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Monday, 19 August 2019

July 2019....... Gold Lindy!!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat at OSH this year.  I flew in on Tuesday to miss the air traffic peak and, as it turned out missed the dreadful weather that caused some problems.

It was a great week culminating in the the unexpected honour of CF-CLR winning the Gold Lindy, Grand Champion Classic Aircraft.  My thanks to the judges and all the other VAA volunteers for their hard work, and congratulations to all the other award winners and participants.

In preparation for Air Venture 2019, I had a small laundry list of things I wanted to address on the aircraft in addition to its first annual inspection (including opening and installing inspection plates), paint touch-ups and aluminium polishing.

One thing I was not happy with last year was how the plating had turned out on things like the cowl latches and stabilizer flying wire components.  The objective was to achieve a light, mat gunmetal finish emulating the white cadmium that was likely there from the factory.  What I ended up with was much brighter and too shinny.  I removed these parts with the intention of stripping and re-plating but decided to try a light blast with aluminium oxide.  This did the trick so the fix was easier than I thought, and made a bigger difference than I anticipated, so happy with the result.

Perhaps the most significant task was to create a "restoration book."  How do you condense five years of work into an informative but brief document that will hold the attention of the reader?  The answer is you spend many hours sifting through photos, a blog in my case, and various on-line and other historical reference sources, patch it all together and then spend many more hours editing and summarizing!

I started with my home printer and a three ring binder, but ended up using an on-line photo-book app.  It took them three tries to print it correctly so I'm glad I started the project early (December).

I am happy with the result.  It is 11'x 17" and there's likely still too much detail included but it was clear at OSH that the book is a great conversation starter, which is the best possible outcome.  Here is is in micro:

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Special Visitor

November 2018

Last week John Mast stopped by for a visit and has inspired me to flesh out the history of CF-CLR in a bit more detail.

John, originally from North Carolina, makes his home in Red Lake Ontario about 3 hours NW by Taylorcraft from Thunder Bay.  He imported the airplane, then CF-DEP, in 1973 and flew it in the Red Lake area.

We had fun chatting about airplanes, looking at his entries in the log book, and I could see by the look in his eye that for John, seeing the airplane again was like catching up with an old friend.

Unfortunately the weather has been cr*p this Fall and it was below VFR minima, so we just enjoyed hangar flying.

Still researching but I've made a start and created a new section.  Click on "History" on the right.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Oshkosh and the Final Chapter


Thanks to all who stopped by at OSH.  Certainly all the complements and congratulations made me feel good after what was a somewhat stressful few weeks leading up to July 23rd and the flight to Oshkosh.

I'd put some hours on my 172 leading up to the big day so that at least my basic flying skills were current.  I picked up the C of A Thursday July 19th,  flew CF-CLR for the first time on Friday, did a few circuits, adjustments, and a very short cross-country over the weekend, and Monday morning loaded up the sleeping bag and headed for Oshkosh.

 I Stopped at Grand Marais MN to clear customs, then southwest until Lake Superior seemed manageable (just northeast of Silver Bay) then hung a left over the lake toward Price County WI where I stopped for fuel and a bio-break before heading into Wittman Regional.  About 4 hours and 20 minutes total air time.

 I had made no preparations for CF-CLR to be "judged" meaning I didn't have a "book" or as it turns out, good answers to all the questions!  Despite this I'm happy to report that CF-CLR won "Outstanding Taylorcraft," a decent way to cap off this restoration odyssey.

I've created a section "Epilogue" to tie up some informational loose ends and report on the first 15 hours or so of flight.

Thanks again to all who stopped by to chat and for everyone who has offered help and support along the way.

This is my last post at least for now.  I will of course continue to answer any questions, here or on the Taylorcraft Forum.

Can't believe I just wrote that!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Only One Thing Left

Fly it!

