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The Family Jewel

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  • The Family Jewel

    My interest in the Taylorcraft started at a very young age. My dad was a pilot, and our family airplane was a little yellow Taylorcraft that he purchased and restored several years before I was born. Almost as soon as I could walk he started taking me along for Sunday morning flights in the airplane, and it was not too long after that that I was working the controls in flight and “flying” the little ship. I was 5 years old or so when he sold the airplane, but the aviation “hook” was set and my life’s path followed aviation.




    The family jewel, circa 1970

    A Mooney showed up in the family a few years later, but it was not until my late 20’s, marriage, and nearing the end of an Air Force enlistment that I decided to get serious about learning to fly. Fast forward another 20 years and I’ve lost Dad (12 years now), as well as worked my way up the performance food chain to a Harmon Rocket, but that little T-cart has never completely lost its hold. I’d kept very loose tabs on the airplane over the years and in the 80’s it was reported to be disintegrating on a back tiedown somewhere in the SF Bay Area, but I’d never made the move to make contact with the owner. That changed recently when I ran across a bunch of old pictures of “Dad’s” airplane and I decided to actually write a letter to the owner. I included a picture of the airplane “back in the day” and a brief description of my relationship with the little crate. I included a phone number and email on the off chance he would give me a status update – and the longshot: was it for sale?

    I dropped that letter in the mailbox on Monday, and on Saturday morning received a phone call from the owner. Yep, the airplane is still in one piece, and yep, it is available. Long story short: A deal was struck, I inspected the airplane and it’s now back home in my family after a 43 year hiatus.




    The family jewel, April, 2016

    This one is a fairly unremarkable example of a 1940 BL-65 aside from the strong sentimental attachment. I have no plans to “upgrade” the airplane because the little Lycoming will perform its mission of evening flights around the pattern of my private strip just fine. The 10 hour ferry flight home was likely to be the last cross country trip the airplane will ever make. Additionally, my wife has finally decided to learn to fly after thousands of miles of cross country time in our other airplanes, and she has latched onto the T-cart as “hers”. Despite my being trained the “modern” way, I am very definitely a strong believer in fundamental stick and rudder skills, so the Taylorcraft will make a fine trainer. Its typical prewar adverse yaw and low power will hone her basic flying to a razor edge.

    It has been a long time since I’ve flown a prewar light aircraft and this has been my only Taylorcraft, so I am having to make some adjustments. I’m used to 3-4000 FPM climb and 200+KTAS in cruise with the Rocket, so this is a whole different animal. However, it is a hoot to fly and I only intend to get it rigged right and maintain it in excellent condition. I want a time machine from 1940, so that’s how this one will stay.
    Last edited by NC26528; 04-23-2016, 13:01.
    Michael Robinson

    1940 BL-65
    2005 Harmon Rocket
    2001 RV-8
    1984 L-39C Albatros
    180 HP Pacer Clone Project

  • #2
    Re: The Family Jewel

    Great story , and a hearty welcome to you here.

    Rob

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Family Jewel

      Thank you Rob. I've been around airplanes my whole life and I'm an A&P, but this is the first Taylorcraft I've really looked at in any detail. I have a steep learning curve and I'll be all over this forum asking questions.

      Happy to be here!
      Michael Robinson

      1940 BL-65
      2005 Harmon Rocket
      2001 RV-8
      1984 L-39C Albatros
      180 HP Pacer Clone Project

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Family Jewel

        Steep learning curves aren't a problem with this group. LOTS of people to give you a boost and you won't find anything that one of us hasn't already had to deal with before. Just my opinion but anything you do to "improve" her will do the exact opposite. Check the ORIGINAL configuration and every time you do anything move back towards that.

        On a 40 the only changes I can see you should make is to eventually put sealed struts on (HATE that one since it is a huge administrative screw up from on high and isn't needed for safety), make sure you have metal to metal seat belts, add shoulder harnesses (I hate the looks too but just DO IT. A face plant into the instrument panel is NOT good!) Lots of folks can provide plenty of photos showing how easy it is.

        As for anything else anyone has added, I would take it out. Basic panel, basic instruments, no starter and a hand held radio (put in an external antenna as far back as you can if the ignition is un-shielded and inside the fuselage seems to work pretty well). Anything else is just extra weight. Simplificate and add more lightness for the most fun you can have on <4GPH!

        Going back to 1940 is a BLAST. I love to just shut the radio off and fly low so I can smell the fresh cut hay and cow pies.

