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Thread: PA-18A Restoration. Something old, something new

  1. #1
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    PA-18A Restoration. Something old, something new

    Ive just completed a restoration of a 1957 18A that I’ve had on the “back burner “ for over 15 years. The last two years were the most intense.

    Im posting this as it may be of some interest to local Anchorage folks as this bird sat neglected on the west side of Lake Hood for 24 years. It was often referred to as the cub with a tree trying to grow through the wing.

    Purchased in 2003 from the estate of the second owner who acquired it as a one year old wreck. He repaired it to fly again in 1959 but rarely flew it. Total time on the aircraft is 248 hours.

    The gentleman lost his medical in the mid 70s and did not fly after that. In 1979 he recovered the wings and had the engine majored to install 1/2 inch valves and wide lobed camshaft.
    He then reassembled the airplane on EDO 2000 floats and never flew it.

    The best thing that was done was the the new engine was flooded with preservative oil.


    The restoration has been extensive and expensive!

    My thoughts are to compile some of the highlights of this project and to cover some of the special attributes of the Ag model cubs.
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    Last edited by cubpilot2; 07-07-2018 at 01:25 AM.
    Ed
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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    This is the finished product on test flight day. It was the first flight in over 40 years.

    It flew great with no rigging changes needed.

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    That is a very nice cub!! I would say is should come in just a bit over 1,100 lbs. The things I want to copy for my cub are the bubble above the GPS, switches set up high so I don't broom them off with my Bunny Boots, and placard list on wing root. The only down side is a single test flight is not enough!! I have some time next week and would be happy to put 2-50 hours on it just to make sure everything is working as good as it looks. I might know a few guys that would be happy to help out. Where did you get the placard list from?
    DENNY
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Appears to be a 'life gets in the way' with further intent project by the previous owners. That happens and please respect the previous efforts to be who they tried to be but ....

    Gary
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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Appears to be a 'life gets in the way' with further intent project by the previous owners. That happens and please respect the previous efforts to be who they tried to be but ....

    Gary
    Yep, The Cub evidently was the mans pride and joy. He was said to “hang up” on people when they would call to try and buy it. He always hoped to get his medical back.
    Ed
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Wonderful restoration. The previous owner would surely have wished it finally happen to another deserving owner.

    I owned a PA-18A that one of the owners went West hunting coyotes in Montana. My pre-flight included an offer for him to do yet another flight. "Hold your hat Swede we're taking off".

    Gary

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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Where did you get the placard list from?
    DENNY
    Some I made for the breakers using laminate plastic cut with an Xenetech rotary engraving machine.

    Many placards are associated with gross weigh increase mod.

    The standard placards such as the fuel gage labels are from Aerographics
    www.aerographics.com

    Sorry for the fuzzy photo
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    Ed
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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    My goal from the beginning was to finish it to where it would look like a 250 hour cub or newer.

    Over the last 44 years I’ve had the pleasure of owning and restoring 22 cubs and 12s. ( It was a business)

    I think that this is by far the best that I’ve had. It also is one of the nicest flying. It now officially has 250 hrs
    Ed
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    Nice job Ed, somthing about the old A-Model they just look right.
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Nice, how bad was it from sitting all those years. Curious how much you had to do.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  11. #11
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Nice, how bad was it from sitting all those years. Curious how much you had to do.
    As they say.... Corrosion never sleeps

    It was much worse then I had anticipated. When I first looked it over the fuselage tubing had been epoxy primed, so I was optimistic. I later discovered that it was put on with a brush and I don't think that it was prepped well; as it did not adhere in several areas along the lower longerons and also lots of the other lower areas. Many had external pitting to some degree.
    The dust had collected and moisture and corrosion took its toll. It still had the full metal belly so the fabric installation where wrapped at the longerons allowed dirt and moisture to get against the tubing. This is one of the down sides of the metal bottom. If the belly is covered first with fabric then the tubes are better protected; at least on the upper side.

    I replaced both lower longerons, and the majority of the lower cockpit area structure. I did not want any pitted tubing.

