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Monday, October 31, 2011


Last week I did manage to get to the garage a few nights. Matt came over to help and he cleaned the balsa facing off the left airbrake and removed both airbrakes.  The hinges have some pretty decent corrosion on them.  I kept working on the ribs on the right wing.  New plywood arrived and the new rib shapes are traced out and ready to cut. I also received a package with a full set of ribs as well as metal fittings from Richard Beck. Thanks Richard!  I used the rib in that package to make a template for a new rib to replace the one true rib that I removed on the right wing.  So this week the goal is to make some sawdust and start putting parts back in the glider.

Yesterday we got 3Y out for the last day of scheduled operations at the club.  This was the first time I have flown 3Y at Sunflower since my first flight in it this spring in May, when Summer and I landed out.  Needless to say we have been on the road a lot with the glider this season. I added up the logbook and I think I had just over 50 hours in it this season. Not bad!  Lift yesterday was weak and broken up, we had two flights, first one about an hour and the second one right at half an hour. Here are the traces:

Leah and I received some sad news on Saturday.  Bud Brown, builder of 4653T, passed away on Friday.  Awful news as I was very hopeful to get to meet him one day and show him 53T once we're finished with it.  Here is Bud's obituary:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Destruction complete, I think

Tonight I worked a bit to remove the broken rib.  First, however, I was able to get a good look down the leading edge of the right wing thanks to the false ribs being removed.  there was a bunch of mouse nest leftovers outboard of the hole I cut so I spent some time with the shop vac cleaning the wing out.  Managed to remove everything I could see.  I also was able to get a good luck at the adjacent rib bays and determined that I didn't need to remove any more skin which is great!

The last thing I did tonight was remove the main rib that I broke while removing skin.  It didn't cause too much trouble.  For now at least this is the last phase of destruction in this section of the wing.  There is a chance I might end up re-working the trailing edge but that won't come until the rib repairs are complete.  Here is a photo:


Harry stopped by to inspect the damage last night.  He thought most of the ribs were probably OK and could be saved with some doublers.  I had already removed the blantantly broken false ribs as those will be pretty easy to replace with new.  Matt G came over to help and hit the not broken ribs with the sander to clean them up so we could see what we were dealing with.  Both false ribs that weren't broken showed some pretty major cracking into the plys that was more than just the surface, so it was a pretty easy decision to remove them.

The main rib next to the airbrake box is also broken so it will probably get removed and replaced. I've ordered some plywood to cut new ribs.  Here are some pictures of tonights destruction:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Opening Right Wing

 I started off tonight with the intention of squaring up the hole that I cut in 3T's right wing so that a new piece of plywood could be scarfed in to replace it.  While doing that I looked towards the tip inside the leading edge and noticed that the next false rib was blatantly broken.  So the hole went from this:

to this:

Not too bad I thought. However after looking at that rib, and noticing that the false rib next to it was also broken, I realized the easiest way to fix them would be just a complete replacement.  The break was on the top back near the spar, not to mention the leading edges of all the ribs are in questionable shape thanks to the mouse damage.  I also found some more mouse nest material in the new rib bay that I opened up and vacuumed some more out of the next bay towards the tip.  So, I decided to remove the skin in the newly opened bay back to the second spar on top so the false ribs can be replaced.

Next I started careful work with the chisel to square up the aft edge of the original cutout.  I noticed that one false rib was cracked which I wasn't particularly excited about.  Then I managed to damage the real rib which forms the tip-side border of the airbrake box.  That was it.  The rest of the skin was coming off so I had full access to all the ribs in this area.

And thats where I stopped for the night. 

Jacob was over earlier and we got the rudder cables finished and also he worked on sanding down the filler work we had done the other night. For the woodwork, next thing I suppose is to evaluate what to do with each rib in this area.  Most of them are going to need some form of repair or replacement.  Then I'll have to order some plywood and go to town.  All the ribs on the Cherokee II are sawn from 1/4" marine plywood. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Last night I started cutting out the soft wood in the right wing leading edge.  There was a mouse in there at some point. No nest but some shreds of foam, a few acorns, and other leftovers. I kept cutting until I was back to clean wood and couldn't feel or see significant damage in the past the next rib.

Bud Brown added 2 false ribs between each actual rib to help hold the profile. It seems to have worked well.  The plywood skin is 1.5mm and there were places where there was at least another .5 mm of filler.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


On Sunday Jacob came over to help and we started off working on finishing up the rudder cables.  Well either I used up all my thimbles and sleeves or they were lost in the great re-organization which allowed the wings to go on 53T. There weren't very many left anyway so I've ordered a bunch more for the rudder, aileron, and airbrake cables.

