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Ev Cassagneres
Cheshire, Connecticut
Commercial Pilot
Flying since 1945
Ryan Aircraft Historian

Ev has flown more than 100 types of airplanes and he has flown
more Ryan airplane types than any other living pilot.
Dealing in any way with AUA is an old-time pleasure. They
are, courteous, pleasant, thorough, personable, businesslike,
competitive, and on top of that - they love old airplanes and
talk the language too.

Thanks AUA

Ev Cassagneres

AUA is Vintage Aircraft Association approved. To become a member of VAA call 800-843-3612.

Aviation insurance with the EAA Vintage Program offers:

Lower premiums with payment options QAdditional coverages
On-line quote request available QAUA is licensed in all states

Flexibility on the use of your aircraft


Experienced agents


Remember, Were Better Together!

The best is affordable. Give AUA a call its FREE!

Fly with the pros fly with AUA Inc.

Vol. 39, No. 8




Straight & Level

Embracing change
by H.G. Frautschy


Making an Old Friend New Again

Envy of the airporthe flies an Aeronca

by Sparky Barnes Sargent


Carburetors Are the Difference

by Steve Krog, CFI


Light Plane Heritage

The Unique Longhead S-1
by Bob Whittier


The Vintage Mechanic

Engine cowls for drag reductionPart I
by Robert G. Lock


The Vintage Instructor

Flight reviews make them funPart II
by Steve Krog, CFI



Mystery Plane
by H.G. Frautschy


Classified Ads


Making a Ramp Check a Short-Order Event

by Steven W. Oxman


FRONT COVER: The jaunty Aeronca Champ restored by Frank Jacobs cruises the skies of
east-central Wisconsin. Since the beginning of the 1980s, the Champ and its sibling, the
Chief, have been favorites of Aeronca restorers, thanks to their simple structure and fine flying characteristics. Many Champs and Chiefs now qualify for operation by operators with sport
pilot certificates. Read about Jacobs Champ in Sparky Barnes Sargents story beginning on
page 6. Photo by EAA Chief Photographer Jim Koepnick


EAA Publisher
Director of EAA Publications
Executive Director/Editor
Production/Special Project
Copy Editor
Senior Art Director
EAA Chairman of the Board

Rod Hightower
Mary Jones
H.G. Frautschy
Kathleen Witman
Jim Koepnick
Colleen Walsh
Olivia P. Trabbold
Tom Poberezny

Publication Advertising:
Manager/Domestic, Sue Anderson
Tel: 920-426-6127
Fax: 920-426-4828
Senior Business Relations Mgr, Trevor Janz
Tel: 920-426-6809
Manager/European-Asian, Willi Tacke
Phone: +49(0)1716980871 Email:
Fax: +49(0)8841 / 496012

Interim Coordinator/Classified, Alicia Canziani

Tel: 920-426-6860

BACK COVER: A Course In Aviation for Fifteen Cents a Month the cover copy crowed
about Model Airplane News, now the longest running model airplane magazine published
under the same same name. Model Airplane News ran this cover featuring the Northrup
Alpha mailplane in Januar y of 1933.




Embracing change
hile President Geoff Robison attends to some urgent family business, Id
like to take this opportunity to thank each of you who attended EAA AirVenture 2011, and if
youre a VAA or EAA volunteer, you
get a double Thank you! for your
efforts. We really could not do it
without you!
Every year Theresa Books, VAAs
administrative assistant, and I enjoy the hectic month of July as our
friends and fellow volunteers head to
Oshkosh from all over North America, and some even come to Oshkosh
from overseas. Its always good to see
so many great folks, many of whom
we get to see only once a year. Some
are faces weve seen for more than 20
years, and others are newer volunteers. Its a great mix of people who
all have enthusiasm for aviation as a
common interest.
So many of us in the EAA family
have strong interests, and this wide
world of aviation is part of what
makes it so interesting. So many of
our fellow VAA members have an
equal interest in homebuilt airplanes,
and quite a few have one or more
of each in their hangars. Within the
VAA family, weve got members who
really like antiques best of all, and
others who really love their contemporary or classic airplanes. Addressing
the needs of each of these groups has
been one of the most challenging aspects for the offerings from the VAA.
Each of them has particular needs,
and at times it can be quite a juggling
act to ensure were doing our best to
meet members expectations with the
resources at hand.
Every day means change; some
changes are for the better, some just

2 AUGUST 2011

happen without active work on our

behalf. We have gone from fairly rudimentary cellphone communications
to multi-media wireless communications we can access nearly anywhere.
The Internet as we know it was really
just getting fired up, and since most
of us were just getting started with
using a 56k phone modem, it was a
good thing that those early websites
were pretty rudimentary!
Now we have access to various forums and websites that allow us to
share information and enjoy the
social aspects of being involved in
aviation to whatever extent we desire. With all this change, it leads us
to ask, on a regular basis, what it is
our members desire from the VAA.
Vintage Airplane magazine has long
been your primary member benefit,
along with an outstanding insurance
program administered by AUA Inc.
Weve had a website for more than
a decade, and we have an active and
growing component of EAAs online
community on
But as we all know, change is inevitable, and if we dont actively manage the change, some of it may not
work out for the better. Oshkosh365.
org will see some changes in the near
future to enhance its usability, and
were actively working on getting all
of Vintage Airplane available in an online archive where members can read
or download any issue.
This fall, weve been planning on
surveying the VAA membership on
a variety of subjects related to their
expectations and desires, and to
help enhance the knowledge gained
by that survey, Ive got a few questions for you, and Im looking forward to hearing from as many of
you as possible.

If you could add one more thing to

the member benefits you receive as a
Vintage Aircraft Association member,
what would it be? Why?
Is there a current member benefit that you dont feel is worth keeping? Why?
Besides Vintage Airplane magazine,
what other means of communication would you like to see offered by
VAA? What would you like to see in
those communications? How-to videos? Profiles of vintage aircraft restorers? Historical pieces of a particular
aircraft or personality?
If youve got an idea or comment
about anything related to VAA and
its activities, including the annual
fly-in and convention, please feel free
to send them as well. As EAA members, you have access to a wide variety of member benefits, and while we
dont want to duplicate their efforts,
if you have a suggestion on how we
can fine-tune an offering to make it
fit better for your needs, please dont
hesitate to make a suggestion. Feel
free to send us a response using whatever method you prefer, either mail or
e-mail. Our mailing address is:
Vintage Aircraft Association
PO Box 3086
Oshkosh, WI 54903
Or e-mail us at
Once again (we can never say it
enough!), Thanks! to each and every one of you who is a member of
the VAA, and to each of you who enhanced their membership experience
by volunteering for the VAA. On behalf of Theresa Books and me, wed
just like to say that you folks are the
best, and we enjoy helping you enjoy
your love of vintage airplanes!


Marion Cole
Longtime EAA and Vintage Aircraft Association members who
recall one of the earliest pilots flying a 450-hp Stearman in an air
show act will be saddened to hear
of the passing of Marion Franklin
Master Cole, who lost a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer on Friday, July 8, in Louisiana,
at the age of 86. Marion, EAA
Lifetime 48 and a founding (No.
9) IAC member, was a part of the
famous Cole Brothers Flying Circus for 17 years, then flew the lead
Pitts with Bob Heuer and Gene
Soucy in the original Red Devils
formation team. He is a past U.S.
National Aerobatic Champion
and competed as a member of the
U.S. Aerobatic Team at Magde-

burg, East Germany, in 1968. As

an aerobatics instructor, Marion
provided training for many of the
great names in competitive and
air show aerobatics.
Marion was a longtime supporter of EAA and one of the most
outstanding aerobatic pilots I ever
met, said EAA Founder Paul Poberezny. Especially in the 450-hp
Stearmanin my opinion, Marion was top of the line in the precision handling of that aircraft.
He served as a role model for the
entire aerobatic community, just a
wonderful man.
Time flies too rapidly for us
human beings.
Marion Cole was born on
D e c e m b e r 9 , 1 9 2 4 , i n To u l a n
Township, Illinois. He became

a hangar brat at an early age,

cleaning airplanes and hangars
anything to earn a ride with a local pilot. He soloed at age 16 and
never looked back.
Marion joined the service as
soon as he was of age and became a flight instructor in the
Navy. Following World War II,
he flew with his brothers in the
Cole Brothers Air Shows, then
formed Marion Cole Air Shows,
with which he performed until
the early 1990s. Marion was also
an aerobatic instructor, flight
instructor, FAA examiner, a corporate pilot for 32 years, and
a national and world aerobatic
competitor. In all he logged more
than 31,000 flight hours.
Marion was a founding mem-


ber of the International Aerobatic

Club, taught aerobatics at the basic and advanced levels, and tutored many young aerobatic pilots
for more than 50 years. He flew air
shows throughout the continental
United States from the late 1940s
to the early 1990s. He retired from
the air show circuit but continued
to council, tutor, and announce
for young aerobatic hopefuls and
attended several air shows, including AirVenture, each year.
He is survived by his wife of 66
years, Charlene; sons Bill and wife
Norma, Larry and wife Terri, Howard and wife Donna, Don and wife
Sharilyn; grandsons Kevin and wife
Tiffany, Aaron and wife Maegan,
Ray, and Justin; and great-grandchildren Kennedie and Collin.

