VG-21 Squadron



December 2008




ISSUE # 61




Over the last few months, I have had several requests like the one below from Brian:


From: Brian Chersky []
Subject: Seat Belt Harness


Hi Max,


I was wondering if there is an accepted (meaning FAA legal) way to retrofit my 1975 with at least a front seat shoulder harness, and preferably back seat too.  Is there a commercially available kit to do this or would I have to adapt something else.  Do you know what others have done?  Do you know of any original Varga harness setups available like from a parted out Varga?  Any help would be appreciated.  I want to keep my front teeth as long as I can. 


Thanks, Brian


To: 'Brian Chersky'

Subject: RE: Seat Belt Harness




Trying to do a factory installation is too much work, too expensive and parts are too scarce. There are better and cheaper ways (I think Lee Beery has one) but they most likely will require an FAA 337 or STC which I have not seen anyone do so far.  I have pages of the FAA Advisor Circular for shoulder harness installations which may help you with the issues involved and I will discuss the shoulder harness problem in newsletter 61 which I am working on now.


Happy flyin’



I designed the harness system installed on production all production Vargas since July of1978 and over the years I have been asked many times about the installation of shoulder harnesses in pre-harness airplanes. 


We were buying our standard seat belts from a com pany called American Safety and asked them to provide an inertia reel system that was similar to the existing seat belt installation and would fit both front and rear seats on the Varga. 


One of the shoulder harness design criteria in chapter 9 of AC43.13-2A is that the inertia reel attachment be as far above the shoulder as possible to an angle of up to 30 degrees from the horizontal. I was told at the time that the reason for the raised harness is that, if the strapped an occupant was thrown forward in an accident, a harness mounted below shoulder level often resulted in spinal com pression and increased the risk of serious back injury.


For the rear seat on the Varga, this meant that the best place to mount the inertia reel was on the aft fuselage behind the hat shelf. This meant a fairly long strap to the passenger’s waist so a low inertia "Y" type harness with a 66" strap was chosen to give us the travel we needed to fit both seats. The rear seat installation was relatively easy. All we had to do was reinforce the skin at the inertia reel attachment to reduce the flex when we hung a load on it. This attachment easily held the 500# weight required by the FAA for certification.


The front seat harness installation was a bit harder to do. The need to raise the harness attachment above shoulder height dictated the installation of a head rest/roll bar structure. The easiest thing to do would have been to weld a hoop to the existing vertical tubes that hold the front seat but that would have made the structure fairly wide and would have obstructed the passenger/instructor’s forward vision more than I wanted. So, in order to keep this structure as narrow as possible, I welded a hoop to the cross bar that the vertical tubes attach to and load tested it. By itself, this weld attachment wasn't strong enough so I also attached the hoop to the seat with a sheet metal channel and reinforced the seat back to transfer the torsion loads to it. 


I then made a plastic cover for the hoop and upholstered it to look like a head rest. The result was a harness support that met FAA load requirements and did not significantly affect the passenger’s forward vision but if I had to do it over again, to reduce the com plexity of an after market installation, I would have avoided the seat design changes by attaching the roll structure to the fuselage or to the seat only. 


If I were to install a shoulder harness on a Varga that didn’t have one, I probably wouldn’t use the American Safety (now AmSafe) inertia reel harness that Varga used because is appears that AmSafe prefers to deal only with manufacturers and not with individuals. 


Although the inertia reels are nice because they allow significantly more freedom of movement, almost any good "Y-type" harness and belt assembly available from most aircraft supply houses will work, are safe and have long enough harness straps to fit the back seat. 


For an aftermarket back seat harness installation, I would reinforce the aft fuselage attach point with aircraft aluminum angle similar to the way I did it on the production airplanes. My design was a little overkill and a doubler of several square inches equal to or greater than the skin thickness and attached to the top of the fuselage would probably be strong enough to meet the 500 pound load criteria that we was required for Varga.


