top of page

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

It's funny looking at these pics now...

That spring morning, I approached the garage with "attitude".

I was bent on "getting rid of stuff".

As "Deconstruction for Disposal" continued, I decided to snap all of these pics just for my own future reference.

The process of disassembly brought back memories of the days when it came together.

C-IRCA was prototyped, often drawing from a pile of surplus materials from the Birdman Enterprises' Ultralight prototype boneyard!

All tubing used here have the familiar "Matte Oxide" colour of anodized tubing that Birdman used. The the 0.080 fittings at station 118 had 'extra holes' in them and I recognized them as having been repurposed from previous prototypes.

Although a bit 'grimy' from years of storage, the fabric was reasonably preserved. I decided to save the original "warrior" artwork painted on the sides by Dennis Maland (our test pilot) , who also happened to be a talented graphic artist!

The whole philosophy of the design was that it could be built economically; with parts and material substitutions (where not critical); based on what you have on hand.

...I had always wondered.. why was this forward fuselage member fastened with a castle nut???

.. I later realized while rummaging through the AN hardware parts cabinet ...

(which was Graham's personal "cache" back in the day)

...that he just happened to have a handful of 2 1/2 Drilled eyebolts . An eyebolt placed inside a tube, and bolted orthogonally thru the eye, was one of Graham's "tricks" for attaching cross members in a structure.

Absolutely stunning examples of the Nieuport have been built, including one or two Grand Champion show winners, but this prototype, was strictly a "beer budget" proof of concept aircraft.

....Well, fuselage stripped bare. Hopefully the metal recyclers will take it as is. I don't want to have to start drilling out all those rivets.... ???

I'm reminded of the day in around 1983 on the shop floor at Birdman Enterprises. Graham constructed a pop riveted structure with some scrap 7/8ths for "longerons" and 1/2" trusses. He then jumped up on it... ok he was only 5ft 4 and 120lbs, but... (Im more 'ballast' than that here) and after 38 years, still pretty rigid!

Having worked off my "get rid of stuff" funk for the day... I realized I had to at least stow everything back in the garage ... until I could arrange for started piling things back together.


.. It was the following weekend my local MDRA (Canadian homebult inspector) came by to look at my N12 project...

.. I decided I would keep the project , packed the items up and prepared for the move to my new place.

More to follow!...

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

A recent move prompted me to "declutter my garage". I looked at old C-IRCA, and thought seriously of sending all that aluminum to the recyclers. There are many flying examples of the Nieuport out there, did it really need to fly again?

BUT...A recent visit from my local Canadian Designated Homebuilt Inspector (who came to look at my Nieuport 12 project) Encouraged me to "do something with the '11." Almost 40 years on, I realized the N11 was a special little airplane. And so, I decided to commit to putting C-IRCA Airworthy again.

There is a lot to consider:

THE PROJECT: C-IRCA has not flown practically since it's debut at Oshkosh 1984. Many parts have been cannibalized, and are missing. There's transportation and hanger rash of some parts. Of course sitting for all these years, every structure needed to be disassembled and recovered .

ENGINE CHOICE: C-IRCA flew behind a twin cylinder Cuyuna 430 stroke engine, which Graham had salvaged from an old Birdman enterprises ultralight. (He had a knack for extracting use out of stuff others "throw away") .. But That's long gone, nor have I desire to fly behind one if I COULD find an airworthy example. Many N11 examples have flown with the 503 Rotax... but of course - as of 2023... That engine has also long been discontinued.

Still undecided! Options are still a good ol VW with reduction...

Hirth have some 2 stroke options, ... The little F23; 50 HP boxer packs a punch in a compact size, At only 78 lbs , light weight is normally a good thing, but for the Nieuport's blunt nose, balance will require some care in keeping the tail light...

Im also eyeing the Verner 5 Cylinder radials. ("pricey, but fits nicely.." ) .... the Scarlett 5VL IS still available.... and 60 HP with a dry weight of ~ 120 lbs, is compelling. It requires all the provisions needed for a Radial Engine.. big bonus in the looks and sounds category... I will revisit this as the project goes along.

LOCAL AIRSPACE: The Greater Vancouver Area is a complicated, and busy airspace, with several regional airports in proximity. If C-IRCA is to fly here, it will need a transponder, radio and a complement of instruments... Hanger space is at a premium. I will also need a grass strip to operate out of. Well - the 7/8 Nieuport is a small aircraft and CAN be packed up on a small trailer and stored in the garage! (Cue the Dawn Patrol - "Trailer Weenies" image )

A visit to the local Delta Airpark CAK3 answered the latter question; An online visit to Aircraft Spruce and other sites verified costs and availability for the former. (tho I can just hear my father grumbling about Govt. regulation and "costs" of compliance. ) No matter, this isn't rural Alberta, it's the 'cost' of sport aviation if you live in this Beautiful City.

....MORE TO FOLLOW: I've been "at this" for several months, I will organize some photos and (attempt to ) organize my thoughts as the project progresses. Thanks!! Mike.

bottom of page