"Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

Discussion in 'The light stuff area' started by choppergirl, Feb 4, 2016.

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  1. Feb 4, 2016 #1

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    I read somewhere a Goat was $2000-$3000. Way to rich for my blood, to buy new alluminum and start from scratch cutting and drilling...

    So far, I have $38 + gas, invested in my motor glider ;-) Already redesigning the cockpit area... with "L" channels... to make more sense to me and get rid of some of the Jensen "lets just add onto what we already have built" chartfunk.

    Anyone close by, you are welcome to help out and participate this summer... why waste time forever dreaming, when you could be stripping paint and riveting... on something that is real, 40 feet wide, and you can already sit in ;-) I don't mind sharing. It'd be fun.

    I'm kicking around the idea of crowd funding my plane, so that everybody interested in ending their career as dreamers, and becoming owners instead, could buy a share in my community owned airplane... 100 shares at $20, that would be plenty to buy dacron and a Kawasaki 340, 72" prop, and redrive, new rivets and AN bolts, misc. parts and new control cables, *PLUS* materials to build an enclosed trailer to store it permanently in and transport it *whereever*.

    I'd write everybody's name on the plane, and even consider letting owners taxi and maybe fly it *if* they could demonstrate their basic coordination skills on say a motorcycle, or other vehicle first, and or flight simulator, with lots of tips from old flying elmers first, and they fully understood the theory of flight... worse they could do is crack it up and kill themselves, in which case we can always rebuild the plane... its a super slow docile flying go cart, after all... at least it appears to be in all the videos I have of it flying...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJL48s90smc

    Is this a bad idea? Dunno. I still am musing about the idea. Its not like it hasn't been done before. My dad once bought 1/20th share in an EAA club Aerosport Scamp, and was one of only two pilots to fly it, the other, being the builder. He did 3 loops in it. I think glider clubs did community owned planes back in ancient history.

    My personal challenge goal is to finish the plane entirely to flying state, for under $999. Not counting labor which I have all the time in the world. I'll probably run it up to $1200-$1500, *but* I'm going to snipe hard on ebay and scrounge hither and thither to come in under the $999 mark... just for bragging rights. ;-) New dacron is going to be a !@#$% to score on the cheap, I already know that going in. Maybe one night somebody's sailboat sail mysteriously... disappears ;-) Crazier things have happened, you know... those nightwitches... *just kidding* Not going to ruin someone else's baby to make my own dream, that would be très uncool...

    Having just about the entire aluminum frame skeleton of the plane, and only having spent $38 of my budget, I am looking pretty good so far... scouring ebay every day to score a clean engine at a brutal price.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  2. Feb 4, 2016 #2

    choppergirl

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    Re: Discussion: Conceptual Design of an "Inexpensive" Single-Seat Motorglider

    Meh, I haven't decided on going that route yet anyway. I'm just saying, it *might* be much easier for guys wanting to build from scratch, to buy something already existing, in need of lots of TLC, than starting from zero scratch. That was my verdict in my own quest. Just the time and trouble to source parts... and raw materials... and cut and drill them... wow. Its a lot more time consuming than you might think. I'd rather restore something already in my hands than try to find a replacement part for it... any day. Strip off the paint with Citristrip and its like you got a brand new motor glider kit frame, with all the cuts and drill holes all already done.


    Just the alluminum alone... would of cost me a fortune... I look at is a kit, already assembled, that just needs to be taken apart, all the rivets replaced, and bolts, and for the most part... its all "there". Alluminum never rusts in the traditional sense, which means its all still good, and in the case of my plane, it was an all riveted and bolted together design... very little welding was used. Perfect.

    Ultralights come up for sale on ebay and barnstormers quite regularly... gliders... hmm.. not so much so I guess. Would love to have a jet turbine powered glider myself, but never going to happen.

    I designed my own glider frame a month before, using a bridge truss idea and lots of triangles (triangles are strong), and built a 3D model on my kitchen floor bigger than my refrigerator just to conceptualize it all in 3D in my head. I'm glad in retrospect I didn't go that route. It looked like a huge box kite or Airco DH.1. Imagine something that looks like a Bloop 2 with no dihedral angle but with a box kite tail. My tail design was clever I thought.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
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  3. Feb 4, 2016 #3

    Topaz

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    Moderator Note: These two posts were originally included in another thread, but would be better served "having their own space", as it were, so I created a new thread and moved them here.

