Update 1/12/2019 - minor changes
My dad really enjoyed aviation and helping everyone in aviation, both in and outside the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). He attended the EAA conventions from day 1 for 64 years in a row, not missing a year. (Most likely the person with the highest attendance record at this time.) This is why I am dedicating this page to him and his aviation. If you have anything that you want to share, please send it to me.
|Dad and his wife Sharon|
The above three photographs were taken during my dad's induction into the EAA Homebuilders Hall Of Fame in 2005.
|Bremer County Independent Newspaper, July 27, 1960|
The Midget Mustang (or Long Mustang) was to become a production airplane made by Schweizer Aircraft, until the passing of designer Dave Long. My dad worked at Schweizer building six production prototypes, the first one being the N35J. I do not recall the exact detail how or why the N35J was damaged in Iowa, however after Schweizer dropped the production, my dad ended up with parts from it and rebuilding it. (Mid Atlantic Air Museum [MAAM] who has the N15J updated me that the N35J may had been ground looped. Thank you! Click "here" for MAAM website.) Unfortunately the FAA came along and said he could not re-use the N35J registered number because it was reassigned to a Beechcraft J35 Bonanza in 1958 (being the Midget Mustang did not have a production certificate). My dad then obtained N15J in its place because of the ease to change the N-number. When you compare the N-numbers in the photographs, you can tell how my dad modified the paint job.
My dad's passion was aviation. It did not matter of what type. He enjoyed planes used in air races, which is one reason he picked up the "Long Midget" to build and to help others to build. In the 1950's the popularity of building your own plane became a reality for many. The EAA came along to help join the airplane designers with the builders, helping each other in the crusade of home built aviation, and to find a new path of certification from the FAA so the planes could be flown. My dad obtained EAA membership #26, though that was because he had not decided the first day to sign up, or he would have had an earlier #19 (needed to borrow the $5 fee). He went back the second day with $5 in hand.
The next 4 pages are from the Sport Aviation magazine, dated May 1960. An article written by George Hardie, Jr. can be found starting on page 5. I want to thank the EAA for giving me permission to scan and load this article into my blog. This was the beginning of "Bushby Aircraft" and our selling of the Midget Mustang kits. You can find out more on the EAA by clicking "here".
I would help layout and build kits for builders, tracing out parts from templates, sheering aluminum, and bending spars. Of course a lot of time was hanging out with my cousins getting into trouble.
The years at Rockford, and the beginning years at Oshkosh were probably the best for me. That is when my dad held forums on how to form aluminum ribs and bulkheads. No fancy tools required. He would stand up in front of the audience and explain the technique as he formed. In the display tent we were at, there was a mockup of a Midget Mustang bulkhead and spar that was laminated and riveted by hand. Rib blanks and all the stages to the finished rib were on display as well. Fluting pliers were made by hand using a standard adjustable wrench with brazed copper pipe contoured and polished for the flute. A brass bar with a slit was on display for forming the rib lightening hole flange. (A build from scratch approach, or a roots airplane build if you will.) All of which he had me use while in the tent to show others how easy it was. Later, my uncle made a composite set of fluting pliers that my cousins Harvey, David and I went around selling for my uncle. That, and we sold the back cutoff of the Midget Mustang bubble canopies as windshields for open cockpit planes. I think my cousins and I thought we were entrepreneurs, making sure we got our cut of the money, and we enjoyed spending it on sodas and burgers (squirt guns and balsa planes too).
One thing I enjoyed learning was forming the firewall. We would pack the stainless cut blank in dry ice, and after it cooled down, we quickly placed in on the form block and bent the flange with a plastic mallet as far as we could, then used a lead bar to wack the flange over the form block and into the flutes that were in the form block. No spring back for the most part.
|First Time Flown to EAA Convention, Rockford, IL, 1966|
I still wonder the real reason for the Mustang II. Yes, builders were asking for a two seat version of the Midget Mustang performance. It could have been a tandem, but ended up side-by-side. What I thought was funny, even as a kid, was potential builders at the EAA convention would ask my dad to take their wife up, hoping she would be thrilled enough to allow her husband to spend the money, and time, to build the Mustang II. For the most part I believe it worked.
In 1971 I started making the fiberglass cowlings, wing tips, wheel pants for the Mustangs. I was getting more involved, and realizing that the Midget Mustang and Mustang II were a world wide popular airplane. Especially in Australia. One Australian builder changed the cowling to remove the "bug eyes" used to direct the air cooling over the cylinder heads, to a annular ring around the spinner. I asked my dad if I could modify his cowling to experiment and he said yes. The next photograph was the outcome. In the end I am not sure there was much gain in cooling.
1937 — First airplane ride in Ford Trimotor
1943 — Solo in J-3 Cub
1944 — Graduated high school
1945 — Private pilot license number 300894
1948 — A&E Mechanic certificate number 1001861
1948 to 1953 — Operated aircraft maintenance shop at Ottawa, IL
1948 — Established Bushby RLA, 2nd RLA in the state of Illinois
1949 — Restored Piper J-5
1950 — Commercial pilot license
1952 — Restored Waco AGC-8
1953 — Joined EAA, member number 26, and started Mustang kit buisiness
1954 — Multi-engine rating
1954 to 1955 — Midget Mustang construction, San Antonio, TX
1966 — Outstanding design award (3rd place) for Mustang II
1967 — August Raspet award
1973 — August Raspet award
1986 — Stan Dzik award
1992 — Robert Taylor Master Mechanic award, honoring 50 years activity in aircraft maintenance
2003 — Technical Supervisor for N120BS, an Antalis homebuilt that was awarded the Bronze Lindy that year
2005 — Write Brothers Master Pilot award, given to pilots with continuous flying of 50 years (for which I had 62 years at that time)
Founding member of EAA Chapters 95 and 260
MUSTANG builders have had 6 Oshkosh Grand Champions, more than any other design.
|Photo by Rick Henry|
|Photo by Rick Henry|
|Dad working at engine test lab, Sinclair Research.|
|Dad wanted me to wear his famous straw hat and to take a picture of me near this plane.|
The J3 Cub to the right in the above photographs I believe is the Cub I solo'd in.
|Me, Dad, and my son Nick|
|Bob's Grandson Nick - Circa 1990|
|Bob's Grandson Nick - Circa 1990|
|Dad in Dan McGarry's P-51 3/4 scale mustang.|
|Dad and wife Sharron|
|My cousin's daughter Emily with my dad.|
The above video is from a Paul Moses feature story for AOPA, the "First 100 Members" of EAA.