Countless aviation items will be available for public purchase from the EAA AirVenture Museum Surplus Shop for the first time during AirVenture this week.
"The AirVenture Museum is opening EAA's attic to reduce the overwhelming size of our stored artifact collection," said Jeff Skiles, EAA vice president of chapters and youth education. "We're giving our members a chance to purchase some truly historic items."
Whether you are an avid flier or a history buff, the sheer variety and quantity of artifacts tucked away in this storehouse-located in the same building as Paul Poberezny's Airplane Factory-is incredible. Here's just a sampling of what will be available for purchase when we open up the vault at 8 a.m. Monday, July 23.
If you are looking for miscellaneous airplane parts, this shop is worth a walk-through.
Engine parts of various models and sizes fill the shelves' wooden bins, some of which haven't been cracked open in years. A few identified pieces include cylinders from Continental 220s and Pratt & Whitney R-985s and OX-5 engine parts.
There are stacks of benches and paratrooper seats, an original-condition ejection seat off a McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, assorted oil pumps and gauges, wire wheels from the 1920s, wood and metal propellers of all kinds, aircraft floats and skis, and many more artifacts just waiting to be discovered in this treasure trove.
The B-17 propeller blades in the shop would make a great decoration or conversation piece. And just imagine an outstanding new addition or three to decorate your chapter hangar or pilot cave.
Sitting directly outside the shop is a Wright 3350 turbo compound engine with a propeller off a Douglas DC-7. The engine is not in immediate working condition, and three of the prop blades have been shortened, but it sure would make a strong visual statement.
A 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major engine is the biggest piston engine ever built. We have one, with four rows of cylinders arranged in a spiral, inspiring the engine's "corncob" nickname. Although WWII ended before this engine could power airplanes in combat, it did power the last generation of large piston-engine aircraft before being replaced by jets.
A large, rusted piece of a landing gear from a Twin Beech stands ominously in the shop as the only part ever found after a crash into Lake Michigan. The Twin Beech saw military service during and after WWII for the United States Army Air Forces and the Navy.
Just for fun
Interested in practicing tailwheel ground maneuvers? Although not designed for flight, there is an EAA Penguin, a non-flying tailwheel aircraft trainer, in fairly good condition that could be pulled behind a car to practice flying control exercises.
A variety of EAA commemorative artifacts will also be available for purchase, including old patches, brochures, posters, and mounted newspaper clippings. Operating and maintenance handbooks from the 1950s and '60s fill a table in the shop's second room. Then there are stacks of old Aviation magazines dating back to the 1940s, carefully protected in plastic wrapping for years.
Some items in the shop will be priced ahead of time, but the majority will be available on a "best offer" basis, Skiles said. The EAA AirVenture Museum Surplus Shop is located directly south of the EAA Fly-In Theater and will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 23-29.
"This is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime," Skiles said. "Make sure and drop by before it's gone."