Airplane of the Month • September 2002

1959 Cessna 150 N5863E
N5863E 1959 Model: 150 Serial#: 17363
363 of 683, 1959 150's manufactured
363 of 21,404, 150's manufactured

The Story of N5863E:

Editors Notes: Fewer than 500 of this model are still flying.

By Owner Jim Dale: I purchased the plane in was in a hanger in NE Austin, TX and the wings were laying underneath the was painted solid red....looked like it had been everywhere.

I loaded it on a 16 foot trailer and moved it to Mueller airport in Austin and begin working on it. It had no engine as the previous owner had attempted a 150 HP conversion and the FAA did not approve his feeble efforts. A few weeks later I found a 63 Cessna with a pretty good engine but the rest was full of I had my engine....My Uncle was a retired A & P from Southeast Oklahoma college flight maintenance and he agreed to rebuild the engine for me and did a wonderful job... While that was going on I took the fuselage to my house and begin stripping it with Home Depot stripper...after that I took the wings one at a time and did the took nearly 6 months and nearly $500 dollars of stripper...later found out that the painter was only going to charge me $500 to do the stripping.

Since the cowling was modified for the other engine I had to find a new cowling to replace it as the original was no good...the new one used the shock mounts and these were put in on the fire wall....also moved the battery to the fire wall from inside behind the storage compartment. My son was working in Avionics and replace the plastic panel with a solid mount aluminum panel and relocated the instruments .....we were fortunate to get some perfect Collins radios ...

We installed all new windows all the way around. I chose the yellow scheme with the red sun burst from a plane that used to be highlighted in all the articles in the older AOPA magazine.....however it was an aerobat. The paint shop no longer exist but was located at the new airport in Austin....They did a fantastic job and polished the prop and did a lot of extras, but had one slightly major goof which was not detected at final inspection. I was to leave for Oshkosh on a Saturday in 1999 the day after they completed the paint job and got it all back together...I did the normal preflight and packed all my gear and started the engine and headed for Denton, Texas to spend the night with my son and do some final checks on the avionics. About one hour into the flight I was marveling on how nice it ran and suddenly the tail began vibrating and fluttering. I immediately pulled back on the power and it stopped. I was approaching the DFW Class A airspace and had to make a decision to continue as I was going to transition the air space by Meacham field and Alliance A/P .....I added the power back and the fluttering started again so back off the power and it was happy at 70 miles an I decided to continue as I knew I could get it repaired at Denton and did not know anyone at the others. I landed with out incident and when I inspected the elevators I found all of the bolts loose ....these are the ones that bolt the elevators together at the vertical stabilizer.....after that had re-rigged the plane someone did not tighten the nuts.....I did not notice as they were all there when I did my preflight and I did not have a wrench to see if they were tight.....I may should have put down when I first discovered the flutter but escaped a bullet that time....other than that the little yellow airplane has performed very well. All in all it took seven years and more money than I want to admit but it was fun.

Jim Dale, Austin TX.
[Posted September  1, 2002]

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