    Choppergirl, if you'd prefer some different title to this thread, just PM me and I'll make the change. Sounds like a fun project!
     
  4. Feb 4, 2016 #4

    blane.c

    blane.c

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    I have seen your pictures of your little chicken.
    If it was mine I would go over all of the aluminum with a fine tooth comb looking for corrosion and using some product like Boeshield T-9 (there may be better products but something) get it all cleaned up soap & water scrubbed, rinsed and dried and protected inside and out, sooner than later. Southern humidity unlike southern hospitality is going to do you no favors were the possibility of corrosion is concerned.
     
  5. Feb 5, 2016 #5

    Dana

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    Don't be too quick to change things, unless you have the ability to analyze your changes and know it will be strong enough. Volmer Jensen was an extremely experienced aircraft designer (yours was his 24th design, after all). If possible, try to find a set of original plans for the plane... many if not most older ultralights either weren't built quite to the plans or were altered over the years, and not all changes were well thought out.

    Dana
     
  6. Feb 5, 2016 #6

    Victor Bravo

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    Here are a few ideas from an old washed up scrounger, who squeezed a nickel so hard the buffalo farted:

    Remove all the existing AN bolts and clean them in gasoline in a coffee can (better yet the new plastic coffee cans). When they're clean change it over to some fresh gas mixed with a teaspoon of oil, then put them on a rag and let them dry. After they're dry lay them out and inspect them for damage and ruined threads. Chances are 80-90 percent of the bolts are still safely usable. Automatic, un-thinking replacement of everything with brand new bolts is a luxury, not a requirement.

    If the Angel of Cheapness is truly at your doorstep, SLIGHTLY melting the thread grooves in the plastic ring inside the self-locking nuts with a soldering iron or small pencil torch can put back half of the locking friction. You may not have to replace all of the nuts either.

    Scotchbrite and rattle-can primer can save an awful lot of aluminum parts if there is not damage or deep pitting.

    Dacron for an experimental ultralight can be found on sale at a fabric and crafts store, called "coat liner" or "jacket liner". It's not expensive. Or you can use 1 ounce weight plain white Dacron fabric off a roll.

    Craigslist might be a good scrounging place for a LOT of stuff, but you have to be able to identify the various levels of quality.

    The fabric is cheap, the coatings and "dope" are the expensive part. Look into the Stewart Systems fabric coating products because they are both lighter and cheaper. Find your nearest few EAA chapters, and see if anyone is doing fabric work, who might have some extra coatings and chemicals left over.

    From what I've read about you so far, you're a bad to the bone computer geek. There is your "currency" and "Stock in trade" right there. 2/3 of all the airplane people in the US are 50 years old and over, we are not from the millennial/tech/computer generation, and we are always having computer problems and tech issues that make the younger tech people laugh their a**es off. So you can haunt and explore the local airports, EAA chapters, and FBO's, and TRADE your help with their old-folk tech issues for their help with airplanes and parts and materials. No money changes hands and you have access to stuff that saves you billions.

    ED:Edited after first posting to fix egregious spelling errors from typing faster than I am capable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  7. Feb 5, 2016 #7

    StarJar

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    There are good reports on Latex Paint.
    Interesting VB, on the Dacron.
     
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  8. Feb 5, 2016 #8

    steveair2

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    This is a great thread with a lot of good advice! For fabric glue, one of our fine members has posted that the Stewart System fabric glues are repackaged 3M contact adhesive that you can find here Robot Check. We still need to investigate this a little more thorough you know, after all, this is the interweb!
    I'm impressed with you, your enthusiasm and your family history. Just be careful if you plan to modify the structure as you were speaking of.
    You may need help from some of our members here if you plan to do so. Please keep us posted on your progress.
     
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  9. Feb 5, 2016 #9

    choppergirl

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    Ug, my own thread. Too soon!

    For someone such as myself, who is typically not a loss for words, let me think on this a bit before I post some long essay where I invariably put my foot in my mouth somewhere....

