A Stitts Skycoupe Restoration Project

The Stitts Skycoupe is also known as Stitts SA7 D

Monday, January 5, 2015

Work Session 1/3/2015

At our first work session in 2015 Joel and Kent started installation of the "new" 1970s CVCC alternator, per recommendations from Van's Aircraft and an EAA technical counselor Kent met in Oshkosh a few years ago.  Below are three pictures of our initial work compared to a completed installation.  This task requires the following:

1. drill out slightly three top holes in the alternator mounting bracket (from Van's)
2. fabricate mounting bracket for tensioner arm (supplied by Van's) from steel angle stock
3. fabricate tie brace to connect lower alternator boss to alternator boss

So far things are going according to our expectations with no major challenges.

Above - test installation of new alternator on Lycoming O-290 G/D.

Below - completed installation on similar engine.

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.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Work Session 3/2/2013

Terry, Andy, Kent and Steve Johnson met for breakfast at Al's Diner at 0800 then worked from 0900-1300 on a variety of projects including riveting the seats, the airbox and (after Konrad came a bit later) the brakes.   Terry gave Steve a good lesson in setting rivets in the seat bottoms and backs, something Steve mastered in a few minutes.  Andy and Kent used the panel mockup to look into what will be needed to mount it offset from the frame to provide clearance for instruments.   We found that the panel can be much shorter than originally expected, leaving more leg room than expected.   We'll also not need a lower central extension to the panel.   The panel mockup will now be modified and we'll look at the best means to mount it in a way that makes removal simple for assembly and maintenance.

We need someone to take 'ownership' of the completion and assembly of the ailerons.  Who can help?

Steve Johnson shows off one of the seat pans, nicely riveted.

Terry and Steve set rivets on the seat back.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Instrument panel mockup

Skycoupe instrument panel mockup 2/22/2013

Yes, a few BCAC members have been making progress this winter.  For instance, at Noel Falwell's suggestion, Kent created this mockup of a new instrument panel with full-scale images of instruments tentatively planned for the airplane.  Following is a list of instruments being considered or already purchased:

Stits SA-7D Skycoupe Instrument List

  1. GPS/Moving Map - iFly 700 GPS gimbal mount + antenna
      • http://ifly.adventurepilot.com/HOME.aspx
      • Dimensions: 7 1/4" X 4 1/2" X 3/4"
  2. MGL Flight-2 Primary Flight Instrument (MGL Velocity Single)
      • http://www.mglavionics.co.za/
      • Dimensions: 3.346" X 3.346" X 2.047"
  3. MGL E1 Universal Engine Monitor
      • http://www.mglavionics.co.za/
      • Dimensions: 3.346" X 3.346" X 2.047"
  4. Radios
    1. Garmin Apollo Slimline SL-30 NAV/COMM
      • http://www8.garmin.com/products/sl30/
      • Dimensions: 1.3"H x 6.25" W x 10.5" D
    1. Garmin Apollo Slimline SL-40 COMM
      • http://www8.garmin.com/products/sl40/
      • Dimensions: 1.3"H x 6.25" W x 10.5" D
    1. MGL V-6 w/Intercom
      • http://www.mglavionics.com/html/radios.html
      • Dimensions: 2.40"H x 2.40" W x 4.2" D
  1. Intercom
    1. Flightcom 403mc (donated by Michael Crowder)
      • http://www.flightcom.net/general-aviation/intercoms-ga/403mc/
      • Dimensions: 2.375″ W x 1″ H x 2.625" D
    1. MGL V-6 COMM w/Intercom (see above)

  1. Transponder
    1. Garmin GTX-327 $1200
      • http://www8.garmin.com/products/gtx327/index.html
      • Dimensions: 6.25"H x 1.65" W x 8.73" D
  1. Fuel/Air Mixture gauge = Innovate MTX-L AFR
      • http://www.innovatemotorsports.com/products/MTXL.php
      • Dimensions: 2.0625"H x 2.0625" W x ~3.0" D
  1. Inclinometer
      • http://aircraftproducts.wicksaircraft.com/item/aircraft-instruments/inclinometer/1576s?
      • Dimensions: 3.5"H x 1.5" W (surface mount)
  1. Throttle Dia. 1.5" ?
  2. Mixture Dia. 1.5" ?
  3. Primer (?)
  4. Magnetic compass
      • http://aircraftproducts.wicksaircraft.com/item/falcon-gauges/falcon-gauge-magnetic-compasses/mcdn-2?&plpver=10&origin=keyword&by=prod&filter=0
      • Dimensions: 2.0" Dia.
  1. Switches Left - Contura-2, Carling
    1. Master On/Off
    2. L-Mag On/Off
    3. R-Mag On/Off
    4. Starter - momentary switch
  2. Switches Right - Contura-2, Carling
    1. Future use
  3. Fuse panel - Bussman
  4. Headset sockets right/left
  5. Map box

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