TYC is proud to be part of the Long Tail.
No big ticket items like motors or carburetors here, but plenty of smaller, equally essential parts to keep your Yak airborne.
No high-volume market dominators but lots of small-run useful, winning products. And if you’ve read about the economics of the Long Tail, you’ll know the further you care to go down this Yak rabbit hole, the more low-volume, niche parts remain to be built for our Vibrant community.
Even for the best-established names in this field, the economics of serving the Yak community are precarious at best. Most people flying Yaks in the US would agree that the minute 100LL were to reach $8 a gallon, THIS particular hobby would lose its spot to Hiking, at which point the few trusted businesses committed to keeping our Vperod paddle blades thumping, would quickly curl up and die.
Happily, as of Fall 2019, that doomsday scenario is nowhere to be seen.
The basic economics of TYC's Yak reproduction parts goes like this. If you were unlucky enough to have had a fuel cover fly off during the last flight in your 52, you’re faced with a choice that will drop you neatly into one of two categories.
Either you're already one of our beloved customers, who just wants a nicely turned-out replacement fuel door to show up, a couple of days after they order it online - or you’re type 2.
If you’re type 2, we share a common bond, you and I, because you thought to yourself “that doesn’t look too hard- I’ll just fab one up”
And within that cavernous range of talent & opportunity, some will start with tin snips, some with Waterjet. Some will already have the correct length and size of Dzus fasteners arranged within carefully husbanded plastic trays, some will spend a morning learning the ontology of the quarter-turn fastener market.
Some will determine how to measure & roll the sheet metal curvature accurately, how to achieve rivet Head uniformity, some will settle for less and be proud of their handiwork.
At TYC we use the Type 2 model to price our goods. If you’re the rugged individualist who won’t be stopped by lack of planning, previous experience or hunger as the day wears on in the shop, you’re already lost to us as a customer- because nothing will stop you.
But if you’re driving home from the hangar wondering where THAT day went, then there IS a chance we’ll have you as a customer one day. Trust us when we tell you the products in these pages did not turn out right the first time for us either.
We get business from owner-pilots who rationalize that the costs of TYC’s repro products are measured in fractions of a Yak fillup. How much flying time is that Fuel Cover going to cost me ?
“That part will cost me a quarter of a fillup....Click” ( in the background; beer opening).
And when your part arrives, it’s even got that authentic-looking Dichromate coating that would have cost you a week’s wait and an $80 minimum plating charge.
But Long Tail economics also speak to the ills of traditional inventory.
When we gaze at parts on our TYC shelves, we don’t see the dollars invested in a short production run (where all the surprises have already been exorcised), but instead all the sunk R&D costs BEFORE we got it right.
In EAA circles it’s a rarely publicized truism that 85% of home builders do not finish their projects. Time, money and parenting usually conspire to confound an enthusiastically-launched project.
But the long tail is at work here too.
Overcoming whatever it was that stopped you, whether riveting a quick-build fuselage or some aspect of fabricating a Yak fuel cap cover, is just going to require MORE effort, more ingenuity, more favors, more investment and more R&D.
Thus it is that the beginning home builder announces to their partner they have a budget of $X, but six years in, find they must muzzle the fact they have actually spent $1.4X, partly because of chasing technology, partly through coveting their RV neighbor, (aka scope creep) or good old under-performance as in wasted time & material.
Among those unfortunate 85% of homebuilders, there were undoubtedly also those who thought they could out-engineer Mr VanGrunsven and expended the time, money and dissatisfaction to subsequently discover otherwise.
Into every Long Tail a little politics must fall. With a very few exceptions, here at TYC, we’re all about keeping your Yak STOCK.
While the 52 has a very few, well-documented shortcomings, TYC takes the view that the Yakovlev Design bureau had all necessary resources available to them to design, make and test this amazing airplane, ultimately ensuring it performed exactly as conceived.
With all those domed-head rivets, only unimaginable power will make it fly faster.
With all that new Glass instrumentation, you’ll still be doing Cessna 172 speeds through the air.
And once you make a switch from Metric to American threads (to use some more familiar local component), your endless adapter nightmare has only just begun and will, in time, snake across the entire firewall and beyond.
This is, perhaps, one major conceit that the EAA (and similar homebuilding bodies) allows to breed but does not counsel against.
It’s wonderful that we’re allowed to concoct aircraft of our own imagining, with only a wizened Tech Counselor to shepherd us back to the Lycoming Spam Can straight-and- narrow - but take a stroll around my homebuilding hangar neighbors, you'll overhear way too much “that should be strong enough” and hardly any “that should be light enough”.
In other words, homebuilders are being empowered to forge ahead oblivious to what they don’t know about Wagner Tension Fields, circular integral approximations to quantify stress around cutouts in stressed skin construction, material allowables or even the basic math required for weight and balance.
And in the end, after years of hangar flying and big talk, it’s no wonder they all end up looking like RV’s. Do you remember the movement a few years ago before “experimental” mysteriously morphed into “homebuilt”? You'd see Wet layup, even paper maché construction.
Not any more.
But for the US Yak owner, with an Experimental exhibition Airworthiness certificate, you can own a proven 7g machine, (descended from the same factory that produced an airplane about which Focke Wulf Pilots were told to ”avoid combat below five thousand meters”) ...AND you can work on it yourself...How awesome is that?
Surely only an 85 percenter would convince themselves they could out-design the Design Bureau?
