Kosch, King & Soltis Speakers for “Sunday Afternoon Talks” on Sunday, May 4th 2014 Stratford Library

Whitehead, Silhouette Models Subject of Talk at Stratford Library

Kosch, King & Soltis Speakers for “Sunday Afternoon Talks” on Sunday, May 4th 2014 

Andy Kosch telling the Whitehead story  at  the Stratford  Library.

Andy Kosch telling the Whitehead story at the Stratford Library.

The Stratford Library will continue “Sunday Afternoon Talks”, its monthly series of informative and entertaining talks featuring prominent local guest speakers, on Sunday, May 4th at 2 pm with educator Andy Kosch and representatives from the Connecticut Air & Space Center. The popular program invites notable locals to speak in an informal atmosphere on a wide range of topics. “Whitehead: Connecticut’s First Aviator & Silhouettes in the Sky – Identifying the Enemy in WW2” will be the topic of the next “Sunday Afternoon Talks”. It is free and open to the public.

Andy Kosch has been involved in the Gustave Whitehead plane project for the past 30 years, having flown a replica of the Whitehead plane at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in December 1986, or some 85 years after Whitehead successfully flew his heavier-than-air plane in Fairfield. At the Library program, Kosch will give an updated presentation about Whitehead revealing new information that has been discovered in the past year including the recent “60 Minutes” report about the aviator.

Andrew King & Christopher Soltis peaking with the public about the CASC's Sikorsky S-60 restoration project.

Andrew King & Christopher Soltis speaking with the public about the CASC’s Sikorsky S-60 restoration project.

The second talk will explore the amazing history behind Silhouette models, the Aircraft Warning Service and how civilians helped protect the home skies on both coasts. Civilians also helped train the young airmen of the Army Air Corp and US Navy to assist in identifying enemy aircraft. Guest speakers are Executive Director Andrew King and Curator Chris Soltis, both with the Connecticut Air & Space Center. Artifacts will be on display and a question/answer session will follow the presentation.

“Sunday Afternoon Talks” will be held in the Stratford Library’s Lovell Room beginning at 2 pm on Sunday, May 4th. For further information call the library’s Public Relations & Programming Office at 203.385.4162 or visit: http://www.stratfordlibrary.org.

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See the #21 Whitehead Replica Saturday, April 26th, at Fairfield Warde High School from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Andy Kosch will be displaying the Whitehead #21 replica at the Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 26th, at Fairfield Warde High School from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Andy Kosch being photographed for the Newspaper after the Whitehead Story broke in March of 2013.

Andy Kosch being photographed for the Newspaper in March of 2013.

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2014 Annual Membership Meeting Recap

hpeOn  Saturday February 22 the Connecticut Air & Space Center held it’s Annual Membership Meeting for 2014.

Museum President Eugene Madara welcomed the large crowd with words of encouragement for the many volunteers and the great work they have done in the past year.  The general theme for the meeting was building Membership. Keeping current members and bringing new members in to join the family.

Museum Treasurer, Ed McGuinness presented a thorough financial report recapping the museums 4 accounts, all maintaining a positive balance.

Executive Director, Andrew King and Mr. Madara presented the reinforced message on how important it is for our members to reach out and convert friends and acquaintances into supporting members explaining the Lifecycle of the average member and where we have opportunities to grow.

Mr. King then shared his vision for the next 5 years, based on the current development plan. Showing graphically  virtual overheads and walk-thoughts developed by Chris Soltis and Mr. King.  

After discussing the layout for the Curtiss Hangar, Museum Vice President, Mark Corvino took over the talk to discuss what is currently happening with the Curtiss hangar project.  He and Mr. Madara have been working with municipal officials as well as Sikorsky Memorial Airport management to take our proposed lease to committee so we can officially sign it and begin work.  Mark commented on how positive both municipal governments  are in favor of this project and are working with us to get to the final administrative approval. 

It was at this point that Mr. King presented the 2013 Year in Review – Keeping with the Mission -Honor, Preserve and Educate.

