Ray Moore’s B-17

How in the world do you describe a man, obsessed with the complete, true, accurate reconstruction of a World War II bomber? Meet Ray Moore through Tim Higgins’ pictures from our visit to Ray’s shop at the Asheville NC airport.

Ray (left) explains a bulkhead and its component parts to a thoroughly attentive visitor (me). Ray makes this particular piece for several B-17 restoration efforts going on across the country. He has a hand in almost all the projects worldwide.
Some of the many brackets destined for a bulkhead. Some are old, some are new, all are faithfully recreated including the washed or dipped primer in the manner they were originally done.
When Ray started, he had to figure out how to start. He says things like these jigs just come to him, like learning to weld, learning electrical wiring and so on. He is entirely self-taught. He made these jigs on his own without a model to go by. There are a lot of details to consider when you’re building a B-17.
Some components come in, badly damaged from impact or mishandling. In this case, the section was cut away from wreckage by uninformed or hasty workers who further bent and twisted the fuselage components with forklifts and other labor saving devices (for them). Ray is looking at hundreds of hours of work to fix the salvageable pieces but this section could fly again!
This aft fuselage section is destined for Ray’s own B-17, “Lucky 13”. His great uncle Marvin was a maintenance director during the war and Lucky 13 was one of his ships. It was damaged and ran out of fuel returning from a bombing raid to Stuttgart on September 6, 1943. The crew bailed out successfully and the airplane crashed in France. None of the crew lost their life; 3 returned to England, 7 were interred for the duration of the war.

Parts for Lucky 13 are faithfully recreated down to the smallest detail, correct for the model of the airplane. Ray is a tireless researcher and even details of the construction of interior bulkheads are reproduced or restored to original. Some of the salvaged parts he uses are from B-17s that were featured in the movie and TV series “12 O’Clock High”. He points to one reinforcing part and says “Gregory Peck touched this”! Fun stuff.

I can go on and on about Ray and his work, but go to his website for some remarkable information about the airplane, its crew, and the team working to put it back in the sky: www.hangarthirteen.org

Calling all graphic artists, designers, creative thinkers! We’re looking for a new patch design!

Our current, old patch (which we’re out of or can’t find the stock) is okay, but needs a refresher.

Your design might be a winner! You may submit as many entries as you’d like but it would probably best if you take the best part of each idea and boil it down to one or two.

One thing: looking at the patch above in the header, the roundels are British instead of French. The French used the outer ring in Red, the inner dot in Blue, separated by a white ring. Also, I’m checking with the Smithsonian to see when or if the Geronimo image was used when Kiffin Rockwell flew with the Escadrille Americaine (The name was changed to Escadrille Lafayette after he was killed).

There may be a prize for the winner .. stay tuned.

Submit your entries to the group email or to me at: eaachapter1016@gmail.com. Don’t expect a quick reply as I only check that address once in awhile. If you want, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

-alex

It’s Great To Be Back!

Wow! The Big Day fast approached when we had our first post-Covid Chapter meeting and it was a really big deal for me personally. For all of us to be able to gather in one place where the history of aviation in our local area is featured at the Western North Carolina Air Museum, that’s pretty special.

My first view of Oscar Meyer’s airport was probably when my family was driving past on our way to the old fairgrounds south of town. (They used to hold a pretty important regional horse show there every year.)

The thing that really caught my attention as we drove past was the rotating beacon flashing green/white across the night sky. I could see the sweep of the light from my bedroom, about 2 1/2 miles away. Then my Aunt Pete let on that she had started training as a CPTP pilot before The War and used to fly from an airfield just like the one here at home. Now THAT was REALLY something .. And just like that, I was hooked.

So it was pretty special to me to be able to welcome you to our resurgent EAA Chapter and to our long-awaited resumption of regular monthly meetings. We’ll typically have food at $5 per plate beginning at 6:30 or just before and the programs will start at 7:00. You can bring your own to grill if you want and we’d appreciate a donation to cover the fixings.

At the May meeting we heard about the Sun n Fun Fly In from Anton Pretorius and from Jerry and Nancy Marstall’s perspective .. regular SnF attendees and volunteers for many years. A look at Sun n Fun from different points of view and it was special.

The theme of the June 8th gathering will be projects. Bring pictures to share and let us know how you’re doing!

For June 8th, Keith Plemmons, one of our esteemed Technical Counselors, has some 3,000+ slides of his incredible Skyote project and is picking and choosing as of this writing to give us all a glimpse of what he’s been up to in his fully equipped shop. I hear he has a show set to music! Keith is pure EAA. He began his project – and it’s not an easy one – having to buy many of the machines for his shop and learn the skills needed to turn out a myriad of pieces that are actually beginning to come together as an airplane. I promise an interesting half hour or so as we tour his very complex project.

Please set aside the evening of June 8th on your calendar – in ink – and join your friends, old and new, as we continue our 2021 return to happy days of building airplanes, flying them and sharing the ride!

Build light and strong, fly safe, stay well.

Alex