VG-21 Squadron





ISSUE # 27


NEWS: I got a phone call from Loren Perry who currently owns all the Varga assets. He said he is now actively seeking a buyer for the Varga tooling, type certificates, and remaining inventory. If you or anyone you know is interested in talking to Loren, his phone number in Augusta, Georgia is (706)733-9483. I'm sure he'll appreciate any serious inquiries. If you'd like to know as much as possible about the engineering and manufacturing operations and costs of making Varga airplanes while we were in production from 1974 through 1982, you can call me at home at (602)786-3578. George Varga may also be willing to give a management and sales version of the same information.

Along with a bunch of parts in Doug Donaldson's inventory, I got a 1989 list of Varga owners. I will send copies of this newsletter to all those on the list to see if they are interested in joining this loosely knit group. If you are getting this newsletter for the first time and still own your Varga, I'd like to hear from you, whether you'd like to join or not. If you've sold your Varga I'd also like to know who the current owner is if you can tell me. I am trying to keep track of as many Vargas as possible. If you don't mind telling me I'd also like to know how your airplanes are currently equipped and painted and what condition they in.



Del Lutz went to Sun'N'Fun in Lakeland Florida and said it was the worst EAA event he'd ever attended. He didn't explain why but if you plan to go next year you may want to talk to him first.

OSHKOSH, WISCONSIN: 44th Annual EAA Fly-In from Thursday, August 1 through Wednesday August 7, 1996. Bob Stambovsky from Lancaster, California called again and says he'll be leaving for Oshkosh on or about July 15 with a stop in Dayton, Ohio along the way.. Jack Adams is also flying to Oshkosh from Wilbraham, Massachusetts and is still 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?

MESA, ARIZONA: Copperstate Regional EAA Fly-In at Williams Gateway Airport. Thursday, October 10 through Sunday October 13. There were 8 Vargas at last years event. I will fly over from Falcon Field on Friday and Saturday and hope I hope to see you there. Call (800)283-6372 if you want a fly-in brochure that will include information about the event and transportation and lodging. The motel I suggested to Del Lutz and the Beerys last year turned out to be less than desirable so at least I can tell you where not to stay if you want to call me for information.



Link to Vendors / Parts / Service / Tools  


I still have a couple of parts catalogs & maintenance manuals from Doug Donaldson's inventory for $10 each and will sell them for that plus shipping to the first person that asks.

I have removed Bob Thornton as possible source for parts because he said he is trying to save those parts to build up at least one airplane.

Mickey Dishman needs main and nose landing gear parts. I sent him a lower left main gear and lower nose gear but he needs more than that. If you have any landing gear parts available and can help him out, his phone number in Lexington, Missouri is (816)259-4592.

I just sent some landing gear torque links to Ken Harris who is rebuilding a wrecked Varga. In order to continue this repair, he said he had to build a weld fixture to assemble both left and right upper main gear. He offered to make the fixture available to Varga owners who need to fabricate or repair their gear. He repairs airplanes professionally and says he is willing and able to repair other Vargas if you need help.

Del Lutz had new landing gear strut bushings made to replace his old plastic ones. The old nylon bushings still appear to be in good shape so he sent them to me to give to the first person who lets me know he/she needs them.

Beverly DeAngelo had a canopy cover made out of a blue canvas provided by a sail maker and she says it is still in excellent shape after 6 years of sun, rain and salt air. She remembers it costing about $100-$120 and recommends that you consider a asking sail maker for help if you need one.

Her phone number is (213)541-4455 and her new address is 4174 Fulton Ave., Sheridan Oaks, CA 91423 if you need more information.

Jack Skarrett had a hard landing and has damage to his left upper and lower main landing gear, left flap and left horizontal stabilizer leading edge. He is looking for parts. If you can help him out, you can reach him at:

Jack Skarrett

43543 Puesto Del Sol

Fremont, CA 94539



Hart Jewell has a canopy cover and two fuel level sending unit that he has never used. You can contact him at:

A. Hartwell Jewell

5 Burrell Ct.

Tiburon, CA 94920

(415)383-1928 (home)



I forgot to include Frank Gulick's airplane For Sale in the last issue. It is the 1978 2150A listed below for $34,500 and you can can reach him at (707)829-1839 if you're interested.



