This is where you'll find the 'Play-by-Play of our little project I've
re-sorted the page so that the most recent events are at the top..BC
21 January 2006
Life continues to be a crazy ride, but there has been some progress nevertheless. We have acquired just about all of the common hardware, tubing and the like to start the IRAN on the wings, and we are planning at this point to have them complete in time to receive our overhauled main landing gear scheduled to be back in April. I hope to have some new pictures (showing progress) some time in February. With a recent FAA advisory and factory service bulletin on the original fuel system, we also have to make a determination as to what we are going to do in regard to the fuel system before we will be able to remate the wings.
25 April 2005
We are getting so close to actually starting to work ON rather than around the airplane that I can taste it! This past weekend we made a trek down to see Tom DeLuca of DeLuca of California, the absolute premier supplier of landing gear and hydraulics parts and overhauls in the NAvion world, not to mention one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. We left one of our sets of gear with him to start the overhaul process. Bill has a little under half of the original parts manual computerized in database format and we will be placing our first common hardware stock order very soon. It's very exciting to be getting ready to start up in earnest, and we'll be sure and pictorially share those first few twists of the wrench as soon as possible!
20 March 2005
It's been WAY too long since the last update, so here's what has been happenning during the long information drought. N99P has finally made the trip from Macon NC to it's new home in our private FleugeWerke, along with a large load of parts bought out of a hangar in Maryland. A lot of engineering work has taken place (both on the drawing board and the cocktail napkin) and although we haven't finalized such things as powerplant, prop, or avionics, the issues and options are pretty much 'on the table'. Bill just came back from a trip to Ft. Rucker Alabama and had an opportunity to crawl around both of the Army Aviation Museum's NAvions and pointed out to the staff that one of them is actually a QL-17 drone! After almost a solid day in the records room, we also sent a stack of manuals and logbooks about 6' long to be scanned for further research.
14 February 2004
Happy Birthday NAV-4-626! From everything I've learned about how North American Aviation ran things, I can say that 56 years ago today our dataplate was stamped. When the machine was actually completed however, is anybody's guess!
21 January 2004
Well, I guess the biggest news right now is getting our OWN website set
up away from Yahoo. They couldn't support the bandwidth of streaming the
Video Tours without crashing the site, and we are well on our way to getting
past that. I haven't figured out how to redirect folks to the new url,
but it's only time..... No real progress on the airplane yet, as getting
back to work has been a little overwhelming for me after being gone almost
a full year.
1 December 2003
Ten months to the day after arriving in crates at 4am, all of the parts
of 78H now live in the same room! Seeing we wanted to start our project
with an IRAN of each wing, we are now in a position to actually get started,
but holiday schedules are likely to reak havoc for the rest of the calendar
year. Additionally, we created a little bit of chaos in the work area
to get everything in, but hopefully by the time everyone else has recovered
from their New Year's Eve hangover, we'll have some pictures posted and
the right wing well underway.
24 November 2003
Bill is off of Army Duty! Tomorrow I start 27 days of terminal
leave (translate vacation) that I should be able to devote a chunk of
to the airplane. Last week I was able to spend an evening with Bill Lattimer
and talk a little 'turkey' about civil and military NAvions, as well as
the 'gotchas' that he ran across while putting N77B back together. I expect
to give everyone at least one more update before Christmas. It's hard
to believe that one year ago yesterday we were on the ramp in Monroe hammering
out purchase details!
7 November 2003
Our work area is fully prepped to receive the wings and let us start
the inspection/overhaul process in earnest. It looks like Bill will be
finished with his Army requirements around the end of the month, so we
should be able to have SOMETHING done before we've had the aircraft in
our posession for a year. It's hard to believe that it's almost a year
since we took the first trip out to Monroe to take a look at our 'Labor
of Love'. Bill will have a chance for some 'hanger talk' with Bill Lattimer
of Warbird.org and a few other NAvioneers the week of the 16th while up
at Ft. Lewis for outprocessing. We're looking forward to getting to put
faces and voices together with names and words.
14 October 2003
After way too long and much cleaning work done, we are just about to
move the wings into the workshop with the fuselage. I took the panel out
today so that we could inventory the instruments we have and boy, what
a mess! Between the electrical tape holding bundles of wire to everything
it shouldn't, a 3 in 1 gauge that actually had a mounting ear ground off
so it would fit in the chosen location, a hydraulic pressure gauge with
6 fittings attached to it before it hit the actual hydraulic line, and
then... the coup' de gras... the DME that was installed below the CoPilot
controls... the tray was supported in the rear by a piece of real live
bailing wire twisted and looped over one of the vacuum lines! I forgot
the camera, but tomorrow will take some pictures and post our current
22 June 2003
Pictures are posted!
