Fall 2008

Volunteer Work Day

October 4, 2008


2008 Calendar


Upcoming Event Information


Volunteer Work Day

October 4, 2008

Come join us on Saturday, October 4, to help maintain and restore our vehicles and aircraft. Plans are to work on recovering the Thomas-Morse Scouts, and to do maintenance on the Model Ts and Nash Quad. Volunteers may get the opportunity to drive these!


Recent Events


Volunteer Work Day

September 20, 2008

Reported by Tom Gaylord

The Houston crew obviously had other issues to concern themselves with so Houston representation was light. I know for a fact that Dave Miller still doesn't have power at his house in Pearland. There are several guys I have not heard from so I'm not sure how they are doing. We did have Doug Hortvet, Mike McCormick and myself at Kingsbury on Saturday. Other volunteers included Ted Dawson, Terry Bledsoe, Roger Ritter, Tom Miller, Carl Canga, Ron Marcotte, Al Sumrall, Sanford Swope, and I feel like I'm leaving someone out! I recall Jim Johnson dropped by in the morning, and Art Caballero just can't get enough of the place - he too made an appearance Saturday morning! There was also a new guy named Lynn Howell that came by... he knows a lot about Model T automobiles and vintage cars in general, but he says he's interested in the airplanes.He'll have to break away from Al first!!

I really don't remember who did what, so I'll mostly work through the list of events I am aware of. As usual I am somewhat light on "Team Vehicles" stuff, so Al may need to publish a supplemental report.

Memorial plate on cowling

First order of business was determining where to mount Dick Schenck's plate on the Fokker Dr.I Triplane. We'd always thought it would probably be in the cockpit, but the group decided it should go on the engine cowl, port side. This was mounted in place during the course of the day.

The group also decided to take vehicles and the D.VII to Lackland for the November 2/3 airshow. PFM will have a booth adjacent to the aircraft and vehicles. Of course, you've seen the D.VII lately, doesn't look like an airworthy bird! Terry jumped on reworking the engine mounts on a spare Ranger engine. The prop was dug out, and Ted started sanding and finishing the fibreglass nose bowl. As you can see from the photo the engine got mounted and the prop put in place. Ted made good progress on the nose-bowl, layering on another coat of filler and primer. The part needs more before final painting, however. The next challenges will be mounting machine guns, finishing the nose bowl, and locating the Ranger exhaust - stored somewhere on the property! And lets not forget general cleaning!


fitting temporary engine to Fokker D.VII

Mike McMains has completed the Indian fuel tanks so Lynn and Al started finishing those components. The tanks look gorgeous! It will be a definite treat to get the Indian running again!

Several guys, Doug Hortvet and Tom Miller among them, tried getting the Salmson radial engine on the Curtiss Junior to run. Without success, unfortunately! They did discover that the mag was stabbed 180 degrees out of sync, but even with that corrected it wouldn't fire. There is some suspicion that the cam timing may be off. Next time, maybe....

Carl Canga appeared to work on the building signage and made good progress on the Texaco sign. Not quite done though.

The final work project of the day was removing the engine from the Great Lakes! Roger had made great progress on recovering the wings and tail surfaces, making necessary repairs as he goes. The fuselage just had so much that needed to be done. The fuselage is stripped, and Roger has removed un-needed brackets and such. He plans on sand-blasting the fuselage structure and having it powder coated before rebuilding the fuselage. Anyway - quite a few guys helped to remove the engine and its accessories and mounts!



Volunteer Work Day

August 23, 2008

Reported by Tom Gaylord

Rearwin Sportster

We had a pretty good turnout - including Bill Walsh in an orthopedic walking shoe to protect his broken toe! The group broke up into Team Vehicles, Team Airplane Maintenance, and Team Thomas-Morse!

Al Sumrall will need to fill you in about Team Vehicles specific progress during the day. I do know that several of the vehicles were started and exercised around the property. I also heard Al alternately laughing and crying about his discovery that the throttle linkage on the TT (?) was discovered to not be linked to anything. A cotter pin rectified the situation, but the lack of throttle may have been inhibiting the car's ability to start!

Team Airplane Maintenance rolled many of the airplanes out of the hanger and started them up. Sanford got the Rearwin Sportster started and ran it for awhile. The Cub was pounced upon by the "Wheelmen" who needed to repair a flat tire. The portable air tank certainly made the rounds!

Carrying a Tommy wing

This group also assisted Roger in locating and removing from storage various bins with Thomas-Morse parts. Roger had a late morning visitor from England who is hot for Tommy fuselage fittings and parts. Roger is trying to work out a swap with him for Gipsy Queen bearings as well as other stuff to be decided later.

