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Yankee Papa Repaint 2008-09



It's been a long time since YP had any serious paintwork, and in 2008 we decided it was time to spruce her up. There were lots of places where the paint was beginning to peel and we worried that if we left her then corrosion would set in. We also had a feeling that previous paint jobs had been on top of old paint. so a strip down to bare metal was thought to be the best choice. This would also allow us to pick up any problems in the skin that might be masked by paint.

YP   YP   YP
At Dunkeswell for quotation   A visit to Kemble   Booker Expo 2008


Where to go for a good paint job

After deciding to go ahead, the next task was to find a good paint shop at a reasonable price. After much research we decided to use FlyMoore Aircraft Engineering at Dunkeswell. There were three reasons that led to this decision:


  1. They quoted a very competitive price.
  2. They use a dry stripping technique that does not damage the surface of the metal, nor any exposed areas such as perspex, but completely removes the paint. As far as we can tell, this is the only operation in the UK to use this technique. Paint stripper can get into panel joints and behind rivets and cause corrosion to eat in under the new paint scheme.
  3. We visited FlyMoore so they could confirm the quotation after examining YP. We were suitably impressed at the time by the attention to detail and pride in their work.


What paint scheme to have

With a group of 12, there was the potential for long and bitter discussions over colour and pattern. To help members to decide, one of the group posted a set of photographs on the web site to illustrate how a 150 would look in all sorts of different schemes. This was followed by a set of drawings with a number of traditional and more modern designs. Here's a sample:


Drawing Drawing Drawing Drawing
Drawing Drawing Drawing Drawing
Drawing Drawing Drawing Drawing
Drawing Drawing Drawing Drawing


The majority of the group voted for staying with blue, with the others then agreeing. This is the scheme we chose:




The only remaining question was whether the scheme would work as well in 3-D as in a 2-D drawing. One member then produced a model in this scheme, proving that it should work OK.


YP   YP   YP


Ferry to Dunkeswell

On 22nd November 2008 Yankee Papa set off for Dunkeswell. She wasn't too keen to leave Popham for quite so long, and arranged for a snow storm diversion to Compton Abbas on the way. However she did get there that day after the weather cleared and our member enjoyed a flight back to Popham in the back of a friend's PA-28.


Interim Flying Arrangements

The group is extremely grateful to Wiltshire Aircraft Maintenance at Popham for the loan of one of their 150s - G-ATNL - for the period of YP's absence.


At Dunkeswell after stripping

10th December 2008, Yankee Papa was stripped and we went down to see her 'in the buff.' There had been up to 8 coats of paint on the fuselage! It will be interesting to see how much she weighs when finished...




Some TLC Before Painting

Overall, YP proved to be in pretty good shape for a 35 year old airframe. As expected there were some areas of corrosion that could be easily treated, with only a couple of small panels needing replacement and a few rivets with missing heads.


YP   YP   YP

There were some bits of trim that needed to be replaced, because they had been repaired before and would be more expensive to repair again than to replace. There were some more pieces of trim that we would ideally like to change if we could afford it. These were items that were basically sound but would detract from the final finish. With some UK parts prices up to 3 to 4 times prices in the U.S. we sourced the essential items from Texas Aeroplastics. These were the rudder top and butt caps, the wingtips (only one needed replacement but we decided to go with the pair), the fin strake cap and the steering rod boots, which come from Texas in Kevlar.


YP   YP   YP


Ideally we would have replaced all of the other pieces of trim at the same time (elevator / stabilizer tips) but costs do add up, and we needed to wait for the final bill before we could decide on buying these additional parts.


The shipping process did not go quite as cleanly as it should have. Texas Aeroplastics did a great job of getting the parts out of the door and into the hands of FedEx very quickly. The order was placed 18th December, they were shipped 29th on a two day express basis, arriving on January 6th instead of December 31st. As a result we were able to reclaim the shipping costs from FedEx.


Another Problem or Two

With the paint removed, a small hydraulic leak was spotted coming through a couple of rivets under the cabin floor. The seats and the cabin floor were removed to investigate, there were some minor seeps that were repaired. The seepage would not account for the amount of fluid, it is more likely that the system was over-filled or fluid spilled during filling.


