by Steve Whittenberger
Oshkosh. This was another banner year for Swift at Air Venture. We had a large group of Swifters from all over the country attend this year and the excellent weather may have had a bit to do with that. Our Swifts did very well in the awards categories and our proud owners took home much hardware as their efforts and hard work were well recognized.
Paul Barnett’s newly rebuilt Globe GC- I A (85-90 hp) … N80567 won the Reserve Grand Champion award as well as the Silver Lindy. Paul attributes the Silver Lindy to the meticulous work of Scott Anderson in restoring this near original classic. (The Lindy awards are given to those who expend the tireless effort necessary to create an aircraft that is truly “best of show”.) A full report on how this was done will follow later. Additionally, we are advised that AOPA will do a full feature article on this classic Swift and the restoration effort. It is quite a story.
The Custom Class C (IS 1-235 hp) award …small plaque … went to Alan Dicker of Scottsdale, AZ and his beautiful Swift … N373 I K.
The Class II Bronze Lindy (81-150 hp) was won by Ron Huddleston & John Kinnemeyer’s Swift N78199. They are from Brookville, IN.
Congratulations to all of these Swifters for their hard work and meticulous attention to detail for keeping Swifts in the forefront of Vintage and Classic aircraft. And by the
way, all of the Swifts at Oshkosh, Sun n Fun, Swift National and regional fly-ins deserve a round of applause. The Swift fleet, aircraft by aircraft is second to none in good looking and good flying machines ….AND we just keep getting better every year. Well done to all!!!
Board Chairman Comments
by Will Roberson
Although I was not able to make Air Venture at Oshkosh this year due to a really heavy schedule I have heard nothing but good reports of all the Swift happenings there. 1, like all of you, am extremely proud of all who made the effort to get there and appreciate all of your hard work in keeping us in the forefront at Oshkosh. My hat is off to the award winners….Paul Barnett, Alan Dicker, Ron Huddleston and John Kinnemeyer …. well done gents. Also great appreciation to Scott Anderson for resurrecting Swift N80567 for Paul Barnett which keeps another Swift from the scrap pile. I have seen this bird at HQ and it is beautiful. Also, the strong volunteer efforts of Steve Wilson for setting up the parking, Barb Wilson for setting up a very successful dinner at Kodiak Jacks and to Stan Price for once again setting up our table in the Type Club building and Bo Mabry for running the Swift Forum. These folks are from the Red River Swift Wing and the Southern Swift Air Group where obviously …volunteering is a way of life. Well Done!!
As you know we have a lot of work ahead of us for this next year and we solicit your help in meeting some big challenges. Fund raising is the key to all of it and we must keep moving forward. You might know that Jim “Frog” Jones did a bang up job for us at Swift National and his efforts resulted in quality donations from industry that put over $12,000 in our bank account through our raffle and silent auction. Better yet, Jim is already hard at work on next year’s donations. If you have an idea that will help raise some funds … let us know! As you know we have established a Swift Brick program and we are off to a good start. We will give you the pledge amounts in a future newsletter but much is still to be done and we need your help and your pledges. Let’s all get together and make this a success! Another key effort is to complete the sale of N3271 K. This is a really good Swift and needs a new home. Plus the sale of it will really help our bottom line and part of the proceeds will also go toward financing the final piece of our new facility. If you know of anybody needing a really solid Swift this bird fills the bill. Please help. Contact Dave Carpenter (cell: 859-986-3517 or email dcarpe nter6 2(aD-wi n d stream. net ) and he will help with the offers and information.
Speaking of the the new facility….Pam is well situated there now and most of the fast fill items have been moved over from the old hangar. We hope to complete the rest of the move in the near future. What remains is the hangar addition to the parts and office building which will house our museum Swifts and some parts storage. We have moved forward with a preliminary plan and must keep going to finish the planning, design and funding for this building ASAP. If we all get behind this effort we can complete our facility in the next 12-18 months. In this case … sooner is better…..1 am confident we can do it. Again, many thanks to all for all you do for Swift.
