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The restored Stinson Voyager, and two ladies from Canada
Story and photos by Jack Hodgson

Michael McDonell and Mark Davis with Mark’s 1948 Stinson Voyager.

Susan Begg and Mo Egan of Ottawa, Canada, with Susan’s Mooney M20E.

The cream and brown Stinson sits on the grass of vintage camping on this sunny morning midway through AirVenture 2010.

Michael McDonell and Mark Davis are packing the plane and working through preflight activities for their impending departure and trip home to Greeley, Colorado.

They arrived in the Oshkosh area this year on Sunday and drove the final miles in with friends. They were able to bring the plane in on Monday.

The original plan was to get here as part of a 50-ship Stinson mass arrival, but like most all the mass arrivals this year, that plan didn’t survive the wet conditions early in the week.

But like everyone else here at the fly-in this year, they’ve taken the challenges in stride.

When they finally did fly in they did so on the Ripon-Fisk VFR arrival. That was the first Ripon arrival for either of them.

Michael said they were a little intimidated by the prospect of following the seemingly complex NOTAM—but it turned out to be no problem at all.

“It was exciting and fun,” he said, “but not exciting and dangerous.

“This is my third time here, and I’ve never flown in like this. I’ve flown in early, I’ve come in the bus, but this is the first time that I’ve actually came in under the NOTAM.

“We were kinda nervous because it seems complex, but when you get right down to it, all you have to do is end up in Fisk and listen.”

Mark owns the Stinson, which is a 1948 108-3 model, and he spent five years restoring it after it got damaged. He replaced all the skin and wing surfaces.

“It had been flipped over so the tail had to be rebuilt,” he said. “And one of the wings needed significant repairs.”

Michael is working on a JAR 22 motorglider. It’s been eight years so far. Recently he spent a long time trying to get the Rotax 447 engine running, but success put that finally behind him.

“Now I’ve got another three years to go,” he said. “It’s as much a process as it is a goal.”

Most of Michael’s flying during the rest of the year is in sailplanes. He belongs to Owl Canyon Gliderport north of Fort Collins.

Owl Canyon has a variety of gliders, but most of Michael’s time is in a Grob.

The 1964 Mooney Super 21 E Model has done a lot of flying recently.

Susan Beggs and her flying partner, Mo Egan, participated in the Hanover, Ontario, to Brandon, Manitoba, rally put on by the Canadian Ninety-Nines before continuing on here to AirVenture 2010.

The rally took them via Sault St. Marie, Wawa, Thunder Bay, Fort Frances, and St. Andrews, Manitoba. Participating in the rally caused them to miss out on the wet grounds problems we experienced earlier in the week.

Susan and Mo are past winners of this event, but this year they finished third.

“When you win you have to do the planning for the next year. So you don’t always try that hard to win,” Susan joked.

Susan has been coming to the Oshkosh fly-in for more than 25 years.

Her home field is Rockcliffe, right on the edge of downtown Ottawa. There are no hangars allowed on the field due to a sort of zoning regulation, which seems like it would be rough on the planes in the wintertime to this wimpy American, but the hardy Canadians take it in stride.

“You just put covers on them,” she said. “It’s a little bit of work, but not really a problem.”

Rockcliffe is also the location of the Canada Aviation museum and its collection of military and bushplanes used in northern Canada.

Susan does a lot of flying in the Mooney—which she’s owned since 1987—during the rest of the year.

She’s been all across Canada, down here into the southwestern United States, and out into the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

In addition to their involvement in the Ninety-Nines, Susan and Mo intend to be in the WomenVenture photo on Friday.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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