Happy New Year 2015


2015 already … how did THAT happen?

Does it seem to anyone else that time is speeding up and flying by faster and faster every year?


We have a very busy year ahead of us.

The goal is for John to get the Spirit fuselage off to the sandblaster in the next few weeks.

While she is gone, John will be working on completing the second fuel tank that sits just forward of the main fuel tank he completed this past summer.

He is also working on building the fuel tank that sits just ahead of that second fuel tank … both of them inside the motor mount!


In the meantime, John has been plugging away at getting the ‘internals’ of the Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine all ready to go.

So far he has had to remove the heads off all nine cylinders in order to get at the valve seats.

He has removed all of the worn valve seats …

made new replacement valve seats and …

using liquid nitrogen, inserted all of the new valve seats in the cylinder heads …

Then put all the heads back on the cylinder barrels once more.


We’ve had three magnetos (2 to power the aircraft, and 1 spare) rebuilt by Savage Magneto in Hayward, CA.

We also sent the carburetor out to get rebuilt and now have it back on the shelf ready to be installed.


Although it may seem as though there is no progress being made on our Spirit of St. Louis because I’m so far behind with getting photographs posted … we really ARE making great progress.

Stay tuned …. more to come …………….


~ H




So Much To Be Thankful For ~

Here in the United States, we will be celebrating our Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.   May we take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a wonderful day?  We hope you will be able to spend the day with the loved ones of your choice and that the true meaning of this day will envelope one and all.


John continues to make forward progress … though ever so slowly … on the Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine.  We recently received two boxes of much needed parts, so he is now cleaning them up to ensure they will be serviceable.


We hope this finds you all in good health as we look forward to the holidays ahead.


Onward and Upward,

~ H

October ~ Where Did it Go?

October is now drawing to an end.  

The days are getting shorter and we will soon need to turn our clocks back as we prepare for winter to arrive. 

The leaves are falling, the winds are blowing and the temperatures are dropping.

Here in the Pacific northwest, we are beginning to experience the typical rainy days and nights that we are known for.  

I guess we must accept that autumn is upon us and winter just a month and a half away.


John has been working diligently on getting the Wright J-5 Whirlwind engine ready to go.  

Unfortunately, when one attempts to restore an engine that was originally built in the 1920’s, one finds as they go along, there are a myriad of issues they need to overcome.

John has had to search high and low for several of the internal parts he needs for the engine.  

Not only are the parts hard to find … they are expensive … since there are so few of them left. 

He has been lucky to find a couple of individuals who have been willing to share their knowledge with him in order to overcome some of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles he has run into.


Perhaps if we all collectively keep our fingers crossed, we will be able to find the rest of the parts he needs in order to complete the engine.  

Without an airworthy Wright J-5 Whirlwind for a power plant, our Spirit of St. Louis will not be making the 2016 USA tour that we are planning.


If you know of anyone who might have one of these old engines sitting around that they no longer have any use for … please let us know how we might get in touch with them.


Be safe if you venture out on Halloween, and enjoy your autumn!


~ H

A Welcome Reprieve ~

We are home once more after a very lovely Caribbean cruise vacation during the last week of August. 

John, our daughter, son-in-law, his sister, a granddaughter, our son, daughter-in-law, her father, another young couple, and I all sailed together for a 7-day cruise along the western Caribbean. 

We stopped at Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras; Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. 

The weather was delightful, and the rest away from all the requirements at home was truly invigorating!


Now that we have returned, John is back to work in the shop. 

He has arrived at that stage where it is necessary to disassemble what he has already assembled, in order that he may finish welding the fuselage joints completely. 

Once he completes the welding, the fuselage will go to the sandblasters shop. 

When it returns from there, John will be able to get the fuselage painted, and then the final assembly of all the parts he has made for his “Spirit of St. Louis” will begin.


More photos and details to come …..



Main Fuel Tank Completed

Well, I missed getting anything posted for July this year, but it wasn’t because there was no progress being made!


John has been working steadily on getting the main fuel tank for the Spirit of St. Louis built.

It has been quite a challenge.


Once he got the fuel tank completed, with all the attach points riveted together, and all the rivets and seams on the outer skin soldered over, he filled it with water.


This was to make sure all the seams were sealed completely and that there were no leaks in those seams or at any of the rivet spots.


We discovered the actual liquid capacity for the main fuel tank is 257 gallons.  This came as a bit of a surprise since all the information we have been able to find indicated that the main fuel tank capacity was only 210 gallons!


As with so many things with this project … we are learning as we are progressing!


Our “TEAM SPIRIT” photographer Kris Hull, stopped by to shoot a few photographs of the “Spirit” when John was preparing to install the main fuel tank.


Having that ‘extra hand’ during the process sure was a blessing!

Thanks Kris!!


~ H