I found that big ol' radial engine for my biplane !
September 15, 2008 Making the impossible... ...possible
There are two maxiums that I pretty much adhere by.
In my eyes... and mind... both go hand in hand.
The first... You are never given a wish, without also being given the power to make it come true...
You may have to work for it, however.(Richard Bach)
and the second... Whatever we hold in thought comes true in our experience; Like attracts like; we experiment with the Law of
changing appearances, to make our outer world reflect our inner.(Richard Bach)
It's seems like once I start looking for something, it not that far down the line when opportunity arrises; traveling right at you; a freight train packing a full load of steam.
All the thinking and planning ahead helps develop this freight train coming at you. I think the two coincide; the decision to look and the freight train just about to hit. It's just a matter of getting to that point.
You can see from previous postings on my website that I've been thinking about an engine, what engine, to hang on the front of it for awhile now. Not a whole lot of information about them on the internet. Not many forums/users groups/websites. Google radial engine and I'm up there in the rankings, and I'm still wondering/learning about them myself.
Just recently I've been searching a little harder than usual. Everything was just coming together. I had a little extra money in the account, a possible place to put it and work on it... everything was starting to point towards finding it now.
I looked one day and there it was... buried in a Barnstormers ad for a Cessna 195 project. It wasn't listed anywhere else. "... Jacobs R755-9 core available" So I emailed the guy, Bob Bailey. He emailed me back... and yes... it could be sold without the 195 project, and he gave me a price. Back and forth with emails of questions, and
photos of the Jake from every angle he could get a picture from. Talked to Dale, the Jake guy, and he said that it was an OK price. Then I told him how it was accessorized and he said "Better grab that one... if you don't get it, let me know." Figured that was a thumbs up for buying it.
I agreed to the price. It was about half of what Bob bought it for five years ago. The accessories were worth more than the asking price for the engine. How could I go wrong ? No log books were with the engine, which was fine. I read an article by Tony Bingelis that basically said get an engine that you know the history of or get one that you're going to rebuild, that way you know
what has been done to it. Well, I got the latter.
After agreeing on the price we worked out a day that I would take the six hour ride up and six hour ride back to pick it up from B01, Granville Airport, New York. I scheduled the meeting for Saturday, September 13th, 2008.
When scheduling it, I saw that there was a chance of rain showers down here but great weather up in Granville, New York. I had a week to get everything together for picking up a big ol' radial engine in a pick-up truck; tie-down straps, lifting straps, chains and shackles to buy, a call to Whitey to see about keeping it in a corner at his place to work on it, a call to my sister, Ian, to see if she could let out Ammo and give him some food... a laundry list of things to do before the BIG Road Trip.
The BIG day comes and Denise and I are out the door by 7:30AM. A tank full of gas, a cooler full of drinks and snacks to keep us happy and Denise's GPS and we're ready to go. The GPS pointed us north with blue skies in all directions.
As we worked our way through the industrial cites of central New Jersey, having left the farm fields of the south behind, gray clouds started to push aside the bright blue we had earlier. Crossing the state line into New York a few breaks in the clouds appeared giving us hope that it may just be our lucky day after all... clear sailing.
A stop for gas and we're on our way again. It wasn't much longer and we were skirting Albany, my trigger to call Bob to let him know that we're about an hour away. A few calls to a voice message that I didn't recognize and I
scroll back in my "out going call" list to find that I had been dialing the wrong number. Anywho... made another call to Bob... now we're within a stone's throw of the airport. (no problem now)
Since the airport didn't have a street address I had asked Denise to dial in an address of a buisness in downtown Granville, population of 2552, with a total of 56.1 square miles. The GPS got us to our destination with no problem. Getting from there to the airport was the challenge.