Bring us your tired Snot Valves, your poor primer hoses - we’re ready to help!
TYC - way down the Yak Rabbit Hole, but still just a click away!
Doing a new panel for your Yak?
How about replacing those funky Russian instrument screws with a Phillips head?
An idea whose time has come !
These Russian panel screws have a 120, (rather than the more familiar 100, 90 or 82 degree) countersink, presumably to contact a greater area on the panel and resist backing out under vibration.
On the Russian original, two perpendicular slots on each screw’s head appear to be shallow arcs cut with a milling tool.
You could grind that arc on the tip of a flat screwdriver blade to try and get those original screws to budge - as long as someone hasn’t already chummed up one of the slots first.
Because then, a bit like Trotsky with an Ice Pick through one ear, and only good one left, the prognosis is not good.
History has shown that the Design Bureau got the applied math of the Yak 52 spot on, pretty much throughout - with fastener design included.
Indeed, larger diameter domed head screws with flat slots, found on wing structure, are not problematic to remove. Down at the M3.5 and M4 countersunk sizes however, you’ll encounter a lot of these screws where the slotted surface area simply got smeared by the torquing tool, often with a telltale gouge in nearby paintwork.
(Decoded: a Philips screwdriver was not the right tool to remove those particular Russian screws.)
Most Flight instruments in the Yak’s panel take M3.5 size while the Russian Tach takes an M4, but screws of both sizes, with these shallow cross-slotted heads, are to be found throughout the cockpit area.
Wherever you see a gauge surrounded by one slotted head screw and three cross heads, leave the slotted one in place.
The Tri-Gauge, Dual Needle Air gauge, Carb Temp and Manifold pressure gauge are like this - they are packaged as cylindrical cans without a front mounting flange. Undo the slotted screw a few turns and, behind the panel, a wedge moving on that thread is releasing a cylindrical clamp ring, held in the panel by the other three screws.
Instruments like this slide out forward.
There’s no clear logic as to which instruments have flanges and which use this cylindrical clamp - but doesn’t your beautiful new cockpit deserve panel screws that look like they haven’t been butchered by an Ice Pick?
And being able to work on all instruments, modern or original, with just one Phillips screwdriver....?
..as they used to call it in the UK.
Or using Mr Bradshaw's railway line maps to get there, by air.
Even today, it's a pretty tempting proposition to ferry a plane from A to B. Maybe it sounds a cool way to see the country; a bucket list item perhaps. Plus the seller told you the plane is 'fresh out of its annual'.
So no problems there, right?...
Always remember, you never actually HAVE to take that flight....until you've told somebody you will.
For simple reciprocating engines and Yak ferrying, I reckon structuring the new owner's expectations is the key. If they have just bought it, they will want the plane in their hangar yesterday. So under-promise and over-perform when they ask "How far can you get, how quickly?"
Across the U.S. you are doing pretty well in a Yak if you burn through two sectionals in a day. If the new owner wants heroics, (one example might be flying Yaks by night), i'm not your guy. Start early and finish before you are tired. In Summer, be on the ground and tied down by early afternoon, before the convective stuff gets going.
Preparation, necessary paperwork in the plane, any insurance sign-off requirements, personal flight planning, CRM and whatever spares you take in your tool roll are just the best you can do before departure.
What actually happens with engine and airframe once you take off, is the unexpected. There's no point allowing more factors into your story, like weather, low fuel or physical exhaustion. So have a list of destination airports for the day but be flexible and land when the weather is not as briefed. Mother Nature always bats last. Plenty of times she will bat first, delaying your departure. Negotiating one day more than you need is always a great idea, no matter how disappointed the new owner is. If they want a hero they will get on the phone and find one.
You don't HAVE to take that flight.
Remind yourself of that now as you’re buzzing along at 2 miles a minute, into deteriorating weather, looking for that uncontrolled field through the mist. Lowering ceilings and reduced visibility are a bit like the Kardashians - as Jimmy Kimmel famously put it, a little goes a long way - so land before you spook yourself. Because spooked people miss checklist items like putting the gear down.
I don't book hotels ahead of time, but leave the flight plan nice and fluid instead. As the flight and the weather progress, combined with how trashed you feel, the end point of the day will become obvious. It always makes sense to push yourself, but not to the point that someone else's property is in jeopardy.
The sectional is a great tool. You find out, for example, that the smaller the airport, the cheaper the gas. But see that yellow blob on the map next to the airport indicating the size of the co-located town? The smaller it gets, the less likely it is that the airport fuel pump (or the credit card machine) is actually working....plus the town might be too small to have overnight accommodation.
The FAA prefers you keep your hands off their 30 minutes of Day VFR fuel for a very good reason. If you pushed the fuel reserves to get to THAT airport, you're hurting. Five minutes earlier, you passed up that Class Delta, right by a town that was almost bound to have a Hampton Inn, at least. But instead you're stopped by a pump that doesn’t work, you need more fuel than you have to start, warm up and climb back up to altitude to get there. There’s nobody around and it’s getting dark.
Once I ferried a Yak that didn't have a transponder, so picking a route that avoided controlled airspace ( requiring Mode C operations ) was the mandate. After that flight, I have always avoided controlled airspace unless completely necessary. I turn the radio down too, except for arriving and departing uncontrolled fields. Flight following is great, but choosing a route with lots of airports underneath you is better.