Mike McMains showed up in the afternoon with the Indian motorcycle fuel tank halves in hand. He spent some time adjusting their fit on the frame and then took them home to re-weld some seams that had opened up. The parts are gorgeous, of course....

Team Thomas-Morse did a little work on the tail surfaces already covered, but the real work involved pulling out the starboard upper wing half for T1 and getting it into the shop for refurbishing.

All external hardware was removed and the remaining fabric covering was stripped. The aileron was set aside and both parts (wing & aileron) were inspected for items requiring repair. The parts were cleaned and scrubbed with steel wool to prepare the wood for epoxy varnish. Both the wing and aileron were epoxy varnished - except for the components needing repair. In addition, two aileron envelopes were pinned up to be sewed.


Volunteer Work Day

July 12, 2008

Reported by Tom Gaylord and Al Sumrall

Carl Canga brought sad news: long-time Team Fokker member Dick Schenk passed way late last week. He is survived by two daughters. Dick was involved throughout the Fokker Triplane project and was affectionately known as "Der Tripemeister" for his passion about the triplane project in particular. We will miss him.

The volunteer team had a good turnout with Dave Miller, Jeffery Basham, Mike McCormick, Terry Bledsoe, Al Sumrall, Sanford Swope, Gary Goolsby, Carl Canga, Ron Marcotte, Bill Walsh, Tom Gaylord, Doug Hortvet, and Derek Staha showing up to work. (I feel I am leaving somebody out... my apologies!).

Tim Miller and John Bush were not present, but have spent several days during the week at Roger's working on Thomas-Morse tail feathers.

The main work of the day involved making further progress on the Tommy parts. There is one elevator remaining to be rib stitched, and many of the parts have been taped, though a couple are still works in progress.

Roger has stated that he wants to "finish" the parts we are working one before moving on to other Tommy parts. So once we get the silver dope coats completed we'll probably move on to the wings.

Assembling Spandau ornaments

Derek stayed till lunchtime and then had to depart for a family reunion. Dave and Jeffery started their day out assembling two replica Spandau machine guns (shipped as "Metal Ornaments for Antique Aircraft"!) that will be mounted in the Customer D.VII. These units are all metal and are from a relatively new vendor in South Africa - and are these babies ever gorgeous!!!

Dave and Jeffery's biggest challenge was deciphering the South African style English assembly instructions.

Bill Walsh and I worked on the Fokker Triplane - fixing the damage done to the starboard wing-tip skid after Roger's gentle and elegant groundloop the last work day. We managed to straighten out the bent parts, but ultimately these may need to be replaced if the groundloops continue!

Tom Gaylord took the triplane's forward cockpit coaming components home to fit the padding and covers.

Terry and Mike pulled the plugs on the Cub and replaced a few of them while cleaning them all. Terry and Mike then started working on the Luscombe carb. Sanford worked on the Rearwin Sportster - ground running the engine and washing the airplane up.

Team Vehicles

Al jumped into working on the vehicle - eventually drafting Terry and Mike to solder some solenoid connections for him. I dimly recall seeing at least two of the vehicles driving around during the day, but Al was largely the sole member of Team Vehicles this day! Here's his report:

In addition to working on aircraft, Doug went out on the four wheeler and got sunburned poisoning mesquite trees. There are dozens and dozens (maybe over a hundred) suddenly growing in the airfield. I did not realize how fast they grew under these conditions. At one time I went out in the TT as I thought that he was stalled out and found myself dodging mesquite. I didn't see them till I drove out there and suddenly they were everywhere. I don't know if cutting them will be sufficient. It may be necessary to harvest them; of course, I am no expert in field maintenance. Hopefully the poisoning will turn them all brown so they can be seen better. We could use the TT for this work.

As Tom mentioned team vehicles was a bit short on the usual suspects and it was Ron Marcotte that helped me install the solenoid (Ron did most of the work and taught me some stuff--I'm good at avoiding work) but another problem arose with the wrecker. It kept blowing the fuse on the hot wire leading to the starter on the steering column. I presume we have a short of some type. The drill will be to follow the wire to the starter switch and I am guessing it might be a good idea to replace the switch. I don't think we have a major issue here, as the starter turned over the engine nicely then stopped when the fuse blew. Roger F says the wire to the starter should not be pulling that much amp? resistance?, anyway I think it will be a hunt. I will also be bringing some 30 amp fuses as the replacement fuses we tried were 25 amp.

The TT ran nicely and as always the signal corps truck is a "sweetheart". The TT's right front tire is a slow leaker so it is something we have to make sure the air pressure is right every time we want to run it. Other than that she is the strong runner that Roger said it was and she looks kind of spiffy with those green strakes. With some wheel varnish and painted grease caps she would look even nicer. Both the Signal Corps truck and the TT did various utilily functions during the day. With the heat and all, they are saving a lot of lugging heavy stuff like ladders, air tanks and such during the day saving on wear and tear on volunteers.