        Hank

        Oh yea. Schedule some time for YOU or you will never get to fly unless it is RH seat with your wife!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Family Jewel

          The airplane currently has new belts and shoulder harnesses in it, an unmolested big tach instrument panel, and a burried antenna for a hand held (works great). It will get new struts soon. But yes, light and simple is my goal with this airplane. I even removed the wheel pant brackets from the gear legs as I see no need to carry those few ounces around for the time being.

          I have the Rocket for all the moving map, auto pilot, flight management system stuff... This one is a different type of flying.
          Michael Robinson

          1940 BL-65
          2005 Harmon Rocket
          2001 RV-8
          1984 L-39C Albatros
          180 HP Pacer Clone Project

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Family Jewel

            Hi Michael, welcome to the forum!

            I am so glad you were able to do what many have tried and been unable to do, get the family T-Craft, (not T-Cart - too derogatory for the old girls), back.

            Ask lots of questions, but the search box function works great if you want to get many of your questions answered faster. Best of luck and again, welcome!
            Last edited by M Towsley; 05-18-2016, 19:12. Reason: add name
            Cheers,
            Marty


            TF #596
            1946 BC-12D N95258
            Former owner of:
            1946 BC-12D/N95275
            1943 L-2B/N3113S

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Family Jewel

              Be patient and don't worry about asking twice when you don't get a response. Like our planes we were the fastest thing around (for the HP) in the day, but a lot of us are a lot older and slower now.

              Hank

              But even more fun now than back in the day! We take the world a lot less seriously now.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Family Jewel

                Thanks for the warm welcome everyone.

                Just to let everyone know, I'm pretty experienced on the forum circut (and even a moderator on one), so I will wear out the search button before I ask a question. I also recognize that this is "relaxed" environment, so please don't take my enthusiasm for impatience.

                In short, I recognize the value of the aviation community and I appreciate the time you all are going spend passing information on. In return, I will do my best to further the Taylorcraft legacy.

                Thanks everyone.
                Michael Robinson

                1940 BL-65
                2005 Harmon Rocket
                2001 RV-8
                1984 L-39C Albatros
                180 HP Pacer Clone Project

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Family Jewel

                  Great evening to fly last night. Just had to land and snap a quick picture.

                  Michael Robinson

                  1940 BL-65
                  2005 Harmon Rocket
                  2001 RV-8
                  1984 L-39C Albatros
                  180 HP Pacer Clone Project

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The Family Jewel

                    I personally would put on a scott 3200, I ground looped mine twice because of the old hard rubber tail wheels. I had a 3-24b, a 3000 and a maule and I got rid of them all for the 3200 because of failures and difficulties. Tim
                    N29787
                    '41 BC12-65

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Family Jewel

                      I also agree, its a nice looking airplane...Tim
                      N29787
                      '41 BC12-65

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The Family Jewel

                        Funny you bring up the tailwheel thing, as just last night I was thinking to myself how tame this thing is compared to every other taildragger I've flown. My Rocket has a non steerable, free castoring (like a shopping cart) tailwheel and I thought THAT was a pussycat.

                        ...I suppose I'll groundloop the T next flight.
                        Last edited by NC26528; 05-19-2016, 08:58.
                        Michael Robinson

                        1940 BL-65
                        2005 Harmon Rocket
                        2001 RV-8
                        1984 L-39C Albatros
                        180 HP Pacer Clone Project

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The Family Jewel

                          On the two full swiveling, the maule wore out the fork, for the Scott 3-24b, it would break easily on one side and hard on the other, it was the pin that was pushed in by that little spring, I just could not get it to work. The bushwheel copy of the scott 3200 is a good buy also at 1/3 the price if you get a new one. Tim
                          N29787
                          '41 BC12-65

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The Family Jewel

                            Originally posted by astjp2 View Post
                            I personally would put on a scott 3200, I ground looped mine twice because of the old hard rubber tail wheels. I had a 3-24b, a 3000 and a maule and I got rid of them all for the 3200 because of failures and difficulties. Tim
                            Personally I like a Lang, but I'm not much of an off airport guy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The Family Jewel

                              How about these: http://www.apitailwheels.com/products/products.html

                              Some on the J-3 Forum note a 337, others cite CAR 4a with a log entry: http://www.j3-cub.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27154

                              Gary
                              N36007 1941 BF12-65 STC'd as BC12D-4-85

                              Comment

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