I would personally discourage taking a passenger ( such as the new owner) on a ferry flight. Apart from any legal aspect of FAR compliance, it’s just easier to have one director on your movie. “Hey, can we just drop in on my brother in Colorado?”. Joint decision-making can turn something very simple into something very complicated really quickly. On the other hand, if you’re legally qualified to sign off the new owner in their new plane, it’s a great opportunity.
AME Chuck Crinnian wrote an excellent piece in Red Alert Magazine (Spring 2017 page 38) about the importance of staying Hydrated and what happens when you don’t. Unfortunately a full bladder is not your friend as you strive for maximum distance traveled per unit time, so strike a balance. Pinch the skin on your forearm at the start of the day before you get in the cockpit to watch its suppleness. Later, once that same pinch of skin becomes slow to take back its shape, you are behind the hydration curve and your flight decision making may already be impaired.
Plan short hops until you build trust with the plane, because “right out of a fresh annual” is statistically the most dangerous flight of the year. If you are in the high country or very remote, don’t just jump in and take up a heading, instead take a few high power laps above the airport for loose connections and wrenches left in the engine compartment to show up, because now is definitely better than later. Maybe that first day you’ll only get half as far as you thought you would. Handing it back to the mechanic down there on the field 2000 feet below you, is an option you will no longer have as he’s wiping his hands and you are a dot on the horizon.
Several days of solitude & contemplation. Time to zero-in on a rock-steady compass heading and a motionless VSI.
First light and mists cover the Ohio river valley far below you, as most people are just barely switching on the ‘Today’ show and clasping their first cup of Joe.
Or indigo storm clouds bleeding into burning orange as you roll onto final with a New Mexico sunset signposting the end of this particular days flying.
But you don’t have to take that flight.
Sit down with a pad & pencil a few days beforehand and compose the questions you need the buyer & seller to answer to your satisfaction to be sure you’re not getting in the middle of something.
You could end up transporting an under-maintained piece of crap between someone who was too cheap to keep their Yak in good repair while they owned it ( but had a mechanic who agreed to pencil-whip an annual ) and somebody else who’s just dying to tell all their buddies what a steal they just made.
Because, for the Ferry Pilot in the middle of two such individuals, there’s rarely room for a successful outcome.
Also take a personal skills inventory if something mechanical or electrical does go wrong.
Welcome to Tucumcari, New Mexico. Population: You. The plane’s full of fuel again but now it won’t start.
Who ya gonna call?
Unscheduled landings due to engine or airframe issues just mean delays and extra costs. Was it discussed up front who’s going to pay for en Route maintenance issues ?
People who pass up the opportunity to bring their new plane home either have a very valid reason ( like they’re not checked out in type yet ) or a more expedient one, such as their time being too valuable or too tightly scheduled to be able to take a few days off to play with their newest toy.
Or as a Seller, they’ve got their money & they just want the plane gone. Be especially careful here to remember any items that were part of the deal ( logbooks, spare parts) because you might just be the last line of communication between two parties where the deal conducted was barely cordial at its conclusion. When relations have broken down, forget to collect what was promised and you could become the guilty party.
Remember, too, that responsibility for carrying the minimum legal paperwork (airworthiness, registration, POH, Weight & Balance plus proof of insurance) is on your shoulders while you’re PIC. Does the registration match the Tail number? Is there even an Airworthiness Certificate with the plane ?
You just flew all day as a commercial passenger to get here, Now you’re actually in front of the plane; are deteriorating weather or the Seller’s attitude making YOU want to bail outta there ASAP, instead of taking the time to be particular about these details?
Text somebody your progress, and send lots of photos. That’s how you’ll remember the difference between how you felt at the beginning of the journey, and that same pilot several days later.
It takes a solo flight across the US to realize what an amazing airspace system we have, both in the air and on the ground. Five clicks to bring up the airport lights at dusk, remote weather reporting at uncontrolled fields, and that tired (yet surprisingly comfortable) ex-Police Crown Victoria parked round the back of the deserted FBO somewhere with the keys up behind the drivers' sun visor. Left unlocked, you take it into town, (because there's no one around to ask), fill it up for the next person and drop it off the next morning.
And if you do take that flight, good or bad, you won’t forget it for a long time. So allow your best judgement to make sure they’re mostly good memories!
When the Air Gauge needles in either cockpit tell you your 52’s air tanks need a top up, with all that awesome pressure in your Scuba tank, it’s hard not to crank that knob right up and just take care of business, pronto.
(Maybe you’re channeling Burt Lancaster in ‘Run Silent, Run Deep” or blowing tanks on your private Varshavyanka Class fantasy sub. hiding just off the Indonesian coast...)
Your Air pressure gauges see things differently.
They’d much rather you crack that valve gently and pretend like you were filling from a pump dispensing “T Stoff” Rocket fuel.
E-E-Easy does it.
But why ?
Because if you ever hop up on the wing to watch your air gauge needles during a ground fill, you will notice the Emergency Tank indicates a charge more quickly than the Main.
The lines at the fill port split at a tee with a larger diameter line ( shown going left in this picture) spanning the short distance to the emergency tank. As a result it fills more quickly that the main, sending that right hand needle skyrocketing
OK, but so what ?
Well in 1849, Monsieur Eugène Bourdon knew exactly what.
After Dad had passed away, Eugène’s thoughts inexorably started straying away from his humdrum job at an optical business toward scientific instruments and cool steam engine stuff.
