoration, and in this month's Hints for Restorers, Brian Carpenter, an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authorization of Rainbow Aviation Services, explains the proper techniques for the fabrication and assembly of these components. Watch it here. Hints for Restorers
From the Archives
As an added bonus to our coverage of Tom Baker's switch modifications, here's a link to a PDF copy of the full article on Tom Baker's Taylorcraft, as published in the October 1994 issue of Vintage Airplane. Read it here.
Question of the Month

Q. How often do you attend EAA AirVenture Oshkosh?

Respond Now!

From the Newsletters
One of the longest published newsletters in EAA and VAA history is Antique Airways, created by VAA Chapter 3 for their Carolinas/Virginia Antique Airplane Foundation. From the Newsletters
The newsletter was first edited by Jack and Golda Cox before their move to Wisconsin and work for EAA Headquarters. Later, Ray Bottom edited the newsletter for many years, and now at the helm of the publication is Jim Wilson. Here’s their December newsletter.

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