Sunday, November 5, 2017

First Grumman Albatross could be in Hannibal, Missouri, before end of year

Before Mike Barron, owner and operator of Barron Aviation Private Flight Services at the Hannibal airport, can attempt to leave the ground in one of the 65-foot long planes, which has a wingspan of 100 feet, he must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly it.

The first of seven Hannibal-bound Grumman Albatrosses is close to being ready to leave the ground for the first time in roughly three decades, according to Robin Carroll, who spent time this summer in Arizona helping the owner of the planes, Mike Barron, renovate the first plane which has been dubbed Princess.

“He did taxi the first one,” she said. “It taxied very nicely.”

While the taxi test was called a success, a few issues did arise.

“Some instruments, like the fuel indicator, weren’t working properly, so he’s had to address those,” said Carroll, the fixed base operator at Hannibal Regional Airport.

“He had training last month,” said Carroll in October. “In November he’ll do his check ride with the FAA in Texas and then he’ll be able to fly them home.”

Before he attempts to fly any of the aircraft from the Pinal Airpark Airport, located outside of Tucson, Ariz., to Hannibal, Barron will be confident it’s ready to make the trip, according to Carroll.

“He wants to put a few hours of flight time on them before he leaves Marana (Ariz.) and heads here because that will be a pretty long flight,” she said. “He’s pretty confident and feels good about being able to fly them back home.”

While plane No. 1 is closest to being ready for a test flight, planes No. 2 and No. 3 aren’t far behind engine-wise.

“We’re still waiting on the engine guy to come out and run the engines on No. 2 and No. 3. No. 4 does not have engines yet,” said Carroll. “We’re getting the smaller stuff done so that way when the engine guy comes they can do nothing but engines. Hopefully they’ll start up just like the first one did and everything will be OK, and maybe get them all home.”

When the first of the planes will arrive in Hannibal has yet to be determined.

“I’m hoping in December or January. That’s my hope. But there’s no guarantee,” said Carroll. “Without doing a test flight we don’t know that everything is working as well as we want it to.”

When the planes do arrive, each will have its own unique moniker.

“No. 1 we named Princess. No. 2 is called Joker. No. 3 is Dirt Ball. The fourth one we’re calling Snoopy. I have no idea why,” said Carroll, laughing.

Barron, whose seven planes could possibly be the largest flock of privately-owned Albatrosses in the United States, if not the world, has less than a year to get them all out of the aircraft “boneyard” where they were slated to be chopped up and recycled when he was offered the chance to buy them.

Carroll says the massive renovation project has been a unique experience.

“It’s been a lot of work and a lot of fun,” she said. “I’m glad the summer heat is over. It makes working down there a lot nicer.”

Original article can be found here ➤

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