This is the home for everything related to Cherokee II Sailplanes. Email me at if you have anything to add.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A few more Marfa pictures

These are courtesy of Mike Brooks.  Mike has a really sweet Genesis 2 and we had a lot of fun flying together last week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cherokee for sale in Australia

James Freiss recently contacted me and said he was ready to sell VH-GQV.  He has been restoring it and it is ready for covering. Here is his note:

Hall Cherokee II VH-GQV
Historic sailplane has be tediously restored and is ready to be covered with Oratex UL 600. Has passed all inspections and has current CofA. Has good trailer. Perfect for a collector or first owner.
Expressions of interest. James ph 0413 007917 or

 If you are interested let James know. It would be great to see another Cherokee back in the air!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A few Marfa pictures

More should be coming but I got these pictures off our camera.

Rigged on Sunday:

After 3 hour flight on Monday:

Matt and Burt pushing me back for a relight on Wedensday:

Waiting for towplane.  Nice sky and it was nearly 5 PM!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Short Marfa Report

Just an abbreviated report, I'll try to expand these into more detailed flight reports when I get home.

Sunday: spent most of the day rigging and doing some last minute maintenance and clean up. the glider was covered in dust.  Also had some cockpit organization, instrument plumbing, and other stuff to do. Didn't launch till nearly 4:30 but flew for an hour and topped 10,000 feet.  For reference, Marfa Airport is at 4850.

Monday:  still a few things to do in the morning but I got the first launch into cloudy gray solid overcast skies. Figured I'd be up for a sled ride but oh well.  Turns out there was convergence in the area and I released at 1200 AGL into one of the strongest "thermals" of my life.  6-8 knots up.  I ventured out as far as 12 miles and climbed to 12,200 feet.  The highest my Cherokee has ever flown.

Tuesday:  Launched about third, just after 1:30.  Good local flight, worked upwind 10 miles a few times and generally just wandered around.  Joined up with chris and matt in the blanik for some air to air photos. also gaggled with burt and adam.  good times.  had a couple low enough saves and managed to land at 6 hours on the button.  longest duration flight for both me and the glider.

yes we are taking pictures and they will probably be posted after we get home.  having a blast down here and the Cherokee is getting a lot of nice comments from the other pilots and visitors. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

heading to Marfa

i finished up work on the trailer tonight and finished putting a pocket in the cockpit.

we've put a good dent in packing and will leave for marfa sometime tomorrow after work. 

I'll be posting my flights to the OLC through the week and possibly posting updates here.  also i'll be carrying a SPOT.  here is the link:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Tonight both Leah and I ran errands all over town to get ready for departure on Friday.  I once again forgot to get the info I need for a spare tire for the trailer. ugh!  Will have to do that tomorrow afternoon.  Main thing left to do is a little more work building up the floor of the trailer to keep the fuselage from tilting into the wings. we don't like that.  Otherwise it is looking like we are on track for heading to Marfa on Friday. I'm really hoping to have time and weather to rig and fly the glider tomorrow evening. We'll see how it works out.

In the meantime Nick stopped out to help put the glider in the trailer but took some good pictures of it before we broke it down.  Looks nice!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Condition Inspection complete!

Well Nick and I did a little work on 373Y this afternoon.  I got some little brass wood screws at Lowe's and put the data plate and airworthiness cert holder back on the spar plus the placard with airspeed limitations.  then we teed the static line off and got the instrument panel installed.  I realized I really should get another tee and plumb the vario into the static line as well. oops.  previously I had a homemade TE probe so I forgot about the static line. oh well.

So with all that done I went to put the canopy on and realized I had put the hinges on backwards. front was back and back was front.  doh!  So I had to switch those and then the canopy worked a lot better.  Mike showed up and started the condition inspection.  Nick and I assembled the glider and I got the scales out to weigh it.  We got everything leveled up, using the canopy rails as a reference.  Weight on the main wheel was 330 lbs and 30 lbs on the tail.  I was thrilled!  The glider lost something like 30-35 lbs.  Must be a combination of removing the seat back and shelf plus using slightly lighter weigh fabric and the lightness of Stewart Systems coupled with a fairly thin topcoat that I applied.  Not to mention that the old fabric had an extra coat of paint on it of Stit's rejuvinator and topcoat.

