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A Restoration at Grand Prairie

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.”

Project Visit – Pete Miller’s RV-7

he16_06-3Last month Pete Miller invited us over to inspect the progress on his RV-7. We have seen Pete’s project progress over the last few years, and now things are getting serious.
A few weeks ago a couple of us went to Pete’s and helped drill the rear wing spar to the fuselage. Since then he has completed the canopy frame construction and is marking and measuring the canopy for fitment to the frame. That is one of the most difficult tasks for a builder. Not because the parts are difficult to handle or cut, but that they are expensive and difficult to replace if you make a mistake.
The canopy also takes time to get it to fit right and that doesn’t happen until after a series of cuts and plastic removal are done, which is scary for the first time builder. Pete is doing a good job of getting it right the first time.he16_06-4

Project Visit – Greg Schroeder’s Sportsman

he16_06I recently counted 14 active projects in our chapter, and over the last several months we have been able to travel around and visit them. Recently we visited two of them and both of them are well on their way to completion. In April we saw the Sportsman project being crafted by Greg Schroeder at Northwest Regional airport.
Greg is well on his way to finishing. Even though at first look, the plane looks empty, there is quite a bit of meat and potatoes in there. The forward side of the firewall is nearly finished with only a few things to add. The fuel system is complete. The control systems are in. Most of the electrical wires have been run. So, this Sportsman should be flying in the not too distance future.
Greg intends to build it initially as a nose-gear airplane, but has made provisions to change it to a tailwheel in the future as he desires.

 

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This is quality work accomplished by Greg.

Inspection by Camera

By Michael Stephan

 

I love tools.  There is a proper tool for every job.  I’m willing to try them all until I find it.  So, my tool box is full of useful and not so useful tools.  If it is useful, I have more than one of them (mostly so I can find one when I need it).

Recently I have been fond of the camera as an inspection/maintenance aid.  Construction photos have helped when doing an inspection.  It shows how things went together initially and can be compared to current photos. I have used it to get that linkage hardware (washers, lock washers, large washers and spacers) all back on in the right order.

In the last year I have invested in a few inspection scopes, also known as endoscopes (not the kind most people people dread).  These are the camera on a long flexible tube that can get in those tight spaces. I have been looking at these for the past few years.  There are a few places in the RV-8 that I can’t see very easily.  With the scope, I can not only see those areas, but get a picture of them for study in the future.  A camera came in handy when a fellow RV builder talked about bolts not being installed in the spar in quickbuild kits. Not remembering if I had installed them, I pulled out my camera.  Poked it into the affected area and took a picture.  I had proof that they were there. Recently a factory service bulletin mandated a horizontal stabilizer inspection for cracks.  It was reinforce the area or inspect every year for cracks.  Pulling the entire fairing off takes time, but loosening it up at the rear and sending in the camera was an easy way to inspect the area (stop laughing).

The cadre of pictures can be used as a historic record of the aircraft, much better than a few words indicating condition.  Marking all the nuts and bolts with torque seal makes it is easy to tell if the nut has moved at all on the bolts.  That really comes in handy when checking the nuts on the RV-8 gear leg bolts which are buried deep inside the gear leg towers or the jam nuts on linkage tubes. The camera lens and housing is small enough to fit inside your spark plug hole so you can see inside the cylinder as well.

Another benefit of the picture is the time and date stamp on the picture file.  Not only can you see the condition but also know when.

Once very expensive, these devices are coming down in price dramatically.  For about $20 you can buy an endoscope.   They will have a USB plug end and require a laptop computer to plug into to see the image  and most will have LED lights on the end to illuminate your subject. Dimmer control gives just the needed amount of light.

Disclaimer: Pictures are not a replacement for inspections.  Tactile feel on a linkage or a nut and bolt is the best way to get a sense of the condition of an assembly.  Looseness is not something that can be seen in a photograph. Pictures only give a visual record.

I have three endoscopes that I have bought in the last year. I bought all of them from Amazon.com.

The first was a 2 Mega Pixel Handheld USB Digital Borescope/Endoscope/Microscope with 8.2mm Tube Diameter made by ViTiny (Model UM07).  It has a 8.2 mm diameter metal tube that houses the LEDs and lens and cost $119.98.  At the top of the tube is a focus ring, which makes it work really well in examining objects real close.  Finding stress cracks in a dimple would be a good use. I liked it so much I bought two (actually I carelessly broke the first one).

Then I found the Vividia Waterproof Mini 7mm USB Flexible Inspection Camera for $39.99.  Nothing unique other than it was much cheaper then the first one I bought and it not as delicate. It is a It has led lights in the tip and comes with a 90º mirror adapter and a magnetic pick up tip as well.

It also has the USB connection that requires a computer connection.  I found that trying to hold the camera still on the subject while trying to hit the record button on the computer was a little tricky.  The flexible rod is sometimes frustrating to work with.  It takes twisting and bending adjustments to get it on target. It is like trying to snag your car door lock with a hangar after you locked you keys in the car.

The one I am most excited about is the WiFi Hd 2.0 Mega Pixles Inspection Camera/ Borescope /Endoscope by  DBPOWER for $99.

