Stewart 51 Partner LLC

2018 News and Events

January February
Above, Elliot Seguin in Rod Bower's beautiful S51.  Check out Elliot Seguin's Facebook page, Wasabi Air Racing for updates on Elliot's test flights.  They have made four flights now (February 25th).  Elliot's film production of the fourth flight is excellent, with a glimpse into test flight data generation.
Leading Edge and Rib Production:

We are ever closer to testing our leading edge production concept.  Last week, Chuck and I were in Chuck's facility, TPR, Inc., evaluating the first prototype blanks he had water-jetted.  Chuck has one more refinement to test on the process, mostly about minimizing "overspray" from the solid media working up under the protective plastic film on the aluminum.
Rod Dill and I spent a morning last week double checking ribs for correct fit and design, and found several more details that we need to correct before going to quantity production.  Below, you'll see how things are beginning to look with new ribs clamped into position on a long range fuel spar.  This long range spar is slightly different in a couple of ways from the standard spar we'll be building, and is a pain in the tail to work with, but will have to do for now.

Above, Doll's Engine prepped for Dyno Run.
The photo above (sorry about the glare) shows the coolant line Al added to get more flow from the engine to the thermostat box.  Before, we only had holes inside the box to allow coolant past the thermostas to tell them what was going on in the engine.  Those holes proved to be inadequate.  This added line should give us the flow, therefore the information to the thermostats, that we have to have to properly regulate our engine temperature.
Trey and Al with the engine loaded.

Cliff Fitch sent this picture of the Main Landing Gear components he has manufactured for us.  Cliff plans to bring them down to Montgomery in the next month or so.  He is also finishing up on manufacture of throttle quadrants.  When Cliff gets to Montgomery, we'll finalize plans for the remaining landing gear parts and tail wheel parts.  Below, a shot of one of the downlock assemblies Cliff is also manufacturing.
Jim Czachorowski has taken on the job of Moderator of the Stewart 51 Builders Group on Yahoo.  Owen Smith created the site and served us all as Moderator since the site's inception.  Many thanks from all builders for the work Owen performed in keeping the site going as long as he did.  The site is for Stewart 51 builders only, and has been a valuable source of builder to builder communication.

That said, the site has become somewhat cumbersome and obsolete for us, given limitations on photo uploading and getting people approved and on the site.  Jim Czachorowski ("Czach" or "Zack") has done some study and, taking a page from Test Pilot / Race Pilot Eliot Seguin, has formed a Facebook page for our Builders Group.  Czach is still working out the details of how to keep it secure for Builders while, at the same time, allowing genuinely interested followers to see some content.  We look forward to this new tool in S51 communication.

Below, you'll see the left wing aileron idler arm on our kit under construction in Bartow, and below that a photo of the leading edge of the left flap. 
Jim Stewart's blueprint and Owen Smith's Builder's Manual point out that the aft spine on the idler needs to be relieved to clear the flap.  We missed it on our kit.

We were alerted to look at this issue by Rod Bower and Elliot Seguin.  Recall that on the first couple of flights, Elliot reported some friction in the ailerons.  The two photos below show what they found.  Also notice that Rod's idler has been relieved per instructions, but still made contact with the flap.  Jim Czachorowski has done a finite element analysis on the part and has determined further relief will not weaken the part in the directions it needs strength, so one option for Rod is to remove more material to clear the flap.  The other method that will work is to notch the leading edge of the flap to clear the idler.  The leading edge is already relieved in other areas to clear hinge brackets and actuator arms.
I should get a start this week  on re-installing the engine in Doll.  We should also be close to our leading edge skin production method proof.  We'll keep you posted.

April, May News and Events

In the sling, then in the cradle.  Finally.  Now for some hooking up.

Below, you can see a little detail that slipped past us:  To make room for the Main Landing Gear in the wheel wells, the inner four ribs had to be "lengthened" from the main spar forward.  We did this with the tooling we built for those ribs.  What we missed in the instructions from Jim was that we also had to make them deeper toward the front to allow for the gear.  Looking back at the original tooling, we saw where they had made the same mistake, and had added metal, then reshaped.  We are in the middle of that process now on the four inside ribs on each side.
Below, shots of the Main Landing Gear components and Throttle Quadrants from Cliff Fitch.  Cliff and his son, Cliff III, drove them down to Montgomery and took stock of other parts we need to build.  Cliff and Cliff are doing excellent work on these parts.  You should see Cliff III modeling these parts and changing views and making them move and interact with one another on his computer.  Amazing talent and experience in these two men.  We are lucky to have them involved.
Rod Bower and Elliot Seguin are still flying Rod's time and researching his flight characteristics on his S51 out in California.  Elliot continues to post excellent YouTube videos of his flights and data.  Find them on his website Wasabi  Racing or YouTube.

