Page 1 of 2

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 5:51 pm
by G-man
Hi all,
Im very glad to find this forum. My name is Josh and me and my buddy Pete are rebuilding a series III together. I have a million questions to ask and I hope to put up a web site soon to document the process. I once rebuilt a Kawasaki ZX11 using a forum like this and found more help than i could have imagined. Met some great people too. You guys seem pretty tight knit and im sure I can learn much from your collective experiences.
Heres where she stands- Both wings need to be rebuilt and covered, Its been sitting for probably 10 years so im guessing the engines(185s) need to be torn down? Rebuilt? Decarboned?

Well, wings first I guess. I'd like to make new ribs. Some are broken some have been poorly repaired and they all have a lousy old coat of crackled latex, Mostly the reinforcing tape has degraded on them and is very loose.

Here are the first of many questions to come-

1. Does any one either make and sell new ribs or does anyone have full size templates that can be aquired? (I'm sure I could trace the old ones but I would hate to even be a LITTLE bit off from the original.)
2. Is there a special or preferred styrofoam to use for ribs?
3. Does any one sell capstrip material that comes with the proper angles in the edges?
4. Whats the best adhesive to use for the capstrips?
5. There is a 3m tape to use for the reinforcement?

Also, my right spar box assembly is crushed. The previous owner bought another crashed wing for parts but I have one concern- The rivet holes in the D-cell arent going to line up exactly with the rivet holes in the used spar box assembly. Re- drilling the used spar box is going to remove even more material and perhaps even enlarge the pre-existing holes. Possibly weakening the whole assembly.
Does any one see a serious problem in this scenario? I have not tried to match the pieces yet but its pretty unlikly they will line up. Should I add rivets? Put a strip over the old holes first? Or just drill new holes and it will be plenty strong?

Well thats where I want to start anyway. I'm confident that I can handle the restoration. Ive spent the last month reading every bit of info on the net. I have a million more questions about redrives and props and of course Tedlar but first things first.
Thank very much in advance for your insight. I would not be nearly so confident in this project had I just recieved my Lazair in kit form. My hats off to you guys that built this plane yourselves. I fell into this by mistake and I'm very excited to learn what a unique and proven history the Lazair has. I could not have chosen better!!
Thanks again,

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 1:53 am
by JPXman
OK Josh

I'll be the first to throw my hat into the ring:

1. post some pictures of what you have (as many as you can - fuse, engines, wings, tail, tailwheels, main wheels, etc etc)

2. where are you and the lazair located?

3. buy tedlar from john nagy now - read post in the forsale column about how to get a hold of him. just send him a cheque tomorrow, you will need this tedlar to cover the plane with if you want tedlar. If you want/choose to cover with something else, then decide quickly as tedlar is available only once in a while (read so far every 3 years). he is running out.

4. buy a good rivet gun

5. buy 100 1/8" bits

6. I have rebuilt 2 lazairs in the past 2 years. I used home depot pink styrofoam sheet afor the ribs nd bought a sheet of 12' x 5' aluminum, 2024-T3 .020" and used it to make all my capstrips and sparcaps (bent on an eavestrough brake) and gussets . I had the sheet cut to 1 1/4" strips and then bent the capstrips to shape. I used standard 3M filament tape to tape it down - and used "PL PREMIUM" adhesive to stick the capstrip to the ribs before taping down with filament tape. I used standard latex white house paint (because it includes a UV inhibitor) to paint the ribs. I covered in tedlar. after covering, i covered all exposed tapes with 2" silver mylar tape to block the sun from the tapes.

7. I have a list of mods to incorporate into an uncovered wing to make it so much better, i'll dig it up, it's somewhere...

that should give you some food for thought... anyone else?

Edmonton, AB

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 7:05 pm
by Chappy

I'll try to add a few things. Concerning the wing spar/box attachment, I would reuse the holes in the spar. You can purchase a handy little tool called a Hole Duplicator (or even make your own, but they are cheap) that will make it easy for you to locate the spar holes directly onto the spar box. The previous holes drilled into it shouldn't cause any problems, although they may be visible through the covering tapes. The tool is available at Do a search under part number AT532-62. That's for a #30 drill, which is the proper drill size to use for 1/8 inch pop rivets.