Bill Turner (left) presents the Cliff Henderson Award (c.1995) to

John Underwood.

Hall of Fame
John Underwood
Vintage Aircraft Association

Enroll in an EAA Webinar!

Join the thousands of people
who have participated in free EAA
webinars (web-based seminars).
All you need is a computer and a
broadband Internet connection to
receive live streaming interactive
multimedia programs at home.
For instance, on August 10, 2011,
maintenance expert and EAA Sport
Aviation columnist Mike Busch
A&P/IA will offer his insight on
owner-produced parts for certifi cated aircraft, and even if you
cant be there to participate live,
you can always watch the archived
webinar. You can sign up for upcoming webinars at www.EAA.
org/webinars (youll be redirected
to a page on EAAs Oshkosh365
website), and you can also watch
archived webinars starting from
that website.

4 AUGUST 2011

EAA will welcome and honor five new members to its Spor t
Aviation Hall of Fame on October 29, 2011. All EAA members
are invited to attend the induction ceremony and dinner that
evening in the EAA AirVenture Museum. For tickets, please call
VAAs 2011 inductee will be John Under wood of Glendale, California. Author of 10 aviation books and numerous ar ticles concerning aviation histor y, John has had a lifelong fascination with
airplanes since his was a little boy of 7. Later, as an aviation technical writer and illustrator, he earned a living in the industr y, all the
while amassing a vast collection of photographs and aeronautical
materials. His work in the center of one of aviations most active
locations, the Los Angeles basin, gave him access to a number of
aviation luminaries, including Lockheeds Kelly Johnson, test pilot
Tony LeVier (with whom John was par tners in a Monocoupe), air
racing and test pilot Gordon Israel, Alden Brown (designer of the
Brown racer), and even Douglas Wrong Way Corrigan.
Johns dedication to getting histor y right often sees him lending materials and photos to other authors so more people can be
made aware of exactly what happened when.
VAA is pleased to include him in its Hall of Fame, honoring his
contributions to the modern-day effor ts to keep the world of vintage aircraft alive and vibrant through his writings and research.
Do come join us to honor him at the induction ceremony on October 29, 2011.



Call for VAA Hall of

Fame Nominations
To the left is our information
for nominations for VAAs Hall
of Fame, which is presented each
year during a special dinner. This
years dinner will be held Friday,
October 28. Well have more on
this years inductee, John Underwood, in a subsequent issue of Vintage Airplane. If you are interested
in purchasing tickets to attend the
dinner to honor the inductees,
contact EAAs Matt Miller at 920426-6886 or
We would like to take this opportunity to mention that if you
have nominated someone for the
VAA Hall of Fame, nominations
for the honor are kept on fi le for
three years, after which the nomination must be resubmitted.





To nominate someone is easy. It just takes a little time and a little reminiscing on your part.
Mail nominating materials to:6!!(ALLOF&AME
Remember, your contemporary may be a candidate; nominate someone today!


Making an

Old Friend


Envy of the airporthe flies an Aeronca


6 AUGUST 2011


rank Jacob and his

Aeronca Champ have
been buddies for a long
timeand he just invested three and a half
years restoring it to
make sure theyll continue their
friendship for several more decades. Frank, a soft-spoken gentleman with an amiable smile, flew
his newly restored Champ from
Lafayette, Louisiana, to Sun n
Fun, International Fly-In & Expo
at Lakeland, Florida, in the spring
of 2010. His Champ and two others composed a friendly flight
of three, and they enjoyed fine
weather all the way to Lakeland.
He knows N84856 from the inside out, having owned it for 34
years. It has gone through a lot in
its lifetime, he says with a smile.
I found all the old records of
what all the previous owners did
to it when I got the file from the
FAA in Oklahoma City. Frank has
also gone through quite a bit in his
own lifetime, making aviation his
profession in one way or another.
I flew various airlines that went
bankrupt, went out of business,
and all that sort of thing, he ex-

The money isnt really

the reason for any of this.
Frank Jacob
Its fun!

floating to earth. With its 35-foot

wingspan, and 21-foot 5-inch
length, the Champ had excellent
handling characteristics from
taxi through landing. It offered
a respectable performance
among its contemporaries
its Continental A-65 powered a top speed of 100 mph
and a 90 mph cruise while
ssipping from a 13-gallon fuel
ttank for a range of 270 miles.


plains. I did
maintenance work for Ozark for
a year in St. Louis and put in four
years of maintenance work in the
Air Force. I got my A&P at Spartan in Tulsa, and I was going to go
through the flight engineer course,
but the airline on the West Coast
that Spartan had contracted to give
us the flight training went out of
business, so I got my multiengine
instrument instead.
Frank first became enamored
with Aeronca Champion airplanes
in 1951. Thats what I did my first
flying in, and thats what I soloed,
he recalls, with a twinkle in his eye,
and I like the airplane!

Champion History
So safeso simplenow anybody can fly boasted Aeroncas advertising of the era, along with the
declaration that the Champ was
Americas No. 1 Low-Cost Plane,
and its pilot was the envy of the
airport. The tandem Aeronca
Champion trainer was designed
by Raymond F. Hermes and manufactured by the Aeronca Aircraft
Corporation in Middletown, Ohio.

8 AUGUST 2011

Mor than 8,000 were built, and
just like its predecessors all the way
back through the 1930 Aeronca
C-2, it incorporated aeronautical
engineer Jean Rochs unique triangular fuselage structure.
In February 1946, as production was about to begin, the
Champ was advertised as the easiest plane youve ever flownwith
far greater maneuverability and
greatly broadened range of visibility. Just wait till you see Aeroncas luxuriously finished interior
the extra room and comfortthe
wide safety-swing door! Improved
brake system and tie-down rings
that are built in.
Features also included 300degree visibility from the cockpit,
a 38 mph landing speed, and standard oleo landing gear. So it was
easy for a pilot to let his gaze roam
over a pastoral landscape and the
open sky, thanks to the Champs
low-profile nose, a one-piece Plexiglas windshield, and rather large
side and rear windows. And with
its slow landing speed and shockabsorbing gear, the Champ could
alight as softly as a flower petal

Unlike many Champs of the

day that were used as trainers,
N84856 went into service as an
agricultural sprayer for Vandaag
lia Flying Service Inc. in Vandalia, Illinois. It installed an
Aero Spray King Model A2 unit
and converted the plane from
model 7AC to a 7BCM by ream
moving the Continental A-65-8
and wood propeller and installing a C-85-12F with a Hartzell ground-adjustable propeller.
The Champ changed hands several
times, and its Grade A cotton fabric was replaced in 1951. Five years
later, while it was in Oklahoma, the
Champ was converted back to a
7AC model. By 1958, it needed new
fabric again, and this time, its fuselage was covered in cotton, and the
wings and tail were covered with
Irish linen.
N84856 continued flying from
owner to owner through the years,
experiencing a few mishaps (such
as ground loops) along the way.
Then in 1975, Frank Jacob became
its new caretaker, and N84856 has
remained in his capable hands
ever since. An A&P and CFI, Frank
explains with a chuckle that he
learned to fly in west Texas where
the wind blows pretty hard, and
they say instead of a windsock,
they use a logging chain. If the logging chain is standing straight out,
then it gets to be fun.
He had a bit of work to do on
the Champ when he first purchased
itbut after all, the airplane only
cost him only $3,000. The gear
had been wiped out from the fuse-


Frank says his Champ is probably about 90 percent original.

lage one time, and the doorway was
cut down to just a hole. I thought
I was going to put the hinge pins
in place and put the door back on,
but instead I wound up having to
take fabric off around the bottom
to weld a new door frame, Frank
recalls, then adds with a smile, An
FAA man came up behind me while
I was welding on the airframe, and
he thought hed caught somebody!
He said, Let me see your A&P license, and I pulled it ut to show
himthen he just walked off.

Research and Resources

By 2004, Frank decided, somewhat apprehensively, to start restoring his aging friend. He had helped
other folks with their projects, but
he hadnt tackled a full-blown restoration. So the first year, he cautiously decided to fabricate a new
cowling. With that accomplished,
he says, I kept doing a little more,
a little more, and finally it was time
to take the wings offthen I was


Frank Jacob

committed! So I got serious about

it and put in two and a half years
of work.
Myriad questions sprang to
Franks mind as he examined the
condition of numerous airframe
components and contemplated
such things as parts replace-

ment, so he sought answers from

technical, personal, and cyber resources. A little bit of research
can really do a whole lot for you,
he shares. Theres a ton of information on the Internet from the
various Aeronca flying clubs; Bill
Pancake [well-known Aeronca



PK screws. Another handy one was

from Rainbow Flying Service (STC
No. SA00860SE), which allowed
the installation of that companys
fuselage formers. Additionally,
Frank also used two more STCs:
one for the Champs fabric installation (Poly-Fiber Aircraft Coatings
STC No. SA1008WE), and one so
he could burn autogas in the 65hp Continental (STC No. SA732GL
[airframe] and STC No. SE634GL


The Champ at the beginning of the restoration.

