Back to Phase 9 Forward to Phase 11

Phase 10 Details

MRP Janesville 16 Feb – 19 Feb 16


Janesville WI is a little out of the way, but it’s certainly worth the trip to go there and see their AMO! (They are exceptionally knowledgeable about Warbirds and B18’s in particular.)

More importantly, the decision was made to travel there because:

a/ there is only so much that can be done over the phone, and ‘face time’ is important,

b/ not that many people involved with B18 maintenance anymore, and I wanted to make the time to met and get to know Blackhawk Aviation. (Over the years, I’ve heard many good things about them from my parts supplier at Southwestern Aero Exchange.) Don’t just take my word for it – check out their webpage (, and

c/ I wanted to increase my knowledge of B18s. (And, the best way to do that is to have more ‘hands on’ experience.)

I couldn’t believe my luck, but - when I was there - I had the opportunity to meet Joe (co-owner and son of owner), Mick (part time work, fairly senior former Chief Mechanic), Rodney (DC3 pilot and current flight instructor), and Dick Wixom (former owner of Blackhawk Aviation). Each of these gentlemen graciously made the time for me to ask questions and to learn valuable lessons from their answers.

Annual Inspection

Seeing that I don’t travel without my mechanic’s coveralls (considering my knowledge base and the fact that Joe was in the process of doing an annual inspection on a B18), Joe allowed to help in non-critical areas like inspection panels and cowling work. I will say this, though. Before I picked up a wrench, both Joe and Mick asked me a ton of highly detailed technical questions about the B18 – which I was able to answer without any problems!

Serviceable B18 undergoing an Annual Inspection.

Attaching inspection panels.

Having a ton of fun!

Learning about B18 cowlings from Mick.

Serviceable B18’s aren’t very common any more. As a matter of fact, actually getting the opportunity to have hands on experience on a serviceable B18 was both thrilling and quite scary at the same time. (Scary because there just aren’t a whole lot of B18 around anymore – so you’d really better know what you’re doing prior to doing it!)

Unfortunately, my time at the shop was cut short because I had to return home. But, honestly, it was absolute thrill to work there and be involved (in a very small way) on a B18 – and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

Many sincere thanks to all at Blackhawk Aviation!