Here are some status updates on my effort to preserve Aeronca drawings.

Tuesday August 6, 2002

Hi Everybody,

I have an update on the Aeronca Drawing project.

1) Chiefs and Champs - The BIG news is that I received written permission from American Champion Aircraft to publish most of the Aeronca 7 and 11 drawings. See http://www.aeronca.com/drawings for a copy of the letter. I am so very grateful to Jerry Mehlhaff for cooperating with me and giving me this permission. ACA does not want me to scan and publish a subset of the drawings that are subject to ADs, that are confusing, or which new parts are still available from ACA, SAR, or other companies. At this time, these exceptions seem reasonable.

2) Photoshop Software - I have purchased Adobe Photoshop 7.0 and learned how to use it. I quickly became overwhelmed by the complexity of Photoshop and ended up talking a young man at Kinko's into showing me how to use it. Reading the help files is not enough to learn it on your own. I also learned that cleaning up the drawings is more art than science. Creating written instructions on how to clean up the drawings is virtually impossible. 

3) SWPC Drawing CD - I was able to view the Short Wing Piper Club drawing CD. I am very impressed. However, they had some advantages that I do not. They were fortunate to get very clean drawings, so they can fit them on a single CD. The construction differences between the Short Wing Pipers are less than the entire Aeronca models, so the total number of drawings was less. Due to the distinctly different Aeronca models and the volume of drawings, I think I want to add a search feature.

4) Other Priorities in Life - My job, my business, the Aeronca K restoration and my wife (umm... supportive spouse) have slowed my progress a bit, but I have made some worthwhile progress. It looks like August will still be very busy for me. I am hoping September will offer more time.

5) Presentation in Ohio - I have been asked to give a presentation at this weekend's Ohio Chief Association's fly-in at Barber airport. I will be presenting on Saturday afternoon 8-10. Brain Matz will be providing me with a video projector and a screen. I will bring my computer and my presentation. This will be my first public presentation on this subject.

6) Wanted - I need copies of the Aeronca drawing list for each airplane (except the C3, K, 65CA, 7, and 11.) I am very eager to get the 50C, KM, KC, KCA, and O58s, and L-16s.

7) Scan Cram 2 - Is there any interest in a weekend Scan Cram 2 in Brighton Michigan in September? We'll need to scan all the 7 and 11 drawings I have on loan from the Bellanca-Champion Club and we need to do a lot of cleanup. I live on Brighton Airport, 45G. I'm thinking about Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Volunteers are willing to stay at my house (1 guest room, 2 couches, and outdoor tent space) or stay in a local hotel. I'm thinking early September. If you are interested, drop me a line at ttad@aol.com and tell me which weekends in Sept you are available.

8) Thanks you everybody who has sent me donations. It has really helped. And its making my supportive spouse more supporitve.

That's all for now.

Warm Regards,

Todd Trainor
ttad@aol.com
810-599-4035

Wednesday May 29 to Friday May 31, 2002

Hello everybody,

I just spent 3 days in the Chicago FAA office scanning 1130 Aeronca drawings for the K, KC, KM, KCA, 50C, 65LB, and 65CA. I am not ready to present them yet because they are very large and spread across 27 CDs. Some of the 11x17 files still need to be stitched together. I hope to present them (in some form) at the NAA convention. For now, you can view the inventory list at http://www.aeronca.com/drawings

Thanks to Brian Matz, Dennis Love from the FAA, and his friend Tom for spending long hours scanning. We operated 3 flatbed scanners and 1 blueprint scanner for 56 hours in 3 days. Also thanks to William Gores, the TC owner, for giving written permission for me to access the drawings, scanning them, and publishing them. Thanks to Mike Hartman for lending me the blueprint scanner.

Most of the scanning went smoothly, although we did run into some technical problems and the blueprint scanner took much longer per drawing than expected. Most of the drawings were very dark and barely readable. In all, I managed to scan 95% of the drawings available to me…. I only skipped some of the KM, KF, 50F,

If you need one of these drawings before I get them published, please send me an email request and I will focus on cleaning that drawing ASAP and email back to you. I plan to package all the drawings into a PDF file, one drawing per PDF.

The FAA did NOT have all the drawings for these Aeronca models. If you have any drawings for these Aeroncas that are not included in the inventory list, please send it to me so I can scan it. If your drawing is 8.5 x 11, then you can scan it and email it to me. Please contact me first.

