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.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winter 2014!??! .... so soon!

Well gang... we went from summer to winter here in New Mexico. What happened to fall!!?!?

My last flight was in late September, I was hoping to get a few more in before the weather turns foul, but that didn't happen.

There have been some wave days, but those have been during the week, and with my glider in a trailer, it makes for an unpleasant ordeal to assemble and disassemble the glider a strong, cold wind.

So, I'm focused on working on the wrecked PIK-20B during the winter months.

So, for now, I'm standing down on flights for the next few months, until the weather settles down and good lift returns to my neck of the woods.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

From Bare Glass to Diamonds. - It's Badge time - Silver Distance / Altitude - Part 2

My first filing of my Silver Altitude and Distance Badge had an error that didn't qualify for entry. My data-logger shut off at take off, and when I caught the error, I was already off tow and had to return to my start point. To qualify, I had to have a record of the launch and release. So I was back to retry my attempt.

I completed the task, and we filed my paperwork.

I received a confirmation letter from the SSA that I have successfully fulfilled the requirements for the altitude and distance portion of the Silver Badge. I still have to do a 5 hour flight to claim the Silver.

My flight can be seen on OLC at http://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0/gliding/flightinfo.html?dsId=3928232

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Adding a FLARM

I posted this on a different site, but I thought I would share this story.

I recently purchased a FLARM from Cumulus Soaring, Inc. Since the airspace we share is full of heavy metal (airliners) in addition to gliders, I felt that this would be an invaluable instrument to have on board.


Just days before receiving it, I did a fly-over of our home. Louise ran out of the house to take a photo of me passing over, but the glider she saw was not me!. It was a Duo Discus (upper right corner and I'm in the lower left corner), and thou she did take the photo, being under a dark cloud, I did not see them until after they past.
As soon as the FLARM arrived, I was out to the airport to install it in the glider. I purchase the FLARM Core brick. It is a tight fit on the tray. What is even tighter, is the antenna installation. 

Since the Libelle does not have a combing, I had to mount the GPS antenna in the nose, top-side up, and the FLARM A and ADS-B antennas were mounted on opposite sides of the nose bulkhead. It now requires small hands to button up the tray!

For the display, I bought the LX Nav  FLARMview. It is bright and easy to read in flight.


Last Tuesday was the first time I flew with the FLARM, and as soon as I released from tow, it went off. It was alerting me of a target using a transponder.
The object was above me and closing. As I was circling in the thermal, scanned the sky around me to see what I was closing in on. When I was just less than three hundred feet from it, I banked out from the thermal in a direction away from the target. A soon as I made the turn I noticed it was the club Grob above me at my six-o-clock high position. I didn’t know if they could see me, since I was at their 12 –o-clock low position.
During the rest of the flight, I was warned a few times of a approaching target,, and sure enough, it was the Grob.
This was a good first test flight with the FLARM. I certainly see a value in this instrument and those who fly with a minimum, a working transponder.

Thank you Paul and Renny for your help with this purchase. Money well spent!


Still more Trailer Mods

Howdy all!

I know that it has been a while since my last post. I have been busy with work, and doing some flying when the weekends are good. We have had a wet summer, and the soaring has been fair.

Since I don't have a hanger to store my bird between flights, I have been "Flying out of the box".

I had to create a storage box for my assembly equipment, after the bin I was originally using softened and the shaft from the Wing-rigger stuck the underside of the wing fairing.
The new enclosure is made of plywood, sealed in polyurethane paint, and marine carpet on the sides facing the wings.

So far, it works well in protecting the wings.

All that is left to do in the trailer, is to create and mount the wing-tip guards.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

More Trailer Mods!

I have not been doing much flying over the past two weekends due to weather, so I continued to work on the trailer. I knew that I was far from finishing this sucker!

Now that I have a working glider, it is time to finish the means to secure it and the support equipment for travel.

I fabricated a rack for the horizontal stabilizer. It was made from aluminum to keep it light.

I was getting fearful that the struts would not hold the additional weight, but, for now, it seems to be working.

I used felt padding to reduce scratching the surfaces.

The next area on the trailer to tackle is the forward compartment to house the spare tire, wing rigger, support stands, the wing and tail dollies, and supply bins.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

From Bare Glass to Diamonds. - It's Badge time - Silver Distance / Altitude

Now it's time to do what Rick told me to do with this glider four years ago "Fly the Hell out of it!"

