June 26th, 2015 Volume XXXIV

July 13th Event



Cookie Recipe


For those who really enjoyed the cookies brought by Cindy Mowery here is the recipe that she used for them.

Molasses Cookies

Mrs.Elliott from Amish cookbook

3 cups shortening

4 cups sugar

1 cup Brer Rabbit© Molasses

4 eggs

8 tsp. baking soda

8 cups flour

1 tsp. cloves

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. salt


Melt shortening. Add sugar, molasses, eggs and salt; mix.

Add flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and salt; mix.

Form balls and roll in white sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet. Do not press down. Bake at 350° for approximately 10-12 minutes.

Canopy Air Locks

They are back in stock order yours today!


Ken’s Memorial (among his parts)


Other than the parts, there was most of the crew from loading, Dan Baisley, Mark Matthews, Rich Harrison, and Jimmy Candeletti. Thanks to these guys who had it all possible.


Also as part of this process, I have many videos of Ken’s I have never used, but thought it would be a good idea to digitize them into movies and see what the B roll has on it. Look forward to hidden gems. One for sure will be all the AGAC Tooling in a warehouse along with file cabinets of aircraft paperwork and explanations of what each jig of tooling did in the larger project.

While going through Ken’s Videos and papers, we came across the article that Ken send me years ago. Enjoy this read.

Western Flyer, 1st Issue of February, 1984 page 21.

‘Lack of degree no handicap for Ameromod manager’

EWERETT< WA – Don’t get into a conversation with Ken Blackman about aircraft modifications unless you have a lot of time. Blackman is general manager of Ameromod, which offers a number of mods, and his enthusiasm will keep your ears busy for quite a while.

But that’s no problem, because Ameromod’s programs can add zip and looks to your airplane. The company based at Paine Field, is best known for it Gulfstream (Grumman) American aircraft programs. There are 125 -, 150-, 160-, and 180-hp conversions for Yankees, Travelers and other GA airplanes. There are cowling and landing gear clean-up mods, soundproofing and interior-comfort mods, 10- and 20-gallon auxiliary fuel systems with gross weight increases, dorsal-fin and large-elevator installations, Sensenich propeller for the standard GA McCauley prop.

A turbocharged 180-hp conversion for the Tiger is in the works, as is a 200-hp fuel injected, constant speed conversion for all four-place models. A carburetor air intake and induction system conversion for some GA models is also under development at Ameromod.

Blackman, short, 41 and exuberant, rattle off facts and figures like a verbal Janes.   For instance, ask him about the 125-hp conversion for the Yankee and he’ll immediately tell you that the result is 126 to 131 mph cruise at 75 percent power at 8,000 feet. He’ll continue talking about the mod for the next twenty minutes. He;s especially proud of the company’s success in coming up with the for a bad vibration in original Tigers.

“ The problem was the McCauley prop at certain rpm,” he said. “It could cause eventual cracks and damage, and it led to an AD note that included an operating restriction arc. Eventually Grumman American and McCauley, working together, came up with a beefier prop to eliminate the required inspection every 100 hours, but there is still a vibration in a certain rpm arc.”

Meanwhile, Blackman and his crew discovered that when a Sensenich prop was installed on the Tiger the vibration disappeared, and they obtained an STC for the conversion.

As you might suspect, Blackman learned to fly in a 1971 GA Trainer, back when he a night club entertainer. The fixed-based operation he rented from closed, so “four or five of us die-hards bought one (a Yankee) and formed a flying club in 1975.”

The club evolved into Sky Trek Aviation, a flight school and GA dealer at Paine Field. Sky Trek’s sales made the outfit one of Grumman American’s top five dealers one year. However, in 1979 Grumman American decided to stop building single-engine two- and four-seaters, and Blackman and several associates formed Ameromod in 1980 to develop product support and modifications for Grumman American aircraft owners. Modifications are Blackman’s raison d’etre.

“I’ve always been one to pull out an engine and put in a bigger one, no matter what was in there to begin with,” he said. He flew his own Yankee for a year testing the 125-hp Lycoming O-235 installation before selling the ATC. “If it was going blow up, I wanted it to be my plane.”

But rarely does one of Blackman’s mods go awry. Although he has no formal training in aeronautics or engineering (he shipped college altogether) he is a natural genius in designing. “And a kid, I could sit and look at a design and come up with changes, like for a dune buggy, without putting anything on paper.”

