In this update: Highlights of our Shelton Engine Test

Today’s Featured Sponsors


Cam Shadle, Les Holm, Denny Olson, Mike Holmes, Eric Wittler, Mike Chaffeur, and Keith Zanghi

Three new sponsors joined us at our engine test site at Sanderson Field in Shelton WA.  Streetrods by Denny, Holmes Electric, and Eagle Creek Land and Development.  All  three are great Pacific Northwest Companies, and we welcome them to the team.

On the day the world celebrates the landing of the Eagle on the moon surface, our Eagle landed at Sanderson Field in Shelton WA.  Today, many team members were able to make it out for a hot and very successful day in the life of the North American Eagle®  Cam Shadle, Les Holm, Lars Pedersen, Russ Powrie, Rob Martinson, Von Armstrong, Andrew Kirk, Patricia Wood, Steve Rima, Garrett Holm, Cory Mitchell, Zac Hopkins, Don Mitchell, Sean Rondestvedt, Marty Jackson, Chris Greene,  Earl Dietz, Tom Tiede, Rachel Shadle, and Keith Zanghi.  We had two photographers for the event; Nate Pierce and Rachel Shadle.  Steve Wallace, Brandyn Bayes, and Chris Banks were working virtual.  Jason Mitchell and Rich Pengelley had prior commitments but were there in spirit.  Larry Martinson was chasing down critical parts for us back in Tacoma.  Also on hand was our fuel sponsor Steve Small,  from Small & Sons Petroleum.  Jessi Combs was in Los Angeles on a prior commitment.  We did FaceTime with her following the test and she was stoked!

Eric Wittler and Cam Shadle

This update is about one day, but it is really about the previous 10 months.  All the systems we have been working on needed to be functionally tested prior to heading down for this year’s test session and record runs.  Major changes to the fuel system had a couple of concerns about our first engine start.  Cam Shadle, who is a 777 flight line mechanic, does new engine startups everyday and has a lot of experience with this activity.  So for the first startup, we had Cam sit in the cockpit and start the car, with Crew Chief Les Holm orchestrating the activities.   Everything worked great. The engine came to life quickly switching over to internal power.  When it came time to go into afterburner, it transitioned smooth and clean.

Eric Wittler

Check out Eric’s new website: 

For the second run, back up driver Eric Wittler climbed into the cockpit and went through the same routine. Again, a clean start and internal power switch over.  When it came time to move the throttles forward into afterburner, it worked just as the technical order said it should.  Both runs went through nearly 300 gallons of fuel.

The next steps will be to unload the car back at the hangar this Saturday and take care of a few odds and ends before our record runs this summer.

Special thanks go to Deborah Soper from the Port of Shelton, the Shelton Fire Dept., and the Sanderson Field Radio Control Flyers Club for making this weekend a success.

Tom Tiede walks by as the Eagle rolls down the ramps

Back wheels on the ground, and then the front

Les Holm guides the Eagle down the ramps

Zac Hopkins, Sean Rondestvedt, and Cam Shadle secure the mid-wheel tiedowns

David Martinson secures the 70,000 lb test steel cable

Nose cone installed

Everyone knows what to do

A lot of activity prior to every engine test

Cam Shadle secures the helmet with built-in communications

Retired Seattle firefighter Rob Martinson is standby ready

Some friends of David Martinson enjoyed the test

Von Armstrong (cowboy hat) on safety watch

Today’s cover photo by Nate Pierce

Our Favorite Photo of Ed Shadle – 2009 Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinement

Keith Zanghi, Neil Armstrong, and Ed Shadle

A first-hand account by Keith Zanghi:  It was 2009 and our friend Col Joe Kittinger, USAF (ret) sent us an invitation to join him at the National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinement.  This annual event would be special because it was on the same weekend as the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.  Ed and  I traveled to Dayton OH and after settling in at the hotel were invited to a special VIP cocktail party as guests of Col Joe. When we arrived we both got a beer at the bar and headed into the large party of people. Not being shy, Ed and I headed into opposite directions to meet new people.  The first group I went up to, a guy turned around and put out his hand to shake.  I said hi, I’m Keith and he said hi, I’m Arnold (Palmer).  At that moment I just knew it was going to be a good night!  We shook hands with Gene Cernan, James Lovell, and the rest of the astronauts present that day.