    I think what daunts me the most, is just the enormous size of wingspan at 38 ft, 55 inches wide, half a foot thick.... I just can't wrap my brain around how huge the wings are, which are going to present me with some considerable problems... in transporting the glider to and from an airstrip and setting her up every time I want to fly... I've been wrangling how I am going to over come managing *that*...

    See, I don't have my own airstrip or hanger (our farm is covered in pecan trees), and though the local EAA airstrip is only 7 miles away, and my best friends house where I could park my plane is only 1 mile from it... still, I am going to have to trailer it to and from the airport every time I want to fly, put the wings, and take them off. Imagine me trying to balance one of these wings over my head, trying to slide it on, even with some kind of big sawhorse on one end as an aide, and getting the struts bolted on without dropping the whole mess and have a strut spear through my wing and ruin my day.


    Anyway, meet Dorothy, my 1980's Volmer Jensen VJ-24W I bought on ebay for $38 December 2015:

    [​IMG]

    Check out those wings! Geez Louise!

    What made me finally commit and click buy was (1) she's all aluminum, and aluminum don't rust in the same way iron rusts, it makes a nice ruby hard coating (2) bolt and rivet construction, little welding (3) very slow docile flyer, perfect for someone learning to fly as a first plane (4) used a 15hp engine, which I thought meant I could get a little engine much cheaper than a big engine; that doesn't really turn out to be the case in retrospect (5) no matter what, it'd be $38 more worth of airplane than I already owned. (6) I was getting heartsick watching too many flying videos; I'd never fly no matter how many videos I watched, the only real solution was to go out and get a plane. In other words, better get busy living, or get busy dying (7) wow, lots of colorful interesting history re: Volmer Jensen and Irv Culver, the designers. Volmer built the first Star Trek Enterprise model in the TV show, which is now in the Smithsonian, and Irv Culver who designed the wing, coined the name Skunkworks at Lockheed. He also worked on the P-38 Lighning (which my grandfather flew) and SR-71 blackbird. Culver apparently said Jensen's gliders were the most fun projects he ever worked on. I assume he's the same Culver as "Culver's Props"....

    Just about the entire frame is there, minus only the wing ribs on one wing. I don't know what happened there in its past, I can only imagine some gardner pulled them off to use them as garden stakes? Who knows, Anyway, they are all identical in size and I have the other side to use as a jig template.

    If there is any galvanic corrosion between the alluminum tube rivet holes and the rivets or bolts, I'm not seeing it (yet anyway). Nothing seems loose. All the steel rivets need to be replaced, as they are rusted and shot out, but that's just a matter of drilling them out and putting in a fresh one (coated with something to stop galvantic action).

    I had other emergencies I had to take care of, so I stuffed her in the barn out of the weather after I got her home and took pictures. I really haven't even begun working on her... still very much a diamond in the rough.

    [​IMG]


    Last night I mocked up in Erector Set, how I would of built the pilot cage, from alluminum "L" channels, and kept everything "square", if I were designing this as a kit to be built by someone else. Starting from a clean sheet of paper... as opposed to what Volmer Jensen did, grafting on a cockpit, wheels, and motor mount onto his foot launched / swing from your armpits original VJ-24 three axis controlled glider, to make the VJ-24W:

    [​IMG]

    Brainstorming a folding wing (You say Autocad... I say... 1970's Erector Set! Kind of limiting myself to what Volmer Jensen would of had access to):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Bringing her in my kitchen today:

    All the welded 4130 is in the welded undercarriage, begging for me to disassemble it asap and halt the rust in its tracks, hit it with a whizzer wheel, and some electrolysis or Evaporust in the hard to reach places, and repaint it:

    [​IMG]

    I looked in those tubes today to check how bad the rust was "inside"... yuk... made a nice home for lots of bugs over
    the years as well as graveyard for same said bugs, behind the storage shed from the guy I bought it from, who originally bought it at a scrap auction....

    See, this part below, I would of just all built with aluminum "L" channels, in a nice square box, to replace this crazy mess. Put on a full face motorcycle helmet, and I'm banging it all up in that area... there is no headroom. Imagine if I were to auger in with no helmet, :-( what my head might hit:

    [​IMG]



    I am thinking... hedge my bets. Keep the original pilot cage all original and historically accurate, don't touch it, and as a fall back if my prototyping with new materials doesn't work out. Build a new cage, nice and square, to similar dimensions of the original, with a nice channel for the tail boom to slide up into, let the CG fall where it may for now, and then once I get an engine on top then I can move the center of lift backwards and forwards... to fit... I assume the average Center of Lift should go over the average Center of Gravity (with a pilot in + fuel). I kind of want to target both the variable weights of fuel and pilot on the Center of Lift.

