Starduster History N147DA

Discussion in 'Starduster' started by Dave Baxter, Feb 15, 2018.

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  1. Feb 15, 2018 #1

    Dave Baxter

    Dave Baxter

    Dave Baxter

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    Kris, since you are so enamored with the round power Stardusters here is another one.

    It was built by Dave Allen back in the 90s, and was owned by Don Fauth for a number of yrs, unfortunately Don passed away at 53 yrs old heart attack and his woman sold it for north of 50 grand! The new owner wrecked it on the fifth landing of his check out, the insurance co put it up for bid and a friend bought it for the engine,as believe it or not this engine had been the original one off his Stearman after the war! And also since Al Ball was the guy that rebuilt the engine. He then sold it to a guy on Independence Airport, and I re built it for him. It had broken spars in the left lower wing, and left gear damage as well as truss failure.

    I flew it around the airport for a bout 6hrs and delivered it on memorial day 2005 ,and it has not been flown since! It has also been deregistered!
    It was an awful airplane to fly, my son nicknamed it Massive! It needed about a dozen things fixed and changed, that the new owner did not want to spend the money to do so! It was the only airplane I ever flew that required two hands and full up trim to flair! Of course I have skinny arms and boney legs, it had about 15 degrees of up elevator, and about 30 degrees down!

    It had a full length larger diameter push rod from the reverser to the elevator horn like an Acroduster only it was to short, and there was no way to get it out of the airplane with out cutting the fabric and the new owner did not want to do that! It was really nose heavy and needed negative incidence in the horizontal stabilizer, But this could not be done with out major surgery of cutting the stabilizer loose and re-welding it lower in the fuselage!

    Paul Schafers Starduster N105NL flew much better!

    Dave

    N147DA small.JPG

    N147DA.jpg

    N147DA rebuild 1 small.jpg

    N147DA rebuild 2 small.jpg

    N147DA rebuild 3 small.jpg

    N147DA rebuild 4 small.jpg

    N147DA Cover Custom Planes 1998 small.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  2. Feb 15, 2018 #2

    Airplanebarn

    Airplanebarn

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    Slow building a Starduster Too . Love Tailwheel Fl

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    WOW ! Interesting plane , Thanks Dave .
     
  3. Feb 15, 2018 #3

    jetsareforkids

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    Looks good though, hopefully it ends up back in the air with the problems worked out. How many radial Stardusters have there been, and what was the best engine option? Would the Rotec be enough motor for a Starduster?
     
  4. Feb 15, 2018 #4

    Lotahp1

    Lotahp1

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    Thanks Dave! I love learning about all these! It sounds like this one needs to find a new home but may not for awhile. Eventually when these do surface I hope ones like this are fixed. It’s been proven that it can be done. Kevin Shaw’s plane is local here in OKC now and the new owner Loves it. Flys it all the time and it’s his first tailwheel. While some of these were nightmares to fly at first, I believe most can be made to fly very well. Another one that is a great flier is the silver and green Jacobs powered one. (Trevor off the forum, Dad owns it) it’s another example of a Radial Starduster Too that is a success. It’s a real shame N147DA was a handful...hopefully one day it’s issues can be fixed and it will be someone’s pride and joy. It’s a Beautiful Plane!
     
  5. Feb 15, 2018 #5

    smizo

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    that red and white one just looks..... "right" very cool!
     
  6. Feb 15, 2018 #6

    EAABipe40FF

    EAABipe40FF

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    While they can be made to work IMO they are a bad idea. Just too darn heavy. The SD2 is simply too small. Maybe if the new Warner actually becomes a reality?

    That said, we do know enough to build a radial SD2 using these relative large engines if we start from scratch and modify the design as regards gear strength, W&B and trim issues.

    I hate to think what a 2400# SD2 would be like when the fan quits, it would likely beat the proverbial brick to the ground?:(

    Jack
     
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  7. Feb 15, 2018 #7

    Jerry

    Jerry

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    Radial Skybolt Builder - 176% completed

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    Keep it light in all other area... and it’ll be a beautiful flying plane. Nothing for hard acro, but how many of us are doing that?

    Thanks for sharing, Dave.
     
  8. Feb 15, 2018 #8

    Jerry

    Jerry

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    Radial Skybolt Builder - 176% completed

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    By the way... what’s hanging on the front of it?
     
  9. Feb 15, 2018 #9

    mreinh3233

    mreinh3233

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    It certainly looks good. Too bad someone can’t take it the rest of the way to a great flyer.
     