/Todd

Monday May 13, 2002

Friends,

On Monday I spent the day in the Chicago FAA ACO office taking inventory of
all the Aeronca pre-war drawings under TCs owned by William Gores.  I also
negotiated logistic strategies for scanning those drawings with the FAA.  
Below is a summary of the results, my basic plan to proceed, and a list of
items I need from you.  I am also working on other aspects of the online
drawing project that I will announce in the near future once agreements are
procured and a prototype is completed. 

Assessment

At the Chicago ACO there are approximately 2000 paper drawings for the K,
KCA, 65CA, and other prewar Aeroncas.  1000 drawings are A-size (8.5 x 11)
and 1000 drawings are non-A-size, requiring a roll scanner.  There are 300
aperture cards, but most of those cards overlap the paper copies.  No
mircofiche or microfilm was found. I'd be surprised if I needed to copy more
than 30 aperture cards.  So I am going to stop my search for a
mircofiche/aperture-card scanner.

Basic Strategy

A gentleman in Midland Michigan has a roll scanner that he will let me take
to Chicago.  The FAA offered to let me use a spare conference room for a
week, including weekends to bring in hardware to scan the drawings.   So I no
longer need an Aeronca-friendly business in Chicago to do the scanning.  (The
FAA has been 120% cooperative with my endeavors.)

My basic plans are to transport the roll scanner, my flatbed scanner &
laptop, and as many volunteers with laptops and scanners as possible to the
Chicago FAA ACO office to scan in all 2000 drawings.  It will be an organized
and very focused effort to digitize all those drawings in as short a time as
possible.  I call this the "Scan Cram."  I may start on a Thursday and extend
into the weekend if necessary.

I will announce dates and a detailed plan once I have it 80% nailed down. 
This will depend on your response to my needs below.

How You Can Help Me

1) I would like a second roll scanner to take to Chicago.  If it takes 3
minutes (an estimate) to scan each non-A drawing it will take 3000 minutes
(50 hours) to scan them all.  3 minutes is conservative.  This includes
pulling the drawing from the box, unfolding it carefully since they are
brittle, repairing rips, feeding it into the scanner, scanning it,
compressing and saving the file, rescanning due to bad feeds or poor quality
scans, record drawing data into the master database, folding the drawing, and
returning it to the box. With 2 roll scanners we could do this in 25 hours,
which could easily be one trip.

2) I need fladbed scanners with associated laptops to help scan the A-size
drawings.  I fully expect that we'll complete scanning the A-size drawings
before we'll complete the non-A drawings.  If so, we can start cleaning up
the scanned drawings.

3) I need volunteers to travel to Chicago with me (date to be determined) to
help me scan, index, and handle other logistic and administrative work.

4) I need volunteers working from home to cleanup the scanned drawings.  This
effort may last for the next 12 months.

5) I need copies of the Aeronca drawing lists (AAC reports) for all pre-war
Aeroncas except the K and 65CA.  (I already have a drawing list for all the
Aeronca 7 and 11 series aircraft.)

If you can provide me with any of the items above, please contact me. 
Forgive me if I am slow to respond, things are happening fast and sometimes I
don't even look at my email, let alone respond, for days or more.   It's too
bad I'm not retired yet.  You retired people are so lucky.

I am open to suggestions, ideas, concerns and criticisms, so please write to
me.

My goal is to present a working prototype of the online drawings at the NAA
convention.

Regards,

/Todd

Monday May 5, 2002

In short..Is there an Aeronca-friendly person or business in Chicago that can
digitally scan Aeronca blue prints and microfiche, free of charge?

Here is the long story so bear with me as I reveal 23 months of work which
is about to yield results.

Background

At the 2000 NAA convention Bill Pancake told me that a flood destroyed nearly
all of his private collection of Aeronca drawings. It was a wake up call to
me. What if Bill had some of the last copies of some drawings? ..they would
be gone forever. At that moment I was determined not to let any more
Aeronca drawings become destroyed, lost, or forgotten. Don't forget that
many of the E107, E113, and C3 drawings were lost in the 1937 flood of the
Ohio River on Lunken Field.

The Project

My ambitious plans are to scan as many Aeronca drawings as I can and make
them available to the public on the web. This would greatly assist those who
are restoring or repairing Aeroncas. It will also preserve them for future
generations. Some of the drawings would be available on the web directly,
however, the volume of the drawings and their file sizes will force me to put
most of them on CD(or DVD) and mail them per request. The drawings will be
available for free, but I might have to ask for a fee to cover my costs of
storage, equipment, burning CDs/DVDs, and postage. Eventually I will
distribute enough CDs to ensure that those drawing will survive through time.

