VG-21 Squadron



As Pat said in the last newsletter, you now have a new editor/publisher. I will do my best to live up to her

standards. My name is Max Bishop and, as some of you may know, I worked for Varga Aircraft for seven years and was Varga Aircraft's engineering manager when they closed in June of 1982. After Varga closed, I worked as a product and project engineer for a laminated glass and mirror manufacturer here in Chandler. In December of 1984 I went to work in the flight simulation department at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems in Mesa Arizona. There, I was responsible for the design of simulator cockpits and related equipment. In 1986 I bought enough parts from Varga Aircraft to build my own airplane. In December of 1987, I went to work for Montanair to build a new Varga prototype that they called the Montanair "Spirit". I returned to my job at McDonnell Douglas in January of 1989 where I still work. My own experimental Varga was flown the day after Christmas in 1989. You can often find me in hanger A-9 at Falcon Field in Mesa. If you come to Falcon Field in the day time, just call me at 891-6152 and I can be at my hanger in about 10 minutes.

As you can see, I have changed the format. My writing experience has been mostly technical so the style will also change. I hope the end result will be acceptable. I welcome any and all questions and comments.

I have enclosed a copy of the VG-21 mailing list. I need an update of this list so I can be sure I have all of your information correct. If there is anything that needs to be changed, added or deleted please let me know as soon as possible.


I would like to suggest that as many of us as possible attend the following events. I have chosen them by proximity to me and from my personal experience. Please let me know which ones you can get to or give me some alternatives if you like! I would also like to know what kinds of events are most likely to attract you to a fly-in.

Cactus Fly-In: This event is held each spring in Casa Grande, Arizona, originally an antique fly-in, many experimental and general aviation airplanes also attend. Lots of airplanes come in from California. This years fly-in will be held from March 3rd though March 5th. It's fairly close to where I live so if someone wants to fly in from out of the area and can give me enough advance notice, I can arrange transportation and lodging. If you write or call soon, I will provide you with more details about this event. I may be able to arrange a parking area just for Varga's.

Hi Desert(Joshua Tree) VG-21 Fly-In: Bill Bolster sponsored a Varga fly-in there in April of 1992. Jim Moyle and his wife Jeanine flew over in their Shinn with me and we met Bill, Carl Sigg and Bill Clark. The airport has a nice club room, game room, honor bar, a BBQ area, some rooms for rent, a bunk house and a swimming pool. There is tie down space beside the runway. Jeanine Moyle took care of us helpless guys by shopping for dinner and the manager went out of his way to fix it for us. It's just west of Twenty Nine Palms and is a short flight for those of us who live in Phoenix and for you southern California folks. Lee Beery stopped by on his way back from the Salome maintenance seminar and thinks it would be a perfect place for a get-together. We can schedule this fly-in again in April if you'll write or call with your plans to attend.

San Luis Obispo VG-21 Fly-in: John Vance can probably be persuaded to help us arrange a fly-in at this airport. It's a short flight for both northern and southern Californians and not too bad for us Arizonans. He says there are many nearby activities and we could probably count on a good dinner, group rates and a

conference room for a get-together at a motel and a nice breakfast before we flew out the next morning. Let me know how many of you think you can make this one and I'll give John a call.

Merced Fly-In: I have been at this fly-in every year since 1990, hoping to meet California Varga owners. So far, the Varga turn-out has been small, although I was very happy to meet those that did show up. It's about a six hour flight from Mesa to Merced and the weather has always been pretty good but those long flights always remind me that I should have spent more time on seat design. I will try to make it again in 1995 because my brother always comes down from Santa Clara and we have a nice visit. I don't have a schedule for this event yet but will let you know as soon as I do. Perhaps someone from the northern California area could arrange for special Varga parking.

Oshkosh: Pat and Lee Beery tried to help me arrange a flight of Varga's to Shawano Wisconsin (just a little north of Oshkosh) last year, but the response was as weak as my effort to to talk you into it, so I had to cancel the two motel rooms that I had reserved about three weeks before Oshkosh and I didn't make it. I will try again! The 1995 EAA Fly-In is from July 27th through August 2nd. I will plan on leaving Phoenix on the Saturday the 22nd or Sunday the 23rd of July(depending on arrangements to meet someone along the way) and arriving in Shawano/Oshkosh on Wednesday the 26th. I plan to leave Shawano/Oshkosh for Phoenix on Monday the 31st. This schedule should leave plenty of time rendevous, weather or other potential delays. I will make motel reservations in Shawano for at least two rooms(more if you plan on going!). Please let me know if you think you can make it!