Here's a crummy picture of the glider assembled. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Paint Job Pictures

ok i figured out, with Chris' help, how to get pictures off my phone.  So here are a couple shots of the trim work that Chris and I did last night.  Here is the empennage and rudder:

and here is Chris and a wing:

and finally the EXPERIMENTAL sticker:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Paint finished and PICTURES!

Tonight Chris and I got the stripes and N numbers painted!  So now I am done painting 373Y.  We also put the seals on the aileron, rudder ,and elevator. I bolted the elevator onto the horizontal.  We installed the seatbelts and antenna, pitot line is plumbed into the pitot tube, and also ran the wiring from the battery to the instrument panel.

For some reason I can't find the machine screws for the instrument panel and the wood screws for the data plate and holder for the airworthiness cert.  I'll need to dig around on monday and find them.  I think I'm still in good shape to do the condition inspection on Monday.  I also picked up scales so maybe monday night I can weigh the glider.

And I'm staying up late tonight in order to post some pictures!  Been a while I know so here we go.  Last I posted a picture we were in the middle of first coat of primer.  Here is a shot of everything with the charcoal EkoFill:

And here is the fuselage and one wing painted.  Leah is sanding the primer on the other wing.  This was the night that we finished the base coat on everything.  I guess that was only a few days ago...

Here is the fuselage painted:

and a shot of the turtle deck. I liked this one.

 The wings covered:

And the N number templates in place last night

I didn't have my camera with me tonight while we were painting. Did get some pictures on my phone but i couldn't figure out how to get them off my phone.  Will have to get some shots on monday.  good chance i could fly the glider on tuesday.  we've got some work to do on the trailer to get it ready next week as well...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

N373Y painted

Last night Leah, Nick, and I started out sanding down the wing and control surfaces.  Then mixed up a batch of paint and went to town.  Once again I didn't have too many major problems with painting.  The wing is now complete as well as all the control surface. In fact, everything that is going to get painted has been painted.

Tonight we'll tape off the wings and fuselage and spray a few stripes along with the N numbers. We might have to spray an EXPERIMENTAL stencil under the canopy.  I ordered a vinyl sticker for that but I'm not sure how well the red will match my paint. We'll see.

I'm going to try to pick up some scales tonight as well as some fabric and velcro for working out some pockets in the cockpit.  tomorrow will be working on putting everything together in prep for the condition inspection on monday.  control surfaces, seat belts, towhook, skid, instrument panel etc. etc.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Last night I got out to the gliderport and Neal had left me a nearly full gallon of white Ekofill. Gold Mine!  Just have to add that to the list of the many ways Neal has saved the day during this project.  So I got the gun set up and started shooting primer on the rest of the left wing and all the control surfaces.  Nick showed up to help and he started sanding the fuselage and right wing.

I finished priming and cleaned the gun.  Nick finished sanding.  We re read the Stewarts manual for the millionth time and I got everything set up for mixing the paint.  4 Parts paint, 1 part catalyst and 1 part water.  We followed the instructions exactly and the viscocity was perfect. I didn't quite use all of the water.  Now was the big moment.

The first coat is super light with the flow controal at 3/4 open.  In fact I could barely see it over the primer.  Next coat has flow 7/8 open and the fuselage was starting to get a little more yellow.  Next is a full turn open and you can really see the topcoat color now.  Final coat at 1 1/4 turns open and this really fills everything in.  I was sure to keep the gun moving at all times for an even thin coat and was rewarded with no runs.  The topcoat did a fair job of covering up some of the minor runs I had in the primer but a few of the really heavy ones showed through.  The last coat went on with a dry look like the manual said but as it cured it developed a decent shine.  I have to say that it doesnt look too bad at all.