Over this past weekend Brian at Sundance Aviation wanted to know when I was going to go for my badges?! I replied, .. "what do we need to do?"

Since he was a authorized observer, he gave me a task to fly that would get me my Silver distance, and my Silver altitude. My first attempt was on Saturday, but I failed to reach my second turn waypoint due to strong winds breaking up the thermals. So I made my second attempt on Sunday.

Sunday, all looked go, and when I reached my start point, I had achieved plenty of altitude to reach my first turn waypoint. As I headed out, I noticed on my PDA that my Nano was not showing it was connected. I looked at it and noticed that it shut down. I knew that I started it while I was on the line, but, for now, I had to restart it and turn back to do a restart at the start waypoint.

So after making my turn at the start gate... it became a challenge to regain the altitude lost to restart....

But, I was able to make my task with a 5 mile buffer!.

My flight can be seen on OLC at http://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0/gliding/flightinfo.html?dsId=3846680

So, I unofficially made the task. Now we just need to file it!

Sunday, June 1, 2014


I did my first high altitude flight today!... 17K and I flew for 1hr 15min.

It was interesting on how the inside, forward area on the canopy fogged up. I will have to figure out a way the prevent that from happening again. I could still see out, since it was just about 2" up from the frame.

I could have stayed up there for most of the day. But I didn't know how much longer folks were hanging around at the airport to help me off the line.

No photos today.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Today was my turn!

Today, I was expecting to do a series of weights and balances with me in the glider, and then to do some minor cleanup on the glider,... but no... there was an unexpected change in plans.

After we finished with the weights and balances, Robert stated  "get you stuff together, you are flying her now!"

So, we dis-assembled the glider, and put the fuselage back on the dolly at the trailer. Then, we re-assembled and readied her for flight.

I called Louise to get her out there to document the occasion. Once she arrived, and not unlike Sisyphus and his stone, Joseph and I proceeded to roll her to the line.

 Robert instructed me chute up and get in.

They then rolled me to the center line on Runway 8

At this point, I recites the Shepard's Prayer .. "Oh God ... Don't let me F**K Up!"

Steve from Sundance Aviation, was my wing runner, and as always, there to give me a hand!

We're off!
On the tow,... So far, so good!

Off tow and I feeling fine... so where is the lift

Found a thermal, and I'm back to being Cloud Base Johnny!

How do you land this thing?!

The controls were so light to what I'm used too, and the duel sided airbrakes took me by surprise! I dropped like a stone when I opened them. I was over the threshold at about 10' and settled fast. I came in with too much energy to bleed off, but then my ground effect was reduced due to a strong head wind. As I was rolling on the ground, and a gust lifted me up and started a pitch/ PIO. I held it off and settled back down, but my intended stopping point was about 2000' short... I felt like a boob!. But again, this was my first flight in a Libelle.

I popped the canopy and started to walk the glider to the nearest taxi intersection. Joseph was the first to arrive to help, while Robert picked up his car and a rope to tow the glider back to the ramp.

Thanks Coach! ... It was the Beemans!

Robert signed me off. and she is mine to do with as I please!

So, what is left?

Well,... Trailer mods to secure the wings and the horizontal stabilizer. There are a few little nicks to clean up, add the wing tanks, and mount my PDA..

After I get some time in the Libelle, it will be time for XC training and Badge Collecting!

There is still more to this blog!

But yet .. there is another story developing. It's about a poor bird that was destined to be scraped until I found her ....
http://pik20resurrection.blogspot.com/  ) .. I told you I was one sick puppy!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Today was the Day! NIXIE FLEW!

After four years of blood, sweat, tears, and bags of cash (that I didn't have),... the project took flight!

 Getting her put together
Robert getting a test fit before we roll her out to the line.
Sharing a stick of Beemans gum before the test flight!
Rolling Robert out to the center line before hookup.
Hooked up and ready to roll!
Nixie is off!

She really does fly!!
Back on the ground, safe and sound!
The Team that made it possible!

Nixie was christened with Champagne.
My flight is next week.... I will be saying the "Shepard's" prayer ... Alan Shepard that is ;-)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I can't seem to keep anything nice for more than 30 minutes

We are two weeks past the deadline I was hoping we would have met for first flight, but one thing after another has hampered the finishing progress.

We finally got the glider together and started the weights and balances.

