Greg Piehl, who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with his wife Debbie, spent three years restoring and upgrading their 1959 Piper Comanche 250. After 34 years, the first flight of N6494P took place at Zephyrhills Airport, three days before leaving on a trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, just in time for AirVenture in July and August 2021. This is part six of seven parts.
We’re starting to reach the point where things are coming back together in the restoration of this Comanche.
It’s time to stop and pay homage to the people who built these amazing airplanes. Greg Piehl is upgrading and restoring a lot of things, obviously. But that doesn’t mean there was something terribly wrong in the first place.
“I’m 66 years old, so I grew up in the era of drafting tables,” said Piehl, who is an engineer. “Now, I’m going from drafting tables to CAD drawings. When I look back at how they designed and built this, I envision these guys wearing a white shirt, skinny black tie, and a pocket protector, standing over their drafting table, designing this stuff, and it’s incredible to me. You can’t put everything together like you can with a CAD drawing and see how it works.”
It was important that the plane was well-built because you can’t just go about revising just anything you’d like to. “You can’t make improvements in a certified airplane, but all this stuff worked, and it works well,” Piehl pointed out.
One point that Piehl makes in this particular article: You can’t take too many pictures during breakdown/disassembly.
“You cannot have too many pictures, or too many parts labeled. I brought big boxes of Ziploc bags and markers to Turners Falls (see the earlier parts of this series) to label things, because some of these things were going to sit around for years; I wanted to know where they went.”Greg Piehl
Subscribe today to read the entire series, which chronicles:
- How to Disassemble and Transport a Legacy Piper
- How and Why to Strip Your Plane Yourself Before it Gets Repainted
- Restoring the Interior of a Legacy Piper: How You Can Save Money
- Comanche Panel Upgrades
- Comanche Engine and Mounts: What Happens During an Upgrade
- Comanche Reassembly: What a Legacy Piper Looks Like When It’s Taken Apart
- 1959 Comanche Fully Restored
What you will learn in this installment:
- What does the nose landing gear actually do?
- What does a Knots 2U Ararapaho Dorsal Fin look like?
- What does the inside of a wing look like?
Also at the bottom of this article are videos showing the landing gear working again after the restoration.
Quotes in the captions are from Piehl.
Landing Gear RestorationThe rest of this extensive series including more than a hundred photos can be seen only by paid members who are logged in.
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