A Stitts Skycoupe Restoration Project

The Stitts Skycoupe is also known as Stitts SA7 D

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Work Session 12/27/14

Yes, we're still at work!  In fact, since moving our project to Cox Field approximately one year ago, we have made steady progress on many fronts.  We meet twice weekly, Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.   In the past year, here are some of the main things we've accomplished on our Skycoupe:
1. Fabricated all wing struts, two per wing, including secondary (strong!) bracket on fuselage.
2. Redesigned fuselage tubing to ease entry - a large diagonal tube was removed and replaced by two triangular frames.  Kent (mechanical engineer & aircraft designer by profession) analyzed the before-and-after design and found the new design to be stronger.  Tube cutting and welding were done by Andy and Chris.
3. Redesigned the doors to hinge upwards, basing the design on the Eurofox/Aerotrek aircaft owned by chapter member Andrey Piskarev.
4. Fabricated prototype seat bottom and seat back based on dimensions from a leading manufacturer of aircraft seat cushions for certificated aircraft.
5. Fabricated and installed left aileron and torque arm.  This was a major, complex process that was led by Joel with much assistance from Andy and Chris.  The results are excellent!   Joel is now completing the right aileron.
6. Finished covering of stabilizers and tail control surfaces, including rib stitching and coating with Polybrush and Polycoat (silver).  Work done by Kent.
7. Started adaptation of main wheel pants salvaged from a Spezio Tuholer.  Work by Kent.
8. Acquired then sold Spezio Tuholer wreck, creating good revenue and some major components for the group.  Led by Konrad.
9. Designed and fabricated left and right fuselage longerons, given the plane a more rounded cross-section to reduce drag.  This required some modification of the door frame.  Led by Andy.
10. Designed and fabricated multiple panel prototypes.  The final design is now ready for fabrication from thick aluminum.  Most of the instruments and related components have been acquired.  Chris, an electrician from training, will lead the electrical design of the aircraft and all wiring.
11. Designed and fabricated a secondary panel in the rafters for the COM and Transponder.

There were many other things we did in the past year not mentioned here.   The current major projects are:

1. Completion of the right aileron. Joel
2. Design of electrical system and panel mounting. Chris and Kent
3. Completion of fuselage longerons and battery compartment door.  Andy
4. Design and fabrication of baggage compartment walls.  Konrad
5. Fabrication of auxiliary fuel tank and related components. Joel
6. Elevator trim system.  Andy

We are targeting the spring of 2015 for covering of the fuselage and summer of 2015 for final assembly.

Above: Secondary panel (.032 aluminum) holding COM and TX mockups.

Above: the right-hand fuselage longeron and beginnings of a battery access door frame can be seen here.  Andy is lead on this work.

Below: On October 18th, 2014, the original builder of our Skycoupe,  Mr. Paul Schauber Sr. of Baltimore, MD paid us a visit with his two sons. Below are images from this historic meeting of builders and an article about the original construction that appeared in the December 2010 newsletter of RAMM, the Retiree's Association of Martin Marietta Corporation where Paul spent much of his career as a technician.

Paul Schauber Sr. explains details of his work to Kent

Above: The Skycoupe in its new shop at Cox Field.