Keith Shaw’s 1905 Wright Flyer

More info from Keith Shaw who you’ll remember has done some extensive scale detailing to one of our kits. Keith is an AMA Hall of Fame member. He’s tuning and trimming his bird and offers the following.

Hi Dave,
Now have 8 more flights on the Wright. Two improvements have GREATLY helped the directional control.
1) I found that the aileron cross pushrod was buckling. Increased wire thickness to 1/16th, helped a little. Rolled masking tape around pushrod ends and middle to get it up to the ID of 1/8th aluminum tube. Coated the tape with 5 minute epoxy and slipped the tube on. Wing warping is now very solid and uniform over flight speed range.
2) Mine had the few hertz rudder oscillation like yours. Carefully flexed everything back there and found that the vertical wire was wobbling all over the place at the bottom. The rudder pushrod was very solid in comparison, so side loads on the fins cause large distortion of the bottom inch of wire. Drilled out the boom bearings and plywood fin cross braces to use a 3/32″ wire instead. Rudder control is nice and solid and the oscillation is gone. Might have been able to get away with 1/16″ wire, but went for the 3/23″. Besides, I needed to move the CG back. 🙂

Now flying with CG about 7/8″ behind leading edge, still need to do some small tweaks on the motor thrust line. The plane now has a very solid feeling, with only a slight pitch bobble when it hits some turbulence. Flew it twice yesterday at an airshow in Detroit in 10 mph breeze with some minor turbulence. No problems. Before the mods this would not have been wise.
BTW, the crowd at the airshow LOVED it. More photos taken and questions asked than any other plane there.

Take care,



Our 1963 Airstream Ambassador Project

Bev & Dave, Happy new owners of the project from he…… Er, Uh, a beautiful 63 Airstream.
Here it is, 1963 Airstream Ambassador 28′ picked up in June 2012 and we’ve begun work on it. This photo is from the day we picked it up in Michigan. We are replacing all systems. It now has a new Coleman Power Saver AC capable of running on a Honda 2000 generator like we use on the Radical RC “Daves Inn”. We installed a new remote control Fantastic Fan in the bathroom skylight. The remote version of this fan is costly. However, no difficult to route wiring for the controls is required with a remote version. Also, the remote control version is capable of running at much slower speeds. I’ve found the Fantastic Fan in Dave’s Inn is quite a whirlwind producer even on it’s lowest setting. I’m working on installing a new power panel on the drivers side. Also, we’ll be moving the 30 amp cable to the left side. It has more breakers. I was able to put the AC on it’s on breaker this way.

Future projects include a new water tank, water pump and water heater. I think the existing black tank is serviceable, however, we need to do a conversion on the outlet to modern fittings. Not sure how I’m going to do the gray tank yet. Might have a tank made for under the bathroom sink to drain gray into. Only issue there is figuring some tricky way to get the shower water into it since the bottom of the gray tank would be level with the bottom of the tub/shower. Might have to raise up the tub a few inches (don’t want to) or use a pump to move the shower water up into the tank. I’m sure I’ll arrive at something interesting to solve the physics of uphill water flow.

Fabrics and Upholstery by Mary Spangenberg
Textile: Atomic STARBURST

We’ve not buffed it yet so it looks about the same on the outside. However, on spare weekends here and there I’ve been picking on it. Bev has purchased the material for upholstery and also some cool special foam mattresses. We’re going with Mid-Century Modern or “Atomic Age” for decor. It will probably be camp-able some time next summer but as you might imagine, a multiple year project to fully complete.

After all the systems are replaced, I might start to go through it cabinet by cabinet and build replacements. It’s pretty simply constructed really. The existing units are mostly sound however the the veneer is loose and falling off in many places.

Thinking of making a fold up panel arrangement for the passenger side bed so I can have a computer desk and chair. Might raise the bed surface up so I can retain clothing storage that is currently there. Not decided yet.

This is a primer for the project. I might stick some photo’s in of the progress and welcome any reader comment.

Airstream Wiki page.

Vintage Trailer Supply Our restoration and parts supplier.

Where we got out Coleman Mach Power Saver AC unit: PPL RV Parts

Airstream Inc’s help page for: Floor Plans

The active forum site for Airstream campers: Air Forums