Stewart 51 Partner LLC
June - July News and Events
OSHKOSH AirVenture 2022  

We did make it to Oshkosh with sample kit components and information, but, doggone it, no Beautiful Doll.

We had flown Doll in Bartow in early July to prove the changes we had made in the belly scoop area where Mike and Joe and Harry had cut down our 11 row oil cooler to a 6 row cooler, and added baffling to better influence the airflow past the oil cooler to the radiator.  These changes gave us more radiator and less oil cooler to move the oil temperature up and the coolant temperature down, especially on the ground.  Two flight tests and several ground runs showed we had improved those numbers.

Above, the cutdown oil cooler in front of the coolant radiator.

After those runs and flights, I loaded Doll and taxied out to depart to Montgomery to stage the plane for the trip to OSH, but on the runup for departure, the Electromotive Systems crank trigger wheel system was dead.  I taxied back, we jiggled some wires, she ran OK.  Consulting with Al Joniec, we theorized that the pickup sensor at the wheel was probably intermittently shorting, being twenty five years old.  Al ordered another sensor (not an Electromotive Systems unit - They are no longer in business) which we installed.  The ground run with the new sensor was unsatisfactory.

We then hard-wired past a quick disconnect on the harness and reinstalled the original unit and she ran OK again.  We then theorized that either the quick disconnect had been faulty, or that I had made some sort of mistake on the runup, not having the switch in the right position or some other error.  At any rate, I decided that I would taxi out for departure, and that if the systems checked OK before takeoff, I would launch.  The other ignition system, the MSD, was working fine this whole time.

The runup went fine, both ignitions, both fuel pumps, both batteries checked OK.  I took off, no problems, flew to Montgomery, no problems.  That was the Monday before Oshkosh.

I loaded Doll and cranked up for the ferry to Oshkosh on Friday morning, July 22nd.  On runup, the Electromotive was dead again.  I checked what I could check (switch continuity, power to unit, circuit breaker integrity, etc.), then threw my hat on the ground and resigned myself that Doll would have to sit in Montgomery for AirVenture 2022.  We have studied which system we should install to replace the Electromotive components, and are beginning to remove components to make the switch.

Crank Trigger Wheel sensor shown above.

Brain Box shown below.

Meanwhile, I had towed a trailer with S51 components from Pensacola to Oshkosh the Tuesday and Wednesday before the official opening and was in position Thursday morning to unload and set up our first display ever as an exhibitor at AirVenture.  My son Charlie, and his instructor, Bruce Sherwood, flew up to Oshkosh.  I climbed aboard and observed their trip back to Montgomery, from where I was going to fly Doll.  Given Doll couldn't go, I flew back up to OSH on my own, making Champagne, Illinois that Friday, then flying around some weather to get into OSH mid-morning Saturday.
No straight shot to Oshkosh this morning.
Once making Oshkosh, I was greatly aided by Mike Goransky, a Stewart S51 kit builder, and his buddy David Stone, then by his other buddy David Chambers.  They helped with setting up and housed me in their camper on the Airport grounds.  We made it through one helluva thunderstorm passage that evening, then enjoyed beautiful weather for the rest of the week.

We were also aided by Dennis Argetsinger, who is finishing a plans-built S51; Jim Czachorowski (kit builder and machinist extraordinaire and his wife Joanne; Jan Fronk, who is close to finishing his Stewart out in Utah; Neville Barrett, who is making final updates on his landing gear;  Jamon Pruitt, heart doctor from Arkansas who is working two kits; and two kit owners who have not started their projects.  Having Gorilla the whole time and Czach and Dennis available for several days to answer questions and explain the airplane to people was most helpful, and we enjoyed catching up with each other.

We had good traffic through the week, with some serious prospects and many other well-wishers.  The prevailing sentiment we heard from so many people was that they were glad to see the kit back in production and supported.  Several people who have been considering other replica Mustangs are now going to be throwing the Stewart into the mix.  All of the replicas are different in what they are intended to be.  Jim Stewart's S51 is the most sophisticated and expensive, but is, in many people's opinion, the most accurate replica going.  

Mike "Gorilla" Goransky below.
On the way back (16 hours of
I'd love to list and detail all of the interesting people who stopped by, but just can't.  One of note was Mr. Robert Young, who worked with Midwest Aero in Danville, Illinois in the 1990's, and who was actually in on the building of Beautiful Doll.  We visited with several people and companies who are interested in being builder assist providers.  Had a very interesting visit with an insurance underwriter familiar with the replica airplanes.
Finally, I had to leave Oshkosh and head on down to Pensacola with the trailer in tow.  Saw a lot of the back ends of trucks and a lot of bad pavement on Interstate Highways, but I did not see Chicago going or coming.

While driving through western Kentucky, I pulled off for fuel and discovered another trailer suspension problem.  The gentleman below, Owen Kyler, was a Godsend.  What a great guy!  I found him online, called him early Tuesday morning, he agreed to help me out, was ready to work on my problem when I limped in to his shop (he had offered to come to me, but my rig was ambulatory), made the repair right then, and allowed me to be on my way.

Turned out, Owen is a pilot, instrument rated, working on his commercial license, and owns a Piper Arrow!  How do you have any better luck with a breakdown that I had there?  No way I could have been any more blessed than to have broken in Cadiz, Kentucky.  By the way, Owen told me the State of Kentucky acknowledges the roads are in bad shape, damaging vehicles, and that I could apply for reimbursement for my repair expense!  I told Owen I'd let it pass, but I thought it interesting that a state government would have such a program.
Owen Kyler:  A Genuine Great American, in my opinion!
All in all, a good couple of weeks working the Oshkosh gig.  It'll wear you out, but I think it's worth it.