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MARCH/APRIL 2013

S i l ve r Ag e
Champion

Fleet
VintageMar2013.indd 1

•Cub to Oshkosh
•Sentimental Journey
•The Cosmic Wind Story

2/12/13 9:44 AM

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delivering an impressive 31 mpg hwy1 as well. But the advancements are not limited

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to the engine compartment. With the 2014 Mustang lineup, cool features are as
abundant as horsepower. It starts with the available Pony projection lamp. When
the unlock button is activated, each side view mirror casts an image of the famous
Mustang Pony on the ground. Other standard features include HID headlamps that
help you see what’s destined for your LED taillamps. With so many possibilities,
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1

EPA-estimated 19 city/31 hwy/23 combined mpg, coupe automatic.

VintageMar2013.indd 2

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Straight & Level
GEOFF ROBISON

Vintage Airplane
STAFF

VAA PRESIDENT, EAA 268346, VAA 12606
EAA Publisher . . . . . . . . .Jack J. Pelton,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Chairman of the Board

2013:
A year of enhanced membership benefits

Vice Pres., EAA Publications J. Mac McClellan
Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jim Busha
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . jbusha@eaa.org

VAA Executive Administrator Theresa Books
920-426-6110 . . . . . . . . . tbooks@eaa.org

Advertising Executive . . . . Jonathan Berger
920-426-6886 . . . . . . . . jberger@eaa.org

Advertising Director . . . . . Katrina Bradshaw

Oh, how I long for some warm mild breezes blowing through
the hangar door. It has been a wild and wooly winter here in the Midwest.
Lots of moisture and an abundance of icy conditions have been going on
around here for many weeks. It’s not something I would label as brutal,
but I am here to tell you that I am looking for some much milder weather
here in Indiana, and starting tomorrow would be very nice.
I hope you all have had the chance by now to take a good look at the
January/February issue of Vintage Airplane magazine. I am quite happy
to report to the membership that the reaction from our members to
date has been remarkably positive and very complimentary. Our editor, Jim Busha, as well as his “team” from the VAA and the EAA publications department deserve a huge pat on the back for all of their efforts
in transforming this magazine into a product that is easily 10 times the
quality we have experienced in the past. Jim tells me that the majority
of the magic used to make this publication what you see today is being
performed by Livy Trabbold of the EAA publications department. Although Livy has been assisting us with our magazine for several years
now, between her and Jim’s efforts these two have had a dramatic impact on the product you see in your mailbox today. So, many thanks
Livy, and be assured that your efforts are greatly appreciated!
This is certainly not intended to be an indictment of anyone previously responsible for this magazine, but it is all about a new way of
thinking about how we can improve on the product. What we really have
here now is a product that has been reinvested in. It’s actually an attempt to raise the bar in the arena of content, presentation, and quality.
The team, as reinforced by the opinions of dozens of our members, has
literally hit a grand slam home run for the product owner/member. My
hat is off to Jim Busha and everyone on the team. A job well done by all
individuals involved.
Of course, this is not to imply that all of our members are happy
about these changes, especially the move to publish the magazine
on a bimonthly basis. As is normally the case, a small number of our
members seemingly don’t care much at all for any change. To these
valued members I would reply stick with us, and continue to measure
the benefits of this reinvestment I referred to earlier. In just a short
period of time I believe you will come to realize the benefits of remaining a member.
continued on page 56

202-577-9292 . . . . . . . . . kbradshaw@eaa.org

Advertising Manager . . . . Sue Anderson
920-426-6127 . . . . . . . . . sanderson@eaa.org

Design. . . . . . . . . . . . . Livy Trabbold
VAA, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Website: www.vintageaircraft.org
Email: Vintageaircraft@eaa.org

TM

VINTAGE AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION
Current EAA members may join the Vintage Aircraft Association and receive VINTAGE
AIRPLANE magazine for an additional $42
per year.
EAA Membership, VINTAGE AIRPLANE
magazine and one year membership in the
EAA Vintage Aircraft Association is available
for $52 per year (SPORT AVIATION magazine not
included). (Add $7 for International Postage.)

FOREIGN MEMBERSHIPS
Please submit your remittance with a
check or draft drawn on a United States
bank payable in United States dollars. Add
required Foreign Postage amount for each
membership.
Membership Service
PO Box 3086
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086
Monday–Friday, 8:00 AM—6:00 PM CST
Join/Renew 800-564-6322
membership@eaa.org
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
www.airventure.org
888-322-4636

www.vintageaircraft.org

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2/11/13 4:47 PM

Vol. 41, No. 2

2013

CONTENTS

4

No One Ever Met a
Stranger at the Red Barn
Charles W. Harris

MARCH/APRIL
24

Fleet Fun
Stan Sweikar’s storied silver age
champion—Take Two
Sparky Barnes Sargent

34

You’re Going to Do What Where?
Earning my Ford Tri-Motor rating
Donis B. Hamilton

38

182 Survivor
. . . As if it came out of Tut’s tomb
Budd Davisson

COLUMNS
1

2

Straight and Level
2013: A year of enhanced
membership benefits
Geoff Robison

6

News

8

Air Mail

MARCH / APRIL 2013

VintageMar2013.indd 4

10

12

15

How to?
Construct a wing rib fixture
Robert G. Lock
The Vintage Instructor
Stall/spin and $%**%%$
Steve Krog, CFI
Ask the AME
Third-class medical exemption
John Patterson, M.D.

16

Good Old Days

20

Type Club Corner
Peregrinations of a J-3 Cub
Harry Ballance

44

Celestial Breeze
The Cosmic Wind story
Don Berliner

2/11/13 4:47 PM

MARCH/APRIL 2013

49

Sentimental Journey 2012
Cub homecoming
Roger Thiel

S i l ve r Ag e
Champion

Fleet

Đ&XEVWR2VKNRVK
Đ6HQWLPHQWDO-RXUQH\
Đ7KH&RVPLF:LQG6WRU\

COVERS
FRONT COVER: Chris Miller captures Stan
Sweikars Fleet over some green Wisconsin
farm fields.

BACK COVER: Radial Engine Cubs? Look for a
feature article in an upcoming issue to learn
more about them. Photo by Phil High.

ANY COMMENTS?
Send your thoughts to the
Vintage Editor at: jbusha@eaa.org
51

The Vintage Mechanic
Approaching a restoration
project, Part 2
Robert G. Lock

56

Vintage Trader

For missing or replacement magazines,
or any other membership related questions, please call EAA Member Services
at 800-JOIN-EAA (564-6322).

KOEPNICKPHOTOGRAPH.COM

www.vintageaircraft.org

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2/11/13 4:49 PM

No One Ever
Met a Stranger
at the Red Barn!
Friends of the Red Barn
Charles W. Harris

Dir ecto r Emer itus, VAA

For one entire grand and glorious week in
the late summer of each year, the EAA Vintage Aircraft
Association’s Red Barn is the epicenter, the heart, and
soul of the whole wide world of vintage airplanes.
It is the place to be to be a part of and enjoy the
finest historic airplanes from our long ago past,
which not only have brought us to where we
are today but also have constantly inspired us to
raise our interest and participation in the vintage
airplane movement even higher.
One only has to step across the road from the
Red Barn and stroll, endlessly enjoying the view of
scores of previous Oshkosh Vintage Grand Champions.
Travel only a few more steps toward the south and be
spellbound by the rows of rare Wacos, Spartans, Ryans,
Howards, Staggerwings, and countless others from prior
aviation eras—each finer than its next door neighbor!
How can this all be possible, you ask? It’s all because
of the generous support from Vintage members like
you. When one immerses oneself with other vintage
airplane enthusiasts, one comes to grasp the emotional
import that there is simply no other place in the entire
universe that any of us would rather be during the
last week in July than the Red Barn
area of Wittman Field—during EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh!
It is an overwhelming human
experience when one meets scores
and scores of new friends at the
Red Barn, and not a single soul is a
stranger; every last person is smiling,
happy, and thrilled to be a part of
something so thoroughly enjoyable
that the weight of the outside world
is forever removed for the entire
week—it simply becomes the best
place in the world!
4

This is “A Place Called Oshkosh”! Nothing is ever
planned or rehearsed; it is simply what happens at the
Red Barn. It is the mystical Camelot for old airplanes. It
is also the place to be during AirVenture. Experience it
for yourself; pull up a chair and sit in the shade of the
Red Barn, grab a bag of popcorn, close your eyes, and
transport yourself back to the golden age of flight. This
is everyday normal Red Barn activities during Oshkosh!
It’s a place where history comes alive!
The invaluable Friends of the Red Barn fund, with
contributions each year by fellow Vintage members,
makes all of this supremely enjoyable experience
possible. Without the generous contributions provided
by these Vintage members annually, very little of what
we experience and enjoy would be possible.
Please join us as a contributing member of the
Friends of the Red Barn as we provide the most ideal
and perfect setting possible for vintage airplane
owners, pilots, historians, and dedicated vintage
airplane buffs. Consider it a calling…as many of us do!
And please remember, no one ever met a stranger at
the Red Barn!

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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CONTRIBUTION
LEVELS ↓
DIAMOND PLUS
$1,500 & higher
DIAMOND
$1,000 - $1,499
PLATINUM
$750 - $999
GOLD
$500 - $749
SILVER
$250 - $499
BRONZE PLUS
$150 - $249
BRONZE
$100 - $149
LOYAL
SUPPORTER
$99 and under

Special Access to
Donor
A “6-pack”
Appreciation FORB Air-Conditioned of Cold
Certificate
Badge Volunteer
Bottled
Center
Water!

Two Passes
to VAA
Volunteer
Party

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

10 Minute Breakfast at
Chair Back Tall Pines
Massage at Café
AV2013
2 people,
X
full week
2 people,
X
full week
2 people,
X
full week
1 person,
X
full week

Tri-Motor OR Two Tickets Close
Helicopter to VAA Picnic Auto
Ride
Parking
Certificate
2 tickets
Full week
X
2 tickets

X

1 ticket

X

Special EAA PHP
Air Show Center
Seating Access

2 people, 2 people,
full week full week
Full week 2 people,
1 day
2 days

1 ticket

X

X

X

All donors at all levels will have their name listed in Vintage Airplane
magazine, on VintageAircraft.org, and at the VAA Red Barn during
AirVenture.
Special for 2013, all donors for Gold Level and above will be entered
into a random drawing for a limited edition, 21”w x 18”h, signed,
numbered print by Randall Mytar shown at right.

VAA Friends of the Red Barn

Name________________________________________________ ____________ EAA #___________ VAA #___________
Address____________________________________________________________________________________________
City/State/Zip_______________________________________________________________________________________
Phone___________________________________________________E-Mail_____________________________________
Please choose your level of participation:
____ Diamond Plus $1,500.00 or above
____ Diamond Level Gift - $1,000.00 - $1,499.00
____ Platinum Level Gift - $750.00 - $999.00
____ Gold Level Gift - $500.00 - $749.00

____ Silver Level Gift - $250.00 - $499.00
____ Bronze Plus Gift - $150.00 - $249.00
____ Bronze Level Gift - $100.00 - $149.00
____ Loyal Supporter Gift - ($99.00 and under)

■ Payment Enclosed (Make checks payable to Vintage Aircraft Assoc.)
■ Please charge my credit card for the amount of: ____________
Credit Card Number _____________________________ Expiration Date _________
Signature_________________________________________
Badges for Bronze Level and Above:

■ Yes, prepare a name badge to read:

Mail your contribution to:

VAA FORB
PO Box 3086
OSHKOSH, WI 54903-3086
or contribute online at

www.vintageaircraft.org/programs/redbarn.html

■ No badge wanted for this year.

_________________________________________________________________
(Please print just as you wish your badge to read.)
First
Last
Certificates:

■ Yes, I want a Certificate

■ No, I do not want a Certificate for this year.

The Vintage Aircraft Association is a non-profit educational organization under IRS 501c3 rules. Under Federal Law, the deduction from Federal Income tax for charitable contributions is
limited to the amount by which any money (and the value of any property other than money) contributed exceeds the value of the goods or services provided in exchange for the contribution.
An appropriate receipt acknowledging your gift will be sent to you for IRS gift reporting reasons.

www.vintageaircraft.org

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2/11/13 4:51 PM

Round Engine

Rodeo

VAA Invites All Round Engine Aircraft to EAA AirVenture ’13

TThe
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more

6

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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2/11/13 4:52 PM

Vintage News

The “Good ol‘ Days” are back
STEVE KROG
What Is It?
Welcome! The “Good ol’ Days” are returning, at
least for a week! That’s right. For one full week from
July 29 through August 4, 2013, the U.S. skies will
be filled with the beautiful rumble of round-engineequipped airplanes en route to Oshkosh.
The Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA), serving
as the official host for this historic event, is inviting the round-engine universe to attend and participate in EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013.
All owners, pilots, and enthusiasts of roundengine aircraft are formally invited to fly their
beautiful airships to Oshkosh and participate in
this event, a weeklong gathering to get together
with others who share the passion for these fantastic old airplanes and engines.
• Special handling and parking will be provided to
all who fly their round-engine aircraft to Oshkosh.
• The VAA is working on an attractive package of
incentives provided to all who fly these beautiful
round-engine aircraft to Oshkosh. Watch for further details.
• One full day of AirVenture will be dedicated exclusively to the recognition and display of these airplanes in the Vintage area. Period costumes worn by
the pilots/owners are suggested and welcome.
• Each day of AirVenture a different roundengine make-and-model aircraft will be featured at
VAA In Review (in front of the VAA Red Barn and
Vintage Hangar).
• Interviewer extraordinaire Ray Johnson will
conduct a live interview with the featured aircraft
owner/pilot.

• Guided tours through the round-engine
parking area will be conducted by knowledgeable
VAA volunteers.
• A proposed turf runway for arrival is being developed for those that might want or need to use it.
Rest Stop
The weekend prior to the opening of AirVenture—July 26-28, the Hartford airport (HXF) will
serve as a gathering point and rest stop for all.
• HXF features two turf runways as well as one
hard surface runway.
• HXF is located approximately 45 miles due
south of OSH.
• Fuel, both 100LL and 92 octane auto, will be
readily available at a very competitive price.
• Food, refreshments, camping, motels, transportation, and entertainment will be available to all.
Last year 154 aircraft and more than 300 people
gathered at HXF to partake in the pre-convention
weekend activities—a great relaxing time enjoyed
by everyone!