LR: Harrison Schmidt, Gene Cernan, Joe Engle, Charlie Duke,  , Fred Haise, James Lovel, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, James McDivitt, and Walter Cunningham

Keith Zanghi, Arnold Palmer, and Ed Shadle

Saturday morning Ed called me and said we should go to the VIP Hospitality room and get a cup of coffee.  We walked in and the room was empty.  So we went to work looking for some cups and the coffee.  In walked Arnold Palmer.  We made some small talk and I remember he poured Ed and I a cup of coffee.  Ed went on to say, I heard you played golf or something, and what are you doing here at the National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinement.  As it turned out, Mr. Palmer was there to present the award to the president of Cessna Aircraft Corporation.  He went on to say he was a proud owner of a Cessna Citation X.  He told us he had over 18,000 hours flying aircraft and said he just loved the Citation X because he could fly non-stop from Europe to Latrobe PA.  He then gave us a complete history of his flying career, including a funny story when he was just starting flying in his teens and landed on the Latrobe Golf Course with a tail dragger digging up the grass.  He said his dad got real mad at him, since he was the manager of the golf course!

After about 20 minutes, Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham walked in.  After hearing our story he said he would fly the F-104 8 inches off the deck, but wasn’t about to do it on wheels!

The next day Saturday, July 18, 2009, Ed called me in my room and suggested we meet in the VIP Lounge and have a beer before the black-tie event.  I walked into the room and it was empty.  Ed was talking to some older gentleman at the end of the table at the far end of the room.  I grabbed my beer and walked up to the two, not recognizing who he was.  He turned around and I put my hand out and said hi, I’m Keith.  He said  hi, I’m Neil (Armstrong).  It is absolutely incredible how the mind works, as my mind went through the whole moon landing and this very special person I was about to sit down with in about a 1/4 second.

For the previous 40 years, he had been asked the same question of what it was like to land on the moon, maybe over a couple hundred thousand times.  On this day, and I have to give Ed credit, he asked him what were the flight characteristics of the X-15 rocket plane.  Well, he hadn’t been asked that for at least 45 years and proceeded to get into a really great conversation.  Eventually, the conversation went on about the moon landing and at that point, I think Mr. Armstrong (he said to call him Neil but we didn’t) enjoyed the conversation.  Ed asked him about how he could see to land and Neil went on to explain that he would roll the LEM over, take a look then roll back and move forward.  One of the questions Ed asked was it appeared that on takeoff the LEM accelerated too fast, and Mr. Armstrong went on to explain that he was working in 1/6 gravity and he didn’t weigh that much.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience as he talked about his Eagle and asked questions about our Eagle.  We told him we never found his name in any of the logbooks as a pilot, but he went on to say he probably flew it (56-0763) and didn’t always log his flights.

Before we departed I asked him what he would be doing on Monday (July 20, 2009) on the 40th Anniversary.  He simply said he was going to Washington DC and see some friends and nothing more.  Two days later I am watching the news and saw Mr. Armstrong meeting President OBama.  Wow! He could have bragged about meeting the president, but you know…he didn’t have to… it wasn’t his style. H was a real class act and probably the best choice for the first man to walk on the moon.

On Sunday morning I headed out to see relatives in Buffalo and dropped Ed off at the Dayton Airport.  While there, he talked himself into becoming a pole holder for Oracle Stunt Pilot Sean Tucker.  Ed held one side of the poles as Sean Tucker flew the aircraft on its side, cutting the ribbon between the two poles.  That sounds like something Ed would do!

Ed Shadle, Col Joe Kittinger, USAF (ret), Sharri Kittinger, and Keith Zanghi

Ed Shadle with Dick Rutan, and Gemini 4 and Apollo 7 Astronaut James McDivitt

Ed Shadle with Good Morning America host David Hartman

Ed Shadle with Gen Joe Engle, USAF (ret)

Gen Joe Engle flew 56-0763, X-15, Space Shuttle STS-2 and STS-51-I, and 

was the original Apollo 17 Astronaut before being bumped by Harris Schmidt

Neil Armstrong enjoying the evening

Stunt Pilot Sean Tucker

Ed Shadle, Team Oracle Pole Holder


Sponsor Feature: S&S Turbine Services, Ltd

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45,500 Horsepower from S&S Turbine Services, Ltd

Sponsor Feature: The LeMay Family Collection Foundation

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

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Ordinary people doing extraordinary things!


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