. . . Tim started “paying as he played.” When he had spare funds,
he’d order another $500 worth of spruce or steel, and he’d be set
for another six months.
Not that the time was wasted; the airplane was evolving, one stay in a strange
hotel room at a time. Problem-solving
epiphanies would hit him in the middle of
the night: “Hey, I know how to do that
now,” he’d wake up saying.
Eventually, Tim ran out of problems to
solve. The airplane had finally come
together; it was done.
Tim calls it a Gallagher Junior Ace. In
building the airplane, he kept some components from the Pober plans, added others
from the original Corben Ace, and came up
with some of his own to make a unique aircraft that appears to step back in time while
still wearing modern, comfortable shoes.
“Paul [Poberezny] kind of modernized
the Junior Ace by putting a modern flat
engine on it and 6.00-by- 6 wheels,” Tim
says. “And I just reversed the trend a little
bit, but I still wanted it to be a plane you
could use any day—something that, if some-
one has a tailwheel endorsement, they can
just jump into this thing, flip a couple of
switches, and go out and have some fun.”
That retro look is most noticeable
because of the Rotec R2800 round engine
(a few Corbens had radials) and the big
wheels (ditto), as well as the leather-
wrapped coaming and oversized N
numbers. The airplane was to have a
Continental O-200 powerplant, but when
Tim saw the Rotec, he thought, “If I could
afford that, I’d really love to do it.”
That inspired a fuselage redesign, at
least up front. The Pober plans flatten out
the nose for the Continental, but that would
look odd with the Rotec, so Tim rounded it.
“I love the collector ring on it, so I pat-
terned the accessory bulkhead to fit just
inside of that,” he says. “I ran the profile on
it straight across the top and modified the
It’s a lot easier to add a Rotec R2800 radial engine during initial construction than to retrofit a com-
plete airplane, says builder Tim Gallagher, especially
considering the accessories it requires. Because a
radial engine mount isn’t premade to fit a Junior
Ace, Tim had to scratchbuild one himself. He tackled
that project after the entire airframe was together
but uncovered, so he could fiddle with weight and
balance. “I knew what the airframe weighed, and I
knew what the engine weighed,” he says. “It was a
simple weight, arm, and moment thing to figure out
where the engine went.”
That turned out to be 16 inches from the firewall.
He tack-welded the mount together and added diag-
onal structures. When he was sure it was strong
enough, he hung the engine.
Rotec specifies that the 8-quart oil tank be positioned high on the firewall. Eight 5/8-inch lines
connect the tank, oil filter assembly, engine, and
breather. The filter assembly is handy, Tim says.
Mounted vertically on the bottom of the engine, it—plus
a quick drain on the tank and a plug on the sump—
makes an oil change a five-minute job.
Next, he installed the fuel lines and electrical
wiring. Fuel lines run straight into the Bing carb,
which is basically what’s on a BMW motorcycle.
“The only problem I had was getting the ignition to
work,’ Tim says. “I finally traced it down to a bad