What’s Next
Start making plans for attending EAA AirVenture 2013 and playing an active part in all the activities in the Vintage area.
More information including a website and
phone numbers will be available within the next
few weeks. In the meantime, if you have questions
about AirVenture, call Theresa at 920-426-6110.
Questions about Hartford? Call Dana Osmanski at
262-966-7627.
www.vintageaircraft.org

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Air Mail
New format feed-back
Dear Vintage Airplane,
This is my favorite magazine to get. I always look
forward to it. It seems Geoff is cutting back on the
number of issues per year that will be sent out. That’s too
bad, but if it has to be, we can live with it. I really like the
articles by Robert Lock. Is it possible to get these to save
on a disc? Maybe the compilation of these on a disc could
be a profit center and be sold. The International Stinson
Club has done this, and it is very useful.
Steve Krog’s articles are excellent, too. His piece
“Wind: When is it too much?” makes a good point about
practicing in conditions that improve one’s abilities.
Another article could focus on techniques. I am of the
mind that crosswind landings are best done three-point
rather than wheelies no matter how hard the wind is
blowing, especially the transition from two-point to tail
down. Do we slam the tail down? If we baby it down, we
ground loop.
I would like to see two articles: an update of the
Fairchild 45 situation, and a story on the Antonov AN-2
of which 18,000 were made. Get Budd Davisson to write
about the AN-2. I’m sure he can finagle a ride in one.
Mark Davis
A Stinson 108 restorer and pilot

Jim,
Just received my January/February issue of Vintage
Airplane, and I want to thank everyone up there for a job
well done on the new mag. Contents right on, layout easy
to read, lots of interesting how-to, and the magazine is
eye-catching and pretty. Give everyone a pat on the back!
Wendell L. “Doc” Roy, EAA 17804/VAA 19307
Fort Collins, Colorado

Hi Jim:
You wanted feedback on the new Vintage magazine
format. One word: great! Keep it up. See you at AirVenture 2013.
Tony Wright Sr.
8

To Mike Leone/Budd Davisson — “Bonanza in
a Barn,” December 2012, Vintage Airplane
I thoroughly enjoyed your article in Vintage
Airplane magazine, December 2012. It brought
back many pleasant memories of flying with
my father in his Bonanza N8508A when I was
16 years old. You will note that his aircraft was
probably on the Beechcraft assembly line three
aircrafts before yours.
The mechanical similarities are still very clear
in my mind. Dad bought Beechcraft Bonanza A-35
N8508A new from the factory with a Continental
E-135. Eventually he had it upgraded to 205 hp, and
he installed his third engine in it before he traded it
in on a J-35 fuel-injected Bonanza. He had done a lot
of flying with that Bonanza.
I still remember when he first owned the Bonanza;
each takeoff was a unique experience with the electric prop. As the plane accelerated on takeoff he had
to “toggle” the electric prop switch to keep the rpm
within limits and not over speed. He soon converted
to the electric pitch—change control which made life
much easier as well as safer.
He also found the need to install a 10-gallon auxiliary fuel tank behind the rear seat.

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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2/11/13 4:53 PM

JANUA RY/

FEBRUARY

2013

Hi Jim,
Just a short note on Vintage, and
it appears that some of my friends are
more upset about that small mistake on
the cover than I am?
They said they have sent letters to
the editor stating their opinion.
Just want to reinforce that I never
had any concerns or disappointments
Chuck Do
yle J
about it. It’s just a small mistake, and
S
T E A R M Ar.N’ s
I enjoy being able to blame all the bad
ĐAround the
ĐFull circle BuPylons
things on my evil twin brother “Jim.”
Đ1927 Dole Air hl
Derby
LOL. I hope to make it to OSH this
year but will have to see if I can get the
Chuck we are all sorry for the mix up! If you like you can
time off of work as always.
refer to me as your “evil twin!” We all hope you can
Best,
bring your Stearman to the Round Engine Rodeo-Jim
Chuck Doyle Jr.
A few special order items were installed also.
Parachute seat backs on the two front seats and a
“quick-release” door hinge assembly were special
factory installations. His three parachute flares were
also installed.
A “water evaporative” air cooling (not conditioning) helped cool off hot summer days as long the
ambient humidity was low. I note your rear modern
air-scoop which is a good improvement.
Dad traded up to a J-35. I had a total of about 200
hours between the A-35 and the J-35.
In 1972, my wife, Ellie, and I bought a 1967 V-35
which we flew for 40 years. We just sold it on December 5, 2012, and we were on our third engine.
Our flying life has been very fortunate. Many enjoyable family trips, many with our two sons, across
the United States, Central America, and Alaska will
long be remembered in N798RD.

Thank you for the memories! My dad taught me a
lot about good flying and also to love Bonanzas.
Merry Christmas and many happy landings.
James D. Sheen
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 

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www.vintageaircraft.org

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2/11/13 4:54 PM

How to?
ROBERT G. LOCK

Construct a wing rib fixture
To construct a wing rib, a holding fixture must be
made. It is common to use a flat board, such as a piece
of good pine board that may measure 1”x12”x72”.
If no good flat pine wood can be found, then consider using some 3/4” plywood of the same dimensions. Hopefully an example of an original wing rib
is nearby, however in some cases where there are no
ribs available it will be necessary to loft a full size
drawing of the rib outline. Coordinates for lofting
a rib can be found in airfoil data books or from old
NACA data. We won’t go into how to loft a wing rib at
this time.
First, trace the outline of the rib and all its diagonal and vertical members. Then, cut out blanks to

represent the spar dimensions. The spar blanks will
be placed at the appropriate location in the wing rib.
(Figure 1 and Figure2.)
The small wood blocks should be drilled in advance
of gluing and nailing to the base wood to prevent
splitting. The blocks will guide cap strips and truss
members in their proper location. Left in photo 1, this
photo scanned from the ANC-19 book shows the Boeing factory worker nailing up a model PT-13/PT-17
wing rib. The plywood gussets are precut and are in
bins at the top of the table. This speeds up fabrication
time. I usually cut all the gussets and place them in
small cardboard boxes numbered as to their location.
The spar blanks are precisely located and glued to the

FIGURE 1

PHOTO 1
FIGURE 2
10

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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base and they will accurately
locate the vertical members on
each side of the spar. (Photo 1.)
If I anticipate difficulty sliding
the spars through their respective openings, I will leave the
vertical member on the rear
side of the front spar and the
front side of the rear spar out
of the rib, slide the ribs on,
then insert the two vertical
members and glue in place. This
makes for a good accurate fit.
In photo 2, a close up of
my Command-Aire rib fixture
made from aluminum instead
of wood. I once had plans to
construct five airplanes, but
struggled to build just one. The
wing rib shown is an original
factory part. The lower photo
is a close up of the forward section of the rib showing front
spar opening and the method
(Photo 2) used to make gussets. Rather than use triangular or square plywood gussets,
the factory chose to use long
plywood gussets that bridged
from one vertical upright to the
next, also reinforcing the cap
strips. It took a lot of mahogany plywood to make these and
there was much waste, which
in today’s market is costly. I remember the first sheet of 1/16”
x 4’ x8’ aircraft grade mahogany
plywood cost me $20.00, but
that was back in 1959.
Finally, back in the old days,
my father, Leonard (Photo 3)
who built most of the wing
ribs are assembling the right
lower wing on the CommandAire. The wing was assembled
and then attached to the fuselage to assure proper fit. Photo
3 shows the right lower wing
bolted to the fuselage.

PHOTO 2

PHOTO 3

www.vintageaircraft.org

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2/11/13 4:55 PM

The Vintage Instructor
STEVE KROG, VAA DIRECTOR AND CFI

Stall/spin and $%**%%$
“An eyewitness saw the accident airplane flying towards the airport from the southwest. The airplane appeared to be in a steep descent with a slight left turn.
A few moments later, the witness saw the airplane in a
tight right turn that developed into a spin. The airplane
rapidly descended towards the terrain.”
The above statement appeared in a recent preliminary NTSB accident report. Unfortunately, the
outcome was fatal for both the pilot and passenger.
Could it have been avoided? Most definitely!
Every student, young or old, receives stall training provided he or she has worked with a good, thorough flight instructor and designated examiner.
However, the only requirement for spin recognition
and recovery is verbal discussion between student
and instructor; then between the student and examiner. Actual spin training was dropped from the FAA
Practical Test Standards decades ago. So, how does
one know what to do or how one will react when experiencing an actual stall/spin entry? More on that
in a future article.
Is there any wonder how something like a stall/
spin accident continues to occur with regularity? According to the most recently published incident/accident statistics, landing accidents including the stall/
spin are responsible for a significant percentage of all
general aviation accidents.
My experience in flying with students, as well as
certificated pilots, during flight reviews provides me
with a two-part answer: lack of proficiency and lack
of situational awareness. Even though we supposedly spend a great deal of time practicing all types
of stalls, including recognition and proper recovery,
12

many pilots and most new students are still quite apprehensive when asked to demonstrate a stall.
“On January 2, 2013, an airplane was substantially
damaged when it impacted terrain. The commercial
pilot was fatally injured.
“Witnesses reported that the airplane was circling
and maneuvering at a low altitude around the beach
area when they observed it ascend abruptly. Approximately 150-200 feet above the ground, the airplane
appeared to stop, make a sharp turn, and descend at
an approximately 55-degree angle. The airplane appeared to start to level off when it impacted the top
of a sand dune.”
This is but one more example of a fatal stall/
spin accident that can be attributed to situational
awareness.
Lack of Proficiency
More often than not, when conducting a flight
review and I ask the pilot to demonstrate a poweroff stall with either a shallow bank left or right, the
pilot will first glance at me and then tense up. Beads
of perspiration begin forming at the temples, and
the legs begin to tremble on the rudder pedals. After a reminder to make a clearing turn, the pilot will
slowly reduce power and begin applying light back
pressure. If flying an aircraft equipped with either a
stall warning horn or light, the pilot will usually initiate some manner of recovery as soon as either the
horn sounds or light appears. The recovery looks like
a hard negative g push-over preceding an outside
loop followed by smashing the throttle to full power.
Once under control in a level flight attitude, the pilot will finally take a breath, hoping that I don’t ask

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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BONNIE BARTEL

for a second stall. That was not a stall but rather an
imminent stall.
When asked if he or she ever practices stalls, a
sheepish look is followed by a comment stating that
the last time he or she had done a stall was two years
ago during the last flight review. It’s hard to maintain
proficiency and safe flying practices if one only does
one or two stalls every two years!
If I encounter this situation, I like to climb to a
safe practice altitude and proceed to do several more
stalls, first demonstrating how stalls are required to
be done if the pilot were taking an FAA checkride
in this day and age. The procedure is quite different
than the way many of us were taught decades ago.
Together we then try a few more with me verbalizing
each step and the pilot executing the stall and stall
recovery. This will usually increase the pilot’s level of
comfort and confidence.
Another maneuver I like to do for confidence building and proficiency is a version of the “falling leaf.”
To perform this, we’ll first climb to a safe altitude. At
that point the pilot is given full control of the rudder only, while I have control of the ailerons, elevator, and power. I will set up and establish a power-off
stall, then hold the aircraft in this configuration while
the pilot has the responsibility for keeping the airplane level (wheels down and wings up). Once he
gets the hang of it, I’ll challenge him to “walk” the
airplane down for 1,000 feet, at which time he takes

over the controls, recovers from the stall, and returns
the aircraft to straight and level flight. One or two
tries at the “falling leaf” and the pilot usually regains
the confidence and proficiency to perform stalls when
flying solo.
This maneuver also proves to the inexperienced pilot that though in a stall, the rudder control remains
effective while proving that the aircraft will not fall
out of the sky as is so often depicted in movies involving airplanes!
One word of caution: Not all of the airplanes
we fly are created equal regarding stall and handling
characteristics. Make sure you know and understand
your aircraft before trying the “falling leaf” maneuver. Some are much more positively stable than others. KNOW YOUR AIRPLANE, and if uncertain, seek
the direction of experienced pilots flying that make
and model of aircraft.
Lack of Situational Awareness
In the simplest of definitions, situational awareness is knowing what is going on around you, whether
in flight or taxiing to the runway. This includes activities both in and outside the cockpit. Approximately 80
percent of the stall/spin accidents started from an altitude of less than 1,000 feet AGL, the usual traffic pattern altitude. Low-level maneuvers such as “buzzing,”
low passes, and pull-ups account for more than 40 percent of the fatal stall/spin accidents.
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2/11/13 4:56 PM

With a little
practice you’ll
find that you
have regained
a good feel
for rapid,
coordinated—
and safe—turns.
KOEPNICKPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Typical general aviation (GA) aircraft estimate average altitude loss during stalls, assuming proper
recovery technique, at between 100 and 350 feet. A
NASA study done in the late 1970s proved that the
average altitude loss in spins was about 1,200 feet.
Given these average GA figures, neither of the pilots in the two NTSB reports stated earlier in this
article ever had a chance. Both entered into the classic stall/spin situation at low altitudes, the first at
approximate pattern altitude, while the second was
much lower performing steep turns. The pilot in the
first example had flown less than 10 hours in the
previous two years—lack of proficiency is a near certainty. The second pilot flew more regularly but became fixated with a point of interest on the ground
below. As the turns became tighter, the stall speed increased and control inputs questionable, resulting in
a low-level stall/spin—lack of situational awareness.
Once the pilot recognized the stall, correct inputs appear to have been made based on eye witness reports.
However, he ran out of altitude before the full recovery could be made!
As a flight instructor trying to teach safe coordinated flying techniques, I frequently rely on two
maneuvers. The first is the Dutch roll. It is simple
in concept but more difficult to perform until it has
been practiced. At a safe altitude, point the nose of
the aircraft at a prominent landmark. Then roll the
airplane left and right along the longitudinal axis
using aileron and rudder while keeping the nose
pointed at the landmark. Begin by using 10-20 de14

grees of bank. Aileron and rudder together will turn
the airplane yet keep the nose straight for a second
or two. Then apply opposite aileron and rudder until you’ve reached a 20-degree bank in the opposite
direction. This maneuver really helps develop proper
aileron and rudder inputs, whether doing the Dutch
roll or performing a turn to a different heading. The
first time or two you try this, you’ll find the nose
moving 30-40 degrees left and right of the point on
the horizon, but keep practicing. You’ll soon be able
to keep the nose directly on the landmark while rolling the airplane left and right.
The other maneuver I’ve found to be very helpful is
performing medium-bank (30-degree) turns left and
right for 90 degrees. As you reach the 90-degree point
in heading change, roll into a medium-bank turn in
the opposite direction for 90 degrees. Do this for a
series of a half-dozen turns in each direction while
always keeping the ball in the center on the turn coordinator. When you can do this in a comfortable and
coordinated manner without gaining or losing altitude, then increase the bank angle to a steep turn (45
degrees) and try it again. With a little practice you’ll
find that you have regained a good feel for rapid, coordinated—and safe—turns.
It is the responsibility for all of us to fly safely. Proficiency, coordination, situational awareness, and safe
flight practices can and will prevent accidents such as
those described in this article. The next time you decide to fly, give the Dutch rolls and 90-degree turns a
try. They will make you a better pilot.

