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Larry Volz

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Larry Volz's FG

On a recent trip to Hawaii I had the opportunity to visit Larry Volz and see his recently acquired '76 FG. It is unique in several ways: it has a few gadgets that most of us don't, they are put together in a particularly nice way, and there is the story of the ferry flight over to Hawaii. Here are a few pictures and observations from my flight in his airplane.

Larry has owned this airplane since March '98, having purchased it from an owner in Baltimore. He did not see the airplane before it was ferried over. Imagine how pleased he must have been to see what a nice bird he had purchased with his own eyes!

At first glance it seems like a normal panel. But look a little closer. for one thing, that's an HSI in the center of the panel, and an Stec 60-2 autopilot in the stack. And what's that over the glove box?

Let's work though these details one by one.

And as we do, I'll weave in a little bit of the story of Larry's airplane and how it came to join him on the Hawaii Islands.

Larry is originally from Alaska, where aviation is much more a way of life than here in the lower 48. He had owned a 150F and a 1974 Supercub, and thought the 210 was the most sexy plane going, but couldn't afford it.

While looking for a 172 he came across this 177 on line and made the deal. The seller had been in Hilo, where Larry is now, during 1944 as a Marine.. fitting, somehow.

Larry had two people do prepurchase inspections on his airplane before he signed the check, and of course he heard from the fuel tank people and the ferry pilot before the airplane came over. All had the same comment: "This is a clean airplane!" But he was surprised to have the airplane arrive with bad paint on top of the wing without anyone mentioning that detail to him.

The first thing I noticed was that it's not a standard yoke. I'm not sure where this yoke came from, but I'm hoping Larry can check into it's origion in his log book. So far he has found no reference.

The reason for the yoke is two-fold, both having to do with the autopilot.

The first is that this autopilot includes electric trim, at least it does in every 60-2 installation I've seen. Since the stock Cardinal yoke does not have provisions for an electric trim actuator something needs to be done.

Autopilots also require a disconnect of some sort. Although I'm not sure this is true of all autopilots or only those with direct trim control, there needs to be a quick disconnect that falls quickly to hand. It may not need to be on the yoke, but it needs to be pretty close.

Back to the story, Larry had a ferry flight firm in Oakland Ca remove the rear and right seats and install auxilary fuel tanks. In all they added 200 gallons in two new tanks, along with an HF radio and other overwater gear. The final weight was 3250 pounds. They are allowed to go 30% over gross on the FG, evidently less on the RG.

When the airplane was filled with fuel the most critical question was whether the landing gear would flex enough to warp or wrinkle the landing gear fairings. They watched closely while fueling and all looked well.

As can be seen in this picture, this yoke does a nice job of adding both of those elements in a yoke that's subtle, not too far from stock.

One curious detail is that the push-to-talk button is on the thumb rather than the forefinger. Come to think of it, most smaller Cessna's are on the thumb on top of the yoke, so perhaps my airplane is the odd one!

Back to the ferry flight; The ferry company is owned by a pilot with Southwest airlines who does this on the side, he's done over 100 crossings so far. They try to fly in pairs or groups, the Cardinal came over in the company of a Twin Otter.

They waited until the winds were favorable before setting out from Oakland to Hawaii. With an 18 knot tailwind promised by Flight Service they launched.

The ferry pilot said he used 7000 feet of runway, turned out over the bay and just cleared the golden gate bridge. 15.5 hours later he arrived in Hawaii, having burned 10.96 gallons per hour on average for the flight.

They had also added the ability to add oil in flight by installing a mechanical wobble pump and plumbing it into an oil return line (from one of the rocker covers.) They added one quart every 5 hours, based on the results of a flight from Washington down to Oakland.

Larry says he's getting much better consumption that that now, and wonders if the higher consumption rate noted might have been the result of the slow oil drain-back rate that we've been discussing on the email digest.

The result of this higher-than-needed oil addition was that when the airplane arrived it had over 8 1/2 quarts in the sump.

Staying on the left side of the panel, we find a Carb temp indicator. The theory here is that a carb within a certain temperature range is likely to get carb ice. This little gadget monitors that and lets Larry know if he's in danger.

