Looking into PT-26 restoration projects on behalf of a friend of mine serving under DoD contract in Afghanistan. This would be his first venture into warbird ownership and these aircraft seem like a good place to start. We are aware of concerns over the quality and condition of the wood structures. Anyone out there with tips, information or just PT-26 stories?
Bob: Come on over to the FairchildClub website and the yahoo group. There are a number of PT restorers in the group and a wealth of information available. Center section spars are the big problem lcoation for rot. If the project has been sitting outside or in a high humidity area, there is a high probability of needing to rebuild the spars. It's not an easy task and it will take considerable time but it's doable. Mike Kelly, current club prez. has done a couple of them I believe.
The Fairchild PT-26 is a great airplane and a joy to fly. It's an authentic warbird that burns 10 gallons an hour. I have owned mine since 1985 and have flow it over 800 hours. If a Fairchild is properly restored it's easy to maintain. A basket case restoration is costly, but there are plenty of spare parts available.
You may want to look for a project that has already had the the center section and wings restored, or look for a plane that is already airworthy, in todays market it would be cheaper to buy a complete airworthy Fairchild as opposed to doing a restoration.
There is a great book call Cradle of Hero's by Herb Pluckett, he wrote the book after doing a complete ground up restoration of a basket case. He gives you great insight as to what is involved in a restoration of a PT. He also addresses engines modifications to reduce oil comsumption. My engine uses less than a half of quart per hour.
Really a nice one.Thanks a lot for sharing.
Anyone thinking about restoration of a PT series needs to talk to Joe Denest. The most beautiful PTs I have ever seen he built. I believe you can contact him thru his son Mike on the fairchild yahoo group.
The book's title is "Sherman Fairchild's Pt-19: Cradle of Heroes". Pretty pricey from the usual online sources when you can find a copy. Amazon had 3 copies listed with pricing starting at $89 for a well used copy.
I have rebuilt several PT center sections and many more wing panels over the years. I'm presently doing a center section for a PT-19 project and have a flying PT-19. I've flown PT-26s and a PT-23 also. I've found that the spars on "bad" center sections are usually rebuidable. They were varnished on the inside when they were built and usually look new when the plywood web is removed. It takes me around 900 hours to rebuild a center section. If you would like to find out more information, just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am the President of the Fairchild Club also.
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