  10. Feb 15, 2018 #10

    Lotahp1

    Lotahp1

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    Jack...
    While there may be some that have failed to be good...I don’t think a Radial Starduster Too is a bad idea at all. I have seen Kevin Shaw’s fly a lot now, and it’s very much a good flying plane. I’m sure it has a different feel than a light one, but enjoyable none the less. The fly on Sunday, formation buddy flights, gentlemen acro mission can be filled with a Radial Starduster Too. When done correctly you end up with a very capable plane. It will never be a Pitts. Nor does it want to be. But it can excel at its mission, a fun flying, formation, cruiser. Yes it will be heavier than a 0-360 Plane...but it can still be light enough to make a very nice Starduster Too. I can only imagine some of the wing loading on some of the old Pre war biplanes with 1340s, V12s etc etc. I would not discourage anyone from building a Radial Starduster Too, I would encourage it! As I have seen how well they work out when done properly. And besides...have you looked at them? Only thing sexier is a Ranger powered one ;-)
     
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  11. Feb 15, 2018 #11

    EAABipe40FF

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    I suspect the main reason for many of them was almost free engines? There was a time when those making 450 Stearman dusters would cut the 670's off and leave them laying on the ground. It simply doesn't make sense today when the cost of a good radial rebuild has gone through the roof.

    Of coarse if I found a OSMOH R670 in a can for 500 bucks at a yard sale I might change my mind but trading it for a IO360 would still make for a better airplane.

    I've always been a believer in keeping them light. I've found the difference in even a 200 horse SD2 solo with 1/2 fuel vs. at Gross to be significant. I simply can't imagine adding 300# and hoping it wouldn't handle like a dog even if the CG and incidences were spot on.

    These overweight radial sport planes may be one case where, "if they look right they will fly right" will fail to hold up.

    That said, they do look neat in pictures:rolleyes:

    Jack
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  12. Feb 15, 2018 #12

    Lotahp1

    Lotahp1

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    A new Lycoming IO-390 was $39,000. A overhauled IO-360 was in mid to high $20s. You can buy outright a 220 Continental, Warner or Jacobs or even a M-14P for prices very close to what it cost for a Lycoming today. (This excludes the “I bought a 360 from a buddy for $1500 and wow, when i overhauled it it only cost me gaskets and a paint job”) now you could easily say these radials will burn more fuel. And oil. Weight is an issue but I would say, it’s all mission dependent. I have not got to fly mine much, but it is reported to be a good plane. And I agree with the few hours I have in it. It did not feel overly heavy in flight etc. there are several Radial Starduster Toos that are also reported as good flying planes. I believe there is a market for the Radial and even inline Starduster Too. I happen to be one for the in-line breed myself. Weight does not define a good or bad Starduster Too alone. I have found that out in my research of this very topic. There are many details. Some like blondes. Some like brunettes. From my search on this topic of actual owners of Radial Starduster Toos...some are indeed Very good Aircraft. Not just a pretty face.
     
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  13. Feb 15, 2018 #13

    Knight Twister

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    I'm just average at math but I'm not sold. I know of a SD II with 1300 plus hours of flight time. Can you find me a radial powered one with even half that? I would hate to spend 10 to 20 years building something that was not a fun to fly airplane. The Great Lakes is a good candidate for radial power but all the others except the Model 12 are just a bunch of parts that almost fit.
     
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  14. Feb 15, 2018 #14

    DennisV

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    I love radials and miss sitting behind or between them big nasty, noisy ol' things. Thought long and hard about doing something with this 'Duster and finally decided I want to just get it flying with what I have (which includes an O360). One of these days I'll run across something that already has one and just buy it that way.
     
  15. Feb 16, 2018 #15

    Dave Baxter

    Dave Baxter

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    Please do not get me wrong, regarding the radial Starduster Too I am a traditionalist, and like the look and way that Lou Stolp originally designed it with a flat four 180 Lycoming, and the bungee gear.

    N147DA was powered with a W-670 220 hp cont that were on many Stearman's a better choice might be the -23 240 hp with the provisions for a controllable prop, like many of the C-190s but I think the Warner radial with a bumped cowl looked the best, the best performing ones were with the Jake, and although heavier one had the best of both worlds Hp and controllable prop, and of course the extra weight does not always come from the big engine.

    As Kevin said not many of them are hi time, I usually tell people that if the airplane is 35 yrs old and has less that 200 hrs on the clock, to beware as they usually have issues ground handling and W&B, being the most prevalent. A lot is in the eye of the beholder, I have had one pilot owner tell me his airplane is and was a holy terror, and the new owner of the same airplane tell me it flew just fine?

    Of the two dozen or so Stardusters with a radial engine few are hi time, but there are some, N53T built by John Travis was one, he actually learned to fly in his after building it! But if this is your only experience you have nothing to compare it with. But John put a lot of time on his compared to most others that built owned and flew them. But look how tail low it is flying, many including N147DA did the same, especially at low power settings, but by bumping up the power helped it to fly better.

    Most is just opinion, those that have time in them is a place to start, but to get the real good hard details is to talk with pilot owners who have flown them at least 500 hrs or more and actually going someplace with one. but I do not know hardly any that have?

    Over the yrs I have heard the romantic statements that a real biplane has to have a round engine, and the nostalgia of the late 20s and all through the 30s especially the army P-6E, the navy and marine corps P-12s and F 4-B biplane fighters of the day were to those that grew up back in the day left quite an impression.

