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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

201B or not 201B, that is the question

Happy New Year and I hope it will be a good one!

So lets start off with a little history lesson, and a little mystery.

What makes a Libelle 201 a 201B?  That has been a question posted on the Libelle forum a few times.

From what I can gather, and I might be wrong, I recall some first thought it was the introduction of the the retractable main wheel, but that was an option offered after the first 20 or so Libelle 201's  manufactured. Many say it's the install of the wing tanks and the replacement of the the old limitations placards with the new 201B limitations.

I know that the true, pure, 201B manufactured started at serial number 322. 

There are a list of changes to the H201 that made it a H201B
Such standard items on the H-201B after SN 322, were:
1. Correct Water ballast installation.
2. New horizontal stabilizer to improve the elevator authority at slow speeds.
3. Reinforced tail boom.
4. New tail plane attachment fitting.
5. Larger diameter tubing for rudder pedals for the steel cables.
.... you get the picture.

But all of these changes to the aircraft needed to be done per the specification of Glasflügel or Streifeneder.

I found that with the installation of the water ballast system, per Glasflügel, made it a H-201B.

And as we know from my previous posts, not everything on my bird was upgraded per the manufacturers specification.

Currently, my glider is registered as a 201B, and I from what I found, many of the listed items were not done. The only sure thing that made my bird a H201B was the water ballast system, and it was not done per anyone's specification. It looked like a homemade modification.

I will need to make sure that the 201B modifications will be completed per the manufacturers guidelines, but the problem I have found is, where can I find the proper parts?.

I removed the questionably installed water ballast parts when I started the initial strip down of the glider (May of 2010).  I had no intention of re-using these, since they appeared to be made from an old tarp.

At that time I found an old web page from Eastern Sailplane, where they were selling replacement ballast tanks. The next day, I contacted Eastern Sailplane to see if they had replacement tanks for the Libelle.,

In June of 2010, I was traveling to the airport to train my replacement after getting laid off, when I received a call from John Murray of Eastern Sailplane. He called to tell me that he had found a replacement ballast bag set for the Libelle.

Now I had water bags, but I need the rest of the parts to satisfy the requirements of a properly installed water ballast system!

So the quest for the parts continues.

Early 2011, I emailed Streifeneder to find out what I needed to do the proper water ballast installation.

After waiting a few months, I received a response with a 3 page list of parts and a list of blueprint drawings needed to install the system. I ordered the set drawings first to see if I could find any of the parts here in the US. When I received the drawings, I found that there were many custom Libelle parts. The prospects of re-installing the water ballast system was looking grim.

So, the question now, Tanks or no Tanks?

Again, I emailed Streifeneder and asked them if the water ballast system parts were still available, a mod-kit would be great too! Several months went by, and I received a reply. Hansjorg wrote me a replay stating that he would have to look around to see if any parts were still available.

November of 2011, I receive another reply stating that the Teleflex cable used for the valve control was no longer available in a 3' length and he was still working on finding parts.

Using the information from the drawings, I went to a local marine shop and showed them the drawings. They identified the Teleflex cable used for controlling the throttle on motor boats, but again, that length was not available, nor can it be made to order.

The following weekend, I went to the airport to do some soaring. After our flight, I walking into the FBO and noticed a throttle cable on the counter. It looked just like the Teleflex cable at the marine shop, but it did not have the full cable covering. The cable had a stainless steel mesh cover.

I was able to order the throttle cable from Aircraft Spruce.

The year is 2012!

May, I received an email from Streifeneder telling me that they might have a set of parts to rebuild the water ballast system. The parts were coming from a unrepairable Libelle.

June, Streifeneder emails me a list of the parts they were able to recover, and a few that they will need to remake. I authorized the purchase of the parts.

The first week of September, a miracle happened. I received an email from Streifeneder with a bill for the parts, and within ten days, a box of parts arrived.  To my surprise this included the old, original tanks!

Since the wheel well was painted, There will need to be some cleanup to glue the fiberglass water dump parts in place.

I believe I now have the parts to do a proper water ballast install.

The next question will be, which tanks do I use, and what modifications will be needed for the interior of the wing cells to support the water bags.  Roberts knowledge of glider ballast systems will be called in to solve this question.

So, on to the task at hand, finishing the glider!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Assault and Battery! Part 2

Here is a post I thought I published . The box construction was completed last spring, as with the mounting of the turnbuckle parts.

So, here is the narrative.

After working on a way to secure the batteries, I came up with an alternative means to mount the battery cover.

I found a turnbuckle that would work to secure a modified battery cover plate.

To prep the box for the turnbuckles, I cut two holes in the battery box flange.

I cut the threaded portions of the turnbuckles an cemented them in place with a mix of resin and flocking. This fix was similar to the original fixtures on the original box. 

This part was completed prior to packing the glider up to take to the airport.

The battery compartment needed a cover to secure the batteries in place. I used a piece of thick fiberglass that was removed from the trailer. I found a couple of wing-knobs at a local hardware store and mounted the threaded screws in them. I attached a couple of washers for strength, and added a piece of felt padding.

Here is a photo on how it is attached to the battery box.

I finished the wiring and soldered the connectors
The terminated wires were then snapped into the marked ends.

Although these two photos shows how I did the battery connectors, I have since changed them due to the possibility of getting the wires crossed. I have since used polarized connectors.
With the batteries in place, I connected an aircraft radio antenna to the radio and powered the panel up. I did not connect the power to the transponder.

I did a radio check and received a positive reply, from my wife on my portable radio, from the other side of the house.

I then tuned in Albuquerque Approach and listened to the incoming traffic.

I can't wait to get this bird up in the air!

Well, That is it for the end of the year 2012 !

Happy Holidays to all!