Knowing what the pressure was inside that boiler was a matter of genuine concern, so Eugène Bourdon came up with the idea of a flattened, rolled tube which would deform
(within its elastic limit) as pressure filled it from inside. Some elegant gears measured the deflection to drive an indicating needle and...
If you ever pick up a welding torch, his invention is telling you how much Gas is left in the cylinders. If you have Safety Fire Extinguishers around your house, some little flattened, round tube is telling you what’s going on inside that Red Extinguisher.
You go, Eugene !!
But if we abuse a Bourdon tube and it’s delicate internal mechanisms, what then?
Repeatedly slamming full Scuba tank pressure into your air system such that the PRV is audibly shuddering seconds later, (instead of cracking the valve open gently), can cause damage to the mechanism of your Yak 52 air gauges, resulting in a zero reading or a stuck needle.
These gauges are there to help you.
They’ll tell you, as you’re downwind after takeoff, whether or not you’re making air.
During pre-flight, they’ll show whether or not there’s enough air in the emergency tank should you need to blow the mains down, or whether you have enough in the Main Air tank, this morning, to even attempt an engine start.
When you think about them like that, they have as much to do with your upcoming flight as the fuel gauge.
So don’t shoot the messenger, (if you don’t like what you read on the Air gauge). These are delicate, sensitive instruments, worthy of your care & respect.
The best way to confirm both your gauges are reporting accurately is to vent the pneumatic system. Judiciously crack the B nut at both Air Tanks, (when they are removed for Hydro testing for example) - and if the gauges indicate zero in this condition, subsequently responding to rising pressure when the tanks are reconnected & refilled, then you are good to go.
Next time you’re standing next to the fill port with your air whip in hand, ready to twist that bayonet and blast those tiny air lines for all they’re worth, instead, just close your eyes and embrace the Buddha.
With your careful hand controlling the Scuba valve, the air is simply passing from one universe to another.
The sound of happy Air Pressure Gauges at work.
Siri, which place in Russia has the lowest temperature ?
Oymyakon, Russia — already considered the world's coldest permanently inhabited town — sank to a mind-numbing 88 degrees below zero on Tuesday. That's even colder than the average temperature on Mars, which is 80 below zero, according to Space.com.Jan 17, 2018
Tough to match that kinda cold in the US.
And when it comes to Yak 52 flying in winter, don’t tolerate oil temperature needles in the low caution range when you fly - land and do something about it.
Remember, however chilly you feel on the ground, what matters is the temperature of colder air aloft, blasting across your Oil Radiator at 130 knots.
If you don’t already own a set of the factory Cold Weather blanking plates for the inlet to the Oil Cooler, TYC has a solution for you.
While the factory set included one full blank plate plus others with increasingly larger apertures (each printed with the design temperature for appropriate use), here at TYC, we wondered if perhaps just one would do for operations in more moderate climates ?
And here it is.
In combination with the radiator outlet door, this ground-adjustable Oil Radiator blanking plate will keep your Yak’s oil in the green in the coldest months of the South Western US winter.
Further East and into the Midwest, if your oil Temperature needle hasn’t moved into the green during the run up, you can shut down, remove the plate & flatten up to four of the flaps to block more cold air entering your Oil Radiator.
These plates do not appear to have been fitted to Yak 50’s...which is not to say you couldn’t fit one! (Need the catches and matching hinge halves that rivet to the radiator scoop? Give us a call.)
Just to get us all on the same page, this ground adjustable baffle plate is designed to be bent once - to find the sweet spot for your Winter conditions, rather than to be adjusted every flight.
How many times can you bend a flap before the material will crack?
And don’t forget to remove this baffle when warmer Springtime weather comes.
Offer not valid in Oymyakon.
Free shipping throughout the US during January. As usual, Customer satisfaction is guaranteed.
Anybody who's been around US-made machine tools, (lathes, mills and CNC machining centers) will recognise the big names like Bridgeport, Haas and FADAL.
And, if you're one of them, you probably know FADAL, the little giant from the San Fernando valley, stood for Francis, Adrian, Dave and Larry,
I met Larry today. (on the right)
His son-in-law, Mike (left) just took over the FBO at Ramona airport (KRNM) from the equally legendary Chuck Hall.
If machine tools and technology turn you on, being around Larry for a few minutes is to be able to listen to living history from California's era of unfettered progress.
The FADAL name is owned by others now, but Larry still lives in Chatsworth and says he has some five-axis tooling projects on the burner.
I found this piece on the iconic FADAL story at http://www.fadalvmcparts.com, originially written in 2001.
The Fadal family business is the perfect manifestation of the entrepreneurial spirit: vision + ambition = success.
Dave and Larry de Caussin started working in their father's garage shop in 1955 and in 1995 sold their family's multi-million-dollar business to Giddings and Lewis.
When Dave de Caussin took a trip to IMTS in 1974 to show off Fadal's new tool-changer, he had no idea that in five short years the company would be revolutionizing the machining-center market with its VMC45. Looking back, he said the trip was a pivotal event for the California machine tool builder. But, at the time, things didn't go all that smoothly.
