Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasflügel Standard Libelle H201B, and a tribute to those who have dared to do the same, and to those who are helping with seeing this dream take flight.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Trials and Divine Inspiration

The Pre-Sale Inspection!?!?!?! Now what!!??
Oh yes, I asked the following questions, What was the date of the last major overhaul, last annual inspection and last avionics check?, Are all airworthiness directives completed and in compliance?, Is there a damage history, major and minor (if any)?, What are the conditions of the avionics?, What is the overall condition of the interior and exterior?, What is the condition of the gelcoat?, Blah, Blah Blah. But where do I find someone locally who can seriously inspect this plane? With this new task in front of me, I needed the extra time to pull this together.

After contacting the seller requesting permission to schedule the inspection, I started asking around to find out who was available to perform the inspection. My first contact was with the SSA. They called me back with a few suggestions to get me on my way. The first suggestion was to call the local glider port and ask someone their, the next was to contact a local A&P, and lastly, call the local authorized glider repair station (now that opened a fresh can of worms!) I did just that.

Now in Washington state, there is not a plethora of Glider operations to choose from, and almost no one is local to Tacoma. After two days of trying to find someone, it became quite evident that I was on my own.
The local A&P that worked on this glider was not a glider expert, the local glider port all suggested that the glider needs to be taken to the only glider repair station in the state (which was almost a two hour drive north of Tacoma, one way). The Glider repair station was willing to do it, but it would cost $500 (and I was told by almost everyone I talked to, that the owner of the repair shop was notorious for finding all sorts of minute issues and would want them repaired before he would release the glider back to the seller, adding another two grand to the pre-sale inspection).

Finding someone to perform the inspection was looking grim.So it was off the the airport to talk to Robert about what is involved with a pre-sale inspection, maybe I could do it myself?

Robert was again very helpful in educating me on what I needed to look for while performing the inspection. He even instructed me on what to look for using the Libelle 201B that the Albuquerque Soaring Club has in their fleet. There was a suggestion that I send Robert up to take a look at it, but I was counting pennies now.

Robert informed me that Robin Forster (a young pilot from Germany that stayed in Albuquerque last summer) sent in a series of photos he had taken of the newly restored Libelle Ship #1.

It was gorgeous. I could not believe that this craft was well over forty years old.

The finish was glass like, smooth, shiny, flawless.

And the cockpit could rival the latest sailplane manufactured today!

Robert instilled a feeling of inspiration when he said, "you know, the Libelle you're looking at could look like this!"  - my mission statement is this poster child!

Another comment Robert made was about the number of Eugen Hänle designed aircraft based out of the Moriarty airport. Stating that if I were to purchase the plane, there would be five Glasflügel aircraft here! Too cool!

With notes in hand, it was off to develop a plan and inspection process before heading to Gig Harbor to inspect this plane myself.


  1. Id really like to thank you for posting this blog. I too have been saving for my first glider and I am about 90% sure it will be a libelle 201b. At least I was 90% sure until I read your blog. ouch, How much do you expect to have into this glider after the new gelcoat?


  2. I too could not afford a newer sailplane (used). Everyone I talked to just loved the Libelle, and like you, had a feeling that a Libelle would be my first. I was ignorant buying this plane, even though I have a great coach. I could have walked away, but the price was worth the gamble. I was told to fly the guts of her when I first arrived at the glider port, but I wanted to spruce her up and make her a show piece. With that in mind, I knew I could save up a little at a time to do the job right and achieve my goal. That being said, I'm sure I will be in the hole for 20K or so, but I will know firsthand what this bird will be like when she is finished, inside and out, and I was told by many that she will be unlike any other Libelle in the US. The added benefit will be when we do the correction on the repairs. Currently, I cannot tell you how much weight she has shed, but it is now measured in pounds! We will be using white polyurethane to refinish the surface. Polyurethane does not yellow with age like gelcoat.

    Thank you for following the blog

  3. John how did your Libelle pre-approval flight inspection work out? What were the main points to check out?
    Felipe from South America
    Just buying my Libelle h201b

    1. The flight went smoothly. She flew straight and level. After Robert finished the check flight and signed off on her, I was able to take the next flight!.