Starting the Champ Project!

Post-War Aeronca Champ airplanes
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JoelCD
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Starting the Champ Project!

Post by JoelCD » Mon Jun 15, 2015 17:55

Hello All and and Hey Joe A,

Joe we met years ago when I sold you the BMW R75 frame.

Well I'm now starting the restoration project of a '46 Champion that's been in the family since '63. My dad restored it in the driveway when I was 3 and a literally grew up in the back seat of it.

The 7AC to 7DC conversion installing the C-85 was done including the dorsal fin and electrical system. Among its history in our family of he and I going out flying, my dad also used it to do aerial photography, tow banners and gliders and crop spraying. The cockpit still smells like Malathon!

He passed away in '98 and as life tends to come along and get in the way so it happened to me until this December when the time had come to start.
As I pulled the paperwork out, I started to find things which I never knew he had done to the Champ. The first was the owner prior to him had bought the wing tip kit and my Champ has "clipped" wings. The pre-made fiber glass wing tips stick out about 7 inches from the last rib its attached to.

Next and this is the strange one, the rear main flying struts are the same diameter tubing as the front ones. Yes, you read that right. Not the smaller one as you normally see. Who made them and why did my father had them installed is a mystery and I give myself grief every time I look at them. I just never knew they were not the norm. To tell the truth they look rather good.

It has the front fuel tank and the rather large tank in the fuselage behind the rear seat. I remember that thing always smelling.

Anyway I've started with the control surfaces and am using Stits Poly Fiber. They are done and now I'm onto the wings. After stripping the fabric off, the leading edge skin has so many dents and dings that they will be replaced.

But, to my amazement the spar looked good initially until I saw the rib nails starting to back out of the spar on some of them. Not all but enough to replace them. That was done and I pulled all the steel components off to be sent out for media blasting and they are all anted with zinc chromate.

I was lightly sanding the spars with a scotch brite pad to get the dust off prior to re-coating with Poly Fiber epoxy varnish and I looked at the butt end of the front spar closer, I saw what looked like cracks. Since the wing tips showed no signs of damage from a ground loop I didn't think there would be any damage. There is 1/8 inch ply wood spacers on either side of the mounting bracket positions. They came off with a little effort and then I saw a crack forming next to one of the bushings. I haven't figured out how to paste picture here yet so I can't show you the crack. to say I was a little disheartened is an understatement. But its 50 years old and you have to accept these things. I called Wag Aero and they said they need a 6 week lead time to get one made. The rest of the front spar out to the tip looks fine.

The rear spar on inspection has a hairline crack 6 inches from the butt end but is otherwise fine. I'm open to any suggestions. Would I be naive in simply glueing the plywood pieces back in place? I have my A & P look at it and while he has not done this kind of repair he believes its fixable without replacing the whole spar. Please offer up any suggestions.

As soon as I figure how to load a picture I'll put some up.

Okay back to work!!

Paul Agaliotis
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Location: San Martin, California
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Re: Starting the Champ Project!

Post by Paul Agaliotis » Tue Jun 16, 2015 22:48

Joel,
Great to have you on site.
Find someone in you're area that you can work with on the Regulatory stuff to save some heartburn later on.
With the spar defects take a look at AC 43.13-1B Chapter 1-44. It sounds like what you describe. End grain splitting is a repairable defect.
The rear spar sounds like a pitch pocket or mineral streak, spars generally don't get hairline cracks. As for the struts they might be an item used with the spray kit installation.
Paul
Mailing Adress : Paul Agaliotis 2060 E. San Martin, San Martin,Calif. 95046

Dennis
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Re: Starting the Champ Project!

Post by Dennis » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:16

To add to what Paul suggested, look at the TCDS. There are a number of spray systems approved for the Champ. Check each out. You may find something on the larger strut.

One more thing. Make sure you can justify all modifications from original configuation with an STC/Aeronca Service Bulletin or your IA may give you some grief. Best to discuss with him on the front end.

Dennis

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hangerash
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Location: Montezuma, OH (CQA)
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Re: Starting the Champ Project!

Post by hangerash » Mon Jun 22, 2015 16:24

Joel,

Good to hear you are underway. Posting pictures is simple if you have another site such as Snapfish, Photobucket, or Google Drive to host the picture. You save your picture to the site of your choosing and paste a link to the photo using the Img button to insert the picture link.

If you still can't figure it out email the picture to JoeA and he can help.

Richard
Richard

MikeB
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Re: Starting the Champ Project!

Post by MikeB » Tue Jun 23, 2015 09:12

Richard is right! We love restoration progress pictures. These fine old aircraft deserve to be flying and not rotting away. Keep up the good work.

Mike Berg

JoelCD
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Re: Starting the Champ Project!

Post by JoelCD » Tue Jun 23, 2015 22:57

Here is the champ put back together on last time before restoration starts.[imghttp://s296.photobucket.com/user/landstorm10/media/assembled%20champ%202_zpsiiz8nnxj.jpg.html?filters[user]=143433032&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=0

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hangerash
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Re: Starting the Champ Project!

Post by hangerash » Wed Jun 24, 2015 07:31

Joel,

Thanks for the pictures. Your link didn't have the ending tag [/img] after your link and it appears the link is to a folder instead of an individual picture. When you post a link to an individual picture use the Img button and paste it between . If you are going to post a link to a folder use the URL button and again post the link between

as in
Image

http://s296.photobucket.com/user/landst ... sort=1&o=0

Hope this make sense.

Richard
Richard

JoelCD
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Re: Starting the Champ Project!

Post by JoelCD » Wed Jun 24, 2015 22:25

Thats the old gal! I put the wings on after a 30 year period of storage and I got that feeling she was happy to almost be whole again.

JoelCD
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Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:58
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Re: Starting the Champ Project!

Post by JoelCD » Sun Nov 15, 2015 23:01

Hello All,

Well as the year winds downI have almost finished the wings. The journey has been amazing and insightful to say the least.

I thought it would take less time but there is always the unforeseen that pops up. So if everything goes right, I'll be able to say it took a year to do the control surfaces and wings. It sounds ridiculously long but I stripped the wings down and put them back together. And with the help of Mr. Bill Pancake, I trammeled my own wings! It was harder to put the new leading edge skins on to tell the truth.

I took off all the metal and cleaned and painted them. The Spar was inspected, cleaned and re-varnished with PolyFibre varnish. New aileron bearings and all new AN hardware.

The covering process on each wing took different time. 48 hours for the first wing and 36 hrs for the second. Clearly my confidence grew.

Today I put the final UV coat on and tomorrow I'll spray it with Aero-thane. I built a paint booth in my hangar with 6 exhaust fans and it does a terrific job.

Here are some pictures of the process:

Before starting
Image

The re-assembled wing
Image
The new fuel tank installed
Image
The wing tip
Image
Ironing the fabric
Image
My fabric rack. This made it so easy.Image

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