EAA 1418 meets every third Saturday at Noon in the pilots lounge at Rohnerville Airport, Fortuna, California.  Lunch and a beverage are provided for a suggested $5.00 donation to the chapter.  Anyone interested in aviation is welcome to attend.

Humboldt County, California Aviation Webcams

North Coast Aviators, EAA 1418, installs and maintains webcams at our local airports. These cameras show real-time weather conditions and have proved invaluable to aviators, local government agencies, and area residents.

All NorthCoastAviation.com webcams, AWOS, and more 

 Rohnerville Airport

Eureka/Arcata Airport

 Murray Field

Kneeland Airport

 Garberville Airport

Shelter Cove

See NorthCoastAviation.com for all the aviation cams, weather and local links, local highway cams and technical information about this program.

Affiliated with Lost Coast Aviators is the
AVI8CANDO Youth Aviation Program
Rohnerville Airport, CA

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A great one from Hans... Space Shuttle

This gem comes from Hans Koster.  Knowing that MILLIONS of people on the ground watched this event is cool.  Imagine being any of the pilots in this wonderful flight.

Hans got Garberville's East Cam working again last week.  Thank you Hans.  Just for grins, go and check Hans' site.  Just one of many of his sites worth visiting.


Frank Bush strikes again...

Frank sent me the following story and pictures.  I personally found the story so remarkable and moving I figured out how to copy, clean up, re-size and format all the images to get them up on this website.  (Considering my declining mental faculties, a pretty impressive accomplishment, at least to me, but it still took three days.)  I sweated and slaved over a hot keyboard so you too can share in the amazing exploits of our WWII aviators.  Just imagine being in this plane at that time.  Wow.

B-17 in 1943
A mid-air collision on February 1, 1943, between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area, became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of World War II. An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named All American, piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron.

When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17. The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away. The two right engines were out and one on the left had a serious oil pump leak. The vertical fin and the rudder had been damaged, the fuselage had been cut almost completely through connected only at two small parts of the frame and the radios, electrical and oxygen systems were damaged. There was also a hole in the top that was over 16 feet long and 4 feet wide at its widest and the split in the fuselage went all the way to the top gunners turret.

Although the tail actually bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the plane turned and all the control cables were severed, except one single elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft still flew - miraculously! The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting the tail to the rest of the plane. The waist and tail gunners used parts of the German fighter and their own parachute harnesses in an attempt to keep the tail from ripping off and the two sides of the fuselage from splitting apart. While the crew was trying to keep the bomber from coming apart, the pilot continued on his bomb run and released his bombs over the target.

When the bomb bay doors were opened, the wind turbulence was so great that it blew one of the waist gunners into the broken tail section. It took several minutes and four crew members to pass him ropes from parachutes and haul him back into the forward part of the plane. When they tried to do the same for the tail gunner, the tail began flapping so hard that it began to break off. The weight of the gunner was adding some stability to the tail section, so he went back to his position.

The turn back toward England had to be very slow to keep the tail from twisting off. They actually covered almost 70 miles to make the turn home. The bomber was so badly damaged that it was losing altitude and speed and was soon alone in the sky. For a brief time, two more Me-109 German fighters attacked the All American. Despite the extensive damage, all of the machine gunners were able to respond to these attacks and soon drove off the fighters. The two waist gunners stood up with their heads sticking out through the hole in the top of the fuselage to aim and fire their machine guns. The tail gunner had to shoot in short bursts because the recoil was actually causing the plane to turn.

Allied P-51 fighters intercepted the All American as it crossed over the Channel and took one of the pictures shown. They also radioed to the base describing that the empennage was waving like a fish tail and that the plane would not make it and to send out boats to rescue the crew when they bailed out. The fighters stayed with the Fortress taking hand signals from Lt. Bragg and relaying them to the base. Lt. Bragg signaled that 5 parachutes and the spare had been "used" so five of the crew could not bail out. He made the decision that if they could not bail out safely, then he would stay with the plane and land it.

Two and a half hours after being hit, the aircraft made its final turn to line up with the runway while it was still over 40 miles away. It descended into an emergency landing and a normal roll-out on its landing gear.

When the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved off because not a single member of the crew had been injured. No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a condition. The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all exited through the door in the fuselage and the tail gunner had climbed down a ladder, at which time the entire rear section of the aircraft collapsed onto the ground. The rugged old bird had done its job.

B-17 "All American" (414th Squadron, 97BG) Crew
Pilot- Ken Bragg Jr.

Copilot- G. Boyd Jr.

Navigator- Harry C. Nuessle
Bombardier- Ralph Burbridge
Engineer- Joe C. James
Radio Operator- Paul A. Galloway
Ball Turret Gunner- Elton Conda
Waist Gunner- Michael Zuk
Tail Gunner- Sam T. Sarpolus

Ground Crew Chief- Hank Hyland

If you made it this far, I would like to point out the following sentence from the story above...

The weight of the gunner was adding some stability to the tail section, so he went back to his position.

I truly hope the tail gunner survived the war, got married, had a bunch of great kids, lived a wonderful life, and died in his sleep.

Rest in peace you bad-ass.  You hero.  One among many.

P.s.  I suppose we would all have to give props to Boeing too.  Great plane.


I love pie...

All about aviation.  Just think of the smoke sync system involved.  And such close order flight for so long.  Impressive.  Wish we could do it here.  Jump on a trend.  Really freak out all the Humboltians.  Last time we had atmospheric conditions which resulted in all the vapor trails in the over-head Victor Airway persisting for a bit, half the nut jobs in the area went all "Chicken Little" on themselves.  What would a "chem trail" pi do to them?


Miracles do happen

This picture, taken at 7:10 a.m. on Thursday, August 10th, proves that miracles do happen.

Look...!  The twenty pounds Dennis needed to lose, were magically transformed to Randal!

Left to right.

Dennis's best friend, Richard Weber, Pilot and host of the Pilot's Lounge radio show on KMUD 91.1;
The Man Himself, Pilot, CFI and his best friend Cotton (look down);
Lindsay Locke, Dennis's best friend, Pilot and President of EAA 1418;
Randal Locke, Dennis's best friend, SCUBA diver and Lindsay's dad;
Jesse Gray, Dennis's best friend and the Pilot who made it happen.

Dennis has moved to an aviators paradise; Fort Mohave, Arizona.  A new home.  A new life.  A fresh start after surviving Hell.  Dennis is living in one of the best places to fly in the world.  Miracles do happen.


Dennis gets new choppers...

One of EAA1418's very favorite people; EAA1418 President Lindsay Locke's ground school instructor; the Humboldt Sky-Cam project monster; the friend to all aviators; particularly those in the South County at Garberville Airport...

...just got new teeth!  (After losing his prior set to his yoke when he had a less than perfect landing February 3rd.)  Thank you pilot, Yak owner, dentist, surgeon, artist, and EAA 1418 member Sam Kennedy for the awesome dental work... and making it all happen on schedule.  (Miracles do happen.)  And thank you to Jesse for being Jesse.  The best.  And thank you Bill and Jeff Stewart.  And pilot Roy Smith.  And thank you Jim Lichty.  And OMG... there are so many to thank.  Stay tuned.

Dennis Lichty with Lindsay's Dad.  All smiles.