the N-struts. They looked a little too “ultralighty”
with the round tubing and the riveted gussets.
Streamlined PVC overlays on the tubing and fiberglass at all the junctions and ends fixed that. I
figured I might as well add the same to the slave
struts, cabanes, and landing gear. That landing
gear needed more help yet. Wheelpants with
“spats” to cover the brakes and a fiberglass covering on the landing gear “A” frames complete with a
tapered trailing edge and an “A” frame to fuselage
fairing provided the needed help.
A glass fairing to clean up the tail feathers
came next, along with Lexan windshields with
fiberglass fairings. The tale of forming the Lexan
windshields using the cowling shipping box, a
kerosene torpedo heater, and a turkey thermometer is a story in itself. Yes, the wood-shipping box
caught on fire. Yes, we had water available just in
case it did. Yes, the Lexan windshields came out
without distortion. After making a small cover for
the exit area on the elevator push-pull tube, the
fuselage was complete.
Yes, the wood-shipping box
caught on fire. Yes, we had water
available just in case it did.
The cutout at the rear where the two top wings
met above the cockpit was very blunt. A contoured
fiberglass insert was made that also holds the
upper wing tank fuel gauges. The lower wing
needed a fairing at the fuselage juncture, and this
was added. Looking outboard I saw the need to
smooth the transition between the leading edge
and the wingtip bows on all four wings.
The mounting of the engine gave me another
area to use my fiberglass skills. I rebuilt the nose
bowl of the cowling to what I thought was a more
pleasing shape and added a “velocity” lip on the
bottom air exit opening.
All in all I added 33 pieces of fiberglass, which
were made from molds constructed of foam, modeling clay, and tape. Stainless steel streamlined
flying and landing wires were added to complete
the new look.
As far as flying, my modifications helped add
about 3 to 4 miles per hour in the air. What do you
expect from a plane that cruises at 85 mph indicated, which was close to 90 mph true at gross
weight, turning 2450 rpm on a Mattituck TMX
O-200, swinging a Sensenich propeller, and all those
wings, wires, and stuff hanging out in the breeze?
Inside the cockpit I provided what I call my
signature. The front and rear panels are covered
with a walnut veneer that was imported from
Italy. Gauges are the steam type, of course. I continued the walnut theme elsewhere in the cockpit
on the throttle quadrant, rudder pedals, and other
small items. To further clean up the cockpit I
learned how to do leather work while adding a
leather coaming around the cockpit entrances. The
coaming is held in place with an aluminum cockpit
surround that was added to facilitate maintenance
and provide a more rounded cockpit look.
Paint is Superflite urethane, which proved a
significant challenge in its application. I wanted to
paint my own plane, and the end result looks good
after many hours of effort. The striping and logos
are decals made locally. My son, Dan, and I
designed them during an Iowa winter. My sister,
Karen, made the logo embroidery. The
embroideries were added to the seats and to the
cockpit covers that my wife and I made. Add the
embroideries to some matching flying jackets and
we have a complete ensemble!
Paul Adams can be reached via e-mail at: DLAdams@
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