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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Ask the AME
JOHN PATTERSON, M.D., AME

Third-class medical exemption
I was asked to write an article for the Vintage
Aircraft Association from a medical perspective, but I
did not want to regurgitate all the rules and regulations
that we all are afraid will ground us at our next medical.
Rather I wanted to write an article that involves a topic I
am passionate about. That is why I support the EAA and
AOPA initiative to exempt airmen from the third-class
medical and instead use a state-issued driver’s license.
First, a little of my own background. I am a urologist,
a physician dealing primarily with the surgical diseases
of the kidney, prostate, and reproductive system. I have
a passion for aviation, especially antique/vintage aircraft. My father and I have built or rebuilt several airplanes starting with a 1931 Waco ASO Straightwing in
the 1970s when I was in high school. I finally was able to
bring it to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for the first time in
its history last year. I am also an aviation medical examiner (AME), primarily to assist pilots in our area of Frankfort, Kentucky. When I arrived, the family doctor and
nonpilot that served as an AME had retired, and there
was no one within 30 miles to do flight physicals. I applied and was granted authorization after initial training.
Now, the third-class medical is required for all private pilots who do not “fly for hire” either passengers
or freight. Substituting the driver’s license for the thirdclass medical sounds radical to the lay public because it
falsely believes that the medical ensures that the pilot
can fly the airplane when in fact it is the FAA-issued pilot
certificate that does that. Doing away with the thirdclass medical for all intended purposes will end the majority of my flight physicals. Most AMEs perform these
physicals as a labor of love for aviation and to provide a
needed service. Those who have a high volume of airmen
and perform these physicals for a living do so primarily
on airline and commercial pilots. They will continue to
be held to a “higher standard.” The riding public pays for
that expectation, not so with the private pilot.
Why should it happen? There is now plenty of data

showing that self-certification and the use of the driver’s
license have worked for sport pilot certification and with
no increase in accident or fatality rate. Already the FAA
absolves itself of pilot responsibility by stating that each
time we fly we are “self-certifying.” That is, we are safe
and competent medically to fly that day. This does not
change with the use of the driver’s license. Realistically,
if the airman is fit to get in a car and drive to the office,
he should be medically fit to fly his own airplane. To say
otherwise is not to trust our own ability to self-certify.
Most of the current medically grounding conditions
are going to limit our ability to drive a car as well. Heart
disease (coronary artery disease, angina, myocardial infarction, heart replacement, valve replacement, and pacemaker), diabetes, psychosis, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, substance abuse, epilepsy, disturbance of
consciousness, and loss of nervous system function are
all currently disqualifying conditions. Most can now be
approved through special issuance. The medical and FAA
concern is the “sudden incapacitation” that can occur
with these conditions. Interestingly, there were no sport
pilot accidents attributable to “sudden incapacitation.”
Currently the proposal for exemption of the thirdclass physical applies to aircraft, nonretractable, less or
equal to 180 hp, daylight hours only, and carrying only
one passenger. Other more broad-reaching requests have
already been turned down by the FAA. This is a compromise step with the hopes that once data is obtained, similar to the experience with the sport pilot initiative, it can
then be expanded further.
We need to do everything we can to promote and encourage general aviation and open it up to a new generation of aviators. Our current environment with barbed
wire around all our airports and daily TFRs does nothing
but discourage aviation. This initiative is definitely something that our organization and EAA should be doing
and is doing to promote aviation, and we should all get
behind it.
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2/11/13 4:56 PM

P

Good Old Days
From the pages of the past . . .

The Cleveland plane makes port. Ford all-metal
monoplanes have totaled more than a million miles
of safe, swift flying. The public is beginning to fly in
preference to other means of transportation.

16

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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2/11/13 4:57 PM

Take a quick look through history by enjoying
images pulled from past publications.

www.vintageaircraft.org

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2/12/13 8:48 AM

s
d
A
d
e

i
s
las

What would you have found . . .

C

Aero Digest, June 1938

Aero Digest, June 1938

Aero Digest, June 1938
18

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Aero Digest, June 1938
AeroDigest, October 1931

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2/11/13 5:00 PM

Type Club Corner
Harry Ballance

Peregrinations of a J-3 Cub

Helping to paint
the field yellow,
Ballance stands
next to the cub
he flew to EAA
AirVenture 2012.

As the song goes, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.”
However, it’s an even longer way from bucolic Central
Georgia to Oshkosh in a J-3 Cub. The entire adventure
began scarcely a year ago when I heard Rod Hightower,
president of the EAA, allow that the year 2012 was the
75th anniversary of the introduction of the J-3 Cub.
He stated that he aspired to assemble as many Cubs as
possible at AirVenture and, in his words, paint the field
20

yellow with Cubs. It sounded like a grand idea, but
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was a long way from Williamson,
Georgia, in a J-3, traveling at an indicated airspeed
of 67 mph. To be sure, it would probably be the largest assemblage of Cubs, before or after. I lukewarmly
weighed the pros and cons of such an adventure, and
the wild and reckless side of me finally won out. Maybe
I felt as though I owed it to the Cub.

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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Harry Ballance and two interior shots of Judy.

One should not attribute life to an inanimate object, such as a machine or airplane. However, when
one has owned an airplane as long as I have owned this
Cub, it does take on the role of another family member. This, as are all of them, is a unique airplane that I
have owned since 1967, and it is simply not the same
as another J-3. We have been through a lot of stuff
together; some of it bad, most of it good. She has suffered a lot of indignities and unmeaning abuse, such
as in the course of teaching people to fly or tailwheel
checkouts. She has never complained or let me down.
My wife even named her Judy after the line from a
Cary Grant movie, Judy, Judy, Judy. At the end of the
day, after having flown many different types of airplanes in my lifetime, if someone said that I could only
fly one airplane, it would be my J-3 Cub. There is just
something intangible about the Cub experience that
makes it stand tall over all other airplanes. They are
difficult to enter and exit, they have poor visibility on
the ground, they are uncomfortable after a flight of
any duration, and they are slower than almost anything in the sky. However, there is nothing that feels
quite as nice as rolling one on in the grass after a wellexecuted power-off approach. Having said all of that,
I felt as though Judy deserved to take a little bit of a
trip. Ever since I flew her to Atlanta from Dallas, Texas,
when I got her, the longest trip she has ever made has
been to Lakeland for the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In. Somehow
I sensed that she wanted to fly north, to cross new
states, to see the Ohio and Wabash Rivers, to fly along
the shore of Lake Michigan looking up at the skyscrapers of Chicago, and finally to participate in a “mass arrival” of Cubs to Oshkosh where she would be among
perhaps 150 of her kind.
My planning for the trip was rather minimal. I
knew that I would be camping, due to the exorbitant

prices of hotel rooms in the Oshkosh area. Of course,
the EAA does not exactly give one good value for
their camping fees, either. If one likes to use portable
toilets and small showers with minimal hooks and
little hot water, I guess the experience was bearable.
However, with the amount of money one saves over
even a cheesy hotel room, one could buy something
really nice for one’s wife or airplane. One just has to
suck it up with the lack of amenities. I had planned
my trip using AirNav.com, which, to me, is a good
flight planning and airport information tool. I used
80 nm legs, simply because I did not want to feel uncomfortable about fuel on any of the legs, and we had
just de-rated my Continental A-65 from an A-75. Accordingly, I had not taken the airplane on any crosscountry flights sufficiently long to get a good read on
the fuel consumption. I did take the trouble to purchase new sectional charts, as well as go by the local AAA office and get state automotive maps for my
route of flight. Not that I fly “nap of the earth” missions all of the time, but sometimes these automobile maps are just plain helpful. My contention is that
current sectionals simply do not show adequate detail
to make pilotage particularly easy, and the road maps
fill in the gaps, so to speak.
On the Thursday before the big mass arrival to
Oshkosh on Sunday, I flew from Peach State to my
first stop, Paulding County Airport. I was greeted
by a very nice young man there who acted as an allpurpose employee, from airport manager to lineman to hospitality chairman. He was also a pilot,
looking for a flying break. We exchanged pleasantries, and one of his questions was how long had I
owned the Cub. I suspect that he probably expected
a reply along the lines of three or four years, but
when I replied 45 years, his countenance changed
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2/11/13 5:01 PM

Flying Judy in present day and in 1967 (below).

measurably. My take was that
he simply did not believe anybody could be alive—and still
flying—who had owned an
airplane that long. Continuing northward, I crossed the
mountains west of Chattanooga and made a refueling
stop at Jasper, Tennessee. This
is a nice little airport, but it is
rather unique, in that one has
to climb in circles to obtain
sufficient altitude to clear the
mountains that surround it.
My third, and last, stop for the
day was at Falls Creek Airport
in Lebanon, Tennessee, where I visited my friends
Steve and Brenda Sachs, and Judy got to spend the
night in their hangar with Steve’s Stearman and
OX-5-powered Waco 10. During the night some
fierce storms swept the area, and Judy and I were
both happy that she was in a secure hangar.
I was off early the next morning to Bowling
Green, followed by Hancock/Lewisport, Kentucky.
Shortly after takeoff from Hancock/Lewisport we
crossed the Ohio River. There is, to me, when flying
this type of airplane, a feeling of something positive
about crossing the Ohio River. Either going to my
destination or returning home, it seems as though I
22

have made significant progress on my trip. We continued along to Sullivan, Indiana, crossed the Wabash River, and then flew on to Danville, Illinois. At
Danville I encountered two more Cubs, one a Legend and the other a beautifully restored J-3 that had
just landed. They had come from Fort Payne, Alabama. We met a man from the local EAA chapter,
Bill Wicker, who arranged for all three Cubs to be
hangared that night. The guys from Alabama were
better prepared for roughing it, in that they had
a “chase vehicle” in the form of a high-end motor
home that drove along the way with them. I spent
the night in a local Marriott.

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2/11/13 5:02 PM

Saturday morning I was off to Kankakee, Illinois,
then Campbell Airport just north of Chicago. After a
relatively quick turn at both places, I made my way to
Hartford, Wisconsin, the intended gathering place for
the Cub mass arrival the next morning. The gathering
of Cubs at Hartford was most impressive. I saw one
with a three-cylinder Lenape “Papoose” engine. Later,
at Oshkosh, it was on display with yet another one.
I was told that there were only five of them made,
and it was interesting to see two of them represented
here. The Cub Club did a nice job of organizing the assemblage. They also held a nice supper and presentation afterward. The Cub that had flown the greatest
distance was from Oregon, the oldest pilot was 87,
and he had also owned the airplane since 1945. It is
kind of hard to compete with those numbers. I retired
early, in that the flying to Oshkosh was supposed to
begin at 6:00 the next morning.
I sure did not want to oversleep and miss the big
event. Fat chance of that. At shortly before 5:00 there
were a few Gators that roared around the camping
area and effectively awakened most people. The lack
of time to do what had to be done before I left Hartford was somewhat daunting. I had to strike my tent,
pack my stuff, load it all in Judy, and be ready to leave
at 6:00. Somehow, I managed, as did nearly everyone
else there. We were assigned a number, mine being
72, and we took off in that sequence; one airplane being cleared for takeoff as soon as the one preceding

it was established in its climb. The object was to keep
the airplane in front of you in sight, which, since we
were all J-3s, was doable.
I just followed the airplane in front of me,
through the dreaded Fisk Arrival, et al. Since I was
just following someone, and I did not have to worry
about somebody flying a Cherokee blindly overtaking me, the arrival was pretty simple. We landed
to the north, with a 7-knot crosswind right out of
the west. While this is okay for a Cub, 90 degrees
at 7 knots is pretty limiting for other more skittish taildraggers. I suppose that ATC just did not
understand this, as there was an east/west runway
available. The parking was well-organized, and when
I parked in my row, I was amazed at how many yellow Cubs had come to Oshkosh. I was later told that
some 150, perhaps more, had been counted. One of
the most impressive things I have ever seen in my
life was the row upon row of mostly yellow Cubs.
Words simply cannot do the sight justice.
The entire trip took me four easy days, with
groundspeeds being as low as 48 mph to a high of
65 mph. It was 11 legs and 14.6 hours. Returning to
Peach State, I managed to do it in seven legs and 11.6
hours. Bear in mind that it is not the destination but
the journey. Was the trip fun? A resounding YES. Am
I glad I did it? Again, a resounding YES. Would I fly
Judy to Oshkosh again next year? I will probably opt
to ride in Ron’s DC-3.
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Fleet Fun

CHRIS MILLER

24

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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Stan Sweikar’s
Storied Silver Age
Champion—

Take Two!

