A Stitts Skycoupe Restoration Project

The Stitts Skycoupe is also known as Stitts SA7 D

Friday, December 7, 2012

Work Session 12/6/2012

Terry, J-P, Konrad, Jim, Andy, Joel and Kent met from 4-8 at the Skunk Works and made progress on the seats and air intake. J-P was aided by others in some detail work on his RV-12.

The Skycoupe's new hangar

Terry and J-P discuss work on the RV-12

Jim clecos the stiffener angles on the seat back and bottom

Seats, reader for riveting

Conrad (Konrad's friend), Andy, Joel and Konrad discuss attachment of the air intake to the lower cowl

Andy trims the composite air intake

Copper tubing works well for making smooth, symmetric trim lines

Skycoupe in its voluminous hangar

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Work Session 10/27/2012

Terry, Kent, Andy and Joel met at 0700 for a hearty breakfast at Al's Diner before heading down to the Skunk Works for a full morning of work.  J-P joined us during the same morning.    The most important accomplishment of the day was completion of the RV-7 wings and empennage preparations for their sale.  A separate posting on this blog serves as a gallery for prospective buyers.   We also helped Terry rearrange a few things in the shop in preparation for coming projects.  Andy continued work on the Skycoupe's air inlet scoop and fairing, and it's looking great!

Right wing - ready for sale

RV-expert Joel McLaughlin put many hours into the RV-7 project, here he is with the empennage

Andy Thomson working on the air inlet for the Skycoupe

Closeup of Andy's work - very nice shape!

RV builders Joel and J-P set a final few rivets in the left wing of the RV-7

RV builders Joel and J-P set a final few rivets in the left wing of the RV-7

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Work Session 10/24/2012

A major rearrangement of the shop was made in preparation for some new major projects at the Skunk Works.  Otherwise, Joel and Andy crafted a foam plug for a composite fairing for the airbox inlet.  Kent and newcomer Bryan Gossage began addition of eight angle stiffeners to the seats.  Present were Terry, Jim, Andy, Joel, Kent and Bryan Gossage.

The next work session will be on Saturday, 10/27/2012.  We'll start with breakfast at Al's Diner at 0700, work begins at 0800.  Plenty to do - seats, tail feather rib stitching, aileron fabrication, etc.

Andy sands the inlet plug into shape using TLAR technology

Airbox inlet - Mark I

Andy test fits the plug to the lower cowl

Test fit of the rough airbox inlet fairing to lower cowl

Newcomer Bryan Gossage prepares seat angle parts for drilling

Monday, October 22, 2012

Work Session 10/20/12

BCAC officers met after the EAA chapter meeting to discuss completion & sale of the RV-7 parts, acquisition of a storage trailer, work scheduling, future recruiting, sale of spare carburetor, general financial issues and upcoming major tasks.

Terry, Kent, Andy, Joel, Mike Maltby, Niels & Judy Nielsen and Dan Kangas stopped by the shop on a glorious Indian Summer afternoon to work on the Skycoupe.

Andy and Joel made modifications to the lower cowl and made the first test fit of the airbox.  Dan assisted.

Kent cut, drilled and clecoed the attachment hinge onto the pilot seat.

Welding on the wing struts will take place this week off-line.

Sorry, no pictures, but progress is evident.  As the seats and airbox are being completed, we'll start soon on rib stitching of the tail feathers,  silver coat of the same, and the panel fabrication.  The ailerons also need completion. Once the struts are ready, the wings will be remounted in order to work on the aileron linkages.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Work Session 10/10/2012

Attending this session were Terry, J-P, Mike, Andy, Konrad, Jim and Kent. 

Steady progress was made on the following:
  1. RV-7 wing tank sealed, pressurized and leak testing begun.    Terry and J-P.
  2. Airbox upper plate/filter assembly. Andy and Mike.
  3. Dents in cowling worked on.  Konrad, Jim and J-P.
  4. Large mounting hinge added to back of right seat. Terry and Kent.
The next work session is planned for 10/11/2012, 4-8 PM.

