Category Archives: JNE

“Round Two” … at the NASM

John needed to verify a few more details before moving forward with his definitive reproduction Spirit of St. Louis by JNE, so we made one more trip back to Washington DC earlier this month.


This time it was necessary for John to go up in a JLG Lift in order to get “up close and personal” with the NYP.

John Norman with the original Spirit of St. Louis on 21 Oct. 2016

John Norman with the original Spirit of St. Louis on 21 Oct. 2016 

John had made several “templates” off his own Spirit by JNE before we traveled back to Washington DC.  

John placing his "template" for the trailing edge on the original NYP

John placing his “template” for the trailing edge on the original NYP

John checking the "arc" of his wingtip with a "template" on the original.

John checking the “arc” of his wingtip with a “template” on the original.

What a wonderful surprise to place the templates on the original and find they fit perfectly!

Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine Article

On June 28, 2016 the Washington Post published an article about finding the pliers beneath the main fuel tank in the original Spirit of St. Louis.


It was very disappointing to see that the head conservator of the National Air and Space Museum was taking credit for the discovery that John had made while we were there in March 2015 during the time the original Spirit was on the floor.


In speaking with the conservator after the article was published, he explained that the author of the article did not write what he had described.


In speaking with the author of the article in the Washington Post, he explained that he had written what the conservator had said.


So, there you go!  

Each individual pointing the finger at the other one in an effort to place blame on the “OTHER” guy.


After having conversations with both entities and asking for a correction to be made … leaving it up to both of them to do the “right” thing … we were soon contacted by Heather Goss from the Smithsonian Air & Space magazine.  

She asked John for details about his discovery of the pliers, and although she was on a limited time frame (due to publishing deadlines) she wanted to get the REAL story out there.


We appreciate the conscientious attention paid by the National Air and Space Museum in their capacity to preserve American History in an authentic and accurate manner.

Pliers found by John Norman on 26 Mar 2015

For those who might be interested in reading the article written by Heather Goss for the August 2016 edition, you can follow this link  ( click here ).


To date, we have not been contacted by the Washington Post in any manner in order to make the corrections to their article.  I guess that just shows us who is the more honorable reporting agency between the two!


The June 28th article by the Washington Post can be found here ( click here ).

Spirit Visit

John and I have just returned from a visit to Washington DC, and the National Air and Space Museum where we had the rare opportunity to get “up close and personal” with the original Spirit of St. Louis 🙂
John Norman with the Spirit of St. Louis on 26 Mar 2015

We had the privilege of not only taking copious photographs, but also detailed measurements of many parts of the aircraft.  These details will help John be able to complete his definitive reproduction Spirit of St. Louis in the most authentically accurate way possible.

John Norman taking measurements on the Spirit of St. Louis on 26 Mar 2015

We were given the opportunity to inspect the Spirit of St. Louis with a portable VJ-Advance video borescope camera from RF System Lab of Traverse City, Michigan.

John Norman inspecting the Spirit of St. Louis on 26 Mar 2015

Here John is inspecting the area forward of the periscope on the port side of the Spirit of St. Louis.

The great excitement of the day came when John was using the VJ-Advance video borescope camera to inspect the area under the main fuel tank, and made an interesting discovery!

Pliers found by John Norman on 26 Mar 2015

There, lying on the belly fabric, beneath the fuel tank, amongst the ‘dust bunnies’, a pair of pliers that had been in the Spirit of St. Louis from 1928 or earlier!


~ H

AM274 has arrived

When I left off last month, AM274 was patiently waiting at anchor just off Long Island, New York awaiting her turn to make it in to the Port of New York.

She made it in not long after I published that post.

So … to continue with her journey details ~



Stop number nine was in New York.  On 13 April 2014 she pulled out of New York and traveled northward into Canadian waters …


Where she made port in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

That was fun for us since that is the port from which she departed North America the first time!

In 1942 when her construction was completed, she (along with her sister Hawker Hurricanes) were sent from Fort Williams (now Thunder Bay), Ontario to Halifax Harbor where they were put aboard merchant ships that were part of the Convoy HX180.  That convoy sailed from Halifax Harbor to Liverpool, England where the Hurricanes were unloaded and then sent on to MU13 at Hendon for assembly.

AM274 said “Good-Bye” to the shores of North America once again on 14 April 2014 and in just one week sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.


On 22 April 2014 AM274 made port at Southampton, England.

I had been wondering if she might go to Liverpool from Halifax; but such was not the case on this second, eastbound journey across the Atlantic Ocean.  Southampton was the only port she stopped at while along the coast of England.