1977 VARGO 2150A, 925 TTAE, ext/int 8, oil analysis history, KX170B, KT76A, GPS, encoder, strobes, auto fuel STC, pre-heater, none finer, cruise 120mph, climb 1500f.p.m. $36,500 or best. 315, 343-4600 eves. jn2

1978 VARGA 2150A, 1185 TTSN, KX170B, transponder/encoder, service manuals, parts manuals, spare parts, hangered, Trophy winner! $34,000 OBO. 505, 864-3956. NM/jn3

1982 VARGA 2180, 1560 TT, 40 SMOH, Cermi-nil cylinders, 5/96 annual, tow hitch, excellent condition. Reduced to $39,900. 423, 428-2336. jn3

1977 VARGA 2150A, 2688 TT, 765 SMOH, 154 STOH. New Terra radios and transponder. Hangered, NDH. Warbird paint. $36,500. 205, 979-0051. jy3

1978 VARGA, 1015TTAE, digital Com, Nav/Com, transponder w/encoder, September annual, NDH, autofuel, intercom, $34,500. Santa Rosa Aircraft, 707, 527-4050. jn2

1982 VARGA KACHINA 2180, 309 hrs. TTSN, Lycoming O-360-A4D, 180-h.p., annual May 1996, beige with two tone brown trim. King KX165 Nav/Com, King KN64 DME, King KT76A transponder, Terra 3000 AT encoder, HSI, NSD360 marker beacon/glideslope intercom, no damage history, Alcor 211 EGT, green tinted glass all around, like new, pitot heat, dual push to talk on the stick, copilot brakes. Very low airtime, practically new. $58,900. Bill Auclair, 860, 379-8515 days. jn3


Cleve Murdock is a former Shinn owner (15 years ago) who is looking for a Shinn or Varga. You can call him in at (407)679-1753 if you think you have an offer he can't refuse.



Friend of Varga 2180 owner Del Lutz, Bill Weaver, who is the long time owner of Shinn 2150A N5122V, has just joined VG-21 Squadron. He has made several interesting modifications to his Shinn. One is a one time STC on the installation of a 160HP engine and dynafocal engine mount. He has also totally enclosed the main wheels and landing gear struts with a significant speed improvement. He said that at full throttle, he and Del Lutz have and exact speed match

Kate Lister and husband Tom of Carlsbad, CA are the new owners of Joe Conner's airplane, N691JC and new VG-21 members. They are looking for a Varga with a Corsair-like military paint scheme.

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. Beery VG-21 Newsletters: $10 covers most of the printing and mailing costs for all issues. Old Bishop VG-21 Newsletters: $2.00 per issue (includes postage).



The maximum oil temperature on a Varga is supposed to be 245 degrees F. The oil temperature on Jack Adam's Varga 2150A has been indicating near the red line most of the time. At someone's suggestion, he increased his usual oil level from 6 quarts on the dipstick to 7 quarts and his oil temperature went down a little. Considering that this change had a positive effect, he increased the level to 7 1/2 quarts and his oil temperature dropped again to what he thought was a more reasonable level. Still not quite satisfied, Jack decided to install the same 9 plate oil cooler used on the 180HP Varga and increased the the inlet duct size from 2" to 2 1/2". With this change, his oil temperature has dropped dramatically from near the red line to below 200 degrees. If you're concerned about your oil temperature, I'm sure Jack would be glad to give you the details if you call him in Wilbraham, MA at (413) 596-8357.

Jack Adams took the inertia reels and seat belts that I got from Doug Donaldson's inventory. Cleve Murdock, who is looking for a Shinn or Varga, is also very interested in getting a plane with shoulder harnesses installed or modifying an airplane that doesn't have them. Shoulder harnesses were not installed by Varga on new aircraft before July of 1978. A while back, I got sketches from a Varga owner that detailed modifications to his airplane to add shoulder harness support hardware to a pre-July '78 airplane. Unfortunately, although it appears that the sketches were made from Varga drawings, the information is incomplete and if the parts are installed in the airplane the way the sketches show, the pilot seat installation will not be strong enough to take the required loads. Since these are not the first inquiries I've had about shoulder harness installations, I will do my best to create some usable design data for this conversion and will let you know when it is available.



My airplane hasn't flown yet after being disassembled in February for an engine overhaul. Although the airplane is otherwise ready to fly, as a result of new engine mount bushings, there is not enough clearance between the spinner back plate/starter gear and the nose cowl. I will file the hole in the cowl slightly to clear the starter gear trim the spinner back plate a little on a lathe or mill (this is an after-market spinner from Aircraft Spruce). The airplane will be ready to go again after I reinstall the prop and spinner and I can find time on a cool morning for a test flight.

The airplane has been run-up 4 times (maximum 2 minute runs between 15 minute cool down periods per Lycon) and appears to work fine. Static RPM has gone up 100 RPM from 2275 to 2375. this is a higher than nomal as I had hoped because we have added 10HP and the prop is still pitched at 58" instead of 61" as on the standard 150HP Varga. I was told that after break-in we might see another 25 RPM rise. I will wait until we get the recommended 25 hours of break-in time flown off before repitching the prop to 61"(or more).

Lycon gave the following break-in instructions. The first flight should be about thirty minutes at high power (full throttle) around the pattern. If taxi to the end of the runway, the airplane should be shut down and allowed to cool down for 15-20 minutes. After cool-down, take off should be immediate and at a low climb angle (90-100mph) to keep the engine cool. After landing and leaving the runway, the engine should be shut down as soon as possible and to cool down for 15-20 minutes before taxiing back to the hanger. While letting the engine cool, open the cowl and check for leaks and other potential problems.

