Recently HAWK began work on our firefly hot air balloon N90555. Upon donation the envelope was found to be porous and not flightworthy. Slowly HAWK was donated a basket and then another along with fuel lines and tanks until we had all of the pieces necessary to put together our balloon. However with these parts the problem of the porous fabric remained but never fear HAWK was given new balloon coating from firefly to be applied to the inside of HAWK’s balloon.
The entire inside of the balloon had to be coated in the latex based clear coating that was sprayed on and rolled in taking four days to paint over 70000 square feet of fabric until on the evening of day four when HAWK members left the balloon and the balloon was stood up in Fruita’s Reed Park.
One week from completion the skirt was replaced with a non-flammable version and the final fuel system, freshly rebuilt, was certified finishing the annual inspection and legalizing flight. HAWK’s newest addition to our flying fleet will be providing instruction shortly and the majority of the flight costs for at least the first few months will be donated by Mr. Eddie Clements
The past two months have had the HAWK and EAA kids very busy. The kids prepared the two flying HAWK airplanes to partake as a backdrop in a wedding in the large hangar at MACK October 7th. The WestStar employee who designed the Paint Scheme on the Cherokee – Vita married her fiance Adam and requested her work be displayed as a backdrop for the wedding.
The next weekend October 14th EAA Chapter 800 scheduled a young eagles flight day to introduce kids to aviation. By the end of the day 21 kids had experienced airplanes for the first time, thanks to the following pilots- Sterling Hurst and Kim Neibauer flew the Cherokee, Pat Wehling flew the Dakota Hawk. Randy Owens flew his Zenith 701, And Alfred Gabelli flew his 172.
October 15 was the EAA chapter 800 meeting. After the EAA 800 lunch, the HAWK airplanes were used to fly the WestStar employees and kids that were responsible for the awesome paint job on the Cherokee. (Some of the employees could not make the date so another weekend will be scheduled for them). Ladd the 10CO airport manager did an awesome presentation about his brother-in-law. Randy Bresnik – The commander of the international
Space station- go to NASA TV and watch The crew in action. Ladds wife Ronnie presented HAWK and EAA 800 pictures and posters of Randy and the station crew- hopefully we can get some of the crew to sign them. Shay B did an awesome job framing them for display. Seems Aviation runs deep in the 10CO family. GOOGLE Randy Bresnik – it is very interesting.
October 21-22 the Hawk and EAA chapter 800 Kids with the help of HAWK mentors took turns displaying both HAWK airplanes and the FIREFLY donated balloon basket and various aircraft parts and tool boxes they made at the Grand Junction Airshow. Saturday the weather gods caused the show to be cancelled about halfway through the show. It was a real rodeo getting the airplanes put away and the display stored before high winds and rain arrived. A hangar was located for the Dakota Hawk and the Cherokee was tied down with heavy weights. Sunday the weather was perfect and the show went on. The Blue Angels did their excellent job of closing the show. GJ Air Show Promo
Copper State Air Show in Mesa Arizona was the next weekend (October 27-28). Kim and Braden Flew the Cherokee to the show. Sterling Drove his Car down as he had friends to visit around the area. While at Copper State Sterling signed Braden off to do his solo cross country back to Grand junction regional, then back to Mack with stops in Winslow AZ for Fuel and again in Blanding Utah. All went well until Braden was just past Kayenta AZ and the engine decided to run Rough. Braden found himself in his first real aviation problem. After trying everything to clear the engine he made a good decision and deviated to Kayenta and landed. He could not get the engine to clear so Sterling, Nancy, and Kim picked him up and he returned Home by auto. Wouldn’t you know it – all the HAWK Mentor airplanes were down for annuals. Rather than drive for 10 hours to rescue the airplane The Mange Mooney was put back together and the annual finished by the crew. Eddie, Sterling, and Jerry F flew to Kayenta and the Cherokee decided to run properly, ( that’s why Jerry F was involved seems like he has a magic touch with fixing airplanes- they just work when he is around). Sterling flew it back to Mack. The general consensus was Carb Ice. Braden tried Carb Heat but not being familiar with how an engine runs rougher until it clears he made the correct decision and landed- another lesson learned. Other than a failed solo cross country everything turned out OK. excitement over. The oil was changed and the oil filter was cut open on the Cherokee and nothing was found to indicate a problem. The Cherokee is still flying kids for instruction regularly.
