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EAA 1310 Needs Help Fixing Donated Tugs for AirVenture

By Chuck Drake, EAA 487369, Lifetime Member
EAA Chapter 1310 President

Fellow aviators, EAA Chapter 1310, in East Windsor, Connecticut, has been working on a project to provide some ground support equipment to EAA at Oshkosh. By now you’re probably asking yourself, why tow tractors? EAA members work very hard on the warbird ramp and the west ramp during AirVenture, so hopefully the equipment would make their lives a little easier. It seems they always have a shortage of equipment, and mechanical obstacles during AirVenture only exacerbate the problem. We would also like to build bridges with fellow EAA members to keep that Oshkosh spirit alive beyond the month of July. Finally, in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation, it would be nice to provide one or two rolling tributes to those who served in Naval / Marine Aviation ground support roles.

Tug 1

Once we get the equipment to locations where we can perform maintenance, we’ll then acquire the necessary parts and move on to the second phase of seeking donations for repair. The objective is to get them all running and to Oshkosh for AirVenture 2011. Also, if anyone has or know of a spare 28-volt ground power unit (GPU) that isn’t in use by an airport, airline or individual, please contact me, Chuck Drake, at Keywestaero@msn.com. It has been brought to my attention that the warbird line crew could use a replacement for their MD-3 GPU which is of 1960s vintage. It doesn’t have to run – we can make it whole again!

Indianapolis/Terre Haute
The JG-75 is in Memphis and still awaiting transportation. The transportation driver (Michael Captain) is a military veteran and is moving it with all deliberate speed; he hopes to get it to the Terre Haute, Indiana area by the middle of January. Dennis Wiss, airport manager of Terre Haute International Airport, has generously donated a temporary indoor storage location for the winter. However, this is only for storage. At some point we’ll need an indoor location for volunteers to perform maintenance. 

Tug 2

The dual wheel JG-75 is a 7500 DBP tow tractor that was used by the Navy. I’ve personally seen the tractor move fully loaded fighters and attack aircraft, and it should move about 95 percent of the aircraft at Oshkosh. Dave Thomas has agreed to be the lead mechanic on this project. Dave received extensive experience with ground support equipment while employed with American Trans Air; I haven’t seen any mechanical obstacle he can’t overcome. I would also like to thank Bill Foraker as he has been of great assistance.

Windsor Locks, Connecticut
At one point in time last April, I had a gentleman offer the EAA a Clark Ct-40 tug, but he changed his mind at the last moment. However, as a consolation he told us of the location of three United Tractor (4000 DBP) tow tractors. Fellow EAA 1310 member Paul Dowgewicz followed up on the tip and acquired the tractors for the EAA. They were generously donated by Michael Bolton, director of civil aviation at Westover Metropolitan Airport.

Tug 3

We supplied the manpower to repair two Hobart GPUs that belonged to the airport in appreciation for their generous gift. Currently the three tow tractors are located on the civilian side at Westover Air Force Base. When the 10,000-pound flat bed equipment trailer arrives this month, we’ll relocate it back to our chapter storage yard in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. As for the Chapter 1310 maintenance team, it consists of Chuck Drake (former AD3) and  Allen McInnish (former AD1) – both from EAA chapter 1310 and both have worked on aviation ground support equipment while in the Navy – and me. However, there are many tractors here, so at some point we’ll need assistance. I’ll send updates as we move forward.

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