Loss of Swift member Charlie Yeagle
We are extremely sad to report the fatal Swift accident of long time Swift member Charlie Yeagle of the Flying A Ranch, Yulee, Fla. News reports stated that Charlie’s Swift (NY0843) lost power on takeoff from the Flying A strip and crashed into a marsh. There are still some questions as to whether there may have been medical issues involved.
Charlie was a well qualified and experienced Swift pilot and CFI. Not much is known about the accident at this time and the NTSB and FAA are investigating. Our prayers go out to his wife Arlene, family and Charlie’s many friends.
Executive Director Comments
by Pam Nunley
Let me offer a heartfelt “thank you” for the many cards, phone calls, emails and numerous donations to the Building Fund in Dad’s memory. Your support has made an extremely difficult time a little easier to bear. Thank you.
Parts Dept: We are steadily working to get all the parts moved into our new building. We are able to utilize our space much more efficiently and it is looking like we are in great shape with the space we have for parts. Every Swift part is getting a new clean box and is being tagged with a new, easy to read labels. This is just one more step in the direction of a much more efficient operation. Thanks to Buddy Kientz for helping out this past Sunday and Monday to get more items moved over for processing.
We are working to get many of our salvage items photographed and priced in order for you to view them on the web site and in the newsletter as well. It is my plan to have several of these items listed for you next month. Remember, call Swift Parts when you need something. We just may have it!
Address Change: Your Board has made the decision to give up the Post Office box in town. We have installed a mail box here at the airport and are beginning to receive mail here as well as the Post Office for a few more weeks. This will eliminate the need to go into town every day to pick up mail as well as the yearly box rent. The mailing address is: Swift Museum Foundation, Inc.— 223 County Road SS2— Athens, TN 37303
Please note that the zip code is different as well. Thanks for helping to make this transition a smooth one. This address is good for shipping and mail. Everything else is still the same.
New Members: We are planning a new section of the Newsletter that I think you will enjoy. We want to introduce and highlight our new members! This will give us all a better chance to get to know each other as well as promote and bring our “Swift family” closer together. I remember Dad saying one of the main reasons for forming this organization was to form a “support group” of and for Swift owners. This allowed us to promote safety and provide support to each other by staying in contact and sharing information. This is still true today. The experience and knowledge of our long time members is invaluable.
If you became a member within the last year of two and would like to have a short bio about you and your Swift or you and your search for a Swift, please send us your information and a photo to run in the newsletter. We all want to get to know you better and offer you the best support possible. We will begin listing New Members names, N numbers and locations in the September newsletter. In respect to your privacy, we will only run bins with your permission.
Donors for the Swift Museum Foundation
As you know we had great success this year in soliciting donations for our Silent Auction and Raffle at Swift National. Many thanks to Jim “Frog” Jones who worked this for us. It resulted in some really good bargains for Swift members and a solid contribution of over $12,000 for Swift. It is also important for you to know who supported us so that when you are buying items it would be good if we patronized these donors when we make purchases. Many of these have already agreed to donations for next year. When possible… please support these merchants. They are: Champion Aerospace… Teledyne Battery Products … Bose Corporation … ACR Electronics… Kelly Aerospace… Continental Motors … Lycoming … Tempest … Whelen Engineering …. LIP Aero Plastics… Aviation Laboratories Tornado Alley Turbo, GAMI …. Hooker Harness….. Concorde Battery… Bosch, Telex Aviation Products… McFarlane … RAPCO, Inc … Rosen Sunvisor Systems… Gibson & Barnes … J.P. Instruments (JP11) … Electronics International…. David Clark…. Aircraft Spruce …. CamGuard …. Shell Aviation Lubricants…..Michelin Parker Aerospace … Garmin Lightspeed Aviation… Wicks Aircraft…..Sam Lyons Studio.
Oshkosh aka Air Venture
The weather this year was absolutely phenomenal and significantly contributed to the huge turnout of people and aircraft. We got off to a good start … thanks to Steve Wilson….and by Sunday evening we had 14 Swifts on the field and then we added 4 more the next day. It was a good, mix of people from Texas, Georgia, Diamond Point, Indiana, Ohio, Canada, Mississippi, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas and points in between. The weather was mostly cool (75 degrees or so) and dry (except for a shower Tuesday evening).