The refurbished fuselage, replete with stringers and formers.

guru] is super friendly; and

John Houser, who worked at the
Aeronca factory, has the drawings
for the wing spars and fuselage.
[Editors Note: After decades of faithful service to Aeronca enthusiasts,
John no longer provides this help.
See the note at the end of this article
for information regarding sources of
data for the Aeroncas.HGF] I used
the Poly-Fiber fabric-covering process, and I dealt with Dondi and

10 AUGUST 2011

Jim Miller [of Ohio]. They were super helpful and mixed the original
Champ colors for me.
Frank incorporated a few modifications to his Champ, by means
of various STCs. Through his research, he discovered one from
Cashmere Aviation Inc. (STC No.
SA4760NM) that allowed him to
use Marson Klik-Fast blind rivets to
attach the wing fabric to the ribs,
as opposed to using the original

Snafus and Challenges

Remember that new cowling that was the genesis of the
Champs restoration? Well, as it
turned out, Frank had to rework it
just a bit. Explaining with a goodnatured chuckle, he says, I made
the new cowling first, and later
on, I installed new rubber engine
mounts, which lifted the engine
up about an inch. Then the new
cowling didnt fit right! So I had to
modify it, because the engine was
in the proper position when I finished the airplane.
One of the most challenging
situations Frank encountered was
installing the leading-edge metal
around the wing ribs. That was
because I had to get to the [predrilled] holes in the ribs from inside the wing, in order to align
them with the placement of holes
on the leading edge, and that
metal didnt want to bend around
the nose ribs. So I had to hold the
metal down while reaching inside
the wing with a pencil and making
a little mark on the metal. Then I
took the metal back off and drilled
one hole. I did that for each hole,
all the way across the wing leading edge. That took a long time,
recounts Frank with a wry smile,
and thats the thingwhen I first
took the airplane apart and looked
at it, I thought, Boy, this is going
to take a whole year to do!
Frank endured an odyssey of
sorts when he ordered the Sitka
spruce to make new wing spars. He
says, My first order was shipped
in a cardboard box, and they

Frank wanted to make his Champ

as original as he could, and overall,
he thinks its probably about 90
percent original. In summary, he
used all new hardware and cables,
some new ribs and drag wires from
Wag-Aero, new aluminum leading
edges, and new spars and stringers.
He also installed new side windows
and simply reused the windshield,
since it was still in good shape. Interestingly, the Champs originalstyle hubcaps came from the island
of Guam; one of Franks friends
found them on eBay.
When he started on the interior, he consulted Bill Pancake, who
helped him identify the correct col-



Finishing Touches

New and old ribs are mounted on the new spruce spars.

The wings, ready for fabric.


[the wood] rattled on the back of

a truck until the cardboard was
worn through, exposing the wood.
I took the wood to a professional
shop, and he ruined the wood,
Frank recalls, adding, so then, I
bought a second batch of wood
from the same place, and it came
and it was worn terribly, so I sold
it back to the trucking company.
Then I bought a third batch from
a different source (Wicks Aircraft
Supply), and they shipped it in a
wood box. That spruce was so perfect; it had exactly 90-degree grain
instead of 45-degree, and the grain
was perfectly straight for 16 feetI
didnt think a tree could grow that
straight! It was the most beautiful
wood Ive ever seen in my life, and
we built the spars out of that.
When it came time to strip
the airframe tubing down to bare
metal, he tried using a heavyduty commercial sandblaster at a
boat yard, but its force was strong
enough to pepper holes into one
elevator, which necessitated welding repair. Since the fuselage was
in decent shape, Frank had it
Sponge-Jet blasted (an environmentally friendly type of abrasive blasting), and he sandblasted
the smaller parts in his hangar.
He used two-part epoxy primer to
protect and preserve the cleaned
metal components.

The fabric-covered fuselage and wings, coated with Poly-Brush.




ors. The brown paint was locally available, and the coordinating brown crackle coating on the instrument
panel was available in a handy spray can from Kennedy Manufacturing Company (it makes tool boxes) in
Van Wert, Ohio.
Frank purchased the interior flocking kit from DonJer
Products Corporation in Winnebago, Illinois. The kit, he
says, consists of one spray gun with glue and another
spray gun with powder. You spray the glue on the surface; then you spray the powder and it sticks to it, explains Frank, adding, Any excess falls off, and eventually
it looks like suede. I had everything ready to spray, but I
had the wrong fitting to plug the spray gun into the air
hose. So I ran to town and went to all the places I could
think of, but nobody had the right fitting. It was late in
the day, and I was discouraged, so I just brushed it on the
cabin wall. So now, if you get the light just right, you can
see little brush marks. Spraying is the way to go!

Note the neat upholster y and flocking on the

cabin wall.
12 AUGUST 2011

Engine and Mags

Back when Frank started the Champs restoration,
the A-65-8 engine was running so well that he merely
took it off the airframe, pickled it somewhat and used
dehydrator plugs, and hung it on the wall for three
and a half years. At that time, it had a little more than
1,000 hours since major and 200 since top overhaul.
With the airframe completed, he reinstalled the engine


and crossed his fingers. It started

after three flips of the prop, he
says happily, and has been running good ever sinceIve flown it
about 100 hours since June 2008.
He spruced up the engine compartment by painting it and powder
coated the black rocker box covers.
Since the Continental has the old
Bendix magnetos, hes recently decided to buy a magneto with an impulse coupling, to facilitate hand
propping the engine.

Flying the Champ

Frank describes flying N84856
by saying, Generally you want to
lift off at 50 mph, climb at 60, and
cruise at 80. As for landings, if you
have a nice, calm day, its going to
be all three-point landings, until
you get used to the airplane, he
explains, emphasizing, Basically
you want to become part of the airplaneyou want to feel it. When
most people land an airplane that
has a nose wheel, as soon as they
touch down they sort of relax and
the airplane goes straight down the
runway. But in this airplane, you

ought to be relaxed until you touch

downand then you get serious
and have to work at it to keep it
straight. I like to wheel land in a
strong crosswind, because you have
a lot more control.
As a flight instructor, he feels that
simply learning how to correctly taxi
the tailwheel Champ is a good step
in transitioning from a nosewheel
airplane. If youre just starting out,
mainly you want to get used to the heel
brakes, which are unusual for most
people. You turn the airplane with
full rudder, and if thats not enough,
then add some brake and then some
poweryoure just working everything when youre taxiing. And you
should always be conscious of where
the wind is when youre taxiing, because youre flying it when youre on
the ground. Youve got to feel the airplane to see what its doing.

An Eye to the Future

Frank is affectionately attached
to his Aeronca Championand
with good reason; his own personal
history is inextricably entwined
with it. My daughter, Cathy, first

flew with me when she was 10 years

old, he reminisces, with a twinkle
in his eyes, and she used a cushion
so she could reach the rudder pedals. I never thought she would do
much with flyingand today shes
flying internationally for Delta. My
son, Don, soloed a few days after
his 16th birthday but didnt continue with flying. But the kid across
the street, every time I drive in the
driveway, he wants to go flying! So
you can never tell with kids.
Father and daughter still occasionally share the joy of flying together in the faithful Champ, and
Frank proclaims with a smile, I
plan to give it to her when I finish
with it. I hope to wear it out before
then! I tell her Ill restore it in another 40 years.
So it isnt surprising that Frank
wont consider selling it. With a
gentle laugh, he shares, I have put
$17,000 of parts in it, and all those
hours that I cant count. If somebody wants to buy it, I say, No way,
I dont care how much! The money
isnt really the reason for any of
this. Its fun!




To highlight the special attention that must be paid to even the simplest of mechanical
items like the reliable Stromberg carburetor, the photos are of the work per formed by Bob
Kachergius of Uni-Tech.
Ever wonder why your J-3 Cub,
identical to your friends Cub in
every way (i.e., engine, prop) just
doesnt perform like your friends
Cub? Youve checked everything,
including compression, timing, and
identical Stromberg carbs including
the same type of fuel, but still your
Cub is continually outperformed.
The empty weight for both Cubs is
nearly identical, and you and your
friend are within five pounds of
one another. Why does your Cub
seem so sluggish on takeoff, but the
other Cub just leaps into the air?
This issue has puzzled Cub owners for decades, but finally there appears to be a cause and solution on
the horizon. Its the carburetor!
I recently had an opportunity to
sit down with Robert Kachergius,
Uni-Tech Air Management Systems

14 AUGUST 2011

Inc. Bob has an engineering as well

as aviation maintenance background including an A&P and IA,
and for the past number of years he
has specialized in the rebuilding of
Stromberg carburetors.
For years if not decades most
aviation mechanics have been frustrated by the Stromberg carbs. If you
get a good carb, they run beautifully. But they often cause mechanics much frustration and gray hair.
Consequently, many Strombergs
have been removed and replaced
with a Marvel carb. Now, thanks to
Bobs research, the cause and solution have been found.
Bob was asked to take a look at
a Stromberg carb that had been installed on a Continental A-65 engine. The owner stated the engine
started easily and idled smoothly,

but when full power was applied,

the engine just was turning up. The
normal things had been checked
but made no difference.
The carb was carefully disassembled and all parts checked for wear
and correct assembly. Everything
seemed to be in order. The float
drop was then measured. It should
measure 0.048 inch in all Strombergs. However, this float was only
dropping about 0.032 to 0.033
inch and didnt meet that specification, causing the engine to run
lean on partial power. Upon closer
examination it was determined the
float was coming in contact with
the main metering jet, restricting
float drop. In normal operation,
the float will rest on a castin-position 45-degree bevel at the bottom
of the float bowl, thus clearing and