"We put the milling machine with the toolchanger in the back of a rental truck, which had a top speed of 55 mph. Leaving from California, my wife and I made it to Bickerville, Calif., filled the truck's 25-gallon tank, giving us a traveling range of about 90 miles. We ran out of gas about 40 miles out-side of Las Vegas at 5 am. While sitting alongside the road, freezing, a guy comes by in an off-roading jeep. He drives me to a Stucky's to get five gallons of gas and I paid him and tossed in a fifth of scotch. When we finally got toChicago, it was at 5:30 pm and the height of rush hour traffic. As if that wasn't enough, I made a turn onto a street with an 8-ft bridge that the truck wouldn't fit under. My wife is in tears at this point, and it took me an hour to back the truck up. But we did finally make it to the show, and we met a lot of important people."
This story is just one example of the many ups and downs Fadal has experienced throughout its 40-year history. But the founding family members --Francis, Adrian, Dave, and Larry de Caussin -- attribute their company's success to constantly staying on the cutting edge of machine tool technology. As Larry de Caussin says, "We started in pioneering times, and pioneers take some arrows."
The foundation of what would become Fadal got its start in 1955 by Francis de Caussin, who was a toolmaker trained in the automotive industry with a dream to own his own machine shop. He purchased some equipment on time payments and his sons Larry and Dave, still in school and living at home, worked with him at the garage operation. The brothers learned a basic but important lesson in those early shop years. They realized that the faster they could remove metal, the more money they could make.
In order to keep the chips and the money flowing, the family made a lot of modifications to the machines they used to cut metal. Francis added a riser block to a small mill so that they could do bigger jobs. Larry added a temporary second motor to a main spindle of a lathe, and Dave made the handles longer so they could push harder. The family says this motivation to make better and faster machines was the beginning of a trend that would carry Fadal to prominence in the machine tool industry.
In 1961, after all the part-time experience in the garage shop, the family decided to work full time for themselves. They needed a little capital to get started and everyone turned to Larry for funding.
Dave says, "Larry was always the penny-pincher. He saved all his money. He had $2,500 in the bank. And his $2,500 financed a multi-million dollar company."
They rented an 800 ft 2 industrial unit in N. Hollywood, Calif., and bought a Siamp metal cutting lathe on Francis' good credit. Then in 1965 the shop fell on hard times when one of its largest customers, Summers Gyroscope, went into chapter 11 owing Fadal $17,000. But the shop soon recovered and started doing a lot of contracts for the "space race," including work for the Surveyor, Voyager, various satellites, aircraft landing gear, and eventually the space shuttle fuel systems.
But business really picked up for Fadal in 1969. That was the year they bought their first NC machine for $25,000 -- a Bridgeport mill with a Superior Electric control and a Spindle Wizard third axis. The machine did not, however, have an automatic toolchanger, and all the tools had to be changed using a wrench. Fadal, in accordance with their desire to do everything as quickly as possible, started designing better methods for changing tools on the new machine.
They started out designing a power draw bar and then began brainstorming on how to automate the entire toolchanging process. An aftermarket toolchanger, they believed, would be quite valuable to small machine tool builders and their customers. So Fadal set out with a new goal for the mass market -- manufacture an affordable toolchanger that could be attached to a mill.
Dave became consumed with the design and manufacture of a prototype, while Adrian designed the electrical work on the system. Due in part to Fadal's booth at IMTS in 1974, the toolchanger was a wild success. So successful, in fact, that there was a shortage of toolchangers to sell.
"The problem we had with the toolchanger is that we over marketed and then couldn't meet the demand," says Dave. "Because of that, the guy in England that we were marketing to, Matchmaker, copied our toolchanger. They apologized for doing it, but did it because we couldn't deliver to them."
That toolchanger also caught the eye of a company out of Bozeman, Montana, Summit Engineering, a division of Dana Corp. That firm offered to buy the toolchanger design and patents so they could package it with an inexpensive control. Summit paid Fadal $75,000 for the toolchanger, which was renamed the Bandit Quick Draw. Summit also gave Fadal the rights to manufacture the mechanical assemblies for the changer. That $75,000, plus the profits from manufacturing over 2,000 mechanical assemblies, made it possible for Fadal to start their biggest project ever -- the design of a complete CNC machining center.
Larry tells the story of what inspired the family to build their first machine.
"Being machinists and having some experience with controls, we realized there was a lot of fat in the Japanese equipment that was selling for up around $160,000. Our first machine was a geared head 45 taper, with a 4-speed gearbox. It was a high-end machine we were selling for $110,000. But in 1980, right when we came out with our first model, the Japanese dropped the prices on their $160,000 machines down to $90,000.
To counter this, Fadal decided to pursue a simpler design to appeal to a broader market. Dave sold Fadal's first redesigned machine to Columbia Machine, which was where Francis, Dave, and Larry had all worked before starting Fadal. As much of an accomplishment as that was, confidence was not always high. "We used to say, 'We'll have a nice auction someday when we go bankrupt,'" says Dave.
However, people loved the speed and the price of the simpler system, and each year the company sold more and more machines. By the 80s and 90s, Fadal's manufacturing plant was at peak efficiency -- building 10 machining centers per employee each year. By 1995, Fadal had sold 10,000 machining centers.
With success came a lot of important decisions, one of which was changing the machine's control. The company was being pressured to use a different control on the machine. Dave says the family decided against it to keep cost down.
"We stayed with our control because we could see that the competition, especially the American industry, had made a mistake by catering to special requests. They had too many special orders. 'I want my machine pink, I want it with this control, and I want it with this and that.' So you ended up not having a production line. We refused to do that."