We had a really good forum and a full house on Monday led by Bo Mabry which included a good exchange of data and some good questions. This meeting also included several people interested in Swift and curious about our great aircraft.
The parking … set up by Steve Wilson… worked well and covered a full row plus some. Buddy Kientz flew our for sale bird (N3271K) in for the show which helps advertise it. The parking location was good as we were close to the tram line, Port a Johns (very important for us mature people) and not far from the Type Club Building where Stan Price set us up with our goods. Sales were pretty good and we moved a lot of merchandise and didn’t lack for volunteers to help Stan out. We had the great pleasure to sign up a new member Gordon Skerratt of Toronto, Canada. Actually Gordon re-signed since he has been a member off and on since the 70’s and is a close friend of Fern Villeneuve. Welcome aboard Gordon we hope to see you at our events and perhaps Swift National.
Tuesday evening we all went to Kodiak Jack’s and the turn out was big. We filled 3 long tables and had a great time chatting with members from all over. The service and food were excellent so Barb Wilson set this up again for next year. This is a good venue for our group and works well in this rather large restaurant. Of course the flying, Aero Shell Team, Thunderbirds were the centerpiece of the show and this seemed to be one of the biggest crowds in recent years.
We are all proud of our award winners Paul Barnett, Scott Anderson, Alan Dicker, Ron Huddleston and John Kinnemeyer and their Swifts. Well done!!!
Sealing & Charging the ELI Landing Gear
by Steve Roth
There are probably several ways to put new seals in the ELI landing gear and ways to charge the gear with fluid and air. I have my own way which I found easy (as easy as it can be) and does not require the gear to be removed from the aircraft. The procedure below sounds complicated, but once you become familiar with it you can easily change seals and recharge ELI gear quickly.
I put the Swift on jacks and remove the wheels (don’t forget to put weight in the tail to hold it down!). I use an old air tank (empty) that I only use for this purpose and connect the tank to the Schrader valve on the gear leg (See Photo A). This will result in the charge air and fluid to be blown into the air tank. If you use a screw-on connection to the Schrader valve as in Photo A, no fluid will escape and make a mess. Remove the valve core from the Schrader valve on the lower gear leg — some residual fluid and pressure may come out.
I place a plastic drop cloth under the gear leg. With no pressure and only a little fluid in the gear leg, I disconnect the gear torque links and pull the lower gear leg/strut out of the upper gear leg. I used to clean out the gear leg strut with solvent but I do not do that anymore — I developed a leak at the bottom of the gear leg where the forging attach bolt goes through. There is a silver-soldered plug there which can leak. So, any old “mud” in the bottom tends to plug up any leaks. Plugging any leak in this area is a whole another story.
I then remove the old O-Ring and backing ring. My gear has a “plastic” backing ring and an O-Ring. I use an MS28775-332 (AN6227B-35) O-Ring and an MS27595-332 Teflon Backing Ring. The O-Ring goes in first/top so the Backing Ring will act as a “scraper” for the chrome strut.
When you pulled the lower strut out of the gear leg, you notice there is a “metering rod” which hangs down inside the upper gear leg. This rod fits into a hole in the lower gear leg. The difficult part is getting the rod to line up with the hole when installing the lower gear leg into the upper leg.
Here is what I do (with several helpers). After installing the new O-Ring and Backing Ring in the upper gear leg, I “lube” the new O-Rings, the inside of the upper gear leg and the chrome strut with O-Ring lube. Vaseline works okay also.
Start the lower gear leg/strut into the upper gear leg. It takes some pressure to get the end of the strut to compress the O-Ring so it will go in. Once it gets past the O-Ring, don’t push it in anymore. You may want to find something to rest the lower gear leg on so it stays in the upper gear leg.
Now, to get the lower strut into the upper strut, you need to line up the metering rod. Here is what I do, but be very careful and have helpers. Put a strap around the fuselage just in front of the vertical fin. Have a helper hold that as you remove the tail weights and lift and raise the tail. The strap with helper needs to make sure you don’t lose your grip and put the airplane on its nose. You have to raise the tail to get the gear vertical so the metering rod goes in the hole. Have another helper try to gently push the lower gear leg into the upper gear leg. If the metering rod is not centered, it won’t go together. Just keep bumping it gently and move the tail up and down until you get the rod in. Once you do, push the lower gear leg up and reconnect the torque links. Now, lower the tail and put the weights back on.
