Sunday, July 08, 2012

Rick’s Fairchild – a follow up

When you start on your next airplane restoration project, remember there is a beginning (which is easy), a middle (which isn’t), and an end, which is supposed to be a lot of fun. The beginning of this particular  project involved a measure of casting a wide net for available airplanes in various stages of restoration, good friends keeping an eye out for likely candidates, and pure dumb luck. All these things came together when Rick Thompson found his 1934 Fairchild Model 24 C8C in Soldatna Alaska (see “Alex in Treasure Land”, June 2010).

Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 013a Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 012a Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 014a

These are pictures of pictures, posted on Rick’s jig that serve to remind him of where he’s been and how he’s doing.

Never let it be said that restoring an airplane is easy. Even though almost all the parts are there, it’s not like the Revell model airplane kit you put together as a youngster. It’s not even like your Van’s RV kits of the present day. More the case, it’s like stripping, disassembling, cataloging, then a very long period of fixing what has to be fixed, prepping, priming, finding and/or building a lot of parts, some of which are described in very hard to find books on dusty shelves somewhere, some of which aren’t, then putting the whole thing back together again. The parts for which there is no description have to be duplicated from parts on surviving airplanes, if you can find one. Others are fabricated using the T.L.A.R. principle (That Looks About Right). If you happen to be Rick, you just search and re-search until you find what you need, then whip out your magic tools and knock out, say, a glove box for your 1934 Fairchild Model 24 C8C. They don’t carry those at AutoZone.

Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 002a Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 003a Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 004

The payoff after fitting and holding your mouth just right is that smile after Rick is satisfied that the new glove box is just right!

Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 006a Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 007a Rick Fairchild 7-7-12 011a

See the picture of the picture of the instrument panel in the first row above? That old Scintilla magneto switch had to be restored and rebuilt. Ditto the overhead elevator trim indicator … and how about those rudder pedals?

At some point, the light will begin to gleam at the end of the tunnel and all the pieces of the puzzle  will come together in an actual airplane. Until then, dear friends, stay tuned …..

Rick Thompson 034a

Rick, Rosa and son John. Nice people.