Friday, April 14, 2017

CallAir Engine Run

So close I can taste it.

The engine was run today after a pre-oiling. Prop looks a bit wonky owing to the shutter speed. There will be someone who wants one just like it so I'm taking orders.

Malcolm says there are no leaks and everything checks out. Fingers crossed, we may be ready to see if this thing will fly! I already know we (ok, just the airplane) lost a little weight from before we started - not much, but a little is good. 
One of a kind

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Almost ... Finished ...

Almost finished, just not quite ... we ran into a few issues on rollout that have to be corrected so I did a 180 and left Florida for North Carolina by car and will wait for the magicians to abra all their cadabras.

 Sure looks good
Thanks to Joe Dunn for the great pictures
Some things you want to get done, but rushing to a completion is no way to do it. The trip was not wasted - sometimes a fresh set of eyes can see new things, especially after working on a project for 3 1/2 years. The expectations were already high - now they are better defined and we'll have a magnificent airplane.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Drum Roll - The Finishing Touches on the CallAir

The clock began in October, 2013, on a restoration project to bring a one-of-a-kind airplane back to life.
It started with an orphan airplane that was originally going to be the first of a new production run of a proven design - the Interstate Cadet. There was ambition to go back in production after World War II, but the reality of the marketplace showed there was too much established competition from Cessna, Piper and others, so plans for production were shelved. The basic design did re-emerge in the 1970s for another market - the Alaska bush - under another owner and another name, the Arctic Tern.
Reuel and Barlow Call from "CallAir Affair" by Carl Peterson. Click on the pictures to make them larger.
Two men were particularly keen on the Cadet design: Reuel and Barlow Call, cousins from Afton, Wyoming. Local ranchers liked the high wing and rugged construction of the Cadets and their military cousins, the L-6s, that the CallAir factory rebuilt during the war years. 

While they liked the Cadet, the Calls had their own line of personal airplanes and initially bought the inventory of hard-to-get parts and supplies from Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Corp for production of their own designs. (The sale of inventory was separate from the type certificate, which had first gone to Max Harlow in July, 1945. The Calls bought the Cadet type certificate in July, 1950.)
Serial Number 1001 (pictured) was built up from Interstate parts in 1950, possibly before purchase of the type certificate. S/N 1001 is shown in FAA records as an Interstate, but it had a CallAir serial number. My airplane, serial number 1002, is recorded as a CallAir, built in 1952. The Calls reserved blocks of registration numbers and, curiously, the numbers assigned to 1001 and 1002 were reversed; 1001 given N2923V and 1002, N2922V.

A Cadet was built up as an Interstate in 1950 and was granted either an Experimental or Restricted Airworthiness Certificate. It was used as a demo for marketing. (It is rumored to have gone to Alaska. The FAA records show its airworthiness classification as "Unknown" and the registration revoked).
Serial Number 1002, shown in the final assembly building at Call Aircraft Company, Afton WY, 1952. Photo supplied by Major General Boyd Eddins, USAF (Retired), who worked at the CallAir plant as a teenager.

Cadet Serial Number 1002 was built with a more powerful engine for Reuel Call in September, 1952, as an experimental R&D and demo airplane with an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate. FAA airworthiness records show a statement of conformity with Type Certificate A-737 in November, 1952, and application for a Standard Airworthiness Certificate at the same time as a CallAir S-1A-90C, the only airplane so designated making this airplane one-of-a-kind. (The Airworthiness Certificate was renewed at annual inspection each following year but current FAA records show first issuance in 1956). 

The airplane was used as a trainer after being sold to a flying school in Atlanta in early 1954. Barlow Call flew the airplane from Afton to Atlanta to deliver it to Davis-Elder Aircraft Corp at the Fulton County Airport. Davis-Elder sold it to Nichols Flying Service at Black Mountain NC in 1955. After another sale in 1957, with the exception of a couple of short vacations in Florida, the airplane was at home with two families in the mountains of western NC. 

More to come. Reunions and homecomings. First, though, the finishing touches, inspections and test flights.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wandering around the web . . . .

Who among us doesn't occasionally put our brain in neutral and just set out to poke here and there in the World Wide Web? I used to call it my electric fireplace, where I'd sit for hours staring at lights in a box.

Me auld buddy Dave must have been an influence - he wrote accompaniments to his daily dish of newspaper funnies that led me to, among others things, the music of Al Bowlly (go to Pandora and search for his channel), and a virtual cabinet of curiosities so varied and entertaining that I'd spend hour upon hour chasing the tendrils of information attached to them.