After a successful first flight we can fly wherever we want but will need to break the engine in by using the above take-off and landing procedures and flying at 75% power (2500 RPM minimum) or more (2700 RPM maximum) at higher (cooler) altitudes for long periods (2-3 hours at a time if possible) without doing touch and goes or air work that causes large fluctuations in engine temperature. After accumulating 15 hours, I will drain the break-in oil and install more break-in oil. Oil must be checked and added as often as possible during these break-in flights. After 10 more hours (25 total hours) I will drain the oil again and install standard the standard grade.


1. Lycon converted the engine from 150 HP to 160 HP by installing high compression pistons with chrome cylinders. Although there is a $500 STC for this conversion I didn't buy it so the engine is considered an experimental O-320-E2G with high compression cylinders.

2. Lycon also installed a rebuilt Bendix fuel injection system and high pressure mechanical fuel pump. This required that I make a new air box and new throttle, mixture and alternate air cable installations. This changealso involved replacing the low pressure electric auxiliary fuel pump with a high pressure 18-28 psi pump. I had to design and build a new firewall attachment bracket for the new pump and revise fuel hose installations. Due to the fuel pressure change, the old 15 psi fuel gauge couldn't be used so I took a 0-100 psi oil pressure gauge, recalibrated it to a 70 psi maximum and using a differential compression gauge, rescaled the face to give a useful 18 to 28 psi range.

3. I bought all the necessary AVIAT (formerly Christen) inverted oil system components and installed them according to AVIAT's instructions. This involved adding a firewall mounted oil separator, oil valve and fitting, and engine mounted sump fittings (installed by Lycon) and lots of extra hoses. To make room for the oil separator, which had to be mounted as high and to the right of the engine as possible, I took the oil cooler off the firewall and mounted it on a reinforced engine air baffle at the left air inlet.

4. I installed an auxiliary power receptacle (cigarette lighter) for a hand held GPS or your CD player.

5. Partner Bart Picasso designed, made and installed a rear seat fresh air vent for his wife Pat.

6. In order to fly upside down, I had to design and build an inverted fuel system. I made and installed a two gallon auxiliary fuel tank under the pilot's seat (the lowest point in the airplane when right side up, the highest point when upside down) and replumbed the left hand tank fuel lines with a check valve and flop tube in the aux tank so the it will draw fuel from the aux tank for 5 to 10 minute inverted flight. I left the right fuel tank and lines unchanged so, in order for this system to work correctly, the right fuel valve will have to be closed for inverted flight. The addition of this tank will add two gallons (12 pounds) of unmeasured (no gauge) fuel capacity and the full fuel CG will change accordingly.

WHAT TOOK SO LONG (5 months):

1. Lycon took almost 6 weeks instead of the 3-4 that they suggested. The long lead item turned out to be the chromed cylinders (for 160HP), not the fuel injection or inverted oil system stuff. I couldn't get started on some of the other work until the engine was installed.

2. Design and fabrication of the oil cooler move and the new baffle parts had to be made twice.

3. Design and fabrication of the new electric fuel pump installation.

4. Design, fabrication, assembly and installation of the auxiliary fuel tank.

5. Modification, calibration and test the new fuel pressure gauge.

6. Design, fabricate, assembled and installed airbox.

7. Revision of throttle, mixture and alternate air cable installations.

8. The auxiliary tank sprung a leak that had to be fixed.

9. Making some of the parts for the new passenger air vent.

10. Installation of the inverted oil system.

11. Except for designing parts, I only worked on Saturdays.


I haven't added it all up yet but the bill from Lycon was over $12,400 including sales tax. I spent more than $500 on inverted oil system parts from Aviat and traded some design and drafting time with George Varga for about $500 worth of fuel and oil hoses, fittings and other miscellaneous parts. Steve Marinella spent a few hundred dollars having some parts made for me. I traded my brother some computer parts and repair to have him weld up the auxiliary tank. I also spent a couple of hundred dollars on parts from Aircraft Spruce that I couldn't get locally.

If I do decide to add all this up, I suspect it will have cost about $14000 and 6 months of Saturdays.

To put this in some perspective, with $3000 spent on the paint job added to the $17,000 cost to build the airplane ($20,000 total), we now have about $34,000 invested in this toy. This appears to be well within its value on the current airplane market.


I need to add a placard for inverted flight instructions. I have a "G" meter to install after I make mounting hardware. I also plan to install an antenna diplexer(splitter) and mounting hardware to hold a hand held GPS in flight. This fuel injection engine starts differently (harder) than when it had a carburetor and we need to learn reliable cold and hot starting techniques.