Stewart 51 Partner LLC

2021 Past News and Events

January February 2021
The photo above was taken last week (February 11th or 12th) in Prescott, Arizona after the FIRST FLIGHT of Mike Doyle's beautiful S51.  His friend, Sprague Limbaugh took the picture of the plane back in the barn.  That is Doyle on the left, Jim Thompson on the right, and chase plane pilot Bill Kowalewski in front of the wing.
Above, First Flight Pilot Eric Huppert after the second flight.

Eric is an Air Force Academy grad, flew Air Force, flew with Stallion 51 in Kissimmee, Florida checking out pilots in T6's and the full size P51's, and is flying with Jet Blue now, while also running his own aviation contracting business.

Eric had a full Wednesday afternoon cockpit study session with the guys in Prescott, including Jim Gohm.  Recall that Gohm and Doyle are both in S51's based in Prescott and are stable mates, and that Gohm has been flying his Stewart for several years now.  Eric and the gang, including Jim Thompson, who has assisted Doyle in finishing the plane these past two years, and Jim Czachorowski, our S51 Builders Group Moderator and Spiritual Leader, worked through the First Flight process together quite well.

Thursday, after a couple of attempts cut short by a prop adjustment and a static system abnormality, Eric launched and took her around the pattern three times with the gear down, greased her in, and taxied in triumphantly.  A close inspection, a few more tweaks, and a longer flight the following day with some stall work and back in.

Eric pronounced her straight and true and a nice performing example of the breed.  By my casual count, that now makes twenty-four Stewart S51's that have flown.  A couple more might take flight this year, but a big Congratulations to Mike Doyle, Jim Thompson, Vern Goodsell (who assisted Doyle for most of the early construction), and everyone who has been part of bringing this particular plane along.

And, special thanks to Eric Huppert for getting involved with the program.  Eric's experience and cool-headed approach were greatly admired and appreciated by the crew in Prescott.


March 2021 News
Above, Elliot Seguin in Rod Bower's "Hurry Home Honey" for another flight out of Vasalia, California.
Rod and crew were chasing a gremlin in the landing gear hydraulic system that turned out to be the gage.  With that gage replaced, the system is actually operating properly, with more local flights to come as the forty hours is flown, allowing Elliot to continue his cataloging of performance parameters.




The two photos above are of our new building in Pensacola.  We should be finished by the end of May, and will begin to get everything into one location.


Meanwhile, we are still experimenting with our wing leading edge skin fabrication process, and are about to prototype one of two methods we will ultimately use.  Tailwheel components are in process, other wing components are about to be cut and fabricated, and we are crawling closer to full kit production.  Once the building is finished, we'll move the wing, fuselage, and other jigs down from Montgomery, get them rigged and set, and begin fabricating the sheet metal parts of this plane.

For the second "Meanwhile," we'll gather the other original production fuselages and wings and tails we have scattered about, pair them up with new production landing gear parts, and offer our first two to three fastbuild kits.  This could happen by this autumn.

We'll keep you posted.
April - May News
Above, you're looking at the tailwheel from the S51 prototype airplane.  We have contracted with the supplier of these tailwheels and the tailwheel forks that are the same as the fork used on the prototype.  This might seem like a small point, but it does matter.

The forks we will be providing will be a single fork rather than the double fork that is on most previous kits.  The single fork, if not built strongly enough, has a tendency to bend, while the double fork is not to true scale:  The original P-51 has a single fork.  Thus, we will be supplying a very stout forged single fork with the new production.

I did get back down to Bartow in early April and did catch a good weather day and  had a forty five minute local flight in Doll.  She performed well, no write-ups.  As a last (hopefully) mod, we are going to move our oil cooler from the bottom of our inlet duct to a position higher in the duct to see if we can stay a little cooler during taxi in after flights.  If this change does not improve our ground cooling, we'll be adding a fan behind the radiator.  One way or the other, we want to get the ground coolant temp lower.

I am writing this update on Memorial Day.  We owe so much  to those who lost their lives in armed conflict and other tragedies that took their lives while serving in our military and other services.  So many thanks to those men and women.

June - July 2021 News
Sam and Charlie Hudgens have been helping with moving some of the S51 tooling and parts and components out of facilities in Montgomery to Pensacola.  Above, they are assembling shelving for parts.

Below, we have Charlie standing by the wing assembly jigs to give the trucking companies we are talking to a relative perspective on shape and size.  These things are cumbersome.


Below, you see fuselage and belly scoop and tail surface jigs.  All of these will end up in Pensacola.
We'll be pretty busy getting these items moved over the rest of the summer.  We'll update again soon.