Al Mooney’s wooden wonders keep popping up here at the North Cascades Vintage Aero Museum
Al Hook of Los Angeles, CA has donated his long time treasure with a 56 year ownership of Culver Cadet LFA, S/N 315, NC37806. A little history regarding Al and his Cadet – Al bought the little wooden speedster to commute to work in the LA basin back in 1955, Al’s job was about a 45 minute commute by auto and 15 minute commute by the little Culver, Al chose the Cadet whenever possible as his flying time was minimal and the joy he received doing so made his job that much easier.
Al flew the Cadet for about another 10 years doing the commute when time finally caught up on the little Cadet’s airframe and 90 HP Franklin, with major work lurking in the form of a recover, woodwork in the airframe and a major overhaul on the Franklin 90, Al chose to park the Cadet instead of selling her. Fortunately Al had the good sense to hanger the little Culver in several dry hangers for the next 40 years!.
Al’s love for this little machine never waned, and finally in 2004 Al contracted with Culver guru Carl Badgett in Snohomish, WA to do his Magic with the Cadet’s airframe and 90 Franklin. This would be Carl’s last Cadet project, Carl would move onto a 1937 Packard convertible that he has recently completed which has turned out magnificently. Carl spent the better part of three years replacing a lot of wood , overhauling the little 90 Franklin and recovering the airframe, complete with the two tone three stripe paint scheme in Diana Cream and Santa Fe Maroon.
The Cadet was completed in late 2007 and test flown out of Harvey field in Snohomish, WA. Following a few corrections and fixes the Cadet was flown to Los Angeles by Al and Paul Rhule, another Culver guru from Phoenix, Arizona. The flight down went without event in 10.5 hours, again the Cadet found a hanger in the LA basin where she again would sit due to Al’s unfortunate health issues until his decision to donate the Cadet to the collection here in Concrete. Because the airplane had not flown in almost seven years the decision was made to truck the Cadet back to Concrete, Drew and a helper drove down and took two days to disassemble the little speedster and load her into a 16′ Penske rental truck.
Once back in Concrete, another decision had to be made whether to reassemble the airplane or do some cosmetic work to bring the airplane up to Museum standards . What was found was the Colored Butyrate dope peeling off in sections from the primed fuselage fabric, within 3 hours helping hands had all of the dope finish removed from the fuselage.At the same time we chose to recover the Rudder, Elevator and horizontal Stab, this would only leave the wings which looked to be in fine condition. To date the fuselage has been block sanded and primed and is ready for a coat of Santa Fe Maroon Ranthane and then the trim color three stripes in the Diana Cream. The Tail surfaces will be finished in the Randolph dope finish up through color, we chose to go the Ranthane route on the fuselage as Carl had used an automotive gray primer prior to the finish dope colors which began to peel, hence the use of the Ranthane would have a good base with regard to the auto primer.
The 90 Franklin has been removed from the airframe and sits on a engine stand waiting to be rejoined to it’s longtime companion, the wooden airframe. With only 10.5 hours since an extensive major the Franklin looks to be in great shape.One item that was included with the airplane when donated was a brand new Aeromatic prop set up for the little Cadet with the paperwork all signed off, this should make for a great little performer when up and flying.
A little history on the Cadet,
Another product of Al Mooney’s fertile mind and one of his more popular machines to come out of the late 1930′s early 40′s. Approx 375-380 were manufactured. Production started in Port Columbus, Ohio and when Walter Beech became involved, production was relocated to Wichita, Kansas. Production continued until the military saw the potential for the wooden airframe use as a drone. The Cadet was slightly modified with a tricycle gear and radio control equipment and many were built for one purpose and that was to be shot out of the sky!
First production machines carried the A-75-8 or -9 Continental and with the light airframe the Cadet performed admirably, cruising at 120-125 mph on 4.5-5 gallons hour. Later airframes were pulled around with the smooth running Franklin 80 and 90hp engines. Although there was a slight bump in horsepower, the Franklin powered machines were heavier due to their full electrical systems. Performance wasn’t any better but the little airplane was more useful and practical with a starter, generator, optional lights and radio options.
Today I would guess there are probably less than fifty Cadets flying, possibly less maybe more with another 20 or so being restored or stored in barns. Here in Concrete we have kind of a niche thing with Al Mooney`s designs, presently we have in the collection two Mooney Mites (a C & L model), two Cadets (a LFA and a LCA), a Dart with Lambert power, three Culver V’s, one restored and flying and two projects, a Clip wing Dart project with Warner 165 power coming in June and two other mites and an LFA Cadet in a neighboring hangar.
As you can see here in Concrete we are on the constant lookout for termites!! None to date .
Watch for museum updates on our ongoing Mooney collection and other interesting aircraft.
Well despite the lack of updates here on the website, we’ve been busy the past several weeks in the hangar. Work continues on the Bulldog, as well as on the newly polished Cessna 120. But our new Fairchild 22 has received some care over the summer and is on its way to receiving a cosmetic overhaul as well as a few changes under the covers.
When we acquired the Fairchild 22 last winter, it was a great addition to our existing Fairchild line. Like both of our previous Fairchild’s, a PT-19 and a F24, the F22 arrived in good shape, with just a few things needing attention. Of course once you get the airplane in the hangar to take care of those small things, it seems worthwhile to attend to a few other small details. And down the rabbit hole you go.
Actually it hasn’t been too bad. The main thing we wanted to touch up was finishing the edges on the sheet metal work. We ended up making new landing gear shock strut fairings that blend in to the top of the wheel pants. We also added a fairing for the wing strut to the fuselage and landing gear.
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Tags: Fairchild 22
With Andy getting the NEW 120 wheelpant upto a mirror shine, we`re ready for the Dark green trim on the raised beaded body line, hours and hours just on these two parts!! but the little 120 will be nice!
Fitting the new wheel pant bracketts and overhauled brake calipers, a formed streamlined cuff will cover all of this.
After many hours, of nitpicking , sanding, and buffing were ready for the trim paint layout and masking will begin. The skins are are all origianl and 65 years old , so they needed quite a bit of work!!
The left wing after sanding and shooting two cross coats of Randolph Butyrate silver, Aero graphics stencils are used to mask the Nc letters, again in forrest Green, almost there!
The R/H wing ready for some Green!
Liz Kasier , an intern at the museum gets some instruction from the Museum`s Drew Jenkins A&P in proper tourqe sequences in order to place the continental 0-200A crankshaft in the crankcase halves .The 0-200 is undergoing a complete major O/H.
Doing some math figuring the tolerances for the new bearings and reconditioned crankshaft, the Mission Chips keep the parts from rusting!!
The Crankcase with new bearing inserts , reconditioned lifter bodies and camshaft, were`s that crank??
With a little warmer weather, (55 degrees) Andy applies a coat of epoxy primer to the 120 gear legs and Firewall.
With the Continental C-85 removed from the airframe work has begun on a top over haul . Two cracked cylinders were found, two replacement cylinders and the remaing two cylinders O/H`d, were replacing the old parts with new pistons,piston pins, rings,valves and o/h`d rocker arms we`ll have a great C-85 for the finished 120. Even with a compression check the cracked cylinders did`nt show a problem.The engine would have gone until a failure if we hadn’t torn into the C-85 . Peace of mind!!
We have decided to take the wings off of the Cessna 120 for a touch up on the wings and to pull the engine off of the front end to detail the engine and firewall.
We have removed the wings and the fuselage needs one more cut of compound. Having the wings and the doors off of the fuselage will make this process much easier.
The cowling all sanded and ready for buffing.
All of the baffeling has been removed so it can be cleaned and detailed.
Ready for the engine to be removed so detailing of engine and firewall can begin.
Tags: Cessna 120
The cosmetic restoration for the 120 is in full swing. Lots of sanding and lots of buffing but the time and effort is paying off. The plane is going to be a real beauty
Liz Kaiser a volunteer at the museum sands the fuselage while Drew gets ready to buff the already sanded areas.
The rear top section has been buffed now moving to the next section.
This 1946 Cessna 120 purchased by Harold Hanson back in 2000 is an original airframe with fabric wings. The Engine is a C-85-12 without electrical system which keeps the airplane light and is how it came from the factory. Our goal for this 120 is to bring the cosmetic appearance of this airplane up to the standards that everyone has come to expect at this museum.
We have removed the Stabilizer, Elevators, Fin and Rudder for some light re-skinning as there is slight damage due to hail.
With removal of all of the tail feathers and then removal of the stripe with paint stripping sanding has begun to remove all surface scratches and light oxidation on aluminum skins.
After the first cut of compound the skin is starting to shine right up. Pretty soon it will be like looking into a mirror.
A good clear view of the sanding that is being done. When we are finished the airplane will have been sanded with 800, 1000,1500,2000,2500 and 3000 grit sandpaper. Takes a toll on the fingers but the outcome is worth it.
Tags: Cessna 120
We recently received a bunch of pictures and a great story from one of our most active volunteers here at the museum. Kerry Sim is a veteran pilot who has been helping out here in Concrete for a while now, and last fall he started bringing his 15 year old son Cameron along.
Cameron is a great help whenever he’s here and doesn’t just sit around looking at the airplanes. Every time he is at the airport he’s hard at work helping with the basic maintenance and learning about the airplanes. He’s worked on a lot of the planes here, but he’s really getting to know the PT-19. It’s really great to see a teenager changing the oil in a World War II trainer, and even better to see him going for a flight in one!
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Tags: Fairchild PT-19
One of our side projects requires some engine work, so when it was time to go looking for Continental parts, we decided to do an inventory of C-85 parts on hand. Turns out we have quite a bit more than we thought.
We’re going through everything and deciding what to send out to have cleaned up and fixed and what will just stay here for future parts needs.
More photos after the jump.
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Tags: Continental C-85
, Waco QCF-2