    I don't know, its a quandry.... hmmmrrr....


    That, and I spent my last bit of credit card credit to buy this, so its... muling and thinking phase... and elbow grease work right now. I don't even have the $ to buy a big box of avex aircraft rivets at the moment. I did get some Citristrip, so I can get started taking the old paint off. Paint is not going to stick much to aluminum anyway without magic alluminum prep work which I'm going to get into learning (my painting skills are limited to brutally amatuerish rattle can jobs with rust converter primer first), so I'm going to leave the aluminum unpainted, but repaint anything steel.

    The bolts don't look too bad, I guess I can electrolysis most of them, and put them in Evaporust to finish the job. I saw something neat on Youtube the other day, where you can toss them into a vibratory tumbler with ground walnut shells which does a 95% job at removing rust and oxidation. Don't have one of those yet.

    Once I get some replacement rivets, that should be all I need to get it to a clean skeleton condition like AZcully's (who I have never met yet, but by a stroke of good luck, only lives 150 miles from me near Atlanta - what seredipity for possible future builder collaboration):

    [​IMG]

    I don't have plans yet, but I know who to buy them from for $25... at least the VJ-24 top part.


    ~ ~


    Another thing that kind of daunts me, and I'm not afraid to say it, and I'm certainly a long way off from it... if at all... is I'm probably scared ****less to fly this thing.... not to mention, scared of heights. Don't get me wrong, I've dreamed of flying all my life, flown in my dad's tail dragger with some hairy grass strip landings, and am always glued to the window in big commercial airliners.

    But after watching hundreds and hundreds of ultralight videos, I now know what to expect I'll see and feel looking out from the spartan lawn chair cockpit of this thing as she takes off with the rev of that prop blasting a gale storm in my face. I'm a pretty tough cookie and not much scares me, but leaving the ground for the first time and gaining altitude is going to freak me out. I ride motorcycles all the time so I'm not worried about my dexterity or skills to maintain level flight. But I can imagine myself holding the stick and maintaining that safe accent angle, as the ground pulls away and I'm going to be getting sick to my stomach. Do my best to manage an uncoordinated turn once I have plenty of altitude, and come back around and set her back gently upwind on the runway as possible.

    Then I'm probably going to climb out of her, run 30 ft away, drop my helmet on the ground as say "holy **** that thing is dangerous!" Not sure if I'll ever do *that* again.

    This from someone who was the most badass VSTOL futuristic combat helicopter pilot for 5 years inside a video game... which you could turn on a dime balanced on a pinhead, but not without risk of flipping it over and plunging to your death... that was my airspace.

    [​IMG]


    So I guess the last idea I am having, I mentioned somewhere else, was the idea to crowdfund Dorothy... since I'm dead broke. Lots of people try to crowdfund their plane with no success... basically they are saying, hey, I don't know you A from Adam, but fund my dream!

    Um, no. That doesn't get me excited, if I saw that.

    But if someone were to say to me, hey, fund this plane, and you own a share in her and can be an airplane owner too. Now that might interest me. Esp. if I was still a sketchbook dreamer. Because then I'm a part of it. Maybe even I'd get a chance to see her in person some day, follow her exploits online, work on her, sit in her, taxi her down the run way, or even learn to fly in her... 1/100th or 1/20th share in a plane is more plane ownership, than none at all.

    Sort of a poor man's community owned airplane. Like, think something an African tribe might do. I kind of want her to be legendary. And I kind of lucked into her, so I feel kind of guilty too of not sharing in on the ... er... fun... ahead *rolls eyes when I imagine all the hours of work*. You get kind of heartsick, you know, and frustrated, watching others fly when you're own chance of ever flying... seems to be nil.

    So, this crazy project of mine, is not something that would appeal to the guy with a Pitts Special in the garage of his Airpark home. I'm thinking... other broke people like me :) The goal. To build the cheapest possible Bare Minimum Airplane (Flying Go Cart) to call our very own.