Copperstate Fly-In: This annual Arizona fly-in has always been held in the fall at various airports in the the Phoenix area. aIthough the 1994 fly-in was kind of rained out, it may have finally found a permanent home at Williams Gateway Airport (formerly Williams Air Force base). I'll let you know about this one later in the year.


NOSE WHEEL SHIMMY: If you own a Varga, you have probably experienced a nose wheel shimmy at some time. I think the most common cause is the loss of fluid in the shimmy dampener, but this can be aggravated by loose or worn parts in the nose wheel steering system. This can include compressed(worn out) or broken steering springs, loose or worn steering tee rod end bearings, a worn steering tee shaft or bushings, a

loose or worn steering tee steering arm, loose or worn steering link, a worn steering yoke loose or worn torque links and/or loose or worn attaching bolts for all of the above.

The easiest way to look for nose gear steering wear and tear is to have someone hold the tail down while you turn the nose gear through it's travel and check to see ifeverything is tight. You can also try to move the nose wheel fore and aft and from side to side to see if the plastic bushings inside the strut are still in good condition. If anything moves in the wrong direction(up and down instead of fore and aft, for example) then you should take it off and examine it's attachment holes and fasteners for wear. Repair or replace any parts that need it. When you lubricate it and put it back together, it's probably better to have just a little friction than totally free movement.

Steering Yoke Inspection and Repair: The Steering Yoke is kind of a special case. I haven't seen one yet that didn't need to be shimmed a little. Making a shim isn't hard ( I usually cut up a beer or pop can) but you must remove the lower strut to install it. This removal procedure is described in paragraph 6.4.1 of the maintenance manual. Worn shimmy dampener, torque link and steering arm attachment holes can usually be drilled oversize and bushed by you or your repair shop.

Shimmy Dampener Inspection and Repair: The shimmy dampener was not made to be disassembled, but I finally figured out how to replace the push rod "O" rings which are the most common source of a problem. If, during inspection of the shimmy dampener, you do find a leak around the pushrod holes, you will need to have at least two (2) AN6227B-8 "O" ring seals on hand for the repair.

Before removing the shimmy dampener assembly, check the rod end bearing, rod end bearing to yoke attachment bolt and hole and the cylinder attachment bolt and hole for excessive play. If the Spherco TRE-4 rod end bearing is worn out, get a new one. If the NAS 1297-4D-12 shoulder bolt is worn, get a new one. If the attachment hole on the shimmy dampener is worn, it will probably have to be taken to a shop and bushed and reamed to the proper size.

Remove the shimmy dampener from aircraft.

Clean the dampener assembly thoroughly to remove all dirt, grease and hydraulic fluid.

Remove 12-24 x 1/4" filler screw (Don't lose this screw, they are hard to find!) from dampener. Inspect the fiber washer for condition and replace if necessary.

Push the rod end bearing all the way in (as close to dampener cylinder as it will go) and fill the cylinder completely with aircraft hydraulic fluid. A large syringe with a large needle works very well for this. Make sure all the air has been removed. This may require overfilling until all air bubbles stop coming out of the filler hole.

Reinstall the filler screw and tighten.

Wipe the dampener clean and dry of hydraulic fluid.

Move pushrod back and forth through it's full stroke while inspecting to see IF and WHERE hydraulic fluid is leaking out. Pushrod movement will be jerky or noisy if there is still air in the dampener. If the dampener isn't jerky, noisy or leaking, put it back on the airplane. If it is not leaking but is still noisy or jerky when you push the rod back and forth, refill it until ALL the air is gone. When the pushrod action is smooth and quiet through it's full stroke put it back on the airplane.

If the dampener is leaking at the joint between one of the end caps and the cylinder casting, you will probably need to take it to a shop and have the end cap pressed out so that the outer "O" ring can be replaced. Unfortunately, removal of the end cap can sometimes score it and/or the cylinder wall so badly that it won't stay in under pressure when reinstalled. You may have to repair or find or make new parts to fit if this happens. If you must remove an end cap, make sure before you reinstall it that the pushrod hole is also in good condition and the proper inside diameter.

Worn Push Rod Seals: If oil is only leaking from around the pushrod holes, the following repair instructions to remove and replace the pushrod "O" ring seals may work for you.

Remove the oil filler screw and pump or drain out all the fluid.

