Vintage Aircraft Online
Issue 6   2010

The Internet is a lot like television. There are jewels in there amongst the junk-you just have to ignore the bright, shiny stuff that's not worth anything. For all its shortcomings, the Internet is still a remarkably efficient way to distribute information. People from all over the world can access material about history, statistics, and how-to information; just about everything is documented on the Internet. It seems there's an endless number of websites or forums dedicated to exploring most aspects of our world and the universe as we know it.

H.G. Frautschy
H.G. Frautschy

Still, every now and then I run into a blank spot on the Web. My article below about the Warner Aircraft Corporation and its history is one of those "black holes." I've found very little posted about it, and even in the world of aviation print publications we don't have much documentation on Warner in our library at EAA.

I'd love to fill in the blanks. So after you read the story about the building where the radial engines were built, if you have information you'd like to add, visit The Red Barn forum on EAA's Oshkosh365 online community, and click on the "Aviation Historical Sites" thread. You'll see a post about the Warner Aircraft building. Feel free to tell us more about the company, and if you know of a blank spot you'd like to tell us about, post that as well.

Aviation is filled with folks from all walks of life, from the businessman with the resources to build a collection of airplanes all the way up to the guy who makes sacrifices every day so he can keep his two-place postwar trainer in a lean-to hangar. That's what makes the field so great and why it can be so fun to meet these folks. One of the most interesting businessmen I've met during my time here at EAA was the late Sam Johnson, the fourth generation Johnson to man the helm of the S.C. Johnson Company in Racine, Wisconsin. Sam's dedication to aviation was as deep as can be, and the company has now dedicated a new building to honor Sam's legacy. Read all about it below.

In just a few short months the flying season will begin. Are you ready? Have you scheduled an hour or two with your local instructor to brush up on your flying skills and made your to-do list for those little things you've been meaning to get to on the airplane? Before you know it, the sun will be shining, the birds chirping, and the runway will be buzzing with lots of folks exercising their wings. Don't be left behind!

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

S.C. Johnson Dedicates New Building to House Sikorsky S-38 Replica
Many members will recall the amazing Sikorsky S-38 replicas built by the late Buzz Kaplan. Kaplan and fellow EAA President’s council member Sam Johnson, who was chairman of S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. It was Sam’s wish to recreate the pioneering flight taken in 1935 by his father, H.F. Johnson, Jr., in a Sikorsky S-38. When Sam was a boy and his father wrote a book about the journey, H.F. dedicated the journal: “To Sammy, I hope you make this trip sometime.” By the 1990s, Sam had decided that “sometime” was now.
P-38 Sikorsky on display
Sam figured that since there were no S-38’s known to exist, he’d have to make the journey with a modern airplane such as Kaplan’s Cessna Caravan on amphibious floats.  Read more
Hamilton Metalplane Sells at Auction
The one-of-a-kind Hamilton H-47 Metalplane we featured in last month's Vintage Aircraft Online was sold the evening of January 23, 2010, Hamilton Metalplane
during the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The winning bid of $610,000 was made via phone. The final price that was posted, after a 10 percent buyer's premium was tacked on, came to $671,000. The winning bid was placed by Mr. Howard Wright III, a Seattle, Washington based businessman and philanthropist. Mr. Wright is a past trustee of the Museum of Flight. He also recently purchased a Travel Air 6000 (N9084) on floats, owned for many years by Bill Decreeft. You can view it here

Wright's plans for the Hamilton are unknown at this time. If we have an update regarding its status, we'll post it in the Hamilton Metalplane thread in The Red Barn forum on

Technical Tidbits
FAA Issues SAIB on Circuit Breakers
A few years ago, the FAA and Wichita State University undertook a study concerning aging aircraft and how various systems and components deteriorated over time. One of the things that came to light during this effort was the revelation that circuit breakers were prone to failure if they were not regularly exercised. Testing of the circuit breakers removed from a well-used Cessna 421 showed that some failed to trip properly when initially tested. When they were cycled (pulled out and then reset), they began to trip at the proper amperage after many of the breakers regained proper function from being cycled a number of times. At the very least, each resettable circuit breaker should be cycled a few times during the aircraft's annual inspection. This type of inspection will be part of the new ASTM specification concerning aircraft wiring, ASTM F39. Read more
Feature Story
Warner Aircraft Building
Last month I was on a personal trip to the Detroit area, and I had a chance to have lunch with one of my friends, fellow EAA Pioneer Airport pilot Doug Conciatu. Doug is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area, and while we were chatting over our very decadent Coney dogs (a Detroit  Warner Building
favorite) he offered to show me the factory building that used to house the Warner Aircraft Corporation. He mentioned that it had some neat art details as part of the structure, so off we went to explore the west side of Detroit. Read more
This & That
Book Review Contact Info
We have some revised information regarding the correct information if you wish to order the two books reviewed in last month's issue of Vintage Airplane.