Instead we mixed up some super fill and got to work.  There was an area on the leading edge of the center section that needed smoothed out after the fabric pulled up some previous filler over the balsa leading edge.  There were also some areas around the canopy that needed touched up and of course the intersection of the center section and fuselage.  Jacob worked on that while I kept picking away at some stubborn fabric on the leading edge of the right wing.  Along the way I found a short section of soft wood that will need to be replaced.  It is 1.5 mm plywood and the leading edge on the Cherokee is non-structural so I don't think it will be too much trouble.  Will be interesting to get a look inside the leading edge which has been closed up for the last nearly 50 years.

Friday, October 14, 2011

53T assembled

for the first time since about a year ago the wings are on 53T.  No its not finished, we just put the wings on so that we can make the cables for the aileron and airbrake systems.  I am just loving that it fits in the garage with room to spare!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Back when I bought 373Y I was told that Matt had a pile of pictures of the glider from when it was built back in 1964 by the Ree brothers.  Well when we started looking around for them they were nowhere to be found and eventually we decided they were just plain lost and hoped that someday they would turn up.  After a while I flat out forgot that they had ever existed.  well yesterday I got a text from Matt and lo and behold its a picture of a pile of pictures of my glider!  Woohoo what was lost is found!  So as soon as Matt can get me the pictures I'll be sure to scan them all and put them up here. Here is the picture Matt sent me:

Friday, October 7, 2011

53T Control System

Well with cooler weather and now the VSA Rally behind us I've been trying to get out in the garage at least a little every night to make progress on 53T.  All of the pulleys in the glider have been replaced with new, and last night Leah and I started fabricating new control cables.  In addition, night before last I took the stick out and cleaned it up.  The stick is mounted on a short tube that runs through a couple of hardwood blocks.  At some point in time someone thought it was necessary to lube all the moving parts on this glider, and used some sort of black goo to do so.  I'm sure that it probably helped for a while but over time this lubricant picked up a lot of dust and dirt and just turned into a thick gunk.  The area where the stick passed through the hardwood blocks was no exception and there was a LOT of friction in the left/right motion.  A little time with a towel and some fine sandpaper and everything is moving a little easier.  There is still some friction but it is much better.

Last night we made new cables for the aileron drive in the fuselage. These cables run from the side of the stick around a pulley and then back beside the seat into the fuselage, around another pulley and up to the aileron bellcrank that is mounted on the back of the rear spar.  A turnbuckle is added into each cable assembly at the bellcrank attachment to allow for adjusting tension in the system.  Of course the turnbuckles were loaded with more black goo lubricant as well so we spent some time cleaning them up and sanding off some light surface corrosion.  Then with the turnbuckles in place and the control cables attached to the stick we got a good rough guess of where we needed to place our thimble at the cable/turnbuckle interface.  A little bit of struggling with the nicopress and voila a shiny new cable at just the right length.  The left side went so well that we finished up the right side and now have a closed loop in the fuselage again.  Of course I was out of the proper bolts so had to make a quick order to Aircraft Spruce last night.  Once they arrive We can finish the aileron drive completely.  In the meantime we'll move on to the other cables in the fuselage and then on to the wings.  That will be fun as I plan to rig the glider entirely inside the garage.  It will required some organizing and re-arranging of course but I can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

XC Adventures in 3Y

[Here is Pete's report from his flight in 3Y on Friday]
At this year's Wichita VSA Rally, Tony was kind enough to let me borrow his beloved Cherokee II 373Y again. I got to fly it last year, but the weather wasn't great so it was a short flight. The weather looked pretty good on Friday with lift to 5000' AGL, but also no clouds forecast. Since neither Tony nor I had managed to get our VSA silver coins we thought it might be possible to go on a 50km XC flight with the forecast conditions.

The WSA Ka-6 was available that day (Matt Colcasure Must have had to work :-)) so Tony decided to team fly with him in the Ka-6 and me in the Cherokee II. I took a tow to 2000' agl, and I found a good thermal almost immediately all the way up to 6000' MSL. Once up to altitude I met up with Tony, and we set off on course.

Team flying was really cool. I could see that the Ka-6 had a few less Ds than me as I tended to drop a bunch faster than Tony. True to forecast we kept finding decent lift out in the blue as we headed east towards El Dorado. At times I was struggling to get back up to altitude, but Tony managed to hang around and waited for my slow self to get back up to a decent altitude to continue onward.