On Thursday last week I finished the Weight and Balance, work report and log book entries and submitted all to Transport Canada.  Normally a new C of A would not be required but a couple of years ago I discovered that the aircraft, formerly CF-DEP, had been de-registered by Transport Canada.  Long story short, a new registration meant the C of A needed to be reissued and TC decided to wait until project completion.

Anyway today I picked up the new C of A so within the next 48 hours (I need to work up my nerve) CF-CLR should be airborne once again.

The home stretch is detailed in the Final Assembly section.  If all goes well over the next couple of days, I'm planning to fly to Oshkosh, which other than flying, is the only other thing on my To-Do list at the moment. :)

Thursday, 14 June 2018

June 12th First Engine Run

With the windshield installed and the Engine installation complete save for a run-up,  I wheeled the still wingless bird outside and tied down the tail.  I'd like to be able to report that the A65 fired up on the first pull but...  Well actually it did fire up and run briefly, but then quit.  after repeating this a couple of times I knew something was off with the Stromberg, so back in the shop.

It's been a long while since I rebuilt the carb.  I thought perhaps some debris got in or something but nope, it was clear that I'd messed up the float setting.  Anyway, somehow I managed to get an extra fiber washed under the float valve housing.  Once removed I rechecked the float level setting and reassembled and reinstalled the carb,  wheeled CF-CLR outside again for take two:

During the run-up the throttle cable failed (Stiff/sticky) so I need to change that and I must have nicked the crank seal on installation.  It doesn't leak while the engine is running, but drips a few drops after shutdown.  So I have a new throttle cable and crank seal on the way.

Headliner is done, shoulder harnesses in, windshield and top retaining strip installed, and the seat and door panels are nearly ready.  Tomorrow, if all goes well, the wings go on :)

Saturday, 2 June 2018

June 2018

Well progress has been made and I hesitate to say it but there may even be a glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel.

My frustrations with topcoat continued but I finally managed to finish the right wing which is the last of the major assemblies in terms of paint.  Just a few small parts left to paint and I'll need the space in the hangar for wing installation, so I dismantled my paint booth.  Glad to see the back of it!

Look for updates in the Wings and Final Assembly sections.

I've also started the process of assembling all the paperwork and compiling a work report to make the CofA application.  I need to find scales, need to do a compass swing, and a test flight.  One problem is I have no Taylorcraft time since I last flew this aircraft... in 1989!  Don't panic but there are many details to look after.

My parts and paint shelves are getting empty however so I must be getting close!!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

March 2018

This morning it was -15C although it did warm up to just below freezing by late afternoon.  This has been the pattern for  a couple of weeks now.  The hangar is cold soaked and doesn't want to warm up.  This combined with our winter getaway and then more paint woes (tears) has resulted in slow progress.

The paint situation was particularly disheartening because I have spent sooo much time and energy (and money) chasing various issues and thought I had things working well.  Anyway details in the Painting & Finishing section.

With the temperature moderating somewhat I hope to get back to the right wing taping and finishing soon.  In the meantime I took some tools home and built a radio package that fits in the pilot's side map box, finished the exhaust shroud and finished the pre-installation assembly of the A-65.

I posted the Radio Package details a couple of weeks ago, and now added updates in the Firewall Forward, Painting & Finishing, and Wings sections.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Happy New year

Here we are at the end of another year.  Hope you are all enjoying some relaxing time with friends and family this holiday season.

I'm on a weather-enforced vacation from CF-CLR as some arctic weather moved into our region for Christmas and I can't keep my hangar at reasonable temperatures with outside temps below about -15C. Propane is expensive!!

Since my last update, I've been concentrating on the wings and aileron fabric, and spent a little time planning for the interior upholstery.

With my daughter's help, the rib lacing on both wings was completed.  It was a laborious task and easy (for me) to get distracted and mess up, so I got a little more rib lacing experience than would have otherwise been necessary. My fingers were raw!

Anyway, look for details coming in the Wings and Ailerons sections, and have a great 2018!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

October 2017

I hope everyone had an enjoyable summer. Progress on CF-CLR has been interrupted only by my trip to OSH, some day trips on Lake Superior chasing salmon, and one week off at the end of September for a road trip to Southern Ontario.

