We have first meet Kai during IPMS Telford 2018
Kai's destiny is quite amazing ...
• Tornado Mechanic in the German Naval Forces
• Civilian mechanic for Lufthansa on B747
• Aviation photographer for US Air Force and US Navy
• Photographer for Aviation magazines
His passion for US NAVY got him on board of
EVERY of the 10 Nimitz class Carriers and on the most prestigious, the USS ENTERPRISE, during both Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom ....
So, you would expect Kai to reproduce in scale models all kind of airplanes he has cross the path or fly in .... Of course, he does ...
and he details the details ... in detail
But he came to us with something completely different in mind :
Yankee Lady 's engine nr 2
In 2010 Kai received the request from a magazine about the B-17G Yankee Lady, in Detroit (USA).
The B-17 was always the favourite plane for him and his father. In no time, he packed his equipment and flew to the Yankee Air Museum to meet the restoration team lead by Norm Ellickson, retired aircraft mechanic and the Crew Chief of Yankee Lady.
At that time, Kai's role was to take pictures and he had no idea how deep I would turn into the technical world of the Yankee Lady.
Beside a few pilots, the whole team is composed of retired aircraft mechanics and volunteers working very hard every day to keep this bomber in the air.
The recruitment process has been immediately complete once Kai told Norm that he was also aircraft engineer and would love to help. So, Kai flew to Michigan several times to get in touch with the Yankee Lady and her formidable team.
But ... working on jets is very different than dealing with piston type engines. Nearly every day, Kai performs engine test runs on the Lufthansa's B-747. Compared to a B-17 engine run, 747 engine runs are like a walk in a rose garden, thanks to auto-diagnostics an detailed alert messages sent by modern jets.
Completely different story on the B-17. The only „support“ and „control module“ in a B-17 is the combined expertise sitting in the driving seat…and the guy who in front of the engine.
A kind of time machine pushing you back in 1940 ies ...
In 2011 An issue on engine Number 2 has demanded to change a cylinder. A lot of work, but, thanks to the great weather we did it outside of the hangar and it was a great experience.
Of course, once the new cylinder in place, test runs begins. Resulting immediately in a(nother) strange noise before the engine stops for a looooong time…
Again, thanks to Norm’s huge experience listening to the engine and many, many, many adjustments, the engine start rooooooaring .... and the Lady was ready to go again.
THAT IS EXACTLY THE MOMENTUM KAI WAS LOOKING TO REPRODUCE IN SCALE in order to leave it again and again.
For Kai's Dad 65th birthday, he gave him a flight ticket and a 3 weeks voucher for a father & son trip across the States, including an extended visit and a flight in the Lady.
Unfortunately, bad weather conditions kept the Lady grounded. But, Norman and the restoration team performed a VIP start-up of all four Engines. It was the first time that Kai's father has faced the four running Cyclone engines. The tears in his eyes have testified
what a great moment it was for both Kai and his Dad.
The plan B was to fly back to Detroit the following year in order to fly Yankee Lady. But that never took place… because his father passed away a few month later.
Kai says ...
For me, my 1/32 scale B-17 will not only another scale model project…this 1/32 scale B-17 will be also a great memory to an awesome time I spent with the Yankee Lady, with Norm, the whole team and a great memory to my last trip with my Dad.
The Yankee Lady is not only an awesome looking plane…she is also a piece of an awesome team. And if the people see that old Lady during an Airshow, they should also think about all the hard work all these old men spent every day to keep that bird in flying conditions.
My Yankee Lady project started with just a photo job for the magazine and ended with a great friendship to the whole team and especially to Norm. And special thoughts to my dear Dad ... and engine nr 2.
From Magic's perspective, we can NOT resist to such wonderfull stories and such beautiful souls. The different contacts with Kai, in Telford (IPMS national UK) and in Belgium have resulted in a lot of amazing gathering of first line experience, technical materials and authentic soundtracks. Which has led us to meet his very nice family (Lady & Daughter) and to raise two very accurate electronic sets. So many thanks, Kai.