establish a base line for the project here are pictures (top) of what
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
before it could be installed permanently.
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.
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
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
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