Numerous attempts were made to try to coat the HAWK balloon N90555 (Donated by Kent Barns and Thayne Peterson) all summer and all ended up being days to watch the wind blow. It seems like the wind gods waited until the balloon was out of the bag and then decided to blow just hard enough to make it impossible to inflate it to coat it. I will say coating a hot air balloon is a job. Imagine trying to paint a building inside that is 55 feet high and 70 feet long in an earthquake? After it is coated, then it will have to be annualed, and enough money found for liability insurance. Thanks FIREFLY Balloons for donating the 4.0 balloon Basket and special Firefly factory balloon coating. It is expensive.
The tool box program is busy. Caiden and Christa finished their tool boxes and several more are close to finish. So far, 10 have been finished and there are over 20 more under construction. The kids really learn aircraft construction by measuring, cutting, forming and riveting the toolboxes using aluminum and aircraft construction techniques per AC43-13.
The Zenith 701 has been moving forward thanks to Pat W’s leadership. The kids Jaden, William, and Jake have installed the tail and are hooking up the controls. The small AN140-8S and AN130-8S turnbuckles are in the process of being replaced with 22S turnbuckles per the Zenith plans. The replacement turnbuckles were ordered from Zenith. Zenith aircraft has really worked with HAWK on the project.
HAL Stockman with Zipper Big Bore completely went through the prop drive gear box assembly for the Rotax 912 that will power the Zenith 701. Nothing was found to be out of order. Hal donated his very limited time to do the disassembly and check out on the drive. He also installed new parts at no cost to HAWK. Plus, he returned it from Reno-freight paid. Thanks HAL!
HAWK is trying to find a Zenith engine mount for the 912 installation on the 701. If anyone has one, let us know. The fuel tanks were modified by Sonic, welding ½ inch NPT outlets on the back of the tanks, and the fuel system is slowly coming together. Once the fuel tanks are installed in the wings, the wings will go on the airplane.
The Cessna 172 is scattered all over the shop and the kids are progressing with the rebuild. Solomon (age 12) has done an awesome job so far drilling the wrinkled firewall off. He has the firewall doubler off and there are not any elongated holes. He is very careful and drills the rivet heads off with a smaller bit, then the correct size bit. Then he carefully punches the hulls out. He is better than a lot of seasoned mechanics. He is impressive, and he asks questions if things are not working correctly. His tool box was flawless.
Braden and Jake are re-skinning the flaps. The wing is in the wing jig and drilling the hail damaged skins off is next. This is a project for Christa, our 14 year old girl, Jake, William, Logan, Braden and any other kid that has finished their tool box properly.
William has started his formal flight training, Braden is working hard to get his Private in January when he turns 17. He just has a few minor flying items to finish, like his nighttime flights, as Mack is not lighted. Logan is working hard toward his solo and is building flying time in his mom’s 172 (Shay is a rusty pilot who got back into aviation by buying an airplane because of HAWK, not to mention her love of aviation.) Logan spends Saturdays, mostly working under HAWK supervision, on his mom’s 172. Jake is waiting for his dad to get his instructor’s rating. Then have him train him in the HAWK airplanes.
Brian (Jake’s dad) and HAWK’s president is currently getting his commercial and instructor ratings on the GI bill through Colorado Mesa University. He obtained his instrument rating last year under the GI bill and should be finished with his instructor’s rating this spring. (He is another rusty pilot who got back into aviation due to HAWK). He plans on being another HAWK CFI.
The Balloon flying will have a large effect on how the younger kids get private pilots licences. They can solo it at 14 and get their private at 16. Then everything else will be type ratings. This winter, it should be very busy as the kids will be able to fly it at no cost as long as they work in the shop, In the Grand Valley we can fly balloons anytime during the day as we get inversions and the air stays very stable in December and January. HAWK has managed to put together a really good balloon system at absolutely no cost to HAWK, just lots of work. The kids major expense will be a FAA private written and check ride.
