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John Beech
Grand Master
Username: jbeech

Post Number: 405
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Sunday, 25 June, 2017 - 10:53 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

The other day I mentioned to a friend my interest in buying a fuselage from Cessna or Piper to put in the yard for my grandsons to play in. I'm thinking it would easily be as good as a fort or tree house, and maybe better. Anyway, not a week later my pal sends me a link to an auction site with this. It's a Jet Ranger 206 fuselage being offered by the Charlotte County Sheriff Department (Charlotte County, FL is about 250 miles away). It was being auctioned off as surplus to their needs and had been largely stripped of useful parts. Anyway, to me it looked perfect for my purpose, which is to infect my grandsons with an interest in aviation. Thus, I registered to bid and won the auction.
Jet Ranger at auction


Yesterday, Lynn and I drove to Sarasota where Keith, one of my partners in crime, lives. Keith by the way, is the fellow who accompanied me to retrieve Tootsie when I purchased her at Amelia Island, GA. Anyway, we immediately realized the landing gear's track was too wide for the trailer so using their forklift, following disassembly, we inverted it within the trailer's bed. Next we lowered and secured the fuselage for transport.
Loaded and secured for travel.


By then it's late so after overnighting at Keith's home we ate breakfast and left for home arriving in the early afternoon none the worse for wear. Towing this things was fun, too because people would zoom up and pause to take pictures. Some tried to flag us down (presumably to talk). And at the one fuel stop we thought we'd never get away from the many questions!
Arriving home


Unloading was surprisingly easy. It was just a matter of tilting the trailer, tying off the load, putting the truck in drive, and easing the trailer forward and out from beneath the load. Just like that the fuselage and landing gear was on the apron and I had my prize home. The whole thing went off without a hitch!
On the apron ready for what comes next!


Anyway, the initial plan is to pick it up with the forklift, invert the landing gear, set it back in place and reassemble it. Next, I need to scrounge around for unserviceable instruments with which to populate the panel (as an aid to the youngster's imagination), then drag it beneath a large old oak tree (for the shade, of course) and turn them loose. Now for the hard part; waiting to see the look on their faces when they arrive in two weeks and see this thing!
--
John, who is generally loving the whole grandpa experience :>)
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Omar M. Shams
Grand Master
Username: omar

Post Number: 1225
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Sunday, 25 June, 2017 - 04:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Dear John,
I love the idea.
About 10 years ago I had the opportunity to buy the fuselage of a Boeing 707 that was stranded in Dubai airport after engine issues forced the owners to scrap the plane. The fuselage was being sold for scrap.I wanted to buy the front section up to "as long as permissible" to transport it on the back of a truck to my house. Then it was going to live on top of my garage and be converted to an apartment for my son.
My son was 10 at the time and loved the idea.
Sadly my neighbour and my wife didnt like the idea and it never happened. The whole cockpit was in tact.
I am still writhing about the whole thing.

Omar
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Graham Watson
Frequent User
Username: graham508

Post Number: 53
Registered: 3-2016
Posted on Sunday, 25 June, 2017 - 09:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

That is fantastic they will go nuts!!!
A small battery to power up some lights would be cool as well.
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John Beech
Grand Master
Username: jbeech

Post Number: 408
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2017 - 07:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Lights would be good. I'm also thinking of a small motor with an eccentric wheel to make the whole thing vibrate and make noise. A pal suggests hoisting it into one of the oaks to simulate the crashed in a jungle scenario. Anyway, right now I am scrounging for old instruments. The boys arrive in two weeks and while Matty is still a bit young, Caleb will indeed go nuts because although he's not quite 4 y/o he routinely asks about his the Fisher Price playhouse I put just outside his bedroom window. I actually have to walk over to the window and show it to him (on the iPhone with Facetime). Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to their arrival.
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Robert Noel Reddington
Grand Master
Username: bob_uk

Post Number: 1466
Registered: 5-2015
Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2017 - 09:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Strobes that simulate the rotors going round.
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ross kowalski
Grand Master
Username: cdfpw

Post Number: 466
Registered: 11-2015
Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2017 - 10:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Going for the best grandfather ever award?
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 1589
Registered: 4-2016
Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2017 - 10:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

That's fantastic John.
The kids will love it.
Can't wait to see it finished.