    The front bulkhead had several repaired tubes from the 1958 repairs. All of these repaired tube sections were replaced entirely.
    The hopper area tubing was also replaced entirely to get rid of the potential of internal corrosion from the multitude of Riv-nuts.
    I did not find any internal corrosion concerns other then that.

    The aft door post had the normal rust behind the former so it and the opposite side were replaced. ( it had some damage)

    Replaced all door area formers and all 3/8 inch channel except for the stringer mounts. Most anything that had a screw hole in it was changed.

    The top deck also had some previous repairs and was found to be way out of spec. The front left wing fitting was 1/4 inch low.
    I can only assume that this thing had a built in slow roll. Perhaps that is why it wasn't flown much....
    Ed
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    I remember that plane well. An old friend parked his float plane near it when the tree had it captured. The owner wouldn’t sell it. I’m glad it changed hands and got new life breathed into it. Congrats!
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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Some structural additions were made as seen in the following photos.

    In 2003 I posted the idea of adding additional support to the front bulkhead area to improve the crashworthiness.
    This was the first fuselage to get this change that I am aware of. Someone aptly named it the ankle saver mod.
    I was contacted by people from all over the country about this idea and think that many have installed it. Some of the kit builders are adding it. It was determined to be a minor change by the FAA as it doesn't alter the structure.


    Another addition in the direction of improving crashworthiness was in the hopper bay area.
    This is where the Flanagan greenhouse STC came into play. There is only one other STC to change the structure in this area and it is not very desirable.

    The structural changes from this modifies the rear cross tube between the aft wing fittings to become center supported vs. some of the early field approved X bracing. This is important for shoulder harness support. FAA has always expressed concern about attaching at the center but it is better then nothing. I increased the tubing size to 3/4 vs the 5/8 in the STC, and replaced the cross channeling for the greenhouse with 4130 tubing to create a supporting structure for the rear seat shoulder harness attachment. This was perhaps a bit overkill but I don't want my passenger being the last thing through my mind....
    The FAA gave me a field approval exception to use the STC without the greenhouse and for these changes. I thought that the additional glass and steel was not worth the weight added. (Besides the wife didn't think she would like the heat from all the glass)

    Also added the Atlee Dodge floor mounted seat belt attachments tail section reinforcements and welded float attachments and welded

    All of this stuff begins to add some weight but my thoughts were to build a durable airframe vs going for the lightest. Everything has a tradeoff. I think it will pay dividends in the future.
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    Ed
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    S2D's Avatar
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    I really like that paint job. got a little old, a little new look to it.
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.
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    daedgerton's Avatar
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    Gorgeous... I would love an A model to restore. Personally, I love the Flannagan STC. Very nicely done sir!

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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2D View Post
    I really like that paint job. got a little old, a little new look to it.
    Thank you for the complements. I came up with that mix back in 1991 on my other cub.
    I wanted to flow the color onto the wings in a smooth way.

    18A s are cool but some paint designs do not mix well with the flat shape.

    it is a mix of the 1958 and mid 1970s designs.

    Took this shot the other day my other 180 cub and my best friends.

    Sort of like Tripple A s.....
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    Last edited by cubpilot2; 07-08-2018 at 11:36 AM.
    Ed
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    Ed did you build this cub?
    IMG_0287.JPG

  18. #18
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PA-22/20-160 View Post
    Ed did you build this cub?
    IMG_0287.JPG
    Nope: Over the years there have been a few to duplicate the basics of the layout.
    looks as it is in the Anchorage area. I had not seen it before. Thanks
    Last edited by cubpilot2; 07-08-2018 at 04:28 PM.
    Ed

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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    As you have probably figured out I like the A model. If this had been a standard cub the fuselage would have been replaced with new.
    The time an effort to preserve it was worth it to me.

    i will share a few of the reasons why

    One is the aspect of the removable rear seat. I typically haul lots of freight so it is very handy to be able to open up the rear section at times.
    I like to extend the floor boards to create a complete floor not found in the Standard cubs.

    When I reworked this fuselage the STC wasn't available to run the elevator cables below the floor. Had it been I would have used it.

    I cut out the support stubs that were used to anchor down the hopper when installed. If left in place they will always be in the way. I also remove the tabs installed on the outside of the fuselage that mounted the duster agitator.

    Other things removed were the 3/8 channeling under the floorboards that supported the forward belly panel. These are traps for dirt and corrosion. I leave off all of the metal belly panels along with all attachment tabs except for the rear panel.

    This photo was prior to installing the gross weight mod which calls for the brace on the rear seat. (thats another story)

    I tend to like the Atlee baggage extension as it helps me to control overloading the aft end. Things don't slide aft so easily.
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    Ed

  20. #20
    S2D's Avatar
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    I'm surprised you kept the dual controls in it !!

    Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.
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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    The structure is also desirable over the early “standard” Cubs.

    The aft section has the additional tubing between bays.
    The 3/8 channel support to the stingers at the stabilizer opening helps to keep the inspection covers from shaking apart. These are a good addition for a standard cub.

    The later 1970 s cubs had the same structural additions along with the metal belly options.

    The A model hopper area with a metal headliner installed is nearly 5 inches higher at the aft end.
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    Ed
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  22. #22
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    I might mention that to extend a project such as this out over a 15 year period and to be a member of Supercub.org is a hazard!

    You would think that you have things installed that you want / need and then some new idea or STC shows up that you can't live without.

    The fuselage was covered through the silver for quite a long while and then ideas for larger and better baggage access doors started showing up.
    The Whipaire 2000 lb gross weight mod got approved for usage on EDO 2000 floats, and then to top things off the adjustable rear seat STC came available from Dakota Cub. Time to start over....

    So out came the knife. Stripping of new, unused fabric was something that I never planned for but as with other things, was worth it!

    We installed a better baggage door from Airframes that is framed with steel. (weight adder).
    Welded in the added lugs to extend the rear seat. (This is a huge comfort improvement for my wife)

    If you notice in the photos in the previous post you can see it recently had fabric removed.
    Ed
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  23. #23
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    If you notice in the photos in the previous post you can see it recently had fabric removed.
    I wondered about that. That can be my excuse for not getting very far with mine. Actually I need to quit flying and working on the airplanes I fly and build my dream Super Cub.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  24. #24
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2D View Post
    I'm surprised you kept the dual controls in it !!

    Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk
    This one will get a little flight instruction usage someday. When the wife and I are traveling she is my autopilot.
    I use Atlees stick cover in the freighter mode.

    Brian. Recall the Piper hopper structure that I sent you years ago?
    it came from this cub.
    Ed

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    Nah. Keep flying. You finish your dream there is nothing to do but get a new dream. New dreams are expensive -especially the 23 year olds.
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  26. #26
    S2D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubpilot2 View Post

    Brian. Recall the Piper hopper structure that I sent you years ago?
    it came from this cub.
    Yep. Still hanging on my wall !!



    Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.
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  27. #27
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Gross weight increase and rear seat frame.

    The Whipaire STC allows some flexibility for the 3/8 inch brace tube from the door frame to the front of the rear seat. You can weld it or use the bolt in aluminum bracket.
    For aircraft with removable rear seat you can fabricate "something similar" for this support.

    These photos show a simple hinged support that I created using 1/2 inch tubing; that still allows easy removal of the seat frame.

    I have been in discussions with our FAA about my desire to operate with the seat removed. Assuming that you could simply refer to the original weight and balance limitations for 1750 GW.

    First impressions from them is that it should not be a "big deal".
    I have not yet received formal guidance for this but it appears that simple log notations and references on weight and balance data may be all that is needed. I expect some sort of placard in the seat area being needed as well.
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    Ed
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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Folding Front seats.

    Altho this is not specific to the 18A the design chosen has become something that I am passionate about.

    I modified my first folding seat in 1991 using a method shown in a Super Cub news letter from Jim Richmond which used old strut forks to create a hinge.
    It has worked great and makes loading anything and anyone much easier. I've always considered it a personal "must have".

    When I started this project we had entered into a period of tough FAA times with getting any field approval; especially if there already existed an STC to accomplish the same need.
    Therefore I purchased a folding seat kit from Atlee Dodge to use and it went on the parts shelf for "someday"

    A few years later I installed one of Atlees kits on my best friends cub. (The blue 18A in a previous photo.) I didn't think much about it at the time and figured it would be a great improvement.

    I later had the opportunity to fly with him and climbed into the back seat. When we landed and I went to get out Rick folded the seat forward and immediately found out that I had my feet in a bad position. The rear of the seat frame gouged into both of my shins and hurt like hell. I pulled the backrest back up and let go and then the dang thing flopped forward to hit me again.

    I quickly realized that if that ever happened to my wife she would never climb back in again.

    It took awhile but I was able to get a field approval to install the same hinged set up as I had on my other cub.
    It uses the springs on the back rest but still connected to the lower frame unlike the FAD. These tend to cause the seat to stay upright; and actually "snaps" into position and doesn't move.

    Passenger entry and egress is also much easier due to more room for foot placement.

    These photos show the differences. You be the judge.
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    Last edited by cubpilot2; 07-09-2018 at 03:11 AM.

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    I would be interested in an honest explanation of the load paths of this part which allows the gross weight to be increased to 2000 lbs.

    N1PA
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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=skywagon8a;722513]I would be interested in an honest explanation of the load paths of this part which allows the gross weight to be increased to 2000 lbs.

    [/Q

    I was able to discuss this with Jim Richmond a few years ago and found that he had some first hand knowledge of the testing.

    He as I recall said that a used older fuselage was used for the drop testing and that there must have been some sort of flexing in this area. Perhaps similar to leaving your rear seat cross over bar out and have a rough landing. The installation of the tube stopped it and satisfied the Feds.

    They wanted the upgrade to apply to as many cubs as possible so I guess you test the “weakest link”.

    Jim said that he used a new 4130 fuselage for their GW increase testing and this issue didn’t come up.
    Ed
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Having a folding seat that's not pinned upright until the folding is needed places a risk to the pilot. Rear cargo not restrained in an upset is one. Another potential problem is when the rear passenger braces themselves on the front seat. In either case any forward movement of the seat can force the pilot towards the panel. I had the Dodge setup in one and it was unpinned but maybe that's been changed.

    Edit: Also a concern is submarining under the seat belt forcing the lower legs and feet into the rudder pedals. Keep that folding seat fastened upright and in its frame channels.

    Gary
    Last edited by BC12D-4-85; 07-09-2018 at 06:34 PM.
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  32. #32
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=cubpilot2;722535]
    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    I would be interested in an honest explanation of the load paths of this part which allows the gross weight to be increased to 2000 lbs.

    [/Q

    I was able to discuss this with Jim Richmond a few years ago and found that he had some first hand knowledge of the testing.

    He as I recall said that a used older fuselage was used for the drop testing and that there must have been some sort of flexing in this area. Perhaps similar to leaving your rear seat cross over bar out and have a rough landing. The installation of the tube stopped it and satisfied the Feds.

    They wanted the upgrade to apply to as many cubs as possible so I guess you test the “weakest link”.

    Jim said that he used a new 4130 fuselage for their GW increase testing and this issue didn’t come up.
    The thing that peaked my interest is that your seat cross tube isn't fastened to anything at the ends. Those two bolted on tubes can't possibly do anything since the whole assembly will be flexible.
    N1PA
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  33. #33
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    That cross bar is normally pinned to the U-saddle on either side of the fuselage. Bolt or pin welded to the bar with a hair pin keeper is what I had. Some use bolt and nut. Keeps the assy from spreading sideways and in the saddle.

    Gary
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  34. #34
    skukum12's Avatar
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    Saw my first folding Atlee seat two days ago and couldn't believe the mess it would cause the backseater. Builder is getting rid of the seat and putting a folder together from a friend's design.
    "Always looking up"
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  35. #35
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    That cross bar is normally pinned to the U-saddle on either side of the fuselage. Bolt or pin welded to the bar with a hair pin keeper is what I had. Some use bolt and nut. Keeps the assy from spreading sideways and in the saddle.

    Gary
    Yes: the seat frame on this one has the pins welded through each end that align with the saddles. You can see the top of the pin where welded. When in service they would get pinned. When the new support is put in place it actually locks the frame from budging even without safety pins.
    Ed
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  36. #36
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Having a folding seat that's not pinned upright until the folding is needed places a risk to the pilot.
    Gary
    exactly!!

    I seen a guys non folding seat after he crashed and the pilot seat BENT Forward as the moose quarter exited through the CLOSED door on an 18, after bending seat....

    with a folding seat, It's very simple to drill a hole in a extra tab(s) and ADD 1/4" spring pins at bottom of seat back, to lock the 2 halves in upright position... I think I have a picture somewhere of the install.. somewhere

    (the guy walks in with black eye and beat up face, inquiring how much it'd cost for a fuselage repair from the back of pilot door forward..... ask the reason?, him, oh... no reason , this was before fuselages were so easy to get new...)

  37. #37
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Sounds easier to tie down your load and wear a shoulder harness. I don't see people getting in the airplane and then installing a pin in the seat back.
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers

  38. #38
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Yes it's an additional pre-flight step to pin the seat upright but easier isn't always safer. Consider the possible scenario. Load or passenger in rear seat hopefully tied down or belted in with shoulder harness snug. Pilot same with folding seat back un-pinned. Bad landing or worse. Now both occupants or rear load weigh substantially more due to G-force deceleration and move forward against their restraints. Worse yet the rear occupant reacts and braces against front seat.

    Now the front harness, belt, and frame attachments are subjected to high loads possibly beyond their design. The upper torso of the pilot is compressed between the harness and folding seat causing trauma, and that in turn lifts the seat belt. With the belt up the pilot's lower torso can slide forward forcing the lower legs against the rudder pedals breaking bones and twisting the inner pedals forward. Hopefully during all this the pilot's head didn't also hit the upper side deck, V-brace, or panel.

    I owned a Cub with the pedals twisted from an impact the pilot didn't survive. Can happen. Choose wisely.

    Gary
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  39. #39
    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Nice, how bad was it from sitting all those years. Curious how much you had to do.
    The wings.

    From the outside they didn't look too bad. I knew there would be problems on the left side due to the tree damage etc for sure; and a few other problems; but I was in for a surprise.

    I left the fabric on until early last year for protection and when opened I was greatly disappointed. There were no corrosion issues to speak of but the repairs from the 1959 event was extensive. Every single rib had been repaired; with some having 3 -4 repairs each and they weren't very pretty. The leading edge was entirely coated with 2 inch masking tape and when removed exposed massive amounts of Bondo. It was everywhere!
    To add to the mess the tops of the ribs were covered with "pecker tracks " from people removing snow and ice for all those years.

    The flaps and ailerons were found to have the same massive amount of Bondo on the leading edges. I would suspect they were a little out of balance!

    The end result was that every single rib, every leading and trailing edge skin and screw was replaced.
    Each wing had one spar replaced due to holes being drilled into bad places.
    All control hangers were found to have corrosion pitting in the channels just ahead of the bearing blocks so all were replaced with new. And of course new wing bows.
    Added the 2000 lb. gross weight parts and new wiring.
    Added Attlee's Tie down fittings and the Atlee strut fitting reinforcements.

    All flaps and ailerons got new leading and trailing edges and all fittings removed, blasted and primed.

    Essentially I have all new wings.
    All replaced parts were using Dakota cub parts except the butt ribs which are Univair.

    Oh did I mention all new "heavy duty" Powder coated, lift struts and forks....$$
    Totally brand new Cleveland wheels and brakes, 3 inch heavy duty extended gear, cabane V, and struts.
    Safety cables, etc......And new 31 in ABWs

    I did not have to replace the "data plate".....
    Ed
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  40. #40
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    PA-18A Restoration. Something old, something new

    I replace leading edge pretty much always, as I already have it removed or partially for tramming and the $$ to clean at shop rate & bondo is more than cost of univair blanks. You only need either the atlee hurricane tie downs, OR the strut attach beefups. Both solve same issue. But I prefer the hurricane tie downs.


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