Wilbur's Waco Restoration
January 2019 Update:
It was a very busy year with family and friends. Oshkosh was lots of fun. I did get my wood for my wing and aileron spars. I was looking for a hangar to rent to start putting it all together, but the rental market here in Colorado Springs is very tight. Plan B was to partition a plastic sealed work space in my garage to be able to continue putting the wings together. That is done and I have varnished my first set of ribs for the upper left wing.
I now have most of the parts needed to put the upper left wing together, so that is my next step.
October 2017 Update:
Most of the home projects are completed. Time to get going on the Waco. Jeanne and I attended the OX5 Pioneers annual reunion on the 18, 19 and 20th. A great time was had by all. I was voted in as a national governor for the board of the club and look forward to fulfilling the responsibilities of the position. But I must say though, the highlight of the reunion for me was starting and taxing the OX5 powered Waco 10 belonging to Jim, Tim and Russ. I am still smiling. On another note, Steve Hennessy also retired at the end of September. He will have more time for OX5's now.
September 2017 Update:
I have decided that I should keep my followers more up to date on my progress, so I will be publishing monthly updates on the this website. On September 9th I retired from JetBlue. I have a few small projects at home to complete, then I will be able to devote my time to the Waco. I am currently doing the final sanding on the ribs so I can get them varnished. Harold Haver has been helping me finish up the shaping of the spars so the wings can be assembled. Dennis Harbin has fabricated all new metal fittings for the wings and I have almost completed my AN hardware order. Meanwhile, Steve Hennessy has completed disassembly of my OX5 engine I purchased last year. We have some valve guide and seat repairs to do, but otherwise the engine appears to be in good shape.
In June 2009 I attended the National Waco Club 50th fly-in in Mt Vernon, OH. I met with Dennis Harbin who is also restoring a Waco Nine. We decided to team up and share drawings and information to help each other. In August I visited Dennis and we exchanged drawings. I now have as complete a set of drawings for the Waco as there is. I am currently making up a parts list to start construction on the wings. I hope to start rib construction this fall. As for the retrieving the rest of the Anna, that will have to wait till later. In October of this year Steve Hennessy visited me in Colorado Springs and we constructed the jigs for the wing ribs and built a wood steamer for steaming the wood for the ribs. Steve also volunteered to help me on the engine. The engine has been on display at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum since 1988. It will need a complete overhaul before it can be used for flight. I placed an order for the wood to start building the ribs in October. The wood arrived the day before Thanksgiving. It consisted of 1080 lineal feet of 3/8? X 1/4?, 360 feet of 3/8? X 3/8? Sitka Spruce and a 4? by 8? sheet of Mahogany plywood. Al Thomas, my father-in-law helped me build the form blocks for the upper and lower rib cap strips. They will be used to shape the cap strips after the wood is steamed. The steamer is complete The jig boards need the guides installed as well. I have two weeks off in December so I plan to finish at least one rib if possible. There are 60 ribs total in the wings. With the ribs complete I will start on the spars. My garage is starting to look more like a wing construction shop than a garage. Progress seems slow to me but I am moving ahead.