The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Display Pictures of Your Aircraft and Restoration Projects

Moderators: 6643, 6183, V529

Forum rules
You must be a member of the Cessna 120-140 Association in order to post new topics, reply to existing topics, or search for information on this forum. Use the "Join" link in the red menu bar.
Post Reply
User avatar
regular122
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Name: Steve
Aircraft Type: 1948 C140 C90
Occupation-Interests:
Contact:

The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by regular122 »

After getting lots of helpful information here from forum members, I decided to consolidate the info on the repair of my plane into a single thread and also use it as a basis for future discussion when questions arise.

I have had the 1948 aircraft since 2017. At the time I was training to get my pilot's license with the intention of finishing out in the 140. Since it had no dual brakes, I had a terrible time finding an instructor toward that purpose and was advised to finish out in a more common type. It was good advice and that being accomplished, I then looked forward to flying the little Cessna as my primary aircraft and to obtain lots of tail wheel experience to further my goal of flying WWI biplanes.
Cessna_140_3771V_Jan2018.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_Jan2018.jpg (260.71 KiB) Viewed 1848 times
Things were progressing nicely until November 2019 when on my 4th take off and landing from a full stop, I had a complete cowl latch failure, (not a pre-flight issue but an actual structural failure of the latch). The left cowl metal began to lacerate down the middle, perpendicular to the center piano wire hinge, and threaten the canopy and prop. I was able to make an emergency landing on a service road with no major harm to us but did have the cowl damage and clipped the left wingtip on a post.
Cessna_140_3771V_1Nov2019_2.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_1Nov2019_2.jpg (404.23 KiB) Viewed 1848 times
Since there was no major damage to anything or to us, the 'occurrence' caused me no problems with any authorities but did open my eyes to just how little insurance companies regard these old planes. After nearly three months of back and forth, a 'totaling' of the aircraft (which still defies imagination as it was a left wingtip, 12" of leading edge, two nose ribs, and the left cowl as the only damage), and a $5500 buy back, I have embarked since February on getting her back in the air.

But what an opportunity. The aircraft always struck me as kind of ugly. You know, like a '57 Chevy painted with more 'modern' colors rather than letting it be what it is. The more I looked at it, the more I disliked the 1970s era paint scheme. So, knowing I was going to have to paint portions of it anyway and recover the left wing, and really not wanting to repaint an ugly scheme, I explored taking her back to the 1940s. I discovered she had a rich history with Sinclair Aviation. Without the emergency landing, I likely would have never taken on a restoration to bring her back to her service days with Sinclair Aviation in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Here is a link on the research phase of the aircraft:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=872&p=6834#p6834

The exact appearance of the pre-paint era of Sinclair 140s is still unknown to me. The log books show the planes were not painted until 1954 (at least mine) when they metalized the wings. By the interior colors, I have determined mine had red exterior trim on the factory aluminum. I was able to get a fair idea of a representation of how it might look from talking to a former Sinclair pilot who flew during that time.
Cessna140_Paint2.png
Cessna140_Paint2.png (281.45 KiB) Viewed 1848 times
Since then, I have gotten great advice on the cowl, wings, cockpit, brakes, and many other things here on this forum. So, I decided to post some progress pics to record the effort in the hopes it may be helpful to others who are on similar journeys.

My intent is to get the aircraft back in the air this fall. I will post some pics in the following posts of the progress to date.

Steve
Last edited by regular122 on Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
regular122
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Name: Steve
Aircraft Type: 1948 C140 C90
Occupation-Interests:
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by regular122 »

29 February 2020 - The first repair made was to the left cowl. I found an entire 1946 top cowl in good shape at a fair price. The 1946 door will fit, but you have to trim 1/2" from the leading edge. Everything else fits and matches great but the long hinge pins are slightly different. I can live with it.
Cessna_140_3771V_29Feb2020.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_29Feb2020.jpg (359.72 KiB) Viewed 1846 times
5 April 2020 - The next thing was to strip the wings, strip the fabric and fix the left wing tip and leading edge.
Cessna_140_3771V_5Apr2020.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_5Apr2020.jpg (304.07 KiB) Viewed 1846 times
9 April 2020 - Then the tedious part. Stripping the paint. Every square inch. But underneath was an airframe in marvelous shape.
Cessna_140_3771V_9Apr2020.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_9Apr2020.jpg (430.6 KiB) Viewed 1846 times
More to follow....
Last edited by regular122 on Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
regular122
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Name: Steve
Aircraft Type: 1948 C140 C90
Occupation-Interests:
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by regular122 »

24 April 2020 - Working mostly on my day off on Fridays, I slowly begin to see progress.
Cessna_140_3771V_24Apr2020.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_24Apr2020.jpg (437.83 KiB) Viewed 1845 times
29 May 2020 - All but the control surfaces are stripped now. Will remove those and save for when I strip the ailerons and flaps.
Cessna_140_3771V_29May2020.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_29May2020.jpg (412.41 KiB) Viewed 1845 times
13 June 2020 - Brake time. Found a complete original dual brake assembly for only $130.00! With the help of the great folks here, who patiently answered my dumb questions, I was able to make the upgrade.
Cessna_140_3771V_13Jun2020.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_13Jun2020.jpg (341.94 KiB) Viewed 1845 times
You can visit my dumb brake questions and more pics of that here:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1067

