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Member's Update

DOUGLAS R4D Need Your Help!

Thanks to all who helped - the Martin Flys Again!

Martin.jpg (114473 bytes)

Martin on its return from Johnstown, August 25, 2000 (click on image for full view)

Now let's get our DC-3/R4D in the Air!

We've come a long way with your help, not the least of which has been the donation of proceeds from the extremely popular Compact Disk of the R4D simulator. We're halfway to getting these two great classics flying again. With your continued help, the 2001 airshow season will see the MAAM R4D and Martin the start attractions they've always been. If you haven't purchase your CD yet, head over to the online museum store and click on the R4D simulator link. (you can get a lot of your Christmas shopping done at the online store and then relax in December while everyone else is frantic). You can also make donations at the online store

Here's the rest of the story on our engine woes, as written last summer:

After more than 1,100 hours of reliable operation, the left-hand engine on the Museum’s flagship R4D needs replacement. Why? All aircraft engines have a fixed service life. Despite careful and efficient operation of aircraft engine, they wear out, and that is exactly what has happened to ours.

Unfortunately the acquisition cost of a replacement engine is quite high. The first price that we’ve received on a rebuilt Pratt and Whitney R-1830-94 engine was $47,000. That is quite a shock, and to be quite frank, leaves us short of the money needed for the replacement.

The results of this engine failure have far reaching effects and great impact far beyond the cost of the replacement engine.

The R4D was scheduled to participate with 18 members at Oshkosh, at Beaver County, PA, Frederick, MD, Sussex, NJ, Elmira, NY, Burlington County NJ, Johnstown, PA, College Park MD and Coatesville PA Airshows... the inability to attend these trips represents losses of appearance fees, store sales, and the opportunity for members to fly along.

A few weeks after our situation with the R4D we were confronted with yet another... time has run out for our Martin 4-0-4’s right hand engine as well. In all our years of operations, we’ve never encountered this type of situation, with two engines needed at one time, but that situation exists now.

To complicate matters, unlike the R4D, which is home and may be worked on here, the Martin engine situation occurred while the aircraft was at the Johnstown, PA Airshow. Once again, we had to defer to safety, and feel that the 4-0-4 should not be flown again until another engine is installed.


We are asking our members to dig deep and chip in to help get these two museum aircraft back in the air again. It would take a $90 contribution from EACH of our members to buy these engines "free and clear", so we are setting $90,000 as our goal, enabling us to purchase both engines. We realize that some members can give more, others less, so we are asking you to send what you can. Send your $90 contribution or any amount you wish to donate to the museum today. (now available - online donations at the Museum Store)

In thinking about writing a check, please consider this. Unlike PBS, the Mid Atlantic Air Museum doesn’t "hit you up" every other week for a sustaining contribution. We do our best to earn our day-to-day expenses here at the facility, through our special events and our air show appearances.

When you consider that our dues have remained at the same level since 1989, despite greatly increasing costs, we feel you’ll agree that this has been an effective way to manage our finances. It also considers the fact that our $35 dues are all that some of our members can afford.

Like PBS though, we do have "singular needs’ which arise from time to time. Periodically you’ll see a fund raising campaign related to an individual aircraft, like the P-61, 4-0-4 or R4D. This allows you to put any contributions you might make to the museum behind a particular project, in effect "customizing" your contribution to the museum by supporting a particular aircraft or project. We hope that this very important engine replacement project is one that many of our members would like to get behind... supporting our first aircraft and two of the "flagships of the fleet"!

As an added incentive, we will offer the following. Any member giving $150 or more toward the engine will get a free ride on one of these aircraft, on a special ride Saturday next Spring! Please mark your check ENGINE FUND and send it in today! Your contribution can also be charged utilizing VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER or AMERICAN EXPRESS cards. If you wish, we can charge your donation in two separate payments, 30 days apart... just let us know when you call!

Send your contributions to: Mid Atlantic Air Museum, 11 Museum Drive, Reading, PA 19605 or call and charge (610) 372-7333 or donate online

Fifty Years Later...


50 years ago, the first Pennsylvania Air National Guard fighter group to be activated, the 148th Fighter Squadron, moved into its new home at Spaatz field in Reading, PA. On May eighth the group returned as a part of its 50th reunion to the home of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum, whose buildings were used by the guard as their first headquarters fifty years before.

"The hangar never looked this good in 1947!" commented several of the guard members....

Why? The museum has "kicked off" 1997 with a number of improvements to the hangar and surrounding facility. The guard was treated to a tour of the Museum's new restoration shop, which was completed three years ago, along with new hangar siding and insulation. This was followed this up with a 2,000 square foot addition in 1996 which included meeting facilities, expanded workshop space and a group equipment garage.

In 1997 work so far has included replacement of the hangar door tracks, as well as the addition of 14 parking spaces to the visitors parking lot, plus repaving of Museum Drive and the addition of a guard rail. "We've got a few more projects on tap for 1997,' explained Museum President Russ Strine...

'First, we'll complete the hangar renovation by insulating and lining the hangar doors and motorizing them. In July we'll be adding a heating system to the 9,600 square foot display hangar." The hangar upgrade has led to greater community awareness of the facility and to its use by several local groups. In addition to the 285 members of PA ANG 148th fighter squadron, the Hangar has played host to WEEU AM Stereo's listener open house, the Berks County's Office of Aging "sold-out"

"Senior Prom", (which brought 400 seniors in for a uniquely themed dance), and has also been the scene of many service club meetings and tours.. "We're very excited to be giving back to the community, and are very appreciative of the support from Reading and Berks County for the Museum," added Strine.

Another example of community support this year is the provision and installation of three telephone poles for the Museum's new 12'x24' billboard. The new board, when completed in July is a good example of cooperation of GPU Energy, one of the Museum's community partners, as well as local township, county and state officials.

Program Coordinator Pete Malashevitz explains further about upcoming Museum events, "So far '97 has been a great year for the facility, with attendance and store sales up. We're looking forward to our seventh annual WW II Weekend, to be held on June 7th and 8th, when we'll be hosting the annual convention of the Pennsylvania chapter of the 8th Air Force Historical Society. We'll also have a chance to show off our biggest project, the P-61 "Black Widow"... and we're sure that those who saw it last year will be thrilled with the progress that has been made on this rare aircraft."

But for the members of the 148th fighter squadron, whose bronze plaque now welcomes visitors to the hangar with an explanation of the groups history, just being able to return to the site, and knowing that their history, as well as that of Mid Atlantic Aviation history is being preserved, all the improvements meant one more thing, as summed up by an ex P-47 pilot... "I guess you can go home again. I'd like to thank the Mid Atlantic Air Museum for that."
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