Mike works on nut plates needed for the air box top cover

J-P and Jim prepare the RV-7 tank for leak testing.

RV-7 tank ready for testing - a temporary cover plate with air connection has been added.

MG car expert Konrad explains the art of sheet metal repair, using a set of body dollies he brought along.

Konrad goes to work on one nasty dent while Jim secures the cowl section

Andy and Mike attempt to understand the complicated instructions that came with the airbox

Konrad and Jim inspected the night's work.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Work Session 9/29/2012

Terry, Andy, Noel and Kent enjoyed breakfast at Al's Diner at 0700, a popular place on Saturday morning.   Work today included further airbox assembly, stripping old paint from some fairings and the start of seat fabrication.
The next work sessions are tentatively planned for Friday, October 5th from 4-8 PM.

Andy attached most of the cowl and nose bowl in order to determine how best to install the airbox.

Andy working on the airbox.
Upper air box cover as it mounts to lower face of the carburetor.

Terry measures length of hinge needed to attach set bottom to seat back.

First seat with hinge in place.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Work Session 9/27/2012

A great turnout last evening allowed us to make progress on a number of fronts:
  • Repaired small leak to RV-7 fuel tank caused by poorly-cured ProSeal.
  • Rounded corners and debured edges on seat panels.
  • Finish ironing on empennage parts.
  • Positioned old panel and planned new panel.
  • Positioned seat panels and planned further fabrication.
  • Mounted carburetor and cowl and planned airbox.
This productive session was capped with dinner and a lively discussion at Al's Diner.

The next session will be on Saturday, September 29th, starting with breakfast from 7-8 at Al's Diner.

 Terry demonstrates finish ironing on seams.
Jim - "Mr. Methodical" - Cronin makes it right.

Chris, chief panel designer, checks out dimensions of the old panel with the new seats and Terry's RV-9 seat cushions in place.

Above: Seat panels and Terry's RV-9 seat cushions in place. The new panel will be a few inches shorter to allow more room for knees. Right: Andy rounds the corners and takes the edge off the four seat 0.070" aluminum seat panels.

 J-P carefully removes old ProSeal from RV-7 tank.  For reasons not understood, it did not completely cure, leading to a slight leak.   After cleaning, new ProSeal will be applied and the tank again tested.

"Some assembly required" - Airbox boss Joel studies the instructions for installation.

The first iteration looks quite good!  PVC piping was added to mockup air inlet and location of needed opening on the lower cowl.

Below: What it's all about - Joel describes his plans for the airbox and inlet while others listen or adds their thoughts.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Work Session 9/22/2012

Andy, Terry, J-P and Kent enjoyed splendid Indian Summer weather at the Skunk Works and made significant progress on final work on the RV-7 wings and the Skycoupe seating.  The final few components were riveted onto RV-7 wings, with Terry doing the pressing and J-P acting as the careful inspector.  He's well-qualified as a current RV-12 builder.   Kent made the final decisions on the aluminum seat backs and bottoms, which will mimic Terry's RV-9 seats in most respects.  Terry had some excellent ideas how storage boxes could be easily incorporated into the underside of the seat bottom and onto the seat backs, both of which will be attached to the existing seat pan with piano hinges.   Fortunately, we had plenty of pristine 0.070" sheet aluminum in our parts bin, adequate for all four seat parts. Grover Macnair has kindly offered use of his brake to cut the sheet this coming week, and needed parts to complete and mount the seat parts will be ordered this week.

This week we need to make progress on a number of fronts:

1. Seats (per above)
2. RV-7 - final touches prior to their being offered for sale
3. Panel - need to make decisions on materials and order two primary MGL instruments
4. Airbox - needs to be kept in the shop and completed, including mounting on carburetor, then lower cowl must be adapted to it.
5. Cowl - Cecil Boyd has offered to help remove a few wrinkles. Opening must be made for airbox.