Above and below: The three-legged fuel level measuring tool must be used in conjunction with the
proper amount of fuel feed pressure, or head, so the needle and seat will be set properly. Before the
carb is reassembled, the parting surfaces of the carb are carefully checked for flatness using a granite
surface block.
For more explanation on the reason for the fuel level sitting at an angle in the float bowl, see
the photo on page 18.
not hitting the edge of the main
metering jet. Operating under
these circumstances the float was
restricting fuel flow, so the engine
was only producing about 60 percent to 65 percent power due to
restricted fuel flow.
Bob had a number of the Stromberg carbs on hand and pulled several of them apart to check float
travel and drop as well as clearance
near the main metering jet. Bob further disassembled each of the carbs
to carefully measure the position,
angle, and height of the main metering jet. Nearly half of the carbs had
restricted float travel due to contact
with the main metering jet. It became quite apparent that a number
of these carbs had been incorrectly


machined during manufacture

when the main metering jet opening was drilled into the bottom of
the carb fuel bowl. There appeared
to be a large machining variation.
With that finding it became
clear as to why one Stromberg
carb performs as expected, while
the identical carb runs and performs poorly causing the mechanic and owner fits.
If youre experiencing lethargic
performance from your Strombergequipped airplane, dont go tearing

Fuel DripWho
Gets the Blame?
By Bob Kachergius

Completely overhauled and ready for installation after Uni-Techs Bob

Kachergius has given it a thorough going-over. As is typical for most installations of the Stromberg with the back-suction mixture control installed, the
control lever for the mixing disks is either safety wired in the closed position, or, as in this carb, had it removed and replaced with a simple cover
plate. The yellow dot indicates the carburetor has had its float chamber
vent hole repositioned per a Stromberg service bulletin.
16 AUGUST 2011

As we all know, a lot of Stromberg NA-S3 carburetors truly do

drip when the plane is sitting
there, not running. It appears that
the poor little Stromberg is always
blamed as the culprit in this situation. Thats not always the case.
There are two other factors that
contribute to the fuel drip, but most
of the time they are overlooked.
It could be that the primer or fuel
selector valve is leaking, causing
the problem. Two tests can quickly
and easily solve the puzzle:
First: Disconnect the small primer
line from the fitting on the fuel intake spider. Make sure the primer
is seated in its park position on
the instrument panel and not partially out. If the primer line continues
to drip, the primer assembly needs
service or replacement.
Second: With the fuel selector
valve turned to the off position, disconnect the fuel line at the carburetor. If the fuel line drips, the culprit
here is a leaky fuel shut-off valve.
Repair or replace it.
So, in the end, the poor little
Stromberg that drips may not always be the cause of the problem.
Any time you experience a fuel drip,
do these two tests. They are fast
and simple to per form. The tests
should always be par t of a 100hour or annual inspection.

Stromberg Carb Information Chart







NA-S3A1 series carburetors with mixture control







A-75 (Stinson)









3 PSI /
.048 FLOAT













NA-SO3A1 (rarely seen )



NA-S3B (no mixture control)







This chart details the proper engine/application with the model number stamped on the carb body.

Stromberg NA-S3 Carburetor

Helpful Hints
By Bob Kachergius
They say in life there are two ways to get a job donedoing it the
easy way or the hard way.
When removing and then re-installing a Stromberg carburetor on a
small Continental engine, because of the lack of room, it becomes an
act of frustration in trying to get the castellated nuts and cotter pins
started on the intake spider studs. Doing this while the intake spider is
mounted to the engine becomes, at best, very time-consuming. Thats
the hard way.
Try this instead:
Remove the intake spider from the engine (two AN6 nuts and washers, four rubber intake tubes and clamps, one primer line connection)
and then easily re-install the carburetor to the intake spider while its
on the workbench; its fast and simple. This is the easy way.
You will find, in most cases, that the rubber intake tube sleeves are
pretty old, dry, and cracked and in need of replacement anyway.

into your Stromberg carb just yet.

There is a simple check that you can
do. Remove and inspect the spark
plugs. If the probe ends are a nice
even chocolate brown, your carb is
probably performing as was intended.
However, if your plug ceramic insulators are white to light gray in color,
you are running a lean mixture that
is probably caused by this float/fuelflow restriction. In this case you may
want to have your carb thoroughly
inspected and corrected.
Bob has developed a fix for
those carbs experiencing float
travel restrictions. He has developed machining so that the main
metering jet orifice can be counterbored slightly, thus allowing full
float drop and proper fuel flow.
When done properly and legally,


Here is a 12-degree wedge plate Bob uses to show how

the fuel level sits in a taildragger after the float level was
set to 13/32 inches wet in the bench. It shows how the
fuel sits at an angle in the bowl, and, even when the
float level is proper at 13/32 inches level, the rear of the
main gasket can get wet and seep a little fuel at the
casting parting line, causing a blue stain. This is why Bob
always turns the fuel selector off after every shutdown.

An original and aftermarket set of neoprene-tipped

needles, illustrating the brittleness that occurs as the
needles age.

The steel needle and its corresponding sharp-edged

brass seat.

The Delrin needle used in many Stromberg carbs

seems to offer the best of both worlds.

the float restriction is no longer a

problem and the carb can be returned to service.
Bob also does several other things
to a Stromberg to get it to run properly. He finds that in all the carbs
he gets in for overhaul, almost every one has the old neoprene needle
and seat. These needles were the second generation from Stromberg and
were designed to eliminate the fuel
drip common to Strombergs. These
needles came out in 1943 after the
war, and some can approach 60-plus
years in age. They get very brittle
and will crumble when squeezed
with a long nose pliers. It is also
common knowledge that when us-

18 AUGUST 2011

ing auto fuel containing ethanol,

many of these needles can swell up
and cause real fuel flow problems.
There were three other manufacturers of the neoprene needles along
with Stromberg, and it is impossible
to differentiate as to who made the
needle. The three clone needles were
made of an inferior-grade neoprene
and did swell up. The OEM Stromberg needle did not. Thus, at overhaul, Bob will use the latest stainless
steel or Delrin needle and seat, eliminating the neoprene headache.
Another interesting find is that
when dismantling the carbs for
overhaul, Bob finds that whoever
worked on the carb in the past had

grossly overtorqued the six 1/420 fillistered head screws holding

the upper casting half to the lower
one. The normal torque specified
in the Stromberg overhaul is only
35-45 inch-pounds. This puts excessive stress on the casting and
warps them, causing possible vacuum and fuel leaks. Bob has to
custom lap each casting parting
surface on a granite lapping plate
to get perfectly flat mating surfaces,
guaranteeing a positive seal. This
procedure is done on every carb he
Another situation exists contributing to fuel drip. The Stromberg
was originally designed for the Er-


R.E. Bob Kachergius A&P/IA

Does your Stromberg NA-S3 carburetor

Drip - Leak - Perform poorly ? ? ?
Have it Overhauled & Restored to Grand Champion standards and quality by us
Before re-assembling the Stromberg carb, the castings are carefully inspected and finished, with the
mating surfaces trued up on a granite surface plate.
coupes, which sat on tricycle gear and level to the
ground. Now, install the Stromberg on a taildragger,
and it no longer sits level, causing fuel to drip out
of the carb float bowl vent opening. This vent port
is located in the lower casting about 1/4 inch below the parting surface. Stromberg came out with a
service bulletin to effect a fix. This involves sealing
the lower casting port opening and relocating the
port to the upper casting half, approximately 1/4
inch above the parting surface. This raises the float
bowl vent 1/2 inch higher than original and eliminated float bowl drip. Bob makes this modification
on every carb he overhauls. The easy way to see if
this mod was done to your carb is to look and see
if there is a 1-inch-diameter yellow dot painted on
the face of the float bowl as recommended by the
Stromberg service bulletin. If this mod isnt done,
your carb will drip. Bob has found that on almost
every carb that comes in for overhaul, none have
this modification installed.
Another situation occurs when someone in the
field attempts to set the float level of 13/32 inch
(all Stromberg carbs) below the lower casting parting surface and doesnt dry mechanically. This is
impossible to do accurately. The float level has to
be set wet with fuel fed to the float bowl with the
recommended gravity flow pressure head. This has to
be done on a flow fixture device to be accurate. Fuel
float level is done by randomly stacking variablethickness special gaskets under the brass needle seat
to attain the proper level.
The Stromberg carburetor is an excellent unit and
will perform flawlessly if inspected, overhauled, and
maintained properly. Bobs diligence in really figuring out the manufacturing variances in the original
parts is to be commended. His company, Uni-Tech
Air Management Systems, located at 13221 Windward Trail in Orland Park, Illinois, specializes in
overhauling only the Stromberg carburetor. Bob can
be reached at 708-267-7111 to answer any questions
you may have on your Stromberg.