Push the lower gear leg all the way up into the upper gear leg. Find something to hold the gear leg in the up position. Reinstall the valve core in the Schrader valve.
Next, prepare the charging device (See photo B). it requires a nominal 8 Oz of Hydraulic Fluid (5606). Some use 10 Oz. Make sure the device is completely full of fluid, connect the Gooseneck Hose Coupling (Aircraft Spruce No. 061 1700) high pressure connector to the strut Schrader valve and make a tight connection. Have a helper hold the lower gear leg up and be ready to allow it to lower. Holding the charging device with the hose at the bottom, insert “shop air” (nominal 120 PSI) into the Schrader valve on the top of the charging device. The helper can let the lower gear leg extend as air and fluid are blown into the gear. You can hear the fluid rush in and the sound of air once all the fluid is in the gear. Continue to hold the charging device high as you remove the high pressure connector from the gear.
So, now you have 8 Oz of fluid and some pressure in the gear leg. It is time to fully pressurize the gear. Reinstall the wheel then lower the jack and remove it. Connect a Nitrogen charging system to the gear Schrader valve and slowly put Nitrogen in the gear. Remember, if you put too much pressure in the gear you will have to start the charging process all over again since any air you take out will have fluid come out with it.
I raise the charging pressure slowly. Kick the tire and wiggle the wings so the O-Ring does not bind and allow the strut to extend as you put pressure in it. I like to run my struts fully extended but barely fully extended. Once I get the torque links almost fully extended I use my special process to continue. I use the Nitrogen bottle in the following way (see Photo D) — first I close the bottle main valve and turn the pressure regulator all the way out. I open the main valve and “charge” the valve system with full Nitrogen pressure of approx 2000 PSI. I then close the main valve and open the pressure valve to send a small “burst” of high-pressure Nitrogen into the strut. If it is quiet, you will hear the “burst” go into the strut. Be very careful to NOT introduce full Nitrogen pressure directly into the strut. Continue this back-forth procedure being careful to follow the sequence, kicking the tire, etc. until the torque links are just about fully extended.
Now, go fly the airplane and make some landings. Check to see the extension of the torque links. If not fully extended, hook the Nitrogen system back up and using the “special process” to put a burst or two into the strut. When you fly the airplane again, check for proper strut extension. If fully extended, okay. If not fully extended, put another “burst” of Nitrogen into the strut. Once you get the strut extension correct, you will probably not have to do anything further for quite awhile (years?). If you see the strut extension is not correct, touch it up with a “burst” of Nitrogen. Usually, I have to do this once a year or two.
You can use shop air with a strut pump (Aircraft Spruce No. 12-16700) to use air instead of Nitrogen. The only thing with that is that you will introduce some moisture in the strut along with the air. The good thing about the strut pump is that it fills the strut in “bursts” so you can more easily gauge the proper strut extension. There is a way to connect a strut pump to a Nitrogen system but I have not done that. As strut pump is a pressure multiplier so if you introduce Nitrogen or air at 50 Lbs. it will multiply it to a high pressure so you are able to pump up a high pressure strut. Some maintenance shops have them but they are expensive (over $400). 1 bought a Bogert hand operated strut pump (Aircraft Spruce No. 12-16714) on eBay that works like a bicycle pump (see Photo C). New ones are expensive ($380).
1 do not believe in trying to charge the strut to a certain pressure. I also do not use the procedure to look for a certain amount of strut extension. I just make sure the strut is fully extended but ONLY fully extended. I get plenty of gear strut action if I do not plant the airplane correctly on landing (hard landing).
I carry my charging device and extra O-Rings in the airplane just in case I have strut issues while on a trip.
ELI Gear Strut Charging Device
See Photo B.
