The Completed Piper Cherokee

Hawk's piper Cherokee's return home the Mack Mesa 10CO

After nearly two months of construction and nearly two months of painting HAWK’s Piper Cherokee has returned to service.

During the construction, the plane was jacked up and the gear removed to replace a wing skin. Also during that time all of the fiberglass was removed and repaired. Thank you to Don Coleman for donating a powerflow exhaust system for HAWK’s Cherokee. A new cowl was made, and the power flow exhaust system installed. These updates allowed the plane to be sent to West Star Aviation for paint.

The Cherokee before its flight to West Star Aviation
The Cherokee before its flight to West Star Aviation.

At West Star Aviation the plane was taken apart and stripped of its paint. During this time a set of micro VG’s courtesy of Annie Brogan with Micro AeroDynamics were installed.

Micro VG's were installed on Hawk's Piper Cherokee. Thank you to Micro VG for donating a full set of micro VG's for HAWK's Piper Cherokee.
Micro VG’s were installed on Hawk’s Piper Cherokee.
Thank you to Micro VG for donating a full set of micro VG’s for HAWK’s Piper Cherokee.

The Cherokee was then primed painted and buffed. West Star Avation donated new screws and hardware to reassemble HAWK’s Piper. This donation is in addition to primer, paint and masking/buffing materials. There are far to many names to mention but HAWK would like to thank each and every person involved in the Cherokee project at West Star Aviation.

Braden with the completed Piper

Sterling Hurst flew the Cherokee back to Mack Mesa just in time for the EAA 800 meeting where everyone admired the brand new 1967 Piper Cherokee.

Herman Allmaras, the Cherokee’s original donor, was given the first official ride in the Cherokee.

Herman and his wife Jean with the Cherokee

Cherokee Paint Job, The Painting Weeks

HAWK's show stopping Cherokee is nearing completion.
The Cherokee with it's first coat of paint.
The Cherokee with it’s first coat of paint.

Weeks 2 – 5 were filled with priming and painting the aircraft with its new design during week 2 the aircraft was first given a coat of aircraft green primer and then after lunch two coats of Matterhorn White were applied.


In the final masking 
 stage, the N numbers were masked and painted blue with a grey shadow.
In the final masking stage, the N numbers were masked and painted blue with a grey shadow.

Throughout week’s 3 and 4 West Star Aviation masked and painted the aircraft with its new blue and grey paint design and a small chrome yellow stripe.

Our Cherokee before and after buffing.
Our Cherokee before and after buffing.

Week 4 was a busy week for week for HAWK members Braden and Jaden, it was during this week that that the Cherokee was buffed and cleaned so that final touch up could be made to the paint.

At the end of week 4 it is clear that HAWK's Cherokee will be a show stopper.
At the end of week 4 it is clear that HAWK’s Cherokee will be a show stopper.

During the next week the Cherokee will be put back together and returned to service.

Cherokee Paint Job Week 1

Prepping for paint on Piper Cherokee.
HAWK's Cherokee being prepped for paint.
HAWK’s Cherokee being prepped for paint.

Early in the week prep work began on Hawks Piper Cherokee. West Star Aviation stripped the aircraft of its original paint and disassembled it for painting. Later in the week all of the composite pieces for the aircraft were primed and made ready for painting.

West Star Aviation's paint hanger can service aircraft up to a 100 foot wing span.
West Star Aviation’s paint hanger can service aircraft up to a 100 foot wing span.

On Saturday Braden and Jaden went to West Star Aviation and helped them strip what was left painted on the airplane.

Going to Oshkosh

EAA 800 and HAWK are going to have a quick meeting. Then we are going to have a special lunch for our sponsors and supporters so they can see the airplanes off to Oshkosh.

Don is leaving the 19th Sterling and the Cherokee will follow later depending on weather. Ladd will also be going sometime during the week as he is flying his Carbon Cub in the Valdez show. It is really nice to have an airport in our area, MACK MESA AIRPORT (10CO), that is GA aviation friendly. MACK has the best Grass strip between the Utah state line and 11 road plus a really good asphalt strip. Come join us for the sendoff. The meeting is also going to be the meeting to go over check lists and make sure we have everything needed.

The kids cleaned the hanger and now we are starting the next build, the Zenith 701. I cannot even express the admiration I have for the kids work on the Dakota Hawk N280DH. They have learned a lot. We originally had 8 of our kids going to Oshkosh, but this number has swelled to 12 excited kids. I don’t think they expected to have an airplane, they helped rebuild, going to a large show. This weekend is the County Fair so several of our kids will not be present at the lunch as they are showing their Fair projects for judging. As in the past it seems farm kids still have a love of aviation.