Sparky Barnes Sargent

This 1929 Fleet Model 2 is an
irresistibly attractive little biplane—eye candy, if you will. Its
radiance arises from deep within
its lustrous fabric skin, and this
Kinner-powered beauty playfully
exudes a friendly spirit of “Fly me,
I’m fun!” The more you really study
its features, the more you’ll understand that the Fleet’s natural
aura of simplicity belies the ver y
thoughtful and methodical component designs that comprise its
strong aerobatic structure. In fact,
it’s amazing how far ahead of its
time it was—and it had numerous patents to prove it. All those
qualities have beguiled numerous pilots into caring for the little
biplane for decades. In this case,
Stan Sweikar of Wingfield Farm in
Dameron, Maryland, has lavished
NC431K (s/n 154) with singular
loving devotion.
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2/12/13 8:52 AM

Results of the
crash in 1987.
PHOTOS COURTESY STAN SWEIKAR

Far left: The
remains of the
lower wing
panels after
the crash.

Stan Sweikar working on the
wing fabric.

Johnny Cook applies the 24-karat
gold leaf lettering.

look at other Fleets, you’ll see that
most of them have been modified
with a larger vertical stabilizer.”
In 1958, John Richardson of
Illinois became caretaker of the
Fleet until 1972. “His wife, Joan,
won a women’s aerobatic championship in this plane,” recalled Sweikar.
“Then Buck Hilbert, past president of the E AA Antique/Classic
Division, bought it. He had it recovered with Razorback fiberglass in
June 1973. It looked pretty nice in
its Tennessee red with beige wings,
but it was heavy. Then author and pilot Richard Bach bought it in April
1975; he put the yellow on it. This
Fleet is the one that was featured in
his book Illusions. In February 1981,
Bach sold it to Bert Mahon at Justin
Time Airport in Texas. That airport
closed, and the airplane was sold to
Newhouse Flying Service in Illinois
in 1984. It still had Bach’s logo, ‘Great
American Flying Circus,’ on it.”
The Fleet entered Sweikar’s care
in October 1986, when he bought

it from Newhouse. “The metalwork
was kind of ragged,” said Sweikar,
an A&P, “so I went ahead and redid
that and brought it to Oshkosh in
1987, and we won Silver Age. I was
coming back to Oshkosh in 1988
and had an eng ine failure near
Fredericksburg, Virginia. I had to
put it in a tree line on the edge of a
swamp—the wings got wiped out,
but I was fine and so were the fuselage, prop, and tail group.”
Sweikar and his friends dismantled the biplane and hauled it home,
where it evolved into a 24-year restoration project. (About midway
through the restoration, Sweikar’s
project was featured in the August
1998 issue of Sport Aviation.)
During all those years, he diverted
much of his attention to running
his own Chesapeake Seaplanes operation and restoring his Cessna
195 during the nonflying seasons.

The new stringers are installed.

A Storied History

NC431K was manufactur ed
in August 1929 by Consolidated
Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo,
Ne w Yo r k , fo r F l e e t A i rc ra f t
Incorporated under Approved Type
Certificate 131. Eighty-four years
later, it’s one of only 31 Model 2
Fleets listed on the FAA Registry, an
airworthy survivor of slightly more
than the 200 that were manufactured. Sweikar’s Fleet was first purchased by the Cleveland Institute of
Aviation. It used it as a training aircraft and owned it until 1934, when
it began flying from one owner to
another, primarily in the Midwest.
“Then in 1948,” recounted Sweikar,
“Henry Lillybeck, whom I met at
Brodhead years ago, bought it. He
towed it from Chicago to Denver,
on its gear, behind his car. He rebuilt the airplane and got involved
in a flat spin with it. NC431K has
the original configuration of the
small tail, and these airplanes are
known to go into flat spins. If you
26

Wings

One of the most intensive and

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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PHOTOS ANDY ZABACK

The neatly finished cockpit.

CHRIS MILLER

ANDY ZABACK

Gold leaf design finished.

tedious aspects of the Fleet’s rebir th was the ex tensive wing
reconstruction. Sweikar made phenolic guides per the airfoil section
drawings, and then went to a local shop that had a pr ess brake
and pressed the rib caps out. “We
annealed the 2024 T-3 metal first
and then formed the ribs,” elaborated Sweikar. “After making the
rib caps, I had to assemble the upper and lower caps into completed
ribs. But think about it—back in
Unique Hinge Pin!
“A s i n g l e l o n g h i n g e p i n i s
provided for each aileron and is
inserted through a hole in the
wing end bow, engaging all hinges
when they are in alignment. The
end of the pin is bent, flattened,
and fastened to the tip bow by
two screws.”—Excerpted from
Aviation, May 18, 1929.

the 1920s, most people just used
Duralumin for fairings, not structural applications—so the Fleet
design was ahead of its time.”
Sweikar then acid etched, alodined, and epoxy primed all the
ribs. Rightfully proud of his attention to even the smallest details, he
invited the author to look inside the
wings. “The interior is as good as the
exterior,” said Sweikar. “If you come
over here, you can see the fittings
for the wing strut,” he proclaimed,
popping an inspection plate off the
lower side of the lower wing, which

also revealed a beautiful spar that
was simply gleaming from three
coats of epoxy varnish. All the wing
fittings were glass-bead blasted and
cadmium plated and then painted
with silver polyurethane.
Those new spars came fr om
Wicks Aircraft, and with a chuckle,
Sweikar said, “The upper one is 28
inches long, and it’s one piece, laminated. They said they used up every
clamp in the surrounding counties
just for clamping pressure.”
The wings also have new leading edges. “They are rolled 2024

Did You Know?
“The loop joint of the landing gear is so designed that there is no sudden
change in section, eliminating the possibility of fatigue failure.”
“The engine mount, having a patented three-point support for the
mounting ring, is designed to eliminate all internal stress due to welding
shrinkage.”
—Excerpted from Aviation, May 18, 1929.
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SPARKY BARNES SARGENT

Sandy and Stan Sweikar are happy
to be flying in their Fleet again.

CHRIS MILLER

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2/12/13 9:42 AM

“I look around, and I’m older,
but the airplane is younger!”

—Stan Sweikar, owner, pilot, and restorer

aluminum leading edges, which
are challenging to make,” he said.
“Gar Williams, a master restorer in
the Midwest, suggested that I go
to Wag-Aero because they have an
8-inch roll. So I contacted Wag-Aero
and gave them a ‘go-no-go’ gauge,
and they rolled the leading edges for
me. The 8-inch sections were then
flush riveted together, so you can’t
see where the joints are.”
When it eventually came time to
install the wings, there were plenty
of folks lending a helping hand, including Mike Roe, Mike Myers, John
Eney, Ed Stewart, and Ken Reed.

Fuselage

Sweikar also enlisted Mike Roe’s
sheet metal expertise on the lower
cowling, the center section’s trailing edge, and the wing tip bows.
“Mike’s a really neat guy,” shared
Sweikar, “and he’s just fabulous
with metalwork.”
A new fuel tank was built during
an earlier phase of the project, and
Sweikar himself made a new firewall, the firewall fuselage coaming,
and a new headrest fairing. The
rest of the sheet metal is original
30

to the airplane, including the cockpit coaming and nosebowl, which
have the airplane’s serial number
stamped on them.
While sandblasting the fuselage,
Sweikar said he gave a heavy sigh
when he discovered some internal
corrosion in the tubing: “In fact, it
started blasting right through the
lower longerons, so I wound up replacing a large portion of them, as
well as the tail post.”
He followed those repairs with
epoxy zinc chromate primer on the
fuselage and tail group and then
painted them with black polyurethane. A nice touch inside the cockpits was the addition of half a dozen
triangular wood panels, installed to
guard against knees and elbows inadvertently poking the fabric.
Other tasks included varnishing the new fuselage stringers, replacing the fore and aft cockpit
floorboards, and installing new
hardware and stainless-steel rudder
cables. The new strap-style brass
hinges for the rudder and elevator
were patterned after the originals,
and Sweikar learned how to complete a five-tuck Navy splice for at-

CHRIS MILLER

taching the new cables on the cast
aluminum rudder horn. “It wasn’t
too hard to learn, but then I’m also
a yachtsman, and basically wire cables are the same as marine line,” he
said. “The cable strands are needle
sharp, so you have to be very careful and even use sewing thimbles
to protect your fingertips. Once you
know how to go about it, it doesn’t
take that long. It’s just a little timeconsuming putting the serving—
the cotton wrapping—on, and then
varnishing the serving.”

Landing Gear

Sweikar’s Fleet originally had a
tail skid and balloon tires, but it
has been updated due to a dearth
of replacement parts and his desire
to be able to fly the airplane from
paved or grass fields. So NC431K
has been outfitted with PT-19
wheels and standard tubes, and
Hayes hydraulic brakes with Scott
master cylinders.
According to Sweikar, those
parts “are still available new-oldstock WWII surplus, and they work
out really well. The Fleet also has
spring-oil shock absorbers, which

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was pretty new back in the 1920s.
You land on oil and taxi on springs,
and it’s a good system.”

Engine and Prop

The Fleet was originally powered by a 100-hp Kinner K-5, but
it was converted to a 125-hp B-54
in 1953. “The B-54 is really the optimum engine for the airplane,”
shared Sweikar, “and I used copper
tubing for the fuel lines, with brass
fittings—that’s how it was originally. The engine was overhauled by
Brad Ball in California and is running beautifully. The stacks are nice
and clean, and it’s not consuming
any oil, which is a real tribute to
Brad. This engine has not burned
a quart of oil in 74 hours and has
not leaked whatsoever—it’s almost
eerie, because it’s like what Bach
wrote about in his book Illusions.”
To enhance safety and ease of operation, Sweikar installed a Bendix
Eclipse Y-150 electric starter for
the Kinner, along with an Odyssey
battery. He also installed a Fahlin
propeller (98-inch diameter, 51inch pitch), but while flying it to
Oshkosh, discovered that it wasn’t
“the optimum prop for this airplane. I talked to Sensenich, and
the optimum prop is 90-inch diameter and 67-inch pitch. So I’m not
really cruising that fast in the Fleet
right now, only about 75 mph. It
should be cruising around 85 to
90 mph with no problem, so I’ll be
changing the propeller soon. I’ve
ordered a new Sensenich 90-inchdiameter, 67-inch-pitch propeller.”

Fabric Covering

Sweikar’s experience re-covering
his 1946 Taylorcraft BCS12D-4-85
floatplane came in handy while
working on the Fleet . And he
added a personal touch just before beginning the covering process; he and his wife and daughter

1929 Fleet Model 2
Manufacturer’s Specifications
Length

20 feet 9 inches

Height

7 feet 10 inches

Wingspan

28 feet

Chord

3 feet 9 inches

Airfoil

Clark Y expanded
to 15 percent

Gap (at C.S.)

54 inches

Stagger

23 inches

Angle of incidence

0 degrees

Dihedral upper

0 degrees

Dihedral lower

4 degrees

Landing gear tread

64 inches

Weight empty

1,022 pounds

Disposable load

560 pounds

Gross weight

1,582 pounds

High speed

113.5 mph

Cruise

90 mph

Minimum speed

40 mph

Climb at sea level

930 fpm

Ceiling

16,000 feet

Gas capacity

24 gallons

Price

$5,500

(Derived from Aviation, May 18, 1929,
and Aircraft Records.)

signed the main spar of the upper
wing with the latitude and longitude of Wingfield Airstrip—just
to provide the next restorer with
a bit of history. Then he used the
blanket method to cover the Fleet’s
28-foot top wing, commencing the
process by rolling a 72-inch-wide
bolt of Ceconite 101 down the entire length of the wing. (Yes, it took
quite a bit of shop space.) Back in
1929, the fabric was attached to
the ribs by using a type of sheet
metal screw, but Sweikar used
wide-head fabric rivets instead.
“They have a lower profile than the
screws, which have a tendency to
loosen up with time,” he explained.
“And I then used dollar pat ches
over the rivets, just like they did

back in 1929; they didn’t run finishing tapes completely across the
ribs back then.”
He did have to extend his paint
booth in order to accommodate
painting the 28-foot upper wing.
“I used a regular old high-pressure
Binks spray gun and probably
wasted a lot of paint ,” he said,
shrugging, “but I’m not in the business of restoring airplanes! That
Binks equipment really works nice.
I sprayed 14 cross coats—and a
cross coat is actually two coats—
so that’s 28 coats. After about
the fourth cross coat, I be gan
wet sanding the Randolph butyrate dope with 400 grit paper, and
sanding required approximately
seven hours per side on the upper
wing alone. It’s just a labor of love;
it’s a hobby with me.”

Fine Finishing Details

Sweikar’s wife, Sandy, a talented
seamstress and pilot, created some
rather complex leather covers to
protect the fuselage fabric from
rudder cable wear and also for strategic locations atop the horizontal
stabilizer. Contact cement enabled
the leather covers to bond easily
to the fabric surface. She also used
her commercial-grade sewing machine and invoked her ingenuity
and experiences sewing marine
canvas in order to professionally
fashion all of the interior leather
work, as well as the all- weather
cockpit, engine, and prop covers.
O ptional windscreens were
originally available for the cockpits, and Sweikar opted to retain
the ones that came with the airplane when he boug ht it. Each
windscreen was originally comprised of three flat panels; today
a wraparound piece of Plexiglas is
installed instead. Dzus fasteners
facilitate easy removal in case he
wants to use a sheet metal cover
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2/12/13 8:58 AM

for the front cockpit.
When Bach owned the biplane
in the 1970s, “he put the ‘Great
American Flying Circus’ logo on it,”
said Sweikar. “He also used that on
the Travel Air biplanes in the movie
Nothing by Chance, where they barnstormed the Midwest. So I decided
to put that logo back on the Fleet,
with gold leaf. Johnny Cook, a local
artist, did the work; he put a stencil
on the finished fabric and then applied something like varnish over
that. When it got tacky, he laid on
the 24-karat gold leaf with a fine,
fluffy brush, and he did a great job.
There’s no protective coating on top
of that, and it will not tarnish.”

