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Fisher FP-404 Biplane restoration

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Project by MalcolmLaurel posted 11-22-2014 10:50 PM 4225 views 4 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted here, or even done any woodworking in the classic sense, because I’ve been so busy with my latest project. I am not the original builder of this airplane, but I’ve spent the past six months working to restore it to flying condition, and it is made of wood, so I thought it might be of interest…

I purchased the plane last Spring from a friend who owned it for about two years, but never flew it. It appeared in good condition (and was, for the most part), but like any vehicle that hasn’t been used in 10 years, it needed some attention, and as it turned out, quite a bit more than I expected. Such is life. Some of it was the usual stuff, new fuel lines, new tires, replacing nuts and bolts, general cleaning, etc., but it also needed some woodwork.

The two pictures showing it uncovered were taken by the original builder (it was built in 1991 from a kit). The entire structure is wood, mostly Sitka Spruce and aircraft plywood, glued together with T-88 (in the original construction) or West System (for my repairs) epoxy, in most cases reinforced with microfiber filler (flox). Quite the intricate geodetic structure! Very light but quite strong. The engine is a 40HP two cylinder Mosler, which is essentially half of a VW Beetle engine.

The picture of it assembled (minus the engine cowling and upper wing center section cover) is from a few months ago when I first assembled it in my front yard.

Initially, I had to do some minor wood repairs, mostly “hangar rash” from when it was in storage, and this combined with the other small repairs took most of 5 months of evening work (weekends I’m at my cabin). But then when it was almost ready to fly, we found some more serious issues in the lower wing trailing edge, which I later learned is a relatively common problem with this and similar designs. The last last photo shows reinforcements being glued into the wing to reinforce it. Also, mice had gotten inside the wings and chewed through the rib lacing cord, which secures the covering fabric to the wing ribs. I had to redo all the rib lacing on the lower wing, then glue fabric patches over all the new stitches, and paint to match. Fortunately I got cans of the original paint with the plane, which miraculously was still good after 23 years, but this all took another month.

I finished the final painting two days ago, mounted the wings back on the plane this morning with the help of a friend, and the inspector pronounced it fit to fly today. Too cold and windy to fly today, though, but tomorrow’s forecast looks good!

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com





34 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7481 posts in 1470 days


#1 posted 11-22-2014 11:09 PM

Good googly moogly … that thing is… WAY COOL!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Rick's profile

Rick

8287 posts in 2496 days


#2 posted 11-22-2014 11:37 PM

Is this a “Manned” aircraft or a 3/4 Scale RC Plane? Whichever. You did a Beautiful job on it.

I used to do a lot of Model Aircraft building but all U-Control usually “Full Scale” or Aerobatics’.

Last one was a P-38 Lightning, Scale. with 2 .35 Fox Engines. Took 2 months to build. First time out the Control Line Jammed. WHAM! Straight in! (Asphalt) Totaled! Wasn’t worth trying to rebuild so I went to a Corsair (Pappy Boyington) Flew like a dream.

That was MANY years ago. Always had a hankering to get back in. But! ....... Maybe. One of these days. Probably RC.

Check this Bi-Plane out! 1000cc Talk about playing with Fire and Incredible Control! HERE:

-- Hope Everyone Is Doing Well! .... Best Regards: Rick

View prez's profile

prez

375 posts in 2874 days


#3 posted 11-23-2014 02:11 AM

From one pilot to another….......happy and safe flighing!!

Prez

-- George..." I love the smell of a workshop in the morning!"

View MalcolmLaurel's profile

MalcolmLaurel

269 posts in 1086 days


#4 posted 11-23-2014 02:26 AM



Is this a “Manned” aircraft or a 3/4 Scale RC Plane? Whichever. You did a Beautiful job on it.

I used to do a lot of Model Aircraft building but all U-Control usually “Full Scale” or Aerobatics .

This is the real thing… I’ll be sitting my butt in it tomorrow. The “beautiful job” is the original builder’s; I just put it back into flying condition. I did lots of U/C flying back in the day too, wouldn’t mind building an old style Ringmaster or something like that one of these days. I think my favorite back then was the Jr. Nobler with a Fox .15. I still have a shop full of R/C models (mine and my Dad’s which I inherited when he passed away a few years back) but I haven’t flown any of them in quite a few years.

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13470 posts in 1320 days


#5 posted 11-23-2014 02:26 AM

Wow, that’s a heck of a project. Pretty cool.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

2327 posts in 1890 days


#6 posted 11-23-2014 02:35 AM

I wish you many hours of flying through sky, wind beneath your wings, and your spirits high.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Flipper01's profile

Flipper01

39 posts in 767 days


#7 posted 11-23-2014 02:43 AM

OUTSTANDING! Fair weather and mild headwinds to you tomorrow from one long-time pilot to another. I built and flew a Cavalier in the ‘80s and what a hoot; much different than our metal tube/wood spar Pitts today but what the heck. I just recently found this site and it’s great to see other pilots here. Hobby woodworkers are a small group but hobby woodworking pilots are even smaller. Fly safe and best of luck tomorrow!

View hunter71's profile

hunter71

2731 posts in 2650 days


#8 posted 11-23-2014 03:25 AM

Fine looking aircraft. Should be fun to fly. I am envious.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View hoss12992's profile

hoss12992

3831 posts in 1356 days


#9 posted 11-23-2014 04:53 AM

That is awesome

-- The Old Rednek Workshop https://www.facebook.com/theoldrednekworkshoptn

View SuperCubber's profile

SuperCubber

868 posts in 1748 days


#10 posted 11-23-2014 04:55 AM

Gorgeous airplane! Another pilot here. Good luck with it!

Joe

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

2667 posts in 2647 days


#11 posted 11-23-2014 05:26 AM

That’s the first time I’ve seen a freaking airplane on here. Crazy the wide array of things that can be made from wood. Please post a picture/video if it in flight!

-- Allen, Colorado

View Rick's profile

Rick

8287 posts in 2496 days


#12 posted 11-23-2014 06:12 AM

Malcolm:

Hope you have a Great Flight!

”I did lots of U/C flying back in the day too, wouldn’t mind building an old style Ringmaster or something like that one of these days.”

The Ringmaster was the same one I basically started to learn Stunt Flying on with a McCoy .29 Redhead. (As Below) I flew a lot of different ones after that but the Ringmaster was always my Favorite.

Also a few “Flying Wings” with a .35 on them for Combat. That was just plain NUTS!! ...LOL..

Rick

-- Hope Everyone Is Doing Well! .... Best Regards: Rick

View NormG's profile

NormG

5506 posts in 2467 days


#13 posted 11-23-2014 06:39 AM

THIS ONE RESTORATION YOU DO NOT SEE EVERYDAY. Wow, great job.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View mudflap4869's profile

mudflap4869

1155 posts in 922 days


#14 posted 11-23-2014 06:58 AM

Isn’t wood amazing? The things one can accomplish with it are limited only by the imagination.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

2893 posts in 2484 days


#15 posted 11-23-2014 07:44 AM

Great job….sure is a step away from your other woodwork.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

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