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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

45-4417 Military Records

The following email was received this morning, confirming that "Maverick" (LN-MAV) was used in real WWII missions. I´m very grateful to AFHRA and the free work that the friendly archivists do over there, thanks!!

Dear Mr. Johnsen

Thank you for your request.  Attached is a copy of the assignment record for the L-4J, s/n 45-4417.

According to the records, this aircraft was delivered on 20 Dec 1944 and shipped to Europe by sea, via Horsehead and Elmira NY.  It arrived in France on 26 Dec 1944 and assigned to the US Army Ground Forces (not the USAAF.)  It was declared surplus on 28 Aug 1946 and transferred to Norway on 15 Apr 1947.  This is all we have on its assignments.

For information on markings and colors, we recommend you contact the National Air & Space Museum archives at the site address listed below.


600 Chennault Circle 
Maxwell AFB AL 36112 USA
(334) 953-2447
DSN 493-2447

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Second engine startup

Delighted to see how easy the engine started the next day (second time started). Warmed it for about 10 minutes. Will repeat this a few times before I hand the engine over to the local mechanic. I think it might look better inside after some regular use.
See the startup video clip here

Saturday, April 20, 2013


After some attempts... All these C90 engines has their individual little secrets. Will try again, perhaps tomorrow to see if it starts easier then.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1980 photo of LN-MAV

This is the only photo Google comes up with when searching for "LN-MAV". It´s taken in
Leicester (EGBG) 5th July 1980 by Dave Mangham. As a curiosity, I turned 8 years old the next day after this picture was taken... The previous owner (Eidar) has an old newspaper clip of this aircraft flying Norway´s prime minister Mr. Borten to his hunting lodge in the norwegian mountains. So even if I don´t find any records of WWII missions, at least it´s been a "VIP plane" for the norwegian government in the late sixties. :-) I´ll try to get a scanned copy of that article.


This is LN-MAV´s slightly older sister LN-SAI (USAAF 44-80283). I own a 10th share in this beauty and we know for a fact that this one was used in Operation Overlord, D-day. Here flying with ex-miss Norway on a calendar photo shoot. LN-SAI is now grounded for changing main wing spar, hopefully she´s back in the skies around Oslo by late summer.

Perfect L-4

The masters work...
I have to admit that Steve´s old L-4 is one of the best looking Grasshoppers I have seen. I´m aiming to achieve the same quality restoration and I know it will be difficult. Just look at his great work:

Instrument panel from Keystone Instruments

I was on a training course at the FAA in Oklahoma City recently. Not knowing when would be the next chance to travel to the States, I could not resist the chance to get the cockpit done. All instruments fully restored and yellow tagged. Must give credit to Ken at http://www.keystoneinstruments.com for great work. He got the panel from Clyde Smith "across the street", and put it all nicely together. The original Stewart Warner oil temp/pres gauge on the right was not cheap, but worth every buck! Can´t wait to put it all into the L-4, I´m sure it will look great.

BTW, I need to split the dynamic and static lines because I´m planning to use the iLevil AW AHRS. It will then show airspeed and baro altitude on the tablet application. I would like to know if anyone has experience in splitting pressure tubes like that - will it still show correct readings ?

Monday, April 15, 2013


Full support from the kids!!! Hope it lasts...

In her new hangar, for now stowed at the back, but next week our winter-occupant Cherokee moves out providing more space for the restoration work to begin. So far all I´ve done is to tear out a whole lot of cables. I also removed the ELT to avoid "accidental use". Those things have a tendency to live forever...

Next weekend the plan is to take her outside and start the engine. It has been started on a regular basis since hangared in 2003. After a good warmup, the engine can be taken off and sent to the local workshop for further inspection and overhaul. Next out would be to X-ray the fuselage checking for corrosion. When that is done, hopefully without major findings, the fuselage will be taken home. Having the possibility to work in my home garage is the only way I can throw in a couple of hours nearly every day. 

And here she is...

Finally I´m "hooked" on to my first aircraft restoration project: a 1944 Piper L4-J s/n 13157 (USAAF serial 45-4417). Many thanks to the previous owner Eidar for driving more than 1300 km to deliver this aircraft to me. I took it the last 100 km on the road down to Kjeller (ENKJ) just north of Oslo, Norway.

I will try to keep up this blog and post regularly. Any comments and hints are welcome, this is after all my first attempt to restore a vintage aircraft. Wish me luck... :-)