Hovey Delta Bird

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12notes

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I may be getting a Hovey Delta Bird next week. I can't find much information about it online, does anyone have any experience or can point me to any resources about them?

I don't have a lot of details on this one, other than it should be flyable as is, and it comes with a trailer. But when someone offers you a free aircraft, you say yes and figure everything else out later.
 

FritzW

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I had to Bing around a little (I can't stomach google anymore) to refresh my memory on the Delta Bird. I don't have any experience with the Delta Bird but they look like fun airplanes and, at least for yours, the price is right.

I hope you get it. When you do, post pictures!
 

bmcj

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It had a fair amount of publicity, but didn't seem to capture much market. I can't recall if I've ever seen one in public. I just assumed it must have had either marginal power or marginal performance.
 

12notes

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I picked up the Delta Bird this morning. I was wrong about the trailer, it did not come with one. I was expecting it to be in "barn find" condition, and, true to form, it was actually in a barn.

The bad:
It will need recovering. I want to do this anyway to check the aluminum tubes for corrosion and to clean them up/primer them.
It will also need rigging, and the previous owner gave me a bunch of Lowe's purchased wire and hardware. So all of the existing wires and hardware will need to be replaced with aircraft grade items.
The fiberglass fuel tank has a leak, I'll either fix this or replace it with and aluminum one.
It did not come with plans, but I think I found where I can order plans on the Yahoo group.
The bottom tubes on the landing gear will need to be replaced, but these aren't difficult. It has a seat from a boat which I'll replace with something lighter.
Actually a pretty short list for a free aircraft.

The good:
The parts all seem to be there. The fuselage and tail boom are in good shape, as are the wheels and tires.
I was expecting a Rotax or Kawasaki engine. It came with a 1/2 VW! The name on the valve covers is Global, they made 35 and 40 HP 1/2 VWs, I have to look up how to tell the difference. The engine is complete with a magneto and Zenith carburetor. It also has a used, but in good shape, Tennessee prop.

It doesn't look like it'll take long to get this in the air, depending on how much free time I can find. And I've got a friend to help who also will let me do the work in a hangar that houses 3 corporate jets. It fits in like bacon in a vegan restaurant - not supposed to be there, but adds a flavor that can't be faked.

Pictures to follow.
 

Dana

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Cool!

To the best of my knowledge, Global only made a 35HP engine, my friend has one on his Minimax. Mosler (the successor to Global) made both 35 and 40HP versions; the cylinder bore is what's different.

Many of the Hovey designs, like the Whing Ding, were extremely marginal. But I seem to recall that the Delta Bird had a better reputation.

Dana
 

Tbone

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I also have a delta bird. It has flown ( marginally ), but grounded, due to being overbuilt by the previous owner. It was stripped down of fabric and the removal of excess "mods". I have the original plans and brochures. Hopefully I'll get to rebuild it one day. Neat aircraft for its era, but archaic in today's homebuilders world. Good luck and any info you need planswise let me know.
 

12notes

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I also have a delta bird. It has flown ( marginally ), but grounded, due to being overbuilt by the previous owner. It was stripped down of fabric and the removal of excess "mods". I have the original plans and brochures. Hopefully I'll get to rebuild it one day. Neat aircraft for its era, but archaic in today's homebuilders world. Good luck and any info you need planswise let me know.
Thanks! The only section of the plans I really need are the rigging and weight & balance sections. If the person who appears to be the current plans owner doesn't respond, I may ask you for some info there.
 

12notes

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I'll fix up this one, and check out the performance. If it's too marginal, I'll give away the airframe with a recommendation for a stronger/lighter engine, will have gained some experience with fabric, and still have a 1/2 VW engine and prop to build something else around. My friend has a lot of hardware and coatings/epoxy left over from his Pietenpol project he said I could use, so I doubt I'll have $200 invested total.
 

Aerowerx

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Why can't I have friends like that?


I keep thinking it would be nice if some little old grandmother-type takes a liking to me, and lets me have the P-51 in the barn, still in mothballs, that her husband bought 60 years ago---just to get rid of it.:)
 

12notes

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I decided to put what I had together and see what I needed today. Here's what it looked like assembled:

20170821_111542.jpg
20170821_112200.jpg
20170821_112232.jpg

Since I'm going to recover it, we took the fabric off and inspected the tubes underneath. There's some surface corrosion on the back spars, but it should be removable with scotchbrite. The horizontal stabilizer trailing edge is the only one that may possibly have something deeper, but it doesn't look likely. A day or two of cleaning, shoot a coat of primer on it, and it should be ready to cover.