Focus has been on the wings, and with the help of my daughter, we're a little more than half way through the rib lacing process.

I also took care of something that's been in the back of my mind since I purchased the aircraft over 30 years ago.

The way the fuselage fabric forms around the door frames and lower fuselage longerons (and attached wood forms) leaves a small gap on the inside between the fuselage tube and fabric.  This gap is under the seats, and is a trap for debris which is impossible to clean out.  Anything that drops from the pilot and passenger locations.... grit, small hardware, coins, bits and bites, butts, whatever, can end up trapped.  No big deal except that eventually it shows through the fabric/finish on the outside.

My solution ... a 2" tape attached to the top of the fuselage tube and the fuselage fabric which should channel debris to where it can easily be extracted.

So the only section added to in this update is the Wings.  Hope to get into doilies, gussets and tapes by the end of the week.

Enjoy... and as always, all comments, here or on the Taylorcraft Forum, are very welcome.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

July 2017

Welcome to my first update of  2017.  Subsequent to my last post in December, I took some planned time away from the project.  Given normal January temperatures in Thunder Bay often hover around -20C to -30C, the hangar, being thinly insulated and inadequately heated, is not a comfortable place in January.  So I scheduled the complete renovation of our second bathroom.  Long story short, by the time I was done I was into February.  Then took 10 days to head south for some fishing.  We were also away (in British Columbia) for another 7 weeks come Spring for more house repairs/updates which basically left the months of March, part of April, and the latter half of June for CF-CLR.

Anyway, progress has been made including assembly of the wings and partial fabrication of the exhaust heat shroud.  So this update includes the Wings and Firewall Forward sections.

I plan to fly my 172 C-GPGK to OSH and I'll be camping under the wing.  If you see me stop by to say hello!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

December 2016

Merry Christmas/happy Holidays

Wow another year is just about done and the project is slowly moving forward.  After the paint marathon I have to admit that I took it easy for a few days, tinkering here and there before moving to next steps.

At home I've been doing my homework in preparation for wing assembly.  In the hangar I concentrated on getting the fuselage off the stands and onto its wheels for the first time since 1988.  I also took a couple of weeks off to head south for a bit of warmth and R&R.

I started a new section called "Final Assembly."  Other than the wings and ailerons, I believe this section will be where I document the bulk of the remainder of the project..

As always, I consider those that view this blog to be my virtual "Quality Assurance" department so comments and feedback here or on the Taylorcraft forum will be appreciated.

Enjoy..... and all my best to you and yours for 2017.

Monday, 14 November 2016

November 2016

November 2016
Since August and finishing the cowling and engine baffles,  I turned my attention back to the doors for a while and installed new windows and fabricated sliding windows.  That pretty much completed the fabrication list for now.

After encountering problems with painting in the Spring,  I had also been working on modifications and refinements to my paint booth and as I gained more understanding of how to be successful with Ranthane, made more upgrades and started experimenting with small parts.

As I became more comfortable I started painting larger parts including the wheel pants.  I'm afraid to think about how much time and effort has gone into those pants! but, as I did when I restored my 172, I finished the wheel pants, in part to see how my colour choices were going to look, but mostly for the psychological boost it provided.

You'll find updates in the Landing Gear and Doors sections, and I created a new section to share knowledge gained during the Painting & Finishing saga.  I've left out most of the frustrations and disheartening experiences!

We've had a fantastic Fall in Thunder Bay from the perspective of weather, with mild dry conditions (and no bugs).  Just right for painting in a hangar where the temperature begins to drop as soon as I turn on my extraction fan!

So the status of the project is as follows.  All parts save for the wing tips, exhaust shroud, windshield top trim, map/radio box, and no doubt a few other small bits, are completed and ready for assembly.  Everything is painted except for the wings, which still need to be assembled/covered, and ailerons that also have not yet been covered.