The cap strips were originally epoxied to the foam ribs. Latex paint was used because most other paints will attack the foam. Test any paint you plan on using first on a sample of your foam.

If you have rebuilt the Kawasaki, then the little Rotax shouldn't present you with any problem. Just remember that 2 strokes like the 185 must be run on the rich mixture side to remain happy.

Don't forget the pilot. What experience do you have? If your flying experience is heavier craft, be forewarned that the Lazair flies like a very light, very slow sailplane - quick in pitch, slow in roll. Because of it's very light wing loading, you should ONLY consider making your first flights in no wind/no thermal conditions.

The best of luck to you on your "new" project!

Chappy in Virginia, Lazair #25

PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 10:50 am
by G-man
Thanks Tyler and Chappy,
I'd love to see those wing mods. Im only going to do this once(I hope) So I might as well get it right. Ive been trying to reach John Nagy but theres no answer.
Can you tell me his E-mail or Username for this group? I'd better get some tedlar if theres any left.
Thanks again. I'll get some pictures soon.

Pete and I are both from Maine, which means we'll be flying off skiis pretty soon here. Pete skydives so he spends a lot of time with planes and pilots, I have had 3 hours of instruction in a Cessna 153 and several hours with friends in a Mooney and an Aerocommander (VERY COOL) Its been a few years though. Most fortunately, I recently found out that a friend of mine whom Ive actually known for several years, is the biggest distributer of Challengers in New England! She has already offered me Dacron at wholesale price should I choose that route. Apparently Challengers were once covered with Mylar. She discourages its use and although they will cover with it you have to sign a waiver. What about Dacron? Funny, I have not seen a reference to it and the Lazair. I assumed thats because its basically the same type stuff as STITTS or other poly fibers? Is it too heavy? Why Dacron on our wingtips? why not Tedlar all over or Dacron all over. Please excuse my ignorance on these matters. Despite POURING through the related info on the net I have yet to find any answers. Plenty of suggestions though.

Thanks again for your help,

PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 11:29 pm
by Chappy

Dig some more on this site. The Mylar/Tedlar/Dacron covering controversy has been hashed out several times!

One more thing I forgot to mention. Go back to Aircraft Spruce and find a book called the "Standard Aircraft Manual" (pn 13-11400). This is the best, most affordable book you can own when it comes to making repairs to aircraft! It will teach you about the whole new world of aircraft hardware, tools, materials and reliable techniques for repairs. It's a wonderful old book, and anyone that owns a Lazair should have it and study it. I'm not kidding. Costs $24 nowadays, but worth every cent and more.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 1:12 am
by JPXman
josh, any updates?

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:56 am
by JPXman
josh, another year has passed, any updates?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:45 pm
by CLL
:( Sad to say, but I may have many good spare parts available real soon. I just bought mine 2 months ago and on my first actual take off, had an accident that has me on crutches for a while. Looking at my pics, it looks like the wings are in excellent shape, possibly just needing re-covering in places. I will probably be parting mine out as I dont have time or health NOW to rebuild it. I may go the ebay route, but for now I have to get well enough to disassemble it.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:56 pm
by JPXman
glad to hear you're OK. testimony to a lazair that you can "walk" away.

where is this poor bird located?


PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 3:36 am
by flyalaz
Hey Josh,

Like Tyler says, good to hear you are alive. Any landing you walk away from is a good landing, and though you might not have exactly walked away, it's possible that an other plane might have been less so?

I would suggest standing back a bit and take a big breath before deciding to part it out. I am still pretty new on the Lazair block, but over the last five years, I have heard many stories of people truly regretting the sale of their plane.

Do you know what went wrong? Can "we" help figure out what happened, and more important, can we just plain help?

Send in some pics (if able). Most, if not all of us have made boo-boos at one time or another, and I am sure it has just been plain old dumb luck that kept us out of dung. Accidents are just exactly what they are. Accidents.