It's not clear whether Larry gets much cold weather in Hawaii, but he has plenty of opportunity to fly over water. Perhaps this instrument also helps with 'automatic rough.' :-)

There is also a flight director hidden inside that AI, it erects when selected and provides expert suggestions on pointing the airplane.

There are a couple of interesting navaids in the panel to complement the HSI. The top instrument (shown here on the right) appears to be a Narco Nav-121, a nice way to get backup ILS into a single hole. It's big brother, the Nav-122, also includes the marker beacon. This saves on stack space (since the receiver is built in.)

The lower instrument (here on the left) is something right out of your instrument written: an RMI. The double needle is driven by the ADF, the single needle by #1 nav, and the compass card is driven by the same flux gate that runs the HSI. Larry says this is instrument is a familiar old friend, as he's old enough to remember range approaches.

Although ranges approaches lasted a little longer in Alaska that they did in the lower 48... :-)

Here is control for the the flux gate that keeps the HSI and RMI pointed in the right direction. It's a familiar instrument but I can't say I've seen one of these in a Cardinal yet.. and it proves he has the upscale HSI (with a bootstrap.)

The device to the right of it is a little more of a puzzle. OK, it's a clock, but who makes this one? I asked Larry what kind of car it came out of.. but of course it's installation predates Larry, so he doesn't know. His log book only says 'installed Ford clock.'

The lower console provides more items of interest. A voltmeter with a remote ammeter lives in an angled bracket that's taken the place of the ashtray, along with the David Clark Isocom intercom.

This is a much better use of the ashtray than Cessna had in mind, but I do wonder where he keeps his spare light bulbs and allen wrenches. Perhaps FG owners, lacking gear indicator lights, don't get religious about carrying extra light bulbs. :-)

Speaking of the intercom, Larry has an interesting panel just behind his speaker in the overhead console which contains both the headphone jacks and an outlet for 12 volt power. This power is used to drive a spotlight that's also mounted on the overhead, and can be seen in this image.

Tucked over in the corner of the circuit breaker panel is this little jewel, a standby avionics master switch. It's a simple backup of the main avionics switch, and I like the idea of the guarded switch.

The right side also contained this mystery item: obviously a level from somewhere, perhaps an old aircraft panel of some vintage. Larry remembers them as being called an "inclinometer."

The theory seems to be that this is such an important item that either it deserves a backup (for when that darn primary ball fails!) or the original owner got tired of the right seat pilot flying in a slip all the time. :-)

Actually, it goes well with his backup AH and DG already on the right side (gotta put the old one somewhere when you buy an HSI!)

Speaking of mysteries, there is this little item tucked up under the windshield. It probably has something to do with the alt-alert device that's installed next to the 60-2 control head. Curiously I didn't get a picture of that critter.

Larry tells the story of the ferry pilot who brought the airplane over from Oakland. He mentioned that that autopilot 'sure was a good one' to which Larry asked him if he knew that the ferry permit expressly forbade use of the autopilot. No ramp checks out over the Pacific, I guess.

Moving to the outside of the airplane, this airplane is the only one I've ever seen with bolts holding the steel stab brackets on the airplane. That would make the hole alignment easier, since you would be drilling much larger holes for the bolts than for the more traditional rivets.

I don't think bolts like that are the recommended method of attachment, I think rivets or highlocs are suggested. Hard to argue with all that mass, though. I wonder what kind of nuts are on the back side, inside the spar?

This picture does show you how much you can see just looking in the tailcone.

Larry saw me taking pictures of his brackets and mentioned how glad he was that he'd taken the time to paint the trim rod. He also coated the brackets in LPS3, a good idea in an area where salt water is a possibility.

Just to prove that Larry really does have this airplane with him all the way over in Paradise, here is a picture of the 'Poo', the top of the active volcano that's dumping lava into the sea even as we speak, framed over Larry's glareshield. We had a nice ride with him, and it was interesting to see his well-assembled collection of interesting airplane parts.

Not only that, it is a very clean airplane. Larry's present goals include finding a paint shop in Hawaii, and pondering just what to do about the advancing age of his engine.

Thanks for the tour of your airplane, Larry (and the volcano!) and best of luck on your projects!

Keith Peterson,
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