Wacko for WACOs
This is a page I am dedicating to what has become one of my favorite planes… the WACO, whose name is derived from the Weaver Aircraft Company. For those of you new to this plane, here is a pronunciation guide for the name of this plane:
WACO (referring to the aircraft) is usually pronounced “wah-co” (the first syllable pronounced as in “water”), not “way-co” like Waco, Texas, whose name is entirely unrelated. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_Aircraft_Company>. As you can see, Wikipedia states that it is usually pronounced this way. This is true, but anyone not pronouncing it this way is simply incorrect.
I am an A&P mechanic located on the Space Coast of Florida. I am a contractor for an outfit called Florida Biplanes that offers biplane rides over the beach, NASA, and the surrounding area. They also offer maintenance services under Classic Aircraft Services. The company owns two WACO UPF-7 planes. I am fortunate enough to work in conjunction with their lead mechanic to keep the two birds in the air. Tail #30146 has just been completed after a major rebuild of its wings. The plane was condemned by the lead mechanic/I.A. during an annual inspection. The wings were pulled apart, all wood repairs were made and recovered with new fabric. All repairs were done in accordance with FAA and manufacturer approved manuals. So after the inspection was completed, log book entries made, and 337s filled out, the total down-time was about 5 months. It would have been done about a month or so sooner, but there were some unrelated obstacles along the way. Such is life.
I worked on the wings with the other mechanic and I also did a lot of the paint work on the rest of the plane. I threw on some of the early coats of doping on the wings, shot the landing gear and cabane struts which support the upper wing over the fuselage. I also stenciled and painted the graphics on the underside of the wings that display the phone number to call to get a ride in this great plane. I had a little help with the final painting from one of the pilots who flies the planes regularly.
The second WACO #30169 will be getting some paint fixes soon, but it is otherwise airworthy. The owner states that according to his documentation, the planes were built three months apart, but in different model years. His information shows that #146 was built in late ’40 and #169 was built in early ’41. However, the FAA has both of these planes’ year of manufacture as 1941. I did not look them up until I began authoring this page, so I will ask the owner about this and update the information as needed.
I just wanted to give an introduction to the two WACO planes I have had the privilege of working on. I’m starting off with photos of the rebuild I was involved with. Please enjoy the photos and feel free to contact me with questions through the comments section of this site. I’ll answer what I know and research the rest. I plan for this page to have on-going additions. Contact me if there is something you would like to see or add.
What you see pictured here is the bottom of the bottom left wing. The clamps are where gussets and structure had to be repaired and re-glued.
This is a picture of the beautifully restored innards of one of the wings just after the fabric was stitched on.
Beautiful work here as we moved toward applying the doping.
Sorry about the glare on this one. I just wanted to shoot while I could. I’ll post a better shot later. The prop appears to be not moving, but the plane is in fact running. The sun caused my camera’s auto settings to trip the shutter too fast and the prop froze.
Here are a couple of shots of the other WACO #169. The guys call this one Miss Liberty. She is a beauty…