New fabric, new paint and some new colors. Our Super Decathlon is headed for a total makeover.

It is no secret that training airplanes go through a little more wear and tear than your average airplane. As an aerobatic trainer, the “Super D” is subject to more stress and fatigue than the rest of our fleet. Most Super Decathlons are not flown in a flight training environment. A 2008 Super D, like ours, might have 300 – 400 hours on it. Our Decathlon has over 3,000. With that in mind, we are sending our Decathlon back to the American Champion factory in Wisconsin for a complete overhaul, and to even receive some upgrades.

The airplane will be stripped down to its bare bones. The Decathlon, unlike a Cessna, has a steel tube frame covered in fabric. All of the fabric is going to be removed, exposing the bare frame. Every nook and cranny of the frame will be inspected. Brand new control cables are going to be installed. The landing gear is going to be upgraded to a more robust design usually found on the backcountry version of the Decathlon, the Scout. The belly is going to be outfitted with a metal skin, instead of fabric.

Once recovered with new fabric, the Decathlon will be painted in new colors and a slightly different scheme. It may even receive a new tail number. When it returns to our flightline, it will be as good as new.

We will post photos of the transformation of the airplane as it takes place. We can’t wait to see our Super D back in the air and and have you experience the joys of flying an aerobatic, tailwheel airplane. 

Wing removed from the Super Decathlon

The pulley system for the aileron, and fuel line are shown at the wing root with the wing removed.

Stripped interior of the Super Decathlon

The interior has been removed down to the wood floor.

Exposed wing root of the Decathlon

The inside of the wing. Fuel gauge and fuel line visible.

The Super Decathlon is ready for Wisconsin

Next stop: Wisconsin!