Museum Curator and Display Designer, Chris Soltis presented a recap of artifacts donated or lent to the Museum this past year.  Then Mr. King and Mr. Soltis presented some potential acquisitions that the Museum is following in 2014.

A moment was taken to remember the members that passed away this past year, Frank DeLuca and Dick Sykes. They will always be remembered for their contributions, especially in the early days of the forming of the Museum.

Volunteer awards were presented to several of our volunteers that set themselves out ahead of the bunch. They include:

Sue French – Continued support in Community Relations at Captains Cove

Peter Schmecker – Young Gun Award for a Student with a Passion for Aviation (working on the O2-A)

Tony Recine – Bull-by-the Horns Award for bringing the dormant O2-A project back on track

The Corsair Girls – For their help in polishing the appearance of our Museum and providing food & drink to an appreciative audience
Eileen Soltis
Laurie Defeo
Joyce Kvaka

The Corsair Engine Team - First Class restoration efforts to restore the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 from the Sikorsky Memorial Corsair
Tim Benson
Ron Crisanti
Robert Fiore
Dave Beale - 20+ weeks of media blasting the R-2800 heads. 
Gary Soltis

Richard Elias, from the Stratford Historical Society presented a quick request for members with WW2 memories of the homefront to contact them to have their memories recorded. He also let everyone know about the public talks they are doing on the topic.

New business brought before the Membership was a Constitution & By-Laws Amendment to allow digital & telephonic board meetings. The  unanimous vote of the membership was recorded. No other new business was brought forth and a hearty Thank You was offered to all who braved the snow and ice-filled lots to attend.

We hope that you will consider joining this year and becoming a supporting member of the museum. 

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2014 Annual Membership Meeting Saturday February 22, 2014 9:30 AM

On Saturday February 22, 2014 9:30 AM the Connecticut Air & Space Center will be holding it’s annual membership meeting. The meeting will held in the museum on Sniffens Lane. Doors open at 8:30am. Members may pay their dues at the door. ($20 individual / $50 Family) This is our yearly business meeting, all current members are asked to try and attend. There will Coffee and snacks. Please remember you must be 18 or older to enter.

We hope to see you there. We plan to have a great time with a great presentation.

If you have any questions or need assistance please email us at casc@ctairandspace.org

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January 25th, 2014 – Two Roads Brewing Company – Igor’s Dream

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Volunteers from the Connecticut Air & Space Center attended the first day release of Two Roads Brewing Company’s (1700 Stratford Ave, Stratford, CT.) Igor’s Dream, a Russian Imperial stout beer dedicated to seaplane and helicopter designer, Igor I Sikorsky.

This years label and brew are dedicated specifically to his dream of the heavy lift helicopter.

Andrew King & Christopher Soltis peaking with the public about the CASC's Sikorsky S-60 restoration project.

Andrew King (in red) & Christopher Soltis (coveralls) speaking with the public about the CASC’s Sikorsky S-60 restoration project.

Both the Igor I Sikorsky Archives and CASC were present with small displays. Our museum provided a display showing the story of the Sikorsky S-60, which is currently being restored at the museum. This also marks the first time bot the Archive and the the CASC worked together on a project. The archive graciously provided rare photos and copy for our new display board. A special thanks goes out to Hankin Printing in Milford for supplying us will a large impactful visual print of our Curator, Chris Soltis latest graphic design.

Brewmaster, Phil Markowski, as well as Igor Sikorsky’s sons were on hand signing bottles in the private event room “The Vault Room.

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Volunteer Positions Available at the CASC

Volunteer positions currently available at the Connecticut Air & Space Center.  

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Charlie Andrewson Painting the interior of a gearbox for a Cut-away display he created.

We are seeking a few good people with some specific skills.  Anyone over 18 is welcome to volunteer at the Connecticut Air & Space Center. We always have a few projects that need general help .  Never worked on an Airplane? We can teach you to help restore aircraft and machinery as well as being a Docent giving tours or tending the gift shop and displays.

