ISSUE # 25
NEWS: At annual inspection time on my airplane I discovered low compression on one cylinder. Since it was almost time for it anyway, we decided to take it to LYCON here at Falcon Field and have it overhauled. One of my partners also wants to fly upside down so we are installing inverted fuel and oil systems. The basic overhaul ended up costing about $8500 and LYCON added Bendix fuel injection and converted it to 160HP with new pistons and chrome cylinders to bring the total bill to about $12,300 The engine overhaul took about 6 weeks. I am still working on installing the Aviat (Christen) inverted oil system and the auxillary tank for the inverted fuel system along with some other changes and I will let you know in the next newsletter how everything turns out.
Floyd Blankenbaker had a forced landing due to fuel exhaustion. He and his passenger were not hurt but all three landing gear were damaged. He ended up selling his damaged airplane to someone who will repair it and get it back in the air.
Ed Brannon bought Wally Tharp's airplane and hopes to fly it from Prescott, Arizona to his home in Racine, Wisconsin soon.
Myron Buswell needs a chin scoop for his Shinn 2150A. If you can help him find one, give him a call at (503)838-3737.
George Shaw of Tyler, Texas sent a whole bunch of VARGA key fobs to me so that I could give them to you. He had them made up a while back for a Varga Fly-In that got rained out. Thanks George! We'll try to make it to Tyler some time in the future.
VG-21 member Doug Donaldson recently bought the Varga that used to belong to John Vance and, unfortunately. he his passenger died when the airplane apparently stalled shortly after taking off from a small airport north of Phoenix. The FAA representative that I talked to said that an NTSB report about the accident would probably be available in a few months. I will report their findings to you when I get a copy of the report.
VG-21 Fly-In: On Saturday, April 13, 1996 I plan to have a get-together in the park near my hanger (A9) at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. I will grill hamburgers and hot dogs and provide soft drinks and coffee for those who can make it. I'll start the festivities at noon with a maintenance seminar and question and answer session after we eat. The Champlin Air Museum and a Confederate Air Force hanger are also nearby if you want to come early and look around. Please let me know if you think you can be there.
EAA SUN & FUN: Lakeland, Florida April 14 through 20, 1996. Del Lutz says he will be going to Sun & Fun this year. I won't be able to make it but if you plan on going, why don't you give Del a call in Dallas at (214)233-8858 and arrange to meet him in Lakeland or somewhere along the way.
OSHKOSH: Thursday, August 1 through Wednesday August 7, 1996. Bob Stambovsky in Lancaster, California called and said he's ready to go and has already rented a couple of rooms. Bob, if you leave bright and early on Sunday morning (July 28), I'll meet you somewhere along the way. Jack Adams is also flying to Oshkosh from Wilbraham, Massachusetts and is looking for someone to fly along with. He said he'll probably be leaving about 3 or 4 days before the airshow starts to give him plenty of time to get there. Anybody else want to go along? Jack suggested that I try to get some spaces reserved for Varga "type" airplanes and I will call the EAA and see if they will do that.
PLANES & PARTS:
VARGAS FOR SALE
TRADE-A-PLANE, 2ND FEBRUARY ISSUE, 1996:
1982 VARGA 2180, 1530 TT, 10 SMOH, IFR, KX170B, KT78A, encoder, tow hitch, excellent condition. Service & parts manuals. $46,000. 423, 428-2336. f3
SHINN 2150A, LOW TIME, well equipped, 8 in an out. $32,500. 417, 926-4221 anytime. tf
1978 VARGA 2150A, 1530 TTSN, KX125, KT76A, Apollo 360 GPS, strobes, new Comet flash beacon, engine preheater, service and parts manual, new canopy cover, 11/95 annual. $34,500. 360, 387-2210. WA/f3
1979 VARGA 2150, RARE TAILDRAGGER, 765 TTSN, Nav/Com, transponder, much more, like new, beautiful airplane. Fun to fly. $42,500. 813, 787-3058. f3
MEMBERS & OWNERS:
VG-21 Membership: A $20 annual donation will cover all the printing and mailing costs for at least four issues a year and will help pay for return phone calls, letters and postage when you have questions or comments that require a quick or personal response. Old VG-21 Newsletters: $10 covers most of the printing and mailing costs.
