Owls Head Transportation Museum’s 2016 Wings and Wheels Rally!


The Owls Head Transportation Museum’s Wings and Wheels Spectacular was held on the first full weekend in August this year, on the museum grounds on the north side of the Maine’s Knox County Regional Airport . Featured were aircraft designs that spanned a full century of flight. These flying machines, coupled with a collection of automobiles and other wheeled vehicles that also spanned the century of progress, presented a great afternoon of living history in the picturesque MidCoast region of Maine. Not only were a multitude of rare and interesting vehicles displayed, but the vast majority of them operated as their creators expected them to – flying in the air and motoring around on the ground!

Let’s take a look at most of the aircraft that were featured at the “Rally” (as it is sometimes called), along with a few of the performers:


1917 SPAD XIIIC.I replica, complete with an eye-catching authentic, but short lived paint scheme from the period when Captain Eddie Rickenbacker commanded the 94th Aero Squadron. This replica SPAD is operated by the Owls Head Transportation Museum.

1923 Fokker C.IVA, an authentic restoration of an aircraft that attempted to fly from Tacoma, Washington to Tokyo, Japan in 1930. Included in this restoration is a Rolls Royce Eagle VIII V-12 water-cooled power plant. This aircraft is also owned and operated by the Owls Head Transportation Museum; it was restored and then donated by one of its trustees, Mr. Ken Cianchette.

1930 Curtiss-Wright Travel Air D-4000 Speedwing, owned by the Owls Head Transportation Museum, is a movie veteran from the early 1930s. The D-4000 aircraft was originally designed by the Travel Air Manufacturing Company, which was formed when Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech and Clyde Cessna (three great names in civil aviation!) joined forces in the mid-1920s. The Great Depression’s effects forced Travel Air to be sold to the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in 1929, thus this 1930 vintage aircraft is more correctly called a Curtiss-Wright Travel Air D-4000.


1941 Stearman A75N-1; Owls Head Transportation Museum owned and operated, it was one of a pair of biplanes which were available to (paying) passengers for flights during the Wings and Wheels event.

1942 P-40K Bernie Vasques flew the Texas Flying Legends Museum’s (TFLM) “Aleutian Tiger”, a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (also known as a Kittyhawk when this plane was sent to Russia as part of the Lend Lease Agreement during World War II). This and a similar aircraft were recovered from Russia and restored; this one in markings representative of an Alaskan-based U.S. fighter squadron.

1944 F-51D The Tri-State Warbird Museum’s Mustang is named “Cincinnati Miss”, and was present two years ago at an earlier Wings and Wheels event. This year it was piloted by Paul Redlich, who flew multiple passes paired with the TBM “She’s the Boss”.

1945 FG-1D Corsair Warren Pietsch flew the Texas Flying Legends’ Corsair, a version of the Vought F4U fighter bomber. This Goodyear-produced Corsair was once operated by the El Salvador Air Force, and during the weekend, it flew in formation with the TFLM’s P-40K “Aleutian Tiger”.

1945 TBM-3U Charlie Lynch owns and flies this modified World War II torpedo bomber; this aircraft later became a utility aircraft for the U.S. Navy after World War II. The story goes that when Charlie told his wife he wanted a warbird, she said it had to be big enough to carry the whole family from air show to air show… narrowing his choices to include this big Grumman single – his ultimate acquisition.

1953-56 T-34A Julie Clark’s Beech T-34A Mentor was in Alaska when she bought it at a government auction in 1977. Julie has now personally flown this individual aircraft more than 11,000 hours – that’s more than 15 months of continuous time aloft! Julie is a retired airline pilot, flight instructor, and world-renowned aerobatics pilot with an infectious smile and a huge amount of flying experience. According to her web site, she was a civilian flight instructor in T-34s at California’s NAS Lemore, and her familiarity with the type led her to buy this plane that she’s named “Free Spirit”. Her aircraft has an upgraded “Stratos Plus” engine of 300 horsepower, much more powerful than the original stock engines that developed around 225 horsepower. Julie flew her dynamic and graceful aerobatic routine in her advanced trainer, complete with red, purple and blue smoke and flashes of sunlight reflecting off of her highly polished airframe.

1987 Ultimate 10-200 Dan Marcotte is a speed demon… he’s raced stock cars, been over 300 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats, successfully competed at the National Championship Air Races in Reno Nevada, and has proven himself worthy of a surface level aerobatics waiver in a hot Ultimate 10-200 biplane. Dan hails from the nearby state of Vermont, and is a big supporter of Maine’s Owls Head Transportation Museum.


2011 YMF-F5C One of the Owls Head Transportation Museum’s younger aircraft, this modernized version of the original WACO (Weaver Aircraft Company) brand of biplane was built by WACO Classic Aircraft, not the original manufacturer. It can carry two passengers as well as the pilot, and in conjunction with the Museum’s Stearman, offered scenic rides all weekend.

Just to show that there were many more earthbound attractions in Owls Head during the weekend, here is a slide show of more of my favorites:

The Rally is just one event on a long list of featured weekend tributes to various types of transportation that happens each year at the Owls Head facility. Events that feature automobiles – like the recent 39th Annual New England Auto Auction held at the Museum, is an example of the almost-biweekly special weekends planned each year – which includes a Father’s Day celebration, the 1920’s-themed Barnstormer’s Ball, many motor vehicle gatherings and type roundups, and of course this Wings and Wheels weekend. For a full calendar of the Museum’s events, go to: http://owlshead.org/events

Many thanks to the Museum’s Public Relations Director Jenna Lookner and the rest of the operations staff for allowing us great access for photos and interviews, so we could tell this story!

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