Heavy Equipment / Support Equipment Maintenance Person
We are seeking a person who can take charge of our forklifts, tug, jacks, trailers, etc. Mechanical and Hydraulic background is very important. Unlike many of our other positions we really need someone who has real experience (due to safety factor) with this type of equipment. Normally the position would only require be a few hours a month overseeing proper general maintenance, setting up a maintenance plan and emergency repair when required. The position reports to the Executive Director If you are interested or know anyone who might be able to donate a few hours to help keep us up and running please submit a resume or qualifications to casc@ctairandspace.org

Aircraft Structural Repair 
The Sikorsky S-60 team is looking for a few good people with Aircraft Structural Repair background & Skills. The S-60 Restoration is picking up speed and really need a few people who know the difference between a Hi-Lok and a Cherry Max. We ask that you can at least give 16 hours a month. This position reports to the S-60 Team Leader. If you are interested in preserving a really unique piece of history please submit a resume or qualifications to casc@ctairandspace.org

Corrosion Control Person
You job will be to select the proper equipment and materials to restore damaged metal surfaces to bring area back to original depth and color with minimum rework.
You will utilize various corrosion control methods and technologies to surfaces requiring primer or paint. Complies with safety rules and procedures associated with corrosion control duties.

You may perform aircraft structure painting, priming, and preparation duties associated with task. Skilled in masking, covering surfaces, stripping, and removal of surface paint and primer are all helpful.

We can train. If you are interested or know anyone who might be able to donate a few hours to help keep the collection looking good, please contact casc@ctairandspace.org

Archivist / Librarian
We need someone who will scan documents, create PDF files of manuals and help organize our physical and digital Archives.

Please contact casc@ctairandspace.org

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On the Road to the 2013 Simsbury Flyin

This must be the place!

This must be the place!

The 28th annual Simsbury Fly-In and Car Show, was held Sunday, September 15th 2013.  The Connecticut Air & Space Center presented the #21 Gustave Whitehead replica aircraft and Andy Kosch’s presented as seminar on Gustave Whitehead called,  “Did he fly before the Wrights?”  The event by a all accounts was a rousing success.  Here is a little inside story on what it took to make this happen.

Simsbury Airport or 4B9 is at 94 Wolcott RD., Simsbury. The Simsbury Flying Club is the day-to-day operator of Simsbury Airport.  They function like a Fixed-Base Operator, but on a not-for-profit basis. The Airport sports a 2205 foot paved runway. Each year they hold a Flyin to help them raise funds to operate to facility.

Front Cover Exposure!

Front Cover Exposure!

Event organizer Bill Thomas requested our participation in the event this year. In the past few years we have had a small booth, but this year with all the activity around Gustave Whitehead being formally recognized but Janes All the Worlds Aircraft and the Connecticut Legislature they wanted to know if we would tell the story at the event.

Simsbury is about 90 or so miles from the museum, or a quick drive up I-91.  Well that’s if you don’t have to move an airplane, displays, vehicles and people.  Budget Truck Rental in Bridgeport gave us a fair price for a 26 foot truck and after playing a shell game of getting drivers, the truck and all of our gear in one place we loaded up the #21 and all the associated displays.

You never know what you will find in the back of a box truck.

You never know what you will find in the back of a box truck.

Chris Hornesco played taxi and retrieved Director, Drew King from the Fairfield train station at 9 pm at night. After picking up the truck at the museum they made the journey north meeting Volunteers Chris & Dennis Soltis, Nancy Hornesco and Andy Kosch in Windsor Locks. It was decided early on to spend the night near Simsbury so everyone would be there with the plane bright and early.

So at the crack of dawn, and boy when the dawn cracks you can hear it, our crew left for the Airfield.  Arriving we were greeted already with a beautiful Silver Tiger Moth and a very cool Cirrus Jet prototype on display near our space.

Early morning setup with Andy Kosh.

Early morning setup with Andy Kosh.

In addition to the Whitehead we brought a little weight to tie it down in the event of a strong gust. Each one, about #120, had to be manhandled off the truck.  I took us about 45 minutes to get the display set up. As soon as the Whithead peaked her nose out of the truck it drew the attention of anyone with in line of site. People were asking questions and it was being rolled down the ram. Yes, there is a lot of interest in  this topic.

