Twenty-five Sun Lakes Aero Club (SLAC) members and guests—the largest group to attend a field trip in the club’s 25-year history—gathered at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport Dec. 5 for breakfast and tour of the GossHawk Unlimited aircraft restoration facility.
Making the trip were Joe Igelmund, Gary Vacin, Vince Sciberra, Paul Beeks, Steve Horowitz, Jim Haytas, Leo Keeling, J.R. Scheidereiter, Cannon Hill, Jim Theobald, Jim Savage, Bob Walch, Ralph Fairbanks, Keith McDonald, Ron Goecke, Tom Ptatink, Lyle Manetin, Danny Jetton, Sam Fisch, Bob DeLong, Walt Gromada, Mark Weiss, Larry Michelerink, Hank Bielema, and Roger Rempert.
Dave Goss, GossHawk President, gave an informative presentation on his company’s mission, which involves all aspects of restoration and maintenance of aircraft from original WWI planes and replicas through the gamut of WWII warbirds and Vietnam-era aircraft.
Members and guests then toured GossHawk’s huge hangar and viewed several aircraft in various stages of restoration: two German Focke-Wulf 190 fighters, including the only type still flyable today; a Bellanca Cruisemaster and a HelioCourier short-field takeoff and landing aircraft.
Of special interest was the world’s only flyable Consolidated PBY4-2 Privateer, the Navy version of the B-24 that served as a patrol bomber in World War II and the Korean War. The aircraft came to GossHawk in 2010 after serving as a fire bomber for several years.
Rather than have the aircraft down for many years of deep restoration, GossHawk opted to perform ad hoc work while keeping the Privateer available for flying during at least some of the air show season. The aircraft has been undergoing restoration and maintenance since then. At times, all seven GossHawk employees have been working on the aircraft.
SLAC is an official Sun Lakes organization. The group has monthly gatherings November through April featuring speakers on a wide variety of aviation-related topics. Also included are monthly field trips to locations such as the Goldwater Gunnery Range and the Phoenix TRACON facility and tower located at the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport.
For additional information on the club, contact Cannon Hill at 509-539-7857 or Gary Vacin at 480-298-7017 or visit the club’s website, sunlakesaeroclub.org.