WE: Dismantle & Inspect

Clean & Glass Bead Blast
Aluma-Etch & Alodine
Custom Lap mating
surfaces Reassemble using all
new AN hardware,
gaskets, Stainless
steel or Delrin needle
& seat proper metering
jets & venturis Float level
is set wet to 13/32 Stromberg service letter
procedure installed to raise float bowl vent position
eliminating fuel drip prepare a log book entry

All for $850.00

+ $25.00 freight & handling




Tangerine Cap
Splash Cap


Brass Logo Cap

Telephone Orders: 800-843-3612

From US and Canada (All Others Call 920-426-5912)

*Shipping and handling NOT included. Major credit cards accepted. WI residents add 5% sales tax.


Light Plane Heritage

published in EAA Experimenter October 1991

The young lady gives an idea of the

Loughead S-1s dimensions as it sits on
display in front of the San Francisco City
Hall in 1920.



EAA 1235

In the autumn of 1918 the feeling became widespread that the

long and bloody conflict we called
World War I was at last moving toward its end. This prompted lively
discussions to take place in a modest aircraft manufacturing shop located in the California seaside town
of Santa Barbara.
What are we going to do after
the war? was the gist of the talk
that went on between the brothers
Allan and Malcolm Loughead and
their associates John Northrop and
Anthony Stadlman. They finally
agreed that they should turn their

quite impressive mechanical and

engineering talents to developing a
small sportplane that would appeal
to the thousands of men who had
learned to fly during the war.
Before getting into the story of
the Loughead S-1 (for Sportplane
No. 1), lets say something about
the two Lougheads. The name, by
the way, was and is pronounced
Lockheed. They came from a family of Scottish origin and were born
in the late 1880s. They had an older
half-brother, Victor, from their fathers previous marriage. He had
formal training in engineering and

as early as 1909 was writing books

on aviation and aircraft design.
The two younger Lougheads became expert automobile mechanics during the first decade of the
20th century. Then living in San
Francisco, the three spent much
time discussing aviation. This led
Allan in 1910 to move to Chicago,
which at that time was a beehive
of aeronautical activity. There he
became a good aircraft mechanic
and taught himself to fly by accident. That is to say, an airplane he
was taxi testing picked up enough
speed to become airborne, oblig-

Editors Note: The Light Plane Heritage series in EAAs Experimenter magazine often touched on aircraft and concepts
related to vintage aircraft and their history. Since many of our members have not had the opportunity to read this series, we plan on publishing those LPH articles that would be of interest to VAA members. Enjoy!HGF

20 AUGUST 2011

ing him to fly it as best he could

in an erratically circular path so as
to return to the field from which
he had departed. Since the landing
injured neither the plane nor himself, that made him into a pilot by
the standards of that time.
Early in 1912, Allan returned
to San Francisco and persuaded
brother Malcolm to join him in
building an airplane. Malcolm
had remained in California,
where he worked as an accomplished auto mechanic and developed what became the widely
used Lockheed hydraulic brakes
for cars. Between 1912 and 1916
the two divided their time among
assorted aviation projects and
prospecting for gold. In 1916 they
relocated to Santa Barbara, where
they set up a modest aeronautical
shop in a garage.
Here they built a small number
of flying boats. The aforementioned
John Northrop and Tony Stadlman
had also been active in the heady
early days of aviation and during
the war joined the Loughead shop
to help build a small number of naval flying boats. Between them the
four possessed very considerable
practical and engineering knowledge. As mentioned previously,
they began to brainstorm their
ideas for a postwar civil airplane.
Now, in the year 1918 nobody
foresaw clearly the enormous impact
that thousands of war-surplus military planes would have on the postwar civil aviation scene. Not realizing
that the aircraft manufacturing industry would be severely depressed
for several years by this vast supply of
cheap surplus airplanes and engines,
the quartet enthusiastically drew up
a list of desirable characteristics for
their new plane.
Of course, there were often
strong differences of opinion while
all this talk was going on, but in the
end they agreed on what it should
be like. It would be a single-seater,
partly so that a small and therefore
economical engine could fly it satisfactorily, but in retrospect probably
also because they felt that the typi-

Obviously the result of a lot of pattern work and concrete mixing, the fuselage molds for the S-1 were solid and durable. While books on the Lockheeds
claim birch plywood was used for lamination, material visible to the right looks
more like some kind of veneer.
cal returning military pilot would
be one who was accustomed to flying a fast and nimble single-seater
or at least being in total command
of a two-seater.
Airplane fuselages of that time were
tediously put together from wooden
longerons and cross-members
held together with a great many
intricate metal fittings, braced
against bending and twisting with
many crisscrossing steel cables
and trued up by expertly adjusting a multitude of turnbuckles.
All of this was much too laborintensive for a plane meant to be
sold to civilians at the lowest feasible price. For this reason they
developed a more suitable form
of construction, which will be described shortly.
They also decided that their
plane should perform well enough
to have a reasonable chance of satisfying pilots accustomed to flying
lively military planes, within the
limitations set by an economical
selling price. Yet at the same time,
because real airports with good
runway and hangar facilities were
at that time still very few in number and far apart, they agreed that
their plane would have to be able
to take off from and land on whatever modest-sized clearing owners
might be able to find.

Because the glues and varnishes available in those long-ago

days were rather lacking in waterresistance, the new plane would
have to be designed so that its wing
folded for towing behind a car to a
garage or barn for storage.
While some European warplanes such as the German Fokkers
had fuselages put together comparatively quickly by welding steel
tubing of suitable length and diameters, the technique of building
this way was not very well understood in the United States. Also,
expert oxyacetylene welders were
scarce in California.
Much thought and experimentation went into the method settled upon for building the fuselage.
They knew of other airplanes that
had wooden fuselages of the monocoque-type construction. That
word is of French origin and is pronounced monoKOK. It means essentially a stiffened sheet of metal,
veneer, plastic, etc. to bear loads.
Various other fuselages of this
type had been built using techniques familiar to builders of lightweight boats. Typically strips of
veneer would be laid onto a suitable building form made of bulkheads and stringers. One of the
problems was to end up with an
acceptable smooth, sound, and


This view of the S-1 in flight suggests that the German Albatros of World War I could have been the inspiration for its
overall shape.
strong laminate using whatever a
builder chose in the way of tacks,
staples, and glues. Sometimes laminations sprung apart before the
glue set adequately.
They were not, by the way, the
only ones looking for an alternative to the wood-and-wire type
of construction. While they were
building their S-1 in early 1919,
the Curtiss company on Long Island in far-away New York built
a number of Curtiss Oriole threeseater biplanes that had fuselages
made with Curtiss version of the
laminating process. The fuselage of
an Oriole can be seen and studied
today at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum at Hammondsport in central
New York.
The Lougheads came up with
the idea of using large concrete
molds in which to laminate right
and left shells from which to assemble a complete fuselage. While
very heavy, concrete was inexpensive and admirably rigid. The glue
most generally used for aircraft
construction in those days was
of the casein type, made of dehydrated milk curds ground into a

22 AUGUST 2011

powder and then mixed with water for use. Commercial glues of
this kind usually had additives in
them to impart desirable characteristics. While water-resistant for
periods of time reckoned in terms
of a few days immersion, it was
not truly waterproof.
Information in available literature is vague and confusing, but
it appears the Loughead team
gradually devised a method of
preparing materials and positioning them in the concrete molds.
Three layers of very thin spruce
plywood were laid up, and one
old book claims that layers of thin
cloth were spread between them
to serve as binding membranes.
When the laminating materials were in position in the mold,
a rubber bag was laid in place and
the mold capped with a boltedon cover. Air pressure then forced
the rubber against what would be
the inner surface of the finished
molding. This applied necessary
pressure to assure proper bonding of the glue, absence of voids,
and a smooth outer surface. When
the glue had cured, right- and left-

hand moldings were joined together with longitudinal bonding

strips to form a light, strong fuselage. The fi nished laminate was
1/8 inch thick.
The structure and shape of the
tail surfaces were made to fit on
the torpedo-like tail end of the fuselage. This characteristic look appeared some years later on the
Lockheed Vega, Sirius, Orion, and
Altair designs.
The Santa Barbara experimenters originally intended to use an
English Green engine on their new
design, but had to give up this idea
when the manufacturer went out
of business. So expert mechanic
Stadlman designed a two-cylinder,
horizontally opposed engine that
he and Allan built in their shop.
At that time designers and foundries were much more familiar with
the technique of casting deep,
closely spaced air-cooling fins. So
this new engine was water-cooled.
A radiator of crescent shape was
made to fit neatly under the fuselage below the fi rewall. The engine developed 25 hp.
To get acceptable takeoff and

The S-1s wing assembly was really

unique. Lower wings pivoted to act
as ailerons, and tipped on edge to
clear the fuselage when the wings
were folded for towing and storage.
climb performance from this engine, the planes wings were given
the ample span of 28 feet for the
upper one and 24 feet for the lower
one. While at first sight appearing
to be a biplane, the S-1 was actually a sesquiplane. Sesqui- means
one-and-a-half, and so this now
seldom-encountered aviation term
refers to a two-winged aircraft in
which the area of one wing (in this
case the lower) is one-half or less of
the other.
The top wing was of conventional two-spar, fabric-covered
wooden construction and had no
ailerons to simplify manufacturing of the ribs. The wingtips were
of very pleasing and efficient semielliptical shape. Lower wings were
of single-spar construction. Vshaped interplane struts connected
the two spars of the upper wing
panels to the single spars of the
lower ones. This layout originated
in the famous French World War I
Nieuport fighters as a result of designer Edouard Nieuports strong
feeling that the number of wing