Stay tuned for dates and times for next work sessions.  We'll try to hold one during the week and one on weekends from now until we fly, so everyone can carve out time to help.

0.070" sheet for seat bottoms and backs marked and ready for cutting.

J-P checks the RV-7 plans for the remaining work.

Terry at work under the watchful eye of "Mr. Rivet"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Work Session 9/20/12

Jim, Terry, Andy, Chris, Kent and Tim spent several hours assisting Tom Malechuk with planning for the wing struts.   The right wing was mounted and supported at the tip to provide the required two degrees of dihedral.  After some deliberation, it was decided to provide independent mounting of both ends of both fore- and aft struts.  Tom suggested a series of steps, and the first was taken - removal of excess length from the struts, donated by Brian White when he restored his Super Cub a few years ago.  Cutting a section off of the strut allowed us to inspect the inside walls for corrosion - the initial look was good, with a nice coating of the original linseed oil still in place.

Tom also inspected the RV-7 wings and showed a few small blemished we'll remove prior to offering them for sale along with the tailfeathers.

The work session was completed with a light dinner at Al's Diner, to the enjoyment of all.

Tom Malechuck inspects our work on the RV-7 wings.

Andy and Chris check the dihedral angle on the right wing and Terry and Jim look on.

Terry's chop saw makes quick work of the strut.

Outline of needed work on now-shortened strut, to be done in Tom's shop.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Work Session 8/5/12

Great News!  Konrad is back from his extended medical leave and is looking great!

Terry, Joel, Bruce, Konrad and Kent stopped by the Skunk Works to sand the left wing prior to its next two coats of Poly Spray, aka Silver Coat.

Thanks to the expert prep work by Chuck, sanding of this wing was much easier than on the right wing.   

Terry will now add two more coats of Poly Spray, then we'll meet up again on Tuesday, 8/7/12 after 5PM to sand again before the final two coats.

The tank sealant will have cured out by Tuesday, allowing riveting on the RV-7 wing.

Below:  Terry, Joel and Bruce sand the underside of the left wing.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Work Session 8/4/2012

A good turnout on this relatively cool Saturday morning allowed us to make good progress on several fronts:

A small leak in the RV-7 fuel tank was isolated and corrected with tank sealant.

One wing was final-sanded and is now ready for its final white coat.

The second wing was prepped by Chuck Borsuk and received its first two coats of Poly-Spray (silver coat) by Terry.

Next work sessions:

Sunday, August 5th, Joel and Terry will meet at 3PM to close up the RV-7 wing.

Sunday, August 5th, a few people are needed at 5PM to sand the 2nd wing prior to its receiving the finish silver coats.

Tuesday August 7th, a few people are needed at 5PM to give the 2nd wing its final sanding.

What's next?

1. White finish coats for all flying surfaces.
2. Transport flying surfaces to Chuck Borsuk's hangar at Franklin County for storage.
3. Finish RV-7 wings and sell all RV-7 components.
4. Focus on Skycoupe fuselage, especially the firewall forward, airbox & cowl, seats & panel.

Triple Tree - is rapidly approaching.  Kent will have a small booth there again which will serve as a Bear Creek / EAA1114 meeting place near the campgrounds.  Workshops for fabric covering, sheet metal fabrication and composites will be offered. If you did not attend last year, consider it this year.  We expect a large group of EAA 1114 members to be there.   See this link for details for the Fly-In, which takes place this year on 6-9 September.

Tim and JP with the leaking RV-7 fuel tank.

 Tim applies sealant to the culprit - a coax cable.

Left wing, prepped by Chuck Borsuk, ready for Poly Spray (silver coat).

Dr. Gardner prepares for the operation.

Terry at work - it was hot in there!

Michael and J-P wet sanding the right wing.
Tim inspects Terry's work on the left wing.

Tim and Terry admire the first two silver coats.

J-P and Michael wet sanding the right wing under Terry's watchful eye.

Right wing, after sanding, ready for finish coats.

Right wing, after sanding, ready for finish coats.