I called the airport and spoke to a woman on the phone. Told her where we were and she gave me fairly easy directions to the airport. Told me that it wasn't marked very good and that it was situated between two cemeteries. We followed the directions until I knew we had missed the road for the airport. Made a turn into a small convenience store and asked the boy behind the counter where the airport was. He said "Not many really know where it is." Hmmmm ??? it ain't that big of a town I thought. Not much going on other than the airport, the convenience store and a few cemeteries. Hmmmmm ???? He told me to head back up where I came from and to turn down a dirt road. Hmmmm ????
We headed back up the road in the direction we just came from, keeping our eyes peeled for a cemetery sign that would give us a clue as to where the airport would be. Denise spotted a small green sign amongst the green landscape around it. It was Lady of Lords Cemetery, one of the two cemeteries that flanked the airport. A few minutes later and we would be pulling up to the front of the hangar that held the radial engine we had come up for.
As we pulled up and over the hill a few hangars came into view. To our right we saw a few cars and a Bobcat in front of one of the larger hangars, one with the door open to it. We pulled up and were greeted by Bob and Kathy Bailey. We spoke for awhile and learned that Kathy's father has owned the airport for the past 61 years. He wasn't to be found at the moment or we would have been held captive by a few of the stories that he's known to tell, which would have been ok by me.
Loading the beast
After our introductions Bob asked if I was ready to take a look at the engine. I followed him inside of the hangar we were standing in front of. I was amazed to see all the stuff piled around. The only clear area in the entire hangar was the space in front of the crate that held the Jacobs and a path leading to the hangar door we just walked through. There just wasn't some stuff lying around, there was some STUFF lying around.
I should have taken a picture of it all. Under all the clutter I could make out a few older airplanes; a Tri-pacer, Super Cub and a few other that were too buried to
really see. I would have loved to have gone through it all. Kathy, Bob's wife, said that most of the hangars had years of stuff, pretty much just like this one. I digress...
Bob hands me a flashlight and pulls out a ladder for me to climb up so that I could take a look at the engine. I made a good attempt at making it look like I knew what I was looking at. Pretty much... I saw what I had already seen in the photos he took, and it looked like the same
engine. I was happy, but I kept on peering around inside the crate. I said that I'd take a better look at it outside in the daylight and handed him back his flashlight.
A friend of his had a piece of equipment called a Bobcat. It's a smaller piece of heavy equipment. It has a dump in the front that can be converted to forks. They hauled it out of the darkness of the hangar into the brighter skies outside. I took another look... and saw the same as those photos I'd seen before, a big ol' Jacobs engine. I said let's button her up and get her loaded onto the truck.
The crate was large when I first saw it, but sitting up on my 4-wheel drive pick-up it towered over me. I thought to myself that this is gonna be a fun ride home.
After we got it loaded I put Denise to work and had her help me with straping the crate to the truck. Although these straps were rated at 500 pounds each, they didn't look like they'd hold much back. If we were lucky it'd
stop the momentum of the crate for a split second before snapping in half. If nothing else they looked good for the ride home. On second thought... these puny straps didn't look like they'd hold the lid on a Tupperware container. I'll just have to take it nice and easy. (notice I didn't say slow... we're talking about a six hour trip before the thought of even creeping along.)
We're heading back
With the crate loaded I handed Bob the cashier's check and we said our good-byes promising to send a photo of the Skybolt once it's put together and flying.
The ride home was uneventful. Pulling out of Granville Airport I was a little cautious in taking turns. And there were a lot of those turns between the small town of Granville and the main road of Rt 149. The people of up-state New York put up with my "walking on crushed glass" driving without getting too aggrevaited. My hats off to them... thankyouverymuch.
The brighter skies of New York state started to turn dark as we approached the industrial cities of centreal Jersey again and it wouldn't let us go unscathed. Two miles before the interchange of the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike a big black cloud reared it's ugly head and started to spit and then rain upon us. We could see the brighter skies just a few miles away, in the direction we were going, so I decided that
we didn't need to stop and cover the crate with plastic and staples. Minutes later we were in bright skies again heading down south on the Jersey Turnpike.
Three hundred thirty-six miles and twelve hours later and we're pulling into the driveway at my place. Not a bad days worth of work.