The instrument panels and instruments, while not original, are
more or less period, according to
Sweikar, with the exception of the
radio and ignition switch for the
electric starter. The modern enhancements do make a difference in
empty weight; this Fleet was nearly
170 pounds lighter when it came
out of the factory in 1929 than it
is today. “It did gain some weight,”
shared Sweikar, “but it does have a
different engine, hydraulic brakes, a
Scott tail wheel, a starter, a battery,
and lots of dope. So it all adds up,
but it doesn’t really hinder the overall performance.”

speed indicator while making his
three-point landings, but he said
the Fleet is supposed to stall around
40 mph, so he keeps his approach
speed around 60 mph. “ The airspeed bleeds off pretty fast, just like
all biplanes,” said Sweikar. “So I use
power-off approaches, and it handles just fine. My first f light after
this restoration was July 1, 2012.”

Take Two!

The Fleet has sing le landing wires and dual f lying wires,
which Sweikar replaced with new
MacWhyte wires, including the terminal end fork fittings, clevis pins,
and bolts. For those who might
be unfamiliar with the difference
between landing and flying wires,
Sweikar offered a simple explanation: “On landing, the wings want
to droop—so the landing wires
help support the wings, and the
flying wires keep the wings from
folding up in flight.”
The ailerons (lower wing only) are
constructed of wood with aluminum
leading edges. The articulating pushpull control system for the ailerons is
just one of the Fleet’s patented components. “It was very advanced for
the time, with no protrusions from
the wing, and it’s really a smooth
operating system,” said Sweikar.
“The dual throttle control also has
a push-pull rod system, which is
routed through both cockpits. The
trim system is comprised of a jackscrew, which elevates or lowers the
cambered horizontal stabilizer and is
activated by manually pulling a cable
back and forth in the cockpit.”

32

ANDY ZABACK

Flight Controls and Flying

Outside Loops!
The Fleet easily acquired
a re p u t a t i o n fo r i t s s t r o n g
c o n s t r u c ti o n a n d a e ro ba ti c
capabilities. In July 1930, stunt
pilot Paul Mantz climbed in his
Fleet Model 2 in San Mateo,
California, and proceeded to set a
record of 46 consecutive outside
loops. His record stood for nearly
half a century.
—Juptner’s U.S. Civil Aircraft,
Volume 2 and other aviation resources

Describing the Fleet’s range,
Sweikar smiled and proffered this:
“Well, in two hours you want to
get out of the airplane! The Kinner
burns around 9 gph, so it does have
a good two hours, plus reserve. It
flies like a Cub with two wings. It’ll
fly hands off, but it’s neutrally stable—it doesn’t have positive stability for pitch or roll. When you pitch
down, it’ll just keep going, so you
have to be on top of it.”
Sweikar hardly looks at the air-

Sweikar, smiling and reflecting
about his long-awaited milestone of
having the Fleet back at Oshkosh,
thoughtfully remarked, “It’s like a
reunion in a way. It’s almost like a
flashback of 1987, but 25 years have
lapsed since then. I look around,
and I’m older, but the airplane is
younger! Hopefully it’ll be a family
keeper for a while.”
More than three decades ago,
Richard Bach wrote the following in
his book Illusions: The Adventures of
a Reluctant Messiah, which featured
NC431K: “You are never given a
wish without also being given the
power to make it tr ue. You may
have to work for it, however.” That
concept became a timeless message
that tumbled and swirled through
the prop wash of time until gently falling into Sweikar’s hands and
taking form in his workshop. For
you see, that’s just what happened:
Sweikar was given a wish after his
1987 crash, and he worked diligently until he fulfilled the wish to
have his award-winning Fleet airborne again.
And his lengthy restoration efforts were also rewarded, in part, by
once again receiving the Silver Age
(1928 to 1936) Champion – Bronze
Lindy during E AA AirVenture
Oshkosh. To date, the “ Great
American Flying Circus” Fleet has
logged close to 2,000 hours aloft—
and will likely log thousands more
in the coming years.

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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2/12/13 8:59 AM

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VintageMar2013.indd 35

2/11/13 5:07 PM

You’re Going
to Do What
Where?

Earning my Ford Tri-Motor rating
Donis B. Hamilton
EAA Lifetime#234279
Vint age Lifetime # 19053

I was headed to
Valle Airport, Arizona, in the remote desert north
of Flagstaff in late
February 2012 to
fly a 1929 Ford
Tri-Motor.
About halfway to the Grand
Canyon, truly in the middle of nowhere, there is a highway intersection with three motels, one gas
station, and an airport. At the airport one building is the Ar izona
branch of the Planes of Fame Air
Museum, and the other is where I
34

was supposed to meet Bryan Godlove, chief pilot, designated examiner, and guts of an operation
called FordTypeRatings.com.
It was late when I got to Valle. I
was met by three friendly, smiling
folks: Larry, the mechanic, Bryan
Godlove, and Thad Kelly (soon to
be my instructor).
We set up shop in the conference
room of the terminal building and
got the preliminaries, paperwork,
and introductions out of the way. I
was dog-tired and they took mercy
on me, suggesting we begin training first thing the next morning.
Early the next day, I learned
that this is a big plane. All elevator
and rudder controls are mounted
external to the fuselage by huge
arms and cables big as hangman’s
ropes. Big but fairly simple, the

walk around the air
airplane
plane is
straightforward. But everything
is located way up in the air. The
plane had suffered left wingtip damage, the repair of which
squared off the wingtip.
A for m of r udimentar y tail
wheel steering is provided by two
huge bungee cords attached to the
rudder. Otherwise, directional control on the ground is differential
braking and engine thrust.
Three Pratt & Whitney R-985
450-hp radial engines power the
Tri-Motor. There are 355 gallons
of fuel onboard in three tanks located between the front and rear
wing spars near the center of the
aircraft, all of which drain into a
common fuel manifold. One note
of caution: Avoid significant nosedown attitudes below 90 gallons

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of fuel, or you will un-port the fuel
lines and starve the engines.
After a quick lunch, Thad and I
crawled into the cockpit. Starting
the engines warm is easy; starting
cold is another matter. The drill
is to start the front engine first
(only one with an alternator). After six seconds of prime, engage
the starter for six blades. Switch
the magnetos on and keep priming
for three-second bursts every four
or five blades. Cold usually results
in belches and backfires, so a fireguard is required.
Taxiing the Tri-Motor is not difficult, but the sheer size and inertia of the airplane make for some
awkward moments. Use all three
throttles to get the plane r olling, then retard the two outboard
throttles leaving the center engine
to pull you along, more or less in
a straight line. Turning requires

the addition of power on the outboard engine and a jab or two at
the inboard brake. Once turning,
you use power on the inside engine
and perhaps a stab of the outside
brake to stop. Lots of inertia and
weight—plan ahead.
The controls on this airplane are
large and require a long travel. The
elevator, for example, is a full arm’s
length in throw: nose down to nose
up. The rudders move about 24
inches. The ailerons—oh boy, the ailerons—take one-and-a-half turns
on the wheel each direction. That’s a
lot of movement; gentleness or subtlety really don’t work well.
During run-up the movement of
the prop hub is clearly visible and
seems to take a long time, especially if cold. There is no feather.
Line up more or less on the centerline. Hold the brakes with the
elevator full aft. Run the engines

up to 18 inches and check the engine instruments located on the
engine pylons outside of the fuselage. Full power and the control
wheel pushed all the way forward
gets the tail up in the air quickly.
The wing blanks the tail when on
the ground.
Lightly loaded, the Tri-Motor
accelerated rapidly and sailed right
up to rotation at 80 mph. It seemed
to require an awful lot of rudder
travel to keep the airplane tracking
straight. With liftoff at 80 mph, we
continued to 90 mph for the climb.
Air work consisted of 90-, 180-,
and 360-degree turns with 30 degrees of bank in both directions.
Turns are done with rudder first,
sometimes lots of r udder, followed by the ailerons. Left turns
require a pretty healthy back pressure almost immediately. Remember the squared-off left wingtip?
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Turns to the right don’t
require back pressure
until about 30 or 40 degrees into the turn. Now,
folks, when you roll that
old heifer into a 60-degree
banked turn it requires
lots of rudder and one
heck of a pull. The plane
is not mean; it is just big
and the controls are unboosted. So raw muscle
is required.
After steep turns, we
jumped right into the
stall series. Stalls in this
airplane are really very
gentle and straightforward with no tendency
to drop a wing or have a
sharp break. Approach
s t a l l s a re p e r fo r m e d
by easing the power off
and holding altitude by

Hamilton with Thad Kelly.

36

Cover for a promotional Ford Tri-motor brochure.

the addition of elevator
until the wheel is completely in y our chest.
At the stall the air plane simply develops a
higher rate of sink and
the nose mushes down,
nodding over every once
in a while. Relaxation of
back pressure and adding
power started the plane
flying immediately. Departure stalls are done
with slight banked turns
and 15 inches of power.
Same feel. It is a really
docile stalling airplane.
Following stalls, we
did engine-out procedures. This is where the
men are separated from
the boys. The airplane
demonstrated no mean
tendencies, but oh lord,

With Brian Godlove.

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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it took one hell of a push on the
rudder. According to the operations manual, it is approved procedure for the pilot to use both feet
on the rudder, and I would have
used both except that I couldn’t
get my long le gs and big f eet
around the control pedestal. If the
strength goes, there are only two
options: Get the first officer’s feet
on the rudder or pull the power on
the good outboard engine.
The loss of an engine drill is the
“2/5/2 Procedure.” The first two is
to advance all controls to METO
power, and obtain directional control with approximately 5 degrees
bank into the good engine and the
ball not more than one-half out of
the cage.
Next comes the five. After identifying the bad engine, you secure
the engine: power off, props to full
course pitch, mixture to idle cutoff,
mags off, fuel off. Remember the
propeller doesn’t feather. The final
two steps are to declare an emergency and immediately turn to the
nearest airport or suitable landing
area. This drill is performed each
time that an engine loss is experienced or suspected.
After engine-out procedures
in the air, we headed toward Williams, Arizona, where we did our
pattern work. With all engines
running, the approach, at 90 mph
indicated, is standard and unremarkable. The only thing the stu-

dent needs to remember is that
this is a big airplane; the f lare
and touchdown are started much
higher than one would normally
expect. The old bird was gentle
to land, and as soon as the main
wheels touched, forward elevator
was applied to keep the tail up.
When the first officer calls out
“50” (mph indicated), a positive
pull back on the wheel brings the
tail down for the remainder of
the rollout.
After a couple of takeoffs and
landings, Thad started failing engines on departure. After a few
one-engine-out approaches, Thad
began failing the remaining outboard leaving only the center engine. With the center engine, the
Tri-Motor is like a big Piper Cub—
a really big underpowered Cub. As
soon as I lost the second engine,
I declared, “We are committed.”
There is no doubt about continuing any distance with only a single
engine in the Ford Tri-Motor. The
best rate of climb is 250 feet per
minute down.
By the time we finished seven
takeoffs and landings at Williams,
it was getting late and time to return back to Valle. I was completely
physically and mentally exhausted.
T h e n e x t m o r n i n g d aw n e d
beautiful, bright and clear, and
very cold. Thad and I a greed to
meet early for a “warm-up” flight
prior to the checkride. After pre-

flight and 30 minutes of grinding
on those poor starters, we finally
got all three engines running.
Thad reviewed some of the things
I needed to improve on and issues
he thought might come up during
the checkride.
After the air work, we did patterns including balked landings
and takeoffs. After the third landing, we taxied in, and T had announced he was ready to sign me
off for the checkride.
The oral was actually easy; virtually everything had been discussed
in the course of the preceding day
and a half, and I had been provided
with a list of likely questions with
my orientation packet. Bryan and
I soon got in the plane and t ook
off for the air work. I thought everything went very well except two
slipups. On the steep turns, I did
the first one to the left. I ballooned
about 100 feet high and had to
work it back down to altitude. The
second goof came in the pattern
when Bryan called for an abort on
takeoff—I was concentrating so
hard that I misinterpreted his signals and was a little slow pulling off
the throttles.
I may not deserve a Tri-Motor
type rating, but I have it and I’m
not giving it back. Do you really
need a reason to get a type rating in
the Ford Tri-Motor? Naw—I love
old airplanes, and the romance of
the early airliners draws me.
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2/11/13 5:09 PM

182

PHIL HIGH

. . . As if it came out of Tut’s tomb

KOEPNICKPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

38

MARCH / APRIL 2013

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Bernie Lewis has been as much a curator as pilot
with his “survivor” C-182.

2/11/13 5:09 PM

Survivor
Budd Davisson
“For sale: 1957 C-182, 2,625 hours
TTAF, 1,230 SMOH engine. Original
paint, interior and panel, only minor avionics upgrades. $XX,XXX.”
et’s say you were looking for
an airplane and you saw the
ad above. What would you
think? First, you’d look at the
engine time and say, “I don’t know.
It’s getting up there.”
Then you’d see that everything
else on the airplane—the paint, upholstery, and panel—is the same
as it had been when it came out of
the factory 56 years ago, and nothing has been changed since. Fifty-six
years measured in airplane time is
a very long time. And 2,600 hours
tells you the airplane hasn’t been
a hangar queen; a lot of rear ends
have scooted across the seats while
climbing in. There have been a couple dozen generations of avionics
developed since the airplane’s birth,
and you know that, regardless of
what the ad says about an original
panel, it’s going to be a patchwork of

L

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2/11/13 5:10 PM

PHIL HIGH PHOTOS

The tailcone and left elevator skin
were replaced with original parts
from the factory in the early ’80s.

The way they looked back in the
day.

