One person’s basket case is
another classroom’s flight simulator
HELICOPTER PILOT AND EAA Chapter 1356 member Steve Tyer was
holding at a navigation fix in East Texas when he spotted the
remains of a Piper Warrior sitting in a salvage yard. The wings and
most of the tail were gone, but the fuselage was essentially intact,
and the wheels in his mind started turning.
Steve contacted the salvage yard about donating the plane for a
school project, and a few days later he was pulling into the parking
lot at Faith Training Christian Academy in Leesville, Louisiana,
with the remains of the Piper strapped to a trailer. A fellow chapter
member, Dub Williams, was a teacher there, and the Warrior would
go on to become a flight simulator in his classroom.
The project was eventually sent to the hangar of chapter
president Roy Beltz. The first step was to clean out the debris left
over from Hurricane Katrina, the cause of the Warrior’s woes in
the first place. Chapter 1356 members and some of Dub’s students
helped get things cleaned up, and then somebody noted that the
fuselage was likely too wide to fit through a door and get into the
classroom. The group talked things over and decided half of the
fuselage would do, and they set to work with a Sawzall.
The aircraft control yokes and associate mechanisms, as well
as most of the panel, were removed to create a shelf to house the
computer display, simulator yokes, pedals, and throttle quadrant.
A computer tower was attached to the outside of what remained of
the firewall, and the unsupported left side of the sim was walled up
with plywood and covered with carpet. An exhaust fan was installed
to provide air circulation and keep the temperature tolerable, and
the windscreen was painted blue with a few white clouds.
Wheels were added to the final product to make the heavy unit
portable to other classrooms if needed, and, Dub reports, many
students have already spent several hours in the sim.
Above: Sean Swartz (left) and Dub Williams outside of the simulator at Faith
Training Christian Academy. Below: Keily Rooker at the controls inside the cockpit.
MASTER PILOT AWARDS
CONGRATULATIONS TO PETER BURGHER, EAA lifetime
109613, who was recently awarded the Wright Brothers
Master Pilot Award for 50 or more years of safe flying
at a formal presentation in Panama City, Florida.
LEON KUMOR, EAA 214273, was also recently awarded the
Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. Chris Manthe,
FAA Safety Team director, presented the award in late
January at the annual Nebraska Aviation Symposium in
Kearney, Nebraska. Congratulations, Leon!