Three Decades of Solo Stinson Restoration

John Chiprean, EAA 156445, knows a thing or two about dedication. John spent slightly more than 30 years restoring a Stinson 10A Voyager by himself, learning the skills he needed as he went along.

John said he saw an ad for the airplane and figured he would check it out because he remembered good times in an airplane developed from the Voyager.

“I saw it advertised in an EAA meeting room,” John said. “I thought, well, I’ll go take a look at it, because I previously had a Stinson 108. So I took a look at it and thought, it looks possible. It was a pile of junk, it really was.”

John must have seen some potential in that so-called pile of junk, as he went ahead and made the purchase. He enjoys the work that goes with a restoration, and figured it would provide him with a few good years of that. He got more than he bargained for.

“I’ve been interested in aviation since I was a kid,” John said. “I used to work on cars, work on my dad’s boat, stuff like that. And I was kind of mechanically inclined. I thought this would be kind of fun. And it was! It took a long time.”

Skills such as using an oxyacetylene torch, covering the airplane in fabric and then treating it with dope, and rebuilding specific parts like the horizontal stabilizer all proved challenging, as did getting an examiner out to check on the vintage project. Still, John persevered and made the first flight himself in 2016 — after 31 years of restoration.

“I’m not much of a pilot,” John said. “I flew the first flight, and after that I think since 2016 I’ve probably put six hours on the airplane personally. I have a friend who flies it, he flies a big jet for FedEx, and he likes to fly my ‘puddle-jumper.’”

It may have taken a couple decades longer than anticipated, but John enjoyed the restoration and said if he could go back he would do it all over again, without a doubt.

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