This wing had a leaky fuel tank problem. When removing some fabric, we found lots of missing nails, cracked ribs and other problems. All fabric was removed and the spars were found to have serious dog-legs in them : They were never trammeled properly. Because of the crooked spar, the original rebuilder did this to the central aileron hinge to make it fit! They added almost 3/8" worth of shims and pop-riveted it back together.
This was done by a licensed A&P. The owner reported an odd behavior in flight whenever the the stick was moved past a certain point: this was the aileron popping up and down as it went over-center due to the crooked hinge alignment. All fixed now, but it shows that even good looking rebuilds may hide serious flaws.
The Callair wings have been reassembled and covered. Final assembly is underway. Not having drawings available meant that a lot of head scratching was called for occasionally.
New spars being made for the Callair. Several laminations of spruce are required. There are no drawings available so we have to work from the existing wing.
This is the kind of thing you don't want to find. Water got trapped between the sheet metal and spar and caused this. (This is the underside of the wing.) The factory should have put drain holes there. However, I don't think they ever expected these airplanes to be flying and working after 50 years. These spars will all have to be replaced. Straightforward, but it will take some time. A lot of the sheet metal will also get replaced. AFter all this, these wing should be good for another 50 years
Making good progress on the Callair glider tug. This is not a restoration job, but a typical clean up and repair before covering kind of job. It's a working airplane, not an Oshkosh award winner. So we compromise on the hours we can afford to spend on this, but not on the quality of the work we do. This needed some tubes in the rear that were corroded and a huge amount of general clean up work; it spent all of its life outside.
Speaking of Stearmans (Stearmen?) - A few days ago, another one (Corona is knee deep in these, it seems) had a slight mishap when it groundlooped at Chino. Spar damage and it will need new fabric over about a third of the outer wing. This will be good as new soon. Doing the repairs with the wing still attached makes it more tricky, but taking these off is a major job.
In the near future, another interesting project:
These are brand new wings for a Boeing Stearman. The best workmanship I have ever seen and we'll make sure the fabric covering will be up to the same standard.
We've started stripping down the Callair and there is plenty of evidence of a hard working life. The fabric, while still strong in places looked terrible all over and there were countless patches and plenty of dirt and light corrosion to be cleaned up.