Look, Mom! No cracks!

punched and patched holes from an
endless parade of avionics.
You also know for a fact that
Cessna’s famous plastic instrument
panel cover and window moldings

always become as brittle as a piece
of last summer’s taffy. For those reasons, you know the interior will be a
mosaic of cracked and broken plastic and moldy-smelling upholstery

with spurts of foam where stuffing
is slowly making its way to freedom.
And “original paint”? Whoa! You
picture your neighbor’s ’57 Chevy
pickup that has been a back yard
lawn ornament for the last decade
or so. Like the Chevy, you know the
signature ’50s Cessna stripes will be
oxidized to the point that they are
semitransparent panels of colored
dust against aluminum that has the
sheen of a Teflon flying pan.
Also, without even examining the
airplane, you know that some of the
past occupants included field mice,
spiders, and whatever that magic
critter is that eats upholstery piping.
It may be original, but it’s going
to be grim.
Assuming the airplane has no
serious corrosion, the hangar rash
isn’t too bad, and the owner is willing to dicker on the pr ice, what
you actually have here is a decent
project-airplane. It’s a good starting
point to build a square-tail 182 the
way you want it, because according
to the ad, everything about it is going to need rebuilding.
Then comes Oshkosh (or
AirVenture, if you will) 2012, and
along with the rest of us, you saw
what could have been this very airplane parked on the line with the

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PHIL HIGH PHOTOS

Bernie had the engine overhauled shortly after he bought
N4015U in 1986.

“For Sale” sign in the window. To a
man, we all did a double take: Can
this possibly be an untouched 1957
airplane that fits the above advertising description? Unbelievably,
the answer is yes.
Bernie Lewis from Erie, Colorado,
brought in what has to be the most
original ’57 C-182 in existence. In
fact, this should be the reference airplane for anyone restoring a similar
182 because, if it’s on Bernie’s airplane, that’s the way it’s supposed be
done; Bernie hasn’t changed anything
in the 26 years that he’s owned it.
“I’ve owned a bunch of Cessnas,
and when I ran across this one in
1986,” he says, “I had to have it. It
was 30 years old but didn’t look close
to that. So, naturally, I bought it. At
the time, it had 1,213 hours on it
and still had the factory plastic cover
on the back seat!”
Bernie’s flying started when he
was in the Navy and stationed at
Rota, Spain, in 1966. He says, “Our
flying club had Champs they rented
at $4/hour, and the CFI was another $5. So, I flew quite a bit. I also
flew their T-34.”
In college, Bernie studied aerospace science, but when he graduated, he launched into aviation like a
man with a mission.

1957 brochure, Flight with a New
Flair.

Air speed correction chart.

“I went right into the CFI thing
at the beginning, then quickly slid
into the corporate/airline flying. I’ve
logged a little over 21,000 hours,
which includes 12,000 hours in King
Airs. However, I always had a little
airplane of my own. In fact, my first

was a Luscombe 8E I bought when I
was a sophomore in college. It cost
$2,100, and I flew its wings off.
“I worked my way up the Cessna
chain, 120, 170, 180, restoring or rehabbing them as I went. The 170, for
instance, got repainted in the factory

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PHIL HIGH PHOTOS

Yes, it’s all original.

Cessna 182’s serial number plaque.

the original owner had shortened
the bottom stripe and painted the
name of his business on it. So, if you
look really closely, you can see where
the bottom stripe has a section that
is the same color but was repainted.
“Also, if someone is really sharp
and has seen a lot of older, original
182s, they’ll notice that the throttle knob appears more or less normal size, which isn’t the case with
the original knobs. The originals are
huge! Really big! Mine was in the
way; so I replaced it with a smaller
one but kept the original so it can be
switched back.
“At one point, early in my owner-

ship, the airplane was wind damaged while I was on a tr ip. The
elevators and part of the vertical fin
had to be reskinned.
“At the time, original parts were
still available from Cessna, so at
least I can say that everything is factory original.”
According to 1957 factory brochures Bernie got with the air plane, buyers of Cessna’s new hot
rod had a limited number of options when it came to exterior and
interior color schemes.
“My airplane utilizes ‘Cascade
Green’ on the upholst er y and
paint,” he says.

KOEPNICKPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

scheme and color, and I totally restored the 180. I even bought a ’56
172 for my wife to fly. I’ve always had
a soft spot for square tails.”
He had a K model Bonanza and a
Comanche prior to running across
the 182.
He says, “The ’57 was the last year
of the 182. The next year they called
them Skylanes, which causes no end
of confusion when people see this
airplane because it’s not a Skylane.
“I’ve gone out of my way to avoid
doing anything to the airplane that
would detract from its originality,
but some things just had to be done.
Just behind the doors, for instance,
42

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PHIL HIGH

The illusive Cessna decal.

“The original owner was careful
when he updated radios and avionics and didn’t modify the panel in
any way. The only changes I’ve made
were newer radios and a GPS, and
they were picked because they fit the
original panel cutouts. The entire
instrument panel is just the way it
came out of the factory.”
A small item on the fusela ge,
which is seldom, if ever, seen, is the
decal that is situated midway between the doors and the tail.
Bernie says, “All 182s had that decal, but most have faded to nothing
or became so worn that they were
removed or painted over. It’s close
to a miracle that mine has survived,
but from the day I purchased the airplane that decal loomed large as one
of the items I was going to go out of
my way to protect. To my knowledge
no one has made them available, but
I’d think there would be a ready market for them.”
An editorial comment about that
decal: To those seeking custommade decals and stickers, the radiocontrolled model airplane community has them made with regularity. If you can generate a computer
file of what you want, or have a
high-quality image of it, you’re good
to go. Here’s a place to start: www.
Callie-Graphics.com.
Bernie’s airplane sported the “For
Sale” sign at Oshkosh for only a couple of days before Bob Hewlett from

Cumming, Georgia, saw it.
Bob says, “I went to Oshkosh with
a friend with absolutely no intention
of buying an airplane. We were going
down the flightline and came upon a
group of people gathered around an
absolutely beautiful 182. My friend
had owned one, and he started talking
about what a quality airplane it was.
Then we heard the owner, who is quite
a guy—A&P, CFI, professional pilot
and kept it in perfect condition—say
that Bob Hoover had stopped by to
look it over and marveled at its originality. I was tempted and my friend
said the price was right.
“We sat around that night at our
trailer talking about the airplane.
My friend and others kept saying I
should buy it. I had just sold my business and retired, so my wife and I
were planning on doing some traveling. This airplane would certainly fill
the bill, so the next day I went back

and gave Bernie a check.”
It took a little while for the airplane to make it down to Bob’s place,
but when it arrived, Bob wasted no
time getting current again.
“Bernie brought the air plane
down,” he says, “and gave me a BFR,
and the airplane was everything I
hoped it would be. At least it was until I took my wife for her first ride.
Or tried to. She has a really bad back,
and we found that she couldn’t make
the transition from the step to the
seat no matter how hard she tried.
She felt bad. And it broke my heart.
But we had to look elsewhere.”
So, keep your eyes open for another C-182 ad. It will read approximately as follows:
“For sale: 1957 C-182, 2,650 hours
TTAF, 1,250 SMOH engine. Original
paint, interior and panel, only minor
avionics upgrades. $XX,XXX.”
This time, take it seriously.

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Around the Pylons

Celestial

Breeze
The Cosmic Wind story
Don Berliner

EAA 5654, Past Presid ent , So ciet y of Air Racing Historians

The Cosmic Wind Story
The tale of the Cosmic W ind
Goodyear midget racers stretches
from Southern California to the
south of France and back again.
From an original three of a planned
“production run” of five airplanes,
it has grown to six that have been
raced, two of which are under restoration, and an eig hth that is
being built from scratch as a reproduction of one of the originals.
The durability of the line results,
to a great extent, from their very
44

sturdy all-metal construction and
a widespread reputation for superior flying qualities, thanks to a
large team that included veteran
race pilots and some of the country’s top aero engineers. The unusually roomy cockpit has appealed to
potential buyers and pilots of varying shapes.
When the official National Aeronautic Association specifications
for the 190 Cubic Inch Class were
announced in December of 1946,
experienced designers, builders,

and pilots, along with many others who had far less impressive resumes, jumped at the opportunity
to get into pylon racing without
going into hock. In fact, the only
way to legally fly a homebuilt in the
United States in those days was to
build a midget racer. Four-cylinder,
85-hp C-85 engines were made
available through Professional
Race Pilots Association (PRPA)
President Art Chester for as little
as $500 new by Continental Motors, and the race was on to get

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Little Toni

to Cleveland in just a few months
for what was then the ultimate in
sporting aviation.
Some of the 13 midget racers
that showed up on the west side of
Cleveland in late August 1947 for
the first of three annual Goodyear
Trophy Races looked like they had
been assembled under considerable time pressure. Others looked
much more professional, and none
more so than the twin all-metal
Cosmic Winds owned and f lown
by top Lockheed test pilots Tony
LeVier (#3 Little Toni, NX-67888)
and Herman “Fish” Salmon (#10
Cosmic Wind, NX-67889).
As was later revealed when two
of the racers became the passion
of British restorers, they were far
more complex than what became
the norm for typical homebuilts.
As would be expected from a team
of Lockheed designers who volunteered their time, and laid-off
production workers who were paid
50 cents an hour, LeVier & Asso-

Little Toni

Cosmic Wind

ciates’ airplanes displayed a part
number stenciled on ever y one
of many hundreds of large and
small metal pieces. Anyone who
has seen a Cassutt r acer being
built from simple plans and basic
workshop tools can be excused for
expressing amazement. Also in a
manner familiar to industry people, the major components were
built in separated locations, with a
single location for final assembly,
in this case LeVier’s garage in the
Los Angeles suburb of La Canada.
It was later discovered that the
origins of the sophisticated design actually dated back to World
War II. One blueprint examined by
this writer showed the fuel tank
installation. All the relevant stations of the fuselage were clearly
marked, strongly suggesting that
much of the design work had been
completed. The blueprint, drawn
by one Mr. Bojens (later identified by LeVier as Lockheed’s “top
draftsman”), was dated 1944, at

least two years before the class was
created. It is tempting to assume
that the Cosmic Wind might have
been under consideration by Lockheed as a high-performance sports
plane that would appeal to returning fighter pilots.
In the 1947 initial Goodyear Trophy Race, the two Cosmic Winds
were outrun by racers designed
and built by prewar National Air
Races winners Steve Wittman and
Art Chester. One of the reasons
was the failure of an otherwise excellent team of engineers to calculate correctly the center of gravity.
Both Winds were so tail heavy that
a reported 75 pounds of dead weight
had to be wrapped around the engine
mounts to make them flyable. By the
next year, the mounts had been extended 12 inches, and the original
canopy, which had been faired into
a high turtledeck, had been replaced
by a low-drag bubble, which paid off
in a victory by Salmon in what had
become his #4 Minnow.

Little Toni
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Little Toni

For 1948, LeVier’s aluminum
and red #3 had been repainted red
with white trim and renumbered
N20C; Salmon’s had changed from
the yellow and black #10 to the metallic bronze with cream trim #4
Minnow N21C; while the newest
one—Glen Fulkeron’s #5 Ballerina,
N22C—was dark green with cream
or very light green trim and flown
by future great Bob Downey.
The trio of Cosmic Winds were
raced in all three 1949 California
regional races and then the third
and final Goodyear. The #4 Minnow, after its 1948 victory, had
become the test bed for a planned
second generation of Cosmic
Winds. It had a new, slimmer fuselage and smaller tail, while its
original low wing had lost its dihedral as it became a mid- wing.
The hoped-for major jump in speed
failed to materialize, and the airplane was returned to its 1948 con-

Mrs. Robinson
46

figuration, while the new fuselage
and tail then went into storage.
The period of maximum American activity for the trio of racers
ended in the early 1950s when
they became part of the stable of
J.E. Smith’s Pacific Air Races Inc.
They soon embarked on separate
travels, which took them to some
surprising locales.

#3 Little Toni
It sat idle for more than a decade until the star t of the Reno
era. In 1965 it reappeared as Rick
Townsend’s blue and whit e #7
French Quarter Special and was
then sold to veteran racer Roy
Berry who began a program to return it to its original name, number, and colors. Roy raced it into
1970, then sold it to Ian McCowen,
who took it home to England and
re-registered it G-AYRJ.
In 1971 McCowen won at North

Weald, Shobdon, and Halfpenny
Green, while Neil Williams won
with it at Biggin Hill, its top speed
being 202 mph. In 1972 McCowen
dominated the class, winning four
of the six British races at Nottingham, Goodwood, Halfpenny Green,
and Tees-side and equaling its best
speed. The 1973 season saw wins
in only one of five races but enough
second places to qualify as runnerup for the championship, as McCowen shared the piloting duties
with Brian Smith.
In 1974 the new and somewhat
improved Ballerina Mk.II took
over the Cosmic Wind leadership
of Little Toni with four wins by
Bill Walker, as Little Toni could do
no better than a third place. 1975
wasn’t much better, and it was returned to the United States, ending
up in the hands of Seattle airline pilot Jim Fernandez, who has promised to complete the restoration to
original as soon as he finishes several higher-priority projects.

#4 Minnow
After some racing in the early
1950s by Bob Downey and Eddy
Custer, it was sold to the mysterious Milton Blair, who dismantled it
and used parts in the construction
of a prototype counter-insurgency
airplane for a U.S. Air Force competition. It failed to win a contract
and sat around in pieces until being sold to English amateur builder

Filly

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Ballerina

(and King’s Cup Handicap Race
winner) Paul Bannister. In 1993
the components were transferred,
along with a supply of parts, raw
materials, and construction drawings to a group comprised of John
Tempest, Rob Millinship, and
Trevor Sanderson, which has plans
to restore the two Cosmic Winds
and race them for nostalgia, among
other reasons.

