In this update: Sparks a flying, steering improvements, and a new “Former Pilots” feature

Today’s Featured Sponsors


Victor Aviation Tri Max Logo   pugetsoundrope decal

Today’s crew:  Les Holm, Ed Shadle, Keith Zanghi, Lars Pedersen, Omar Chramosta, Trish Woods, Cory Mitchell, Jason Mitchell, and Andrew Kirk.  Working virtual this week was Von Armstrong and Paul Dries.

David Martinson and Tom Smith

Jason, Robert, and Cory

Today’s guests included a coworker of David Martinson at Art Morrison: Tom Smith.  Also stopping by was Robert, a long-time friend of Cory and Jason.  We always enjoy sharing the Eagle with new and old friends.

Jason Mitchell and David Martinson

David Martinson

Les “Where’s your drawing?”…David “It’s in my head” …Les (response deleted)


David began a new project today.  Work commenced on a replacement welding table; a big improvement over our old one.  Next week we need to install the caster wheels and apply some paint.

Pedersen Machine

Lars Pedersen


Adjustable Pickup Bracket



Lars was busy during the week, building an adjustable magnetic pickup for our new steering system.  After installing it last week, we decided that having the ability to fine tune the steering would come in handy, especially for Ed and Jessi!   Lars machined the new details in his home shop and installed the assembly this weekend. Precision machining to be sure.


Andrew, Jason, and Keith worked on the new belly pan.  Transferring hole locations and periphery to the new panel, they drilled and finished the part to size.  Next weekend will see a test fit and paint.

Cory Mitchell

Jason and Cory Mitchell

Today Cory Mitchell rebuilt our Wilwood front disc brake calipers.  The front brake’s purpose is to hold the car when the engine is at idle; not for stopping the car.  The engine is warmed up for five minutes prior to the run, then held at idle for five minutes after, in order to cool down.

New Feature:  Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines – Former Pilots of 56-0763

Today’s Featured Pilot

Scott Crossfield

Scott Crossfield03

Scott Crossfield at The Puyallup Fairgrounds

He was one of the world’s greatest test pilots,  though when asked,  he described himself as “an aeronautical engineer, an aerodynamicist, and a designer.  “My flying was primarily because I felt that it was essential to designing and building better airplanes for pilots to fly,” he would say.  He received his master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Washington: He was a test pilot at Edwards AFB: He was the first to fly Mach 2: He was a family man with a house full of kids: and he was one of the pilots of 56-0763.  For Team NAE, it was especially satisfying to  know that Scott got the chance to see the North American Eagle™

One month before Scott Crossfield died,  he was a featured speaker at the Puyallup Fairgrounds.  On display was the North American Eagle.™ Before his presentation, he was wandering the halls of the aviation show and came across the Eagle on display.  He stopped and said, “that’s an F-104.”  Ed said “It sure is and I think your fingerprints are all over it.  Let me show you.”  Scott went on to tell Ed and Von that he flew 56-0763 in order to simulate dead stick landings of the X-15, which had similar flight characteristics.  He said that he flew about 20 dead stick landings; “did a couple of hard ones and might have bent your airplane.”  He went on to tell the guys about flying and being a test pilot.  He said he had three flights that he was told to bail out from, and he chose to land it.  “We lost a lot of good airplanes flown by guys who bailed out too early.”

In 2004, Keith was attending the Aviation Hall of Fame induction in Dayton Ohio as a guest of Colonel Joe Kittinger.  During the cocktail party, prior to the induction ceremony, the room was filled with men wearing tuxedos and women in evening dresses.  All of the Hall of Fame members had their red, white, and blue ribbon medals around their necks.  Keith noticed Crossfield across the room and asked Col. Joe, “Is that Scott Crossfield?”  Col. Joe said, “yes…do you want to meet him?”  Before Keith knew it,  Col. Joe was escorting him through the sea of red, white and blue ribbons.  When they got to Crossfield,  he saw that he was engaged in a conversation with someone.  Col. Joe kind of butted in and said, “Scotty, I want to introduce you to my friend Keith Zanghi.”  A small crowd gathered as Keith showed Scott photos of the Eagle, which included some of General Joe Engle,( USAF Ret.), another pilot who flew the Eagle.  When Scott asked Keith how we were going to keep our car on the ground, Keith went into the start of his one-minute elevator speech;  about how computers, strain gauges, and load cells would work together with GNSS and keep it safe.  About five seconds into the explanation, Scott waved his hand and said “No…here is what you do.  Make a  mark on the windshield and keep it the same distance on the horizon  when making a run.”   It took Keith about 48 hours for him to realize that Crossfield was right!   It shows you how smart these guys were; brave pilots who had the right stuff,  pushed the flying envelope, and knew what they were doing.

Scott Crossfield died 11 years ago this week; April 19, 2006, while doing what he loved,  flying into history.




Special thanks to Victor Sloan at Victor Aviation for sending us some of the photos

Jet Blast from The Past


Landing at Edwards AFB

In the very beginning of the project, Tony Landis who worked in the historical archives at NASA Armstrong (Then Dryden), saw that we were using an F-104A to build the North American Eagle™   He researched the serial number, 56-0763 and found that the aircraft was based at Edwards AFB its entire lifetime.  He then searched the log books and saw that it was flown by some of the greatest test pilots of all time.  In addition, he found many photos of 56-0763 at Edwards.

Sponsor Feature: S&S Turbine Services

S&S Turbine Services provides 45,500 horses for the Eagle

Dassault Systèmes offers 3DEXPERIENCE


Dassault Decal2

Click on image above and learn all about it

Dassault Leadership Team

Bernard Charlès and Phillip Forestier at COE

Mr. Charlès is the Vice Chairman , CEO and Mr. Forestier is the EVP, Global Affairs and Communities.  Dassault Systèmes is a long time sponsor of the North American Eagle™ providing CATIA design Software solutions, working closely with IDEX Solutions.  We have made numerous appearances at COE Conventions in Las Vegas and Orlando, along with The European CATIA Forum in Paris France.

lemay logo

LeMay Family Collection is a long time sponsor of the North American Eagle™

God Bless and Protect our Troops