20170821_153014.jpg


Other than the fabric, it's not in bad shape. I made a list of what it needs, and it was a lot shorter than I expected it to be, both in number of items and time needed for the items. The engine turns over freely, has clean oil inside, and some compression on the cylinders (as tested by the finger-in-the-spark-plug-hole method). The prop looks good and the controls all work, the control hardware looks good.

The list:
Fabric & paint
Rigging
Fix leak in or build new gas tank
Hookup/fix/replace gauges
Build new tailwheel bracket
Replace cracked magneto cover or get new magneto
New seat and harness
New prop studs
Clean carburetor
New bungees
Hook up brakes cables (have them)

The last half of that list are items that each should take less than an hour. I was expecting to find a lot more needed work today. I know I haven't found everything yet, but for a first look, it's not bad. I haven't tested the engine yet, so there's a lot of potential problems there, but the obvious problems aren't there.

And, yes, I sat in it and made engine noises, but those pictures are on my friend's phone.

Time to start a project page. Further updates will be there, but please post any info you have on this aircraft or questions here!

Note: everytime I've used the term "I", it really means "we", as my friend Jeff has helped me with everything. Actually, I helped him, he's built two planes and is also an IA, so knows more what to do than I do. And it's in his work hangar.
 
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Dana

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I hate it when anybody describes my plane as cute, but that's... cute. Very cool though.

What kind of magneto? I think I still have a new Slick 2220 that I bought as a spare for my Fisher and never used.

Dana
 

12notes

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I hate it when anybody describes my plane as cute, but that's... cute. Very cool though.

What kind of magneto? I think I still have a new Slick 2220 that I bought as a spare for my Fisher and never used.

Dana
I forgot to look at the nameplate on it, it looks like one from a tractor. I'm thinking of getting one of the surplus Slick 2220s on eBay and modifying the impulse coupling.
 

Dana

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You'll need an adapter plate, it mounts differently than the tractor mag. It's generally recommended to replace the condenser in the surplus msgs. I don't need mine any more, was going to put it back on eBay but haven't gotten around to it yet, PM me if interested. I think I paid 60 or 70, will take 50.

Dana
 

12notes

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Well, crap. I missed quite a large problem that was staring me in the face, but it looked right so it didn't stand out.

The frame is welded. The welds look pretty good, there didn't seem to be anything wrong on visual inspection, so I was happy with it.

But my brain was processing this as if it were steel, and it's supposed to be 6061-T6 aluminum tubing. Which means either:
This was a factory produced kit (I've seen references that they were available, but no real details) that was heat treated after welding to bring it back to T6, or
This was an "improvement" by the builder, and the frame is now 6061-T0, and therefore garbage.

I'm thinking the first case is highly unlikely, has any kit maker ever done that?

Any other options I'm not thinking of? I don't think I want to rebuild the frame, the main attraction of this plane was the minimal cost and effort required, if I'm going to spend that much time on it, I might as well build something I really want.

If it's garbage, at least I have a 1/2 VW engine to build something around.
 
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TFF

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Two things, either it is strong enough at T-0 because it was designed that way, so you need to find that info, and you need to find a generous eddy current machine owner that will check the welds if it was treated or not.
 

Victor Bravo

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May NOT be garbage, don't panic yet. We have a couple of "high brain function" type folks here who are capable of determining whether a (non-standard) welded alum. frame is or is not good enough. A series of simple sandbag tests can "prove out" the structure.

Only the welded joints would be "T-0", and those areas are stiffened by the fact that there is a cluster or joint.... so it may be "stable" enough.

Even if you had to unbolt everything and have the frame heat treated back to T6 it would not be the end of the world.
 

12notes

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Two things, either it is strong enough at T-0 because it was designed that way, so you need to find that info, and you need to find a generous eddy current machine owner that will check the welds if it was treated or not.
The few pictures I've seen were riveted and gusseted, and the literature describes it as such. I still don't have plans yet, it's possible, but I don't think likely, that the plans were for a riveted frame and the kit redesigned to be welded.

Not sure I know anyone with an eddy current machine, but I'll ask around.
 
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