Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The CallAir Goes A-Flying !

When the weather is right and there's food in the offing, there is only one thing to do ... go flying!
There's no better place to call a destination than Pat Hartness' Triple Tree Airport at Woodruff SC ... last Saturday he and the Triple Tree volunteers threw a Fabric and Taildragger Fly-In Lunch (of course no one would be turned away) and I'd guess some 110-120 airplanes showed up with just as many people flying them and another couple of hundred passengers and drive-in enthusiasts. What a great spread and what nice people! I'm already looking forward to next month's  South Carolina Breakfast Club breakfast there...

The long range view across the runway of some of the airplanes. Click on the pic to make it bigger.
The CallAir Cadet is a great flying airplane - controls are beautifully coordinated and it flies straight and true after its restoration at Southern Aircraft Support in Zellwood, Fla. The factory information was a mimeographed sheet (maybe a carbon copy written up by Carl Petersen, CallAir's sales manager - I only have a scan of the original so I can't tell) that touted the virtues of the airplane. Among the selling points was the statement that the pilot could fly it with his feet on the floor - a rare attribute in a taildragger, but the actual airplane is very stable and seems to bear this out.
Birds of a feather ... thanx to Darwin for the picture
It's too bad the airplane didn't make it into production with CallAir. Only one example exists under the CallAir name and that is this airplane. I've gone over the history of the design in prior posts for your reading pleasure.

One drawback. The airplane was designed and built at a time when the average height and weight of a pilot was in the 5'8"/160 pound range. My longer legs and larger frame (I have "big bones") make for some entertaining contortions when I enter and leave the cockpit. It's sort of like watching the 16th clown get into and out of a little car, if you get my drift. Once in, all's well.

More comings and goings as we come and go. There's a gathering scheduled for August 5th for the prior owners - I hope they'll enjoy seeing their airplane again and will approve of the re-do.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The CallAir is home ! ! !

It's Official! The CallAir is home in North Carolina!

We rolled out for the first test flight on April 25th and found a rigging problem in the braking system, so the flight test was aborted after a short taxi and it was back in the hangar to fix. 

Wednesday, April 26th was the day! Good weather was forecast and observed all the way - even a tailwind! After a test flight, during which I stayed close overhead Bob White Airport, the airplane was checked over one last time and we set off for North Carolina.

The route was the reverse from our flight down in December 2012 and was planned for three stops - I don't push fuel limits and I wanted to check consumption as well as oil and airframe components. The stops were Lake City FL, Hazelhurst GA, Washington-Wilkes County (just a little north of my original planned stop at Thomson) GA, and home base of Transylvania Community Airport near Brevard NC. The bread crumbs in the picture above show a little westerly diversion to avoid military operating areas and a large temporary flight restriction over the Okeefenokee Swamp due to forest fires there.

Quite a change from the first time the airplane and I saw each other . . .

Now for some flying!

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!