Steve Kuchera

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Steve_Kuchera.jpg (95828 bytes)

wingtank.jpg (40102 bytes) Wing tank
TearDown1a.JPG (53457 bytes) Ugly plane
BareFueslage001a.JPG (33861 bytes) Ready for transport to Greg's shop
GregsHangera.JPG (47972 bytes) Arrival at Greg's hanger. Plenty of good looking Challengers there
BareFuselage003a.JPG (49517 bytes) Sitting inside Greg's shop ready for work to begin
BareFuselage002a.JPG (43205 bytes) Damaged tubing removed. Engine removed and all the old wiring. New Hotbox in place but didn't like the location. Changed in later photo's.  New dash being drawn up using the existing gauges.
BatteryBoxa.JPG (49000 bytes) New battery box, mount on the cross tube pedal stop." Still haven't changed the HotBox yet.
HotBox001a.JPG (41190 bytes) I Discussed with Greg my dislike of the hotbox being on the side. I figured it would be to easy to hit with a persons foot when getting in. This is the solution I came up with. I like the position and Greg thought of the arched tubes. I was just going to put something straight across. Plenty of room now and you would have to really reach up with your feet to hit it. Across from the HotBox is where I put my plugins for the radio and G.P.S. There on the same circuit and with have there own switch on the dash.
HotBox002a.JPG (39116 bytes) Another view of the HotBox showing how it will also clear the cone in that location. The nice thing I found out about the HotBox is that it includes wiring for your EGT and CHT. Probes connect to the wires in back and there is a bus bar that hooks up the wiring to the guages.  No more separate wires running to the back. All part of the Harness
GregKlempA.JPG (43001 bytes) " The Boss" Greg, stopped by to see how work was progressing. In the back ground is a CII with wing tanks 582 with the new style radiator Greg Developed. It lays almost flat across the wing, Has a built in oil reservoir. It also has a Maxheater on it. EIS engine system. 17 gallon tank.  BRS chute. This plane is for a GA pilot who is taking it to Colorado. The plane in the corner is a project someone started and lost interest in. You can't see from here but there is 3 other fuselage's hanging from the ceiling. 6 total with mine in there."
Metalseats001a.JPG (28072 bytes) I didn't like the sling seats. Couldn't fly very long with getting the sore butt syndrome. So Greg formed these seats fo me. installing them took about a day
Metalseats002a.JPG (28203 bytes) New seats with storage underneath. It's enough for oil, maps, spare plugs. The depth is about 2 3/4 inches deep. There is a Z channel in front to elevate the seat off the controls. I drilled a hole through th tray to have acess to the stick. I Also built one for the back seat
NoseWheel1a.JPG (35415 bytes) Well everybody has an idea for a nose wheel. I got this from a guy who lives near OshKosh. Works great. The spring is a valve spring off a disel engine. What looks like bent tubing attached to it, are the brake cables
EngineFormers001a.JPG (37202 bytes) One thing I found out, changing plugs on the Challenger is a pain. I saw another plane like this and found it worked out great. I took off the top former, took a piece of 1/2 tube and placed it in between the upper and lower tubes. That gave me my spacing. Then measured and cut the vertical tube off at that location. then I cut light weight aluminum and made a bottom and side for the engine area
EngineFormers002a.JPG (46368 bytes) More metal for the back end sealing the engine from the tank area
Engineheaters001a.JPG (45034 bytes) Engineheaters002a.JPG (37021 bytes) I like the idea of a cleaner looking heater system inside the plane also something with better flow. So I put in these 3 inch Dia. aluminum gas vent tubes. I will still be using short lengths of dryer hose from the engine down to these  tubes.
Metalside002a.JPG (27683 bytes) Metalside005a.JPG (22904 bytes) This is something I thought about for a long time. The high side looks too angular, so I wanted to soften the look. I added this aluminum valley tin to the sides. It also blends in with the nose cone better. I sanded the side so the batting will glue to the metal. I also cut holes for the Rony bracket and pedal mounts
BattingA.JPG (40465 bytes) Batting added on the tubing before covering the sides.
DoorMod001a.JPG (40961 bytes) Door mods. The subject always comes up. So I thought I would include these pics of what It looks like before and how easy it is to do.  The vertical 1/2 inch pieces were bent to match the doors. installing them just behind the doors about 3/8's gap. I used gussets similar to the ones on the wing ribs, attached the tubes on top. I just bent the gussets over the door mount on top by the cross brace and riveted them to the vertical tubes. I added a brace about mid point to keep them from bowing when I ironed the fabric. The whole project took just a couple of hours.
DoorMod002a.JPG (46064 bytes) This shows the top piece running from the rear down tubes to the door mount.  It replaces the metal formers that the fabric attached to. To attach them in front I bought some 17/ 32 thin wall tubing From a company called (Metal Works) to slide over the top of the tubing It comes in 1 foot lengths. Cutting it in half it will be enough for both sides. I drilled out the rivets from the cross piece and slid the thin wall tubing over the top to the hinge. Then slid the new cross piece into that and riveted it. Flattened the  opposite end and riveted that to the rear down tubes.
DoorMod004a.JPG (56065 bytes) This is what it looks like with the fabric on. I added small angles on top from the new door mount across To the down tubes that go behind the rear seat. It gave some structure for the fabric to attach to
Dash004a.JPG (54433 bytes) The NEW dash. I wanted something different than the thin wood supplied. I drew up want I wanted and Greg cut the holes for me.
Dash006a.JPG (49126 bytes) Here is the Dash installed and Powdered coated. I designed it with the thought of having everything on the Dash. All in one place. Holes are drilled behind the radio and G.P.S. to allow power cables to run thru to the Cig. lighter box under the dash. No more worries about dead batteries. I also have holes in back if I choose to have remote antennas.  Switches aren't labeled yet but they are from left to right, Master, Fuel pump, Radios, Strobes, Landing lights.
17GLtank001a.JPG (38662 bytes)
17Gltank002a.JPG (30536 bytes)
Ah yes, the 17 gallon fuel tank I talk about so much. Here is the view from the front. It rests on 2 pieces of  1 inch angle attached to the frame underneath. On top is just a small piece to keep it from moving. The rear seat tube keeps it from moving forward.  The tank is wedged shaped with the narrow part towards the rear. The angles underneath create a channel and keep it from going back.  Filler neck is on top and if you look at the side you can see a hose and barb that has an elbow that goes into the tank. It's for the breather. It also goes down to another barb that has an elbow on it also, this makes the sight gauge to read fuel level. There is an outlet on the bottom for a drain. I ran mine along under the rear seat to a shut off valve and out the bottom. You can take the tank out after the fabric is on. Just remove the top brace and seat brace, fuel and drain lines, and it slides right out
ReadyForPaint002a.JPG (31000 bytes) Well skipping ahead, here it is ready for paint. Extra tapes are all put on where the metal would touch. I also installed inspection covers for access to the fuel pump.
GumpsFly-in001a.JPG (33567 bytes) Here it is in Flying form. I couldn't decide what type of accent paint to put on it, so for now it's just white. This was at a fly-in just outside of Oshkosh. If you look above my plane you'll see the Ford Tri-motor.  I wanted to capture both planes in the image.
GumpsFly-in002a.JPG (36368 bytes) Here is a picture of My plane and Greg's plus another excellent plane owned by Russ Manicelli at Iola. We flew to Iola where the big car show is and had breakfast. Then on to another field for competition. It was hot and humid all day. Thermals were are real bear. I hit 500 ft per minute thermals on the way home, what a ride. 200 mile round trip.
Landing_lights1a.JPG (18830 bytes) Landing_lights2a.JPG (19921 bytes) Guys on the list were asking about landing lights. Well here is my solution. These are Large 55 watt driving lights from Wal-Mart. I could have gone with the smaller ones but they didn't seem right. Glad I chose these. They give off plenty of light.
skucera16.jpg (38474 bytes) Paint job finished.

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