I've scanned some of the Aeronca K drawings a few years ago. You can see
some of them at
www.aeronca.com/k/AeroncaK/drawings/Aeronca_K_online_drawings_index.htm

The Original Plan

I have been in contact with Aeronca Inc since June 2000. Aeronca is willing
to digitally scan the drawings, free of change, for this project. Phase 1
was to scan John Housers drawings, which are nearly all pre-war Aeroncas.
This would be easy since he lives in Middletown. Phase 2 would be to borrow
private collections of drawings for the post-war Aeroncas.

However, I've run into several problems. To overcome some of the problems
I've had to alter the scope and strategy of my plans.

1) Distribution.
After many phone calls and letters to the FAA, I learned that the TC holder
may have distribution rights to the drawings and could, if they wanted, force
me to stop giving away the drawings. (I see this the same as one person
making a copy of his drawings and giving them to a friend, except that I am
doing it electronically and more easily. This is not a commercial venture.
Even if I could win a court battle, I don't have the resources to fight it.
Could this be Napster all over again?)

Solution - I must get permission from the TC holder first. I decided to
target the pre-war Aeroncas first, since the drawings appeared to be easily
available and the TC owners were known, Aeronca Inc and William Gores.

2) Drawing Sources -
John Houser owns the largest private collection of pre-war Aeronca drawings
known to me. When asked, he absolutely refuses to lend his drawings to
Aeronca to be scanned. (He is upset about this project, so please do not
contact him about this.) So I contacted the FAA to see if I could scan the
FAA archives. Yes I can, as long as the TC owner writes a letter to the FAA
granting permission for me to access the archives for this purpose.

Solution - No problem. I know the TC owners and they seem willing, so this
may actually be a better solution because, presumably, the FAA archives are
more complete than Johns collection. John does not have any of the drawings
lost in the 1937 flood, while the FAA should.

3) TC ownership
The legal owner to many of the pre-war TC is Aeronca Inc. Since they are
doing the scanning for me I thought it would be easy to get permission to
access the FAA archives. However, Aeronca denies they own the TCs, so they
wont write the letter to the FAA. They gave away the TCs to the NAA, run by
Jim Thompson in 1992. However, Jim has not completed the TC
transfer-of-ownership process for reasons he feels are important. The TCs
are left in ownership-limbo, with no one authorized or willing to write the
letter to release the drawings to the FAA. Jim said that he will finish the
TC process, but I was not given a date. It could be years. (The EAA
proposed lost ownership release of TCs does not apply here because the
legal owner is known and can be contacted Aeronca they just refuse to do
anything Also, that process is still only proposed.)

Solution Reduce my scope and focus to the other set of pre-war Aeroncas.
Bill Gores was willing to write the letter to the FAA and has. Thus I will
attempt to scan and publish the K, KCA, and 65CA drawings first. Then try to
convince Jim to finish the transfer-of-ownership and write the letter. Then
I can consider approaching American Champion for the 7 and 11 series.

4) FAA archive release
The FAA said that they will not release the drawings outside the Chicago
area. I am to pick a business to make the copies and the FAA will transport
the drawings to and from that business.

Solution I might be able to convince them to transport the drawings to
Middletown if the volume is small enough and I can convince them it would be
safe. The decision will be made once weve pulled the drawings from the
archives and can assess the volume and condition. I already know this will
be a hard sell and I may not win. Paying for the scanning would cost tens of
thousands of dollars.

Solution #2 Try to find an Aeronca-friendly business in Chicago that would
be willing to scan the drawing for free. For this, I need your help.

5) Microfiche
Aeronca does not have the ability to print or scan any microfiche drawings.
According to some staff in the Chicago ACO office, many of the Aeronca
drawings for the TCs owned by Gores are on microfiche.

Solution Try to find somebody with a Microfiche printer that could print
the drawings for free. This may require moving the equipment to Middletown
since the Microfiche will be there. Then Id have Aeronca scan the printed
versions of the drawings.

Solution #2 Try to find an Aeronca-friendly business in Chicago that would
be willing to scan the drawing for free. For this, I need your help.

Conclusion
I need your help finding a business in Chicago that would be willing to work
with me on this project. Also, if you have any additional ideas, please let
me know. I have thought about this a lot in the past two years, but surely I
have not thought of everything.

Please help me.

Regards,

Todd Trainor
ttad@aol.com
810-599-4035