Tonight we'll sand the other wing and all the control surfaces and then paint all that stuff too, plus go over anything on the fuselage and wing that we see that we missed.  Plan for Wednesday is to shoot the stripes and N number. I got the template for the N number last night.  Thursday everything gets put together!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Priming nearly complete

Leah and I had a good easter weekend and got a little work done this afternoon and evening on the cherokee as well.  We started the last two cross coats on everything with the white EkoFill.  It went pretty well really.  I'm using my gravity feed HVLP gun for the rest of the painting and it took me a little while to learn how to use it again.  The gliderport has a nicely capable air compressor which is great.  I didn't have any real problems i suppose until the end.  Turns out I apparently underestimated my need for the ekofill and ran out when I was about 3/4 finished with the last wing. 

So currently the fuselage and one wing are completely primed while the other wing needs a little more work and the other control surfaces all need one more cross coat which won't take long.  Tomorrow I'll check and see if it will be OK to finish it up with the gray ekofill or if that will screw up the tint on my topcoat. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

1st Cross Coat complete

I didn't make it out to the shop until shortly after 6 last night and then got to work cleaning up the booth and getting ready to spray.  I was really careful to be methodical and not forget everything. Frankly I was a little nervous about starting to spray as I really really really didn't want to screw it up.

I waited for Leah to come out with supper and then got started.  Overall spraying the first cross coat of primer went fairly well.  I did have a few runs when i first started but once I figured out the proper flow setting on the gun as well as how fast to move the gun and how far away it should be from the part it went pretty smoothly. I started with the rudder and then moved to the fuselage, then wings, and finally elevator and horizontal.  Also Leah cleaned the residue off the inpection covers and wing root fairings and i sprayed those too.  All told it took about 2 - 2.5 hrs to do the cross coat on everything.  Should be quicker next time now that I know what i'm doing.

Original plan was to do 2 more cross coats tonight but I think I'm going to push that back.  We've got family coming into town tonight for easter weekend plus a cold front has come through and the high for today is only 68.  So I think that tonight after work I will sand this cross coat and then on Sunday afternoon and evening we will spray the next two cross coats.  This leaves me on track to spray top coat monday/tuesday.

Yesterday my SPOT tracker showed up!  I'm excited to use it this season and will be sure to post my "shared" page so you can follow along on my flights.  Also, I got my EXPERIMENTAL sticker.  Hopefully the red sticker matches my red paint. Otherwise, I'll have to do some stenciling for that I guess.  My N number stencils should arrive today.  And, exciting news, I called the local IA and the condition inspection is scheduled for Monday April 12!  Hopefully we can make that deadline.

I'll get a bunch of pictures from this week posted up sometime this weekend.  We have been taking pictures but seem to never get home before midnight. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ready to Spray

Last night Rafael, Nick, and Leah were out to help as we got ready to spray primer.  First things first we needed to tape up the fuselage and wings to prevent primer from going places we dont want it. Also taped up the wing roots and wing fittings and a few other holes in various places.

I brought out the wing root fairings and the inspection covers as well and Nick worked on them for a while with some MEK.  Nasty stuff but it worked pretty well.  Eventually he had to leave though so Leah and I took over that job.  After a while they were done and then we moved onto the Horizontal Stabilizer which still had paint on it.  After a few hours of work it was looking pretty clean and we declared it good enough.  During the process though we had popped a bit of the top fiberglass skin free from the leading edge so I mixed up some West Epoxy that Neal had and borrowed some clothes pins and got it glued back in place.  Should be in good shape tonight.

So the plan tonight is to spray primer on everything. 2 cross coats is probably all I will do. After that it has to dry, you lightly sand and then clean the dust off, and then you spray 2 more cross coats.  I hope to do the second set of cross coats tomorrow night.  No work planned for Easter weekend as we'll have family visiting but on Monday the plan is to start the topcoat.  Very exciting!

Truck went to the shop today for a checkup before the trip to Marfa.  No unknown issues were found.  I dropped my parachute off with Steve today who will take it to the rigger so it will be repacked.  I've got a SPOT in the mail, sending the GPS off for calibration tonight.  N number stencils should be here soon, I hope.  So basically, I'm making decent progress on all fronts!