    It may be a stupid idea that gets mired in a morass of trouble in the future. Community owned anything usually spells community neglected everything. So my jury is still out on the idea, but I typed it out so I can hear feedback on it....

    Otherwise, I shall work on her as I get the time and money, as a build as I go project...

    What is really daunting I didn't foresee, is just how steep the learning curve is, when it comes to all the science and aerodynamics behind construction, flying, maintenance, and navigating airplanes. Whole books are written on it. I've only skimmed those. Then there are all the incidentals. I shouldn't know 1000 different airplanes by sight, what a Lee wave is, or a Glory of the Airman, or a flat spin, or a Cumulus cloud, or V-speeds, a Hammerhead Turn, what the colors of the lights on airplanes mean, the firing order of a Radial engine, or what a bad rivet job looks like... but I do... now :)

    I'm kind of that yucky point of a project called "the very beginning". So yes, I am procrastinating plenty and sitting on the fence thinking far too much rather than just diving in and attacking and 'doing'... at this point anything I did anywhere on her will make her better and there's no shortage of places to begin.

    Waiting for April to come along though.... would be much nicer to work outside...

    ~

    I guess I may be a surprise newcomer to some... maybe I'm slightly familiar to others... I've been posting on Youtube ultralight and homebuilt videos for the last couple of years... left plenty of footprints all over Youtube videos of Light Sport Aircraft...

    More pics and info here: http://air-war.org

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFwIhwdSVVs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmyYOazgOOs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hMmMAPfnh8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXJ9iNz7j8E
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
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  10. Feb 5, 2016 #10

    Matt G.

    Matt G.

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    Electrolysis rust removal has the potential to cause hydrogen embrittlement, so I would not use it on aircraft parts. It's best left for antique tools and farm equipment, and not something your life depends on. White vinegar can also be used to remove rust. It take awhile, but it works and is cheap.
     
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  11. Feb 5, 2016 #11

    Dana

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    I think you mean "angle", not "channel" "L" is angle, channel is a "U" section. But anyway, as I said above don't be too quick to change things, unless you have the skills to do a proper structural analysis. Sometimes something that looks kludgy is actually the result of a long and careful thought process, and Jensen was an experienced designer. Also angle sections aren't too good structurally compared to round tubing.

    Definitely get the plans, especially if they're only $25.

    You may well find that the original rivets specified were ordinary pop rivets, not any kind of fancy or expensive aircraft rivets... many ultralights and homebuilts (even today) use them. If you must replace them, be very careful drilling them out; it's easy to "miss" and damage the hole, and a pop rivet in an oversize hole has little or no strength.

    Do some research on AN aircraft hardware, then make sure all the nuts and bolts on your plane are such (AN bolts will have an "X" on the head). Anything else is no good, unless it's specified for a particular reason... again, you need the plans. Somebody may have reassembled it with the wrong hardware. You may find that the rusty bolts aren't AN at all; the cadmium plating on genuine AN bolts protects them pretty well. And, surprisingly, new AN bolts and nuts from an aircraft supplier are often less expensive than the same size junk bolt from the local hardware store.

    Dana
     
  12. Feb 5, 2016 #12

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    The important structural large bolts are AN bolts and have the X, and the plastic insert type locking nut, but still have some surface rust. I'm thinking they are reusable too.

    There are other bolts that are smaller that aren't AN, and have completely rusted. I will probably just replace those, they look pretty far gone. So Dana, you were spot on with that guess.

    I didn't know that about electroysis... hmm. I've tried the brown apple cider vinegar before, and it just does as much damage to the bolt as good, practically corroding / destroying it. You can either get some of the rust off without destroying it, or keep going and try and get all the rust of and end up eating the bolt up. So I gave up on vinegar. Maybe it is different with white vinegar? Or if you only have a "little" rust. My own test was some serious rusted stuff.

    Evaporust is awesome, but expensive and you only have so many uses before it wears out. Its water based though so you have to clean and dry your part off immediately afterwards or it will flash rust again. Usually I try to take as much bulk rust off manually with a whizzer wheel on a drill down to as much shiny surface as I can get, and then do what's left electrically/chemically. I then paint with Rustoleum Reformer in a spray can as a primer. I doubt this is the best way to fight and prevent future rust, but its what I've come up with as easy to do and leaves the part at least better than I found it.