One part that proved in need of replacement was the port stabiliser leading edge. At some point long ago it had been dinged, and the damage filled and painted over. When this was first noticed after stripping, a replacement part was in stock in the U.K. By the time it was ordered the stock had gone and the parts supplier ordered a replacement from Cessna. This took some time to be ready for shipment, Cessna then missed their weekly airfreight to the UK with it so it was delayed again. Annoyingly once we heard about the delay we did a search on the Web and found one in stock at a U.S. supplier, but by that time it was too late to cancel the part from Cessna.



By mid-February Yankee Papa had been painted. The paint process was delayed a little thanks to heavy snow in Devon. We had to modify the paint scheme slightly, as the trim down the fin would on reflection have looked a bit odd continuing just a short way onto the fuselage. The front was raised slightly to keep it all on the vertical surfaces.


Preview during re-assembly


Incorrect registration letter spacing


Unfortunately the font used for the registration lettering was not as specified, and the letters were spaced at half width and not quarter width. After discussion regarding the interpretation of CAP523 with FlyMoore they agreed to redo the registration and light blue trim. This did mean a further delay in completion.



Ignoring the need to repaint some of the fuselage, the final stage before weight & balance and a test flight is reassembly. Inevitably the gremlins conspired to delay YP's repatriation. Whilst fitting the elevators what appeared on disassembly to be part of the outer hinge on one side turned out to be a washer imbedded in the bracket. The bottom line was that had this gone unnoticed then one of the group might possibly have had an interesting time in the skies over Hampshire. The line below the bottom line is that the whole leading edge / front spar assembly has had to be replaced, and it's riveted from the inside so the elevator had to be opened up. The part was received and fitted, at considerable cost both for the part and the labour - thanks to Cessna for no longer supplying just the hinge bracket, which as can be seen in the photos is riveted separately to the assembly!


The offending elevator hinge


Registration Repainted


After rework, the registration was reapplied correctly, and YP was finally ready for collection! The smaller spacing between letters really does make a huge difference.




Return to Popham

On March 21st 2009 two members set off for Dunkeswell in NL to collect YP. In spite of the murky conditions the ferry flights were uneventful. YP took the longer route south of Compton Abbas, whilst NL returned in a straight line overhead Yeovilton and Boscombe Down. YP still arrived 10 minutes earlier!



Once we'd got YP back, we did have a few thoughts on the whole painting exercise, including:


- It always takes longer than planned. First estimate said we'd have YP back before Christmas. We collected March 21st.

- It always costs more than planned. In our case nearly twice as much. That said, had we not spent the extra money at this stage, it would have been even more costly later. There were problems hidden by the old paint that would possibly not have become apparent until too late.

- You can source parts yourself much more cheaply than UK prices, and often a lot more quickly. Where a parts supplier in the UK may order a non-stock item from the manufacturer, it might be possible to find a supplier via the Internet with a part in stock. Importing parts yourself is not a problem, just take into account that you will have to pay VAT and duty on parts sourced outside the EU, plus shipping costs. Do make sure your paint shop is happy for you to do that, and if not maybe you should go elsewhere with the work. We were able to save quite a bit on some parts, but late communication did mean on a couple of occasions parts being ordered via UK suppliers at a higher price and, with non-cancellation clauses, delaying the job by weeks.

- If you can, find somewhere not too far from base. It's much easier to communicate in person, it's much better to be able to watch the progress and discuss problems as they occur. An hour each way by air did mean we couldn't visit as often as we'd have liked.

- Provide good drawings of your paint scheme, and make it clear that you must be consulted if any deviations are needed. If the paint shop changes something and you don't like it, remember you have to live with the final result for as long as you own the aeroplane.

- Make sure you are happy with the paint stripping methods used. We went for the dry powder strip. It is non-corrosive, causes no damage to the structure, but tends to get in everywhere. We found quantities inside door panels, caked on the engine, and most worryingly in the overhead face vents, causing P1 to get an eyeful when he opened the vent for the first time during flight. Also worrying when YP went in for her annual - there was a large quantity of powder in the rear fuselage, control pulleys and cables were caked in it, wheel bearings grinding and the air filter clogged with it. Traditional paint stripper is corrosive, and needs to be thoroughly cleaned off. It can creep into panel joints and cause long-term damage from the inside, so make sure if you go that way that you closely inspect the stripped and cleaned airframe to ensure it's all been removed.

- Watch out for that same problem that also seems to happen quite often if you take your car to another garage. Things that were no problem to your previous mechanics become an issue for the new garage and must be fixed straight away. Likewise when you return to your old garage, the question is raised as to why you went elsewhere at all.






This is the story of YP's respray!