For the front seat, I would just make a hoop that could be welded or bolted to the vertical front seat attachment tubes and attach the harness to the hoop or to the back of the seat. If you follow the guidelines if AC43, you (hopefully) shouldn't have too much trouble getting FAA approval for this type of installation.


Personally, even with some risk of back injury, I think that any shoulder harness, attached anywhere that is convenient, is safer than no harness at all… 


Just for your information, AM SAFE can be contacted by phone at 602-850-2850 and ask for customer service. They also have FAX: 602-850-2812 and email:   




1979 2150A Varga For Sale - $47,500

1371 TTSN, Garmin GNC 250XL GPS NAV/COM, King KX 170B, Narco AT 150 

TSO w/Mode C, King GMA 20TSO Audio Panel, OBS VOR Localizer-

Glideslope, Inter com , Circuit Breakers, New Vacuum Pump, New

Leather Upholstery & Carpets 2005, New Battery , Custom Cover, 

Maintenance Manual, Glass 8, Exterior 8, Interior 8, Annual May 2008, 

Hangared at Calaveras County Airport , California .


John Wade 209-728-2474

VARGA KACHINA • $49,000 • AVAILABLE FOR SALE1977 Varga Kachina 2150A 2977 TTAF, 980 since Factory new engine 150 hp (0320). Same owner for 22 years, always hangared. King KX155 Nav/ com , Garmin GPS295, transponder with encoder, marker beacons, inter com . See Video of Varga Flying • WWW.ALMOSTWARBIRDS.COM • Contact Tyler Harvey, Owner - located Tylertown, MS USA • Telephone: 601-876-1009 • Posted August 22, 2008 Show all Ads posted by this AdvertiserRecommend This Ad to a FriendEmail AdvertiserSave to WatchlistReport This AdView Larger Pictures

VARGA KACHINA 2150AFOR SALE1979, 860 TTSN, annual 11/07, Standard Category, 8 GPH, excellent glass, paint, interior, always hangared, numerous extra parts, manuals, clean logbooks, Narco Com 120, Nav 121, xpdr, Sigtronics inter com , strobes. Buyer has option to purchase Garmin GPS-map 496, with custom holder, cables, XM antenna for $2000.00 - currently being used with plane. Clean, ready to go. $49,000. Call 276-686-8951, 276-620-0241. We will be happy to answer questions or email more pix. • Contact Nancy Demory - MOUNTAIN EMPIRE AIR SERVIXES, Owner - located Rural Retreat, VA USA • Telephone: 276-620-0241 . 276-686-8951 . • Fax: 276-686-5193 • Posted August 14, 2008 Show all Ads posted by this AdvertiserRecommend This Ad to a FriendEmail AdvertiserSave to WatchlistReport This AdView Larger Pictures

SHINN VARGA 2150AMAKE OFFER'62 Shinn, <1800TT, <600SMOH (chrome) on a O-320, interior excellent original, exterior paint faded, sheet metal excellent, King Xponder/enc, Collins Nav/ Com . Engine is clean and leak free. New Slicks. Ready to fly home May08 annual. I need the room, have other projects on the way. • Contact BJ Barnett located Round Rock, TX USA • Telephone: 512-748-5414 • Fax: 973-215-1248 • Posted August 30, 2008 Show all Ads posted by this AdvertiserRecommend This Ad to a FriendEmail AdvertiserSave to WatchlistReport This AdView Larger Pictures


Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 12:32 PM
Subject: Varga SN# 92-78


Dear Mr. Bishop ,  

My dad, Harry Jones passed away in June. I am sure you remember talking to him on a number of occasions.

He often spoke highly of you and was always appreciative of your advice. He also really loved his Varga and enjoyed it as much as anyone could have.


