By Michael Stephan
Our little airport in Grand Prairie has developed into a very interesting aviation community. With our comparatively short runways and well maintained facilities, we have a close community of flyers and builders. Coincidentally many of us are members of Chapter 168.
Last month we saw the beginnings of Charlie Wright’s RV-10 project. This month we will get a closer look at Ted Harrison’s restoration of a Cessna 210.
Ted has a flying Cessna 320 with recent upgrades. With it done, he has turned his attention to an older project.
Now Ted purchased the 210 with hail damage as a non flying airplane 15 years ago that was in pieces. With the wings and tail feathers able to be stored in his hangar at GPM, the fuselage went to his house in Grapevine.
A sign company crane was deployed to lift the fuselage (sans gear legs ) into the space next to his house. I applaud anyone who puts an airplane fuselage in the yard at home for 15 years. I’m going to try that one.
The wings were repaired. The horizontal stab and elevators were re- skinned. Those parts were painted at
NW Regional by Grady and stored in the back of Ted’s hangar, but the rest of project sat dormant while the Harrison kids were growing up. Now that they are through school and starting their own families, Ted’s attention has turned back to the 210. First challenge was to get it out of the yard and to the a hangar at GPM. Moved onto a trailer modified to accommodate the wide landing gear, it safely arrived at it new home in Grand Prairie.
A few months back Tom Ferraro spoke at our Chapter meeting about the differences between building versus restoring, since he had done both. I have built before, but now I am watching Ted do a restoration. Being involved with aviation his whole life, Ted has an A&P license and is very familiar working on airplanes. He knows his way around the huge manuals chocked full of diagrams and part numbers.
Now the work begins. I am learning quite a bit watching his progress. Old airplanes have old parts that have to be repaired, reconditioned or replaced. Replacement parts from the manufacturer are very expensive if you can even find them. Many serviceable parts have to be found in salvage yards. Ted has a super-power of being able to find a workable part at a reasonable price, although reasonable is sliding scale that tends to still be expensive. But
as Ted says, “It is what it is.”
Not liking parts sitting on the floor, the tail feathers were mounted on the fuselage. A bigger feat was installing the wings. The cantilever design of
the wings made the fit onto the fuselage very complicated. Luckily, we have a forklift nearby to do the heavy lifting, but the massive pins that hold the wing to the fuselage are a critical and an extremely tight fit. Freezing the pins, and several friendly helping hands, wiggling wings and tapping pins, allowed both wings to be installed before lunch.
The 300 HP Continental engine was removed and is being rebuilt. That is a task not for the faint of heart. Ted sent all the parts out to be checked, reconditioned or replaced. The price of engine parts is incomprehensible, But as Ted says, “It is what it is.” He purchased new cylinders from Superior.
The crank was reusable and after sourcing new parts and cleaning and reusing others, Ted had a complete set of engine parts that he took to Lucky
at Air Salvage to assemble. New tires and brake rotors were added to the Cleveland wheels and all of the gear is rebuilt and ready for retraction tests.
The wiring will be a challenge as most of the old wiring to the old equipment will be replaced with new wiring for new equipment. Looking at some of the old autopilot devices, I is amazing how different today’s digital autopilots are compared to equipment from 30 years ago.
Ted’s standards are high and not doubt this will be an excellent rebuild. He has a very positive and infectious attitude and as he says, “It is what it is.”