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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Updates in Cherokee Land

I've got a Maas 24 rowing shell to get seaworthy, hopefully by this weekend, so no updates on 53T except that the epoxying job from the other night turned out looking nice.  I received the electrical goodies for 373Y yesterday so I can look forward to getting some progress made on her too.

There has been quite a bit of activity from the scale model guys on their 1/4 scale Cherokee's.  Creeve should be flying his 1/4 scale Cherokee any day now and Dave Smith and Nigel will wait for the Yakima Aerotow event to fly.  Here is a picture of Dave's bird.  He just got the Cherokee noseart decal added.  This is modeled after the nose art on 871Z and 8722E.  Looks sharp!

I got an email from Ken Caldwell in Australia a few weeks ago.  He had VH-GLU out a few times over the summer down under.  He managed to put 10 hours on the bird between rallies at Leeton and the big vintage rally in Bordertown.  Ken also made contact with Ron Wingate who was an early member of the Renmark Gliding Club and had a lot of info and pictures of the construction and history of Cherokees GLU and GLV.  Ken sent me the letters and pictures, I'll have to work on getting the info posted here.  Here is a picture I found online of GLV at the 1967 Australian Nationals:

And here is one of GLU at the rally at the 2011 Bordertown rally.

There are a few other pictures of GLU along with more vintage gliders in the album at

Monday, April 25, 2011

I need more clamps

Tonight I finished up the scarfs on the gusset pieces and made the cross piece that goes between the side frames just in front of the forward spar of the vertical stabilizer.  Then it was a big epoxying party for about 30 minutes.  I made to sure to use the slow curing West System this time since I knew I'd need a little time.  First on were the gusset pieces which went fairly smoothly and I was able to get enough clamps on them to hold them down I think.

Next I put on the cross piece which was no sweat.  Then I had to mix up another batch of epoxy.  Third was the tailwheel support.  It is a nice tight fit so no clamps required.  What a relief to have finally replace the piece that started this saga!  I had some more epoxy left so I closed up the back of the vertical stab with the piece of birch.  I did remember to put some masking tape over the holes for the rudder hinge bolts so that they don't get epoxied shut. I'll have to locate those holes on the outside and drill through the new plywood and then I can reinstall the hinge.

So the "only" thing left in this section is the bottom piece of plywood that covers the entire area and then finishing off the stringer.  So that will be next on the list when I get back to working on 53T.  Might take a few days off to make some progress on that boat though.

I did order electrical system supplies for 3Y today so I look forward to getting that by the end of the week.

Here are some pictures from today:

Weekend progress

Saturday I flew the NG-1on three flights which went really well.  Our club had a great currency day with spring checkouts, towpilot checkouts and general currency flying all around.  Everything was sled rides although I managed to delay in some zero sink a few times.  We did 29 tows for the day, not bad!

Sunday was forecast to be at least overcast and possibly rainy so I started working in the garage in the morning. First thing we did was pull 373Y out of its trailer and get it in the garage.  I have some stuff I want to do to it before the season starts.  Specifically wire up a new electrical system with tefzel wiring and generally better electrical practices.  What I had last year was probably somewhere between cheap and dangerous.  I also will probably work out a new instrument panel while I'm at it to accomodate the LX16 Audio Vario and allow space for a dock for the Oudie and Nano. Also will probably switch from cheap radio shack fuses to klix on circuit breakers while I'm at it.  I also need to rig up some sort of seat back and probably some under leg support for comfort on long flights.  A relief system is also in order after having two 6 hour flights last year.  Finally I'd like to get the bubbles on the leading edges of the wings flattened out.  Might try to paint the contest ID (YYY) on it while its in the garage.  It will be in need of an annual inspection May 1 so I might as well get that taken care of too.

