Ted's Aircraft Shop
Step 1. Picking a Project, page 1
Step 1.   Picking a Project

“First” airplane rides create memories that are vivid for those of us addicted to flying and aircraft.  For me, I remember the first time I got a ride in a Piper Cub.  I did not even know that it was a J-3.  I was flying my RC models at a small rural grass airfield east of Walworth, Wisconsin, near the south shore of Lake Geneva.  We had a small vacation place up on the lake and this was my favorite time.  I had just landed a plane when this yellow Piper Cub landed.  We got to talking, and he asked me if I wanted a ride.  That 

was all it took.  I climbed in the front, and off we went—door open, out in the breeze, low to the ground.  I cannot describe how my heart felt.  It was the most glorious 20 minutes.  Like falling in love the first time, the feeling will never leave me.  For all of my explanations, I think I had to restore a Cub from that day forward. 


From my earliest days I always wanted to build things, almost anything, but especially airplanes.  All I needed was an imagination and a few learned skills to get me started on a project.  I have remodeled houses, rebuilt a barn, strung antennas, invented portable animal corrals, and built stained glass windows and lamps, furniture, fine cabinetry, model airplanes, and hovercraft.  In my family I have a reputation for fixing things.  If I cannot fix it, it is not worth fixing. 


For airplanes, I went through phases, both building and flying, from control line models at the age of six, hovercraft in my teenage years, sailplanes at the Air Force Academy, radio control models as a young adult with three boys of my own, an experimental motorglider (homebuilt), and lately restoration and maintenance of vintage Piper and Aeronca aircraft.  With a limited budget dedicated primarily to household expenses and the raising of three boys, I dreamed of building an inexpensive ultralight aircraft, to the dismay of my wife.  To her, anything that was “ultralight” or “homebuilt” could not be safe.  When my brother Ron diverted my attention to vintage aircraft made from the 1940’s, Sue jumped on the idea with a vengeance.  For several years we visited restoration projects all across Illinois and Wisconsin and the Pittsburgh Region after moving here, attended fly-ins, and made the pilgrimage to the EAA AirVenture (convention and fly-in) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, held every year at the End of July. 


Even when I realized I could afford to purchase an airplane of my own, I preferred the idea of building.  I like the  

Next Page
Previous Page
Restoring a Piper Cub J-3
1.  Picking a  Project
2. Organizing and Planning
3. Overhauling the Engine
4. Assembling the Wings
5. Covering the Wings
6. Covering the Tail Surfaces
7. Repairing the Ailerons
8. Painting the Wings
9. Build Out of the Fuselage
10. Covering the Fuselage
11. Assembling and Rigging
12. Flight Testing