Ameromod has two full-time mechanics, but Blackman is as likely to be found in the shop or hangar with them, thinking and tinkering , as he is to found behind his desk. His ideas aren’t limited to GA products, however. Realizing that the supple of GA single is finite, he helped develop mods for other aircraft. For instance, there’s the Sparrowhawk 152, which involves installation of a 125-hp Lycoming, and prop and spinner change, and a baffling-system modification. The new 152 can cruise at 117 knots at 75 percent power on six or seven gph, and it can climb to 16,000 feet.

Nonetheless. The GA singles remain Blackman’s passion (once he even tried to the GA product rights and tooling). In the future, look for a Tiger with stick controls, a 260-hp engine and Yankee wings called the “262.”

Ken videoing the tooling in 1996. https://youtu.be/AoAoEbSkaKI


Good morning to all. My name is Sharon Spence, President of the AYA. I am not able to attend in person today due to a previous commitment and have asked Ronnie Mowery to represent myself and the AYA today as the Grumman Family remembers a very special man – Ken Blackman.

I am sure all in attendance today knew Ken as one of the Grumman Gurus and all his abilities in fixing planes near and far. Ken was a founding member of the AYA, he served as President, Convention Chair and Editor of the American Stat. He was a lifetime member of the AYA and a recipient of the Dicey Miller Award. BUT these are not the tings I remember about Ken.

I remember the first time I met Ken: it was at Ames, Iowa in 1986, my first convention. We had just bought our Tiger and flew it to Ames. I currently owned a Cheetah at this time and loved it and hated the Tiger and refused to sell the Cheetah. We were sitting one afternoon with a group of “experienced” Grumman owners who were talking about the “race car” handling of the Cheetah and Tiger. I could not believe my ears and I strongly voiced my opinion on the difference. The Cheetah handles like a dream, but the Tiger handles like a semi-truck. No one believed me, so we went out to the line where the Tiger was parked. Ken spotted our Canadian call letters and as we walked toward our Tiger said “I don’t believe it – you have “chopped ailerons”. For those who have never seen or heard of “chopped ailerons” this is what happened. The FAA issued and AD on the Tiger, owners were required to cut off the trailing edge of the ailerons to prevent “aileron flutter.” (Editor’s Note: This AD applied to all 4-place Grummans, not just the Tiger.) The previous owners were early compliers with this AD. Fortunately the AYA got involved got involved in this AD issue and through our then Technical Director, Jeff Simon, was instrumental in getting the FAA to accept an alternate methos of complying with the AD through a one-time inspection process and a logbook entry. (Editor’s Note: The method is SI 6101, service instruction also helped by Tiger Aircraft in WV.)

Anyway, it took Ken about 10 minutes and he was on the phone to Andy at North American Training College, Springbank, Alberta, CAN. Ken had found us a set of new ailerons. We left the convention the next day and flew to Springbank. We had our ailerons replaced and our Tiger flew like the Cheetah going home. I then agreed to sell the Cheetah!! Thanks to Ken.

I have a few more memories of Ken coming to our rescue. I won’t relate them all but I do have one more that I will share. We were flying home from a weekend trip to Cody and Thermopolis, WY. We stopped at Malta, MT for fuel on the way home. Fueled up and ready to go I turned the key and tried several times to start the plane (of course Jim said I folded it), but – it was a no go!! Fortunately there was a mechanic on the field. But, he had never worked on a Grumman before and after trying several different things and it still di not start we then phoned Ken. Ken diagnosed the problem over the phone, called somewhere down south, and had a new mag Fedexed to Malta, MT and in two days we were on our way home. Once again, Thank you Ken.

Ken was well known for his “wing nut” donation to the annual AYA conventions. Every table at the banquet would have a packet of wing nuts. (Editor’s Note: These were battery wing nuts.) There would be some sort of contest as to who would get the wing nuts. It is a memory that will not be forgotten. The AYA now has “The Ken Blackman Memorial Wing Nut Toss” contest at our conventions. It is a blast and once again, Thank you Ken!

I last visited with Ken at the AYA Convention in Paso Robles, CA in May 2017. We had a great chat, hugged each other, shared a tear or two and said how nice it was to see each other again. It had been too long.

In closing I just want to say, “thank you Ken for all the wonderful memories, you will be forever missed.”

Sharon Spence

Friend and President of the AYA

Bob Getting Grumman Info

There was a young man at Ken’s Memorial who came to learn what he could about the line. Smart move Bob!

Typical Day

I spend a loft of time talking on the phone to folks with Grumman questions:


2-place nosebowl STC and hardware.

Flying Goddess

Down in southern Louisiana a lady working on her Cheetah has mud dabbers

Building weight into her ailerons.