Bird Innovator

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Bird Innovator

Postby DavidLegg » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:48 am

Looks like the current owner has decided to sell ...

http://warbirdinformationexchange.org/p ... =3&t=64602
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Re: Bird Innovator

Postby Rajay » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:53 pm

I have seen that N5PY, the so-called "Bird Innovator" has supposedly been undergoing a restoration to its pre-Innovator civilian configuration as a Landseaire flying yacht and that the outboard Lycoming engines and all of their associated modifications have been removed.

Even so, another PBY "expert" told me that such a "restoration" could not be valid because the airplane in question had been officially re-type certificated as a "Bird Innovator" in the 1960's and technically speaking is no longer a "PBY" (similar to the way that a McKinnon Turbo Goose was re-certificated under TC 4A24 and technically no longer a "Grumman G-21A" under ATC-654.)

However, I note that its current registration with the FAA (as N5PY) now formally identifies it as a "Consolidated Vultee" model "28-5ACF" built in 1941 so I have to say that I find this all curious to say the least. And I also have not been able to find any evidence so far that such a separate type certification exists for the "Bird Innovator" - does anyone possess any further information on that subject?

Another item of interest to me is that according to Wikipedia (which of course is always accurate and never wrong - right!) the Lycoming GSO-480-B2D6 engines installed on it as part of its so-called "Bird Innovator" conversion not only were similar to the ones used by McKinnon for his original, 4-engine Goose conversion - the models G-21C and G-21D, they were literally some of the exact same engines. Wikipedia claims that Dr. Forrest Bird actually bought the two engines that he used on his PBY conversion from McKinnon Enterprises Inc. after Angus McKinnon removed them from one of his Gooses during a subsequent conversion to turbine engines.

In fact, there was only one Goose from which McKinnon removed Lycoming engines (actually four 340 bhp Lycoming GSO-480-B2D6 engines) in conjunction with a turbine conversion - and that aircraft was N150M, his very first model G-21C conversion (which went from being Grumman G-21A serial no. 1147 to becoming McKinnon G-21C serial no. 1201 in 1958, but which was later further converted into G-21D serial no. 1251 in June 1960.) It was between 1965 and 1967 that McKinnon removed the four Lycoming engines and worked to get STC no. SA1320WE approved to install two 550 shp PT6A-20 turbines engines on it instead. Kinda' touches "home" for me.
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Re: Bird Innovator

Postby Rajay » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:36 pm

Not to mention that technically speaking (a language in which I think that I am fluent) there is no such thing as a 1941 "Consolidated Vultee" anything.

In 1941, Consolidated and Vultee were still separate companies and did not merge until 1943 - after which they eventually became Convair.
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Re: Bird Innovator

Postby DavidLegg » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:34 pm

Rajay - I'll get back on all this in due course.
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Re: Bird Innovator

Postby DavidLegg » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:38 pm

So, getting back as promised Rajay. I have the complete CAA/FAA file on this aircraft from the point where it was sold by the RCAF up to a few years ago. I also have its RCAF history. These documents prove if nothing else that there is not a great deal of consistency in describing the aircraft 'make' in official documents. For what it is worth ...

It was built by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation as a Model 28-5AMC, AMC for 'Amphibian Military Canada'. In Canadian service it was known as a Canso A.

On the Bill of Sale by War Assets Corporation 28Nov46 it is described as a " Canso 'A' ". When it was sold on to the next owner it was quoted as "Aircraft Make - Consolidated Vultee 417". The word Vultee had been added in manuscript and the 417 is the constructors number. Thereafter there are variations including Consolidated PBY-5A, Consolidated Vultee PBY-5A, Convair PBY-5A and Consolidated Vultee PBY-5A (28-5ACF). ACF was the designation given in registration documents to some post-war conversions where it stood for 'Amphibian Commercial France', Air France being the first recipient of such conversions. It was never referred to as the Bird Innovator on the Registration file or the Airworthiness file. On the earliest document in the Airworthiness file, it is referred to as "Consolidated 28-5ACF" but the name 'Landseaire' crops up a couple time. The STC for the installation of two Lycoming GSO480B2D^ engines is quoted as SA1853WE based on Bird's drawings dated 09Dec68.

Make of that what you will.
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Re: Bird Innovator

Postby Rajay » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:16 pm

Thanks - with that new info I was able to find the STC listing in the FAA RGL database - plus the fact that there seems to be a second FAA-approved type certificate for the PBY-5A / 28-5A series. Besides the old Aircraft Specification that I already knew about (no. 2-548) it turns out that the STC in question was issued again TC no. 785 now owned by the Catalina Aircraft Trust LLC of Longboat Key, FL - and formerly registered to waterbomber operator Robert Schlaefli.