From England she headed to the west coast of mainland Europe where she made port at the second largest port in Europe ~ Antwerp, Belgium ~ on 23 April 2014.


She left Antwerp on 24 April and began making her way to Hamburg, Germany where she arrived on 26 April 2014.  I was surprised to see that she actually made stops at two different docks while in Hamburg!  I have not seen her do that at any other city along her route so far!


She left Hamburg on the 27th April 2014 and arrived at her final port, the largest port in Europe, in Rotterdam, Netherlands during the evening of 28 April 2014.

Here she was taken off the “Charles Dickens”, the ship that carried her on this exciting journey.  Within a couple of days she cleared customs and was then loaded onto container trucks to travel along her ‘land’ journey to her final destination in Belgium.


On 2 May 2014 the Vormezeele family unloaded both containers of all the parts, bundles, boxes, pallets and fixtures holding the larger components of AM274!

They now have the exciting task of re-assembling the aircraft and continuing on with the restoration to get her airworthy once again.

The Vormezeele family is well versed in the world of war-birds and we look forward to the day they let us know AM274 is ready to take to the skies once more!


We will update their progress as we get the details.


~ H


The Travels of AM274 …

As mentioned last month, AM274 has left the shores of Washington State as she makes her way across the water to her new home in Europe.


This is where she has been to date:

1 )

Left our shop in two containers on Monday 3 March 2014 …

2 )

After being held up in Customs for a little more than a week, she finally made it on board a container ship and left the Port of Tacoma on Friday 21 March 2014 …

3 )

Sailed to the Port of Oakland where she waited a day and then headed farther south to arrive at the Port of Los Angeles on Wednesday 26 March 2014 …

4 )

She left the Port of Los Angeles late in the evening of 26 March and began making her way south to the Panama Canal where she arrived in the wee morning hours of Thursday 3 April 2014.

There she waited at anchor for a bit more than 8 hours before it was her turn to travel through the Panama Canal.

5 )

Once through the Canal she docked at the Port of Manzanillo for the rest of the night.

At about daybreak on Thursday 4 April 2014, she began making her way toward the Port of Savannah.

6 )

She arrived at the Port of Savannah on Tuesday 8 April 2014 where she spent the bulk of the day.

7 )

From Savannah, she had a short, little journey to the Port of Norfolk, where she arrived in the morning of Thursday 10 April and departed again around 9:30 pm (local time).

8 )

As I post this message now, she is patiently waiting at anchor just off Long Island, New York as she waits her turn to make it in to the Port of New York.


I don’t know what her next port of call will be, and won’t know until she gets into New York and begins her journey once more.

It has been fun following her progress, and I will continue to post her travels as she makes her way across the Atlantic Ocean as she gets ever closer to her new home in Europe!


Thanks for checking in on her!


~ H

Saying “Good-Bye” to AM 274

We had the pleasure of hosting the new owners of the Hawker Hurricane AM274 in our home from the 28th February through the 4th March.

It was an extremely busy weekend as we loaded … and the new owners secured … all the many parts of the airplane in the two shipping containers that had been dropped at the shop.

We built fixtures for the fuselage and the center section, and modified the fixtures we already had for the wings so that they would fit into the containers … then carefully installed the parts on the appropriate fixtures in preparation for their move.

After having spent the last half of January and the full month of February getting the airplane disassembled and onto the fixtures, then boxing, crating, wrapping, and bundling all the countless bits and pieces of wreckage and parts that went with the project … we were exhausted by the time the containers were filled and the doors closed and latched on Sunday night.

Early Monday morning we watched, as first the 40′ container … and then the 20′ container…  were connected to the tractors.  They then slowly pulled out of our driveway to begin their journey to the Port of Tacoma.  AM274 was scheduled to be loaded onto a container ship in just another two days to commence her voyage to her new home in Europe.

On Wednesday, the 5th March, we learned that Customs had some questions about the shipment ~  which meant she would not be sailing on Thursday the 6th as had been scheduled 🙁

It took another week and a half to clear up all the questions and correct the paperwork, but the new owners (and we) celebrated when we learned that Customs had released the shipment.  AM274 was loaded onto the Liberian container ship “Charles Dickens” that set sail from the Port of Tacoma on the 21st March.

I’ve had the pleasure of tracking her progress online and this is what I’ve learned so far:

Friday, 21 March 2014 she departed the Port of Tacoma, Washington …

Monday, 24 March 2014 she arrived and later departed the Port of Oakland, California …

She is now on her way to the Port of Los Angeles, California …………….

More updates to come.

~ H