Omar,
Oh man, I wish you had pulled that one off!!!
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Omar M. Shams
Grand Master
Username: omar

Post Number: 1226
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Monday, 26 June, 2017 - 10:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Dear Patrick,
We still have many laughs and discussions and arguments about the 707. Best part is that the 707 is a collectors item and there would never have been another neighbour for miles with one of those on his garage. The wife just didnt want it!!!!
Then a year or so after that a PIA Airbus had a rough landing in Dubai International Airport and this plane also had to be scrapped (landed with no nose gear). They called me again - but this time I said no. An airbus is like a Camry but a 707...... well that was something else..... only thing to top the 707 for me would have been a VC10.
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 1590
Registered: 4-2016
Posted on Tuesday, 27 June, 2017 - 07:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Omar,

A man after my own heart.

I have a saying here at work when we travel.

"If it aint Boeing, I aint going!"

What do you mean no one for miles would have one in their garage, I'm thinking in the world mate.

An Airbus in your garden would be the same as having weeds growing, no one wants THAT!!

The Vickers VC10 was a beautiful aircraft, I love the fuselage mounted jet nacelles at the rear.

Only the Lockheed Connie rates higher in my book mate.
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 2590
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Tuesday, 27 June, 2017 - 09:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

The Douglas DC3 for me as I had my first plane ride from Lismore to Sydney in one in 1954 as a 6 year old.

I have never forgotten my mother freaking out when an oil leak from one of the engines began during the flight and spread over the top of the wing. She was certain we were all doomed having been told many stories of aircraft crashes by my uncle [her brother] who was an aircraft mechanic stationed in Darwin during WW2. He survived the Japanese raids in 1942 despite being badly burned whilst trying to rescue the pilot of a plane shot up by the Japanese when trying to take off during the first raid in 1942.

The DC3 was a tough "old bird" that could sustain huge amounts of damage and still keep flying.
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 1593
Registered: 4-2016
Posted on Tuesday, 27 June, 2017 - 07:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Another beautiful aircraft David.
Thankfully we can still enjoy DC 3's I highly recommend it.
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Omar M. Shams
Grand Master
Username: omar

Post Number: 1232
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Wednesday, 28 June, 2017 - 05:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

luckily for me I am old enough to have flown a commercial DC-3 in the late 60s. lovely planes...... real classic lines and such a pleasure to look at. I love the looks of the VC10 and of course the DC-3.

The DC-3 was replaced with what was a modern upgrade.... wiat for it.... a Fokker Friendship. nobody liked to fly them as much as the old girls (DC-3s). They also had a "not so nice name". Sounded too much like.......................................................................................................................
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John Beech
Grand Master
Username: jbeech

Post Number: 419
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Saturday, 29 July, 2017 - 01:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

A brief update from when he first catches sight of it, through mating the landing gear and fuselage, and as Caleb climbs up for the very first time . . . and I'll admit to worrying a little bit regarding whether he could manage to climb in and out, but he did just fine. As for Matty, he won't be ready for another year.


First time to catch sight of it
- First time to catch sight of it

First crawl through
- First crawl through

Delivery inspection
- Delivery inspection

Don't these belong together?
- Don't these belong together?

Mating 1
- Mating 1

Mating 2
- Mating 2

Mating 3
- Mating 3

Mating 4
- Mating 4

All smiles!
- All smiles!

Climbing up to explore and play
- Climbing up to explore and play

. . . meanwhile, I just received a box full of old instruments and radios from a friend. Also, yesterday we got a call from the Sheriff (from whom I purchased it) to say they had the doors and inquiring if I wanted to come pick them up. Any guesses where I'm heading next week?

Anyway, at present I thinking of installing a ceiling fan to simulate main rotor blades. The idea is to invert a bucket over the motor and let the shaft protrude to protect against water intrusion. Then by cutting the fan blades down to a few inches in length and using each as a mount for a stick of 3/4" PVC tubing, the idea is to slip a piece 3" diameter foam pool noodle over each to complete what I suspect will be a rather (and safe-ish) illusion of real rotor blades.

More as it develops!
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Patrick Lockyer.
Grand Master
Username: pat_lockyer

Post Number: 1442
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Saturday, 29 July, 2017 - 04:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

What a cracking idea for your grandsons, will be etched in there memory for life.
With doors, that will make it cosy in all weathers.
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Omar M. Shams
Grand Master
Username: omar

Post Number: 1265
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Saturday, 29 July, 2017 - 05:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

this is the kinda thing that dreams are made of........ fantastic John....
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richard george yeaman
Grand Master
Username: richyrich

Post Number: 775
Registered: 4-2012
Posted on Saturday, 29 July, 2017 - 07:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

John the smile on your face says it all!!! your Grandchildren are fortunate to have you on their side.