On to 53T, when I cut the scarf for the longerons it ended up cutting into the gussets where the truss comes together under the horizontal attach.  So i spent most of the morning working on removing nails and cutting scarfs on that gusset for some new plywood to make it whole again.  I was about done doing the glider side of things when Jerry called and said it looked like soaring weather at Sunflower. So we hit the road!  I ended up giving Jerry a tow and then Leah and I flew the 2-33 for about 40 minutes until the weather clouded over. We managed to gain about 1000 feet with Leah doing all the flying and had a lot of fun.  Back home I started cutting plywood for the gussets.  I got the four pieces cut and trimmed and also cut plywood for the plywood piece that goes over the back of the vertical stab.  I got the scarfs cut on that piece and one of the gusset pieces before I decided to call it a night.

Friday, April 22, 2011


The nutplates arrived yesterday for the tailwheel bracket so I went to Harry's this evening to get them riveted onto the backup sheet of steel.  That all went very smoothly with no issue.  Once home I knew that I was going to epoxy the steel sheet w/nutplates to the wood piece so I figured i should glue some other stuff while I was at it.  I spent a little time getting the scarfs cut for the rest of the stringer pieces that I had to remove to do the plywood scarfs last weekend.  With everything ready it was time to glue and clamp.  Everything is curing now. 

Tomorrow is looking like a flying day and I'm planning to get up in the NG-1 for a few flights to practice landings in it.  Sunday is looking stormy though so I suspect I'll get more work done in the garage that day.  Here are a few pictures from today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

more glueing

 tonight I did some yard work after going for a row with Leah.  So we got started in the garage late. Leah did some organizing to make room for 373Y while I worked on drawing out the parts that will make up the tailwheel spring attachment.  I'm copying what Dean Gradwell used on 72DG which is a stack that goes something like this:

.063" 4130 sheet
1/2" Spruce
1/4" Steel tailwheel bracket

With 2 1/4" bolts going through and a locking nutplate on the 4130 sheet.

I did get the pieces cut to finish the stringer work but by the time I was finished with that it was getting late so I'll have to get those scarfed in later in the week.  Everything is coming together nicely on this tail section.  A few more days of progress and it'll be done!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


This morning I removed the clamps from the plywood and epoxied the longerons in place.  It went very easy with no major issues.  Spent the rest of the day watching the NASCAR race and raking the yard.  Then took off the clamps and the longerons looked great.  A little bit of time with the saw and I have the area more or less trimmed up to what it will eventually be.  Removed the excess spar and web as well as the extra longeron.  The last thing I did tonight was cut the glider side scarfs for the stringer stuff.  Tomorrow I'll cut the spruce for those and try to get them glued in place.

I managed to get a wheel/drum brake combo from a friend in our club that should work so I'll have to work out the mounting and a way to activate the brake. 

We have discussed and basically decided to replace all the control cables while we have everything opened up.  I noticed the Yard Store has galvanized aircraft cable for sale so I need to figure out how much we need and borrow Harry's nicopress tool and go wild with that.


The last few days have been busy ones.  I stayed up really late last night working on the vertical stab of 53T.  The progress made was getting the new longeron pieces matched to the glider scarfs as well as trimmed down so that they taper to match the stringers.  Of course I had to remember to leave a gap between the longeron and the spars of 1/8" for the plywood webs.  This was a lot of fine tuning so it was time consuming work.  But by about 1 AM I had the pieces cut to my satisfaction and was ready for bed. 

Leah also worked in the garage for a while last night, although she didn't stay up late like me.  Mostly she worked on taking the ailerons off the wing.  Getting 45 yr old cotter pins removed from castellated nuts and removing the old nuts and bolts was no easy task.  Once she got the aileron off the right wing she called it a night.

By the way she is standing next to my latest rowing shell project, one of the clubs Maas 24's.  It is a workhorse boat and has no fewer than 3 cracks in the hull and another couple possible leak points.  So I'll be doing plenty of sanding on that in the next week or so and learning some fiberglass work, which will be nice.  Earlier this year I replaced a bunch of spruce in the truss of one of the clubs Van Dusen racing singles which was a lot of fun.

Back to 53T, this morning after breakfast I epoxied the front and rear spars in place.  They didn't provide any particular challenge although I still managed to glue a few of the clamps to the glider.  Thankfully they came off without any trouble or damage.

Most of today was spent finishing up the condition inspection on the NG-1 and assembling and disassembling the NG-1.  It was nice to finally get this glider together and get it airworthy.  I bought it last summer and am looking forward to having a little more performance.  Don't worry 373Y is still my first love and I intend to chase my diamonds in the Cherokee.  The NG-1 just might come in handy for things like the KSA Wooden Wings trophy, Kowbell, and of course the SSA Barringer Trophy and Henry Combs award :)  Here is the NG-1 in the driveway. 

After we got the NG-1 back in the trailer we ran to Harry's to help with the clubs 1-23 project.  We were checking the fit of the wings before Harry starts riveting all the skins back on the bird.  Thankfully everything fit (whew!) and only minor shimming will get it fitting even better.

Once I got back home I started working on the plywood webs of the vertical stab.  Got out the handheld sander and some 50 grit paper and in no time had the glider side of things ready.

I used my piece of birch plywood since my mahogany is on backorder.  no worry, the birch is stronger anyway.  It didn't take me too long to trim up a piece of wood that was a little oversize for what I needed.  Then a little sanding, but a lot of dust, and it was time for epoxy again.  Currently everything is out in the garage curing.  Tomorrow I'll be ready to epoxy in the longerons as well as scarf in some new stringer material on the right side that i had to remove to accommodate the plywood scarf.  There is also a small plate of plywood in front of the vertical stab box beam that i need to replace.  Then it will be on to fabricating the tailwheel bracket. 

In other news now that the NG-1 is out of the garage I'll start moving 373Y in.  Need to get to work rewiring the glider, installing an audio vario, and fixing the bubbles in the leading edge.  It will be due for its condition inspection May 1 so I might try to get that done too.

Monday, April 11, 2011


most progress this week was constrained to the lower vertical stabilizer area.  The longerons and front and rear spars are cut for their scarf joints.  Hopefully tonight I'll have time to start cutting the scarfs on the new wood that arrived last week from aircraft spruce.  General order of replacement will be:

Front Spar
Rear Spar
Plywood sides that form the box beam
Miscellaneous stringers etc that have to be removed to accomodate plywood replacement
Lower plywood/Keel

Then I'll have to settle on a tailwheel spring and work up a backup structure/nutplate assembly that will epoxy to the bottom end of the vertical stab box beam.  And it will all get drain holes!

I also removed the main wheel this week.  I might have mentioned before but the main wheel on 53T did not have a wheel brake.  That will change.  I'm currently researching options for installing a brake.  I'll need to get a new axle made as the old one had a nice bend in it.

I still need to remember to get measurements on the mouse damage in the left wing so we can do the calculations to determine the best course of action there.  Hopefully tonight.

Monday, April 4, 2011

some pictures

Here are a few shots of the lower Vertical Stab area on 53T.  I did some more cleanup and started cutting the scarf on the right lower longeron tonight.  Will keep on working on getting the scarfs cut until the wood shows up.  Leah did some cleanup on the right wing, found a little more mouse damage, joy.

short update

time for an update.  We had to be out of our apartment by thursday night so we didn't have much time this last week to get any work done on 53T.  I did manage to get the heat working in the garage on friday night, just in time for 80 and 90 degree weather.  We spent all day Saturday and a little Sunday morning trimming trees at the house and weren't ready to be productive again until late afternoon Sunday.  I did get the rest of the water damaged wood removed from the lower part of the vertical stab and mapped out most of the scarf joints that I will need.  This should be fun, longerons will be scarfed up into the gusset below the horizontal.  Hopefully I won't have to remove much or any of that gusset but time will tell.  The forward vertical spar is going to be a challenge to work on from an access standpoint since it is inside the fuselage truss.  the scarf on the aft vertical spar will be long enough that i'll have to re-drill the holes for the rudder hinge but that should be manageable.

Ordered wood and fabric from Aircraft Spruce last night.  Tonight I hope to remove some more plywood from the bottom to accommodate the longeron scarfs and maybe start cutting the scarf joints for the glider side of things.  Also need to get good measurements on the wing damage and clean up the other wing.

Pictures hopefully tonight.