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Been a long time comin’…


I am still here. I just haven’t been posting or updating for quite some time. I have been getting acclimated to my new surroundings here at world-famous Spruce Creek Fly-In. I gotta say that this is the best place on earth for an aviator to live. It is also a very humbling place. I have met some truly amazing people here. I mentioned to my friend Gene McNeely in a note that I kinda feel like a bat boy at the World Series of aviation.

We’re known here as “Creekers.” I fly a lot now that I’m here. Hitching a ride is easy since these guys fly several days a week for sheer pleasure. I show up with a GoPro and I am almost guaranteed a ride! Yes, I’ll be sharing the videos here now that I am back on. I want to thank everyone who has subscribed and I will be getting new stuff up now. I say now because I have been saying soon for too long. The time has come! I’ll preview a few things to come. First, I’ll be rolling out a regular post weekly. I have several projects to share including the restoration of an SX 300 that caught on fire just prior to take off. There will be an ongoing story and photos. Another project is the re-assembly of a Romanian IAR 823. I’ll also be throwing in some stuff about a 90% scale Spitfire replica powered by a V-8 Chevy crate engine! I’ll even have video of the dozen plane formation I flew in last Friday –shot from the back of the pack in the 11th position. And you guessed it… much, MUCH more!


F.I.T. Aviation Day at Melbourne International Airport

This will be one of my least exciting posts. I am really just trying to learn a little more about the available features. You will notice a handful of links and pictures inserted, but not much “meat.” If you are having trouble sleeping right now, this could be a good one to read. I will make it a little better in the near future, but the truth is that there just isn’t much to this one. Check out the Florida Biplanes link though. They have some nice content on their site.

So, I got to Florida a couple of weeks ago. Specifically the Space Coast around Cape Canaveral. I was interested in relocating to a warmer climate, so I came here to see if I can get something happening. I have been interviewing and helping Dorene Taylor –a long-time business associate from Digital Fusion Group with some work. I work for her company on occasion and she’s simply one of the best people I know on this planet, so it’s great just hangin’ out with her.

I was starting to feel a bit useless as the work for her slowed down. I’m still interviewing, but I hadn’t really done anything terribly interesting since I got here. Dorene –or D. as I call her– has been involved with the local Chamber of Commerce since she got to the area and Monday I got to meet another fantastic person by the name of Darlene Montano. She, like D. is an over-achiever and over utilized person. These types are my favorites since I have a need to stay busy constantly myself.

I got a chance to pick her brain about who’s who in aviation around here and she immediately spouted off the name Mark Grainger from Florida Biplanes. I decided to head over there the next day to see if I could meet Mark. Aviation people are normally pretty good judges of character, so I thought it to be a good idea to just get in front of him.

Well, he wasn’t there. He flies commercially a few days a week and I showed up on a day he wasn’t around. However, I did run into his 2nd in command, Steve Nesbitt. Steve was on the phone when I walked in and his dog and I got to know each other quite well as I waited. He was a large Irish Setter who seemed to find that my hands were quite tasty. I was unable to convince him that they were in fact not chew toys. Let’s just say that Steve got off the phone just in time.

I handed him my resume and we talked for about a half hour -maybe forty minutes. I told him of my interest in older aircraft. He was interested in my exposure to the old school methods as well as the new stuff happening in aircraft structures. I told him how I had built a small section of wing out of fabric and wood once as a project.

During the latter part of our impromptu meeting, I asked about an event I heard about on the radio on the way to Florida Biplanes’ hangar called Aviation Day hosted by F.I.T. Aviation. He gave me a quick run-down and I asked him if he needed any help. At first he told me they were well covered, but then mentioned he might call. I guess he discussed it with Mark and decided to take me up on my offer.

I told him I’d be thrilled to help out and we set a time to meet at their hangar. I showed up at 8am on the day of the event. No more than 10 minutes later I was on board Florida Biplanes’ 1953 Hiller UH-12 Helicopter piloted by Eric Howe. We took off and headed to the F.I.T. hangar at Melbourne International Airport. Steve Nesbitt took off behind us in their 1941 WACO UPF7.

I spent the day wiping down the biplane, loading people, keeping the guys alive by hunting down water. I got to know them and see how they operate. I even had time to learn some stuff about the biplane and the chopper. There was a lot going on. A lot of people showed up as there was a car show which seems to be joining most aviation events these days. I saw some great stuff pull into the lot like a police car of the type used in The Blues Brothers. There was another that was like the unit that had the rear end jerked out from under it in American Graffiti. There were a lot of the usual suspects like 60s Muscle cars, but there were a lot of the late model remakes too. There were even two monster trucks there which you don’t see at every car show. F.I.T. is also a flight school and four of their student pilots did formation fly-overs.

The unfortunate thing is that I was so busy with Florida Biplanes that I really didn’t get to see much. I was happy for them though. The airplane and helicopter rides were constant and I did enjoy helping out. The plane had to be wiped down after just about every ride. The riders all wear vintage style canvas helmets and a headset for communication while flying. Those had to be sanitized after each run. I met a lot of great people while there and hope to get a line on a decent job from some of the contacts. Thanks for reading. Come back and look for cooler stuff in the near future.


Welcome to I am a Wing Nut…

Okay, so what is this site about? You will note that wing nut has a space between the words and is not a compound word (except in the case of the url). This is because the words have to do with enthusiasm for aviation as opposed to your run-of-the-mill wingnut. However, it is an obvious play on the word and I do play it up as evidenced by the portfolio photos under the slider bar.

I thought I would make this first post an introductory one. I will add the site mission statement to a more static or permanent place later. For now, I just want to get this thing up and running. So, here we go. I will be adding pages in the near future that correspond with the subject matter contained on them. For instance, I will have a maintenance how-to page called THE HANGAR. The page that handles information about instruments and avionics will be on the FLIGHT DECK or RADIO RACK. This way, those who know a little about what they want to read can have a good chance to find the related information and those who are newer to aviation can learn a bit of basic terminology.

I also plan to have a RECONNAISSANCE page that has some amazing photos of aviation related content I have either photographed myself or found along my journeys. Am not currently a licensed pilot, but I do fly with others relatively frequently and for that I will create a page under the RECONNAISSANCE page called THE GUN CAMERA. These obviously will be pictures I have taken while flying or pictures others have sent to me while they were flying. Oh yeah, there will definitely be videos too!

That brings me to a reminder. I plan to have many contributors to the site. Maybe even you if you like. I put a note over my prop-wash shots asking you to prove that you are a wing nut too. I wasn’t kidding. I really want to add some fun stuff. Be aware that I will not post pictures of obviously dangerous activities. I don’t want to get into the one-up game and have somebody really get hurt. That means don’t even bother sending them. Aviation is the safest industry in the world and I want to keep it that way. The only possible exceptions to this rule will be for professionals who are cleared by the FAA for what they do in, on, or around aircraft. It will be subject to my review and final determination whether to publish is solely my decision.

That’s about it for the moment. Please be aware that I am brand new to this realm of communication and it may take time before I get things properly organized and such. I have to set up ways for readers or followers of this site to submit content and a whole bunch of other stuff. I hope you’ll have fun with the site and won’t be too critical of my mistakes as I learn.

That’s it for now. Please enjoy and BE SAFE!

Talon Rayne,

Original Wing Nut

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