More to follow....
Last edited by regular122 on Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
regular122
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Name: Steve
Aircraft Type: 1948 C140 C90
Occupation-Interests:
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by regular122 »

3 Jul 2020 - Time for another phase of work. We successfully moved the plane to be buffed out in natural aluminum and painted with the red trim. Got to love that our first short stop to check the load was at a Sinclair gas station! That was unplanned but very appropriate.
Cessna_140_3771V_3Jul2020.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_3Jul2020.jpg (427.5 KiB) Viewed 1844 times
Cessna_140_3771V_3Jul2020b.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_3Jul2020b.jpg (424.32 KiB) Viewed 1844 times
Cessna_140_3771V_3Jul2020c.jpg
Cessna_140_3771V_3Jul2020c.jpg (363.52 KiB) Viewed 1844 times
What's next - The wings! Time to study up on fabric covering. And I hope to do some cockpit work as well to bring it back to the original interior colors of gray and chocolate brown. At least that is what they look like to me. Lorraine Morris has been very helpful in helping me research that. While my goal is to restore the original look, I am not looking to win any awards. I want to get the plane flying again soon. Removing all the cables and instruments for me right now would be a major set back, as everything still works. So we will do some touch up inside to improve the appearance. After all, I am trying to restore it back to look like a working Sinclair oilfield pipeline patrol plane. To me it is OK if it is not showroom new.

Some questions - I am looking at Stitt's Polyfiber system for the coverings. Although the Right Wing is OK, I want to do both wings as they will be painted silver and I want them to weigh the same and have the same time clock when covered.

Is there a material list for a Cessna 140 with Stitt's?

Any tips, pitfalls, advice on the wing covering?

Thanks for any advice as I move forward. Hope you have enjoyed the thread.

Steve
8424
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:43 am
Location: OK74
Name: Steve A H
Aircraft Type: 1950 C140A
Occupation-Interests: Retired
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by 8424 »

Hi Steve.

You are on your way to a really neat plane.
What stripper did you use to remove the paint? I can't find a stripper that works any more. None have the ingredient (Methylene Chloride) that kills brain cells but really makes strippers work any more! I have to strip and repaint all my "new" tail parts.

Thanks.

Steve A H
8342
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:55 pm
Location: KUSE Wauseon OH
Name: Rick F
Aircraft Type: C-140
Occupation-Interests: Captain B-777
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by 8342 »

As far as covering systems, I recommend the Stewart system.

The main reason being there are no noxious fumes to deal with.

It is a water born application process that is very easy to learn.

You can get a DVD from Stewart or go on line and look at the U tube videos and learn about it.

I just recovered my wings and they turned out really nice.

I also replaced the clips with Pop rivets. Very fast to complete it using them.

Good luck,

Rick
User avatar
regular122
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Name: Steve
Aircraft Type: 1948 C140 C90
Occupation-Interests:
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by regular122 »

8424 wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:32 am Hi Steve.

You are on your way to a really neat plane.
What stripper did you use to remove the paint? I can't find a stripper that works any more. None have the ingredient (Methylene Chloride) that kills brain cells but really makes strippers work any more! I have to strip and repaint all my "new" tail parts.

Thanks.

Steve A H
I used a Jasco product. Ordered it a couple of weeks after the emergency landing so I guess I beat the EPA mandate. It took about 6 quarts to strip the entire fuselage. And LOTS of scraping. Steve
Jasco_Premium_Paint_Remover_Old.jpg
Jasco_Premium_Paint_Remover_Old.jpg (428.86 KiB) Viewed 1833 times
User avatar
regular122
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Name: Steve
Aircraft Type: 1948 C140 C90
Occupation-Interests:
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by regular122 »

8342 wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:12 am As far as covering systems, I recommend the Stewart system.

The main reason being there are no noxious fumes to deal with.

It is a water born application process that is very easy to learn.

You can get a DVD from Stewart or go on line and look at the U tube videos and learn about it.

I just recovered my wings and they turned out really nice.

I also replaced the clips with Pop rivets. Very fast to complete it using them.

Good luck,

Rick
I have heard of the Stewarts system but have not checked it out. I will. Any ballpark of cost for two wings? Steve
User avatar
6643
Posts: 1474
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 7:00 am
Location: KLCI
Name: John C
Aircraft Type: 1946 C140/C90
Occupation-Interests: A&P, semi-retired
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by 6643 »

There used to be an outfit called Aircraft Technical Services in Orient, OH. They were the go-to folks for covering supplies and information. They used to run EAA training seminars using the Stits process. There are still phone listings around for them, but I understand that Preferred Airparts has acquired the business. I've never used the Stewart system but we are using it now at the A&P school and my associate who teaches that class is impressed by it.
User avatar
regular122
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Name: Steve
Aircraft Type: 1948 C140 C90
Occupation-Interests:
Contact:

Re: The Rebirth of Cessna 140 NC3771V

Post by regular122 »

Thanks John. Nice to know so many folks like the Stewarts system. I sent them a query on materials list. Steve
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests