[79FT]: Building Things

Tagged with "MA5 Charger":

Annual 2019: April 6

...wing root fairings


On: Apr 06, 2019
In: [Chickenhouse Charger] 2019 Annual
Tags: 6781G, MA5 Charger, Annual

Only had a few hours today, so decided to concentrate on taking off the wing root fairings. As I mentioned before, the "back-side accessible" screws were set up to have nuts on them rather than nutplates. Well, I don't know about that accessibility....

It ended up being 3 hours for ~30 screws.

Root fairing off

Root fairing off

Most of them on the back side of the wing require you reaching with a wrench thru the rear cockpit, and my arm is just barely long enough to do that successfully. Since nuts are nyloc, no way I can hold them with my fingers - they need a socket.

Some of those nuts are in a U-type channel over which the fabric is glued, and some of the holes are off-center: making it impossible to put a socket over them.

I could've ground a socket down; but I don't have a grinder - so especially one of the nuts took a while to get off. And oh, you have to do all that without dropping the nut and the washer onto the floor (and having them go into the tail). So the process looked like this:

  • Get your hand in, try to put the socket over the nut.
  • While holding the ratchet, try to put the screwdriver into the screw w/o missing it and poking a hole in the fabric.
  • Undo the screw, almost.
  • Remove the socket, take a strong magnet.
  • Finish undoing the screw, hoping that the magnet will catch the washer and the nut.

Having magnetic sockets helped. They weren't deep enough to grab most of the fully tightened nuts because screws protruded from them. I used them as magnets sometimes, and sometimes used my magnetic "fishing for lost hardware" probe.

Now I'm writing this, I realized what I should've been doing is using a long extension and a 90 degree adapter on my socket. Damn! But this still doesn't solve the problem with some of the nuts that were hidden almost behind things that were in the way (ie, a trim control wheel's attachment structure that's welded into the fuselage).

One of those pesky nuts

One of those pesky nuts

I'm considering replacing those nuts with Tinnerman-type and screws with sheet metal screws thru Tinnermans. I'd put some anti-chafe tape inside the U-channel, and then Tinnermans on top of it. Since Tinnermans are long, when undoing (or tightening) the screw, they will turn and touch the side of the U-channel, which will act as a wrench.

Wing attachment - right side

Wing attachment - right side

And that's literally all I got done today. Just took those damn screws out.


A grease-job landing is 50 percent luck; two in a row are entirely luck; three in a row and someone's lying.


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Tagged with "MA5 Charger":

Annual 2019: March 30

... getting familiar


On: Mar 30, 2019
In: [Chickenhouse Charger] 2019 Annual
Tags: 6781G, MA5 Charger, Annual

Decision

After getting the Charger, I have decided to fix a few basics.

  • Clean plugs
  • Change oil
  • Give her a good look over

Getting a bit ahead of myself, a series of coincidences (airport closed, baffles' condition, intake leak, and others) made me decide to go thru the annu... sorry, Condition inspection (damn, will have to get used to new nomenclature :) ).

Notes

Cowling came off.

Cowling off

Cowling off

Discovered a few booboos:

  • Cracked cowl inlet ramp: need to stop drill.
  • Baffle seal behind the inlet ramp is turned the wrong way (Glenn was complaining about high temps - one of the reasons, hmm?).
  • Top baffle seals are too hard and sag in few spots.
  • One of the air take-offs off the ramp has almost un-riveted itself.

Since I will need some helps with skills and tools with riveting, and we'll need to pull the prop to change (and turn the right way) the seals, decided that I will put her thru annual.

Studying the systems (I was mainly concentrated on fuel and other al lines and hoses to see where things go), discovered a few things, too

  • She has the Rotec TBI-40-MKI TBI installed, which requires a 40 mesh filter upstream of it. The only filter besides finger strainers in tanks is gascolator, which goes down to 72 micron (0.003) only. Need to get a hold of Rotec people and discuss this situation.
  • The "low" end of the tank (in 3-point attitude) has a very nice drain fitting + drain cock draining behind the cowl. I am seriously considering adding a quick drain there - that is the lowest point of the tank in 3-point. My thinking is: water collected in the tank, goes to that lowest point; but there's not enough of it to go thru the take-off (which is in the middle). Then, when I raise the tail, it slushes forward, goes into the take-off, and reaches the engine right when I am just off the runway. Not Good.
  • Some un-critical drain hoses are clear vinyl and hard as a rock. For now will replace them with clear polyurethane, and if that hardens, with rubber.
  • TBI needs positive stops on the throttle quadrant. Need to check if they're present and adjust as necessary.
Crack in inlet ramp: stop drill

Crack in inlet ramp: stop drill

Inlet ramp baffle: turned the wrong way

Inlet ramp baffle: turned the wrong way

Inlet ramp's take-off flange - un-riveted itself

Inlet ramp's take-off flange - un-riveted itself

TBI

TBI

TBI - Regulator Side

TBI - Regulator Side

TBI - Throttle linkage

TBI - Throttle linkage

Electrical fuel pump and gascolator

Electrical fuel pump and gascolator

#1 bottom plug - in pretty good shape

#1 bottom plug - in pretty good shape

Engine compartment right side

Engine compartment right side

Fairings

Spent the rest of the day taking off fairings and access panels. This is the first thing I thing could've been done better here methinks. Everywhere where it was deemed that the back side would be "accessible", Remo used #6-32 nyloc AN nuts on machine screws instead of nutplates. Well, some of those nuts are not accessible, and I gave up on quite a bit of them around the rear wing root fairings.

Need to standardize on fasteners' length so that I don't juggle 10 different screw sizes.

Gotta love that easy access!

Gotta love that easy access!

Flying wires' fairing

Flying wires' fairing

My laborers for the day working on wheelpants

My laborers for the day working on wheelpants


"I don't mind altitude separation as long as they're not on top of each other."
-ORD ATC


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Tagged with "MA5 Charger":

A Long Planned Trip

... for Glenn


On: Mar 27, 2019
In: [Chickenhouse Charger] Blog
Tags: flying, 6781G, MA5 Charger

Fade In

I met Glenn and Judi in 2014.

This was my second Oshkosh, and the first time I noticed the Biplane Forum's Beer'O'Clock thread.

We had two "events" that year: one in the Vintage at the awesome Piper Pub (yep, the spelling is right - it was a Tri-Pacer with the baggage door that had a beer tap. The guy who owned it claimed he had an STC; but paperwork got soaked in beer and was drying somewhere). We sneaked in a large cooler of Austin sour beer then, hauling it all the way from the opposite end of Camp Scholler. I met Glenn there, and later that night washed out in his camp and was fed with a kick-ass grilled cheese sandwich, and met Judi.

The second "event" was at Glenn's airplane, parked near Homebuilder's HQ. It was a beautiful Marquart Charger, I learned then; a 1987 Golden Lindy recipient, built by Remo Galeazzi in Petaluma, CA.

That biplane was beautiful; just the right curves and not as aggressive as more modern ones like Pitts and Skybolts. It looked straight from the 1930s, with wooden prop tipping the nose. I fell in love with it.

In 2015, we've had a good crowd around the plane.

Oshkosh 2015 Biplane Forum Beer'o'Clock crowd

Oshkosh 2015 Biplane Forum Beer'o'Clock crowd

Glenn's Charger became a traditional spot for these beer get-togethers, and we became friends who only met at Oshkosh; but to me it felt like I knew Glenn for my whole life, and 11.5 months between AirVentures felt like hours.

In 2016, I was finally around Chicago where Glenn lived, and he took me out to his home field, Poplar Grove. Man, what an airport! Just the right kind for his plane. We spent a day there, and I think I have seen only one spam can and maybe one RV. The others were a few Cubs, a Twin Beech, a Waco, and the like. A few friends showed up, and that day I got a ride in an AcroSport bipe, and later in the evening, finally, in the Charger.

Oh man. I flew a couple sport biplanes before; and while I liked them, they were too much for this lazy guy. Just a bit too twitchy and too sensitive.

This plane? It flew just like a Grumman. Perfect control harmony. Perfect, light forces on both elevator and ailerons. It fit like a glove.

Then, that night, by the way, I started seriously reconsidering building a Skybolt (BTW, this site was started as a Builder's Log for a Skybolt). I flew one, and while I still liked the plane, I liked the Charger even more.

Especially with it's more "classic" looks (and come on, admit it, we pick biplanes for looks), and it's perfect flyability.

In 2017, we did Beer'o'Clock at my camp (I forget why.. maybe the Charger wasn't around).

And later that year, Glenn told me he's thinking about selling it. He got too much stuff on his hands, and didn't want to neglect the Grand Champion.

I thought for about a day. I loved my Cheetah, and I loved the fact that it was a "normal" airplane. I could take my 2 year old son up in it. Not in a biplane. I could take "normal" people up in a Cheetah. Not in an open cockpit biplane - at least, it's a bit more.. rough, shall we say?

But I couldn't let the plane I loved just be sold on the Barnstormers; so the next day I told Glenn I'll take care of her when the time comes. I was overwhelmed, and honored to have a chance of taking care of a piece of aviating and homebuilding history.

The Plane

The MA5 Charger

The MA5 Charger

She was built in 1982. From what I could gather, she was started in 1977. There were two guys who built two MA5 Chargers in a chickenhouse in Petaluma, CA. Glenn's plane was built by Remo Galeazzi, and won the Golden Lindy in 1987. The other Charger won too by the way, some years earlier :).

Remo wrote a really nice article for Sport Aviation about both planes.

Here's another article about the plane.

Glenn changed it a bit, adding the smoke system, changing the prop to wood, and tweaking the induction and fuel systems. But the plane stayed all original mostly - original engine, original fabric, and such.

Oh, and it's the Charger on Wikipedia :)!

Logistics

I told Glenn to give me 6 months heads up, so that I could work out the logistics.

See, I have lots of hours to be very comfy flying any common tricycle single. I didn't have enough experience to haul a taildragger bipe across the country (Glenn moved to CA by then). I would have to learn how to fly it comfortably before embarking on the trip; and figure out the logistics.

But then, things went much faster than I thought.

At Oshkosh 2018, Glenn was telling me he's about to sell the plane. I realized I didn't have time to train enough, and that it would be better to train in the Charger from the getgo. So the working plan became me renting a large-ish truck, and hauling the airplane over to Texas with wings off.

And then, Glenn offered to fly the plane over himself, as a good bye to her. I couldn't refuse.

September 2018, Glenn told me he's gonna fly the plane over soon. I put the Cheetah up for sale, and said my last goodbyes to her November 21, 2018. Then, life and weather intervened, and we couldn't set the trip up till last weekend.

'It's warming up', Glenn texted me a week and a half ago.

A week after that text, he was wheels up en route to TX, with Judi in the front hole.

The Trip

That didn't last long. An hour and change later, Glenn was stuck in Bakersfield, just at the southern tip of Central Valley, CA. All mountain passes were blocked by low ceilings...

What's funny was that I was flying.. strike that, being flown from San Jose to Los Angeles, continuing to Texas, the same day Glenn and Judi were stuck at Bakersfield. I saw the damn clouds blocking the passes. They were maybe a mile wide!!!

This delayed them by about 24 hours, but the rest of the trip was fairly smooth. They did a lot of flying after being stuck in Bakersfield for practically a whole day, and some hours the following day.

Somewhere in the desert...

Somewhere in the desert...

Saturday, March 23, at around 10:30 AM Central, they touched down at my home field. We had very little time - their flight back home was in a few hours. Glenn walked me thru the basics. We tucked the airplane away.

Judi saying bye

Judi saying bye

Glenn and Judi...

Glenn and Judi...

Quick lunch, and on the way to the airport with the big planes we went. A few hours later, late at night, Glenn and Judi were back home.

Fin

It was all so fast, I was in the state of... denial? and disbelief? I started becoming overwhelmed when I got back home in the evening on that day, and opened up the logbooks.

Remo's signatures and flight log.

Remo's letters.

Glenn's signatures and notes.

The letter from Remo to Glenn, with a bunch of pictures - just pictures of this Charger being built; mundane almost; but a part of the Champion's history.

I ended up writing this into my logbook:

First 6781G log entry in my log book

First 6781G log entry in my log book

I now am a caregiver of a piece of aviation, homebuilding, and EAA's history.

And, I am no longer planeless! She needs a bit of cleaning and a touch of TLC, and to learning how to fly her we go!

The Chickenhouse Charger!

The Chickenhouse Charger!


Hovering is for pilots who love to fly but have no place to go.



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