Sep 152010

Saturday, which was the anniversary of the World Trade Center Attack, I had the opportunity to drive up to Axtell, Nebraska to talk to Jerry May. I had met Jerry and his son Mike at the recent annual Antique Airplane Association Fly-in at Blakesburg, Iowa. His plane really caught my eye and has what I call a “tuxedo” paint job that is stunning.

A vertical rainbow connecting the cloud bank to the ground.

Just after sunrise and north of Newton, Kansas I saw this interesting cloud bank with what appeared to be a “stick” rainbow coming out of it.

High Bank Museum - Photo Courtesy of the Museum

I stopped at the Kansas Tourist center in Belleville, Kansas. It is near the border with Nebraska. Right next door to it is the Midget Racing Museum. It was too early to enter it so I took a few pictures. The one above I got from their website. It looks like an interesting museum but since I was on a mission and also because it was closed I had to pass on by.

Memorial Benches on the checkerboard plain

The Great Platte River Road Archway

I had never traveled on Highway 80 before and saw this interesting crossing ahead. I fumbled around to pull my camera out of my pocket and snapped this shot out of my windshield. It is called The Great Platte River Road Archway. Maybe some day I will get a chance to stop here but like I said before… I was on a mission.

About 15 minutes after taking the picture above I realized I had missed my turnoff. Apparently my desire to get the Archway picture had overridden my observation of the pertinent road sign. Suffice to say I finally figured this out in a construction zone where there were no places to turn around for miles. In desperation I confess that I pulled a “U” turn in a forbidden turnaround because I was already late for my interview.

When I finally got there (about an hour late) I was dismayed to learn that Jerry had hit a deer with his pickup and his whole grille was messed up pretty bad. I thought about taking a picture of it to put on this blog but decided it might be “bad form”.

Before they pulled the Rearwin out of the hangar, I took a few snapshots in and around their hangar.

Jerry's Luscombe

The 1936 Rearwin nested down in the hangar

A collection of rare engine parts

Another table of rare parts

Jerry and his son Mike have a business restoring airplanes. In the course of restoring various aircraft over the years they have come into possession of a variety of parts for some of the older engines used in these aircraft.

Mike May puts his Robinson in the hangar

In addition to working on fixed wing aircraft, Jerry and Mike maintain, restore and repair helicopters. Mike owns this Robinson that he is making improvement modifications to. Jerry also has designed a very interesting helicopter that utilizes jet turbine exhaust routed through the rotor to power it. They are working on a prototype that should be airborne before too long.

Jerry May and his 1936 Rearwin Sportster

I love this setting because their airfield is right in the middle of a cornfield. You couldn’t get more Nebraska authentic than that.

This sun is setting as I leave the May's hacienda and airfield

After a long but fruitful day I snapped this photo of the May farmstead as I headed down a country road on my way back to Wichita.

Blue Skies & Tailwinds!

Brian FitzGerald