DESIGN: I've been asked by a local FAA representative to recommend a change to the Varga fuel system that will eliminate it's tendency to siphon fuel from the tank vents when the tanks are filled and/or the airplane is parked on a slant. While my engine is out for an overhaul, I will have time to experiment with changes to my airplane and will report the results to you.
I got a request from a shop in Grand Pairie, Texas for information about converting a Varga Model 2150A to a Model 2180. Since I've been asked several times before, it might be good to explain the differences here so that I won't have to repeat myself as often.
As most manufacturers do, Varga Aircraft got lots of requests for changes to improve the airplane's looks, comfort, utility and/or performance. The most frequent requests I heard were for Aerobatic Certification, 180HP, a taildragger, a bubble canopy, more legroom, more panel space for instruments and avionics and baggage space for golf clubs.
In 1979, Bud Wolf, a Varga family friend and business partner, agreed to let us use his Model 2150A as a prototype for Model 2180 certification. Although the change was fairly simple, it did involve manufacturing all new nose cowl parts and a new engine mount. The 180HP Lycoming O-360 engine that we chose is about 40 lbs heavier, 1 1/2" wider, and only came with a dynafocal mount. The the 180HP carburetor is also larger and located a few inches forward of where the O-320 carburetor is. The fixed pitch Sensenich propeller that we chose is also 2" longer than the 150HP prop. The first change was to add a dynafocal ring to the engine mount/nose gear assembly. We also added a spring to the nose gear to help support the extra 40# and maintain adequate ground clearance for the longer prop. A new, larger, carburetor heat box was needed to accomodate the greater airflow of the larger carburetor and its different position on the bottom of the engine. A throttle cable extension was also installed to fit the new carburetor location. We were able to use the 150HP exhaust system by cutting the cross tubes along the engine center line and welding in a 1 1/2" splice. During flight tests we discovered that the right hand muffler didn't provide enough carburetor heat so I added more surface area by winding a piece of welding wire around it. This gave us the required 90 degree temperature rise. A larger oil cooler and larger duct tubing was also installed. Our fiberglass vendor took a 150HP fiberglass nose bowl, split it vertically down the middle and made it about 2" wider. A mold was also similarly made for the new fiberglass chin scoop. New sheet metal was designed and built to fit between the wider nose bowl and the firewall. Engine bafflles were then modified to fit the new cowl. A flight test and a nose high fuel flow ground test indicated that, in a steep climb with low fuel, the forward fuel tank outlet line would draw air so the forward line was removed. We also installed a larger (about half a square foot) rudder.
Even though it was originally done as a Supplimental Type Certificate by Hibbard Aviation, the taildragger conversion took as much work, if not more, to recertify for production as it took for original certification of the Model 2180. Except for the one that the Hibbards made, I think only three taildraggers were built before we went out of business and all were 180HP models.
The hardest part about converting a Varga to a taildragger is remanufacturing and relocating the main gear. The lower main gear are unchanged but the upper main gear has a large sheet metal truss welded to it to help locate the main wheels down and forward far enough to provide good handling and adequate propeller ground clearance. A couple of steel tube truss assemblies were also added between the wing spars to help spread the landing loads to both spars. The lower nose gear and steering assembly was removed and the upper nose gear was simply chopped off and capped. The tail wheel is a Scott model 3400 which requires a round tail wheel spring. A cable and pulley system separate from the rudder system was added for tail wheel steering. The larger rudder was also meant to be installed on all taildraggers even though we didn't build any 150HP tail wheel airplanes.
For the most part, the taildragger flies just like the tri-gear airplane but one problem was not considered much or solved while we were in production. The CG range on the tricycle gear airplane is already a little farther aft than it could be and the taildragger center of gravity is moved aft even farther. For most operations, more than an inch and a half of CG range is lost in the tail wheel conversion. It would be better if the engine was moved at least 2 inches further forward on the tricycle gear airplane and perhaps as much as 4 inches forward on the taildragger to help move the CG into a more useful range.