#5 Ballerina
After its days of racing in the
United States ended, it became
part of Pacific Air Races Inc. and
was then sold to Milton Blair. In
1961 he took it to England on a
permit that limited him to flying it
in several air shows prior to taking
it home. Blair promptly sold it to
the Tiger Club, which added it (as
G-ARUL) to its fascinating collection of sporting airplanes. Blair’s
violation of the law came to the attention of officials of Her Majesty’s
Customs office, which couldn’t find
Blair to present him with a bill for
£6,000 import duty.
They eventually contacted the
writer, who began a search for
Blair. A call to Californian Al Trefethan, who usually kne w who
was doing what, elicited a laugh.
“Do they want him, too? The last
I heard of Blair, he was up in the
mountains, hiding from the FBI!”
Wisely, the British government
officials billed the unhappy Tiger

Ballerina

Club for what was then well more
than $10,000.
Not long afterward, Blair borrowed an American-built Midget
Mustang from B annister and
promptly wrote off both it and
himself. The accident investigators
determined that while Blair had
logged a couple of thousand hours,
he apparently had never quite gotten around to obtaining any sort of
pilot license.
A pilot ’s repor t on the air plane (tiny by contemporary British standards) was written for an
English magazine by famed Welsh
test/aerobatic/racing pilot Neil
Williams, who compared its flying
characteristics to nothing less than
a clipped-wing Spitfire. A higher
compliment is hard to imagine.
In one of the true highlights of the
Cosmic Wind saga, Williams flew it
in the 1964 World Aerobatic Championships in Bilbao, Spain, finishing
ahead of more than a few specialized aerobatic airplanes, despite the
racer’s lack of inverted fuel and oil
systems. Its end came on August 29,
1966, when William Innes took off
in heavy rain to start the appropriately named Goodyear Air Challenge
Trophy Race at Halfpenny Green. He
crashed, wrecking the airplane, but
surviving his injuries.
Pieces of the wreckage were acquired in 1970 by Paul Bannister,
who devoted much of the nex t
three years to using them as pat-

terns for re-creating the airplane
as Ballerina Mk.II.

#5 Ballerina Mk.II
Once the second Ballerina rolled
out of Bannister’s well-equipped
workshop, it was entered in Formula One competition, starting
in September 1973 at Tees-side
where Bill Walker won at 202.7
mph. He started out 1974 by crossing the finish line in first place at
a British record 221.15 mph but
was then penalized for a pylon cut.
Walker then reeled off four straight
wins to take the national title. The
airplane didn’t race in 1975 but returned in 1976, leading off with a
second place behind American Bill
Sullivan (#51 Cassutt racer, 111
meters) at Le Castellet, France.
This was the first American-style
international pylon race to involve
competitors from as many as three
countries. With Fred Marsh as pilot, Ballerina Mk.II proceeded to
win the other British races that
year, as well as the first such race
ever held in Denmark.
In 1976 it was a clean sweep
for Marsh and Ballerina Mk.II,
winning at Woodford, Halfpenny
Green, and Coventry, England, and
at St. Valery, France. 1978 saw two
firsts and a second by new pilot
John Mirley, who broke the British Formula One record at Thruxton when clocked at 225.6 mph. Of
four races in 1979, Mirley raced in
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Stead, Marion Baker, Nick Jones,
and the Berrys—father Roy and
son Damon. It was retired after
the 1972 season to the Planes of
Fame Air Museum.
According to Tony Ambrose,
a font of reliable information on
such matters, Charlie Hillard told
him the fuselage of Miss Cosmic
Wind was used as the basis for the
Spinks Acromaster, which Hillard
flew successfully in aerobatic contests for many years.
Ballerina

three and won two.
T he last full season f or #5
was 1981, when Graham Horder
raced it to a fifth place at Biggin
Hill because of a pylon cut , and
then second at both Saintes and
St. Valer y, France. It was then
boug ht by Peter Kynsey, who
raced it sparingly: sixth at Biggin
Hill in 1985, fifth there in 1986,
and sixth in 1987 at Compiègne,
France. That was the final race for
Ballerina Mk.II and for any of the
Cosmic Winds in Europe or anywhere else. Since 1987, Kynsey
has flown the racer in air shows
from its base at Duxford.

#6 Filly
Bowing in during 1973 was a
completely new British Cosmic
Wind, the dark blue G-BAER, built
by Robin Voice using many American-made parts, some of which
appear to have been flown in an
earlier Cosmic Wind, though the
identity of the specific airplane has
not been pinned down. It was first
raced at Tollerton by Voice in 1973,
with a best finish of f ourth at
Cranfield. It was raced three times
in 1974, four times in 1975, and
twice in 1977.
Voice raced it three times in
1978, three times in 1979, once
in France in 1980, and six times in
48

1981. Its final year was 1982, when
it was flown three more times by
Voice, finishing its career with a
sixth place at Pau-Uzein, France, at
199.5 mph. Its most recent owner
was Alexander Truman.

#4 Mrs. Robinson
The last Cosmic W ind to f ly
was N89CW, built by Bill Warwick
from a project started by a retired
airline pilot and almost c ompleted by Goodyear racer Billie
Robinson. It was then acquired
by one-time Formula One racer
Joan Alford Noar, who finally donated it to the EAA AirVenture
Museum. It will probably never
be flown, let alone raced.

#6 Miss Cosmic Wind
Sometime before May of 1957,
the fuselage and tail that were
tried experimentally on #4 Minnow in 1948 were combined with
a low-aspect ratio wing into Miss
Cosmic Wind, N36C. The writer
photographed the dark blue and
white racer through the dirty window of a locked, cluttered hangar in Southern California. It was
raced as Ole Tiger by Bob Downey,
as Little Miss Reno by Bob Porter, and as Smirnoff. Other race
pilots include John Paul Jones,
R e n o A i r R a c e s fo u n d e r B i l l

#3 Little Toni Mk.II
The project dates back to at
least 1993 and is being worked on
with the two restoration projects
in England.
There are currently just two Cosmic Winds in flying condition, both
in England. The two under restoration are far from flying status,
while the one in the EAA museum
will probably never fly again. The
reproduction of #3 Little Toni by
Trevor Sanderson, the third member of the English “Cosmic Wind
Team,” is a long-term project.
With no active Cosmic Winds
living in North America, the future of the series will depend, to a
great extent, on the ability of the
British Formula Air Racing Association (FARA) and its French
counterpart, Association des Pilotes d’Avions Formula (APAF),
to rebuild European For mula
One air racing. In the past few
years, the typical summer ’s racing schedule has been limited to
a couple of training/practice/racing sessions at the small, friendly
St. Flour-Coltines Airport, near
St. Flour in central France. The
recent influx of pilots from England, Spain, and Austria at Reno
gives hope for the future.
If you have comments, suggestions,
even corrections, you can contact Don
at rofuf@konsulting.com.

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Sentimental Journey 2012
Cub homecoming
Ro ger Thiel
Ro ger Peperell pho

T

hree levels of deep yellow fill the eye: the color
of the J-3 Cub flying formation with you, the interior features of the J-3 in which
you’re riding—and the warm yellow bath of the late afternoon sun.
The traffic pattern at Sentimental Journey, over L ock Haven,
Pennsylvania, becomes a stunning
“mixing bowl” between two close
mountain ridges, which shine with
bright green sides, as more tiny
traces of yellow—the Cubs—fly a
classic racetrack course as if over
a painted landscape. It is gorgeous
by anyone’s standards, and to Piper
Cub fans: iconic, opulent.
A fourth level of deep y ellow
sprawls on the ground: rows and
rows of Cubs, parked alongside the
runway, pointing the way to the
factory buildings where they were
created, starting in 1937.
Below, the Susquehanna River
winds through the city/t own,
which takes on an even further emblematic image, as if the illustration
from the opening page of countless
American adventure books (especially from classic youth fiction) or
other publications depicting a pastoral town. The winding river, the
bridge, the church tower, the main
street: it’s all here.
And isn’t that classic image usually drawn as if seen from an aerial
view? And on a bright pretty day in
early summer? It’s an image to be
enjoyed from above—and with all
of this, it’s no wonder that many

t os

pilots fly their Cubs around the
dazzling vistas again and again.
On the ground, the annual June
antique aircraft fly-in called “the
feel good event of the east” is tak-

ing place. Everything is competent,
charming, understated, authentic—and just a bit raw. The meeting/socializing place is a huge
covered pavilion of picnic tables,

Hinamen Acres

Lamar Farm Strip
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Lock Haven’s main street charm.

This is almost
certainly the
“antiquer” event
with the most
aircraft sharing
a similar color
scheme . . .
highly functional but rough-cut.
The fly-in registration, camping,
forums, etc. are efficient, yet not
overly promoted. In short, the flyin itself is like a J-3 Cub!
Overhead, “yet another” J-3 Cub
flies by, but here, it is always a fresh
sight. Attendees tend to raise their
heads up to the sound of a Continental engine every time. The roar of an
occasional large antique is appreciated, but here it does not dominate
the scene; the Cubs are the stars.
This is almost certainly the “antiquer” event with the most aircraft
sharing a similar color scheme, and
a long-experienced operator of a
temporary tower is alert to prevent
confusion, and for NORDO traffic
(which is legal).
On the ground, a huge set of
many - yeared traditions takes
place: food on the field by civic
groups, a network of transportation to motels, a people-mover
pulled by a restored vintage tractor
driven by a long-term volunteer,
50

and dozens more. Much individual initiative includes a poker run
organized by some raffish campers, and on most afternoons, a long
line forms for a corn boil (yellow
corn, that is). For all of this, the
picnic table pavilion is central, the
site for reunions worth, well, waiting a year for. About 10 years ago,
Sentimental Journey built a modern building for vendors, and the
Piper Aviation Museum (formerly
the plant’s administration building) is open for tours.
A spot landing contest is featured
one afternoon, and for this year’s
bomb-drop competition, the winner actually put a flour bag into the
four-foot-wide target! A first-time
highlight this year was a daily air
show featuring Greg Koontz and
The Alabama Boys—including a
comedy, stolen J-3 (what else?), and
a truck-top landing. A Saturday evening banquet is the crescendo of the
event, but after all of this, anything
would be an anticlimax.
For most attendees, the visit will
include a trip into town. Lock Haven’s main street exudes classic,
small town charm, with an undercurrent of ruddy competence and
bedrock authenticity—again, like
a J-3 Cub! At the town’s parking
meters, you touch a button upon
arrival, and are given 15 free minutes! This is mind-boggling to visiting East Coasters. Lately, hotel and
motel rooms have been scarce; gas
drilling in the mountains has the
area undergoing a long-awaited bit

of economic good news. At the airport, a portion of the former show
aircraft parking area has been
taken over to store industrial drilling implements.
This year’s highlight was to commemorate the 75th anniversar y
of Piper’s move to Lock Haven
and of the J-3 Cub. Other vintage
Piper models are featured, yearto-year, on a rotating basis. The
fly-in was also highlighted by gorgeous weather, strong attendance
by planes and people, and strong
vendor sales. Sentimental Journey
itself sold many special commemorative items: T-shirts, hats, and
other specialties, producing a very
welcome bottom line. Fly-in directors reported aircraft registrations
from other countries, including
Canada and Germany, and visitors
from as far away as Switzerland
and the United Kingdom. Approximate numbers were 300 airplanes,
including 80 J-3 Cubs, and several
thousand attendees.
The trip to “Cub Haven” means
a visit to the mountains, unusual
for most attendees, and the slopes
shine with the fresh, bright, green,
waxy image of early summer. The
fly-in’s schedule usually includes
June 21, the day of longest light.
Late afternoon/early evening flybys take on a postcard, picturebook quality. The attendees who
say “Don’t change a thing” tend to
be the jaded residents from cities,
especially on the East Coast.
Sentimental Journey starts by
being a fly-in destination, then becomes a convention/party, and ends
up being a state of mind. You tear
yourself from the spectacular, if
“slow-lane” flying and return home,
albeit at modest cruising speed.
Fly -in director Kim Garlick
watches them depart with regret,
saying, “I feel it’s the greatest thing
on earth.”

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The Vintage Mechanic
ROBERT G. LOCK

Approaching a restoration project, Part 2
Previously we looked at the approach to an aircraft
restoration, not looking at the overall scope of the
project but rather breaking down the tasks into more
manageable objectives, such as:
1. Restoration of wood components such as wings,
center section, controls, empennage
2. Restoration of fuselage structure such as tubular, aluminum monocoque or semimonocoque, or
wood
3. Restoration of landing gear including main and
tail wheel installations
4. Restoration of firewall-forward including engine, propeller, accessories, and intake and exhaust
systems
5. Final assembly and rigging—preparation for test
flight.
The overall goal is to produce a beautifully restored
aircraft that is safe and fun to fly. This goal is immense
when viewed from the beginning. But smaller goals
can be achieved and progress measured when the restoration project is broken into structural groups.
One hint I can pass on is to always plan ahead,
particularly when assembling structure. When restoring the Command-Aire I faced this all the time. Not
having any drawings for the ship required that I rely
on past experience to successfully complete the project. Not to mention that it took me 11 years because
of family commitments, the job, and of course, the
money. With me, weight and balance is a huge issue
that will ultimately lead to the best flying ship I can
build. There was no factory weight and balance data
available for the airplane; designer Albert Vollmecke

remembered that the center of gravity was around 27
to 33 percent of mean aerodynamic chord (MAC), so
I worked diligently to achieve that goal. Illustration
1 shows the aircraft on scales and leveled prior to
covering the fuselage. This was done because a heavy
12-volt battery had to be mounted somewhere in the

ILLUSTRATION 1
fuselage structure. (There was actually no place to
mount the battery in front or rear cockpits.)
The ship turned out to be slightly nose heavy
(which is better than being tail heavy), so I elected to
mount the battery and associated relays in the aft fuselage. The battery box can be seen in the lower longerons of the aft fuselage. At this point the tail wheel
weighing point scale read 88 pounds (less tare). The
problem here is any controls or structure that must
be routed aft, that is, rudder cables, elevator pushpull tube, stabilizer trim push-pull tube, etc. So it was
necessary to be sure the rudder cables were attached
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and rigged prior to locating the battery box. Then
electrical cables had to run forward through conduit,
which had to be routed below the floorboards. All this
took much forward looking and planning.
Weight and balance readings were taken with the
airplane weighed at this time, even though the fuselage was not covered. Engine weight calculations and
engine mount arm were also determined and figures
recorded for future reference. Since the fuselage is
not covered, it is very easy to measure the arms of
various components in the fuselage, such as front
and rear seats, instrument panel, battery box, baggage compartment, main and tail wheel centerlines,
datum line, and firewall. Knowing how far the firewall
is located forward of the datum line makes measuring
arms in the future very easy, particularly engine accessories, oil tank, fuel tank, etc. Illustration 2 shows
the second trial assembly of the ship, which included
rigging. Since no rigging data was available anywhere,
I had to write my own rigging manual, which was no
big deal but was very handy for future use.

back up a little and speak a little more to fuselage restoration. Illustration 3 shows the fuselage in October
1982, four years after I started the project. The wings
had been finished and work was slowly progressing
on the fuselage. Keep in mind that the project was
started in 1978 and finished in 1989. I did all the
work myself including engine overhaul. I had some
help from George Boys in Tracey, California, who was
very familiar with the Wright R-760 and R-975 engines and was a huge help. Thank you, George.