We are thinking of selling it but want it to go to a person or persons that want a Varga and not someone that just wants to turn it for profit. I see there is a group that has a Varga fly-in in Texas . Maybe someone from that group would be a good candidate. Any help you could be in advising us on how to go about this would be appreciated.


Dad advertised on Barnstormers a while back but only three percent of callers even knew what a Varga was.


My daytime phone is: 1-800-824-1646 ext248. My after hours # is 601-622-0058.


Thank you again,

Keith Jones




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 Lane

Chandler , Arizona 85224

(480) 786-3578 (evenings)

(480) 201-6553 (cell)

You may also be able to find me at hanger RR2 at Falcon Field in Mesa , Arizona on most any Saturday.  

VG-21 Membership: A $20 annual donation will cover all the printing and mailing costs for as many issues a year as I have time for 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 the archived issues. Old Bishop VG-21 Newsletters are $2.00 each (includes postage).


From: Max Schuermann
Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2008 2:35 PM
To: Max Bishop
Subject: Re: Maintenance Items


Fuel gage trouble shooting and calibration.

Max S.



From: "Max Bishop " <>

Subject: Maintenance Items


I will do another Maintenance Item in the near future and post it on the web site if you will offer suggestions about the maintenance issues of most concern to you.  ;-)

Happy flyin'


From: Carl Hamlin
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 10:35 PM
To: Max Bishop
Subject: Fw: Fuel Filler neck grommets


I recently installed these filler neck grommets and found them to fst perfectly.  The quality is excellent.  A bit of a struggle if the filler neck is not centered on the openting. A bit of DC-4 helped greatly.  Mr. Jackson ha no objection to his name and address being spread to interested parties.  Hope this info benefits the group.  

Carl Hamlin N5115V

From: DTA Carl []
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 3:22 PM
Subject: Fuel Filler neck grommets


David:  I am looking for filler neck grommets that will replace those on my 1961 Morrissey.  The tanks are wil mounted w/ a hard (?) rubber grommet seal. the Nominal measurements are:


OD  3 3/4 in. ,   ID 2 1/4 in. but varies around the circumference by 1/8 inch, probably from distortion when the top of the neck was welded on.  The 3 3/4 in.

OD has about a 1/4 in. over lap of the  wing skin opening.


Do the grommets you have for T-Craft and others fit these dimensions?

I've tried the usual classic places for parts and have yet to find any thing comparable.

Please advise.  Thank, Carl Hamlin,


From: Jackson, David B

To: DTA Carl

Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 11:09 AM

Subject: RE: Fuel Filler neck grommets




Thanks for your inquiry.  The filler neck grommet picture file is attached for your reference.


Grommet dimensions are as follows:

ID:                                            2 1/8" (made to stretch over standard 2 1/4” OD filler necks)

OD:                                          3 1/2"

Thickness:                                1/2"

Exposed Thickness:                   5/16"

Groove Thickness:                     0.032"

Groove ID                                  2 7/8”


The grommets are $30.00 US each + shipping ($1.00 in the 48 contiguous states). Payment may be made by either PayPal, money order, or bank cashier ' s check payable to:


David B. Jackson

5808 Terra Drive

Arlington , TX 76017


Tooling expense and low quantity production runs are what drive the cost.  The grommets are first class though, and look beautiful.  Not like the toilet tank seals or tractor parts some folks use.  Attached is a picture for your reference.




David  (home e-mail and PayPal address)  


Subject: Question
To: Greg Judy
Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2008, 5:06 PM



Honestly, i am not as needy as it seems but I am trying to find the rubber cap that goes on the main wing over the main gear strut. One was lost in painting and I have looked all around but to no avail. It is a 1&5/8th inch hole. Do you know anyone taking their Varga down or who would have such an item?


Thank you already!!




 George Patton Waters
412 Rice Hope Dr.
Mt. Pleasant , SC 29464

home 843-881-6021
cell 843-224-2272


From: Greg Judy
Sent: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 11:52 pm
Subject: Re: Question



Please send this to Max Bishop .  He may know of this item and can pass it on to the group.  I am only a member and don't have all the e-mails.



