Bud Nosen 1933 Gere Sport 1/3 Scale Biplane, Rescue & Rebuild

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Yet another project has found it's way to my shop, this time a 1/3 scale biplane, the Gere Sport by Bud Nosen in 1/3 scale. Although I'm (probably) not starting this project soon I decided to start a thread for it now. That gives me a chance to think out loud about this project and how I want to complete it. It's a pretty big bird, only slightly shorter than my 1/3 scale Cessna 152, but with much more wing surface. First pic was found online, it's NOT my plane (unfortunately). Note that this one doesn't have the outboard wing struts - I'm not sure if they are required or not, but mine is set up to use them and I think it adds a lot of character to the plane so I'll make them (eventually).


Fresh out of my mobile hangar and sitting on my wife's car for scale. The cowl isn't installed in this pic. My pre-inspection found no real major issues other than the covering. I assume it's very old Solar Tex. The plane has been sitting in a basement for probably a decade or more and the covering has started to get "fuzzy", loose, and generally bad, but the structure inside looks very good.


To inspect the inside for mold and other issues I peeled back the covering on the turtle deck, which came off with minimal resistance. The glue is long since dried up. No signs of mold or mildew inside the plane, so far so good!


A close up of one of the ailerons shows you what I'm dealing with. This was one of the worst spots, and most of the plane just had a light film on the outside. The inside of the covering looked fine.


Before I move the plane from the garage into my basement I wanted to remove as much old covering as possible. It took about an hour and the biggest headaches came from removing the covering around hinges, as expected. With covering removed I only found 2 or 3 dry glue joints and minimal damage on the right horizontal stabilizer. There are two breaks in the wood and one diagonal piece that needs to be re-glued. When the covering was installed this damage wasn't noticeable. Fixing these spots will be quick and easy, thankfully.


And with 99% of the covering removed the parts will be left to air-out in the garage for a few days before moving down to the basement shop. I'm extremely happy with how the plane looks now that the covering is gone. There is FAR less damage than I'm used to seeing on rescue projects, although there are a few "WTF" areas, such as aileron control horns screwed directly into balsa without plywood for strength. The plane came with a gas engine, which I think used to be in a Homelite chainsaw. It'd be around 30cc which MIGHT be enough to get this plane in the air, but instead the tentative plan is to use one of my old-school Quadra 50cc engines for it. Covering will be the appropriate fabric-style, probably from Balsa USA.


Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
I thought the engine that came with the plane looked familiar. Pictured here along with the engine from my old Homelite XL chainsaw. It might be barely enough to get this plane in the air, but I don’t plan on using it. Most likely I’ll rebuild the carb and then see if it fires.