Experimenter

October 2012

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

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Bill Keyes' S-51T Bill's S-51 parked in the Replica Fighters area at AirVenture 2011. If you're a fan of replica aircra┼┐t , you can learn more about the Replica Fighter's Association at www.ReplicaFighters.net. exactly what I did. Essentially, with the help of Jerry Zollman, I rebuilt most of the airplane. "I had to de-skin the entire left wing panel to repair the spars, and to do that right, I took the fuselage off the wing and split the wing into its component parts for compete access. Since the turbine burns more fuel than a Chevy, the plan was to add extend- ed aux and main tanks. The wings are wet, which required a lot of sealing and testing, then reseal- ing and more testing. The first time around I had lots of leaks. It was a very tedious process, but it gave me a total of 140 gallons, which is really nice. I burn about 40 gallons an hour in cruise, so this gives me a decent range with a good reserve. 16 NO. 2/OCTOBER 2012 "The doghouse that normally covers the radiator on the bottom of the fuselage had kissed the ground, but just barely. I was lucky there because it just took some judicious sanding and buffing to get rid of all the scratches. That was fortunate because those are all compound curved skins and not easy to replace. "When we rebuilt the gear, I had new trunnions machined out of 4130 chromoly, but rather than through- bolting it, I used cylindrical locking nuts that required no through bolts. I'll never see them crack again. "As long as I was working on the gear, I had never liked the single-fork tail wheel, so I modifi ed it. I made up a new dual-fork tail wheel with a larger shock spring. The tail wheel lock now works on the stick, just like a real Mustang. With the stick anywhere but forward, the tail wheel steers six degrees either direction. But, when you want to turn sharp, you push the stick forward, and the tail wheel unlocks and full swivels, allowing tight turns. Many of the im- provements are the result of the work done by the builders' group." Once you get an airplane apart, you quickly run out of excuses not to do things, and a simple repair turns into a complete rehab where the owner puts some of his own DNA in the airplane through sweat and busted knuckles. "I figured, what the heck, I'm only going to do this once," Bill said, "so I completely gutted the interior and tore the entire instrument panel

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