Larry adds, "In addition, custom machines are a nightmare for service. Other builder's servicemen would have to go out and review the situation before they could fix the machine. With our machine, the servicemen were able to go out ready to do the job, get it done, and then get out of there."
This was the kind of common-sense customer service that helped drive Fadal to the top of its industry. And that success caught the attention of Giddings & Lewis when it came time for Fadal to sell its family business to the corporate giant. But selling the company was not an easy decision. Originally the brothers had planned on passing it down to the next generation of de Caussins, but there were some problems.
Fadal's cash was tied up in property, equipment, inventory, and accounts receivable, and the company was going to have to dip into profits to pay the 55% gift tax. That was an issue because profits were also being taxed 50%. Financial advisors told the brothers that $1 earned was going to be about $.25 cents in pocket once the transfer was complete.
So, fearing the company's demise in a forced "fire sale" if the succession was unsuccessful, Larry and Dave decided it was best to sell the business outright. Fadal sold to G&L in April of 1995, and the brothers are pleased with the new ownership.
Do you treat your Yak the same way all year?
Think twice says Vlad Yastremski
In warm climates, it's easy to fall into this habit . Like a West Coast buddy recently, who noticed the morning air was colder than it had been ( Yep, cry for us, it got down to 37 degrees F last night) but took off without checking his tire pressures. After landing a little while later and making a rather sporty exit off the runway, he side loaded the soggy main tires enough to where the snap rings and rim popped off one of the main wheels. The tire and inner tube departed, leaving it rolling on the hub. Hurt pride, embarrassing more than costly.
Similarly, if you're flying cross-country in December, you might end the day in New Mexico, leave it on the ramp overnight with both air gauge needles nice and perky but come back to 20 bars or less in the morning.
Right off the same page in the Physics textbook.
And as for how low temperatures affect your Yak motor, lets split this little rant in to two parts: starting it and warming it up.
At temperatures lower than +5 Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) it's mandatory to preheat your Yak's motor before starting because of the damage that cold oil can do. Some use electric pads, some pipe hot air into the cowling, and you can even use a hairdryer pointed into the Oil Radiator rather than nothing at all. Back east it's not unusual for rented airplane hangars to be heated, with full service tow-outs by the FBO, but for most of us, it's just a big cold chunk of metal that's going to need a lot of warming up.
Even if it's showing warmer than 5 Celsius at your airport, one safe guide as to whether or not your motor is cold is to feel the prop. Make sure both Mags are off, brakes are on, then pull a blade for a few inches. You've turned that prop enough times over the years to notice how stiff it feels normally. If it's feeling like treacle this morning, don't just jump in and crank. In addition to the normal precautions to avoid Hydraulic Lock, follow these oil pre-heating precautions above and keep pulling blades until you feel the oil moving more freely. We'll touch on oil dilution a bit later.
In cold weather sluggish oil will cause permanent damage to the weakest link - the core of the Oil Radiator. There are two designs of bypass in our Oil Coolers, but while both re-route cold oil away from the cooling circuit (until engine heat has raised its temperature to a specified value), they can both fail. When forced into these slender-walled copper heat-exchanger tubes, it's an easy job for the cold oil to hydraulically expand them like a balloon, but permanently. Their OD increases to effectively block air flowing between the outside of the tubes, compromising the Radiator's function and will ultimately lead to fracture, leaving tell tale oil under the ground in the vicinity of the cooler. That's a pricey mistake. Preheating your oil is the preparatory step that will prevent this.
When it comes to starting, perform a thorough priming preparation and monitor oil pressure during the first few seconds. The motor catches, you set it to the normal 40-50 percent for warm up, but suddenly oil pressure is dropping to zero.. The seconds keep ticking by without improvement. What the...? So you shut it down...
In cold weather the magic number on the Oil Dipstick is 12 liters. If you have this much oil in the tank, the level will be completely covering the mechanical "flop" or pickup tube inside (which keeps oil feeding during aerobatics). With an oil level below 12 liters, some of the joints on this mechanism will be above the oil surface.
When it comes to a choice of sucking air or cold viscous oil, the oil pump will take whichever is easier. Air gets sucked into the oil system and the sensors and gauges tell you the truth.
Warming it up
What if it starts, but lopes and runs roughly for a long time?
Remember why you fitted auto plugs ? Because they are cheap. If you use a BR7 auto plug in summer, treat yourself to a set of BR6 for the winter season. The lower the number, the hotter the plug will run. Also, visit your mechanic and have them adjust the mixture a few clicks leaner. The clue to perfect mixture is that small white telltale of completely burnt oil on the trailing face of the two exhaust stacks. Expect to see oily black at the same spot if your mixture is too rich. Perfect mixture for Summer is not perfect mixture for winter.
One of the things we love about Radials is their sound. And some of us think that really slow loping idle they'll do sounds awesome (and a low idle may have some valid applications in certain flight regimes ), but the reason for the recommended idle speed is to warm it up as fast as possible. In Winter, that loping idle means the butterfly is completely shut, the vacuum created by the pistons is prodigious and fuel and oil are finding their way in through the wrong jets, through any place in the carburetor they can. You'll get blue or black smoke and so much fuel on the cylinder walls you may be compromising lubrication. But just cracking the butterfly open will stop it immediately. The warm up RPM is recommended to get T's and P's where they need to be as fast as practicable.
If you didn't do a thorough priming preparation, the motor starts for a few seconds then quits. So you sit in the cockpit, pumping and priming like a crazed weasel until pretty soon, the motor's flooded. No sign of life even after cranking through your second air tank fill. The remedy? Mags off, brakes on, throttle wide open and start pulling blades. What you are after is at least two charges of fresh air through each cylinder. The only karmic payback here is that you just performed a kind of oil dilution by flooding it. After pulling the 20th blade, you might notice the oil becoming thinner because of all the fuel you dumped into it earlier!
The Manual is the place to learn about Oil Dilution but here's the view from 30,000 feet. It's something you do before you shut down the motor the day before, so planning is required. You'll also need to know how much oil you have on board and how cold it will be overnight.The chart will tell you how many seconds to hold the momentary switch that injects fuel into your oil system. It also advises the correct rpm setting at which to perform the operation. So keep your eye on the oil pressure gauge as you do it, because you'll see the needle begin to drop due to oil thinning.
The next morning, there you are started, warmed up and ready to taxi. Once airborne in winter air though, even with the exit door firmly shut, the oil radiator will be unable to keep your oil gauge in the green, (or even in the low caution range ), without extra baffle plates over the Oil Radiator inlet. These baffle plates came in sets with different sized cut outs, marked for specific air temperatures. You may not need the entire set - or use them all year, but to install one, your Oil Radiator sheet metal housing under the right wing has clips for two wire locking pins on the lower edge and two snaps for the baffle's upper edge. Three rubber tubes are attached to the rear of these baffle plates to minimize damage to the fragile cooling fins of the radiator core.
Thanks to John Bergeson for this picture of factory baffles installed on his Yak 55/M. If you inspect the image of the 52 on skis at the top, you'll see even less opening at the entry to the Oil radiator.
And yes, that cockpit heater muff on the M14-P exhaust ring is just a liable to asphyxiate you as any other aero engine, so go the distance and install one of those visual Carbon Monoxide indicators within the pilot's field of view.
In the days of the DOSAAF, there was an entire Winterization procedure. Among other things, it included a lighter grade of engine oil, heavy grease on the uplock mechanisms (for protection against freezing & debris), lighter oil added inside actuators and cloth covering of all the wide diameter tubing associated with the oil cyclone / circuit. Without insulation these thin-walled tubes are the first place for internal condensation, that can lead to possible freezing and blockage. Your oil needs to reach 74 Celcius (165 Fahrenheit) before all the water has evaporated.
Not convinced that there's water in your oil? Try this one morning on a cold engine. Using a suitable container at the quarter-turn main drain of the Oil Tank, carefully turn it to open and just stab it quickly - and collect what comes out. (Clue: Oil floats on it)
Here's an airplane that was designed to operate in temperatures so low you'd be hard pressed to encounter them in the lower 48.
As they say in Northern Mongolia, happiness is a warm Yak - so warm yours up and go flying!
King George VI, The United Kingdom’s Monarch, on that very uncertain Christmas Day in 1939, gave his speech to the Commonwealth, completing it with somebody else’s poem that began “I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year....”
In context, the entire poem was a moving invocation for trust or faith in the Commonwealth’s immediate future, earnestly presented and nicely underpinned with religious triggers.
Out of context, now in much happier times and with our characteristic flippancy, The Yak Collection would like to invite you now to simply enjoy the imagery of that beautiful opening line, just by itself.
Personally, I picture some seasoned country geezer, a corn stalk waving gently between his teeth, leaning against a stile, taking the long view of some idyllic West Sussex vale, whose rich green sward tumbles happily down before us, as he pauses to eject a little well-directed phlegm out of the other side of his mouth at some unfortunate squirrel, before expounding, cryptically, on all we need to know, but cannot see, for the coming twelve months.
(Ok, it doesn’t need to be snow-covered or Christmas.....Work with me here! )
Our imaginary character is a seer, enveloped by Nature’s duality which reveals to him both the listener’s struggles and successes for the year ahead.
* * * * * * * * * *
As purveyors of refurbished and lightly pre-owned parts for everyone’s favorite самолет, here at TYC, we’re very fortunate to catch the breeze of what people are doing with their Yaks “across the Commonwealth” and beyond.
And two seemingly opposing forces would appear to be in play.
On the one hand, TYC is very pleased to be able to offer custom Front Instrument panels for Yaks 52 & 55. In so doing, we’re incorporating 3D CAD modeling of Russian and more recent avionics, laser-cut acrylic prototyping and final waterjetting of your CNC-machined billet panel.
(In the USA at least, the Man at the gate has noticed that most of you will not be able to put off your choice of ADS-B implementation for very much longer. )
On the other hand, requests have been mounting these last few months for original Yak instrumentation. People are seeking out original ADF/ Gyro Compasses, original metric VSI’s and dual Fuel rail gauges to replace non-original aftermarket stuff installed by the previous owner.
This suggests that for some, at least, the Yak is taking on the mantle of a “Classic”, and with it, that passionate appreciation for all things about the marque that are truly retro. Perhaps, too, as a Luddite reaction to the onward march of digital modernity.
With its domed rivets and flat bottomed airfoil, it just screams at you to dig out your E6B whiz wheel - “ we’ll be there in 45 minutes. And we’ll be doing 112 knots all the way!!”
See how easy that was ? At this speed you’ll even have time to look outside and see that Class Delta airport you just flew over. While it’s no Bonanza, basic cross country nav was one thing the Yak 52 was designed to teach its Russian students.
Aaah, a simpler time.
Call us if you’d like to chat about ‘Steam’ gauges, because we love ’em (especially that Clock!). And if you need to squeeze the hole for that Tri Gauge just a little bit to the right to make room for a bitchen G3, we have you covered too.
But for some listeners, that same Man at the gate sees the spectre they’ve been privately avoiding for years. Those same fortunate few who braved the uncertainties of owning & flying Russian & Chinese metal in the import boom of the early nineties have been enjoying their Yaks now for nearly 25 years. These days they have more pressing priorities than replacing Banjo crush washers or getting upside down in the front cockpit & impaling themselves on the control column. They’re thinking about getting out of flying.
If this is you, look out beyond the gate of the Year and see if you can’t find a ‘Child of the Magenta Line’ to take over your Yak. They’ll get their damn head out of the cockpit and, who knows, they might even learn how Pilots use rudders.
What’s a Ryan ST-3KR got to do with Yaks and the Yak Collection?
Hmmm, an entry-level Warbird ? The Round Engine? Drop-dead gorgeous kerb appeal ?
Bottom line is - partnerships in this baby are available. The Tail number is N46234 and right now the plane’s at KMYF with a longing to move North to Ramona. The owner’s biz is taking him out of Country too much and he thinks the Ryan should be flown more.
He’s looking for two partners each with a $25K share.
With a 5 cylinder Kinner R-5 up front and the well-recognized livery of the PT-22 Recruit, you’ll be keeping a tradition alive..because from 1941 to 1942, Ryan Aeronautical produced 1,023 PT-22s right here in San Diego.
An Electrical system ? - psshaww. That’s sooooh 2018.
A Starter ? Come on, this is from the time before 'children of Magenta Line' (on the GPS), REAL pilots, you remember them...You'll finally learn to hand prop with confidence...
There's a handheld with an external antenna, and Operations in class Delta airspace are approved.
Feel there’s a white scarf and a leather helmet in your future ? People, this is not a dress rehearsal...Summer is just around the corner. For details on how you can become a partner in this plane, call John at 619 933-2571
Apart from meeting a whole lot of cool people in need of gently used Yak parts, another upside to parting out a 52 is pimping your own ride.
As you may already know, the factory just started making 52's one day with sheet metal control surfaces. Nobody can quite tell why. A couple of years later, just as mysteriously, they stopped. Doomed to short lives in service, these Sheet metal control surfaces are seen quite rarely now in stock tricycle-gear 52's
By the time Czech Mate, (the Red, Black and White and checkered 52 which can be spotted in these pages), came into my life, its previous owners had already switched the Rudder and Elevators to Fabric at great expense, due to plentiful cracks in the sheet metal. And as for my sheet metal Ailerons, it's not a matter of if, just when. So a pair of fabric covered ailerons from the parts Yak have been reserved for the day Czech Mate goes to the auction block and its next owner.
Similarly, a low time V530 paddle prop and hub came with the Parts Yak, and today it is featured at a discounted price under the main page's 'shop' button, so please check it out!
It's been doing stellar service for the last two weeks while Czech Mate's original prop and hub received a makeover.
Whirlwind Propeller, right here at KSEE, do an amazing job of refurbishing tired V530 Paddle prop blades. Two weeks after I dropped them off, mine were standing there at Jim Rust's shop, wrapped in clear poly, showing off their crisp white paint, red tips and that amazing Nickel leading edge.
Vlad Yestremski, meanwhile, had been rebuiding the hub. In the short animation below,
you can see a grey colored cylinder behind the red piston which turns linear movement into blade rotation. It is lined with an impregnated Baekelite-type material which, where I come from, used to be called Tufnol.
Grasp your Vperod blades by the counterweights, and notice some rotational play as you apply opposing forces around the blade axis. (Do this after the engine has run and oil is in the hub). That movement you feel is largely due to wear of the integral Tufnol sleeve inside this grey collar.
If you were ever a Lycoming owner in a previous life, you might have been in awe of how the diminutive IO360 could not only produce 200 HP but also how its matched Hartzell or McCauley put that out through just 2 blades. Then the 390 upped it to over 100 HP per blade. But all this time, humble Vperods have been quietly shovelling 180HP per blade into Yaks slipstream, so, being sized for the job, it's no surprise the Vperod Hub is a beefy piece of kit.
That axial blade play mentioned above, which comes with age, allows the blades to have slight variation in their angles of attack under power and is thus a significant source of in-flight vibration.
If you subscribe to the Red Star Pilots Association's quarterly magazine RED ALERT, in Summer 2017's issue, Socal Propeller balance wizard Jim Fackler wrote an excellent article about the method and history of Propellers' dynamic balancing. He's quoted here:
"In physical terms, each 0.1 IPS equals about .001" physical displacement of the propeller at 2000 RPM. The average out-of-balance on an M-14 or Housai is about 0.4 IPS with the real shakers coming in at 0.6 IPS and up."
As you can see on the instrument readout for Jim's final balance....
the combined Vlad/Whirlwind/Fackler therapy resulted in .01 IPS. To sit in the plane, it certainly feels like you are, by Yak standards, sitting on the couch.
" Honey, I need two beers, one with the top off...and Hey, where's the remote?"
Yeah, might as well dream at the airport, because that dog don't hunt at home. Ah well...
Thanks Vlad, Jim and Jim.
A happy customer.