In-Flight Special Event Set from Restored Pan Am Stratoclipper

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by Guest, Jul 24, 2001.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    From the ARRL...




    NEWINGTON, CT, July 23, 2001--A restored Pan American Airways Boeing B-307 Stratoclipper with ham radio aboard departed Seattle, Washington, July 22. A group of retirees from Pan Am and Boeing, and some current Boeing workers-hams among them-restored the antique aircraft to flight status. Chuck Driskell, W7ZIR, is conducting an in-flight special event operation on HF-using the plane's original HF radios--as the plane heads for the Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.



    The plane--Flying Cloud, NC 19903-was forced to wait at Billings, Montana--its first planned stop of a multi-hop trip to Oshkosh--because of bad weather throughout the Midwest. It is now scheduled to arrive in Oshkosh on Tuesday morning, weather permitting. The return flight is scheduled for either July 30 or 31 with another stop at Billings. It's anticipated that Driskell will operate on the ham bands on the return trip as well.




    Driskell made an initial Amateur Radio contact after departing Seattle, but has not been able to resume ham operations since then. When possible, he expects to operate CW on or about 3.545, 3.680, 7.040, 7.050 and 7.060 MHz, and AM on or about 3.875, 3.885, 7.285 and 7.290 MHz. The aircraft's 75-W transmitter feeds a fixed antenna mounted on a mast above the radio position and extending back to the tail.



    One of only two known remaining pre-jet Pan American Airways planes, the restored B-307 is in virtually the same condition as when delivered to PAA in 1939. The B-307's inaugural post-restoration rollout at Boeing-Seattle on June 23 was a big success and attracted a fair crowd of onlookers that included TV reporters and aviation-magazine writers.



    During last month's shakedown flight, Ralph Conly, N6VT, made a nostalgic in-flight QSO with Craig Stewart, K7SKP, using the plane's original Pamsco communications equipment. Conly had last used the same radios in the fall of 1941, when he was flight radio officer on a Pan Am flight from Miami, Florida, to Balboa, Canal Zone, and back. "Since World War II was imminent there was extremely tight security over the canal," said Conly. "We had to file exact arrival time and make it! Often we would have an escort plane on each side of us." The crew operated the plane's original radio gear on 80 and 40 meters while in flight, using CW and AM.



    Former Pan Am flight engineer Bob Stubbs started refurbishing the plan more than 12 years ago. Later, Boeing took over the project and decided to restore the plane to flying condition. "It is due to Bob's early work that we have her today," said Conly.



    The plane is owned by the Smithsonian Institution and will eventually be displayed at the new museum facility at Dulles Airport in Virginia. For more information, contact Ralph Conly.
     
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