12 SEPTEMBER 1998
ISSUE # 36
We have some new members.
Stan Peternel bought John Falkner's Varga 2150A, N8217J. You can welcome him by calling (805) 688-7187 in Solvang, CA.
Bill Merkin of Daytona Beach, FL now owns Cleve Murdock's Varga 2150A, N5084V and you can reach him at (904) 788-1405.
Tom Neeb of Abilene, TX didn't join but I just sent him a piece of flap hinge for his Varga. ( email@example.com )
I forgot to ask about his airplane but Tom Leatherwood of Paso Robles, CA now has a Varga and is at (805) 239-7450 if you want to say "Hi" and invite him to tag along to the Copperstate Fly-In.
Lee and Pat Beery may still looking for someone to fly along with them from the west coast to the Copper State fly-in here in Arizona in October. Please call them at (707) 279-0259 [home] or (707) 263-0729 [hanger C1] to let them know that you want to hitch up with them along the way.
Tom Herr has made a Varga site at www.iflyherr.com/vg21.html He's done a lot of work and a super job. He's already got some information that I don't have and I will be sending him as much of my Varga stuff as he asks for. In addition to his e-mail and web site above. Tom's phone in Titusville, Florida is (407) 264-2488 if you're interested in a Varga model.
If you want others to know your e-mail address just let me know and I will publish it in the newsletter.
Copper State Fly-In : October 8-11 at Williams Gateway Airport, Mesa, Arizona. Last year we only had a couple of planes but I will reserve a row of spaces for Vargas again and hope that more of you can make it this year. I will fly over to Williams from Falcon Field on Friday morning, be there all day Saturday and take the airplane back to Falcon on Sunday morning. I will have my truck and maybe another car there if any of you needs temporary transportation. I will set up an area to have a Saturday noon lunch meeting with hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks if enough Vargas show up. Even if only few people come, my airplane will be, at the very least, a rest stop and I will have a cooler full of cold drinks for everyone. If I can set up a forum, there will be a disorganized but hopefully interesting question and answer session where we can all contribute to our Varga knowledge pool. If past events are any guide, the weather will probably be hot and sunny and I will also try to provide chairs and shade. I will have the photo album and some historical data at the fly-in for anyone who is interested.
As I said, I am hoping for a fair turn out this year. Del Lutz is coming from Texas, Lee Beery is flying from northern California with a friend and Stan Peternel of Solvang, CA says he will make it. It's a relatively short flight so I hope Bob Stambovsky will come from Lancaster, CA. There are now several local Varga owners that have no excuse not to be there. Dave Wells always comes from Glendale, AZ. Helen Buelen has a Shinn and Dale Lewis and Bill McIntyre have their Vargas at Falcon Field and should be able to make it. Hopefully local owner Clay Jordan can bring his plane.
Copper State's web site with hotel and airshow information is www.copperstate.org
PLANES & PARTS:
OIL TEMPERATURE GAUGE:
In the last newsletter I made an offer to order 10 Oil Temp Gauges. So far I've only had got 3 people willing to invest in one of 10 Oil Temperature Gauges, Jack Adams, Joe Chabel and I. Unless I find 10 buyers, I can't ask Instrument Tech's Bill Pruitt to place an order for me. Let me know if you're willing to invest in one for yourself or for sale to someone else.
I've had several inquiries about bent or cracked inboard flap hinges. As I may have mentioned before, this is a common problem on Vargas because it is so easy to exceed the maximum flaps-down speed. We did reinforce the inboard flap hinge on the last few Vargas that we built but I don't remember what serial number the design change started at. I sent 14" pieces of NAS40-10 hinge (enough for both flaps) off to two Varga owners. The Varga uses NAS40-10 hinge on the flap and aileron half of each hinge set and NAS40-6 hinge on the wing half of each hinge set. The only difference between the NAS40-10 and the NAS40-6 is that the -10 is wider so you can just buy -10 hinge and cut it down to make -6 hinge. A replaced hinge will, most likely, last for years but, since it's not much extra work, it would probably be a good idea to add a doubler when you replace it so it will last even longer. I only have one 14" piece of hinge left and, unless someone with broken hinges begs for it beforehand, I will give it away at the Copper State Fly-In to the first person who asks. You can buy more hinge from Bandy Machining International (listed as a parts vendor) for about $100 for a 6 foot length which includes two mating halves and a connecting hinge pin.
