February 07, 2004:

A Very Happy New Year to all the members and curious onlookers!

Many things have happened since our last update and that is why we have this section in our website. Hopefully we can keep you up-to-date with the latest happenings!

I am sure that all of you celebrated the Anniversary of Flight on December 17th and we here at the hangar did too, in a big way. The day started off with two hours of coverage by local News stations where aviation history was highlighted using the aircraft and displays as backdrops. Your “El Presidente’” was featured in one of the segments. Then the local CBC outlet came out and interviewed many of us about our respective projects. Finally, the CBC National News with Peter Mansbridge was held right here in the hangar to top off what was an exciting celebration. Wonder what the next 100 years will bring us?

Since October of 2003 we have been assisting the Sanford Airport Memorial Committee in Sanford, Florida. This is a group of volunteers that have come together to establish a US Navy Memorial Park at the old Sanford Naval Air Station, now known as the Orlando Sanford International Airport. They have just begun Phase II of their plan which involves a PV-1 Ventura and all you ardent supporters know who can provide help with that! The group has received Ventura s/n 4688 from the National Naval Aviation Museum (Pensacola, FL.) and they intend to restore it to static condition. The aircraft is a heavily modified B-34 whose history includes a stint with the Cuban Air Forces. All those of you who have been following our newsletters/website will remember this aircraft as N1000X, which Aero Nostalgia of Stockton, California was formerly restoring. With the folding of that company, the Navy has turned the Ventura over to the Sanford group for completion and display. To that end, they had no technical information and came looking for help. Through their contact Jack Marques the VMFA has provided advice, history about and a complete technical library. With this in hand, they have managed to move the aircraft by truck over 3000 miles across the southern states to a new home in Florida. The lines of communication are open between our groups now and as this is being written even more information is being conveyed. Updates will follow in the future about this project.

The parts we had received from the Queensland Air Museum (re: last update) have been beautifully restored for us by Brian Samuel of Cold Lake, Alberta. These parts were extremely rare and very aircraft specific and Brian once again came through with returning them to their original luster. In return for QAM’s generosity we are presently assembling a parts package for them as well. These extra parts we have which are not required for our own project will be added to the static restoration of their Ventura A59-96 (s/n 6371 BuNo49555) a Herculean effort. Prior to their care this airframe was a chicken-coop! Again, more developments with this project will follow in future updates.

The Association has also managed to obtain a ZB-3 Radio Homing Adapter unit for the restoration. Still in it’s original shipping box, some of the components had tags from NAS Alameda attached to them and even came with a box of spare parts! This acquisition completes the ‘Secret’ radios package that were installed in PV-1's during the war. The other components include items such as the IFF Transponder and the ASD-1 Radar unit, components that were to be destroyed rather than fall into enemy hands.

We are still trying to find the CCT or CBY type radio transmitters and receivers with their associated mounts to put the final touches on the whole radio package. I encourage all of you out there to contact us if you know of any that are available!

Finally, we have managed to transfer the VHS tape showing the recovery of our aircraft by helicopter to digitized format. Thanks to the efforts of Peter Mitchell the tape is now preserved on CD and will be transferred to DVD format in the near future. With the advent of new technologies it is indeed exciting to know that historical records can be held in formats that will not deteriorate over the decades.

In closing I would like to invite any and all contributions by individuals and corporations for the continuing restoration of our aircraft. Money is always in need here and only more so now that our goal of making this aircraft available to all the ‘Ventura Veteran’s’ slips by us with the passing of the years. Every day we see and hear of more of them passing from our midst which steels us even more to complete this job. We need your help to complete this and are available to make presentations to any serious Corporate Sponsors willing to do so. Contact us!!

Until later:

Anthony T. Jarvis

President VMFA