His latest prod toward web surfing was a reference to an American fighter pilot (fighter and pilot) named Frank Glasgow Tinker, who flew in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. A friend of Hemingway, among others, his was an action-packed life that ended in an apparent suicide at the age of 29, a result of too much boozing and PTSD. Google him and read the several biographical sketches. 
The Polikarpov I-16 "Mosca" flown by Tinker and used by him to shoot down the first ME-109b ever lost in combat

How I came up on the next subject was a diversion during a search for Frank Tinker's articles in The Saturday Evening Post. The first "GPS" addressed a need that still exists today, albeit without the modern conveniences of roads and road signs (and actual GPS). One was sold at a Skinner auction a few years back. I've never seen one.

The web snags time and wrings the life out of it. Beware.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The CallAir's Status Report 2/24/2017

Have you ever really listened to Maurice Ravel's "Bolero"? All the way through? Really? In an abridged nutshell, it's a fairly extended musical buildup to a rousing finish. Ravel, being French, knew his stuff along those lines.

It's somewhat like that when you're waiting for an airplane restoration. 

Click on the pictures to make them bigger

The Wyoming bucking bronco on the tail is being redone to center it up and make it larger

I have tail feathers now, struts and bracing wires, interior, and a leak in the brake master cylinder. It's all good, according to Malcolm, because these things mean the last little bits are at the happening stage. 

The flying schedule is set in Jell-o: Sun-n-Fun in April (oops - not ready), the South Carolina Breakfast Club in May, Triple Tree in June, Oshkosh in July, Homecoming to Afton WY in August, and the Antique Airplane Club of Greater New York in late August, capped off with Triple Tree in September. I make it to be about 75-80 hours' flying time after the post-restoration flight tests. Can't wait for the adventure to begin!

Friday, January 20, 2017

The CallAir - January 2017 - C.M. Wangs?

I had a particularly obnoxious friend who would tell and retell lame jokes, sometimes without taking a breath, and laugh every time at his rendition. Over and over. It's like watching today's pharmaceutical ads during the evening news. Having no talent at joke telling, or remembering for that matter, it surprised me that I recalled, nearly 50 years on, one of those annoying recitations and so now you are the beneficiary of my friend's largess. To duplicate his (re,re,re)telling, you must begin with a clean sheet of paper and write it out as you go, in an exaggerated Southern accent (he was from Massachusetts and his Southern accent was awful):

M R Ducks.
M R Not Ducks, M R Chickens.
M R 2 Ducks, C M Wangs?
L I B! M R Ducks!

I told you it was lame.

The wings are in place on the airplane, where they belong!

The best time to round up help is on a Friday when all the guys gather in preparation for lunch at Mary's Kountry Kitchen

Doesn't she look pretty in the Florida sun?

The paint scheme is as close to the original paint scheme as we could get, thanks to Major General Boyd Eddins (Ret), who worked at the CallAir factory as a teenager 

We're finally getting closer. Malcolm and Jonathan are fitting the center eyebrow next week (the part that goes between the wings and forms the upper windshield fairing) and, after measuring, the new windshield will be in the works.

I'm getting a little excited.

I Got Stripes

Malcolm said this was about 4 days worth of work to get the stripes just right.  
 The lettering within the stripe is just as it was when the airplane was new
 Careful masking makes sure the paint goes only where it is intended
Nice work! Note the Wyoming bucking bronco on the tail - the image is owned by the University of Wyoming and I made sure they were OK with my using it - all the CallAir airplanes displayed it when they were sent from the factory.

Friday, January 06, 2017

The CallAir Cadet Restoration - index of posts

Here it is, the first of 2017 and the full restoration of my airplane is just about done. Here is an index of all my posts about the CallAir Cadet. When I bought the airplane from Burt's family, I really had no idea what I was getting into. The airplane looked ok mechanically and I thought a simple recovering job might be it, but the more I looked into the history of the airplane, the more intrigued I became and, I have to admit, my heart got ahead of my head. But that's what I do. Same was true with the Bonanza I bought from a WWII Navy Ace, same was true with a couple of Cubs. Leave them better than you found them.

My own skills are just not up to scratch when it comes to projects like this - I have to leave it to professionals. 

So in chronological order:

We're pretty close now. All the parts have been cut out and fitted and painted and most have been secured in place. The windshield is the current Big Deal and that, hopefully, will be in place this month. Finding a replacement for a part that has been obsolete for 75 years, give or take, is a bit of a challenge but, fortunately, Malcolm has experience with fabricating things like this and so, one way or another, we'll have a new windshield.

I've quit forecasting a completion date. It'll be done when it's done.