For our Sponsors – Supporters be sure to come by the Teen Build Fly Area at Oshkosh and take a look at what your companies have help kids put together. All major logos will be prominently displayed on the aircraft. It is a flying billboard and is our ambassador for HAWK. A Copy of the TBF area is enclosed. The red area is the TBF area and is where the Dakota Hawk is to be displayed. We are keeping fingers crossed that weather cooperates for the flight out. it is a long way at 80MPH.

Teen Build Fly Area at Oshkosh
Teen Build Fly Area at Oshkosh in Red

Dakota Hawk First Flight 1 July 2016

The Dakota Hawk  made it back into the air July 1 2016, piloted by Don Coleman.

Dakota Hawk First Flight (Post Rebuild)
Dakota Hawk First Flight (Post Rebuild)

First Flight Gallery

July 1 2016 is also the official date of our hull and liability insurance certificate activation. Securing insurance has been one big problem, but is now solved until next year. All it took to get insurance was the patience and perseverance of John C our treasurer plus lots of cash. Thanks Lambert foundation, without their financial help this never would have been possible.  We still cannot use the Experimental Dakota Hawk for students to solo, and it can only be flown by qualified pilots with tail dragger time. It will be used to fly young eagles and introduce them to aviation. This is a start, with enough money and time it’s amazing what can be accomplished.
John also secured insurance on the Cherokee so it can now be used for instruction, and qualified students can solo it.

Both aircraft will be flown to AirVenture this year. The Cherokee will be used by Sterling to instruct our students. Sterling is planning to have the Cherokee meet the group driving out when they camp and exchange students. Don C is flying the Dakota Hawk to AirVenture, and is currently flying it nearly every day to sort out any problems. Other than a little rigging adjustment and some minor electrical problems (elevator Trim), it is flying as it should.  Now we are working to make it pretty.

HAWK had several individual aviation pros go over the Dakota Hawk for problems and give it a clean, ready to fly, bill of health.
Thanks Dave Baxter – he will be with us at AirVenture with 3 of his boys he is one of HAWK’s IA’s and CFI’s he was very thorough.
Also Steve Wood looked it over after his presentation at last month’s EAA chapter 800 meeting. (Anyone who missed the EAA 800 meeting missed a really good presentation on Harmonics and their effects on aircraft engines. Steve did some of the original structural work on the Dakota Hawk wings when fisher products first started. Steve is an accomplished aeronautical engineer and has worked as an engineer for Cessna Aircraft. (Steve designed the Sky pup years ago and plans are still available). He is also currently Director of the Grand Junction Regional Airport Board. Watch for Steve’s next airplane – it is flying and is a real piece of metal ingenuity but that is a story for another day.
Also thanks Lowell Manery and Graham of EAA chapter 1373. Lowell and Graham flew in and went over the airplane after everyone else; Seems under Graham’s sharp eye the trailing edge of the horizontal to elevator hinge line is not straight. Another problem from the original build, its minor but still needs attention. I even missed this one.
ALWAYS’S ALWAYS have a second or 3rd or 4th set of experienced eyes look and critique your Build. You may think something is correct but you are so used to looking at the stuff you go blind to problems; I learned this rebuilding Type certificated airplanes at Wegner aircraft. We always had a final inspection by someone not familiar with the rebuild. There have been numerous accidents caused by such simple items as the trim tab rigged backwards.

Lowell, as usual, came through in a real time of need. Kelly at MITCHELL instruments Donated a new fuel transmitter to the project but it would not fit through the hole in the tank and would have required removing the windshield to drill larger. Lowell just happened to have a gauge that matched our capacitance sender. As usual, he came through. Nice to have a gentleman like Lowell working with HAWK. (All our gauges are MITCHELL gauges. Kelly at MITCHELL has been extremely helpful and their products are exceptional).

I talked to SANDIA AEROSPACE last year at Oshkosh about an STX transponder. They offered to donate one to the project last year but I never got back to them. Don C really wanted a Transponder for the trip (flight following) so I called SANDIA to see if the offer still stood. Guess what – they were waiting for my call. REALLY REALLY GREAT GUYS and the transponder is awesome. I will be ordering one for my airplane. Plus, we are looking at putting one of their new ADS-B units in the Cherokee.