    Beautiful airplanes all, as well as many antique biplanes, but most were quite big in comparison to the Starduster. I guy named Harry Delicker Del-Air of Porterville CA built several, and had a SD II project that was approximately 10% bigger with a 680 Lyc Radial he was working on, he has since passed on and unknown if it still exists who owns it and or if it will ever fly, so something like this might be the way to go, and better fits the size proportions and intent.

    I think that few will disagree that Kevin Shaw's radial powered Starduster was by far the best looking radial Starduster Too of them all. But for a guy that spent a lot of time and money did not keep it long? Granted it sold for a lot of money, and perhaps for Kevin it was more demanding than he had thought it might be? Kris says the new current owner fly's it a lot as a new tail wheel pilot, but what is a lot, and does he really?


    Here are some pictures and a list of radial owners and builders, 31 of them that I have collected over the yrs, I also have pictures of many. Of these 31, about 19 were finished and flown and the flight times vary. But most all are, low time, from what I have found.

    The other thing is you almost never see them at fly-ins anywhere, and if they were so good and great of flyers I would think this would be just the opposite, but then with the exception of Hood River I haven't seen many biplanes period, at most other fly-ins either? I think we only had about four at Arlington last yr, and there are over 50 biplanes registered in the Seattle area, so who knows why, speculation at best?

    I think these airplanes first need to be a good flying one including ground handling, even if a bit demanding, and the pilot competent experienced and up to the task/challenge, and if so, like all other tail wheel biplanes would be no different, at least that is what I would like to think.

    There is no way, that from all of the opinions expressed including mine that this question will ever be resolved, as I am just trying to put all of this radial Starduster Toos romance and reality in prospective. Dave

    N53T 1 small.jpg

    N53T 2 small.jpg

    Round Power Owners & Builders small1.jpg

    Round Power Owners & Builders small2.jpg

    Round Power Owners & Builders small3.jpg

    Round Power Owners & Builders small4.jpg

    N459K  Kevin Shaw Radial Starduster.jpg

    N107JC Starduster Too small.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  16. Feb 16, 2018 #16

    Chris McMillin

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    John Travis was at Chino, right? Had a really cool old 50's car, maybe a Ford coupe with a tinted window in the roof and a Model A that was the Right Stuff base hack in the 40's and 50's. That brings back memories!
    Chris...
     
  17. Feb 16, 2018 #17

    Lotahp1

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    Dave, I’ll try to get Kevin Shaw’s owner to chime in. Blake Rainy (spelling?). I’ve only met him a few times but I can assure you he probably has over a hundred hours on it last year alone. I live about 3 miles from the airport it’s based at...he along with a guy that has a Waco fly darn near every nice weekend and some evenings. I recall him telling me he has just over a hundred hours in it and he had it about a year at that time. I’m not sure if he had anything “fixed” as far as I think you had recommended a horizontal incidence change? To get it to fly with the tail up like it should. In any regards...it really is his first tailwheel plane also. And he flys it very well. I believe it’s more about training and doing it regularly. Maybe Kevin Shaw had it tamed down from and worked out some of the quirks before he sold it. I really don’t know. I just know he flys if often and it now can be seen at most all the Oklahoma fly ins.

    WoW Dave, that military looking Warner powered one is nice! Another one I hadn’t seen before.

    These radials are like the Ranger one I have. I’m sure some think Rangers are to heavy...and a 1550lb Starduster Too couldn’t fly good. But even from my limited experience in it...it flew in the air very nice. And you have mentioned it wasn’t a beast of any sort compared to your 360 Starduster Too on the ground. In any regards it has about 600 hours on if I recall. I’m curious how much more wing area a Great Lakes has...there doesn’t seem to be so much negativity towards Radial and Ranger Great Lakes. In fact they are liked.

    I personally think the issues involve most of these planes are built by builders...more so than fliers. Where a flier will go with the current easy engine, a builder will build something more unique and use a engine that is more “vintage” or unique. And I believe A lot of these have low time because they were built by builders who enjoyed the voyage of building more than learning how to fly the thing. AND it seems since there are no detailed plans for doing a Radial or Ranger...if the builder did something wrong like engine mount length or gear axle placement...they are less likely to fix it because they get most of their enjoyment from looking at it vs flying it anyway. That is just a guess. But I for one, would like to see more. I wish there were other Ranger Starduster Toos also. Or LOM powered.
     
  18. Feb 16, 2018 #18

    DennisV

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    Guess it just depends on what you want out of the airplane ... and perhaps out of life as well. Maybe there's more to being a "builder" than just putting an antique engine on an airplane. Besides, anybody who is just a "flier" won't build and airplane at all -- even a relatively conventional airplane. They'll just go buy one. ;)
     
  19. Feb 16, 2018 #19

    mekstrand

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    Chris,

    John was at chino. If I remember correctly, he was living in a motor home next to his hangar. I believe he sold his starduster in the early 90’s and was restoring a Curtis Robin. That was the last time I spoke with him in maybe 1991.
     
  20. Feb 16, 2018 #20

    EAABipe40FF

    EAABipe40FF

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    I admit N459K is one beautiful bird, well worth doing whatever.......:D

    Jack
     

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