Move the push rod until the rod end bearing end of the push rod is about 3 1/2" from the center of the filler hole. The pushrod piston should be visible in the filler hole. Rotate the pushrod in either direction f there are, carefully clean them off with fine emery cloth or a file or you will risk damaging the inside until the piston set screw is visible and centered in the filler hole. Install an allen wrench in the set screw through the filler hole. Measure and write down or remember the EXACT distance of the rod end bearing to the end of the shimmy dampener (dimension "A"). You will need it for proper reassembly.

CAUTION! Before loosening the set screw make sure there are no burrs or sharp edges on the unthreaded end of the pushrod. Burrs or sharp edges may damage the inside diameter of the end caps or piston when you remove the pushrod.

Rotate the allen wrench counter clockwise and back the set screw out until it gently but firmly contacts the inside of the filler screw hole. This should hold the piston in place while you gently but firmly tap the unthreaded end of the pushrod out with a 5/16" diameter brass or aluminum rod. NOTE: You may wish to hold the allen wrench in the set screw hole to help keep the piston from moving out of place while tapping on the pushrod.

After the pushrod has been removed you will be able to see the "O"rings by looking into the pushrod holes in the cylinder end caps. Using a sharp needle-like tool, carefully remove the "O" ring from it's groove in the end cap. CAUTION: Be careful not to scratch the bore in the end cap or to push the "O" ring into the cylinder because it may be very hard to get out without removing an end cap.

After the "O" rings have been removed, inspect the end cap pushrod holes for wear or damage and repair as required.

Inspect and clean the "O" ring groove and carefully install a new "O" ring, again using CAUTION not to push the new "O" ring too far past the groove and into the cylinder.

Before reinstalling the pushrod, inspect the set screw dimple and the ends for burrs and/or sharp edges. Remove them with a file or fine emery cloth as required. Any sharp edges left on the pushrod may cut the "O" rings when the pushrod is reinstalled and cause premature failure.

Lubricate the "O" rings with hydraulic fluid and reinstall the pushrod opposite of removal.

Fill the cylinder with hydraulic fluid, check for leaks and smooth operation and put the shimmy dampener back on the airplane.


Larry Tiffin needed some NAS40-10 inboard flap hinge and couldn't find it. I could only find MS20001 hinge, which is similar but not interchangeable, at Bandy Hinge Co. where we used to buy it. Larry called Doug Donaldson who was able to give him a source. Doug said he can get it for you if you need it. He also has other Varga parts but his list is computerized and too long to put here. If you need something, I suggest you call or write Doug at the following address:

Aircraft Parts of Arizona

21629 N. 9th Avenue

Suite E 5

Phoenix, AZ 85027


Wally Nissen, who bought Don Sparrow's airplane, called and asked if I knew where to get a functional trim control because his control appearantly slips when trying to trim nose down. I couldn't find one but maybe one of you can help out. His address is in the "Member & Owner" column. He also needed a working right fuel gauge. I sent him one that I had and started looking for a place to get one fixed. I didn't need to look very far. I took a right fuel gauge, a left fuel gauge and an ammeter to Marv Corsbie at Varga Enterprises who was able to repair and calibrate them all. The repair of the fuel gauges was $65 each and the ammeter was $45. They aren't yellow tagged because their is no design data available, but I assume they will work. If you have a similar problem, you can write or call Marv at the following address.

Varga Enterprises

2350 South Airport Boulevard

Chandler, AZ 85249


George Varga has no Varga manufactured parts left but he does have some Varga nuts and bolts and lots of other generic airplane parts such as instruments and hoses. If you know of other places to get Varga parts repaired, please let me know and I will list them in the "Planes & Parts" section.

I get one issue of Trade-A-Plane each month. The latest (second December Issue) had the following Varga ads:

1978 2150-A, 820 TTA&E, 12D Navcomm, 618 TCA

Loran/ external CDI, txp w/encoder, vertical card com-

pass, ELT, Airwolf remote oil filter, flight custom II

tires, chrome brakes, intervox intercom, corrosion

proofed, hangered. New: vacuum pump, oil lines,

brake pads. White with blue and red trim. Complete

logs, NDH, auto gas STC. With fresh annual, $32,000.

813, 263-1890. FL/d2


1978 Varga Kachina, 2100TT, 150 SMOH, 9/9

P&I, MK12D, KT78 encoder, Super sharp, will fly at

130mph at 75% and will take off and land w/Super

Cub @ half the cost $38,300. (Excellent value for lease

or rental, think about $45.00x1850hrs = $83,250).