Jim Gohm is flying in Arizona.  Good reports from Jim.

We'll update again soon.
June, July News and Events

June and July saw some progress on several fronts:  We are further along with the engine re-installation on Doll, had a nice visit from the former Production Engineer
of the former Czech company that had produced the last kits, and visited Oshkosh.
Petr Varadi, pictured above, is the former Production Engineer for the Czech company that built the last S51 Fast Build Kits, and has continued to follow the story of the plane he used to build.  Petr came to the U.S. this summer, and visited with us for several days in July, listening to our plans and offering his advice on getting production started again.  He spent time with us in Pensacola, also, comparing notes with Rod Dill as Rod and I continued to iron out our leading edge production methodology.  Petr and his comrades fabricated many of the parts for the airframe during their run in the Czech Republic, but did sub-contract the leading edge skin to a glider production company.  Petr is staying involved with us as we move closer to offering kits again.
On our way to Oshkosh, we diverted over to Ohio and visited with Mark Kenneson and his crew at D & D Classics.  Mark had worked with Jim Stewart on the original run of belly scoop inlets and chin scoops, and still has the steel form buck they used back in the 90's.  We took sample parts and some other tooling.  We'll be working with Mark on these two components, as well as exhaust shrouds.
At Oshkosh, we attended the Lifetime Members Dinner.  Elliot Seguin, the man flying Rod Bowers' S51, was the featured speaker.  As an added bonus, we wound up with Elliot at our table for dinner.  Elliot did a great job entertaining the audience with his presentation of how the culture of EAA people is the dominant theme that drives him to fly and experiment and test as he does.  It was an excellent presentation.

S51 builders Cliff Fitch and Dan Malloy, and Dan's brothers and son, and Dr. Jamon Pruitt met for dinner one night at our usual haunt, formerly The Charcoal Pit, now called The Hangar.  We had a good visit and caught each other up on things.

My two main focus points over the next several months will be getting the leading edge production methodology finalized and getting Doll back in the air.  We'll keep you posted.
Cliff Fitch was back in the air in mid-October!  Willow Bird had been down for repairs, and flew beautifully on a forty-five minute flight with Cliff.  We are all glad to see Cliff and Willow Bird back in operation!
We think we are closing in on solving the leading edge production method.  The two templates above are the tip at Wing Station 150.00 and the inboard rib at WS 53.00.  The leading edge skin is 97.5 inches wide.

The leading edge skins supplied in Jim's original run of kits were formed by a company in the Czech Republic, subcontracted by HPAI.  Duplicating their process in the U.S. has proven to be a challenge.

We will keep you posted on this subject.  It has amazed me.
As part of our engine reinstallation in Doll, we are replacing all of the EGT probes.  You can see the erosion of the probes that occurred over the past 275 hours.
Mike Goransky came over to take pictures of Doll and talk about his engine build and installation.  "Gorilla" is having Al Joniec and Robert Abernathy do his engine build.  Mike had spent the previous week on a mission with his church, helping clean up Hurricane Michael damage in southwest Georgia.

We got our prop back in late October, and are closing in on finishing the engine reinstallation on Doll.  This having a full-time job has seriously interfered with my progress.

More updates soon, I hope.
We ran the engine on Doll the week of November 12, performing a normal leak-check run, which revealed a few places we had to tighten and adjust.  One big disappointment is that our Electromotive ignition system isn't firing, while the new distributor side is better than before. Brighter minds than mine are thinking through the troubleshooting we've already performed, with a few more steps yet to be taken.  Once we get that figured out we'll finish with safety wiring, securing lines and tubes and wires and hoses, installing the prop, and beginning more serious ground runs.
Back in the Barn.
December '18 / January 2019
We got the prop reinstalled in December.  With the prop on, we made two short ground runs, both of which went well.  After the runs, several visits to the hangar were spent securing more lines and wires, getting ready for more aggressive runs in January.

But, then, I  stopped and had my right shoulder replaced:  Have been putting it off for several years.  The surgery went well, and I am healing and doing the physical therapy on schedule, but I'll be late February before I can perform much substantive work on Doll.

Meanwhile, Cliff Fitch has had another successful flight as he flies after repairs in the Chicago area.  Cliff is catching hell lately with winter weather, but is flying when he can catch breaks from midwest freezing temperatures and wind.

Rod Bower's plane flew again this past weekend after two months down for landing gear and fuel pump work.  Elliot Seguin made the flight again and will probably post a video on his site.

Last, we think we have the new production wing leading edge sourced.  Brent Meester with Odegaard Wings has "bent" one for us that looks good.  Rod Dill and I met last week and have moved to have Chuck Pyritz at TPR cut our first new production main spar web, stringers, and other components.

Thanks for staying tuned .............