Sept '23 C-IRCA Restoration Project
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.