I traded a fuel tank finger strainer fitting for a set of 4 muffler support springs which I will also give away at Copper State to the first one who asks. Regarding these springs, I got an e-mail from Roger Fowler who noted that the ones he got measured about 2" (I measured 1 7/8" center to center) between the bolt eyes and they didn't fit without rebending them. I measured an original spring and, sure enough, it measures 1 5/8" center to center between bolt eyes. The new ones are also made from smaller diameter wire than the originals. I've not heard of a problem and, if they fit, I don't know why they wouldn't work fine but I'd like to hear from anyone who has had any experience using these new springs.
VARGAS FOR SALE
Neal Self is 73 years old, is having health problems and now has his 1976 2150A, N5075V for sale. Along with the airplane, Neal has a treasure pile of Varga parts. He didn't send a list of those parts but the pictures he sent show a couple of rudders and tail cones, a complete set of main gear and another pair of lower main gear struts, a couple of lower nose gear struts and an assortment of wheels, brakes and other parts. He wants $32,500 for the airplane and he wants to sell all the spare parts to the same person who buys the airplane for $2,500. He says the airplane is in perfect shape-all fuel and hydraulic hoses have been replaced and the airplane has TT 1060 SN. Neal lives in Trinity, North Carolina and you can reach him before 9 AM or after 7 PM EST at (336) 861-0888.
Cliff Shinn (yes, that's why it's also called a Shinn 2150A) is looking for a twin engined airplane and now has his Varga 2180 up for sale. Here's what he says about the airplane:
VARGA KACHINA 2180 N5600L. Total time since new 365 hours! Immaculate! All original-The absolute best!
King KX-165 TSO'd Flip-Flop Nav/Com. King KT-76A Transponder. Mode "C" encoding altimeter. Bendix/King KN-64 DME. HSI. Dual Intercom. Marker Beacon Receiver. Strobes. Shoulder Harnesses. 180 HP Lycoming (solid crank). EGT. 360 Degree Visibility. Price: $50,000 (Compare this price for almost new 180 HP airplane)
Owner: Cliff Shinn After Oct. 5, 1998
77-776 Cherokee Road 77-720 Cove Pointe Circle
Indian Wells, CA 92210 Indian Wells, CA 92210
Phone: (760) 345-2676
Fax: (760) 360-4417
After a long restoration process, Dave Miner in Federal Way, Washington has decided that he must sell his Varga. I think he said he had spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $46,000 to spruce it up and is selling it for $37,500. The pictures that he sent make it look like a real good deal at that price. Here are the specs.
Varga 2150A, 1500 TTSN with no damage history. 20 hours since quality top overhaul. New mags and wiring harness. Rebuilt Carb. New oil pump gears per AD. Bottom end was in great condition. New alternator. Rebuilt prop (61 pitch). New tires all around. All landing gear rebuilt with bronze bushings and new seals. Interior completely rebuilt including vinyl covering on side panels. Cleveland shimmy dampener installed. New conical engine mounts installed. New battery. KX125 Nav/Com, King Transponder with mode C and built in GPS. Strobes and pitot heat. Sticks, flap lever and brake control rods chrome plated. The paint job was done by Sunquist Aircraft Restorers ($6500). The aircraft flies straight and level with very little down trim (120 mph @ 2450 rpm).
Call Dave Miner weekdays at (206) 763-0990 or evenings and weekends at (253) 529-3684, CELL (206) 979-9753.
