It’s been a long wait, but having the wings rebuilt on an antique airplane, like my 1946 Ercoupe, takes a long time. The shop that recovered the wings did an incredible job and I am confident the “new” wings are better than when they first flew – back on August 16, 1946. The original wings were not anti-corrosion coated – these now are. Modern fabric (Ceconite was used on this project) and coatings are better, because of technology, than they were waaaaay back then.
So, this morning, I was able to leave work (I’ve got an understanding boss when it comes to flying ;)) and head to the airport. The weather was not conducive to flying to a destination – cloudy, low ceilings and slightly “bumpy.” But the ceiling was high enough to safely fly in the local area and do a series of takeoffs and landings (TOLs).
The first flight after any reconstruction and an annual inspection (which was completed when the wings were done) is akin to being a test-pilot flight. So, a test pilot I was. First a thorough pre-flight inspection was in order – which we do EVERY TIME we fly. Then I did one lap around the pattern, flying for less than 10 minutes, and landed. That was followed by another thorough pre-flight inspection – checking for leaks, looseness in any fittings and anything out of the ordinary. Everything was perfect. Yayyy! So back up I went…and flew for about an hour. I did more TOLs and some local flying with basic maneuvers – all the while staying within “gliding distance” of the airport. I am confident the job was done correctly (I monitored the steps of the process) and the plane has been flight tested, so I am eagerly awaiting good flying weather to go chase that $100 hamburger.
Oh yes, not only do the wings look new, but I can tell a difference in the handling of the airplane. It responds better in slow flight – the technical reason being too involved for this post. (Now I need to find some pictures.