Introduction from the Northwest

aftCG

Well-known member
Location
Tacoma, WA
#1
I've been holding off doing an introduction post since this forum came up. I have a Citabria but it has been stuck mid annual for long enough that I keep thinking it will be just another week or so before I can post pictures and videos. So I just pace back and forth waiting for the day I can fly it, and time keeps ticking by.

I bought the plane last May and flew it 2-3 times per week until the annual expired at the end of August. I thought I had sources for IAs already familiar with my aircraft, but none of them were available. Blah, blah, blah - my annual didn't start until the first week of February when I hired a guy who has a big shop at my field. He's only been able to work on it part time and I had a few things I wanted done.
IMG_20180427_113124.jpg
First, my plane
7ECA Serial number 290, manufactured in 1965. Digging through the logs I found that it was delivered with a different tail number and changed in the first year. It has had a glider tow hook and a right rear tip out window (both removed). It was used to develop two different STCs for different models of Lycoming O-320.
Sometime in the late 80s the No-Bounce main gear was "tested beyond limits" and the logs show it was one of the Sorrels (Hiperbipe anyone?) who repaired the entire lower fuselage structure and converted it to the later steel spring plenty-bounce style. It was recovered and painted in its current paint scheme then.
In 2003 there was a prop strike requiring a tear down. There was also a crankshaft corrosion AD on the existing O-320-A1A narrow deck. Upon being dismantled in Troutdale, OR they found the crank looked like a rusty farm tractor axle (I have pictures), so a new crank was sourced. The engine was rebuilt to its current-A2B configuration which is what the factory puts on them (no STC required). The engine and new prop have slightly less than 300 hours, the rest of the airframe is in the high 1900 TT region.

Fixed seat backs, skylight, left side slider window, Smurf blue upholstery and heel brakes like the good lord intended. No vacuum system but it does have a turn coordinator and some decent engine instrumentation, along with a Narco mk 12D and a head with localizer/glideslope (I've never tested to see if the glideslope part worked). It has a great set of Whelen triple flash strobes and a flashing LED landing light. I thought my panel was pretty spartan but it turns out to be the tall version. I have 26 gallons total capacity with the one fuel gauge on the right side, and my useful load is 492 lbs.

The good news is that my spars are in excellent condition, no rusted out rear longerons and my lowest cylinder showed 75. I think the paint/fabric is ugly but I'm told I would be very premature to cover it now.

The bad news was that my lightweight SkyTec starter was rubbing on the cooling fins of the LED landing light, and the light was winning. While the specific model of SkyTec starter is called out for on the O-320 it was not the correct "inline" version called out for on the Citabria. That required a new cable be made up going from the starter to the firewall. He found other discrepancies such as the line from the primer through the instrument panel was routed oddly and didn't allow for motion/vibration.
The logs didn't show where the carb had been rebuilt in at least 20 years. He found it pretty clean inside but the mixture control was heavily corroded. There was a small oil pressure line that was weeping so that has been replaced.
I've also had some exhaust issues. My exhaust is already the subject of an AD. Where the muffler section clamps to the manifold was shot on the left side and in need of help on the right. The clamps were also junk and it has taken a few tries to get the correct ones on the way (hopefully that will be the last issue before the plane goes back together).

The extras
While I haven't subjected the plane to aerobatics I have made a habit of dropping into small runways that might fall under the category of "unimproved". So I popped for a set of Desser Aero Classic 8.50x6 tires, and I wanted all the landing gear hardware replaced. That included the leaf springs of the tail wheel since mine have sagged to the point where they allow tail wheel shimmy. The main gear hardware set includes the newer style bar stock with two bolts instead of the bent U shape of the originals.
IMG_20180427_113140.jpg
I was quite surprised to see the new style main gear hardware is visible from the outside of the plane but that part is all done. I have one last nagging issue regarding the tail wheel leaning to one side but I'm going to post a separate thread about that shortly.
 
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JimParker256

1965 Champion 7ECA (O-200)
Location
McKinney, TX
#2
Wow! Sounds like quite a journey to get through the inspection. I like my "no-bounce" gear, though it will probably need to be re-built this year. It is curious to me that your brake lines are in front of the gear, rather than behind the gear where they would be at least somewhat protected from tall grass, brush, etc. snagging at the lines. I haven't seen them like that on other planes, but then I'm NOT any kind of an expert on the subject!
 

JimParker256

1965 Champion 7ECA (O-200)
Location
McKinney, TX
#4
Hmmm. Don't think that's it, since as far as I know, all of the early ones had heel brakes like mine. But hey, like I said, it was just a "curiosity" question. I'm no expert!
 

JimParker256

1965 Champion 7ECA (O-200)
Location
McKinney, TX
#7
Just the tires and tubes. Wheels are the same and I did not need spacers to keep them from rubbing on the brakes.
The STC you need is SA3019WE listed here:
http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_G...2EBE2B6B2563F7BA85256CC2000A92C0?OpenDocument
Looks like the STC holder waived the rights, but the STC requires the installation be done in accordance with their "Installation Instructions dated Jan 7, 1975" and I cannot find those anywhere. Do you happen to have a copy of them that you could attach? I'm not quite ready to do this yet, but having it posted here is a great reference for when I am... Thanks!