Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasfl├╝gel 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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A new roost for an old bird

On April 18, Sunday morning, Louise and I drove to Moriarty to have Robert Mudd inspect the bird for the first time.

We pulled up to the hanger of Composite Aircraft Repair. We were greeted by Robert and a few other pilots interested in seeing what I bought.

As we started unloading the glider from the trailer, many ideas and suggestion started flying around.
Robert commented that he liked the trailer, and some modification could be done to better protect the glider.

Just then, Rick Kohler of Sundance Aviation, and my all time instructor, walked up and gave the Libelle a look. He smiled and said to me, "Looks good, "Just fly the hell out of it!"

 Robert started his brief inspection and started pointing out areas that I should focus on for repair. Most of the issues where superficial trailer rash damages that needed repair, like the big ding in the trailing-edge of the rudder. Here is where we first started the disassembly. Off came the rudder and now I have a bag of bolts.

 He then stated, "I would really like to see the condition of the wing mounts and spars. You need to get those cleaned up a sanded down". At that point, I knew that a complete overhaul and strip down would be the best overall plan before flying this bird.

The proud owner of a project!

"The battle to buy a glider is over, the battle to restore one is about to begin".

Home again, home again!

Thursday morning, in order to avoid the morning rush hour, I started my way to Tacoma Narrows Airport at the crack of dawn. The roads were quite, and just shortly after I arrived at the airport, Charlie showed up to open the hanger. We loaded up the trailer, and I put the temp tags on. I inspected the tires and they did need air. As Charlie and I departed I stopped at the FBO to see if i could get the tires filled with air. A kind line mechanic added air to the tires and I was off to Pasco Washington to pick up my truck.

The loaner truck and trailer handled well while I traveled through the mountains and in no time, I was pulling into the Ford Service station to pick up my truck.

They had the truck ready when I arrived and I hooked up the trailer, and I was off to New Mexico. I again made my evening stop in Idaho. The truck was holding up well. Saturday morning i was off again, with my plans to get home that evening. For the most part, my travels were uneventful. the roads became busy as I drove through Moab Utah. It was spring and every Jeep, dirt-bike and four-wheeler where hitting the trails in Monument Valley.

I pulled into my driveway about 9pm. The end of a long road trip, over 3200 miles in four days.

The next morning I was looking at a new sight in my driveway.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Travel and turmoils

As soon as I returned from Tacoma, I scrambled to get ready to drive back to pick up my new toy!

First, I drove my truck to the service department to get it checked out, and to have an oil change. Next there was the need to get a temporary tag for the license of the trailer. I brought the bill of sale for the trailer, but since we used the same pen to fill out the form, the New Mexico DMV would not accept it. I had to email the form back to Charlie and after he filled it out, he had to rush it back to me. Once I received the form from Charlie, the NMDMV accepted the document and provided me the temp tag needed for the trailer so I could legally cross state lines.

I hit the road at 5am on Wednesday morning. my plan was to drive all day and then spend the night in Twin Falls Idaho.

The drive was for the most part uneventful.
Blue skies and good roads driving through Utah.

And with some interesting rock formations! (looks like Mrs. Butterworth)

Once I arrived in Salt Lake City, it was the height of the 5 o-clock rush hour, which slowed my progress, but as soon as I cleared the city limits, it was smooth sailing again.

It was around 9pm when I arrived in Twin Falls. Just as I pulled into the hotel parking lot, I noticed a strange sound coming from the engine when I was turning. I inspected the truck, but I didn't notice anything. I figured that I was just hearing things due to fatigue.

The next morning, I did another walk around on the truck and inspected the engine, but still, I did not see or hear anything unusual.

Well, there was a problem. When I was just east of Pendleton Oregon I noticed the steering started making a sound as I applied the brakes. I pulled into a rest stop and looked under the hood again, this time I noticed fluid dripping from the left side of the engine in front of the left wheel well. It was the hydraulic fluid that is used for both the power steering and brakes. I called Louise to have her check the Internet for the nearest Ford Service station. It turned out that the nearest one was sixty miles away in West Pasco, Washington.

I called the Ford Service to ask them if I could still drive the truck long enough to get it there, they stated that it was possible providing that I was conservative on my braking.

So I carefully drove the truck to the Ford Service. I now was concerned on what happened and how much it will cost to fix it.

I pulled into the Ford Service Center at 12 noon, and without waiting, the technician pull the truck into a bay. After 45 minutes., the verdict was in...... the main seal on the hydro boost blew and the impeller on the power stirring shattered. OMG! how much was that going to cost, and how long would it take? The Service manage stated that the cost to repair the truck would be just over $1000.00 and would take most of the day to complete the task. Now this was something I didn't need. I was already counting on that cash to help with the cost to get the sailplane flying. I called Charlie, and informed him of what happen and I would be delayed in getting to Gig Harbor.

A short time later, the Service Manager wanted to show me what needed to be replaced, as soon as I rounded the corner I noticed that the area that was being repaired was located near the exact location of where my wife just four months earlier was involved in an accident. I informed the Manager of my suspicions that the damage could have been related to the accident. After he and his tech both looked at the parts, they stated that it was possible that the damage could have been the results of the accident.

As the time was nearing 5pm, I was getting concerned, when the sales manager walked around the corner and informed me that they need a part to finish the repairs, and that the truck would not be ready until the next morning.

Just when things where looking bleak, the General manger offered me the use of one of their demos to pick up the glider.

They new that I needed to get to Tacoma that night and were OK with me keeping their truck overnight. So by 6pm, I was back on the road to Tacoma. I knew that I had over fours of driving ahead, and it would be too late to pick up the glider. I called Charlie and informed him that I would pick the glider up first thing in the morning, and that I would be spending the night in Seattle.

The drive to Seattle was uneventful, and I was able to get a room at the hotel I stayed at four days earlier.