Fully loaded, we are within limits  but we need to reweigh it with me in it. The tail seems too heavy and the flight CG is still a couple of inches to far aft of the safe limit datum. Then comes the fun. When we worked on the adjusting the travel. there was a bit of confusion on the setting of the travel on the ailerons. but after three hours of deliberation, we got it set.

Next, we started to take the wings off, but forgot we were not on the dolly, and after starting
the removal of the left wing, the fuselage started to slip out from under me, which I caught before falling over and hitting the horizontal. But not after the wing chipped the paint on the top of the fairing. Joseph got pissed on that one.. but he really threw in the towel after the FUBAR with the horizontal.

So after that drama, we tried to adjust the travel of the elevator, only to find that the elevator bracket was hanging up on the back of the notch in the tail.

The movement was hindered to stop up at about 10 degrees. We discovered that my aircraft has been flying with reduced elevator control since 1976. The elevator travel on a 201B is 18 degrees +/-1 degree in both directions (up/down) The travel down was 18'ish, up motion stopped at about 10 degrees. The problem is that the back of the vertical wall on the horizontal insert did not allow the travel.

After looking at photos of the original control horn, looked thinner at the riveted sleeve in the center. It looks like my original control horn was sent to Streifeneder to have the welded supports added, and
Streifeneder sent them a new one which was designed bulkier for the newer Libelles manufactured after 1975.

Now after scrapping the inside of the horizontal stabilizer shelf, and building up the inside.. now it works. And more paint patchup. I now have to keep sharp objects away from Joseph
This weekend, we will button up the control bolts, and get another set of weights and balances with me in it... I hope this weekend goes better than the last.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Count Down to First Flight!

The count down has begun!

Over this past weekend, Robert became current in the Libelle 201B after flying the clubs glider.

Joseph showed up on Saturday to put the mylar on the control surfaces, while I continued working on the trim out of the cockpit.

Sunday, I finished the cockpit! All the padding is in and the plastic is off!

The electronics are working!

All that is left to do is the final weights and balance, and the verification of the travel on the control surfaces, which I was told will be done on Tuesday!

The transponder needs to be certified, and the compass needs a correction card, but all is looking good (weather permitting) for a test flight next Saturday!

Cameras are charging and the Champagne is chilling!

So, here she is before, ...4 years ago!

 And here she is now!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Brighter Image!

Today, I was able to get the Antenna/balun connected to the radio COAX, and tested it!. The speaker is now wired up and I secured any loose wiring.

I finished connecting the aileron linkage and airbrake controls. The airframe is now ready to be assembled for testing of the control surfaces. Robert told me today that he will have the W/B on the control surfaces finished this week.

I set the main gear doors and have the bungees in place, tested the gear retracts and all looks good.

Finally, I peeled away the plexi protective coating,

... and inspected the canopy.

There are a few scratched inside, near the aft area near the frame, but it is light, and can be polished out.

So, this week, I believe all that is left is up to Robert now. The control surfaces still need to have their weights and moments calculated. After that is done,  I can finish sealing the wings, rudder and elevators. Drop in the seat pan, seatback, and get the final W/B on the bird! All of this can be done on Saturday!

We are just about ready for that first test flight!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Devil is in the Details

Over the past week poor Joseph was polishing and touching up the paint on the winglets and the cockpit. I told him to stay home this weekend and to not worry about the glider.

When I came in on Saturday, the glider was waiting for me in the booth, ready for me to start trimming out the details.

The first thing I noticed was the painted registration and tail letters were blended smoothly into the white paint.

My first task was to add the Libelle logo to the tail, which I had vinyl transfers made at Fastsigns.

The transfers were better than the decals I bought. They too looked like they were painted on.

My next tasks was to rivet the serial number plate back on, and grind down the screw ends in the hat shelf cover.

A happy milestone since the plate was removed four years ago!

I then added the speaker, and GRP straps to the inside to secure the speaker wires.

I adjusted the release cable under Roberts guidance, secured the turnbuckle with safetly wire, swedged the T-handles for the Release and Pedal adjustment.

I also spent most of the day cleaning the bearings and removing the years of dust and grime that have been collecting on them.

The water ballast dump system controls were added ....
... and tested.

As I was walking out of the booth this evening, this is what I see!
Sunday, I will be finishing getting the antenna reconnected and tested, and continue the clean out of dust and grime build up.