As for aerobatic certification, we never had enough money or time and the product liability would have killed us even sooner. I didn't get to a bubble canopy, more instrument panel space and more leg room until I built the Montanair Varga and my own airplane. I doubt that I'll try very hard to solve the golf club problem until I get to retirement and becomes an issue.
Former Varga employee and fellow McDonnell Douglas employee Ron Rich was kind enough to provide me with copies of the following Varga Service Letters, Instructions and Bulletins.
Service Letter SL2150A-1 - Throttle Control Overlimit Stop.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-1 - Flap Control System Modification.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-2 - Throttle Cable Replacement.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-3 - Wheel Inspection.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-4 - Aft Fuselage Bulkhead Angle Installation.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-5 - Elevator Horn Inspection.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-6 - Elevator Horn Replacement and Inspection.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-7 - Rubber Grommet Inspection.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-8 - Rear Brake Pedal Modification.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-9 - Rudder Balance Weight Bolt Reinstallation.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-10 - Throttle Control Overlimit Stop.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-11 - Seat Belt/Shoulder Harness Assembly Repair.
Service Bulletin SB2150A-12 - Elevator Horn Replacement.
Service Bulletin SB-13 - Fuel Vent Drain Inspection.
Service Instruction SI-0001 - Landing Gear Torque Link, Inspection and Repair.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-1 Landing Gear Service.
Service Instruction SI-0002 - Varga Kachina Landing Gear Service Pump VA12009-1, Instructions for use.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-2a - Elevator Removal and Reinstallation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-3b - Wing Removal and Reinstallation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-4b - Horizontal Stabilizer Removal and Reinstallation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-5 - Flap Removal and Installation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-6 - Elevator Horn Removal and Replacement for Compliance with Service Bulletin SB2150A-6.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-7 - Landing Gear Upper Strut Removal and Replacement.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-8 - Instructions for Weld Repair of Muffler Support Brackets - Varga 2150A
Service Instruction SI-2150A-9 - Varga 2150A Landing Gear Service Pump VA 12009-1.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-10a - Varga 2150A Fuel Gauge System Operation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-11a - Rudder Removal and Installation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-12a - Vertical Stabilizer Removal and Reinstallation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-13 - Aileron Removal and Reinstallation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-14a - Horizontal Stabilizer/Elevator Assy Removal and Reinstallation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-15a - Pitot Head Removal and Reinstallation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-16 - Rear Seat Strap Removal and Installation.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-17 - Special Tools
Service Instruction SI00018 - Aircraft Shipment Disassembly and Assembly Procedures.
Service Instruction SI00019 - Final Inspection Check Sheet.
Service Instruction SI00020 - Flight Inspection.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-21 - Balancing Control Surfaces.
Service Instruction SI0022 - Main Landing Gear Rotation for Containerized Shipment.
Service Instruction SI-2150A-23 - Propeller and Spinner Removal and Installation.
Service Instruction SI 0024 - Elevator Horn Assy Removal and Replacement.
Most of the Service Bulletins relate to changes that have already been made to most, if not all, Vargas. Many of the Service Instructions were published before we had a maintenance manual and the information was included later in the manual. Some of the Service Instructions are only related to aircraft that we shipped to Europe. I don't remember why the numbering system was so screwy. If you want copies of any of them or information about them, just let me know and I will send it you.
Del Lutz called and asked where he could get a new fiberglass nose bowl for his Model 2180. Wag Aero sells one for the Model 2150A but I don't know where to get one for the 180hp Varga. The only other source of fiberglass parts is Loren Perry. Loren has all the of the original molds. If one of you knows of another place to get a 180hp nose bowl, please call Del in Dallas at (214)233-8858. I was able to dig up a copy of the fiberglass production specification and send it to him in the event that he must repair it instead of replace it. Instead of a Maintenance Item, I am including a copy of the VPS-F-3 fiberglass production standard with this issue.
I recently had a problem with sticky brakes that appeared to be related to low outside air temperatures (below 40 degrees). When I bled the brakes, the fluid that I pumped out had the consistancy and color of corn syrup. I had to pump the reservior almost dry and fill it up again before the fluid that drained out was the normal color (red) and consistancy. Have any of you had a similar experience?