A Hint From Boat Builders

Monocoque construction has been little used in homebuilt aircraft or restorers, but offers possibilities for experimenters having a working knowledge of stress analysis and weight control. For example, using cer tain
modern techniques, a fuselage could be made without the need for an
expensive mold, and the method could be adapted to such things as tail
booms, seaplane floats, and flying boat hulls.
Epoxy resins that develop full strength without the need for great clamping
pressure are now available. They are used in a method of amateur and custom boatbuilding called cold molding, from the fact that these resins cure at
room temperatures. A study of this boat-building technique could be productive. But a word of cautionpoorly chosen lamination schedules can result
in unacceptably heavy or costly aircraft components.
In copies of WoodenBoat magazine, youll find adver tisements of epoxy
suppliers such as Chem Tech and Gougeon Brothers and get prices for their
how-to literature and trial samples. WoodenBoat has a catalog that among
other things lists books on lightweight wooden boat construction. Their address is Box 78, Brooklin, ME 04616. Write to Forest Products Laboratory,
One Gifford Pinchota Drive, Madison, WI 53705 and request copies of List
of Publications on Veneer and Plywood and Glass and Glue Products List
of Publications.
Veneer used for cold-molded boat hulls is about one-eighth inch in thickness and produces laminates too thick and heavy for aircraft. Being an expensive manufactured product, theres a question if its economical to buy
thin plywood and slice it into strips for lamination work. When homemade veneer is produced by running planks through a table saw, much of the raw material one has purchased is turned into worthless sawdust. Veneer is made
by special machines in which very large blades slice wood from logs without
producing sawdust.
Builders of fiberglass boats use a wide variety of special foam plastic and
balsa wood core materials that add thickness and rigidity to laminates. A
successful epoxy-based monocoque aircraft structure would be the result of
careful study of the many special materials and techniques available today.


Two workmen easily hold the partly completed fuselage of the S-1. In the original 8-by-10-inch photo, strips of veneer
of verifying widths could clearly be seen running in a straight fore and aft direction.

Its a widely acknowledged truth that each new airplane design is based at
least in part on lessons learned from previous aircraft. In 1927 the Lockheeds (having changed the spelling of their family name) based the fuselage
of their Vega on the construction method used for the 1919 Loughead S-1,
combined with Anthony Fokkers method of making wooden cantilever wings.
struts and brace wires should be
kept to a minimum for the sake of
minimizing wind-resistance while
retaining the strength and rigidity
created by trussing biplane wings
together with a system of struts and
crisscrossed wires. The Germans
imitated this approach in their Albatros fighters, and we can see a resemblance to the Albatros lines in
those of the Loughead S-1.
The S-1s lower wings also had
no ailerons. Because each had but a
single spar, it was feasible to make
fittings that attached them to the
fuselage in such a way as to al-

24 AUGUST 2011

low these wings to pivot about the

spanwise centerlines of their spars.
The control system was designed to
make the lower wings move exactly
as do conventional ailerons. In effect, the smallish lower wings were
the planes ailerons.
The control system incorporated
another feature. By pulling a lever
just after touching down on a landing, the pilot could cause the lower
wings to rotate 90 degrees, with
leading edges pointing straight
down and trailing edges straight
up. This presented the lower wings
full surface broadside to the air and

provided dramatic braking effect.

The cleverness of the wing structures overall design is further illustrated by the fact that wing root
fittings also allowed right- and lefthand assemblies to be folded backward (on the ground, of course!) to
make the ship narrow enough to
be towed tail-first behind a car over
the road from landing field to storage building.
Extensive test flying was carried
out during 1919, and the plane attracted much favorable attention
when exhibited and demonstrated
at the 1920 San Francisco Aeronau-

tical Exposition. Empty weight was

only 375 pounds, all the more impressive when we remember that it
was fitted with a water-cooled engine with its radiator and coolant
weights. Weight fully loaded was
an equally impressive 600 pounds.
Top speed was 70 mph; landing
speed a very useful 25 mph. Rate of
climb was 700 fpm, which is very
good for the power available.
This interesting plane was a technical and operational success, but
a commercial disappointment. After investing $29,000 in healthy
1919 dollars in its development,
the Lougheads were very disappointed when not a single order
came in. They went out of business in 1921, engaged in a variety
of other enterprises, and because
people persistently mispronounced
their name in such ways as Loghead, changed the spelling to the
phonetic Lockheed. Theirs was but
one of the many firms that suffered from the flood of cheap, warsurplus airplanes.
As the 1920s wore on, new and
vastly improved aircraft engines appeared on the scene. Notable was
the very reliable Wright Whirlwind nine-cylinder radial engine
of 200 to 220 hp, which powered
the planes of Adm. Byrd, Charles A.
Lindbergh, Clarence Chamberlin,
and others. Designers began to realize that the drag of biplane wings
handicapped these better engines
and turned to monoplanes. Most
monoplanes of the late 1920s were
Despite their setback, the Lockheeds maintained their interest in
aviation and in 1927 came up with
something really good. By combining Anthony Fokkers method of
building low-drag cantilever wings
of wood with their method of making the S-1s fuselage, they came up
with the very sleek and fast Lockheed Vega. In the hands of intrepid
pilots like the Wilkins-Eielson
team, Wiley Post, and Amelia Earhart, it made many daring and difficult flights.
Developed from the high-wing

This set of general-arrangement drawings, done by Patricia and Monty Groves,

originally accompanied an article by them concerning the history of the S-1,
and the building of a scale R/C model. It appeared in the October 1972 issue
of American Aircraft Modeler.
Vega, the low-wing Sirius led to
the retractable-gear Orion and Altair low-wings that introduced
high speed and reliability to airline
scheduling. Lessons learned while
building stressed-skin Lockheeds of
wood taught lessons to designers
like John Northrop that stood them
in good stead when in the early
1930s they began to design allaluminum aircraft of monocoque
fuselage and cantilever wing design.
So despite its lack of commercial

success, the innovative Loughead

S-1 contributed greatly to aeronautical progress. It even passes along
two important lessons to those
who are working with amateurbuilt aircraft today. One is that
there is always more than one way
to do something, and the other is
that when well-informed experimenters start brainstorming, no
one can predict to what surprising developments their efforts will
eventually lead!





Engine cowls for drag reduction

Part I
One of the first designs, which
proved successful in dealing
with the problem of engine drag,
was the Townend ring cowl. Designed by British engineer B.
Melvill Jones, this cowling was
intended to reduce cooling drag
but did little for improved cooling, thus it was strictly for increased airspeed.
Illustration 1 shows the
Townend ring cowl (also called a
speed ring), when installed properly, reduced drag by as much
a s 1 1 p e r c e n t . H o w e v e r, t h e
Townend ring impeded visibility while taxiing on the ground.
Engineers and researchers began to explore improved designs
that would address the issues of
drag and visibility. In 1928, Fred
Weick (pronounced Wyck), an
engineer from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics,
led the development of what was
to become known as the NACA
low-drag engine cowling. Weick
had access to the NACA Propeller
Research Wind Tunnel at Langley, Virginia. Weick and his team
won the 1929 Collier Trophy,
the first of five Collier awards
for NACA. One of the four Collier trophies received by NASAs
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, was in 1929 for the
development of the cowling for

26 AUGUST 2011

radial air-cooled engines. By the

end of September 1928, tests of
Cowling No. 10 in the Propeller
Research Wind Tunnel, shown
here, demonstrated a dramatic reduction in drag.

Illustration 1
Weick (Illustration 2) authored
a number of technical papers for
NACA regarding his research on
engine cowlings, both full-pressure cowlings and speed rings.
Weick was also interested in designing a safe aircraft, one that
would not stall or spin. His design was wind tunnel tested in
the Langley facility, and a fullsize aircraft was constructed and
flown as a proof-of-concept vehicle, but it never went into production. Weick and his staff made
numerous wind tunnel tests of
various configurations and installations of engine cowlings. All
showed a tendency to reduce par-

asite drag by smoothing out the

airflow around cylinder heads,
but there was a penalty in engine
operating temperature. As the
team continued the experiments,
it became apparent that something other than the cowling
was needed. Intercylinder baffl es
directed the air more efficiently
around cylinder barrels and
heads for better cooling. For the
speed ring or Townend cowl, it
was the angle to which the cowling mounted to the engine cylinders. The following charts show
Weicks experiments on cowling
configuration. Weick was head of
the Propeller Research Wind Tunnel section from 1925-1929.

Illustration 2


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Early cowling
experiments tended to
reduce drag
but increase the
temperature, especially
the oil temperature.

Illustration 4 shows NACA Technical Note No.

355 authored by Melvin N. Gough and detailing
the tilting of a speed ring +6 to -20 degrees to the
longitudinal axis of the aircraft. These experiments
were carried out on Curtiss SF7C-1 aircraft.

