Maintenance Flight

Anyone who takes care of DC-3s, or any vintage aircraft, knows that a plane sitting dormant in the hangar does NOT translate to dollars saved. Instead, it usually means certain component failures, and an overall “failure to thrive.” We regularly fly the DC-3s in our care whether it be for a maintenance action, or as part of their regular inspection program.

One of the many perks of being based in the Pacific Northwest is that any flight we take is bound to be a scenic ride. Truly, there are few places in the world as full of promise as the flight deck of one of the most magnificent flying machines ever built, engines rumbling nicely, skimming over our surrounding environs…

From this work come a few DC-3 “glamour shots”–enjoy!

From Aurora State (KUAO) to the Oregon Coast:main1main4
Coastal inlet under the wing:main3
What a day!

A mock cockpit for Grimm

Our last post detailed our day on location with Grimm and one of the DC-3s that Aerometal International LLC (AMI) manages. The final project associated with this contract was the fabrication of a DC-3 cockpit in which to shoot the interior scenes.

AMI is extremely proud of our team of mechanics, engineers, and technicians, who are able to pull together projects under tight deadlines–in this case, just three days.

We started with a shell:GRIMM BEFORE WE STATED

And a drawing:GRIMM DRAWING

Coming together:cockpitinprocess


Ready to deliver (within 2 inches of not being street legal!):GRIMM FLIGHT DECK ON TRIALER


On-set and connected to the mock fuselage:GRIMM INTERIOR ON SET

Lights, camera, action:cockpitonset

We can’t wait to see the finished episode–watch for it to air on NBC on April 4th.

A snowy day with Grimm

A short grass strip…one way in, one way out…low ceilings…un-forecast snow…film cameras…all conspired to make for a very interesting day!

We were contracted to provide a DC-3 for an upcoming episode of the tv show Grimm, which is shot in Portland and its surrounding areas. The script required us to fly into a “remote” grass strip, which fortuitously is only a six minute flight from our base at Aurora State Airport (KUAO).  Becks Airfield is a gorgeous private grass strip, and at 2500 feet long, it qualifies as a short field landing for a DC-3. There’s a bit of a rise at the beginning of the landing zone, and a stand of trees at the end of the landing runway which leads down a minor embankment into the neighbor’s property…something we intended to avoid! We lightened our fuel load considerably, and appropriately slowed our normal approach speed. The field was wet from the previous day’s precipitation, but we had her smoothly stopped in plenty of time, with no white knuckles in sight.

We won’t give the storyline away, but below are some photos from the day.

Right after we landed, she was given a new temporary roundel:121 NEW LOGO121 GRIMM GRASS

The only potential wrench thrown in the day was the arrival of un-forecast snow…121 CAMERA GRIMMGRIMM SNOW 121121SnowByKenSnowy121Grimm

The ceiling and visibility obviously deteriorated throughout the day, and we made plans to leave 121 at Becks overnight. But as luck would have it, the skies cleared considerably as the last of the film crew’s trucks left the field. We took advantage of the VFR window to make the short hop back to KUAO, but we first had to provide ourselves safe flying surfaces.

Enter the broom-work of our beloved volunteer Ken:Grimm Cleaning 121

And AMI owner Paul, who also walked each wing with a shop broom:121 PAUL BROOM GRIMM121 Wing Paul Grimm

This project was satisfying for Aerometal International LLC from a variety of perspectives, as the pilots had the pleasure of flying a fun approach and providing technical consult, and our maintenance crew was able to fabricate a fantastic DC-3 cockpit under a short deadline for the filming of the episode’s interior flight deck shots. [Check our next post for the details of fabricating the DC-3 cockpit in the space of three days!]

Watch for this episode of Grimm to air on NBC on April 4th.