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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cutting wood

I got a chance to get about an hour and half of work in on 53T this evening.  It went pretty well, I put my newly sharpened chisels to work.  Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures but will try to get some tomorrow.

The main problem with the glider is there was no drain hole back in the bottom of the tail in the fuselage.  This is where the vertical stabilizer spar meets the bottom of the fuselage.  So there is plenty of water damage around the lower longerons and the box spar of the vertical stab.  So tonight I started cutting out the wood and plywood that is bad.  I've got more work to do there, then will have to figure out scarf lengths and get new wood to replace the rotted stuff.

It's supposed to warm up this week but of course we're headed to Philly for the SSA Conference. Hopefully next week will be warm too.  Leah and I close on a house next Monday and will start slowly moving in.  It has a 36 x 36 garage that I need to get insulated and heated, which should accelerate my work on our various projects.  We have the restore/recover of 53T and the cedar strip canoe.  I've also adopted a refurbishing project on one of the rowing clubs singles.  Its a 1976 Van Dusen.  The wood frame had cracks in a few places and was warped in others.  So that will mainly just be a cut out and replace job and then put a new cover on it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More progress

Last night it was a balmy 44 degrees in the garage so Leah and I did a little work.  The main thing I did was cut out the top stringer on the fuselage.  It had warped between its supports from years of doped fabric shrinking down on it so we decided to replace it with a nice straight piece of wood.  It came out pretty cleanly, just a little work with a chisel and i should be ready to glue in a new piece.

I also went around identifying areas that need our attention and marking them with tape so we don't forget about them.  There are a few stringers that got damaged when we got a little too excited removing the fabric.  The lower longerons are covered with a quarter round piece of balsa to give the fabric something smooth to slide over and in a few places this got torn up too.  There is one support between the lower stringer and the fuselage truss that is no longer attached to the truss which will need re-epoxied.

There is one stick on the root rib of the left wing that needs re-epoxied.  The rest of the left wing looks good as far as we've been able to see.  On the right wing I found some issues around the airbrake area.  The airbrakes are sprung shut on the Cherokee and the spring that does this runs from the bottom of the airbrake to the bottom of the rib that runs through that area.  On 53T there was actually two small springs providing this resistive force which made it difficult to impossible to completely open the brakes.  I'm going to use this to excuse my long landings when i flew the glider.  Anyway with that extra force, the rib started to twist over the years and broke the glue joints to a couple of the vertical stabilizing pieces that span the rib.  so that are will need some re-gluing.  The right wing does not show any issues in this area so that is good.

The only other issue with the glider is the rot at the bottom aft end of the fuselage which I think I've already written about that. 

I have some pictures but they're still on the camera, will try to get them uploaded soon.

In other news Leah and I are getting close to closing on a 36 x 36 garage with detached house.  Should make a great workspace for the gliders.  Especially after it gets heat!  We will be at the SSA Convention in Philadelphia at the end of the month so if you're planning on attending let me know, we're looking forward to a good time catching up with soaring friends. 

I bought an Oudie this winter and an LX Nano flight recorder.  High technology for an old glider but I think it will be well worth it.  I was flying with a loan Cambridge 20 GPS last season which was great.  I loved having the GPS display and having the flight logs after each flight for analysis and posting on the OLC.  Not to mention being able to turn in the logs for my Gold Distance and Altitude.  I've got Diamonds on the mind now so having an IGC logger was a must and the Nano seems to be a great value.  It can interface to the Oudie for a really compact and portable system.  I just got the Oudie hooked up to my old PC a few days ago and have been playing around on Condor soaring simulator with it to learn the ins and outs. 

Still trying to determine what I want to do this summer.  I'd like to fly 373Y in a regional contest somewhere.  The closest so far is in Moriarty, NM but the dates conflict with previous plans so I won't be able to make that one.  Hopefully something will turn up in Texas.  Otherwise I'm kind of thinking about going to a ridge camp in Jasper, TN in late March and then returning to Chilhowee for the Region 5 contest in September.  Also will probably spend Memorial Day at Ulysses again (perhaps ground crewing for Leah in 53T if it's done) and also might try to take 53T to the Vintage Nationals in Lawrenceville, IL in June, once again if it is complete.  So, we'll just have to see how the schedule plays out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Leah and I have returned from the great white north where we had an enjoyable holiday vacation.  Leah's gift to me was a couple of photos of N373Y on canvas frames, looks really nice!  Hopefully tonight I'll be back to work sanding on N4653T. 

In other updates...

There is a nice article by Jim Schafer about the restoration of N10124 in the Bungee Cord which I just received yesterday.  Some great pictures are also included. Need to join the VSA to receive this great full color newsletter? Click here

I received some pictures and a little info on the current status of N86693, built by Peter Newgard.  I'll try to get the Roll Call updated soon.

The SSA rolled out the new online sailplane directory over the holidays!  I love it!  One of these evenings I'll have to upload a bunch of pictures under the Cherokee II entry and I also plan to send in the polar that I developed from flight testing N373Y.  Check it out at