I had Tony's Oudie in YYY so I was navigating and once we made 51km I signalled that we had made our goal over a feedlot just east of Rosalia, KS. As we turned back west I was starting to get lower and was on the lookout for a Thermal to get me back home. I had already picked out a nice looking plowed field next to a hay field with a bunch of round bales in case I wouldn't connect with the next thermal when Tony radioed me that he had found something right in that spot. Unfortunately I was getting rather low, when I saw that the hay field actually had a nice mowed runway running right through it. I was trying to make it to the thermal marked by Tony, but I just didn't feel comfortable so I pulled the plug at about 600' AGL, and went to land in the nice grass strip right below.

Tony got to watch me make a nice off field landing in his pride and joy (I was just glad not to do anything stupid :-)), and proceeded to get a nice thermal that almost got him back home. I radioed back to him that I was down safe and sound, at which point I realized that I had no idea on how I would get back out of there.

Well I just landed out in a borrowed glider, now what? Thankfully the better half of "Team Condon" was already on the way to the gliderport, so Tony relayed Leah's cell phone number to me. I felt a little embarrassed to have to call Leah to arrange for the retrieve, but she assured me that it would be ok. Leah made it out to the little strip about 45 minutes later, and we managed to derig 3Y without too much difficulty, and got home in time for dinner.

Turns out Tony made it back taking only one more thermal to get home. I caught a little grief from the rest of the pilots for making Leah pull my butt out of a field. Again special thanks go out to Tony for letting me have so much fun in 373Y, and especially Leah for showing up and pulling me out of that field in Rosalia, KS.

As it turns out I had both made my silver distance (51km) as well as silver altitude on this flight.

VSA Report

Well we all had a really good time at the VSA Rally.  Gliders in attendance included Lee and Mary Cowie's beautiful Grunau Baby II, freshly restored, and Dave and Betty Schuur's Ka-6E.  Locals included 373Y and my NG-1, WSA's Ka6-CR, Neal's Ka6-BR, Jerry Boone's Zuni, and Bob Holiday's Duster. The Grob, Lark, and 2-33 at the gliderport also made regular flights.  John Wells and Richard Kirkland had their 17 meter Dart on display and of course there was lots of oogling over Neal's Ka2b which is nearly complete. He was working steadily over the weekend getting the cockpits put back together on it.

Pete arrived on Thursday night and I took Friday off work so that we could fly.  He had flown 373Y last year at the rally and I intended to get him back in the Cherokee this year since he airlined down instead of pulling his Ka6-CR. We rigged 3Y and the clubs Ka6 which would be my bird for the day.  We both launched into really great conditions for the end of September. I was often seeing 3-4 knot average thermals up to around 4000-4500 AGL.  I radioed Pete and suggested that we run east to try to get 50km away and then return for our VSA silver coins.  He wasn't going to argue and we headed out. It was a fun flight and we made the 50km. I made it back but Pete landed out. He has written up his flight and I'll post it right after this one.

Here is me taking off in the Ka6 (photo from Lee Cowie):

Saturday I headed to the gliderport early to get the NG-1 rigged before the morning seminar. Big thanks goes out to Caleb Teel from Tulsa, OK who helped me wash all the dust off the glider. He was visiting with his dad Randy and it was great to finally meet them. I talked about flying 3Y in the Region 10 contest during the seminar.  After the talks we ate lunch and then rigged 3Y in record time.  Matt Michael arrived in his Flybaby and Neal offered him the Ka6-BR so the three of us all launched.  Unfortunately Pete and I found the lift weaker and spottier than Friday and only managed about an hour each.  I did have fun flying with Matt in the Ka6 though and he got some air to air pictures of the NG-1 which looked pretty good. Saturday night was the cookout at the gliderport and there was a ton of people there. We had a blast eating good food and visiting.  We finished the evening with a run to Bob Holiday's place for homemade ice cream. Yum!

Sunday my main goal of the day was to get Matt up in the NG-1.  Pete gave me permission to fly 3Y so Matt and I launched.  We both had 2 hour flights.  We had a great time gaggling together and of course Matt blew me away in straight glides.  I did a small triangle to Augusta Airport, Stearman Field, and back to the gliderport.  When I returned I joined up with Matt again for a few turns but then we both were getting low so landed.  It was a great end to a great weekend of friends and soaring!

Many more pictures from Sunday here: