Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hangar Tour

What do airplanes have to do with making things?

A lot, as it turns out. All airplanes are still essentially handbuilt, and the experts who know how to restore and rebuilt vintage planes are rapidly dwindling in number.

These are some of the things we learned today at a visit to Jimmy Rollison's hangar in the Yolo County Airport. Jimmy is a veritable wikipedia site when it comes to aircraft and aviation history. He showed us his collection of vintage airplanes in various stages of restoration, giving us details of how each one was made and what its historical significance was. We learned about traditional and modern materials, about Henry Ford's contribution to aircraft manufacturing, and about how private airplanes were once priced in the same range as a luxury car.

Jimmy uses a combination of tools, from a vintage lathe to create specialty parts to an English wheel for curving metal skin. I didn't get any pictures of them, but below are some of the planes we learned about today:
read the history of this deHavilland Dragon Rapide here