    The vibratory tumbler looks like a cheap way to go for doing small parts, I'll have to get one of those some day. But it has a hard time getting between the groves on a bolt.

    Of course, you can't use whizzer wheels on alluminum like to remove paint, it will chew it up. Therefore, my purchase of the Citristip, which I tested yesterday and it works gangbangers.

    If a surface is some place where it will never experience abrasion (like inside a pipe), I sometimes instead will spray cold galvanizing compound in there. I watched a demo video on Rust Bullet one time, and the test part sprayed with cold galavanizing compound fared the best from the salty spray weathering punishment. Of course, CGC is about as physically abrasion resistant as the silver stuff on a lottery scratch of ticket. So not something to use in lieu of paint on a surface that will get touched/dinged/rubbed. But inside a pipe... why not. Seems like a better way to go than say... pouring in linseed oil and sloshing it about inside.

    I've run a Scotch Bright type pad over the tubing and it does a good enough job for me of shining them up. Lots of work to get into corners though. I think I'll wait until I take it all apart where stuff is easier to get to.

    The rivets do look like pop rivets to me, which doesn't inspire much confidence. I'm sure they still hold and everything, but rivets are cheap and I have time. I read this and this and this which convinced me I didn't want to reuse pop rivets (which I already have) on an aircraft.

    [​IMG]

    What happens with the broken off pin vibrates out? :-/

    [​IMG]

    My best friend works as a regional distributor for Olympic paints (that stock Lowes), so she can "comp" on the down low all the high quality paint I will ever need. So the dacron just might get covered/painted someday with Olympic One for UV protection. If that is possible, as other's have done, as housepaint has a pretty high UV protection index.

    For some reason the original builder painted the wing aluminum surfaces yellow which has somewhat flaked off. I have to wonder why, as they would never be seen once covered. I probably won't bother to do all the work to remove it, as the weight savings would be marginal and it will eventually all fall off with time.

    There is no aircraft data plate on the plane, nor any clue who the original owner / builder was, but I did find the other day a piece of thick sheet aluminum on it has "Martin Marietta" stamped on it in blue ink :) My dad suspected it never flew because of the missing wing ribs, but I think totally otherwise, as everything was there right down to the last control pulley, and you can see the rubber imprints where the motor was mounted... looking very much like the holes for a Yamaha KT 100... as well as a gas tank, and the throttle control was still on the plane. I bet somebody flew the heck out of her 30 years ago.

    She definitely though is a plane that requires a hanger, and quite a bit of hanger space. My wish to trailer her about may not be viable.

    I'm thinking maybe that's what I need to do first, chat up a bored farmer fascinated with flight, and secure an old barn as a hanger and his cow pasture as my own clandestine air strip to practice on.

    This flying business... lots of trouble.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  13. Feb 5, 2016 #13

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    The important structural large bolts are AN bolts and have the X, and the plastic insert type locking nut, but still have some surface rust. I'm thinking they are reusable too.

    There are other bolts that are smaller that aren't AN, and have completely rusted. I will probably just replace those, they look pretty far gone. So Dana, you were spot on with that guess.

    I didn't know that about electroysis... hmm. I've tried the brown apple cider vinegar before, and it just does as much damage to the bolt as good, practically corroding / destroying it. You can either get some of the rust off without destroying it, or keep going and try and get all the rust of and end up eating the bolt up. So I gave up on vinegar. Maybe it is different with white vinegar? Or if you only have a "little" rust. My own test was some serious rusted stuff.

    Evaporust is awesome, but expensive and you only have so many uses before it wears out. Its water based though so you have to clean and dry your part off immediately afterwards or it will flash rust again. Usually I try to take as much bulk rust off manually with a whizzer wheel on a drill down to as much shiny surface as I can get, and then do what's left electrically/chemically. I then paint with Rustoleum Reformer in a spray can as a primer. I doubt this is the best way to fight and prevent future rust, but its what I've come up with as easy to do and leaves the part at least better than I found it.

    The vibratory tumbler looks like a cheap way to go for doing small parts, I'll have to get one of those some day. But it has a hard time getting between the groves on a bolt.