ILLUSTRATION 3

ILLUSTRATION 2
One very interesting thing I did just after this picture was taken was to remove the engine and all accessories firewall-forward and put the ship back on
scales and level. (The tail was mighty heavy!) I recall
the center of gravity turned out to be about 34 inches
aft of the datum (the lower wing leading edge). Why
would I do this? I had planned to build another couple airplanes and install a Lycoming R-680 225-hp
engine in one ship. All I would have to do was to find
the center of weight mass for the Lycoming engine
(complete with all accessories, propeller, oil tank,
etc.), then calculate how far forward this weight mass
had to be placed to bring the center of gravity back to
where I wanted it.
Once all this preliminary stuff was done I could
concentrate on covering the fuselage. But I should
52

Several details can be gleaned from this photograph. The newly fabricated engine mount ring is
welded in place. (The entire engine mount is welded
to the frame.) Forward fuselage supports a cardboard
fuel tank. The airplane sits on an entirely new landing
gear—that took about 140 hours to make! It was difficult because toe-in and camber cannot be adjusted
once the components are welded. There were a few
welded repairs made to the fuselage structure. Most
were inner sleeve type because the completed repair
looks better; however, a few outer sleeve repairs were
made under the floorboards. The important thing
here is to continue to add parts, making sketches and
measurements so if welding was required it could
be completed before final epoxy finish was applied.
The inside of the lower longerons was coated with
linseed oil for corrosion protection; however, the
fuselage tubing was original and in very good condition. Fuselage alignment was checked and rechecked
by running a string through the fuselage center and
measuring left and right to the stations (clusters);
and by leveling the forward upper longeron cross
tube, then checking the level of upper longerons at
horizontal stabilizer mount point. This proved that
the fuselage was not twisted in any way.

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In September 1982 a very special person came visiting my small shop in Reedley. He was designer Albert
Vollmecke, seen here in Illustration 4 inspecting his
fuselage. I am a firm believer in shoulder harness installations and put one in the rear cockpit. A locking handle
can be seen on the left side of the rear seat, and the inertia reel was installed on a welded mount above the baggage compartment and directly behind my shoulders.
It works perfectly. There is no shoulder harness in the
front cockpit because there was no place to mount it.

ILLUSTRATION 5
ILLUSTRATION 4
At one point the engine had to be bolted to its
mount so throttle, mixture control, and carburetor
heat controls could be installed and rigged. Again there
were no drawings or data showing how the controls
were initially installed. This part of the restoration is
critical because these controls have to work correctly
all the time. At this time the electrical system can be
wired, as it is imperative that the ship have a starting system in today’s world. With the engine in place,
engine instrumentation can be installed, including tachometer, oil pressure, and temperature gauges.
The landing gear was a major task, and I spent
many hours to get alignment as good as possible
using wood fixtures and the fuselage itself to weld
components together. There were a couple old gear
parts, so step one was to see if the best one fit on the
fuselage frame (Illustration 5). The best gear patterns
were assembled to the frame, keeping in mind that
landing gears on the Model 5 were slightly different
than those used on the Model 3.
Next, in Illustration 6 a damaged Vee strut
was cut open to expose just how the factory constructed the part.
A holding fixture was constructed to place the Vee
strut and hold it while being welded together the front

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ILLUSTRATION 6

ILLUSTRATION 7

ILLUSTRATION 8

and aft streamline chromoly tubes and the fillet. Illustration 7 shows the fixture. Illustration 8 shows the almost
completed lower end of the Vee strut.
The end result after about 40 hours of cutting, fitting, and welding was a completed landing gear Vee
strut assembly as shown in Illustration 9. The upper attach fittings were carefully aligned with fuselage attach
fittings, and then a second part was constructed and
aligned with the opposite attach fittings. The lower attachment points would fasten to the axle on the shock
strut, so alignment was especially critical. Constant
attention had to be paid to correct alignment because
this would determine how well the ship handled on the
ground, particularly on a hard surface.
When fabricating steel components, my mind always
wanders back to those factory craftsmen who initially
welded these components. Their weld beads were absolutely perfect in every way, so I say to myself, “Self, if they
could do it, so can you.” All structural welding was oxygen/acetylene using a Victor Model 100 or an Airco gas
torch. All welding on the ship was done using a gas torch,
but I must admit the aluminum fuel and oil tanks were
TIG welded as there was a substantial amount of labor
involved in fabricating these components.
Fabrication of fuel and oil tanks presents a unique
problem in that cardboard patterns have to be generated

full size in order to eventually cut from 3003 or 5052 aluminum (that is weldable). In the following illustrations,
one can see the process of taping together a cardboard
fuel tank to fit properly in the space provided in forward
fuselage. It should be stressed here that necessary baffles
be installed to strengthen the tank and keep fuel from
sloshing around. The first tank had a center baffle only,
and after a couple years of service it began to leak around
the rivets holding the baffle in place. A new tank was fabricated and additional baffling added for more support.
Illustration 10 shows the method of making a fuel tank
pattern. Use of masking and duct tape to hold pieces together is evident in this photograph. There must be an
airspace clearance between fuel tank and firewall of 1/2inch minimum, and the tank must be adequately supported so it cannot move in flight. If not, it would result
in the breakage of a rigid fuel line and a catastrophic fuel
system failure. This material I present to give restorers
some clue to my thought process and hints on bringing
back to life an old airplane.

ILLUSTRATION 9

ILLUSTRATION 10

54

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VAA

Directory

There’s plenty more . . .
and other goodies at
www.vintageaircraft.org

OFFICERS
President
Geoff Robison
1521 E. MacGregor Dr.
New Haven, IN 46774
260-493-4724
chief7025@aol.com

Secretary
Steve Nesse
2009 Highland Ave.
Albert Lea, MN 56007
507-373-1674

Vice-President
George Daubner
N57W34837 Pondview Ln
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-560-1949
gdaubner@eaa.org

Treasurer
Dan Knutson
106 Tena Marie Circle
Lodi, WI 53555
608-592-7224
lodicub@charter.net

DIRECTORS

Ron Alexander
118 Huff Daland Circle
Griffin, GA 30223-6827
ronalexander@mindspring.com

Jeannie Hill
P.O. Box 328
Harvard, IL 60033-0328
815-245-4464

Steve Bender
85 Brush Hill Road
Sherborn, MA 01770
508-653-7557
aaflagship@gmail.com
David Bennett
375 Killdeer Ct
Lincoln, CA 95648
916-952-9449
antiquer@inreach.com

Steve Krog
1002 Heather Ln.
Hartford, WI 53027
262-966-7627
sskrog@gmail.com
Robert D. “Bob” Lumley
1265 South 124th St.
Brookfield, WI 53005
262-782-2633
rlumley1@wi.rr.com

Jerry Brown
4605 Hickory Wood Row
Greenwood, IN 46143
317-422-9366
lbrown4906@aol.com
Dave Clark
635 Vestal Lane
Plainfield, IN 46168
317-839-4500
davecpd@att.net

Joe Norris
264 Old Oregon Rd.
Oshkosh, WI 54902
pilotjoe@ntd.net
920-688-2977
S.H. “Wes” Schmid
2359 Lefeber Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
414-771-1545
shschmid@gmail.com

Phil Coulson
28415 Springbrook Dr.
Lawton, MI 49065
269-624-6490
rcoulson516@cs.com

Tim Popp
60568 Springhaven Ct.
Lawton, MI 49065
269-624-5036
tlpopp@frontier.com

Dale A. Gustafson
7724 Shady Hills Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46278
317-293-4430
dalefaye@msn.com

ADVISORS
Lynne Dunn
145 Cloud Top Lane
Mooresville, NC 28115
704-664-1951
lynnednn@aol.com

Susan Dusenbury
1374 Brook Cove Road
Walnut Cove, NC 27052
336-591-3931
sr6sue@aol.com

DIRECTORS EMERITUS
Robert C. Brauer
9345 S. Hoyne
Chicago, IL 60643
773-779-2105
photopilot@aol.com

E.E. “Buck” Hilbert
8102 Leech Rd.
Union, IL 60180
815-923-4591
buck7ac@gmail.com

Gene Chase
8555 S. Lewis Ave., #32
Tulsa, OK 74137
918-298-3692

Gene Morris
5936 Steve Court
Roanoke, TX 76262
817-491-9110
genemorris@charter.net

Ronald C. Fritz
15401 Sparta Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330
616-678-5012
itzfray@gmail.com
Charles W. Harris
PO Box 470350
Tulsa, OK 74147
918-622-8400
cwh@hvsu.com

John Turgyan
PO Box 219
New Egypt, NJ 08533
609-752-1944
jrturgyan4@aol.com

Welcome
New EAA VAA Members

James Adams . . . . . . . . . . Houston, Texas
R. Anderson . . . . . . . Brighton, Michigan
Edward Arbogast . . . . . Cadillac, Michigan
William Asbell . . . . Lawrenceville, Illinois
Bob Awtry . . . . . . . . . Valencia, California
Leo Bachman . . . . . . . . . Findlay, Illinois
Richard Barnett . . . . . Grants Pass, Oregon
Berlin Batesel . . .Willow Springs, Missouri
Mike Beattie . . Albuquerque, New Mexico
Brad Brady . . . . . . . . . . . Dwight, Illinois
Peter Brown . . . . . . . . Salinas, California
Jon Buck . . . . . . . . . Sykesville, Maryland
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Scot Cox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Delphos, Ohio
Robert Craig . . . . . Blue Springs, Missouri
David Davis . . . . . . . . . . .Columbus, Ohio
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Michael Elliott . . . . . . Friendswood, Texas
John Else . . . . . . . . . . . . . Toledo, Iowa
Jerry Engler . . . . . . . . . . . . Austin, Texas
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Pennsylvania
Joseph Rymer . . . . . . . Riverview, Florida
Mitchell Sammons . . . . . Belgrade, Maine
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Frank Smith . . . . . . . . . . Houston, Texas
Robert Steinman . . . . . Fort Worth, Texas
Ninian Stewart-Richardson . .Sao Paulo, Brazil
Thomas Swanson . . . . . . Seaford, Virginia
Peter Timmins . Fernandina Beach, Florida
Harvey Turner . . . . . Myrtle Creek, Oregon
Patricia Turner . . . . . Myrtle Creek, Oregon
Raymond R. Varrasse . . . . . Yulee, Florida
Johnnie Via . . . . . . Atascadero, California
Mariana Viriato . . . . Ann Arbor, Michigan
Charles Walker . . Bowling Green, Kentucky
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Larry Wickter . . . . . Brookfield, Wisconsin

www.vintageaircraft.org

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Straight & Level Vintage Trader
continued from page 1
For example, next up on our hit parade is a complete overhaul of our website. Currently, the new site
is in the test mode, and that team is headed by Tim
Popp and Earl Nicholas, and they are progressing quite
well. This effort has been in the pipeline for production
for just a few short months now and is scheduled for
launch just prior to you receiving this edition of Vintage
Airplane magazine. As I stated previously, the new site
will prove to be a product of aggressive capabilities that
will include valued and timely content with current
VAA news and information about what is going on in
the vintage airplane movement.
We also continue to make progress in offering the Vintage member access to a complete and searchable online
collection of Vintage Airplane magazine. Execution on
this much sought after and desirable featured capability
is scheduled for shortly after the new website comes online. Watch for an email from us giving you your login for
the Members Only area of the website. If we don’t have
your current email, please call us at 800-564-6322.
Again, as always your thoughts and comments regarding the magazine as well as the business of the VAA
is very much welcome!
Please always feel free to drop us a line at vintageaircraft@eaa.org and let us know what you have on your
mind. Remember, if you desire to communicate directly
with our editor, simply address your e-mail to Jim Busha
at the above address, or directly to jbusha@eaa.org. We
would really like to continue to hear your thoughts, positive or otherwise, regarding the new format of Vintage Airplane magazine and our many valued member benefits.
As always, please do us all the favor of inviting a
friend to join the VAA, and help keep us the strong association we have all enjoyed for so many years.
VAA is about participation: Be a member! Be a volunteer! Be there!
Let’s all pull in the same direction for the overall
good of aviation.
Remember, we are better together. Join us and have
it all.
Come share the passion! See you at EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh—July 29-August 4, 2013.

56

S o m e t h i n g t o b u y, s e l l , o r t ra d e ?
Classified Word Ads: $5.50 per 10 words, 180 words
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desired issue date (i.e., January 10 is the closing date for the
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EMPLOYMENT
Established Midwestern company seeking seasoned IA
with leadership experience. Candidate must have an
extensive background in hands-on restoration activities,
be able to manage large projects and be skilled in business
development. Our restoration business is unique and
requires extensive experience with vintage and Warbird
type aircraft. Send resume and salary requirements to
wasiresume@gmail.com
Wood and Fabric A&P Technician. Looking for a specialist
with experience in historic Wood and Fabric airplanes
for restoration and maintenance of existing airplanes at
major museum (www.MilitaryAviationMuseum.org) in
the resort city of Virginia Beach. Must have experience
in building replica airworthy World War One aircraft. For
information call (757) 490-3157 or email to EPY1@aol.com
Copyright ©2013 by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association, All rights reserved.
VINTAGE AIRPLANE (USPS 062-750; ISSN 0091-6943) is published and owned exclusively by the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association of the Experimental Aircraft Association and
is published bi-monthly at EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Rd., PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 549023-3086, e-mail: vintageaircraft@eaa.org. Membership to Vintage
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MARCH / APRIL 2013

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