Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

Articles written by Tom Lymburn

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May Mystery Airplane Contest

James S. McDonnell (1899-1980) qualified as an Army pilot at Brooks Field. With a master's degree from MIT, he worked for Ford, Martin, and Hamilton, before forming McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in...

 

April Mystery Airplane Contest

In August 1989, I attended the Abbotsford Airshow in British Columbia. It was my introduction to the use of the Grumman Tracker as a firebomber. Three Conair Trackers, each with a different color...

 

March Mystery Airplane Contest

Between the World Wars, Wichita was the center of aviation in the United States. In January 1925, Clyde Cessna, Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, and Olive Ann Mellor (later Mrs. Olive Ann Beech), along w...

 
 By Tom Lymburn    News    May 1, 2021

Confessions of an Airshow Announcer – 'The Growler'

The red-white-red tips began their slow meshing. Gradually, with the deep growl of the four 2450 hp Rolls Royce Griffon 57A's increasing, the contra-rotating blades became a mad blur. If you suffered...

 

February Mystery Airplane Contest

Pfalz Flugzeug-Werke was established in October 1913 to license build Morane-Saulnier monoplanes. From these, it evolved its own series of Eindeckers fitted with synchronized machine guns. Further...

 

January Mystery Airplane Contest

The Army Air Force needed dedicated transports, rather than adaptations of civilian airliners, to support airborne operations. These aircraft would have to carry large, sometimes bulky loads and be...

 

December Contest Photo Pitcairn PA-39

Military interest in the autogiro centered on their use for surveillance and liaison. Only the Japanese succeeded in putting autogiros into service, and these, the Kayaba Ka-1, were for...

 
 By Tom Lymburn    News    December 1, 2020

An Oshkosh Retrospective

With thousands of other EAA members and guests, I waited for the arrival. Minolta XG-7, 300 mm lens, skylight filter, Fuji color film all checked. Late afternoon. July 1985. It was unusually and...

 

October Contest Photo

In 1918, Kawasaki heavy industries established an aircraft and engine division. Between the wars, it produced license versions of the French Salmson 2A2 recon biplane and the Dornier Wal flying boat....

 

September Contest Photo Martin AM-1 Mauler

First flying on 26 August 1944 as the XBTM-1, the Mauler was one of four single-seat bomber/torpedo planes ordered for testing by the Navy in 1943. The Curtiss XBTC-2 and the Kaiser-Fleetwings XBTK-1... Full story

 
 By Tom Lymburn    News    October 1, 2020

Confessions of an Airshow Announcer

An ongoing series by Tom Lymburn "Ladies and gentlemen, to your right, on final approach, the greatest transport plane in history. Cameras ready! Please welcome, the Douglas DC-3!" She came "over the...

 

July Contest Photo

The Panavia consortium, formed in March 1969, was charged with the development of the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) for Britain, Germany, and Italy. From this program came the variable geometry...

 

Thomas-Morse S-4C Scout

The Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation of Ithaca, NY, built a series of single-seat advanced fighter trainers for the Signal Corps/Air Service beginning in 1917. The S-4B, with the unreliable 100 hp...

 
 By Tom Lymburn    News    August 1, 2020

Confessions of an Airshow Announcer

In three decades of air display announcing, I've been privileged to interview many members of what journalist Tom Brokaw called "The Greatest Generation." This has included members of the Flying...

 

The Mystery Airplane

The C-27J is based on the Fiat G. 222 that first flew on 18 July 1970, and was delivered to Argentina, Italy, Libya, Nigeria, and Thailand. This Lockheed Martin/Alenia development with uprated...

 
 By Tom Lymburn    News    July 1, 2020

Confessions of an Airshow Announcer

I like to walk the field ahead of time. Early morning is best – time to drink in the atmosphere and savor, however briefly, the newly mown grass, listen to the birds that swoop low over the runway... Full story

 

July Mystery Airplane

The Douglas Dolphin evolved from the Sinbad flying boat of July 1930. Looking like the 1929 Saunders-Roe Cutty Sark, the Sinbad was powered by a pair of 300 hp Wright J-5 Whirlwind radials. It... Full story

 
 By Tom Lymburn    News    May 1, 2020

Confessions of an Airshow Announcer-Merlin Magic

The Aero Shell Team snarled its way into the air. As usual, their formation was superb. Once the four Texans turned northeast, away from Runway 36, we resumed our conversation. "You've announced for... Full story

 

The Mystery Airplane

Fokker Fodder. Manfred von Richthofen shot down 19 B.E. 2 biplanes and his brother Lothar six. Werner Voss claimed 11. Too slow, poorly armed, and too stable for aerobatics, the Royal Aircraft... Full story

 
 By Tom Lymburn    News    April 1, 2020

Confessions of an Airshow Announcer... Trimotor Showcase

"Hey, aren't you the dude who announces up at Anoka?" He wore three Canon cameras, all with long expensive telephoto lenses, a sleeveless T-shirt, baggy cargo shorts, and sandals. His nose and... Full story

 

The Mystery Airplane

Carl Bucker, a World War I German naval aviator, founded Svenska Aero in 1921. He returned to Germany along with Swedish designer Anders Andersson in 1932. Established at Berlin-Johannisthal, Bucker... Full story

 

The Mystery Airplane

Donald Luscombe (1895-1965) served in France in WWI as an ambulance driver. It was in France that he took his first flight, in a Voisin pusher. After the Great War, he bought a Curtiss Jenny. His... Full story

 

The Mystery Airplane

Formed in October 1936, with a new factory at Fishermen's Bend, in Melbourne, Australia, Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) gave Australia a much needed national facility for aircraft... Full story

 
 By Tom Lymburn    News    January 1, 2020

Confessions of an Airshow Announcer...

Continuing an ongoing series by Tom Lymburn. Some aircraft look right in the air. Nothing compares to the graceful elliptical wing of R.J. Mitchell's classic Merlin engine Spitfire, Kelly Johnson's... Full story

 

The Mystery Airplane Contest

The original Mong Sport flew on May 1, 1953, the creation of Ralph Mong, Jr. Designed around a 65 hp Continental A65, it soon became a popular plans-built airplane, with a maximum speed of 115 mph and... Full story

 

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