It includes a built-in WIFI network that connect wirelessly to my iphone/ipad/android or anything that can connect to a WiFi network.  The apps that come with it can then take pictures and videos of the images from the camera. Now that is cool.  The image resolution is about the same as a 2 megapixel camera. It has an infinity length focus that gets blurry if the camera is less than about an inch away.

With the pictures on my phone, I have to transfer them to my computer for long term storage.  Currently that process is a little tedious, but maybe future software updates will make it a little easier.

The three that I have shown here are just a few of the options that are out there. Once scarce, now very plentiful. A neighbor at GPM showed me one that he bought for $14.  That is cheap enough to permanently install in the airplane with a built in USB port.  Maybe, put it trough the firewall and watch what happens under the cowl on my EFIS screen while flying.  That might be a bit frightening.

The Pober Speedster

By Michael Stephan

pober003When he is not running the North Texas Sailing School, you will find Michael Hoye in his hangar at Airpark East working on his latest project the Pober Speedster.

Michael has penchant for building one-of-a-kind designs from EAA founder Paul Poberezny. The first was the Pober Pixie II, which was a two-seat version of the Pober Pixie. He spent a decade building the pixie II and it earned much attention the several times it has traveled to Oshkosh. The Pixie II was more than a plans built project, since there were very little in the way of plans. Paul abandoned the project after welding the fuselage, due to competition from other similar concepts. Michael picked up that fuselage and brought it back to Texas. With much consultation with Paul and many prototype parts, Michael finished the plane.

Paul and Michael have had a relationship ever since.

pober002It was featured in the January 2002 edition of Sport Aviation in a 7 page article written by Budd Davidson. In the article, Budd describes building an airplane without a set of completed plans as, “Hard-core homebuilding!” And Michael is back at it again.

That leads to the Pober Speedster. Similar to the Pixie II, Paul had welded together a fuselage design that was to be a single-seat top strut-braced low-wing called the Pober Sportster. When Paul offered the fuselage to Michael, another trip to Oshkosh brought that design back to the hangar at Airpark East.
Without a set of plans, he bought a set of Acrosport I plans (another Poberezny design) to use as a guide to assist in making design decisions, since both planes had some similarities in structure.

While looking at the airplane fuselage, Michael noticed that it was very similar to the 1930’s racers, the Gee Bee Speedsters. That is what he wanted. An aircraft in the spirit of Gee Bee Speedster that he would call the Pober Speedster.

pober001For the wings, he chose to use an elliptical wing to make the speedster look like the Gee Bee. elliptical wings are quite a challenge to build, which is why you don’t see them very often even though they are very efficient. The speedster wings tapers in two directions. After rib station 12 the spar starts its taper to the wing tip as well as the leading edge rounds to the wingtip. These two tapers cause every wing rib after station 12 to be a different shape. This complexity also extends to the aileron, which is part of the elliptical shape of the wing at the trailing edge. The spar of the aileron also tapers toward the tip as the trailing edge sweeps around to the tip. When looking at the wing structure, you first notice the aesthetic round shape. It is not until you get a close look at the details that you notice the complex shape. Working with these kinds of complex curves using wood is quite a task, and his wings are a work of art. The fuel for the airplane will be located in a saddle-type tank in the fuselage just above the rudder pedals and below the upper longeron.

That fuel will feed a Lycoming O-235 that is currently on the engine mount at the back of the Hangar. It is a used engine that Michael plans on overhauling and upgrading the cylinders. Since his Pixie II had a crankshaft journal oil feed plug up and cause complete failure of the piston rod, he wants to completely go though the engine before putting it in the air.

One of the departures from the Gee Bee Speedster is the landing gear structure. Those racers placed the gear out on the wing and had the gear’s forces travel through the wing struts to the fuselage. Not being interested in putting the stresses in the wing, Michael has opted for a more conventional piper cub style gear leg and bungie arrangement. It is a strong structure and is also what he used on the Pixie. The only drawback being the drag caused by the bungies under the fuselage.

pober004While showing me the fuselage, Michael mentioned that all the control linkages will be cables, including the elevator, which is usually a push/pull tube in Paul’s designs. Due to the geometry of the fuselage and the position of the fuselage tubing, it takes a joint in the tube and a bell-crank to make the bend around the structure to the elevator horns. He believes that cables and pulleys are a simpler and stronger connection with fewer joints. The ailerons will also be controlled by a combination of cables and pulleys. The cables will be very visible in the fuselage revealing the makings of the machine.

The Speedster’s fuselage has been blasted and primed. When looking closely at the tubing junctions, you can see the how talented a welder Paul Poberezny was. Every cluster is beautiful. Those who think only TIG welds are attractive haven’t seen Paul’s work. He was a master with the gas torch.

There is so much about the speedster that is interesting, you just have to see it to experience the excellence. Pictures don’t do it justice. Michael hopes to have the project flying in a few more years. I look forward to seeing it in the display area at Oshkosh.

There are not many builders like Michael Hoye. The kit-built builder community can pound their chest and boast about the design, but they built someone else’s design. He is building his own. And even though it won’t be the fastest or the most sleek airplane on the field, it will be a one-of-a-kind airplane, just like his other one. Now that is hard-core.