Schlaefli obtained TC 785 in 1993 from Steward-Davis Inc. who in turn got it in 1971 from the Charles H. Babb Company (a well-known major aircraft broker of the 1940's and 1950's who at some time or another probably owned most of the Grumman Gooses still in existence - passing through his hands on their way to other new owners.) Babb in turn bought the rights to this other Catalina type certificate directly from Convair in 1951 after Convair got it issued in the first place in 1948 - after the end of the war and examples of the type had found their way into more widespread civilian service.

Direct links to TC 2-548: http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/0/885eb3379fa5900085256737005f8529/$FILE/ATTOZUCU/TC2-548.pdf

And to TC 785:
http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/0/9a1ffca00d7cc667862575f60064120f/$FILE/TC%20785.pdf

Bottom line is that the current owner was perfectly within his rights to remove the STC and restore it to its nominal model PBY-5A (28-5ACF) configuration and that it had always remained registered and otherwise formally identified as such. The "Bird Innovator" label was apparently only unofficial in terms of identification and meaningless in terms of certification.
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Re: Bird Innovator

Postby DavidLegg » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:06 am

Sorry Rajay, I could have pointed you to those two STCs but was concentrating on trying to answer the questions specifically about the Innovator!

Regarding the Lycomings, I have a document issued by Pyramid Aviation Ltd who owned the Innovator several owners after Bird had sold it and it quotes the engine serial numbers as left hand L-2225-33 and right hand L-2146-33. Not sure if that helps to pin them down?
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Re: Bird Innovator

Postby Rajay » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:08 pm

No problem. I appreciate any and all help and information that you provide. It is always good to be able to learn more from someone who already knows more.

According to the records that I have for N150M, McKinnon's first Goose conversion under TC 4A24, the first four Lycoming engines he installed were one GSO-480-A1A6, serial no. L-567-33 and three GSO-480-B2D6 engines, serials L-437-33, L-410-33, and L-525-33. That was according to an initial Experimental certificate of airworthiness application dated Jan. 30, 1958. However, during his initial experimental testing phase, he seems to have swapped engines out and around quite a bit.

By Oct. 24, 1958, the next round of airworthiness certification with 214.5 hours since conversion notes that the no. 1 GSO-480-A1A6 engine had been swapped for serial no. L-582-33 and that by that time the newer one had 156.3 hours time in service (TIS) on it. The two inboard engines were the same as previously installed during the conversion so they too had 214.5 hours TIS on them. Finally, the 4th engine had been swapped out for one of the engines apparently later installed on the Bird Innovator - serial no. L-2225-33 was listed as having 45.3 hours TIS.

Almost 2 months later, on paperwork dated Dec. 18, 1958 (when McKInnon G-21C serial no. 1201 finally received its full certification and airworthiness approval) that newest engine (L-2225-33) had about 25 more hours on it - listed as having 70.7 hours total TIS - and all the rest had just been replaced with new, zero-time engines from Lycoming - all the same as models GSO-480-B2D6 for the first time; consecutive serial nos. L-2251-33, L-2252-33, and L-2253-33.

Even a year and a half later when McKinnon re-converted N150M and it became G-21D serial no. 1251 after he added a 36-in. longer nose with 4 passenger seats and balanced that with 12-inch extensions to the horizontal stabilizers and elevators, it still had all the same engines - by that time all listed as having 110.7 hours TIS on them and the airplane itself as having 327.5 hours since being converted and zero-timed as a new McKinnon G-21C under TC 4A24. That is strange though since engine L-2225-33 had a 70 hour head start on the other three!

The other engine in your records from the Bird Innovator must have been swapped in at some other point in time - or was just a spare that McKinnon had on hand to support N150M or its only other "real" model G-21C sister-ship, N3459C (McKinnon G-21C serial no. 1202) which later went to East Pakistan in Sept. 1967 as AP-AUY and then after the civil war that caused that country to become Bangladesh, it was re-registered for the last time as S2-AAD.

It was also during the mid-1965 to early 1968 time frame that McKinnon converted N150M from having the four Lycoming engines to having only two 550 shp PT6A-20 turbine engines. With N3459C being sold to East Pakistan in Sept. 1967, by that time McKinnon was pretty much done with the GSO-480 engines and hence they were available to be sold to Dr. Bird. Small world!
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