Due to the number of kids wanting to join HAWK, HAWK has been forced to put together a waiting list and select the kids who are genuinely interested in aviation. HAWK does not lack for projects. The reason for the list is the lack of room to work and mentors. On any Saturday there are airplanes flying, toolboxes under construction, numerous airplanes in various stages of construction or repair. HAWK is a beehive of activity. All new HAWK kids get a young eagles ride in one of HAWK’s airplanes sponsored by EAA chapter 800. HAWK gets regular requests from parents wanting to get their kids an airplane ride. And HAWK and EAA chapter 800 work to accommodate them weather and pilots permitting.
The only time the kids slow down is for lunch. (Lunch is provided by John C) and has turned into a major project. Every Saturday John manages to feed a lot of kids and adults. A big thank you John from HAWK. No one goes hungry. John is also HAWK’s rainmaker. He is an expert at listing and selling donated items to keep HAWK’s cash flowing. Keep the donations coming so we can keep John busy. HAWK only exists because of donations of almost anything of value. Money is still the most important donation! HAWK really likes airplane donations. So if you have or know of an airplane available for donation let HAWK know.
The end of the year is approaching rapidly. If you have to pay Uncle Sam, consider a donation to HAWK. It is good for a tax write off, going to the education of youth about aviation. HAWK is a 501(c)3 educational non-profit. All funds go directly to the program. No one is compensated for their time. Every mentor’s time is also donated.
Go to hawkaviators.org website to see what is happening at HAWK
Any donations can be made through the website or by responding to this e-mail.
HAWK and EAA chapter 800 monthly schedule.
Anyone is welcome at the EAA chapter 800 meeting or a tour of the HAWK program.
The past two months have gone by so fast. It seems like only yesterday HAWK was making Oshkosh plans. Now Oshkosh 2017 is just a memory. With the help of dedicated HAWK supporters, the HAWK kids had a really good trip to Oshkosh. Thank you EAA Chapter 800 for allowing HAWK to share (More like take over the two Camp Scholler campsites. They were only about a city block away from the entrance gate. All the HAWK kids are EAA 800 and national EAA Young Eagle members) Thanks Kim- EAA 800 president for securing an ideal campsite. Charley Becker supported HAWKs Oshkosh adventure by supplying the 7 young eagles and HAWK kids pasess for the entire show, like he did last year. The HAWK group helped in the “Teen Build Fly” area by putting up the “Teen Build Fly” banners. The Kids also helped crew the hot air balloons for the night glow concert. Charley’s passes really helped the HAWK and EAA 800 Oshkosh budget as it was very tight this year. It is really interesting to see dedicated young people at EAA Chapter 800’s regular meetings. EAA 800 is now not just an old guys social club. Special thanks go to the following supporters that helped the kids make the show this year.
WestStar aviation supplied the fuel for the Cherokee for first leg of the flight. Thanks Dave Korgman- president of WestStar. WestStar’s Paint crew did an awesome job detailing their beautiful paint job and the airplane in general in preparation for its unveiling at Oshkosh. Look in the EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2017 Photo Gallery on the web pages 9 and 13 for pictures of the airplane and kids. (It takes something special to be in the gallery)
Michelle Kelly and her husband Mark donated and installed the HAWK logo’s and advertisers stickers on the Cherokee. (They Own YOUR SIGN COMPANY). I have to say their work is exceptional.
At Oshkosh HAWK always had some of the kids with N9606W to talk about the restore. (once it was moved into the show from the far south forty area to the area beside the porta potties in the Vintage camping area.) Maybe the porta potties helped bring in spectators while they waited to use the facilities? Anyway, the kids had lots of people to talk to since N9606W was an attention getter. Piper execs and the Piper historian even stopped by and were really impressed with the airplane. HAWK had it judged and even the judges were impressed by the paint job. HAWK now needs to finish the interior and clean up under the cowl and the airplane could possibly be a show winner.
Sterling Hurst, HAWK’s CFII flew the Cherokee to the show and stopped at various airports to exchange HAWK kids and give them cross country dual instruction. All the older HAWK kids got time flying to the show in N9606W. Braden flew to the show in Bill Marvel’s newly finished RV-14 and also got to fly the Cherokee back to MACK from Aurora, Nebraska. For a kid that had not been exposed to aviation until 2 years ago he sure has become an airport fixture, and is building flying time in different sorts of airplanes.
