VG-21 Squadron



4 July 1999




ISSUE # 42

NEWS: Not much going on these days except for the continuing reconstruction of my airplane. Work has been slow but steady and occupies every Saturday that I have free.

I need to apologize for some of the mistakes in the address listing that I sent out. I have made corrections on the list for those who called or wrote. Also, my own e-mail address was wrong and should have been You can also contact me where I work at


If you want copies of Varga pictures that were sent to put in the photo album, I can scan them and email copies of the photos to you so they can be used as computer desktop backgrounds or screen savers. The pictures that I scan from the photo album will be a maximum of 300 dot per inch JPEG (.jpg) files and will take up a lot of hard disk space so try to be specific when you let me know what kind of photos you want (in flight, military paint, specific N#, etc.) If you've changed your email address in the past year, please let me know.


I got the following email from Richard Vickers about a recent fly-in.

From: Richard Vickers <>

To: MBishop VG-21 <>

Sent: Monday, June 05, 2000 11:48 AM

Subject: PA News


The Pocono Mountain Airport (MPO) had an open house yesterday and 4

Morrisey/Shinn/Varga's showed up thanks to Joe Miller who sent out personal

invitations to area owners. Joe is the recent purchaser of Tom Herr's

Morrisey; his former aircraft was an AT-6. We had a good time talking about

and comparing our respective aircraft. Attending were:

Joe Miller

Morrisey - N5144V

Pocono Pines, PA



Tom Stumpf

Varga - N5085V

Mechanicsburg, PA



Arnold Witherell

Morrisey - N917JL

Huguenot, NY


Richard Vickers

Varga - N8284J

Newtown Square, PA


I gave Joe your address, telephone numbers and email address so you should

be hearing from him soon.

On another subject, do you know of any suppliers for the instrument panel

covering - simulated wood used - on late model Varga's and carpet kits -

floor, rear panel/deck?


Thanks in advance for your help.


Richard Vickers


From: Max Bishop <>

To: Richard Vickers <>

Subject: Re: PA News

Date: Monday, June 05, 2000 2:48 PM


Thanks for the note about your fly-in. 4 airplanes is a BIG turnout for

Varga's. Now that Joe has bought Tom Herr's Morrisey, do you know if Tom

will keep his web site up?

The instrument panel plastic film was a self sticking 3m product and may

still be available. The wood grain version was called carpathian elm burl. I

forget what the black film was called. You might check to see if 3m has a

web site and can tell you where there is a distributor that you can contact.

As far as carpet is concerned, the guy who used to make upholstery sets for

Varga Aircraft is now retired [and moved] and left no forwarding address. You can

probably take your carpet to any automotive upholsterer and have them

duplicate yours. I think most automotive carpet now meets light airplane


Thanks again for the note.

Happy flyin'


The Copperstate Fly-In will be held here at Williams Gateway again this year in October. I'll give you the exact date and details as soon as I find out.


Link to Vendors / Parts / Service / Tools  

OIL TEMPERATURE GAUGE: I've been really bad and dropped the ball on this task but Bill Pruitt of Instrument Tech says that Rochester Gauges will make the Varga Oil Temperature gauge if they get a letter of authorization from the Type Certificate holder, Loren Perry. I have yet to write to Loren. I'll let you know what the situation is as soon as I get my butt in gear and call.

Walt Ruehle called and said he asked Instrument Tech about new Varga fuel gauges but had no luck.

If anyone out there has had to install any non-standard gauges in his/her Varga, I'm sure there are lots of people out there who would like to know about it. If you have an FAA 337 or STC for such an installation please write or call and let me know.


Harry Jones of 111 Anse Reed Road, in McGee, Mississippi, 39111 has decided to sell his Varga. He has been the owner since he bought it new and picked it up from the factory himself. He said that the original factory paint job is as faded as you would expect but otherwise he has taken good care of the airplane. It is a 1978 2150A and the airframe is 1286 hours old and the engine has 217 hours since new. It had a May 2000 annual inspection. The rear window and windshield were replaced a few years ago. A landing gear was bent but he flew the airplane to Ken Harris's shop in Greeley, Colorado where he says they did a good job of fixing it. He was impressed with Ken's shop and his workmanship.

Harry wants it to go to a good home [hanger] and is asking $38,000. You can reach him at (601) 849-2155.


Trade-A-Plane: Second May Issue 2000

1977 Varga 2150A, 1800 TTSN, 170B, 76A

w/mode C, nice P&I, $31,500. Ph/fx 915, 625-5495

(Randy, days). http:/


1979 TAIL DRAGGER, N8285J S/N VAC 131-79.

TTAFE 860. KX170B, KT176A. Appollo GPS. Incom.

hor. TC, VC, VOR. Original interior, exterior 8/8. Fresh

annual. $44,500. Bob Redding, 406, 628-2367 eves.


1961 SHINN (VARGA) 2150A, 2650 TTAF,

1825TTAE, VIR351, VHF251, COMM 120/20,

DME190, Apollo 604, AT50A/C, EGT/CHT,

carb. temp., delightful handling. AC in

CT. $24, 999. 561, 794-3781, nights.



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: $1.00 per issue (includes postage).

For those of you who don't know, I am the former Varga Aircraft Corporation engineering manager (1975-1982) and may be able to help you with a problem. I can be reached at:

Max Bishop

2062 West Gila

Chandler, Arizona 85224

(480)786-3578 (evenings)

(480)891-6152 (days)

Home e-mail:

Work e-mail:

You may also be able to find me at hanger A9 or hanger RR2 at Falcon Field in Mesa.


I recently got the following email from Bob Slifka.

Hey Max...

Got a question for ya. Somewhere along the line before I purchased my Varga it appears that sloshing compound was applied to the tanks. I presume this was due to a leak. Anyway, at the present time I am picking up numerous small particles of the sloshing compound when I check fuel samples from the mains and the main filter under the carb. Do you have any idea of how I can correct this problem before completely reworking the fuel system ? If not, where can I find out more about this subject.

I would also like to install a nice set of seatbelts in N4617V but am not sure how to proceed with this job. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Bob Slifka (San Diego)

I gave the following reply to Bob.

The fuel tanks on the Varga were made from welded and riveted aluminum and were coated at the factory on the inside with sloshing sealer to preclude pinhole leaks in the welds and around the rivets. All of the airplane owners that I have talked to about this problem said that their airplanes had used auto gas at some time in their lives. The sloshing sealer we used was probably not compatible with some of the current gasoline additives used to improve octane ratings in auto fuel. There is an ethanol compatible sealer available but it is too late to help you unless you are willing to remove your wings, drill out the inboard end ribs, take the tanks out, strip the sealer, install new stuff and put everything back together again.

The easiest thing for you to do at this point is remove the two fuel tank hose fittings (finger strainers) from the inboard end of each fuel tank and check and clean that filter screens soldered to the fitting. If the fittings are badly clogged, you may also want to disconnect the fuel line from the gascolator and blow compressed air through the lines to remove any debris. If it's been more than 1000 hours since the fuel hoses were changed, you should change them anyway. Remove and clean or replace the quick drain valves as well.

After you've done all that and are back together again, just monitor the flow of the quick drain valves when you drain fuel before each flight. If the fuel flow from the quick drains slows very much, you'll know that it will be time to clean the finger strainers and quick drains at the next annual. If your gascolator screen is in good condition, you shouldn't have to worry about sloshing sealer getting into the carburetor (at least no problems have been reported to me and I've never seen an accident report that listed a clogged fuel system as a contributing condition).

If you want to just remove the sealer without replacing it, you can remove the fuel senders (so you don't dissolve the floats) and hoses, plug the holes, fill the tanks with MEK and give it some time to dissolve the stuff. The only problem with this procedure is that you may unplug the pin holes that were previously sealed up and your tank will leak. One owner did a limited but similar procedure to this but only put enough MEK in to dissolve the sealant built up in the inboard aft corner of the tank. He reported that this worked well. I hope this helps.

If you can tell me more about the differences between the new and old seat belts, maybe I can help.

Good luck and Happy Flyin'


After I sent this reply to Bob, I thought about it a little bit and decided to look to see if I could find any past notes about the problem.

At the factory, we used two brands of sloshing sealer. I think one was made by Randolph and the other was made by Fuller. As far as I remember, they both met the same standard and were applied in the same way. There was a Varga production standard for proper installation but I think it was just a repeat of the instructions on the can of sloshing sealer. We bought the sloshing sealer in gallon cans and kept them refrigerated. Before sloshing sealer was installed, the tanks were placed in an explosion cage and pressure tested with compressed air to 2 1/2 psi for a specific period of time and checked for leaks with a soap solution applied to all weld seams and rivets. If leaks were found the tanks were repaired and tested again. If no leaks were found, the tanks were sloshed. Prior to sloshing, I think the instructions said to clean the tank interior with MEK, white gas or naptha (I think we used white gas). After cleaning, using a gallon can of sealer, we would dump the entire can into the tank and roll the tank around until it was thoroughly coated on the inside. We would then pour the excess sealant back into the can for use on the next tank. The sloshing sealer had a pot life and was to be discarded after a certain period of time.

We manufactured the tanks in batches so I believe that we almost always started with fresh sealer but there were other variables. Weather (time of year, in Arizona) was one and another was the time interval between sloshing the tank and fuel installation in the tank (cure time) when the airplane was ready to fly. The sealer cured real fast in the 100 degree summer heat (which is why we kept it refrigerated). It usually took about two weeks to put each plane together so I'm pretty sure the sealant had that much time (and usually much more) to cure both winter and summer. Whether these variables had any effect on your airplane, I have no idea. I don't remember that we had any complaints about sealant while we were in production. I think auto fuel was approved for installation in Vargas either late in production or after the factory was closed but there was no consideration for the effects of fuel with alcohol additives on the fuel tank sealant at the time of the STC approval. The original STC was tested on N8296J and I have a copy of the original STC approval (or had, can't find it right now) that was flight tested here in Chandler by Petersen Aviation.

For any anyone interested in a "Smokin’ deal", I just got this email from Lee Beery:

Aviat Aircraft Co. has come up with a pair of smoke oil spray nozzles
so if all goes well N5062V will be easy to see during day light hours
anyway. The system I purchased is complete but the oil tank is larger
than I want so a local welding shop has agreed to make a tank to my
spec's. The owner of our airport fuel island, (he also owns several
fuel stations and a bulk oil plant, and has a hangar next to ours)
told me he will supply all the smoke oil I want. What a deal ! If
all goes well, and the system does in fact make smoke I well get a
picture off to you...Till then...Lee


I also got the following email from Lee Beery.

Max, Eddy Andrini was having a major rebuild done at Lampson Field on

his airshow Stearman that has a modified Varga canopy installed on it.

During his test flight, the canopy came open and the entire left side

departed the airplane. As luck would have it, he caught me at the

airport and is pleading for help in locating parts. He needs the

entire left hand window frame assembly plus all of the latch and

locking assembly. Too many parts to list but you know what I mean I'm

sure. He's desperate for parts as his airshow calendar starts in two

weeks. Unable to reach you on your blasted blocked telephone so

hopefully you read this e-mail and get back to me ASAP. I told Eddie

that I was sure you'd have parts that he could at least borrow for the

season if you weren't willing to part with them. Thanks in advance

for your help. Hope to hear from you within minutes! Lee

P.S. My phone is 707-279-0259 - e-mail is


I replied to Lee that I did have some parts but the story about the left side canopy triggered a memory of a similar event that happened at the factory years ago. I have climbed in and out of many Vargas and have seen problems with canopies that wouldn't open and close well so I think a further discussion of this topic might be relevant.

During the first production test flight of a factory Varga, the pilot returned after less than 10 minutes. Although the canopy top remained in place, the door was completely missing. The right forward side window also had a big hole in it caused by the OAT probe installed in the canopy top had smashed through it as the canopy flew off. The left side canopy hinge had been stripped away like a zipper.

After interviewing the pilot, inspector, the supervisor and the responsible mechanic, we found that, although the inspector said the latching pin was a little short, it did engage fully in the canopy track hole. Unfortunately (if I remember correctly) the canopy latch was inspected before the rear seat back cushion was installed and during the installation of the new door, we discovered that the cushion was installed a little too far to the left and it interfered with the closing of the door. We suspected that pinching the cushion flexed the door just enough to keep the rear pin from engaging fully in the track hole and the canopy was held closed with only the forward pin engaged. During the test flight, as soon as the pilot pitched forward from his 80-mph climb speed, the increase in airspeed was apparently enough to suck the canopy off.

As I said, while climbing in and out of Vargas, I have seen some canopies with latching hardware that were worn badly enough that, under the right circumstances, something similar could happen to them. It may be a good idea to inspect your canopy for wear and tear to make sure it isn't you.


As I said, progress on N2103Z continues to be slow. Forming the wing leading edge skin was a challenge and we ended up making a bending brake, which worked very well. We were also able to use the brake to make some leading edge skins for someone on the field who is building a Hummelbird.

Although more expensive than I expected, the wing rib heat treat job turned out well. It cost $100 to heat treat just a few ribs but after I paid the bill, Maximet, the heat treat company, said that $100 was the minimum charge and if I'd had more parts to run at the same time, 100 instead of 10 for example, instead of $10 a part, the heat treat would have cost $1 a part. Oh well, not that it would have made much difference because I didn't need any more parts at the time, I should have asked.

The right wing assembly fixture that we made seems to have worked well and the left wing appears to have come out pretty straight. At least everything fairs as it should. Before closing the wing completely, we had to make one trailing edge skin. Unfortunately our hand made and hand operated press wouldn't worked well enough to make long sharp bends so to save the time and trouble of rebuilding the press to do the job, we took them to J&J Stainless, the people who bought Vargas production press brake, and had them bent there. Anyway, both wings are done except for a few small details and are almost ready to be installed.

Partner Doug spent a lot of time making plugs from good wing tips to make molds and although I was doing a bit of experimenting in using tooling plaster instead of fiberglass for the molds, the parts that we made from them worked out fairly well. We were able to get 2 left and 2 right wing tips out before one of the molds cracked from the heat.

Partner Steve Marinella and hanger mate Dan Delany helped make the parts for the upper and lower gear struts. The lower vertical strut tube and the axle were sent to Precision Grinding to be centerless ground to the proper diameter. Precision Grinding was where the factory had most of its grinding process work done. This process also ended up costing more than I expected [$16 each for the strut and $12 each for the axles] due to the low quantity of parts. I did a few extra parts, just in case they are needed for future projects.

The upper gear struts are being welded together on the fixture that I made by Rob Parks, a former Varga employee who welded many of the parts of the airplane at one time or another while we were in production. I was going to have my brother Richard do all the welding because he's good [and free] but he's been out of town a lot lately.

After welding, the inside diameter of the upper strut tube must be honed to size. Cohone, the company that used to do that job for Varga Aircraft is still in business and I can take the parts there to have them done. After honing, the strut upper end cap gets welded in and then machined for the lower strut attach bolt hole and oil filler hole.

I just got the lower weld fixture back from Steve Marinella’s machine shop so I should be able to get the lower struts welded pretty soon.

I got new canopy glass and it has been trimmed and all I need to do is apply sealant and rivet the retaining strips to the canopy frame and install it.

We had to replace so much skin on the fuselage and wings that we decided it would be easier to strip and paint the whole airplane. We could have been wrong. We did learn that the best kind of stripper is the real aircraft stuff from Aircraft Spruce but the stripping process is so messy and time consuming that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. If you want to have your airplane painted and you have the extra money, let the paint shop strip it for you.

Wing rib repair:

In the last issue and in this one I have included copies of the original Shinn/Morrisey airfoil coordinates in the insert. There are 5 rib sections all together and I will include the last 2 in the next letter. They may help you or your mechanic in the event that you ever need to have a wing rib repaired or replaced. On my airplane, I was hoping to use form blocks that Rosemary DeAngelo gave to me for the 2 outboard ribs but they were made from particle board and had dried in the Arizona heat and shrunk too much to use.