I have put together two new pages detailing the demating and crating
process from Louisiana. You can access them from the home page. It is
my opinion that they show the crux of what it takes to perform a major
project 2100 road miles from your toolbox in 20 degree weather. I would
love to get feedback from anyone who cares to offer it on the contents,
including any questions such as 'Why did you choose to do it that way?'
or 'What is that little thingy in the picture of....'
19 June 2003
The pictures are scanned and back from the DeMating and crating trip!
I hope to get the new page set up and on line by the end of the weekend,
but as always, it depends on Uncle Sam's schedule. While I'm at it, I'll
see what I can do about getting some info onto the site about what the
Army has me doing...
24 May 2003
Well, not a whole lot to report here, but we're still clearing space
back in the warehouse to hopefully get to work on the bird soon. Bill's
activation has taken a terrible toll on available time (and money), but
this too will pass sooner or later. The pictures have been sent out for
scanning (by one of Bill's equally busy Army buddies) and sooner or later
we will get them posted. Also, I'll probably invert the chronological
order of these entries the next time I get a moment to edit..
17 February 2003
Never a dull moment! 78H arrived safe and sound on 2 February and has
been shoe-horned into it's new temporary home, which is the 'back' warehouse
at Steve's shop. We still need to clear out some space for actual work
to be done. This Army thing has really put a cramp in both my time schedule
and my budget, but I still hope to be posting some pictures fairly soon.
1 February 2003
Wow, what a month! The airplane has been crated (more on that later)
and loaded on a truck due to arrive at the new workshop at O' dark-thirty
tomorrow morning. In conjunction with all of that, not only has Bill moved,
but the Army has called him back to Active Duty! More details (and pictures)
later, but it's been too long since the last update.
10 January 2003
Happy New Year! The holiday season really slows up the process on getting
'fun' things done, but we've been plodding alaong making progress. The
contracts are signed, the escrow is started, and the demating trip is
scheduled for 21 January. In the meantime, we've added another NAvion
to the fleet, the remanants of N99P in North Carolina. Basically, she's
a fuselage, wing, and dataplate, but the price was right and we've got
ideas for the next project... The next week will involve lining up hangar
space, our tool list, generator, compressor and crane rentals as required,
pre-shipping our tools to the hotel, and all the fun stuff that leads
to that one point in time when you say "Now how did we manage to forget
18 December 2002
Well, the contract is almost done, we've proven to ourselves that we
can ship common carrier cheaper than we can trailer, and hopefully we
will be back in LA the weekend after Christmas demating and crating. I
can't help but wonder what happenned at the Navion LLC auction today though....
10 December 2002
Sometimes it seems that everything takes longer than you plan... We're
still trying to get the contract ironed out long-distance and feed the
escrow account some money, and tonight we're getting together to go over
all of the shipping quotes. The good thing is that, because of the time
of year, we may actually be able to crate and ship commercial carrier
for less than it would cost us to put her on a trailor behind Bill's Suburban.
23 November 2002
We're on the ramp in Monroe Louisiana looking over 'our' airplane. Everything
is pretty much as we expected, although we are disappointed to find the
panel really hacked up. It is decided on the ramp that we are not willing
to take the chance and ferry the airplane back, so her first ride under
our care will be in the back of a truck. We finalize the terms of the
deal and head home with plenty of paperwork left to do.
15 November 2002
We actually get to SEE a NAvion! Bill Putney in Oakland kindly opens
up his hangar and allows us to pour over his 'Super B' model. When you're
used to Warriors, Arrows, and Skylanes, the NAvion looks HUGE. We are
now confident in the value of the project, and our ability to pull it
off. We're also starting to fall in love with the NAvion model.
11 November 2002
By now, we've learned enough about NAvions to fill a book, but haven't
seen any! We're pretty certain that we want to take this one on. The pictures
look honest, albeit rough, and Bill's got a kitchen clearance. It's time
to set up a pre-purchase inspection since the pictures don't quite do
the job. Bill continues to research documentation, and Steve starts chasing
22 October 2002
We found Rip Quinby's website among others, and start finding out what
NAvion's are all about. The seller commits to getting pictures to us,
and not selling this one until he knows whether or not we are interested.
Still waiting for some pictures.
15-22 October 2002
After weeks of talking about the idea of buying an airplane to fix up
and possibly sell, Bill came across two seperate ads in Barnstormers that,
when seen together, added up to the potential for a great opportunity.
The first was for a 1952 'C' Model Bonanza with no engine and powerplant.
The second was for an E-225 with prop removed from a 'G' model Bonanza.
We agreed this would be a good potential moneymaker, and started talking,
although somewhat slowly. After firming up our commitment to the project,
Bill called the seller of the Bonanza only to find out that it had been
sold about 90 minutes before the phone call..
Bill and the Seller got to talking about what we were looking for. Bill
stated that what we wanted was a high-performance airplane that was at
a price point that would allow some money to be made after all the work
was done. The seller told Bill that he wasn't sure if it was what we were
looking for, but he had 'just' picked up a NAvion that sounded to him
like it might fit our needs.