~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A Russian Jig Saw Puzzle

Photos are clickable and look better full size.
The weather forecast for today was for morning low temp of 80° so I decided to drag myself out of bed early and go for a ride.  The bike has been parked for about 3 weeks now, my last ride being a run up to the Kawasaki dealer in Mesa to have a new rear tire fitted (got a Pirelli, works well).

With the temp starting out at 80° I knew the ride wouldn't be a long one because it heats up fast here this time of the year and 100° by noon would be a sure thing.  So I set out to do my usual Sunday jaunt.  It's predicable, not very exciting, but pleasant and sometimes it gets more interesting.  More importantly, it got me out of the house.

Some guys have a bigger space than others for their toys. This is not my garage but I wish...
I made my usual stop at Coolidge Airport and found that Ray Bachman was there working with his helper, Kenny.  Ray has an Aero L-29 Delfin jet trainer in the hanger but today I also found his other plane, a MiG 17F.  Or at least half of the MiG.
1/2 of a 12,000lb, 750 mph gas guzzler
An engine fire three years ago chewed up the back of the plane and it's been a long haul to try and get the 1955, Polish built, Russian jig saw puzzle together again.

Just two American guys wiling away a Sunday working on a plane that would have been a top secret  Soviet aircraft in 1950 or so.  Joe Stalin would be so pissed.

Cockpit bits. Good to be organized.  MiG 17 Tech support closed 40 years ago.
Ray and Kenny were redoing the cockpit instrument panels and tidying things up, not much else to do at this point until the engine and back half reappear from the overhaul shop and can be bolted up.

Kenny stands on an OSHA approved platform.

Below is a photo I snapped of Ray's plane back in 2006 when it was all in one piece.  Ray flies the MiG in air shows around the country.  It's sort of like taking your vintage bike to vintage bike events around the country except that your vintage bike doesn't burn 3 - 5 gallons of jet fuel per minute just getting there.
The guys said it should be back to flying in a few months.

Fun morning.  Never know what you'll find on a ride, even in rural Arizona.


Chessie (Chesshirecat) said...

What an interesting read. I was watching the Military Channel this morning, they did a small feature on the MIG. How fortunate for me to read this today... Thanks,

Steve Williams said...

Whenever I think I am spending too much on riding or photography I think of airplanes. Thanks for the reminder in bright red!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Webster World said...

And I bitch about my trucks gas mileage.

Greybeard said...

Got here via Tim Frazier's blog and started reading some of the comments.
Imagine my surprise reading a comment left by my old friend "Stu"!
(Stu and I both flew helicopters out of Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah back in the early 70's, and rode two-stroke triples back then... he a Suzy Water Buffalo and me a Kaw 750.)

It's a small world man, and I'm reminded of it more and more often these days.
I just bought a '93 Moto Guzzi SPIII and will begin riding again after an almost 30 year hiatus. Wrote Stu and he emailed his congratulations about joining the ranks of Italian bike riders!

Thanks for giving me reason to reconnect.

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