Greg Judy
817 269-5195

Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 7:02 AM
Subject: Fwd: Question



Any ideas on this?

Thank you,




 George Patton Waters
412 Rice Hope Dr.
Mt. Pleasant , SC 29464

home 843-881-6021
cell 843-224-2272

From: Max Bishop <>
Sent: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 11:31 pm
Subject: RE: Question

Try one of these sources for your hole plug…


Happy flyin’



From: Dick Lochner
Subject: N5135V


Got some bad news today.  As you know from previous emails I had a leaky gas tank (right wing) and had to remove the tank for repair.  Just heard from the repair station that the tank is not repairable.  Apparently somewhere in the past there had been a anti-leak sloshing com pound put in the tank which has now rendered it unrepairable.  The repair station has quoted me a price of approximately $1100.00 to build a new tank. 


I was wondering if you knew of any resource for a right wing tank out of a wreck or from left over parts supplies that I might be able to get at a cost less than the $1100.


Any help will be greatly appreciated.


Dick Lochner



To: Dick Lochner
Subject: RE: N5135V




The original sloshing sealer should dissolve with MEK. Even if it take a long time and a large quantity, you can buy a lot of MEK for a lot less than $1100…

I have a tank but it’s from a wrecked plane and I don’t know what condition it is in. I will examine it and let you know…






From: Helen & Larry Gruber
Subject: Varga Fuel Quantity sender


Hi Max:  One of my fuel guages works intermittently.  I don't know where the problem is, but I thought I would try replacing the sending unit since tapping on the gauge in the cockpit never works.


My parts book describes the fuel sending unit as " Rochester 77400147".  I'm trying to contact Rochester Instrument Systems to see if this is (was) one of their products, but I thought I'd ask is you know anything about it.


I realize this product may no longer be available, so if you know of any alternatives, I'd be interested.



Varga 2150A, N8257J



To: 'Helen & Larry Gruber'

Subject: RE: Varga Fuel Quantity sender




These senders are unique 0-15 ohm units and there are no alternatives that I know of. You can ask but, I doubt that Rochester has or will make them for you at a reasonable price.  If the problem is intermittent, one of the sender floats may be sticking to the top or bottom of the tank when it is full or empty.


The following Maintenance Item may help you with troubleshooting the problem…


If not or if you have more questions, send another note to me and I will explain more…  ;-)






From: Roger Smith
Subject: 2150 Fuel Valve Assembly


I’m at a point with 89J that the fuel valves (which function, but work “hard”) could be worked on or replaced.  My parts manual shows them on the “exploded view” but does not give any manufacturer or part number.  Do you happen to have any information on what the original part was?  If possible, I would replace the two valves with new ones.  Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.



Happy trails.....


XO 352nd Fighter Group (virtual)


From: Bishop , Max
Subject: RE: 2150 Fuel Valve Assembly


There are no new parts available... Tooling and inventory for that part was destroyed by the manufacturer as a result of John Denver's airplane accident.


As noted in newsletter Maintenance Item #4 (see below), Lee Beery has instructions for keeping them in good working order...



By Lee Beery


If you use these valves on a regular basis, chances are they operate fine.  I have checked the operation of these valves on several aircraft and have found them nearly impossible to move.  This is a very simple job but does require a special lubricant. The only product to be used on these valves is "Sealube" by Fleet Supplies, Inc., Cleveland , Ohio .  All you need to do is to remove the wing fairing (do one valve at a time) and clamp the fuel hose with vise grips to keep fuel from flowing, remove fuel valve handle and valve cap.  Lift off O-ring, washer, and spring as a group. Remove stop washers and then pull out valve body.  Clean/polish valve boar and valve body with crocus cloth, coat with "Sealube" and reassemble valve in reverse order.

