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Monday, January 26, 2015

Propeller, antenna and cabin heat box

The highlight of the week: the propeller arrived from Hercules Propellers in Britain. It's a coarse cruise prop with muddy green tips matched with the original Sensenich props. The brown leading edge is in carbon, which makes this prop perform slightly better than the original Sensenich prop due less drag. And it's not imitated wood: it's the real thing! Light weight with a nice alu crush plate.

Also, drilled hole for radio AN-29C antenna connected to the BC-659 radio. This antenna is for authentic looks only and will not be in use. Happy with the tight fit using the rubber O-ring. Not a drop of water will pass through there!

Furthermore, installed the cabin heat box to the bootcowl. Getting seriously close to engine and wing installation now.

The AN-29C antenna sticking up though the birdcage.

The BC-659 radio box will contain an Air Avionics 8.33 kHz VHF with a Garrech Mode S transponder. The VHF unit is currently being developed and will be launched late 2015. So the first season will be flown with a handheld VHF only. The really nice thing with the Air Avionics device is that both the VHF and Transponder will be controlled from a single remote control head. Less "footprint" in the cockpit.

1 kg fire extinguisher, operated with one hand only which is why I selected that particular unit. May spray paint it OD..

Cabin heat box now attached to the bootcowl. Just waiting for the gascolator and tachometer wire now before bootcowl can be attached ONE LAST TIME!! :-)

Cabin heat box seen from the inside. 

There is a kind of system in all this mess... 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


L-4's in the field mostly had very simple nose art. Either nothing at all, or a plain white pencil stroke figure with a name written beside it. The ones that carry noseart today usually puts some more effort into it. And there were some.. that had great nose art but they were very few. My danish L-4 fellows has done a great job on their noseart. However, I also respect the ones arguing that an L-4 should not have nose art as this was very rare in WW2.

A very good friend and "Aviation artist" in the north of Norway has created the below sketch for me. He has chosen Martha Vickers as the model, she was a very popular WW2 pinup girl. A youtube clip here.

Most L-4's has a name, at least today.. I've chosen a cool aviaton name: "Maverick". Why ? Well, ever since the plane came to Norway (1947) it has carried the national registration LN-MAV. Now, every hobby pilot has seen Top Gun at least 8 times, right?.. and Maverick is constantly referred to as "Mav" by his colleagues. But the expression "Maverick" refers to wild cattle which the cowboys needed to catch and brand, often using a lasso.
From Wikipedia:
"Maverick is a term, usually referring to cattle, for an animal that does not carry a brand.[1] In the period of the United States open range, such animals were relatively common. Many cows would give birth in wild or semi-wild conditions, not be located in an annual round up, and their ensuing calf could thus grow to maturity without having been captured and branded for ownership. The term derived from Samuel Maverick, who, among his other claims to fame, was notorious for not branding his cattle. "

So, dressing Martha Vickers as a cowgirl was done to get some connection to a real Maverick wild cow. I'm very grateful to Roald Olsen, the aviation artist for taking such a lot of time and effort to make me a unique nose art. He will be coming down from the north to paint this on the side of my aircraft some time in the spring.

Martha Vickers and the photo that was used for my noseart.

Martha Vickers as drawn by Roald Olsen, dressed up as a cowgirl. I'm thinking of also putting a lasso in this picture.

As it could look on my L-4 (which will be J 43 by the way, not 44).

Danish L-4 enthusiast and owner Thomas Damm. His son actually painted that noseart - I think it's absolutely stunning!

My good facebook friend Kenneth Maigaard and his newly restored L-4 - a real D-day aircraft!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Birdcage strips

Making progress with the birdcage. All windows now fitted. Working on bending pre-cut aluminum strips to build the strips. Fun, but cold fingers... ( - 5° C in hangar yesterday..)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Panel fitting

Today we fitted the boot cowl once more - and to get it 100% we had to include the instrument panel. This is the first time we're seeing the painted panel in place - I just this it looks really good!

I must admit that the cream face instruments are not right for a J model, it was used on A and B models. I was in the US early in my restoration project, eager as any, and determined to buy the panel when I was there. So that was a result of poor research. However, I'm already working to build a correct panel- I've got the hard-to-find airspeed indicator of type B-8. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Getting there...

Someone once said about aircraft restoration: "When you think you are 90% done, you're about half way there!". I would like to shake hands with that guy... :-)

A few photos and comments below. Next big milestone is mounting of engine and wings. Hopefully first week of February. Then the big concern is if the L-4 will fit in the hangar with a rather large Cessna 177 RG... Done some measurements, but I think the Cub may need to be elevated so that the wings of the Cessna will go below. 

Had to search for gear/coupling components for the generator. Also needed parts for the exhaust system as well as 100 other small things - it all adds up! Propeller is being made by Hercules Propellers in the UK and should arrive soon. Other parts are on it's way now - hopefully the last purchase for a long while... 

All windows now fitted. Working on the strips from pre-cut aluminum. 

Battery box under front seat. Battery is a 12V Gel battery for MC / scooter. Should do the job well.

ELT connected and verified by test. The connection of the ELT was the last task in the "aft section". Could now be closed for a while (ELT needs a new battery in 5 years from now...) And hopefully all antennas on the ground plane under the seconite will perform well. There is a concern that the transponder antenna may be located too close to the VHF and GPS antennas. The tests will be very exciting to perform.

The aft cover put in place. Waiting for the BC-659 radio box which is still for sandblasting and painting.

Remaining wiring and antenna cables bundled. First season will be flown with a handheld radio and without a transponder.  I'm waiting for a VHF 8.33 kHz channel spacing radio with a combined mode S transponder - all with only one remote control head. Air Avionics radio: http://www.air-avionics.com/air/index.php/en/products/air-com-8-33khz-radio-systems .