Andy Kosch was immediately inundated with people wanting to talk to him. The rest of us got the tent set up and our beautiful new backdrop donated by Matt Lugo and the gorgeous printing provided by John Lott at Hankin Printing , but volunteers with the CASC.

Andy Kosch explaining how Whiteheads plane worked.

Andy Kosch explaining how Whiteheads plane worked.

The day was spent talking to many people on a variety of subjects.  Volunteers Jim Collins and Steve Rescsanski made thee drive up the morning of and were a big help all day.  We spread the word about Whithead and more importantly we spread the word about the Connececticut Air & Space Center and our Mission, Honor, Preserve, Educate.

In addition to our volunteer’s working the booth Dave Beale & Gary Soltis , both working on the engine for the Corsair Restoration stopped by with their families. We saw some old friends from Skylark Airport including Bill Kule who owns a beautiful blue Stearman Bi-plane.

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People want to be educated about Whitehead!

Steve Rescanski summed up the day with this gem,  “So few served so many”. With so many people asking questions and some many conversations happening we needed at least another 4 or 5 volunteers helping out. Chris Hornesco spent the whole day manning the Whitehead, helping children in and out to have their photo taken. This fair skinned ginger looked like fire truck by the end of the day from the beautiful sunny weather we were lucky to have.

Formation Flying!

Formation Flying!

Steve also mentioned that one of the formation pilots named Andy, over lunch, mentioned he wished he could attend Kosch’s talk instead of being in the air! People want to be educated!

About every 30 minutes over the PA system, interrupting the 50′s  & 60′s  show music a pre-recorded message was played.  Our Communication Director Ron Kurtz’s own beautiful description of our organization played for thousands, over and over.

The Connecticut Air & Space Center is a charitable organization dedicated to honoring the pioneers of early aviation, restoring and preserving examples of the aircraft they flew and educating this and future generations of their rich aviation heritage. The Center relies on volunteers who painstakingly piece together these aircraft and on the donations it receives from those in the public and private sectors.

de Havilland Tiger Moth

de Havilland Tiger Moth

We were able to interact with all ages from many walks of life. The number of children that gazed into to our two small display cases and asked questions numbered at least 100. Our Curator Chris Soltis and our Artifact Acquisitions Manager Dennis Soltis created a beautiful display of items that helped tell our story from 550 Main Street.

The speakers session which Andy spoke seems to have been a huge success as well. After the talk we heard many people talking about the presentation and the Whitehead story.

The place to visit at the Simsbury Flyin.

The place to visit at the Simsbury Flyin.

In an email post event, Bill Thomas, says “What a great exhibit, and a wonderful historical controversy to enliven discussions by all of us who love history and aviation.  From my perch at the announcing station, I was able to observe a constant flow of people at your exhibit.  We hope your museum gets lots of benefit from this exposure. ” He also said there were an estimated thirteen thousand attendees.

1955 Chevy "Gasser"

1955 Chevy “Gasser”

The car show portion of the event was pretty big and had some really cool vehicles attending. Everything from Model T’s to 55 Chevy’s to Dodge Vipers and even a WW2 Half Track drove by our booth.  The folks up at Simsbury know how to put on a good show and their supporters prove that.

In an email from Dennis Soltis our Artifact Acquisition Manager and Secretary for the Board, he had this to say,”It seems to me that the Connecticut Air and Space Center had a great showing at the Simsbury Flyin this past Sunday. There was a large amount of aircraft and probably more cars than airplanes at their car show and with that thousands of people.  We happened to be at a perfect spot right IMG_3460casc_91513across from the announcers platform and hotdog & hamburger venue! Andy’s area was always crowded and we also had our fair share.”  He also added  “We made many contacts and made many friends for the museum and had many people ask how the Corsair was coming along. They remembered us from last time. “

This event shows that GA is still alive and small Flyin’s can be a really great way to connect with the public. We are very thankful for being able to participate in such a large way. All in all it was a great time for all involved.  We saw old friends and made many new friends. So we are looking forward to more events like this and revisiting Simsbury next September.  To quote our Curator Chris Soltis  “It was a blast!”.

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