    Of course, you can't use whizzer wheels on alluminum like to remove paint, it will chew it up. Therefore, my purchase of the Citristip, which I tested yesterday and it works gangbangers.

    If a surface is some place where it will never experience abrasion (like inside a pipe), I sometimes instead will spray cold galvanizing compound in there. I watched a demo video on Rust Bullet one time, and the test part sprayed with cold galavanizing compound fared the best from the salty spray weathering punishment. Of course, CGC is about as physically abrasion resistant as the silver stuff on a lottery scratch of ticket. So not something to use in lieu of paint on a surface that will get touched/dinged/rubbed. But inside a pipe... why not. Seems like a better way to go than say... pouring in linseed oil and sloshing it about inside.

    I've run a Scotch Bright type pad over the tubing and it does a good enough job for me of shining them up. Lots of work to get into corners though. I think I'll wait until I take it all apart where stuff is easier to get to.

    The rivets do look like pop rivets to me, which doesn't inspire much confidence. I'm sure they still hold and everything, but rivets are cheap and I have time. I read this and this and this which convinced me I didn't want to reuse pop rivets (which I already have) on an aircraft.

    [​IMG]

    What happens with the broken off pin vibrates out? :-/

    [​IMG]

    My best friend works as a regional distributor for Olympic paints (that stock Lowes), so she can "comp" on the down low all the high quality paint I will ever need. So the dacron just might get covered/painted someday with Olympic One for UV protection. If that is possible, as other's have done, as housepaint has a pretty high UV protection index.

    For some reason the original builder painted the wing aluminum surfaces yellow which has somewhat flaked off. I have to wonder why, as they would never be seen once covered. I probably won't bother to do all the work to remove it, as the weight savings would be marginal and it will eventually all fall off with time.

    There is no aircraft data plate on the plane, nor any clue who the original owner / builder was, but I did find the other day a piece of thick sheet aluminum on it has "Martin Marietta" stamped on it in blue ink :) My dad suspected it never flew because of the missing wing ribs, but I think totally otherwise, as everything was there right down to the last control pulley, and you can see the rubber imprints where the motor was mounted... looking very much like the holes for a Yamaha KT 100... as well as a gas tank, and the throttle control was still on the plane. I bet somebody flew the heck out of her 30 years ago.

    She definitely though is a plane that requires a hanger, and quite a bit of hanger space. My wish to trailer her about may not be viable.

    I'm thinking maybe that's what I need to do first, chat up a bored farmer fascinated with flight, and secure an old barn as a hanger and his cow pasture as my own clandestine air strip to practice on.

    This flying business... lots of trouble.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  14. Feb 5, 2016 #14

    blane.c

    blane.c

    blane.c

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    I have good luck cleaning rust off of parts using muriatic acid, available locally from the major home improvement box stores. It's originally intended for use on concrete to acid etch before painting or bonding. It should also be available from places carrying concrete products and supplies. Use with caution and eye protection and gloves and test first on something you do not care so much about. I always rinse thoroughly with water afterwards and oil liberally. It has only attacked the rust for me and left the good metal bright and shiny.
     
  15. Feb 5, 2016 #15

    BJC

    BJC

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    I suspect that the VJ airframe has very few fasteners that are not primary structure. I would not want to fly it with questionable bolts and nuts. How much would all new bolts and nuts cost? I realize that you are on a tight budget, but, as they say, "that airplane will fly just high enough and just fast enough to kill you!"

    Two suggestions:

    Hitch a ride to Sun n Fun with a local EAA member, and shop the surplus hardware vendors.

    Visit local builders with your list, and see what they will provide for free. Unless the sizes are really exotic, you could visit a couple of hangars where I live, and get all the fasteners that you need for free.


    BJC
     
    Starlet jockey and Matt G. like this.
  16. Feb 5, 2016 #16

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    I always keep a barrel of muriatic acid around, to dispose of dead bodies in ;-)

    But if I drop a bolt in, I'm not rolling up my sleeves and dunking my arm down in it to fish it out :p /end joke

    Unless someone says otherwise against it, I may try it. I absolutely *hate* rust. Which is why I know the little bit I know about removing it.

    Maybe the rusted old bolts I tested with vinegar / acids were too far gone / pitted to begin with, perhaps I should revisit the method with some test parts that aren't so bad. But why wait. I have vinegar. Doing it NOW!