Illustration 4
Illustration 3 depicts experiments with a wide
and narrow speed ring configuration shown with
mounting locations forward and aft on the cylinder heads. The location of the speed ring would
give varying drag decreases and would also affect
engine cooling. Early experiments were carried out
using a Wright J-5 radial engine, but were expanded
to other radial engines of the time. Oscar W. Schey
and Ernest Johnson authored NACA Technical
Notes No. 334, and Melvin Gough authored No.
335 dated February 1930.

Illustration 5 shows a photograph of experimental military aircraft used for flight testing and validating the NACA speed ring engine cowlings. Not
only was drag measured but also engine cooling.
Early cowling experiments tended to reduce drag
but increase the engine-operating temperature, especially the oil temperature.
The full-pressure NACA cowl installed on a Curtiss AT-5 aircraft, ready for another test flight in the
early 1930s, is shown in Illustration 5. The development of this speed ring was a major breakthrough
for all World War II aircraft.


Illustration 5

Illustration 3
28 AUGUST 2011

On a test flight, the NACA speed cowl or Townend

cowl can readily be seen in these NASA photographs. The aircraft is a Curtiss P-3 Hawk with a
Townend ring cowl.

As the team
continued the
experiments, it
apparent that
other than
the cowling
was needed.


Illustration 6
Curtiss P-3 Hawk with Townend
ring cowling.


Illustration 7
Curtiss P-3 Hawk with NACA
Engine cowlings became a method
to increase performance of an aircraft, both in speed and range. This
invention was to have a profound
effect on future aircraft.

1903: Samuel Pierpont Langleys Aerodrome

attempts to take off from a floating platform.

Langley may have been the

father of carrier aviation, but
even Poly-Fiber fabric couldnt
have made this work. Good
ideas tend to stick aro u n d ,
though. Hey! We named our
first carrier after him.

last and last. The instruction

manual is very clear and fun
to read. Its easier than falling
off a... well, you know.


Poly-Fiber has stuck around,

too, about forty years worth.
With Poly-Fiber youll get a
beautiful covering job thatll

What Our Members

Are Restoring

Are you nearing

completion of a
restoration? Or is
it done and youre
busy flying and
showing it of f? If
so, wed like to
hear from you.
Send us a 4-by-6inch print from a
commercial source
(no home printers,
pleasethose prints just dont scan well) or a 4-by-6-inch, 300dpi digital photo. A JPG from your 2.5-megapixel (or higher) digital
camera is fine. You can burn photos to a CD, or if youre on a
high-speed Internet connection, you can e-mail them along with
a text-only or Word document describing your airplane. (If your
e-mail program asks if youd like to make the photos smaller, say
no.) For more tips on creating photos we can publish, visit VAAs
website at Check the News page for a
hyperlink to Want To Send Us A Photograph?
For more information, you can also e-mail us at or call us
at 920-426-4825.


BY Steve Krog, CFI

Flight reviews make them fun

Part II
In the last issue of Vintage Airplane magazine I offered
a brief overview of Rock, a local general-aviation,
pleasure-flying pilot in need of a flight review. Much
of the article was told in a tongue in cheek manner,
but it was more real than fiction. This article will deal
with a flight review and some of the considerations I
like to use when conducting a review.
The requirements of a flight
review consist of one hour
(minimum) of flight training
and one hour (minimum) of
ground training. It should
A review of the current
general operating and flight
rules of Part 91, and
A review of those maneuvers
and procedures that, at the
discretion of the person giving
the review, are necessary for the
pilot to demonstrate the safe
exercise of the privileges of the
pilot certificate.

There Is No Pass or Fail

Most pilots with

whom Ive worked
with on a flight
review will be
quite candid and
want to talk
about things in
which they may
feel weak.

The flight review should

not be viewed as a necessary
evil. Rather, approach it as a
means of making you a better,
safer pilot. If should be fun
and, yes, even challenging,
depending upon how much
flying you do annually. It is not a pass-or-fail test!
This is what I like to do when I conduct a fl ight
Review the aircraft paperwork. This gives me an
opportunity to ensure the airplane is legal to fly and
point out discrepancies, if found. Does the airplane
have a current weight and balance sheet? If so, is it kept
in the airplane as it should be? Or is it with the logbooks
and other paperwork? If it is not in the airplane with

30 AUGUST 2011

the airworthiness certificate and registration, Ill make

several copies of the sheet for the individual, making
sure one is installed in the plane and the other copies
kept safely with the logbooks. This exercise helps pilots
make or keep their airplane legal should they ever
experience a ramp check.
If the airworthiness certificate is tattered and torn?
Ill usually make several copies
of it and suggest that the extra
copies be safely kept with the
logbooks. If the airworthiness
certificate is lost someday, or if
it blows out of the airplane (Ive
had this happen), its quite easy
to get a replacement from the
local flight standards district
office if you can produce a copy
of the old certificate.
Now that the FAA has
converted to the new registration
system, I find it a good idea to
look at the registration and
remind the pilot of when he
or she can expect to receive a
new registration notice from
the FAA. (You would be amazed
at how many individuals
are confused by this new
registration system.)
Ill next review the
individuals logbook, discussing
the type of flying as well as how
much flying the pilot has done in the past two years.
Is it local flying never beyond 50 miles from home?
Or is it one or two cross-country flights annually? This
information will help me decide what to cover when it
comes time to fly.
I then like to discuss the new style of NOAA sectional
charts, pointing out various changes that have been
made both in color usage as well as chart symbols.
If you havent recently looked at one, you will be

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all the time.

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32 AUGUST 2011

surprised at the number of subtle changes.

Also, while looking at the new sectional chart,
Ill review air space and the symbols and colors
depicting each.
Finally, Ill talk about the FARs. Usually this can
be quickly accomplished by asking several scenariobased questions. Example: You havent flown in
the past four months, but today you want to give
your neighbor a ride. Are you legal to do so? If
your radio fails and you want to land at a Class D
towered airport, can you do so? And if so, what is
the procedure for doing so?
At this point in the flight review, I like to ask
the individual if he or she has any questions about
anything we have discussed or maybe havent covered.
If the individual is at ease, it is interesting the questions
he or she will ask. Most pilots with whom Ive worked
with on a flight review will be quite candid and want
to talk about things in which they may feel weak.
Remember, it has been a long time for many of us
since last taking a checkride for a rating.
When scheduling a flight review with a CFI, I
strongly advise that you first know the instructor. Ive
had many pilots share their horror stories of a terrible
experience while undergoing a previous flight review.
Many young instructors have little or no experience
in vintage aircraft, or they look at you as my rent
money this month. The latter type of instructor will
want to fly with you for three or four hours before
signing you off. There may be times when several
hours are needed to get the rust out, but most often
Ive found that no more than one hour is necessary.
After completing the above steps, its time to do
some flying. But before doing so, I like to observe the
individual and see if he or she conducts a preflight
inspection of the aircraft. If the pilot doesnt bother
doing an inspection, Ill ask if that is what he or she
does every time.
Once the aircraft is pronounced fit and safe for
flight, it is now time to enter the plane, adjust and
secure the seat belts, and prepare for starting. Again,
by observation, it is easy to see if the individual is both
safety-conscious and uses some type of checklist.
Taxiing to the runway will instantly indicate if the
pilot is aware of the surface wind and knows what
to do with the controls and control positions. Flying
with students in J-3 Cubs for five to six hours per day
makes one very conscientious about surface winds and
the effect they may have on a careless or lax pilot.
After completing the pretakeoff checklist, Ill
instruct the pilot to do a normal takeoff, climb to
500 feet, lower the nose and thoroughly scan for
other traffic, and then depart the traffic pattern,
climbing to a predetermined safe altitude. Then after
reaching the desired altitude, adjust power for cruise,
and trim the aircraft for straight and level hands
off flight. This will tell me if the pilot regularly

uses trim as well as showing knowledge and comfort

level of operating the airplane.
At this point Ill have the pilot demonstrate a
medium or 30-degree bank 360-degree turn, fi rst to
the left and then to the right. This is followed up
with a steep or 45-degree bank 360-degree turn left
and right. Control input, coordination, and altitude
control are key, and this is what Im looking for.
Many pilots will demonstrate a weakness for using
the rudder when entering and rolling out of these
turns. This can then be pointed out, and well try a
couple more turns using the correct control inputs.
Slow flight is next on my checklist. Ill ask the
pilot to demonstrate slow flight by holding an
assigned heading and altitude. Here, I am looking
for airspeed, altitude, and rudder control. Most
pilots can adequately demonstrate slow fl ight, but
some are lax on rudder input.
Ill then ask the pilot to demonstrate a power-off
stall with a shallow bank to the right. In a number
of situations the pilot will show tension and then
comment, I havent done one of these since my last
flight review! Ill then spend a good deal of time on
this. After a good workout doing stalls, both power-off
and power-on, it is time to head back to the airport.
Before actually returning to the home airport
though, Ill set up a scenario of, Where would you
go and what would you do if the surface wind is
such that we cant land? Sometimes this causes a
blank stare. Most times the pilot will grab a map, an
airport directory, or punch in some numbers on a GPS.
Which nearby airport has a more favorable runway
for these simulated strong winds? Approximately how
long will it take us to get to the selected airport? You
can almost see the wheels turning in the pilots head.
After a minute or two, the pilot usually arrives at an
acceptable response.
The final portion of the flight review involves
several takeoffs and landings. I like to mix them up
a bit and try a 50-foot obstacle short-field landing,
followed by a soft-field takeoff and then a crosswind
landing. At some point in the traffic pattern, its not
uncommon for me to pull the power and request a
simulated emergency landing.
There are really no hard and fast requirements
for the flight portion of the review other than
recommendations for the one hour of flight. I
personally like to use the maneuvers and scenarios
presented in this article for two reasons: 1) They expose
pilots to situations they may not experience under
normal everyday flight, and 2) They create a fun, but
safe, flying environment for the flight review while
subtly challenging the pilot. Wont this make for a
better, safer pilot? And thats the bottom line isnt it?
To communicate with the author or editor, send a
note to


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This months Mystery Plane is of foreign manufacture during the first
world war; it came to us from the collection of Harry Fenton.

