The Diaries

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

Well..... 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 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 progress...

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 THAT?"

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 money.

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.