Eddie C flew 2 of the younger HAWK kids- Caiden and Solomon and also Michelle H, who is HAWK’s ground instructor, to the show, in his M20J Mange Mooney. Michelle has been around balloons in the past and despite her reservations about fixed wing, enjoyed flying the Mooney. By the time she was back at Mack, she could hold altitude and follow a course without white knuckles. This really helped her build her confidence. She has also passed the private pilot written. Michelle donated funds to help pay for the Oshkosh trip, She attended the teachers in aviation day at Oshkosh.
Shay flew her son Logan to the show in their Cessna 172. Sterling and Shay flew out as a flight of two. Flying together worked well until they arrived at Oshkosh and the controller’s sent them to different runways even after they called in as a flight of two. All but 2 of the 7 HAWK youth were in the air at any given time going to the show and 3 were on the ground returning to Mack from Aurora, Nebraska. The Aurora, Nebraska Airport Manager gave the keys to the airport to the group. Aurora NE. KAUH is a really friendly airport and they went way out of their way for the group last year and again this year. If you are in the area, stop by and say thanks from HAWK and EAA 800. (Shay also donated travel cash to the group for the trip. Thanks Shay.) Shay is a rusty pilot that got back into aviation thanks to HAWK and her son Logan.
Russell Frank donated his time, truck and some cash to haul all of the flying group’s camping gear to the show. In addition, Russell filled his trailer with HAWK’s excess parts to sell at the Flymart. Thanks Mack airport manager Ladd and Jay S for cleaning out your hangers and giving your excess stuff to HAWK to sell. HAWK managed to net $477.00 from the airplane parts at the Flymart. Russell continued to New York to pick up a glider and trailer. HAWK and Russell are working to get gliders flying at 10CO[Mack Mesa Airport] to teach the kids that form of aviation. Russell is the one that donated his 172 to HAWK. He is now a regular at Mack every Saturday even though he lives in Rifle (about a 160 mile round trip each Saturday). Russell purchased an old rebuildable Callair A9B to use as a glider tow ship. But the engine was sold off it before he got it, so it needs an engine and prop, if anyone has a IO-540 laying around. Thanks Russell. Gary Morris drove to the show with his grandson Triston and ended up bringing two kids and Triston back to GJT when Frank had trailer problems. Thanks Gary!
HAWK and EAA 800 were approached by the Chinese about our program and how to start a program like HAWK in China. The Chinese connection at Oshkosh was really interesting and they are trying to get HAWK kids to visit China to help them start a similar program. HAWK’s board made the decision to forgo the offer at this point because HAWK does not want to diversify and lose its direction. HAWK has plenty of work without taking on another major project like China. That door will always be open, if in the future if HAWK chooses to explore it. The representatives from China have been in our shop and were blown away with the HAWK program. The Chinese are really trying make general aviation work in China. (I will say the Chinese connection at Oshkosh was good for free dinners for the kids at the Cirrus tent, and the Textron get together at the nature center.)
HAWK and EAA 800 also was treated to food and a place to watch the airshow at the Mike Goulian Pavilion on the corner of Boeing Square by Aviall. Thanks Boeing! Aviall is a Boeing company, and a HAWK supporter.
All in all, Oshkosh 2017 was a good show and helped HAWK kids see what is possible in aviation. The kids returned excited. It was an adventure to Airventure. HAWK’s kids have really realised how lucky they are to be involved in a program like HAWK.
The HAWK Builds:
Due to getting ready for the show and the week spent at the show, not much was accomplished in the shop in July. Most effort was spent prepping airplanes and getting logistics figured out prior to leaving for Oshkosh 2017.
August has been busy and the shop is back up and running. It seems all the airplanes that belong to HAWK members are all due for servicing and/or Annuals at the same time. EAA Chapter 800 has scheduled a mass one day young eagles flight day October 7th 2017. Any pilots interested in flying young eagles would be appreciated as there will be lots of young eagles to fly. Since returning from Oshkosh N9606W has been very busy flying individual Young Eagles that show up at 10CO on any Saturday and also giving instruction. It has turned out to be one good usable airplane.
