VG-21 Squadron



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Photos from the VG-21 Salome, Arizona Fly-In

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Photos from the VG-21 Santa Maria, California Fly-In May 2006

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The following plane is a Varga Kachina 2180 (180 hp).  It was originally sent to Switzerland where it was used for Glider towing. 

Click on the picture to see  photos after a rebuilding/restoration effort in Germany.  

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Salvay Skyhopper

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Notice the resemblance to a Morrisey?

Morrisey Model 2000

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Morrisey Bravo

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Shinn Postcard

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Varga Drawings

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Montanair_rt_front_1.jpg (82265 bytes)In December of 1987 Max moved to Montana with his family to build Varga airplanes again. His first task was to modernize the design. The following pictures are the result of the changes he made to the original Varga. After the new "Montanair Spirit" was completed and flown in September of 1988, it was decided that there was too much risk and too little profit to proceed with production so Max returned to his job at McDonnell Douglas in January of 1989.



This right front view of the Montanair "Spirit" shows some of the changes from the original Varga model that were made to the nose of the airplane.  The spinner is a duplicate of a 14" diameter unit used on a Piper Cherokee 180. The Varga has a 12" diameter spinner from the Piper Cherokee 140. The "Spirit" propeller is also the same as that used on the Cherokee 180, which is a 76" Sensenich with a 60" pitch a 1.25" spacer. The Varga 2180 has a 76" diameter 60" pitch Sensenich propeller without a spacer. The nose cowl is similar in construction to the original Varga, but the fiberglass nose bowl is Max's own design and the firewall shape was changed to make the cowl fit better around the 0-360 180 hp Lycoming engine.

fuselage_mod_640x480.jpg (111775 bytes)This drawing shows the 3 inch fuselage stretch forward of the wing leading edge.  This stretching and lowering of the forward pedals 1.5" added significantly more leg room for the pilot. The forward pedals given a 4" adjustment range to accommodate both short and tall pilots.


Montanair_lft_frnt_1.jpg (64549 bytes)This left side view shows the shape of the canopy and the new vertical tail. The original canopy frame shape was retained to make retrofitting easier. The canopy glass was designed to be tallest at the pilots head and the same height as the original Varga above the passengers head. The vertical tail was moved aft more than two feet and and rudder area added below the horizontal tail in an effort to improve spin recovery. The dorsal fin was added only for appearance. (It should be noted that, as certified, the original Varga WILL NOT SPIN (OK, maybe a stalled spiral), but during Varga 2180 certification flight testing several degrees of increased elevator travel were added and we experienced an unrecoverable spin. The extra elevator travel was removed and spin tests proceeded without incident.)

montana_lft_frnt_2.jpg (41707 bytes)The left front view again shows the nose cowl, prop and spinner.  The carburetor air inlet box was installed in the left cooling air inlet and ducted to a new carburetor heat box.


montana2_lft_tail.jpg (41236 bytes)This close-up of the vertical tail shows the relatively large aero counter-balance, the rudder area under the horizontal tail and the split elevator. The aero counter-balance and elimination of the rudder centering were intended to reduce rudder pressure, which they did. Max left Montanair before completion of their spin testing, but his understanding is that these modifications by themselves had little or no effect on spin recovery with increased elevator travel.

This picture of the pilot's left side panel shows the new throttle, pedal adjustment, and the revised flap handle.  Moving the instrument panel forward 4� allowed space to move the throttle forward . This seemed to me to be a comfortable position and allowed more space between the new diameter trim wheel and the throttle.

Montanair_swtch_pnl_1.jpg (82905 bytes)This right side interior photo shows some of the new instrument panel, the glare shield left by moving the instrument panel forward 4 inches, the location of the cabin air inlet and the revised switch/fuse panel layout. The cabin air inlet location was changed to avoid cutting holes in the canopy glass. The new position on both sides of the glare shield turned out to provide very good air flow to the pilot and even a little to the passenger.  The switch panel shape was changed to allow a hinge attachment so that the panel could swing in to allow for changes or maintenance without removing the exterior side panel. The fuses were to be replaced with circuit breakers at a later time, but I never got to it.  The handle with the red knob was for canopy ejection. 

montana_pilot_floor.jpg (54434 bytes)This photo of the pilot's floor shows the relocation of the fuselage truss side load diagonal members (to below the floor) and the two piece fiberglass floor panel with heel wells.


Montanair_trim_1.jpg (75201 bytes)The drive sprocket on the Montanair elevator trim control was reduced from a 14 tooth to a 10 tooth sprocket and the added trim wheel has a 3" radius instead of the 2" handle on the Varga.  This reduces the force required for pitch trim (especially nose down) and makes finer trim adjustments  easier. One negative consequence of these changes is that it is now possible to turn the handle 360 degrees which makes a separate trim indicator desirable.



Tawa, the Sun Spirit Kachina

A friendly god who travels through the sky each day

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