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

Friday, April 27, 2012

You can build a Cherokee II

Found this in the Jan/Feb 1958 Soaring. Can't remember seeing this ad before

Sunday, April 22, 2012

First Flight of 2012

Yesterday I took YYY to the Wichita Gliderport for our first flight of the year and to see how the work I had done this spring had turned out.  I launched shortly after 1 PM when it seemed like the thermals would be good enough to stay up.  I found a weak climb to 4000 feet after release and called Wichita Approach.  They could see the transponder just fine so I told them I would be flying around the east side of town all afternoon.  I worked real close to the gliderport for the first hour as I had trouble getting up to 4000 most of the time and the climbs were really weak.  Finally I found a decent climb, about 2.5 knots, and set out on the task I had set up, a triangle from the Gliderport to Butler Airport to Jacob Frye's house, and back.  There are lots of airports in this part of Kansas so I just airport hopped as I headed southeast, stopping to climb pretty much whenever I found something steadily going up.  I wasn't very picky as I usually wasn't all that high.  This wasn't the kind of day where I felt I could afford to skip a thermal.

I passed the Augusta airport as I climbed to 5000 feet.  The conditions had been steadily improving and I had glide with lots of margin to Butler and had lots of confidence in the task.  I turned Butler and headed for Jacob's house.  On the way was Sills Air Park which was my out for the moment.  As I glided on I wasn't finding anything.  I made a 90 degree turn for Sills and lo and behold there was a flock of seagulls right in front of me circling!  I joined their thermal which they shortly left and climbed away.  Now I had glide to Jacob's house at least.  The problem was the day had been trending downward since I made the turnpoint and if I didn't find something good making it back to the Gliderport was going to be doubtful.  There were lots of open dirt fields and tree lines and other good thermal generators on the way so I was hopeful.  Unfortunately none of them produced and I arrived at Jacob's house ready to enter the pattern.

The approach was a hard slip over the trees. The field was nice although there was fairly tall corn stubble greeting me.  I made a nice tail low landing between the rows. We rolled 43 paces from touchdown to stop and I managed to avoid any damage related to the corn stubble doing things like tearing through the fabric.  Jacob wasn't home but his mom was soon there and I had a good time visiting with her while waiting for Leah to come get me.

OLC link:

There is a bug in the encoder that I need to work out and a few other instrument related bugs that turned up but overall I was very happy with the glider and glad to get back to flying it.  The new control seals on the ailerons made a world of difference in the roll rate.  I was very pleased with the handling.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Transponder installation complete

This afternoon I finished up installing the transponder in YYY.  I went to the Yard Store and found a piece of aluminum angle that worked perfectly for a mounting bracket.  It bolted under the panel nicely and everything is hooked up and working now.  The inspection for it is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tornado and Transponder

Last Saturday a Tornado hit the southeast side of Wichita. It maxed out at an EF3 and the damage trail was about a mile wide in places.  The Cherokees were tucked in the garage safe and sound here at home and the storm missed us entirely except for some wind and rain.  However, Leah and I's workplace took a direct hit and as a result of that we have this week off work.  We went flying in the 2-33 on Monday and between 3 students (Leah, Matt, Bob) I flew 4 instructional flights each lasting ~1 hr.  It was a good day! 

Matt has been working on the Standard Austria with his days off.  I've been doing some work around the house but also getting a lot of work done on YYY.  I bought a Microair transponder a few weeks ago and took this time to start getting it installed. When I first moved to Wichita I got a Garmin 320 transponder but never actually got it installed.  I did have a wiring harness and encoder for it which I planned to use for the Microair.  I spent most of yesterday working with the wiring diagrams of the Garmin and the Microair to get all the right wires moved to the right pins.  I managed to accomplish that without too much trouble.  Today I went out to the avionics shop and got a circuit breaker and a length of RG-58 coax with BNC connectors for the antenna cable. 

Most of the day was spent removing the instrument panel and running errands.  I got a new battery as the old one had drained down so far that it wouldn't take a charge. Then I was able to hook up the transponder and encoder on the bench and make sure everything was working.  All seemed well and the reported pressure altitude from the encoder seemed accurate.  Then I started wiring everything into the glider and installed the antenna.  By the end of the night I had the wiring harness and antenna cable in place and all the instrument panel put back together.  The only thing left is to make a mounting bracket to mount the actual transponder under the instrument panel.  Here I've taken a picture of me sitting in the glider and holding the transponder in approximately its ultimate location.  Hopefully this weekend we'll be able to do some more soaring!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cherokee project for sale and update

The Wings of History museum in California is selling their Cherokee II, N1861, on ebay. 
Check it out here:

No progress on TTT lately but I have finished the aileron gap seals and leading edge smoothing on YYY.  Everything is painted with filler at the moment. At some point it will get painted.  I have also continued to work on the fit of the aileron bellcrank fairings and thought about how they will be installed.  I might try to make a drag rake to test if they actually help.  I also should make a set for the bottom of the wing too. 

A Microair transponder should be arriving soon so perhaps this weekend I will start working on installing it and also try to make some progress on sealing up the wheel well and the wing roots on the fuselage.  The good news though is that the glider is currently flyable so if good weather presents itself I can go fly!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Right Wing

Made good progress today on the right wing and the entire leading edge is now ironed down smooth. Next for it will be to paint on EkoFill.  I also put a bead of silicone sealant around the airbrake as I did on the left wing so that it will be nicely sealed.  Once that cures I'll have to trim it to size.  I also pulled the first layups off the Aileron bellcrank fairing molds.  I used way to light of fabric as I am a rookie at this fiberglass stuff but the pieces i got are good for a test fit and seeing how well this will work.  I am pleased and next will use some heavier fabric and maybe two layers thick.  Hopefully that will provide the stiffness that I want and also give me some material to sand away so I can get a nice tight fit.

Matt has been over a lot recently working on his new-to-him Standard Austria. It's a sweet glider and I can't wait for him to get it flying.  It mostly needs the tail feathers covered and painted and some paint work done on the right wing (which you can see in the picture).