(480) 201-6553 [cell]




From: Michael Bellamy


Hello Max,


You may remember me from query that I made a few months ago in regards 'Tall Pilot'

I recently purchased SP38 N5142V from BJ Barnett in Texas .  The airplane will now be located at Villeneuve airport near Edmonton Alberta Canada wearing the call sign C-GFHZ.

I would like to join your squadron if you are open to foreign members.

By the way, with minimal cushion depth I do fit.





To: 'Michael Bellamy'

Subject: RE:




Welcome to the Varga/Shinn world…


I will add you to the member email/phone roster. Let me know if you want to add your address.


http;// is the place to go for VG21 newsletters and information. I hope to publish the next newsletter (#61) by the end of the month. If you would prefer hardcopies of the newsletter instead of the internet version, let me know…


Happy flyin’





From: Roger A. Smith 
Subject: N8289J

Dear Mr. Bishop :

I am the new owner of N8289J as I have just acquired the aircraft from Mike Heiring in Houston .  The aircraft now lives in Santa Ynez , CA at IZA.  I love the airplane, however it has erratic fuel guages and they cannot be relied upon for accurate quantities.  I am hoping to seek guidance as to whether or not cleaning the senders may help to correct the problem.  Additionally, if a thorough cleaning and resistance checking of the sender leades to the guages is unsuccessful, if they can be replaced.


Stan Peternel flew the plane home for me from Houston and is very familiar with the aircraft type.


Happy trails.....


To: Roger A. Smith
Subject: RE: N8289J


Wel com e to the Varga world...  ;-)


I don't think you'll be able to find replacement senders unless you are willing and/or able to make a large quantity order to Rochester Gauges, the original vendor.


The following web pages should help you decide what to do and how. &


After you review them, let me know if you have questions and I'll try to answer them...


Happy flyin'


From: Mark Hansen
Subject: Varga thrust line


We spoke on the phone earlier regarding the thrust line.  From memory you quoted 4.5" below the leveling tube on the fuse.  If you have a blueprint or other info you could double check I would appreciate it.  My aircraft is actually a Shinn (SP-25), but I doubt that matters.

Next time you're in Savannah , I owe you a beer.

Thank you,

Mark Hansen



On Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 10:23 PM, Max Bishop   wrote:



The thrust centerline is 4.5" below the center of the top fuselage truss longitudinal tube (or ~4.94" from the canopy door sill).


Happy flyin'


From: Mark Hansen
Subject: Re: Varga thrust line 


And is the thrust line parallel to the truss tube?  I am concerned that my engine might be "hanging down" a bit, and wanted to verify what the correct angle is. 

Thanks again, 



On Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 9:41 AM, Max Bishop   wrote:



The thrust line is parallel. Sagging engine mounts are a com mon problem (not just with the Varga). Other Varga owners have reported that sagging mounts even caused vibration and stability problems. You could very well have the same issue. You can usually tell how bad the mounts are just by looking at them closely. The Ly com ing conical rubber mounts are a bit pricey (though still less than a few gallons of gas these days) but my plane is an experimental so I used the cheaper aftermarket ones. They appear to have held up just as well since I last changed them almost 10 years ago…  ;-) 


Happy flyin'



Please let me know of any Varga events you have anywhere and I will include them in a newsletter and/or send and invitation out to all on the VG-21 email list.


Vendors / Parts / Service / Tools  

I have 3 boxes of the 12-24 screws that are used to plug the 2 filler holes at the top of each landing gear. 12-24 screws are an oddball size so, if you need and can’t find any of these screws, let me know how many and I’ll send them.



I will continue provide the VG21 Newsletter on this web site and will expand and improve it as time and circumstances permit. Those members whorequest it will receive a hard copy.

Please don't hesitate to provide suggestions for subject, content or format changes or corrections to this web site or the newsletter at any time.

Questions and comments about Vargas are always welcome...  or