The “correct” amount of hydraulic fluid in an ELI gear strut is nominally 8 Oz (some say 10 Oz). I made a charger using 2 In automobile exhaust pipe 4 In long with large steel washers welded to each end. I welded 1/4 In. pipe female fittings into each washer hole. On one end I installed an AN fitting with a 12 In hose to a high pressure “Gooseneck Hose Coupling” (Aircraft Spruce No 06-11700). This high pressure coupling has no pin in the middle to depress the Schrader valve core since it “blows” the Schrader valve open when enough pressure is reached.
The maximum pressure introduced into this device is approx 125 Lbs (shop air) so it should be “proofed” to that pressure. DO NOT fully charge the gear strut with this attached. It is only to introduce the correct fluid charge to the strut.
On the other end of the charger, I installed a standard Schrader valve to put air into the device.
I fully fill the device with 5606 Hydraulic Fluid by removing the Schrader valve on the device. Once I ensure it is full (there should be no air in the device), I replace the Schrader valve and make sure all connections are tight. Not allowing the fluid to run out of the device, I then connect the Gooseneck coupling to the strut Schrader valve to begin the charging procedure. Hold the device upright as you are blowing the fluid into the strut.
Thank you Steve for these great informative articles!
Keep them coming.
We will have more articles from Steve in upcoming newsletters
Swift Challenge Coin
Gerry Hampton has arranged for the production of a Swift Challenge Coin. It is a quite nice silver dollar size coin with the red, white and blue Swift emblem on one side and a well done brass emblem on the other featuring the various models of Swift. You might want one for a gift or a keepsake. They are $20 each and well worth the price. Contact Gerry Hampton at 916-812-4778 or av8rgnh@sbcglobal. net.
Future Swift Events
We are not done yet with this year’s Swift activities and fly ins. The three events in September are close at hand so if you are going to go … you are too late to be early with registration.
Triple Tree – Sept 3 – 7: (SCOO) A really nice fly in at the USAs premier grass strip … 7000′ x 400′ and the smoothest field you will ever land on. About 400 – 500 aircraft will probably show up and we expect a reserved parking row near the South Pavilion for our Swifts. Steak on Friday night and BBQ on Saturday night. Camping is available or you can stay in nearby Clinton at the Hampton Inn … 864-938-1040 or perhaps the Quality Inn at the Greenville Airport 864-288-3500. Clinton is a bit closer and where the SSAG normally stays. Ask for the Triple Tree rater Others may camp on the field ….very nice, shady etc. and the SSAG will set up a base camp in the woods for relaxation etc. See the Triple Tree Aerodrome site for arrival procedures and other information. Their arrival is controlled much like Sun n Fun etc. You can pre-register or do so after you land. Many southeast US Swifts will be there and normally 12- 20 arrive. Rental car is easiest via Enterprise which will deliver the cars to the airport. Unless you are camping you will need a car. Questions? Call Bud or Sylvia Brown at 706-245-6973.
Red River Swift Wing – Fredericksburg, Tx – Sept I I – 14. This is one of the year’s best fly ins. The vintage hangar hotel is a perfect backdrop for our Swifts. Very nostalgic and appropriate for vintage aircraft. Additionally, Fredericksburg is a classic western town and adds to the fun of this fly in. If you haven’t gotten your reservation at the hangar hotel… do so immediately. (830-997-9990). Steve Wilson is the contact this year and he is working other hotels in the event the hangar is filled up. firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-578-9877. By all accounts this fly in is one of the most memorable Swift sponsors. We hope to see you there.
29′ Annual West Coast National Swift Fly-in Sept 19-21. Dave Richards along with Denis Arbeau and Bill Weaver started this event in 1985 and it has been going strong ever since. Westover field is a good airport and easily handles the 30 – 40 Swifts that arrive. BBQ, Dinner at Thomis, aircraft judging and a stroll down the runway at night are all staples of this fun fly in. The Amador Inn (209-223-0211) is the main hotel but the rooms are filling fast. Please contact Dave Richards at email@example.com for more information. This is definitely worth the trip west and a great chance to exercise your Swift. Hope to see you there.
Swift Checkouts: Ben Wilson: Ben is now available for Swift checkouts and instruction. He is a CFI with a lot of experience in the Swift and being an airline pilot can move about the country rather easily. Anyone needing these services or assistance should contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org