Ridgeaire, Inc., 903,586-1521; FAX 9521. TX/tf

Pat Beery got a note from Bob Trapp saying he is looking for a "Bonanza" and has his 1978 Varga 2150A, N8270J up for sale. If you're in the market, he can be reached at:

Robert Trapp

8 Skyway Drive

Naples, FL 33962



Bob also sent Pat a copy of a FAA 337 for installation of an Airwolf remote oil filter on the left side of the

firewall underneath the voltage regulator. If you're interested, I will send you a copy of the 337 or, if you need

more information, maybe it would be OK with him if you call at the above phone number.

John Vance says he is selling his 1975 Varga 2150A, N5065V. At his request, I am including his ad in this newsletter so that VG-21 members will have the first opportunity to take him up on his offer.

I got a call from Scott Patterson who said he has his airplane, Varga 2150A, N4614V up for sale at $36,700. It has a Military USAF T-34 paint job, 2600 hrs TT and 161 hrs since a complete Cermichrome top overhaul. Always hangered, the annual isn't due until January 1996. It is a well equipped VFR airplane. It will be advertised in Trade-A-Plane. He can be reached at:


P.O. Box 799

Selma, AL 36701




I got a Christmas card from Pat Baylor whose new address is:

Patricia L. Baylor

216 North Long Rifle Drive

Fort Worth, TX 76108

(What's your phone number Pat?)

Gabriel Demunck is looking for information to help him with the purchase of a Varga. I sent him copies of all past VG-21 newsletters but if there is anyone in his area who give him personal advice I'm sure he will appreciate it. He can be reached at the following address.

Gabriel Demunck

40 South Lakeshore Drive

Lantana, FL 33462



Dr. J. S. Hoerster at the following address said he is in the process of buying Varga 2150A, S/N VAC93-78,


J. Steven Hoerster

204 West Windcrest

Fredricksburg, TX 78624

(210)997-4043 [work]

(210)997-8870 [home]

(210)997-0301 [FAX]


Wally Nissen bought Don Sparrow's Varga. His address is:

Wally Nissen


1107 24th Street

Paso Robles, CA 93446


Larry Tiffin has his Varga 2150A available for rent in Nogales, Arizona.

Larry Tiffin

HCR Box 197

Nogales, AZ 85621



Ken Batey is the new owner of 1980 Varga 2180, N56180. His address is:

Ken Batey

6646 E. Telegraph Street

Yuma, AZ 85365



I would like to take up some personal space in this, my first newsletter, to semi-publicly thank a few people, most of whom you will never know, but I will never forget, who have helped to make this airplane, and my involvement in it, possible.The first, of course, is Bill Morrisey, who is responsible for such a fine airplane. Next is Mr. Varga and his son George, who's faith in the airplane kept us going for as long as we did.Wayne Flannery, who helped Bill Morrisey get things going at the start was also helpful to me when I needed it. Clifford Shinn, who took up where Bill left off, and stopped by at Varga Aircraft a few times with advice and counsel. Harold Dale and Sandy Friesner, are consulting engineers, who's help I couldn't have done without. Mario Trenti was hired by Varga as a business consultant. He taught me more about manufacturing and production planning in a couple of weeks than I would have learned on my own in seven years. Former FAA flight test pilot, Carl Jacobson was always helpful and a pleasure to work with. I'd also like to say thanks to Jim and Ernie Smith and family at Montanair for letting me try to make the improvements I thought would make the airplane better. And last, but not least, I'd like to thank Al Wilson, my friend and the man I think most responsible for the successful completion of the 140 airplanes that we made at Varga Aircraft.

On a slightly less personal note, after I spent some time looking at the photo album that Pat and Lee have assembled and reviewing the FAA 337's that they have accumulated, I was reminded of the changes to the Vargas I have seen that make almost every one unique. In 1990, I got a chance to look at several changes that Joe Conner made to his airplane, including a canopy sunroof, a storage area under the rear seat and a chart storage area attached to the battery box. Don Tate's airplane is a taildragger with a sliding canopy and, from the pictures, I can see many other changes I'd like to know more about. The inside of John Vance's airplane has been significantly redesigned to suit the beautifully done military paint scheme on the outside.

Unfortunately for me, a quick look on the ramp isn't enough to satisfy my curiosity about how and why these changes were made and how well they work for the pilot/owner. I would really like to hear, in some detail, about the changes that you and previous owners made to your airplanes. I would then like to put a description of those changes in this newsletter. Please write to me as soon as you can and tell me more about your airplane. Send more pictures of the design details if you can.