I hope more Team Vehicles can appear for the next workday so we can hopefully get the wrecker back in the pink as well as start and run the Quad some more. Without a "crew" I am uncomfortable running the Quad right now. I had purchased the solenoid from Tractor Supply and saw a starter button that should replace the one that is on the wrecker. It is in an awkward place in the hangar and it takes an effort to move planes out to get to it. Right now the TT and signal corps truck are in positions where they are easy to access and that really makes a difference.


Volunteer Work Day

June 21, 2008

Reported by Tom Gaylord and Al Sumrall

We had another excellent turn-out and the guys quickly broke up into groups to work on various projects.

Ted Dawson and Terry Bledsoe went back to work finishing the Luscombe up. The airplane was moved frorm the storage hanger to the main shop portico to be worked on. But one of the first things to happen was a test run of the customer D.VII's Gipsy Queen engine. The purpose was to double check the engine rpm at full throttle as the cockpit tach was only indicating 1500 rpm, well below maximum rpm for this type of engine. Yet it felt strong to Roger. Don Dixon - who flew in to continue working on the Curtiss Junior - monitored the hand-held strobe tach and confirmed that the cockpit instrument was correct!

As mentioned, Don Dixon was in to try and get the tiny Salmson radial on the Curtiss Junior running. Didn't quite get that far as he and Sanford spent nearly the whole day continuing to work on the fuel/oil tank mounts and tie-down straps.

Ted and Terry made great progress on the Luscombe. The prop was re-mounted and the engine cowls buttoned up, but I believe there are still a few tasks to complete before the airplane is ready for flight again.

Covering Thomas-Morse Scout parts

Most all the remainder of the airplane guys fell onto the Thomas-Morse Scout tail feathers, continuing the covering process.

First the two horizontal stabilizers were brought to the shop from the storage hanger and work started on cleaning them up and preparing them both for epoxy varnish. Both stabilizers were varnished and set aside to dry.

I wouldn't call it a production line, but we made great progress on getting the vertical fins and elevators covered. I think all the elevators were covered, shrunk and the first coat of nitrate dope applied. I believe the rib stitch reinforcement tape was applied and rib stitch holes marked off and punched on all components. I believe that Jeff Basham - with a little coaching from Roger - completed rib stitching one fin, while Gary Goolsby and Doug Hortvet were rib stitching elevators.

It was decided to fly the Fokker Dr.I triplane so we hauled it out and prepared it for flight. Roger expressed concern because there was a slight cross-wind on the runway and once the triplane's tail settles onto the ground the pilot is along for the ride. And the cross-wind might induce a groundloop.

Sure enough... upon landing the airplane didn't seem to want to lose speed very quickly while on the main gear, and when Roger dropped the tail the groundloop commenced. Very stately and elegant... almost slow-motion as the airplane was very quickly losing speed. The starboard wingtip skid dug in hard.

The revised mounts held though and the skid itself is in one piece. The mounts are bent, and the front one may need to be replaced. Didn't look at the tail skid very closely, we'll need to inspect that thoroughly before it flies again. So... a little drama with the triplane flight this time around!


Team Vehicles

Dave and Art worked on the black touring car most of the day, working on sundry things and taking off and testing the starter. Looks like we have two bad starters, the former TT starter and the touring car starter. I will look into seeing what can best be done getting at least the touring car starter rebuilt. Dave and Art worked very hard trying to save the starter but it looks like it is a goner.

As for the TT, John, Tom's son, and Al adjusted the tranny pedal and it appears we have gotten a bit more life out of the TT without having to replace the band material. It stlll may need some more adjustment but right now is doing ok. John and Tom's son also changed the oil in the Signal Corps truck. Additionally they primered the side strakes for the TT, then John and Al later in the PM painted the strakes with a coat of green. It adds to the TT appearance quite a bit. The next job for improving the TT will be to start re-varnishing the wheel spokes. This is not just for appearance but to protect the wood. The varnish is mostly gone. After that we will need to be thinking about manufacture of the C cab and maybe doing some spot painting....it will look awesome after that.

We didn't get to the Quad, but Ron was able to do quite a bit of work on the ammo box. He got the doors and locking latch working smoothly.

Roger mentioned that Mike McMains has the parts for the Indian gas tanks now, so hopefully he has what he needs. Some parts had to be machined.

We had a step backwards with the wrecker, but it may not be that big of a deal. It appears the starter solenoid went out so we could not get it cranked up. Roger thinks he has some extras. We have juice going to the solenoid and you can bypass the solenoid so that probably means the solenoid went out. It shouldn't take 30 min to fix if we have the part. I will look into availability also and if I find one inexpensively I will get one so we will have a brand new one on there. This is probably the kind of thing that is to be expected with the Ts, little things here and there are going to crop up.