The tool box program is very busy with new kids making them. There have been a lot of tool box’s finished and many more are under construction. It is really nice to watch the improvement in the kids abilities to manufacture their own tool box’s from scratch. Not one of them has ever been exposed to aircraft type construction so it is very interesting to see them building tool box’s using AC 4313 as their information source. The kids are learning layout, how use a sheet metal shear and a sheet metal brake to fold the boxes correctly, and how to shoot aircraft rivets properly. If they do not shoot a rivet correctly they drill the head off without elongating the holes and re-shoot it. They learn how to hold a bucking bar and a rivet gun at the same time. You can definitely tell by the tool box end result. The kids start by practicing shooting rivets on scrap pieces of aluminum and by the time they shoot the second end on their tool box they are really good at riveting. The hinges, handles and latches are no problem for them at this point. The kids cut their own rivets to length so they learn again per AC-4313 how to do aircraft rivet work. The tool box’s are for the kids to keep and they get used by the kids for all sorts of stuff, even lunch boxes. So far the kids have consumed about 30 feet of .040 aluminum 108 inches wide. The aluminum is used by trucking companies to repair truck trailers and is partially donated by Transwest Trucks. It is not soft aluminum but still folds tightly onto itself without cracking. The tool box patterns are off the internet.
The winds at the Mack airport are always brisk in the summer so the HAWK balloon is still waiting to be coated. Several attempts have been made to coat it, but the winds always foil them. The kids are learning how to assemble the system, how it works, how to handle the fuel properly, emergency procedures (it’s better to learn them on the ground than in the air.) The basket is set up and the kids get practice on how to pre-flight a balloon basket, handle the basket, burner, instruments and the fuel end of the system. By the time the balloon starts flying the basket end of the balloon system will be very familiar to them. HAWK is still looking for donations to cover Balloon insurance. After Oshkosh, the kids are really excited to fly the balloon. This fall the winds will calm and by December the balloon can be flown any time during daylight as the valley gets inversions and the air is very stable all day long. A famous balloonist David Levin (look his exploits up on the internet) passed away and his wife donated a lot of his hot air balloon paraphernalia to HAWK. HAWK looked all over for a balloon basket and could not find a used one. Now we have 3. The Firefly factory basket that Firefly donated to HAWK will be used as our ambassador at airshows as it is beautiful. The donated ones are flyable but not pretty. HAWK was also given 6 extra tanks, basket covers, instruments and an old inflator fan(although the 5hp motor is probably not repairable anymore.) Also, all sorts of other stuff – too much to mention. HAWK did not get the envelopes as they were relegated to the dump before David’s wife knew about HAWK. When the call went out for balloon paraphernalia the response was awesome. Gary Wood with San Juan Balloons donated a second envelope and an 8Hp Honda fan to HAWK. Thanks Gary. He is also cleaning out his garage so there may be more to come. Seems like once everyone knew HAWK was a 501C3 and could issue donation letters. The balloon community has responded big time.
Pat and the kids are working on the donated Zenith 701. The wings were about finished until Jerry, our resident A/P-IA and aircraft radio GURU, pointed out that the fuel tanks have the fuel outlet on the front corner of the tanks. They were previously installed by the first builder in the Pega Daedalus wings. (HAWK is the 3rd kit owner). In a climb, the engine will not be fed fuel. One fix suggested was a header tank but that was ruled out because both wing tanks in one wing are connected without separate shut offs. There are 2 tanks in each wing- another problem much less added weight. The tanks are approximately 9 gallons each – 36 gallons is a lot of fuel in a 701 with a 912 Rotex. Roger, the engineer at Zenith, said outlets on the front of the tank will not work due to the climb angle of the 701, so it’s back to the drawing board. This problem will also be hard to overcome. The fuel tanks were installed with Poly spray foam insulation and so far nothing has been found that dissolves spray foam. Even the internet does not have a solution to dissolving spray foam insulation. Every chemical known to HAWK has been tried without success. If someone out there has a solution, short of dynamite, to get the tanks out, let us know. The tanks will have to be hand cut out and it will not be easy to remove as the foam is even under the tanks. Pat W the 701 mentor will overcome this, I am sure.