When I found out that Larry Tiffin of Nogales Arizona had his airplane for rent, I happened to think that maybe it would be a good idea to list anyone else who has a Varga for rent, either at an FBO or as a club airplane. This would be a good way for a non-owner and/or potential owner to get some front seat time and enjoy the ride even more.

I also noticed in past letters to the Beerys that some owners were selling their airplanes, at least in part, because they weren't flying enough to justify owning one. My airplane is in a partnership. This has worked out very well for me and, I think, for my partners. I know sharing an airplane with four others seems like a lot but, so far, it has worked out very well. Although I have had to do all of the maintenance myself (all my partners do is get in and go), if I owned the plane by myself I'd still have to do that anyway or pay to have it done. At least with this partnership, the cost is split five ways. We all fly less than 30 hours a year and almost never have a scheduling conflict. I know that partnerships can sometimes get a little sticky, but I have had a good one for many years. I suggest that if you take the time and trouble to find the right people, your flying hobby (habit?) can be just as enjoyable and considerably less expensive.

Who is next on the list to receive the VG-21 photo album? I gave it to Jim Moyle and Henry Rogers, who are partners in Shinn N5128V, for a few days but when they're done with it, I'll ship it to the first person who calls or writes.



The elevator trim system seems to be a recurring topic in many letters and phone calls. Bill Morrisey wrote a letter a few years ago that describes the Morrisey trim system, which was not changed much from the original design on the Shinn and Varga. A couple of small things that did change may have made the airplane seem more difficult to trim. I think most of the Morriseys and Shinns left the factory unpainted while all of the Vargas were painted with polyurethane. The dry paint on the Vargas weighed between 17 and 20 pounds, most of which is aft of the center of gravity (CG). Also, Morriseys and Shinns had a full length window crank handle which was changed to a shorter trim window crank handle on the Verge. The shorter handle on the Varga gives less leverage and is harder to turn. Since we have many new members who have probably not seen it, I am reprinting his letter.

scan0004.jpg (1694573 bytes)   scan0005.jpg (1297163 bytes)


Over the years since I left Varga, Iíve had several inquiries about where to get plastic landing gear bushings.

Most Vargas are old enough to need them, especially if they havenít been lubricated regularly enough. There have been no bushings available from factory inventory for many years. The original bushings were made out of nylon which, although fairly durable and wear resistant if lubricated, was not the best material for the job. Nylon tends to absorb mosture and shrink or expand and crack with changes in humidity. There were none left for the airplane I designed at Montanair so we bought $40 worth of bronze round bar which gave us enough material to machine two sets. Although they probably added a pound to the airplane, Fred Brown at Montanair said they have held up with almost no wear since September of 1998. A lower bushing on my airplane was found broken during itís 1990 annual inspection and needed to be replaced. I did some research and found at least three suitable materials besides bronze that would probably work well. I chose to have mine made out of DELRIN (acetal) because itís mechanical properties are close to nylon but it doesnít absorb nearly as much moisture. GLASS FILLED NYLON would probably be less expensive and also absorb less moisture than unfilled nylon. The third material is Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyelthylene (UHMWPE). Although it has lower mechanical properties, it is inexpensive and known to be very slippery. Itís low friction might allow for better wear with less lubrication. One of the partners in my airplane offered to make them for $25 to $30 each in quantities of 100 of each type (top and bottom) but this would have required an investment of $5000 to $6000 for an unknown number of sales over an unknown period and I couldnít afford it at the time. The following sketch was copied (with slightly different dimensions and tolerances) from the production drawing when I was at Montanair. The sketch may help if you need to make bushings.

gear_bushings.jpg (332687 bytes)



I will publish at least three more issues this year. The next one should go out in April. Iíve got several topics in mind for the next newsletter, but I could use your help. Maintenance Item #16 will be about landing gear torque link repair and maintenance. I hope to have more information on a date for the 1995 maintenance seminar (let me know whether you prefer San Luis Obisbo, Joshua Tree or some other place). I will also include any news I get from you between now and then. I would like to write more details about changes to your airplanes if you send them. Itís difficult to reproduce photos on xeroxed pages, but I can make pretty good sketches of many details. For example, Jim Moyleís Shinn has a very simple and practical jack point installation that almost anybody can do. In future issues I can also include sketches and descriptions of some of the 337 changes that owners have sent to Pat and Lee. If it would be of interest to some of you, I
was at Varga Aircraft from 1975 through 1982 and can give you some of the history or details of my experiences. I also have design and engineering information that may help you with making changes to your airplane.