Keep the Skinny Birds Flying Safely
My name is Mark Mondello. I had the recent honor of saving Porterfield N37709, CP-65 SN 938. This airplane is happy and flying in its new home as part of the collection of antique airplanes at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in upstate NY.
N37709 had been sitting in the back of a hanger at KFIT in Fitchburg MA for about 14 years. It had suffered a ground loop, was repaired nicely to airworthy condition, but then sadly went into the hanger not to reemerge again for a very very long time. Remarkably the owner of the airplane contacted us at Rhinebeck looking to donate the airplane. I think it was expected that it would never fly again.
Myself and a group of volunteers drove three and a half hours up to Fitchburg with a trailer and laid eyes on the new member of our family. As luck would have it the aircraft had weathered its time dormant very well. The flat tires took air, the thick dust was brushed off, and the airplane was disassembled and loaded onto the trailer.
When we got the aircraft into the shop it was decided to make it airworthy. everything was carefully gone through and inspected, the engine serviced meticulously, lots of minor repairs, cleaning, paint, oil and grease and a dozen other small things checked off the list by a group of volunteers aged 8 to 80. New rubber, hoses, gaskets, and hardware replaced the old dried cracked and rusty stuff. Before we knew it, the airplane was back together and ready to stretch her wings.
The first flight in 14 years was on April 12th 2020 and I was happy to have a uneventful and enjoyable flight. Since then seven different Aerodrome pilots have flown the aircraft, and one of our youngest pilots, Mr. Patrick Walker, has really taken to the aircraft and has been enjoying it immensely. Patrick and the Porterfield are quite the pair and have been putting us more experienced pilots to shame, making the perfect landing look oh too simple!
I have attached a picture of the Porterfield at Rhinebeck.
Blue skies and tailwinds!
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome