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To establish a base line for the project here are pictures (top) of what the sailplane looked like when it was purchased by my father in November 1962 for $256 after it had crashed when owned by the San Diego glider club.  The rest of the photos are of it in our front yard when it was far enough along to do a test fitting of the rebuilt wings.  The color shots show the areas on the wing where new aluminum skins were added with the green areas being the  original chromate colored skins that  were salvaged from the wreck and reused.  The gentleman in the tan shirt is my father and other one our next door neighbor who was very understanding of all the noise from the riveting.

If you enlarge the crash pictures you see where the wrinkles are in the the leading edge.  The spars were broken at the inboard aileron joint so new spars had to be built and many of the nose ribs replaced.  Dad purchased new spar rails from Schweizer, salvaged some of the webbing and spliced in as much of the original web as possible. 

All this work was done in a small, pre-war sized single car garage behind the house.  It was not quite long enough for the 20' lengths of the wings and fuselage so he added a short extension on the doors to give the needed room.  He already had a substantial air compressor and lathe plus all the necessary tools many of which came from the Convair (old Consolidated Vultee) salvage yard over the years he worked there.


Here is what it looked like in 1966 when on display at a local shopping mall for a aviation promotion.  It was all white except for yellow bands around the wings and the yellow design on the tail.  I couldn't find any color pictures of the ship in this paint scheme.  I guess we were too busy flying it to worry about pictures.

Here are two shots of what it looked like around circa 1976-99 when owned by Harry Baldwin.  The purple paint job and his winning ways got it nick named the Statutory Grape.  Harry won four 1-26 National Championship with it between 1974-84 when they were held in the western areas of the US.  He also set the class record for a straight out distance flight of 432 statue miles in 1981 that still stands.  He did a double tow with another 1-26 out of Gillespie Field east of San Diego, released in the Laguna mountains and landed in Gabbs, NV some 10.5 hours later.

December 19, 2009 was day one bringing the glider to the hangar at Gillespie Field, El Cajon, CA (east of downtown San Diego).  At this point the fuselage is a just a metal frame with a base coat of epoxy paint and an outer covering of black primer.  I also got all the remaining small parts in boxes in the back of the truck.  The tail surfaces were transported in the white pickup seen next to the wing.  It was glider day at the airport with a BG-12 coming out of the trailer you can see on the right just above the white truck bed.

This is the glider from the rear of the trailer where you can see the wooden stringers for the aft turtle deck temporarily in place for the transport.  Harry had made new bulkheads and actually stripped the stringers out of larger pieces he had in this workshop.  The wings still have full covering and faded paint so were left on the trailer that was parked next to my house during the fuselage work.  There are a variety of 1-26 trailers.  This one has a ramp, seen on the left floor that is used to roll the fuselage off instead of tipping the entire trailer bed.


Here is the fuselage as it was received covered with a black primer.  Testing found that the primer would not stand up to the strong solvents in  the glues that would eventually attach the fabric covering.  This was the starting point of trial fitting all the parts in the boxes to see what might be missing, including the tail surfaces.  This phase really didn't take all that long and was well worth the time since some small parts needed to be made along the way.  The time consuming job at this point was cleaning everything up before it could be installed permanently.

The cockpit belly skin had been taken off by Harry so some new lower bulkheads could be welded in to replace some areas that had gotten rusted out.  This would eventually get fully stripped and given a coat of polyurethane paint for looks and toughness.  It will take nearly 250 cherry max rivets to reattach it the fuselage.  More photos on that later.

When this picture was taken the wings have been stripped of paint, primer and any Bondo filling by the local paint shop since it required some very strong stripper and a high pressure wash to get it free of the aluminum surface.  Once we got to this stage on the wings they were taken off the outdoor trailer storage and put in another hangar for storage until they were made ready for the epoxy primer coating.

The wing carry-thru was temporarily bolted into the fuselage and the wings trial fitted to make sure everything would line up properly.  Harry was looking on after bringing out more parts he found in his garage.  The left wing's rear spar fitting was found to be severely corroded (called inner granular corrosion) and would need to be removed and replaced.  Otherwise everything fit properly so restoration could go forward.
Updated:  10/15/14
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