In this article, Don mentions the two Challengers that flew in from Denver. He incorrectly named one of the pilots as Jerry Bankson. This pilot was in fact Jerry Bartleson who was to play large part in Challenger development in the coming years. Jerry was a production fiberglass manufacturer building waterslides and other large projects all over the world. He also manufactured motorcycle fairings with production rates of almost 200 per day at times. He manufactured the popular full fairing ďThe La MantaĒ among other styles.

Jerry developed and manufactured for the factory the fiberglass nose cone, the fiberglass three piece wing gap center section and the modified Hoerner fiberglass wingtips that are fairly standard options today.

Unfortunately, due to age and complications of being involved with fiberglass for so many decades, Jerry has passed on. He is fondly remembered as an accomplished craftsman and a true gentleman by those of us that were fortunate enough to know him.



From Days Gone By:
Articles from the old
International Challenger Owners Association Newsletter

4th Quarter, 1993 Issue


Dear C.O.A. Membership,

Clint has asked me to contribute regularly to the newsletter and I told him that I would. I hope that I have enough things to spout off about each time that itís due. For now I guess Iíll tell you what Iíve been up to the past couple of years.

The best thing is I have just put the finishing touches on a Clipped Wing single place. For myself this time, not for a customer. I put a fiberglass nose and wing gap cover so it looks just like my two-place. I painted it up the same too so I call them ďFather and SonĒ. Itís got a 503DCDI engine so it really scoots.

My good friend, Jack Bailey, and I flew both planes to a fly-in July 14-16. It was at a campground called Yukon Trails in Lyndon Station. Itís about 120 miles one way from here so it was a good, short cross country trip. Of course the weather was highly questionable so only 14 planes showed up. Seven were Challengers. The neatest thing there was Greg Sutterís CW Challenger II sporting a replacement for his Hirth 2703, and brand new Rotax 582. I know there are a few of you that have put this motor on, but this installation was truly slick. It sports a belly scoop reminiscent of a P51 and a totally hidden radiator with fan cooling. Extremely cool. Iím going to get him to write about it and send in some pix to the newsletter so you will be hearing more about it soon. (Ho-ho, I just got the latest copy of the newsletter in the mail. Iím going to answer some of those letters now.)

First, Bob Wall of Peabody, MA. There are two types of Pennzoil two cycle oil. The one kind available anywhere is for boat outboard engines. These are marine water cooled engines that run at a much lower temp than our plane engines. The other kind is clearly marked ďfor air cooled enginesĒ and is much more difficult to find. No store in the area from Minneapolis to EauClair has the oil in stock. I have to get it from the manufacturer, Pennzoil. I get it in lots of eight cases at a time and it works out to only 50 cents per pint. I and my motor man have looked at many engines that were using this oil and have found it to be trouble-free. What little carbon is there is very soft with a kind of greenish hue. Also it sounds like your engine was running too rich. Your plugs should be a very light tan color, at the darkest. Also I assume that the two plugs that were closed were on the same cylinder or the dual ignition would have saved you. And were I going to fly over the ocean without floats, I for sure would have checked all my plugs, or replaced them if they were close to 25 hours old.

Now to Horace Wilson. All Hirth owners should replace their plug caps with the kind Rotax uses. Tie them together with a nylon cable tie and they canít come off. Second Chance has an installation package for Challenger that puts the chute between the wings and fires through the gap cover and puts it forward of the C.G. The gear leg mods for the Challenger are not that good of an idea. Any more strength could cause bending of failure in the fuselage. I have been flying Challengers since 1984 and have never bent a gear leg. I do wear out a set a year on my two-place. Eventually they do flex themselves to death and start to show a bend, but, I train with my machine and give hundreds of rides per year. Keep rehearsing those landings. A two place should land at 30 mph with one aboard and 35mph with two. At those speeds you shouldnít bend anything, if you are, find a smoother field.

Now to Dean Batman. I looked closely at your motor myself and it was totally dry. Not a trace of oil or fuel anywhere. It sure looked like a no oil engine to me. Maybe it was so lean that it burned it all up but it does seem unlikely. Also I guess the muffler could (maybe probably) be the culprit. If it was (call Harold), Hirth should reimburse you. Insist on it. Call me and I will help you get your loot back.

By the way, my own CW Challenger II is also sporting a Rotax 582. Dale down at Warp Drive just sent me three new blades for my prop. It works at least 25% better now than it did before the change. 5500 rpm is now 88mph, need I say more? My two place is a prime example of how to make your Challenger too heavy, 480 lbs., thus the 582. Now it works like a 380lb. Two place with a 503. Oh well, it sure makes a great cross country machine that handles the bumps without the bounce.

Oshkosh is only a couple days away now so I better get to doing some plane washing. I will be having both Father and Son planes at the show and I hope you will all stop by the Challenger display to take a look at them.

Oops, this never got mailed before Oshkosh, so Iíll add a couple of lines about the show. It was great to meet a bunch of Challenger Owners whose planes Iíd never seen. On Saturday the 25th Challenger flew in, piloted by Darryl Prescher of Hartford, WI. Thatís more than twice as many planes as our nearest competitor had on the field. As usual, all Challengers came by air. Not by trailer like lots of other arrived (how embarrassing to drive yourself and your plane to a fly-in, on roads).

Without a doubt, the most beautiful Challenger on the field and one of two that flew the furthest to get there (from Denver, CO) was Jerry Banksonsís lovely Challenger II. This was by far the best finished plane on the ultralight and on the field. I donít believe that it won any kind of an award. Clearly it should have. WOE on the EAA judges for missing this plane. It had a paint finish that you could read newsprint in the reflection! It had a custom built fiberglass nose (not the factory option), scoops on each side of the plane behind the doors to duct air through twin radiators for the Rotax 582, lots of fiberglass interior parts to finish off the interior, including fiberglass seats. Very cute extra vertical stabilizers on the outboard ends of the horizontal stabs. I could never list all the trick little goodies this plane had on it. All finished perfectly. Shame on EAA Oshkosh for missing the boat on this one. Apparently all the judges know about is wood planes or planes with some welded steel in them.

I have just finished a plane for a brand new Challenger owner, Elmer Dust of Hawkins, WI. Itís a single place with a 447 motor. I didnít weight the plane but itís very light. The only extra thing he wanted was the fiberglass nose. WOW! This is what ultralight flying is all about. It stalls at 25 mph and is still happy to cruise at 70mph. The plane is capable of staying up all afternoon, on a good thermal day, with the engine off. Try that with my lead sled Clipped Wing. A lot of us try to put everything but the kitchen sink in our planes and wind up with a plane that is very pretty but maybe lacks a little of what we really bought our planes for. Then we wind up with a 503 on our single seaters and a 582s on our two place planes. Iím guilty, I know that. Try out a long wing single seat that was built light. You will be amazed. I know, Iím saving my nickels for one. I intend to put one in stock so I can let people try it out, after they try out the clipped wing. I think most will opt fo the slower long wing. After all, if we wanted to go fast we would be building RV-4s or Pulsars. Food for thought. Itís just a recommendation to all of you that are not finished with your plane to KEEP IT LIGHT!

In the next issue Iíll recount some adventures that I have had flying over the last year.

Don Zank
219 University
Elk Mound, WI 54739
715-879-5822