Weiser Scouts visit airport, learn about aviation

For most, seeing a plane up close for the first time is a mesmerizing experience that you don’t soon forget.
 Boys belonging to Weiser Scout Troop 350 got to do just that on Wednesday, June 15, Weiser Municipal Airport Manager, Jim Metzger, taking time to show them the facility and some planes they may have never seen before.
 “Along with other activities in scouting, we want the boys to get a broad experience of different activities and certainly space exploration and aviation are opportunities to give them some experience in those areas,” said Troop Committee Chairman, Bob Barber. “We just want them to have a broad experience as they get older and figure out what they want to do with their lives.”
 “Wow, it’s big,” said Evan Monestero, as Metzger walked the wide-eyed group around a biplane, its bright, yellow wings spanning a large amount of space in the hangar.
 The boys, ages 10 to 14, were allowed to climb up and sit inside the cockpit of a plane that started out as a crop duster but was modified into a touring plane by Metzger who now flies it for his own enjoyment.
 Metzger gave the history of the plane, how it works, and even provided some information about the motor.
“This airplane used to be a crop duster and, in fact, when it was a crop duster, I actually flew it for part of one season,” he said. “I used it up in Washington for fertilizer when I was a young man. It went derelict and I bought it some 27 years ago and restored it into just being a fun airplane.”
 Metzger made some modifications that allows him to take guests for a flight if he so chooses.
 “I took the chemical hopper out and put a seat up front for two people,” he said. “I fly it in the back seat. The engine has 450-hp and nine individual cylinders. It has 985 cubic inches; it’s pretty big. This engine was built in 1943 for the U.S. Navy and it was actually overhauled only one time. It was overhauled back in 1965 and it’s still in service today.”
 Built in 1992, the plane was originally a Grumman Ag Cat. Many crop dusters, including Ag Cats, have a single set of wings, but Metzger eventually converted his to a biplane and used pieces and components from another Ag Cat to complete the project. 
 “I used those pieces and reconfigured it and was able to call it an experimental airplane,” he said. “Most pieces were manufactured in 1975, but the airplane was built in 1992.”
 Metzger also showed the group a 1958 Beechcraft Bonanza and Hummelbird, a small homemade plane built with a Volkswagen motor.
 “The engine is out of a VW Bug,” he said. “But those have four cylinders, and you’ll notice this one only has two. They literally cut the motor in half. They used the end where the clutch would normally bolt and bolted the propeller to that. It only has about 35 horsepower, but its more than enough to power this little plane.”
 Metzger briefly described how planes fly and even posed an interesting question.
 “So, I’ll give $25 to the person who can tell me what a vortex generator is,” he said.
 “It’s a generator that creates vortex’s,” said Scout Keith Boles, who is the son of Scoutmaster Jeremy Boles.
“Is it a kind of generator that senses vortexes in a storm?” asked Evan Monestero.
 It turns out, Boles wasn’t far off.
 “On some planes you will see a series of tiny fins that are glued to the leading edge of the wing,” he explained. “Sometimes air can flow too quickly over the top and it doesn’t lift the airplane efficiently, so the vortex generator creates a small vortex, a mini tornado, that disturbs the air and helps air stay stuck to the wing.”
 Metzger also explained how important it is that Weiser has its own airport.
 “It’s a beautiful facility and our little community is blessed to have it,” Metzger said. “It has beautiful runways, taxiway, and lighting system. It has an instrument approach, which means you can land here in bad weather. That’s important if you have Life Flight that needs to get in here, even in bad weather. We are one of the few airports in our area that has that.”
 After Metzger’s tour, the Troup was allowed to launch a model rocket near one of the taxilanes.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

Upcoming Events

Connect with Us