Richard.
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ross kowalski
Grand Master
Username: cdfpw

Post Number: 502
Registered: 11-2015
Posted on Sunday, 30 July, 2017 - 01:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

John,

Looks like it will be a big hit. Also, if you use a Big Ass Fan as the rotor, it might actually fly!
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 1631
Registered: 4-2016
Posted on Sunday, 30 July, 2017 - 07:05 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Yep
Great work there John.
Looks amazing.

Our local hardware shops stock "big ass fans" Ross might be correct there
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Mark Luft
Frequent User
Username: bentleyman1993

Post Number: 91
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Tuesday, 01 August, 2017 - 01:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I can't tell who is smiling more, John or Caleb. Wonderful, John. Truly Grandpa of the year!
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John Beech
Grand Master
Username: jbeech

Post Number: 421
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Wednesday, 02 August, 2017 - 12:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Latest news. I'm just back from the trip to retrieve the doors. Left Sunday afternoon in Niki's Chrysler minivan and spent the night at a pal's house south of Tampa. Early Monday morning he and I headed an hour and a half south to Port Charlotte where we were met by two Sheriff pilots (the one with whom I liaised). Basically, upon seeing the photos of Caleb at play they had called to say that while clearing out the hanger their mechanic had come across the doors. Any connection to the pictures? I suspect so!


Doors fit nicely!
-- The doors fit very nicely!


Speaking of the doors, you wouldn't believe how little they weigh - a few pounds each! Also, as it turned out, they also had the upper deck cowl (the one surrounding the swashplate and the engine). Plus upon seeing more photos of Caleb crawling about within the fuselage, they suddenly unearthed the four seat bases (the upper backrests are just pieces of upholstered foam attached to the bulkhead - weight is at a premium in all things that fly but especially helicopters). And best of all, a joystick, too.


Seat bases don't weigh a pound each!
-- Seat bases don't weigh a pound each!


Anyway, the van is now unloaded (as fate would have it, Tropical Storm Emily was making landfall Monday morning as we were loading up). Yes, it made landfall dead center on where we were! So after leaving, I did little but down long enough to boot Keith out at his place, and set off with 'very' strong winds (and frog-strangling rainfall). Along the way I encountered the usual assortment of assholes driving with their flashers on (because of the rain). This is against the law (imagine a whole line of cars with un-synced flashers in a blinding rainstorm), and worse, these self-same assholes usually occupied the hammer lane - argh. This, naturally enough, led me to wonder why there isn't more gun violence on our roads, but I digress. Note, along the way I counted 13 cars (most with their yellow lamps still flashing) stranded in ditches - likely due to being nerfed off the road by drivers enraged at them squatting in the go fast lane - but who knows for sure?

In any case, I've cheated death once again and made a safe return (and am very pleased with the haul of goodies). Today was gorgeous (it always is after a hurricane or tropical thunderstorm) and while we received 4.5" of rain at home, because FL is made of nothing but grass covered sand, it was dry as a bone, already! Lastly, I've trial fit the doors and seat bases (but not the upper deck cowling) but quite frankly, because of the stress of the drive (it was an exhausting trip), I knocked off early today. More as it develops.
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 1636
Registered: 4-2016
Posted on Wednesday, 02 August, 2017 - 01:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

What a great find by the boys John, you will need to go back & buy them all a beer.

Glad you made it home ok.

Looking forward to your next instalment after you have a nap
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Graham Watson
Frequent User
Username: graham508

Post Number: 58
Registered: 3-2016
Posted on Tuesday, 08 August, 2017 - 06:46 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi John,
It is really coming along. what a great find to get the doors and other parts.
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Mark Luft
Prolific User
Username: bentleyman1993

Post Number: 132
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Friday, 10 November, 2017 - 01:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

John, I was wondering how your project was coming along. Did you and the helo survive Irma?
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Alex Peterson
New User
Username: alex_peterson

Post Number: 3
Registered: 2-2017
Posted on Friday, 10 November, 2017 - 12:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hello to all, Loved the story re John's Helo & thought you might like to see my neighbour's website. Connie often flies overhead.
https://hars.org.au/lockheed-c-121c-super-constellation/
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Mark Luft
Prolific User
Username: bentleyman1993

Post Number: 135
Registered: 10-2016
Posted on Saturday, 11 November, 2017 - 03:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thanks Alex, great article. I'm glad they keep her flying.

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