Our 172 N12354 is also being worked on by Jerry and the older kids. Solomon finished his tool box so well that he is now drilling the wrinkled firewall off the Cessna. He is HAWK’s rivet removal specialist. He is exceptional at removing rivet heads without damaging the underlying material. He takes his time, center punches the rivet and then drills the center of the head with an undersized drill bit. Then he uses the correct size bit and usually the head just falls off. Then he gently removes the rest of the rivet with a huge hammer and a punch, while one of the other kids is backing up the material with a bucking bar so it is not damaged. (Anyway, a small ball peen hammer is huge to him). Solomon mentors other HAWK kids about rivet removal. Not bad for a 12 year old who had never been exposed to aircraft construction.
The most exciting HAWK news is that HAWK now has a really nice F35 Beechcraft Bonanza N3815B. Thanks Sterling Hurst for bringing HAWK’s mission to teach kids aviation to the attention of the Bonanza owners. He has flown the Bonanza a lot and says it flies really nice. All the senior members of HAWK are working to keep HAWK going by seeking donations. A Big thank you Sterling!
Bob and Jan Lovelace decided to donate their beloved F35 Bonanza N3815B to HAWK. The Lovelace’s have been watching what is happening at HAWK and were so impressed with what they have observed they decided to gift their airplane they have owned for 40 years. It is one nice airplane, there is absolutely no corrosion. The aluminum on the inside of the airframe looks like it just came out of the factory. The Lovelace’s have not been able to fly it for a number of years due to medical issues, so rather than watch it set they donated it to HAWK. HAWK does have the option to sell it once it is in annual. So if anyone is interested, it should be available in 2018. It will require some serious help from HAWK supporters to get it flying. It will need tires, a battery, and who knows what else as it has set out of annual for 4 years. If anyone is interested in contributing needed items to the project please let HAWK know. Several HAWK members are interested in using it to acquire high performance ratings. Yes, Braden, you can quit drooling over it. HAWK only works on donations and unlike most non profits all donated cash and sale items go to keeping the kids building and flying, plus the field trip to Oshkosh. All the senior members donate their love of aviation to the kids Pro Bono.
HAWK is rapidly growing with more kids interested in aviation coming out each weekend. One of our newest kids is a 14 year old girl born in Lithuania- her mother is an American nurse who was working in Lithuania and married a local gentleman while there. (Any prospective HAWK kid member must have their parents sign a release and hold harmless agreement with HAWK before they can work under supervision for about a month. If it looks like they are genuinely interested in HAWK’s aviation program and learning; their application is presented to the HAWK board for approval. HAWK is not a babysitting service). Christa is in this phase, and is definitely an aviation convert. She cannot wait to get balloon time much less glider and fixed wing time. All kids get Young Eagles rides in HAWK’s airplanes. Once a kid like Solomon, Braden, William, Logan or any of the other kids become mentors they really take the load off the adults. And it is impressive to watch the kids gain confidence. What has been learned by HAWK’s older mentors is that by letting kids train kids, the transfer of knowledge is increased. It seems kids respond better to their peers teaching them. There is so much happening in the hangers, the adult mentors are always busy using their expertise as needed. The kid mentors are invaluable. The 7 HAWK kids who attended Oshkosh really earned their trip. Oshkosh is a reward for a job well done.
Speaking of fixed wing time – a rotor wing that can be used for training would be nice. Again, it just depends on donations to get one, maintain it and also operate it. Nice thought though.
All things are possible when there is a good staff interested in the same outcome. In HAWK’s case, it is teaching youth aviation and watching them grow into productive adults. Time will tell! The successes are happening before the staff’s eyes. HAWK is not one person, it is a collective of people working together with one goal.
To contact HAWK or donate to HAWK, go to hawkaviators.org. Or to make a large cash donation or large items like cars, airplanes, helicopters etc., contact HAWK’s president Brian Miller at 970-208-6105.
The HAWK Piper Cherokee & team
on the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Flickr pages.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh images can’t be downloaded.
However, we can link to their site.
Click on the title or on the link below. A new page will open to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh page.
Scroll down to until you see the Cherokee with our team in red.
The team is also found in red on this page: