CA-61 Mini Ace

General tips, techniques, hints, tools and the also where can I find it? We cover both construction and maintenance submissions.

Moderator: Moderators

dale
Incipient Spin
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 6:25 pm
Closest Airfield: FAKR
Location: Krugersdorp
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 17 times

CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by dale » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:59 am

I'm restoring ZS UDW, a CA-61 Mini Ace built by H C van Rensburg of Clocolan. Apparently known as "Toi"van Rensburg
If he is still alive and anyone has contact with him, I would very much like to have a chat with him.
The particular aircraft was voted EAA Grand champion at Margate 1979
User avatar
Pete
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2728
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 7:09 pm
Closest Airfield: FAKR
Location: Preferably under a swashplate
Has liked: 84 times
Been liked: 52 times

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by Pete » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:14 pm

That's fantastic Dale, did not know you owned UDW! :D
Here is a pic out of the EAA yearbook from many moons ago 8)
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
dale
Incipient Spin
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 6:25 pm
Closest Airfield: FAKR
Location: Krugersdorp
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 17 times

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by dale » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:09 am

Sadly I have been informed that Toy v Rensburg has passed away. I was hoping he could see it fly again
User avatar
SONERAI
Reaching GFA
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Kroonstad
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 9 times

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by SONERAI » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:42 pm

My late dad did some work on the engine for him and they were big buddy's back then.
Toy's daughter did her PPL with me at DFC 1984/5
Never seen her after I left the SAAF, maybe she's still around.
User avatar
Chalkie
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1551
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:19 am
Closest Airfield: FAPX
Location: Jeffreys Bay
Has liked: 75 times
Been liked: 273 times

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by Chalkie » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:55 pm

Hi Dale, I collected UDW at Clocolan when Toy sold it, then delivered it to FAGC for the new owner; way back in the 90's. The aircraft had a homemade VHF radio, that required plugging in a new crystal for each frequency used and a homemade ADF. The loop antenna for the ADF had a circular protractor attached and this was folded out from storage on the side of the cockpit and you could then rotate the protractor, whilst listening for the null point and somehow then work out a relative bearing to the NDB.

The aircraft was to be based at Bronkhorstspruit and I had to fly all the way around FAJS to the south as they would not let me fly direct FAGC - B.spruit as there was not a crystal for the tower frequency :evil: 01:15 to do a 20 minute flight. :evil:
dale
Incipient Spin
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 6:25 pm
Closest Airfield: FAKR
Location: Krugersdorp
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 17 times

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by dale » Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:13 am

Should be flying within a week
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Bearcat
thirty thousand
thirty thousand
Posts: 33318
Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 11:51 pm
Closest Airfield: Grand Central
Location: JHB
Has liked: 241 times
Been liked: 1292 times

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by Bearcat » Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:18 am

Nice ...I look forward to seeing it in the air again
dale
Incipient Spin
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 6:25 pm
Closest Airfield: FAKR
Location: Krugersdorp
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 17 times

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by dale » Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:46 am

IDIOT at RAASA refused to issue an authority to fly because the previous ATF was issued by DCA.
That same IDIOT was probably not even born when Oom Arrie was issuing ATF,s at DCA
What a joke!
sa.alb
Flight Planning
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 pm
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by sa.alb » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:09 pm

I am the youngest daughter of Toy van Rensburg. So glad to hear the plane is about to fly again! Would love to attend if possible!

My son is a commercial pilot with an avid passion for flying, but unfortunately my Dad passed away before my son was old enough for them to really share their love of the sky. It's definitely in the blood - I was the one who did my PPL at DFC!

I've been able to save several of the newspaper clippings of the time, as well as my Dad's hand written notes regarding the importing of materials, meticulous building of the plane, licencing, and her maiden flight, and will post it all here. It is clear that one required loads of patience with shipping and sending letters to and fro, since that took weeks at a time.

There was no hardware store to run to or internet to consult, and my Dad manufactured many of the tools and parts himself.

What follows below are his hand written notes about the event:

There are millions of chaps in the world who has a latent yearning to fly. I was one of those until I read the article on the MI Mini Ace in the Mechanics Illustrated Magazine in December 1965 (we get MI a month late in South Africa). This article started me thinking. It seemed to be so childishly simple to build and fly your own airplane and the Mini Ace was just the plane I would like to own. It seemed to me, as an absolute layman, to be a reasonably stable airplane that would be suitable for reasonably long cross country flight. I did not want an airplane only for flying around the airfield on Sunday afternoons in perfect weather. I was not a pilot at the time but I had about an hour in flips over a period of years. I showed the article to my brother David while visiting him in Johannesburg during the Christmas holiday in 1965. David was a pilot with some 50 hours, having learned to fly at the Grand Central Flying Club in Johannesburg, but his licence had lapsed some years ago. He found flying too expensive after getting his licence.

David was sceptical about the idea of building an airplane and I did not press the matter. About the middle of January 1966 I had a letter from him, he was hooked! We decided to build the CA61 as a joint project and he wrote to Cvjetkovic for a set of plans. The set of plans arrived and then the snags started cropping up. David was living in a bachelor’s flat in Johannesburg and I was living in a small rural village some 250 miles away.

The wing of the CA61 is 27,5 feet long and my garage was only 20 feet. Due to the building boom at the time I was unable to get a contractor to enlarge my garage so I decided to try it myself.

It did not take me very long to get the hang of bricklaying and a couple of weeks later my weekend building project was completed. I now had a 30 foot garage.

By this time I announced to my wife that I was going to build my own airplane. She thought I had gone off my rocker and would not speak to me for days. She thought that this crazy notion would pass in time. She announced to all and sundry that I had gone nuts. I was the laughing stock of the town.

Meanwhile I went ahead searching information on how to build an airplane and where to find material. I could get spruce from a timber firm in Durban but it was not “certified” stuff. I knew nothing about spruce at the time. I heard about a plywood factory in Johannesburg and went up to see them about aircraft plywood. They make beautiful plywood at this factory but no aircraft stuff.

I was hunting for a Continental A65 engine and eventually could get one from an aircraft company for 1800 Rand (about 3000 dollars). This was too expensive and I decided to use a 1600 VW engine. I wrote many letters to all parts of the world for information on aircraft building and material and we were just about beaten when we heard about the EAA.

David wrote to the EAA and our troubles were over, we had all the information we wanted and sources of materials. I wrote to a firm advertising in Sport Aviation and had a quote for spruce and plywood within a fortnight. At this stage David decided to drop out of the prospect and build a Taylor Titch.

I applied for an import permit to the Department of Commerce and after waiting a month, it was issued. I sent the order for wood and the Bank draft off in July 1966. In the meanwhile, I was gathering all the information available on spruce and I was getting to be quite an expert on the subject. I even made a testing machine to test spruce samples. My supplier did not seem to be in a hurry to ship the spruce and plywood and after many letters they eventually got around to shipping. After waiting for eight months after ordering, the spruce and plywood reached me on the 4th of May 1967. Now I could really get started on the project. We have no tool rental store out here and I needed a large number of C clamps. New clamps would be uneconomical so the only solution to this problem was to design and make my own C clamps from 1 inch strap iron. I spent a week of spare time making 60 clamps of various sizes.

On examining the “certified and stamped” spruce I found that some of this spruce was not suitable for aircraft, some planks had a grain slope of 1 in 2! I bought some rough spruce in Durban and was able to select some very good boards from this.

Construction was slow at this time. I was using Aerodux 500 glue and as it was winter time I had to heat the garage to get the temperature within limits.

The project started off as a hobby, but now it was developing into an obsession. I started work on it at around 7 pm each evening and knocked off at 12 pm every night. Saturdays and Sundays I worked all day full time. With the coming of summer the work progressed faster and things were beginning to take shape. My wife was still sceptical about the thin pieces of wooden parts going into the plane. “Surely” you are not going to fly in a plane as fragile as all that?” she remarked. She was, however, resigned to the idea and was helping out with chores at this stage.

I now started thinking about learning to fly. I had an airplane taking shape and I was determined to be qualified to undertake the test flight. I started taking flying lessons at a flying club in a neighbouring town on 6 April 1968. The flying club went broke after I had done six hours and I was left in the lurch.

There was a steady stream of visitors to my garage. Some chaps coming to admire my handiwork and some just coming to ask silly questions. A keen interest in flying was developing in the community and quite a number of friends, admitting that they do not have the time nor patience (just plain laziness to my mind) were asking me how to go about starting a social flying club. The result was that some fifteen of us started a flying club and I was elected to organise operations. I managed to engage an instructor with a Cessna 150 and we started having instruction on 22nd June 1968. Twenty three pilots qualified for licence within a year and we bought a Cessna 172 which we are still flying.

The result of this was that by the time I was ready to fly my plane, I had logged some 100 hours. I had a difficult time locating a tail wheel aircraft to fly but was fortunate to locate an instructor with an Aeronca 7 AL to give me some tail wheel instruction. Our Department of Civil Aviation was very helpful and inspections on my plane were done by a ground engineer. I was ready for covering by November 1968 and I thought that by taking a three weeks holiday during December and working all out I would be able to cover and be ready to fly the plane by January.

I started covering in December, but with all the small things cropping up and taking a lot of time I was finally ready to fly in November. The plane was built strictly according to the plans, the only modification made was moving the firewall bulkhead forward five inches. The VW engine being 20 lbs lighter than the Continental 65 I calculated that I would be able to hang the engine on a nine inch engine mounting. On weighing the completed plane I found that I had to make an engine mounting 22 inches long to have the CG within limits for all loading conditions. An enclosed fiberglass cowling was made which was a chapter in itself. At least I learned to work fibreglass! The cockpit is completely enclosed, the Plexiglas being framed in aluminium and hinged in front. I did not like the cabinet latches shown in the plan so I devised two simple fool proof catches that work very well.

A VW engine was built up from new spare parts, a 32 PHNI Solex carburettor was fitted below the engine with carb heat controlled with a choke control, a heat muff was fitted to the right exhaust stack. A single Bendix magneto is driven directly from the rear of the crankshaft by a devised coupling. A flat VW oil cooler is used with a shroud exhausting hot air behind the engine baffle. A Hegy Prop is used and a pair of Rosenhan wheels with hydraulic brakes are fitted. The landing gear legs are faired into the wing with .015 aluminium fairings. A 24 channel Ripper VHF radio is fitted running off a nickel cadmium battery. At long last the yellow bird was completed and final inspection passed. I tried a fast taxi and my tail wheel tone exploded. This was a solid rubber type from a lawn mower and looked good enough for a tail wheel. Luckily there was no damage to the aircraft. Another delay getting a 6 x 2 solid aircraft tyre and making a hub for it.
I flew the 172 up to Pretoria on 18 November 1969 to see to it that the Proving flight authorisation was issued by the DCA without delay. I could not wait for the post at this stage! The proving flight authorisation was issued and I returned home jubilantly.

Windy weather postponed the first flight for a couple of days. I was not going to risk bending my plane on the first flight. The 23rd of November dawned bright and clear and at daybreak I was on the airfield with a couple of friends to witness the first flight.

After a couple of taxi runs to get the feel of it I lined up on the runway. This was it! Years of work and dreams culminating in this moment. A quick check of the instruments – everything was OK. No excuse to delay any longer. I pushed in the throttle and the little plane surged forward. The tail comes up and speed builds up fast. I let the airspeed needle come up to 60 mph and ease back on the stick. I feel the wings bite into the air and the rumbling of the gear on the grass runway ceases. She climbs smoothly. I let the speed build up to 980 MPH and climb to 1000 ft. Level flight and 3 600 rpm and she indicates 105 mph. I fly one circuit and come in for a perfect landing, handling her like she was made of glass. A quick check to make sure everything was ok, a small adjustment to the elevator and rudder trim tab, and off I am again to feel her out. She handles beautifully and flies hands off.

The DCA required me to fly it for 65 hours, restricted to 25 miles radius and no flying over populated areas to qualify for an Authority to Fly. Various tests were carried out including pulling it to 3.86 for non-aerobatic category. Our airfield is at 5300 feet and she climbs out from 5500 feet at 300 rpm decreasing to 150 rpm at 11 000 feet at 80 mph IAS. I did not have facilities for testing level flight speed accurately but flying to and from a place 50 miles distant at cruising speed clocked at 100 mph. She stalls power off at 40 mph with no vices.

Hours were built up and required tests run and the Authority to Fly was issued on 29 January 1970. South Africa is an ideal flying country the year round. We have very little really bad weather conditions. Winds can blow up to 40 knots and it gets very bumpy in thermal conditions in summer but IMC conditions are rare except in Natal where it can clamp up without warning.

At time of writing I had flown 250 hours in the CA61 in all weather conditions. Having a range of 550 miles, using 2 imperial gallons of gas per hour, I have done some long cross countries. I have been over the Kalahari Desert and have crossed the Drakensberg Mountains several times. I once crossed these mountains coming up from Port Elizabeth in a 40 knot wind.

My CA61 won the “Best Homebuilt of the Year” award at the annual fly in competition of the Aircraft Builders Association of South Africa at Pietermaritzburg recently.

In summing up, I can say that this plane fully came up to my expectations. It flies cheaply and is fun flying around the patch on a Sunday afternoon, but it is also stable and comfortable enough for an occasional long cross country. It is more fun to fly than any commercial plane can ever be. Doc von Moltke of Kuruman who is building a Fly Baby and I plan to do a two week flying tour of the country in our homebuilts as soon as he has his Baby flying. A friend asked me the other day what I was going to do now that I have my airplane finished and flying. Well, between enjoying my plane I am now starting on a CA65A!
sa.alb
Flight Planning
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 pm
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by sa.alb » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:13 pm

Letter written to A Cvjetkovic, designer of the plane, in November 1967.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
sa.alb
Flight Planning
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 pm
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by sa.alb » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:18 pm

Link with NASA's Apollo mission! :wink:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
sa.alb
Flight Planning
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 pm
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by sa.alb » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:20 pm

CAA correspondence, September 1966.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
sa.alb
Flight Planning
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 pm
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by sa.alb » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:23 pm

Letter from Custom Woodcraft, Michigan, USA - August 1966.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
sa.alb
Flight Planning
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 pm
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by sa.alb » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:25 pm

Import permit for steel, 1968.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
sa.alb
Flight Planning
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 pm
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: CA-61 Mini Ace

Unread post by sa.alb » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:28 pm

Photos of the beautiful little plane, and of my Dad.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Return to “Building and Maintaining Aircraft”