1977 Decathlon Rebuild

Bob Turner

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Yes, building stuff is good for you.

I was responding to the $40 K set of new wings, fabric applied, no paint. First, that sounds like a horrible way to ship a wing - how long would it take to put a coat of nitrate dope on to protect from dust? An hour with a good brush?

Second - although my Dec cost $43 K with wood spar wings, it was in exceptional condition.
My friend bought a 150 C/S metal spar Decathlon for $40 K. It might not be worth that now, since it has been parked outside for three years without flying. But it proves my point, unless used Decathlons have seriously increased in value in the last six or so years.
 

Bartman

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Prices have actually been going up lately, maybe the whole small airplane market has been but Citabria/Decathlons seem to be going up.

The reason I'd be ordering them with fabric only is that I'd be painting with Stewart Systems and nothing in ACA's process is compatible, except maybe the adhesive.

Just posting that info about the two options made it pretty clear that the wood-spar wings are the way to go. If cost were no option and I were trying to do a 180 Super D that would be comparable to a low hour factory built late model airplane then it would all be brand new top shelf stuff across the board. But I can't play in that sandbox so I'll keep pinging Rainbow Ron to see when spars are going to be available.

I ordered new instrument panel parts yesterday and asked that they be ready for when the fuselage frame is ready to be picked up. The panel will be uncut so there will be some wiggle room in where everything is placed. :)
 

Bob Turner

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Maule Air Texas - a dealer! Has a low time 1979 Dec for $43,900 or so - asking price! Engine is below 300 TSO.
I bought mine in 2003 from a private party with 1000 TSO for $42 K.

Did not check Citabriae, but suspect a good one with mid time engine is still $32 K.
 

Bartman

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Not much to report. Been picking through the wing parts to make sure that there's enough there for a new set of wings to be built. Spoke to Rainbow Ron and he's working on procuring a new batch of spruce for spars but as of yet there's no timetable for them to be available. Been poking around for a set of fuel tanks, have some leads but I'm not buying anything for the wings until I know I've got a set of spars.

Four ailerons came with the project, one's perfect, two have hangar rash, and the third needs a spar and one section of leading edge. Since I'd really like to learn new skills as I work on this I'm probably going to try to rebuild the aileron with a new spar. There are a few joints with solid rivets, the rest are pop rivets. Getting the solid rivets just right and the ribs attached to the new spar so that they're all perfectly straight will be a challenge. the rest should be easy.

As soon as spring decides to show its face I'll get to work stripping and priming fuselage doo-dads. there's a lot to do there but I can't do any of it when it's cold outside.

to be completely honest, there's a chance that I'll have a go at a sale of the project once the registration and the completed fuselage frame are back at my house. if the only option will be new ACA wings then I can't see the point in not going the Super Decathlon route but the money for the engine/prop will likely be more than I want to sink into this on top of new wings. so if there's a small profit to be made by selling what I've got then it's going to be considered just like any other option. until that time I'll just keep plugging along and see what pieces fall into place along the way.

:)
 

Bartman

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Not much to report, I want to report that something got done but I've got an old Mustang in the garage with the front end apart and now it's going to be two weeks before I can get it back on its wheels since the old ones won't fit over the new disc brakes that I'm installing. Ordered wheels, arranged for tires to be mounted, waiting on a tool to flare a couple of brake lines........once it's done it's going into storage for a few months so I can bring the Decathlon stuff home and get it stashed so I can begin working on it.

Needed to vent. :mad:
 

Bartman

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I will tell you this though, the old fabric on the horizontal stabilizaer and elevators had to come off so I grabbed the drill and a set of pliers to hold the rivets. Best technique I can muster is to rock the rivet back and forth on the bottom while drilling from the top slowly or by pulsing the drill. The motion of the pliers causes the bottom of the rivet to break off before the drill has a chance to damage the rib material, the hole stays perfect and you're on to the next one.

(y)
 
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Bob Turner

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On the brake discs - Stainless Steel Brakes got a batch of improperly drilled hubs a while back. Mine would cause the wheel to move up and down 1/16" per revolution. Front end shop thought it was out of round tires.

The drum brake hubs are far more accurate - studs are typically off by a few thou, but in a random fashion.

Beware.
 

Bartman

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Went with Wilwood for the brake hardware, hopefully it'll bolt on and there won't be any problems. The car was my mom's daily driver when I was a kid so it's been in the family for a long time. We should be ready for July 4th parade season so my mom will be happy to ride in it for whatever parade we can weasel our way into! lol
 

Bartman

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Fuel header tank was on the short list of parts that would probably be hard to find, but it wasn't and it arrived today! Some fresh paint and it'll be one of the first things to go into the new frame when it's here next month.
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See that, I'm smiling again!
 

Bruce

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Well I think is unsettling but being retired may be worse, I’ve been a shut in now for 7 weeks so I’m more stir crazy, just now able to start back on plane then it turns cold again. But this to shall pass so best wishes to all and we will march on.
 

Bartman

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Perhaps the most important piece of this puzzle has fallen into place, the registration has been processed and I now have the data plate, original airframe log, airworthiness certificate, and the registration which means, it's an airplane again!

I also found a set of wings that are complete and possibly only in need of fabric and paint which would point this build soundly in the light weight, 150 HP affordable weekend aerobat direction.

Lastly, the fuselage is ready to be picked up so as soon as I can comfortably travel to Wisconsin, it'll be time to bring her home. The wings are along the way so it's highly likely it'll all get done in one trip. Nobody's shown any interest in buying the project so I'll probably just get to work on it.
 

Bruce

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Yippie sounds like a direction, I’m more than familiar with the disappointment point once you get past this then it’s back to work I should’ve looked for your airframe when I was up there last week that is quite the operation they have. Keep marching on the next big step was gathering parts and beginning the reassembly process.
 

Bartman

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Spent a few hours straightening up the garage today and began moving the project boxes and stuff home from the storage unit they've been in.

The last few days have been interesting, I finally followed up on a set of wings that are for sale and made a deal with the owner. I might very well be able to use them as is with just fabric and paint in which case I'll have a whole lot of spare parts! The plan was to buy spars and build wings from the parts I have but these wings are low time, clean as a whistle inside and complete so I couldn't pass them up.

The next week will be more moving of stuff, more sorting of stuff, and then onto figuring out where to start with making things nice.
 

Bartman

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Went through the pile of parts that resembled controls and confirmed I've got everything needed for controls. Control sticks, rudder pedals, various levers and connecting rods are all there and ready to be stripped and refinished. Was talking to my IA today, all cables and turnbuckles are going to be bought new so I'll have to plan for that when the time comes. THe brake cylinders look like Gerdes maybe, they don't look like Clevelands to me so will have to look into that. No brake assemblies at the moment and not sure if I'm going to find two that I can use.

Before the stick assembly gets disassembled I'm going to make a short video showing all of the pivot points so you guys can better diagnose where there's play in your controls. I'm not sure if there are any bushings in there that can be replaced when things get loose but we'll see.

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All in all I've got a tote that is nothing but good parts, a box and a bucket that are empty, and a box of spares that I can put on a shelf and ignore for a while. Tomorrow we move to dissecting and analyzing another box of parts to see what's usable.