Sunday, August 7, 2016

News, Big and Small

Small news:

Looking for a job teaching welding? The college is looking for a full time instructor at the Lafayette campus. All the details are here. Saw the ad in The Welding Journal. One of the part-timers at my campus is looking for a full time gig. Maybe he'll take it. Actually, my boss is looking for a part-time instructor to teach a class or two now. If the part-timer moves on, he'll be looking for someone close to full time. Won't be me, however. I'm looking to call it done real soon.

I tacked welded all the pieces together for the golf cart dash I posted a couple of weeks ago. I need to see if it's going to fit before I finish weld it. It's a tricky shape but it looks like it's real close to what it needs to be. I'll have to run down to TVI's place and test fit it one of these days.

I stopped by the body shop the other day. He didn't want to commit to any kind of price without seeing the car but what he was saying led me to believe I'll be looking for an alternative. I checked on some prices for paint and rough numbers from the auto parts store was $300.00. That's paint, primer, reducer, etc. Upon further research I found out that Rust-Oleum makes automotive paint. Color selection is limited but they've got primer, color and clear at very reasonable prices. The paint is under $25.00 per quart unless you're looking at the Sublime Green - it's about $10.00 more per quart. It's lacquer paint, so I could shoot that myself as long as I had a reasonably dust free environment. Even if I were to get a few blemishes in the paint, after wet sanding and buffing the clear coat, most of the flaws should be taken care of.  I don't know if Menards carries the automotive paint in quarts, but Summit Racing does. I found a couple of other places on the Web that sell paint at reasonable prices and with a much larger color selection. A larger selection of paint types as well. Now I need to come up with a area suitable for painting. That'll give me something else to think about. By the time I have the car ready for paint I should have a solution.

Now here's the big news:

I went up in a B-17 yesterday! Totally bitchin'.

This is the one. In addition to the B-17, rides were also available on a B-24 and a P-51. The rides were part of The Wings of Freedom Tour sponsored by the Collings Foundation. As you can see from the photos, the weather was ideal for a flight.

You just have to love those big radial engines - especially when there's four of them.

I went on the flight with my brother from a different mother. Actually, different fathers as well. His dad flew in one of these things during the big war. Thirty-three missions as a navigator and a co-pilot. Here's where his dad would have been seated during the missions. Even though his dad passed away several years ago, the pilot of the crew is still alive - something like 93 years old. 

The hatch cover was off on the top of the plane making for a nice view out to the rear. We flew over the steel mills and Lake Michigan, as well as some farm country. The flight was scheduled for thirty minutes, including take-off and landing. I think it might have been a full thirty minutes in the air, however. 

The inside of these things are really spartan. Nothing but the absolute essentials. The B-17 only flew at about 150 mph, so they were a pretty big target when they were on a mission over Europe. The plane itself didn't offer much protection to the crew - that aluminum skin wasn't going to do much to keep bullets or flak from coming in. It was up to the on board gunners and fighter escorts  to keep them safe. My buddy's dad was only 22 when he started flying combat missions. Brave young men, all of them. 

After seeing these things up close, it really hit home how incredible it was that the US was able to mobilize all the labor force to design and build these planes, as well as all the tanks, trucks, jeeps, ships, and small arms, and be able to carry on the fighting on several fronts thousands of miles from home in such a short time. To be able to convert most all of the manufacturing in the country to war production and train a whole new work force while simultaneously training all the armed forces that were deployed is just amazing. 

Great flight. If you ever get the chance to go, take it. 

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