This was not a spectacular day for Team vehicles and friends, but still a productive one. We do hope to get the Quad running again, and we will be looking at the French ambulance to see what can be done getting that one running as we are going to have to wait for a starter solution for the black touring car.


Volunteer Work Day

June 7, 2008

The workday got off to a somewhat chaotic start. A film crew was there and they were NOT done by 0900 as Roger had speculated. Bless them, they tried, but a Piper Cub issue and a rain shower were delaying things.

Finally the Canuck was started and took off, and eventually the Cub was started and got airborne. I figured we could at least wash the triplane as the aircraft hadn't been cleaned after it's Air Fair appearance.

But as we were starting to haul aircraft out of the hanger to extricate the triplane people expressed concern that we might ruin the filming. So we stopped. People had expressed concern throughout the week that we'd end up spending a lot of down time doing nothing while the filming was happening and despite two calls to Roger to ensure we would have something to do it looked like everything was going to hell in a handbasket!

Turns out just before dashing into the air to impersonate Charles Lindbergh Roger left two work instructions with Chris Backer and Tom Miller. One was to move the customer D.VII to the patio so engine work could continue and the other instruction was to wash the triplane. So I started to feel a little better.


Cleaning/Oiling the Triplane

The triplane was washed up and parked in the sun to dry. We will need ground crews at events in the future to immediately clean all rotary powered aircraft. Letting the castor oil fog set up for two weeks, especially in the Texas heat isn't a good idea! Doug Hortvet finished off the triplane's care by oiling the valve rocker arm ball bearings.

There were two more airplane events to mention - Ted Dawson, Terry Bledsoe, and Mike McCormick finished off the Luscombe work. They reinstalled the fuel tank and as far as I know, got the aircraft ready for Roger to inspect in preparation to flying the airplane again.


Varnishing Tommy parts

The other major airplane event (that I am aware of!) was beginning work on the Tommies. The rudders, vertical fins, and elevators for both Tommies were dug out of the hanger and taken to the shop. The T-2 stuff is fresh, and needs no work, aside from maybe varnishing the wood parts with epoxy varnish (which protects better since it isn't affected by the dopes used to seal the fabric covering). Envelopes were cut for all the T-2 parts and most, if not all, were sewn by Roger. The rudder's cover was glued on and the first coat of nitrate dope was applied. Thin tapes were applied where the rib stitching will occur and Roger taught several guys how to rib stitch, so that process has started.

Steel wool was applied to the T-1 parts, everything except the rudder, which Roger had recovered "not too long ago" and was deemed good (though it has paint issues and at least one puncture through the fabric!). For the remaining T-1 parts the fabric tape mummifying the metal parts was cut off. The entire piece, metal and wood, was rubbed down with steel wool. The metal parts were then painted with Rustoleum and the wood parts were sealed with epoxy varnish. These parts will be ready for cover next workday, and work can start on the horizontal stabilizers, wings and fuselages.


Team Vehicles

Nash Quad moving

Team Vehicles had a great time this week. Don G, John B & son, and Jeremy B did a great job getting the vehicles fixed up. Don was spectacular getting the Quad not only timed and tuned, but also in directing the work on the gas line problem that developed shortly after the Quad ran and then starting working only intermittently. Roger Freeman's expertise was instrumental in both initially starting as well as teaching some basic operating skills, and also correctly calling the source of the fuel line problem. We blew the line clear of debris, after which the Quad ran like a fine tuned watch thanks to Don's expertise.


Fixing the TT starter switch

John also did a lot of work in installing a new starter switch for the TT, which required cutting the plate to allow the switch to be properly placed. It appears that the ignition issues with the TT have been fixed. It was no easy task but John applied his usual energy in completing the task as well as contributing a lot of cranking on the Quad, as did Don and Jeremy (if we keep the Quad operating the cranking should be minimal in the future). John's son John was also in the mix. John and Jeremy were outstanding in their efforts in working under the vehicles. Some of our more rotund volunteers just can't get that kind of work done expeditiously, but they could.

Jeremy, was everywhere, providing more than significant assistance to John & Don on the work on the two "projects". There was an awesome amount of teamwork all around. Five drivers had the four running vehicles exercising, and it was figured out quickly that working on the vehicles in the shade was a far more satisfactory arrangement than working in the hangar. The term "shade tree mechanics" comes to mind--in a very positive light.



Past Events

Contact us:

VAHF
190 Pershing Lane
Kingsbury, TX 78638
830-639-4162
Email for info

Roger Ritter Consulting Valid XHTML 1.0!