Send your answer to EAA, Vintage

Airplane, P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh,
WI 54903-3086. Your answer needs
to be in no later than Septembet 10

for inclusion in the November 2011

issue of Vintage Airplane.
You can also send your response via
e-mail. Send your answer to mystery Be sure to include your

name plus your city and state in the
body of your note and put (Month)
Mystery Plane in the subject line.



The May Myster y Plane was

suggested to us by Doug Fortune.
Yes, I know we ran it before, but
seeing the notice concerning the
remaining prototype and the type
certificate being for sale reminded
me that it was still an interesting
subject, worthy of a repeat for our
newer members. Besides, its just
such a neat-looking airplane!
One answer comes to us from
Wes Smith of Springfield, Illinois.
Heres his note:
The design started out as Gilbert Trimmers Trimcraft, a twoplace amphibian built in 1938
that was powered by a Salmson AD 9 radial. During the
second world war, the Allied Aircraft Corporation was formed at
Cockeysville, Maryland, to build
amphibious assault gliders for the
U.S. Navy under the designation
LRA. Allied purchased the rights
from Trimmer, and with the reorganization of Rearwin (January
7, 1943, after Rearwin retired) it
formed the Commonwealth Aircraft Co. Inc. (not to be confused
with the Australian Commonwealth Aircraft Corp.) at Kansas
C i t y, K a n s a s . C o m m o n w e a l t h
built two C-170 Trimmer amphibians in 1947 (NX 41853 and NC/N
41999). The first was destroyed in
static testing, but the second apparently still survives.
The Trimmer added a third
seat and replaced the single
Salmson engine with two 85hp Continental C-85s. The span
was reduced from 37 feet to 35
feet 8 inches, and the length
was increased from 18 feet to 24
feet 9 inches. The speed was increased from a V MAX of 85 mph
to 135 mph. The V C went from
75 mph to 118 mph, with a respectable 45 mph VSO. Likewise,
the range increased from 180
miles to 600 miles.
Commonwealth also built a
nice-looking high-wing monoplane known as the Skyranger
(ATC 729). Originally designed
by Rearwin for the Civilian Pilot Training Program, 80 were


36 AUGUST 2011


built from 1941 to 1942. When

Rae Rearwin retired, C.H. Dolan
of the Empire Ordnance Co. took
over and renamed the company,
with Dolan as president and general manager. Kenneth Rearwin
stayed on as sales manger until
1943, before going to TWA. Commonwealth built 275 Skyrangers
from 1945 into October 1946.
At that time, Raymon Voyes was
president of Commonwealth.
There were several versions built,
the last being the Model 185.
Renald Fortier, curator of aviation history at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in
Ottawa, reminded us that Mr.
Trimmer was an early member of
the EAA, holding number 1152.
The remaining Trimmer is now
registered to Eric Engler of Cass
Lake, Michigan, as the Biemond
CB-1 Teal.
Other correct answers were received from Thomas Lymburn,
Princeton, Minnesota; Roger
Starr, Canby, Oregon; Jack Erickson, State College, Pennsylvania;
Lynn Towns, Holt, Michigan; Robert Ross, Pigeon, Michigan; and
my fellow Parks College alumnus Joe Tarafas, of Bethlehem,

The Trimmers features were outlined in this factory brochure.

EAA Archives


35 feet 6 inches


24 feet 10 inches (another source says 24 feet 9 inches)

Height (on gear)

8 feet 7 inches

Gross weight

2,200 pounds

Empty weight

1,470 pounds


(2) Continental C-85, 85 hp

Fuel burn

9 gph total


500 miles

Top speed

132 mph (another source says 135 mph)

Cruise speed

115 mph

Landing speed

48 mph


635 feet (6 mph head wind)


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October 20-22, 2011
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October 21-23, 2011
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Classified Word Ads: $5.50 per 10
words, 180 words maximum, with boldface
lead-in on first line.
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frequency discounts.
Advertising Closing Dates: 10th of second
month prior to desired issue date (i.e.,
January 10 is the closing date for the March
issue). VAA reser ves the right to reject any
advertising in conflict with its policies. Rates
cover one insertion per issue. Classified ads
are not accepted via phone. Payment must
accompany order. Word ads may be sent via
fax (920-426-4828) or e-mail (classads@ using credit card payment (all cards
accepted). Include name on card, complete
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Publications Classified Ad Manager, P.O. Box
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Copyright 2011 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 monthly at EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Rd., PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54903-3086, e-mail: Membership to Vintage Aircraft Association, which includes 12 issues of Vintage Airplane magazine,
is $36 per year for EAA members and $46 for non-EAA members. Periodicals Postage paid at Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Vintage Airplane,
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at least two months for delivery of VINTAGE AIRPLANE to foreign and APO addresses via surface mail. ADVERTISING Vintage Aircraft Association does not guarantee or endorse any product offered through the
advertising. We invite constructive criticism and welcome any report of inferior merchandise obtained through our advertising so that corrective measures can be taken.
EDITORIAL POLICY: Members are encouraged to submit stories and photographs. Policy opinions expressed in articles are solely those of the authors. Responsibility for accuracy in reporting rests entirely with
the contributor. No remuneration is made. Material should be sent to: Editor, VINTAGE AIRPLANE, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086. Phone 920-426-4800.
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38 AUGUST 2011

Making a Ramp Check a Short-Order Event


I fly a restored Beech Bonanza,
a beautiful Twin Beech, a very nice
Bell 47, and a beautifully restored
Cessna 140A. These planes attract a
lot of aviation enthusiasts, including some FAA personnel. When aviation enthusiasts approach me to
look in my aircraft, I almost always
invite them aboard. I enjoy sharing
my aircraft with like-minded people.
When FAA people approach and
they are off-duty, the same invitation usually occurs. However, when
an FAA person approaches, pulls out


the credentials, and starts asking

very direct and specific questions,
I handle the situation differently.
Once I know I am in for a ramp
check (it always seems to happen
when I am trying to leave an airport
before weather there or at my destination, or when mama is waiting
for me), I try to be cordial and professional, and try to have this event
end as soon as is possible.
I have asked advice from a lot of
people on how to handle the ramp
check event. The best advice I have
ever heard was from an FAA speaker at


Pilot Name __________________________________________________
Grade ______________________ Ratings _______________________
Certificate Number _________________ Date of Birth _____________
Airman Medical Class/Date ______________ BFR Date ___________
Currency T/O & Landings (90 days) ___________________________
Instrument Currency _________________________________________
Current Aeronautical Charts VFR ___________ IFR ______________
Aircraft N ________________ Manufacturer/Model _______________
Serial No. ___________________________________________________
Airworthiness Certificate Date _________________________________

a World Beechcraft Society convention

a number of years ago. This speaker (I
wish I could remember his name) provided a simple form for us to fill out,
and he gave us some advice on the use
and presentation of this form.

The Form
The form was simple; it was a list
of item names or descriptions, followed by a blank to fill in the response. It is as follows (with a few
simple explanations that will follow the form):
Notice that not all blanks need
to be filled in, depending on your
flight and your flying. For example,
if you are not flying any IFR, then
items like the VOR check and the
IFR charts do not have to be available for the ramp check. Many, if
not most, vintage GA aircraft do
not have MELs; therefore, there will
not be a requirement to inspect the
MEL and make sure that it is onboard. If all flights are within the
United States, then there will be
no requirement for radio station licenses. But the basics for the pilot
(e.g., license and medical) and the
basics for the plane (e.g., airworthiness certificate and registration
certificate) must be available for inspection and be in order.

Registration Certificate Date ___________________________________

Radio Station License (all transmitters) _________________________
Operating Limitations _________________________________________
Current Weight and Balance Information _________________________
Minimum Equipment List (MEL) ________________________________
(MELs are issued by N number, Serial No., and Letter of Authorization)

Aircraft Annual _______________________________________________

Transponder Check ___________________________________________
Pitot/Static Check ____________________________________________
VOR Check __________________________________________________
ELT Check __________________ ELT Battery Date ________________

How to Use This Ramp Checklist

Think of this ramp checklist as a
let-me-be-sure-I-am-in-order checklist. I would suggest that you consider doing a check of yourself and
your plane every quarter or so. Update this form and keep an updated
copy in the plane.
If an FAA person approaches you
and shows you his credentials and
announces a ramp check, offer him
this checklist and see if a few random
checks of the facts on the checklist
are good, and see if you cannot help
speed this event along for yourself.
Good luck with your next ramp
check. Fly safely.


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40 AUGUST 2011

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