Poor Little Bird With a Busted Wing

Written by Burl on July 7th, 2012

Looking around Dillingham Field yesterday, I spotted this J5A Piper tied down on the flight line. It had obviously been there a long, long time. The struts were so rusted that the landing gear collapsed, bending the port wingtip. It reminded me of those annoyingly sad television commercials for injured, abandoned pets in which Sarah MacLachlan moans minor-key dirges. The Piper’s airworthiness sticker was dated 1984, and when I looked up the FAA NC number, I discovered that she had been built in 1941, belonged to somebody in Washington state, and the registration is due to expire in two months. I wonder if she’s repairable?


5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Damon says:

    Whoa… and I bitch about folks leaving behind their rusted out cars. This looks like a treasure of some sorts… there must be something useable still!

  2. Dean says:

    Almost anything can be made airworthy.

    Just takes time and money… and a will to make it happen.

  3. Bert Kinzey says:

    Now this is really sad, not to mention wasteful. What I wouldn’t give to have that little plane in flyable condition. I could even fly it as a LSU aircraft without the medical I can no longer obtain. Certainly, this is no way to treat, or mistreat, and airplane.

  4. John Alger says:

    The covering is amazingly intact for an aircraft that has not been touched in nearly 30 years. If it has done as good a job protecting the main airframe then it might not be such a huge project to rebuild. The corrosion is the big issue obviously – if the airframe is is like the gear you might as well start with a set of plans and new tubing!

    Likely the owner has passed away and the heirs either were not aware of it or forgot about it. Does anyone at Dillingham know anything about it Burl?

  5. vonmerpf says:

    A 1941 Piper with severe rust damage? Yikes! I know its tempting Burl, but I think you should just back away. Even if you got it for free, it would still cost you a bunch to make it airworthy (if that is even possible at this point). Paint it OD green and make it into a static display at the museum…

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