Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Prairie Aviation Museum Dedicates "Peashooter" Children's Flight Simulator

By Carmelo Turdo
(This a reprint of the article featured in the January 2012 edition of the Prairie Aviation Museum "Logbook" Newsletter). 

On Saturday December 10, 2011 the Prairie Aviation Museum (PAM) hosted a dedication and celebration of the work of Earl Kaufman. At 2:00 pm, with Earl’s son Lonne and his family present, we honored Earl with a dedication of the recently preserved home built aircraft Simulator he built.

Gifted mechanic, aviation enthusiast, and PAM member (#46) Earl Kaufman built a youth flight simulator in his Normal, IL workshop and donated it to PAM. He wanted to provide children with an airplane experience and enjoyed sharing his creation with children attending the PAM air shows in the late 1980’s. After many years of use, the Peashooter, named after the famous 1930’s Boeing P-26A, needed some tender care and restoration.

The museum is indebted to Lonne Kaufman, son of Earl Kaufman, for sharing information about his father and the construction of the Aircraft Simulator. After providing some history of the aircraft simulator and its preservation, Tom Kuhn gave appreciation certificates to Lonne and his family, Jim Wallen and John Rice and JOPAC.

Peashooter Before Current Restoration

The 4 Peashooter’s (PAM members Tom Kuhn, Gary Volk, Doug Reeves, and Karl Rubbel) disassembled the simulator, replaced worn-out parts, installed a windshield and painted it to resemble the Boeing P-26A Boeing aircraft. A special thanks goes to Jim Wallen for refinishing the seat and interior. Jim spent over 20 years as the creator and repair expert for the interior of Air Force One.

And a special thanks to John Rice and JOPAC Auto Paints & Supply for use of their workshop, paint supplies, great ideas and encouragement. John and his firm are experts in auto painting and he had many ideas that made the preservation a real success.

Then Doug Reeves and Tom unveiled the “new” peashooter and showed off the marvelous example of aviation craftsmanship by Mr. Earl Kaufman. The plane will be used for many events at the museum.

Peashooter After Current Restoration

First Flight!
The visitors talked about the work of Earl Kaufman, the details of the preservation and even gave rides to some of the younger family members. It was a fun afternoon and great dedication to Earl Kaufman.

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