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September 23, 2011     Post-Gazette
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'Page 10 P6ST-G ,Z :TI:I , S'EPTEM BEI 123,20i:1 Giuseppe Genchi Salvages Vintage WWI Aircraft Engines and Parts by James DiPrima The engines had been stacked in a pile inside a hangar for a long time. He had been gazing at them from his mechanical engineering classroom window at the University of Palermo in Sicily in 2007, at age 25, and thought to himself, "one day, I'll restore those engines." Giuseppe Genchi four years later, in the same hangar where he gazed upon the old rusted German World War I aircraft engines, founded the Historical Museum of Engines and Mechanisms. The museum opened its doors on February 25, 2011. How did this collection of rusted German aircraft en- gines and parts find there way to Sicily? Italy allied itself with the Allies against Germany during the war. Genehi began searching the internet and the public and university libraries. His findings led him to believe that the Allies were in fear that this German power- house could rearm and as a result began the first mas- sive disarmament of the German nation. When Ger- many signed the Versailles Treaty in 1919 that ended the war, they agreed to scrap their fighters, bombers and even their reconnaissance aircraft. Because the Allies were very much interested in the German technology and engineering of the time, the scrapped parts were divided between the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy. Some parts were sent to the Italian Royal Air Force while others were sent to Italy's leading aero- nautical engineer, Antonio Capetti, at the University of Palermo. Genchi, at an early age, had a fascination for machinery even to the point that he restored Fiats and Alpha Romeo autos from the 1920s to the 1990s dur- ing his spare time at one of the university hangars. At one point, his curiosity led him to the hangar with the engines, and soon he was asking his professors to grant him permission to allow him entry. Finally they agreed to his many requests. He then began sorting the corroded parts on his own time, working nights and weekends. His restoration began with the propellers, cleaning and polishing them to their origi- nal beauty, then the engines were next, breaking them down and putting them on a table and recording their exact position. "I discovered with astonishment that the interior engine was practi- cally new," he said. He at- tributes this to the Film of off that still coated the parts. He meticulously washed and cleaned with solvents all the parts and painted the external areas with a protective varnish so they would not rust. Every- thing was cleaned, even the smallest screw. Where parts had a number vis- ible, Genchi would later research the part tracking down where it was manufac- tured and into what airplane it was installed. The Collection includes, to name a few, Mercedes D.IV, a water-cooled, eight cylinder inline engine, a BuS.IV made by Bass and Selve, a company that made automobiles and aircraft engines. Six of the BuSIV engines were mounted to the 157 foot wing span of the enormous Siemens- Schuckert R.VIII bomber. Giuseppe Genchi received his Mechanical engineering degree in April 2009. He later won a small grant and was able to complete the museum. During this t~o year project, Genchi did not take any pay. His hope for the museum is that it "will inspire students and engi- neering professionals who make the pilgrimage to the unassuming hangar." One of these days he also hopes to fire up one of the engines. More power to him. RENATO AVELLANI Receives ATB Certification Dominie Avellani and Renato Avellani: "A father and son team." Renato Avellani, the Assistant Director of the East Boston Adult Ed. Center (Community Educational Center) was recently approved as an ATB (Wonderlic Abil- ity to Benefit) Test Administrator. "My father (Dominic Avellani) has been ATB Test Administrator since 1990. Under his admin- istration, over 1,000 immigrants, refugees and American school drop-outs who did not fin- ish high school nor pass the GED exams success- fully completed their ATB exams, attended vocational schools (New England Hair Academy, North Bennett Indus- trial School, Mass School of Barbering, welding schools, mechanic schools and more) and became successful mem- bers of our communities. My goal is to follow my father's footsteps and continue to assist the young teenager who quit school because she was pregnant, the recently released offender, the adult who cannot pass the GED exams but wants to attend a vocational school and more." "We are now two ATB test administrators at the East Boston Adult Ed. Center in East Boston and will test anyone who wishes to attend a vocational school anywhere in Massachusetts or in the United States." Individuals 16 years or older are encouraged to call us at 617-567-7873, and who knows, you may be the next owner , of a local barber shop, hair salon, auto mechanic, carpen- ter and more. The East Boston Adult Ed. Center is located at 119 London Street, East Boston, MA (next to the Sumner Tunnel). QUOTE TO NOTE (submitted by Sal Giarratani) "Dear self you are not perfect nor will you ever be. Love Me." pll llllBlll III I I I I I I I I I I I nnnllllllll A MAG~INE FOR ~D ABOUT ITALIAN AMERICANS SUBSCRIBE NOW TO PRIMO MAGAZINE & SAVE 20% Buy a subscdpton at the discounted price and get half price off a gilt subscription I PRIMO magazine covers Italian and Italian American history, culture and heritage. 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