    ~

    Can we say... cramped muchly? :) Volmer flying his VJ-24W

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also built in Volmer's workshop. Enterprise #1. Perhaps you've seen her here :)

    Preserving an Interstellar Icon - Enterprise at the Smithsonian (2015):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=66&v=CA8D5lK8guE

    Since I want to repaint Dorothy in an orange/white NASA/the Martian/ Star Wars X-wing theme (cause I'm so down with the Rebel Alliance), maybe I can get both the Star Wars fans and the Trekkies on board to fund a restoration. There's only like... a legion of those... on the internet....!

    Put both a Rebel Alliance and a Federation Logo on the tail feathers, as well as a Skunkworks Logo. Also a blue nose cone spinner, because my grandfather's P-38 was "Blue Flight"... he was "Blue 2". And a silhoette of her name sake Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz too, which also was happenstance was filmed in 1938.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  17. Feb 5, 2016 #17

    bmcj

    bmcj

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    re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider

    Not sure which you have, but research the difference between regular pop rivets and aircraft grade Cherry pop rivets (CherryMax, CherryLock, etc).
     
  18. Feb 5, 2016 #18

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Re: Restoring/Modifying an ultralight motorglider

    CG, If you don't have a proper engineering analysis, to credibly support the idea of rebuilding the fuselage cage, then you simply cannot re-design it some other way and hope it will be better. That's high cost, very high risk, zero reward, and we could easily lose a new participant in our sport for no good reason.

    The challenge that all of the knowledgeable folks here will put to you is: Identify and define what exactly is weak, or sub-standard, or incorrect about any part of that structure. If you find something that is not safe or appropriate, then you can change it.

    It's not that anyone does or does not worship Volmer Jensen as being a genius. It's that he might have done a really good analysis on it, and the VJ-24 does not have a bad safety record among its peers. One other thing about Jensen is that he had demonstrated a willingness to work with the best people to get the best result. The example of this is his previous design, the VJ-23, where he partnered with a man named Irv Culver to design the wing. Culver was the aerodynamicist on the SR-71 for Lockheed; you and I are not physically strong enough to lift his resume'.

    As far as your initial fear of flying it, that's just your common sense kicking in. In order to be safe, you will of course need to learn a couple of things you don't know now, and get just a little learning experience with someone who can teach you some basic stuff. Same as learning to drive, swim, and walk through a dark alley downtown. Don't worry about it at all right now. From your writing style and ability alone we can tell you're not at the shallow end of the IQ pool. The fact that you've directly addressed your concern shows that you're not an over-confident and under brained hillbilly.

    My advice is take the existing cage apart, clean it, inspect it, and compare it to what the VJ-24 plans show. Figure out whether it has been modified or poorly constructed, compared to the "Standards" in Jensen's plans. Let all of us know what you have discovered. All we ask is that you keep an open enough mind to possibly accept that Jensen actually knew what he was doing, and that the original builder did or did not follow his instructions.
     
  19. Feb 5, 2016 #19

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    Re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glide

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lessons from the above picture story: don't ever leave your vehicles out in the rain...

    *sings and hums...* I never promised you a rose garden...

    Thing is, can my motor mount handle a bigger engine? Just looking at it, I am skeptical. 200ft/minute climb does not sound too stellar to me, it'd be nice to have some more vroom vroom, and 2 cylinder Kawasaki 340's are cheaper than a Yamaha KT 100. Lazily drifting overhead like a hawk on an autumn day with the engine idling, soaring around hunting for thermals is all fine and good, but i have the need for speed down on the deck ;-) I require a Phantom, but what I have is a motor glider... *sigh*

    When the day comes, I plan to do a fair bit of crow hopping until I'm comfortable with my wheels off the ground a bit and landing before i gun it and head for the wild blue yonder. Still, real palatable fear... until I get my feathers. I tell myself, just don't look straight down, and no extreme control inputs or manuevers. I probably will even write that somewhere on a support beam with a Sanford marker.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  20. Feb 5, 2016 #20

    Topaz

    Topaz

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    Re: "Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glide

    Just out of curiosity, what's your flight experience? Flying ultralights can be different in some ways than larger, "regular" airplanes. If you've already said, and I missed it, my apologies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
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