For Carl Gunther's book Harold F. Pitcairn: Aviator, Inventor, and Developer of the Autogiro, you can contact the publisher at: or call 267-502-4922.

For Sparky Barnes Sargent's book, A Hunger for the Sky, order from her website

It's also available at these locations:
Wind Canyon Books

Women in Aviation International
Swift Museum Foundation Inc. - Athens, TN (accepts credit cards via phone call)
99s Museum of Women Pilots - Oklahoma City, OK
Tennessee Museum of Aviation

We've just been notified that the listing for the International Stinson Club that was published in the January issue of Vintage Airplane is to be revised. Mr. A.L. Wright listed in the magazine is no longer associated with the club in any way. The most recent information is:

International Stinson Club
Logan Boles
210 Blackfield Dr.
Tiburon, CA 94920
Dues: $30/yr.
Newsletter: Monthly

Great Web Links
Great Web LinksEAA's chief photographer, Jim Koepnick, is featured by Canon on their website. Jim offers some insights into his work at EAA and his broader photographic career. You can read it here.

EAA President and Chairman of the Board Tom Poberezny recently taped two interviews in EAA's video studio that highlight EAA's role and direction in today's aviation community, and what it means for the organization and its members. Both videos are available on the website, and are the first two parts of a trilogy of interviews in which Tom discusses current events at EAA. In this installment, Tom covers EAA Sport Aviation's new look, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010 site upgrades, and the importance of chapters. Watch it here.

Recall the amazing Vickers Vimy replica build to retrace the amazing flights made with the British bomber of World War I? It has flown its last flight. You can view pictures of that bittersweet day on Flickr. View them here.

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. Mary Feik
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 Mary Feik.

Born in 1924, Mary Feik's interest in aviation began at an early age when a barnstormer came through her hometown area. Her father bought her a ride in the visiting pilot's Curtiss Jenny, and Mary was quickly hooked on airplanes. Mary's father ran a small automobile repair shop, and Mary became his helper, learning how to overhaul engines.

After the outbreak of World War II, Mary applied for a job as an aircraft maintenance instructor at Seymour Johnson Field in North Carolina and was hired on the basis that she'd been working on engines most of her life. She worked at that job for a while and was eventually transferred to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, where she worked in Research and Development (R&D). Mary was the first female engineer in R&D at the Air Technical Service Command's Engineering Division at Wright Field, where she became the first woman to go on test flights at the field. Mary flew more than 5,000 hours as a flight test engineer in just about every aircraft in the Army Air Force inventory at the time. Her next big assignment was working on the "CaptiveAir" project at Williams Field in Chandler, Arizona, using a fully converted P-51C Mustang equipped with jet instrumentation for acclimating pilots to a jet airplane cockpit.

After the war, Mary became involved with restoring antique airplanes and was employed by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to work on projects like the 1910 Wiseman-Cooke pusher biplane, a Curtiss TS-1, and a World War I Spad XIII. Retired now, she is still active in aircraft restorations and teaching fabric covering techniques to younger generations. Mary shared her memories in this interview with EAA staff during the EAA Oshkosh 1988. Watch the video.

Hints for Restorers
This month we'll take a look at the proper way to strip mil-spec wire. View the video here. Hints for Restorers
From the Archives
It's hard to believe it's been over a decade since Buzz Kaplan's Born Again Restorations built the first of two Sikorsky S-38 replicas they were to produce. Here's the article we published on the project from the November 1998 issue of Vintage Airplane. It's a little on the large size, but we thought you'd like to see it in full detail. View it here. From the Archives
Question of the Month

Q. Is your aircraft maintained: 

  • Solely by myself (I'm an A&P-IA)
  • Jointly by myself and my A&P
  • Completely by my A&P

Respond Now!


We welcome your comments and suggestions to
All content, logos and pictures are the property of Vintage Aircraft and EAA
Copyright © 2009 - EAA's Vintage Aircraft Association, Inc.
3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902
800-236-4800 :: 920-426-4800

Disclaimer/Privacy policy