TRADE-A-PLANE, 2nd August ISSUE, 1998:
SHINN 2150A. CLEAN, low time, well equipped,
$32,500. 417,926-4221. See pictures @
1979 VARGA TAILDRAGGER, 900 TTAF&E, 150
Lycoming. November Annual. Clean undamaged
airplane. $44,500. Bob Redding 406, 628-2367
1962 SCHINN 2150A, 2405 TT, Lycoming 150.
1205 SMOH (runs great), FGP, 360 Com, Omni, RB,
ELT, October annual, sharp little plane (looks like a
little T34), $29,600. Can deliver, full specs video
available. Call Dutch at 616, 345-4992 or Bruce at
502, 684-9089 au3
1978 Varga, 2150A, 1500 TT, 25 STOH, 1998
paint & int. KX125, KT76A, Apollo GPS, fresh annual.
This aircraft is like new! Hangered. Call for photo &
details. $37,500. Call Jay @ 206, 979-9753 or Dave @
206, 763-0990. s1
SHOULDER HARNESS INSTALLATION:
In July 1978 the FAA required that all new aircraft be equipped with shoulder harnesses. Over the last few years I've been asked several times about retrofitting shoulder harness installations on pre-July 1978 Vargas. Some of what follows is a repeat of what I said about shoulder harnesses in issue #24.
In an Advisory Circular AC43-13.2 (I think) the FAA provides provides some guidelines for installing shoulder harnesses on older airplanes. I also used these guidelines for the design of original Varga harness installation.
We used an inertia reel type harness from American Safety (now AM-SAFE, Inc.) because, at the time, they were relatively inexpensive and the inertia reel allowed the pilot unrestricted movement to reach the flaps, fuel valves and stuff laying on the floor.
On the Varga, regardless of whether we had used a fixed harness or inertia reel, the most difficult design problem was getting the harness attach point far enough above average shoulder height to reduce the possibility of what is called "spinal compression" (a broken back?) in a crash. The only other major problem was to make the attach point strong enough to support a 500 pound load. Other design considerations were to make the pilot harness support narrow enough so that the passenger could still see around it well enough to look at the instruments, attractive enough so it didn't look like a "roll bar" and, as always on an airplane, to keep the weight down.
The back seat harness installation was fairly simple and only required that a doubler be installed on the turtle deck. With this doubler, which was used to reinforce and stiffen the attach point, the aft harness attachment easily passed the 500# load test.
But, on the pilot seat, in order to raise the harness to above shoulder level and provide the torsional stiffness to support the 500 lb. load that the FAA required, a doubler was added to the seat and a small roll bar and torsion box was welded to the fuselage cross tube.
In order to use the same inertia reel on both the front and rear seats (the aft harness being longer to span the hat shelf), on the front seat, I needed to attach it behind the seat to create a loop.
Although I think we did install shoulder harnesses on a few older Vargas for customers who brought them back to the factory, the design required welding new parts on the fuselage and wasn't easy to kit for field installations so we didn't sell parts to other owners of older airplanes.
If I were to do it all over again, I would design a simpler front seat installation. It would have been an easier retrofit if I had attached the harness support either entirely to the seat or entirely to the fuselage. That way, only the seat or the fuselage would have to be modified but not both.
If you have a pre-harness airplane and really want to install the harness (and can afford to deal with the FAA) I have included some sketches and notes that might help you get started. No matter what design you use (my suggestion or your own pipe dream) you should, and the FAA will probably expect you to, load the harness to 500 lbs (or to whatever the current load requirement is). We had a partially assembled fuselage so the load test was fairly easy for us to do at the time. It may not be as easy for you but I have included some sketches anyway to show how we did it.
At the two fuel outlets in each fuel tank there is a 45 degree AN fitting that has a filter screen soldered in the end that goes into the tank. It is called a finger strainer.because the filter screen looks like a wire finger that sticks into the fuel tank boss. It was made by rolling up about a 4" long piece of 1/8" hardware cloth to a 3/8" diameter and soldering it into the pipe thread side of an AN823-6 steel fitting that has been drilled out to a 3/8" inside diameter to fit the rolled up screen. Dick Mackey and Andy Rosenberg both found that their finger strainers were clogged up with old fuel tank sloshing sealer so I sold them two of the four finger strainers that I had left. I need the last two for my project airplane so I have no more left to spare. Dick sent his old strainer to me and it was so badly clogged that I'm sure no fuel was getting through it at all. I think both airplanes may have used auto fuel at one time or another. I think it's turning out that the sloshing sealer that we used at the factory may not be compatible with some of the additives used in auto fuel. If you've used auto fuel and/or been having problems with clogged quick drains, it might be a good idea to remove and check your fuel strainers at the next annual inspection.
