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Travel Air turbos

Howdy folks,

I'm looking at this Travel Air, which seems fine on the outside, well worn and dated on the inside (seats are grungy, panel needs paint, and the bottom half of the avionics stack could use some updating), and engines with not too much time left, but turbo- normalized. The attached, recent annual suggests at least a working level of maintenance being conducted, but the craft is obviously priced to sell. I think everything I appreciate about Travel Airs would only get better if I could also add a few inches of manifold pressure back in on long trips, but am I missing something here? I realize we're looking at $50K in overhauls within the next 4 years (or immediately), but are there any red flags? Anyone have any good or bad stories about Rajay turbos on a Travel Air? Anyone know the price of a new interior for a lovely plane?

All insights are much appreciated.

Thank you!

Josh Havill

https://www.controller.com/listing/for-sale/203167559/1964-beechcraft-d95a-travel-air-piston-twin-aircraft

Model: Travel Air D95A
Aircraft Serial Number: TD-575
Posted 4/10/2021 - 3 years ago
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A Travel Air is a beautiful flying machine, but it does come with some ownership issues.

Rudder and Vertical Stabilizers are made of magnesium and are nearly impossible to find if corrosion becomes a problem. T-34B rudders will fit, and are available in aluminum, but there is no approval basis. Nothing can be done for the Vertical Stabilizer to my knowledge at this time.

Some of the early models has odd sized flaps and ailerons. The flaps were longer and the ailerons were shorter. Those are getting hard to find parts for.

RayJay was sold and now is supported by Acorn Welding in Canada. They can supply all gaskets and most of the components. Turbos can be overhauled by Main Turbo in California. Gary Main is the best. Turbo Normalizing the Travel Air is a little overkill, but can be useful if you're out west. There is an engine hose AD that condemns all the hoses every 5 years (I think) on the turbo models. Make sure that isn't missed on pre-buy.

A nice interior will probably cast about 17k

Curtis Boulware
ABS Tech Rep

Posted 4/10/2021 - 3 years ago
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Thank you! Very helpful indeed. That would explain in the attached annual inspection summary why they just put new hoses on it. They just replaced the rudder aswell, and had the elevator resigned, but the vertical fin may still be a problem. Is an interior corrosion inspection possible?

Thank you,

Posted 4/11/2021 - 3 years ago
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In the vertical or the whole airplane?

There are certainly ways to accomplish both. A long, flexible boroscope can probe the vertical and a simple mirror and flashlight can get most of the airframe. Highly, highly recommend CorrosionX or ACF50 treatments to slow and prevent corrosion.

Posted 4/12/2021 - 3 years ago
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Aloha Curtis! We just recently purchased a 1960 B95 Travel Air and there are a few things to look out for as far as corrosion. On the tail, pay close attention to paint around and screws and bolts and check periodically for filiform corrosion (looks like veins) as these will have to be taken care of as soon as possible. All of the control surfaces are magnesium so take a good close look at those as well. Flooring is marine plywood and easy to take out and redo as are all of the interior pieces although the pilot side panel on earlier Travel Airs are one long ten foot plus piece. We had Airtex manufacture a new interior for us and had a local shop reupholster for just a few thousand dollars.

There's an AD for wing bolts, so make sure you have someone at least go in with a boroscope. Thoroughly check the landing gear for corrosion. There's a big bearing called an uplock roller on each side and make sure it turns before any flight - those have to be checked every 100 hours as an AD. Since our planes are so old, I would also check the control cables, as ours started to get some heavy corrosion on one of the Aileron cables due to leaky windows and the rudder cables will need replacing soon due to corrosion at the ends where it meets the rudder attachments. That whole assembly is also magnesium, but is hard to check since it's inside the Vertical Stabilizer.

Also check when the fuel bladders were last replaced although the originals are really robust - we just replaced our original 1960 auxiliary fuel bladder.

It's a great plane, really economical to fly, feels like it almost lands itself with very little flare needed on touchdown, and really easy on single engine due to the low horsepower. Beechcraft built them like tanks. Here in Hawaii corrosion is our constant enemy especially since our airport is right on the water with the wind coming from the Ocean.

As for parts, they're not too bad other than a few things that are no longer made (like the cowl flap motors) but used and even new parts are still available since they cobbled the plane together with parts of other Beechcraft planes.

Posted 4/24/2021 - 2 years ago
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Travel Air turbos