ELECTRIC FUEL PUMP:
Steve Cerveny, owner of Varga 2150A , N8266J at Paso Robles had his engine quit on a climb out and found he had a fuel flow problem. After much testing, he discovered that the check valve in the electric (emergency) fuel pump had failed. During his investigation he also discovered that the Varga is the only airplane that he could find that had both the mechanical and electric fuel pumps connected in parallel. Most other small airplanes appear to have the electric and mechanical fuel pumps connected in series. It might be helpful to other Varga owners if you could let me know if you've ever experienced any kind of power loss on climb out and what you found to be the problem.
I was recently asked by another Varga owner if I could provide fuel consumption and other performance data so he could plug some numbers into a flight planning computer program. At Varga we just relied on engine performance data that we got from Lycoming. Owners didn't seem to complain too much about a lack of such stuff so it was never a priority to spend the time and money to gather it. For some reason, I don't have his phone number but since Steve has a fuel flow measuring system on his airplane, maybe he can call me and help us with this kind of information when he gets this newsletter.
ELEVATOR TRIM CLUTCH:
Steve also mentioned that he took his trim clutch apart and found it full of hardened black grease (They were full of soft black grease when they were new). He cleaned it, regreased it, put it back together and it works so smoothly that he now has no nose down trim problem. His experience reminded me of a similar problem I had on our 1985 Plymouth mini-van. The driver's window crank was getting so hard to turn that my wife could hardly roll up the window. In an effort to avoid tearing the door apart to fix it, I took the door handle off and just sprayed some WD-40 around the window crank shaft with the hope that some of it would get inside the clutch mechanism. To my great pleasure, it worked and has been working well for several years. By the way, do you wanna buy an old mini-van?
BATTERY AND STARTER SOLENOIDS:
Tom Buckel (N76WL) of Elgin, IL called and asked about part number equivalents for the Varga battery and starter solenoids. He was having starting problems and found that one of his solenoids had a Motorola part number and the other had no part number stamped on it at all. The parts catalog lists the battery solenoid as an ESSEX 70-111224-5 and the starter solenoid is listed as a Delco-Remy D925-1464. While I was working at Montanair, I tried to get a battery solenoid from ESSEX but they would only sell in production quantities of 100 or more. I don't remember what I used as a replacement. I was able to get the Delco-Remy starter solenoid as a special order from a local NAPA auto part store. If any of you knows of acceptable replacement part numbers that are easy to get, I'm sure other Varga owners would be grateful. Please let me know and I will pass the part numbers along.
I've started a 2 year University of Phoenix business management degree program at Boeing and it's eating up so much of my time that I haven't been flying or working on my airplane project at all. Unless I drop out of the program this may put a serious dent in my project schedule.
In this issue I have included a copy of an FAA 337 to move the battery forward of the firewall. J.A. Humphrey did this on the experimental taildragger that Don Tate now owns. This 337 goes along with the one that moves the oil cooler to the left front air inlet that I included in issue #28 because the battery box location in this 337 is on the firewall where the oil cooler used to be. A note of caution. I moved my oil cooler to the left front cowl air inlet when I overhauled my engine and it significantly reduced my oil temperatures (not the caution part). A few months ago, during a preflight walk around, my potential passenger noted cracks in the oil cooler attaching flange. Disassembly revealed that both oil cooler flanges were about to break off. I was able to salvage the situation by turning the oil cooler around and using the flanges on the other side of the cooler. This time though, I put a doubler on both flanges to reinforce them against the significantly increased vibration that the cooler gets when mounted on the engine instead of the firewall.
I'm still glad I moved the oil cooler because of the lower oil temperature here in Arizona. I would have moved the battery forward as well to improve the CG and for easier battery access but I needed the space on the firewall for inverted oil system parts.