Refurb of the Month: Chris Cook’s Restored Decathlon

Mid-1970s Decathlons are good buys on the used market. They're fun to fly and affordable to own. And if you fancy some gentleman's aerobatics, so much the better. Chis Cook has been working on restoring a 1977 8KCAB and here's his report.


Therestoration originally started in July 2009 when the aircraft was owned by myself and two other partners, Tony and Alex Darby. We originally were just taking off the wings as an owner assisted repair for the American Champion wooden wing spar AD to inspect some loose nails and our plans were to simply recover the wings after the inspection and put them back on. With the help of some friends we took the wings off and then Tony, Alex and I started working on the wing repair with the assistance of a local A&P.

We were able to complete the AD with the help of the local A&P but the process of recovering the wings was more than the time we had available and the project dragged on for about a year until I finally I wanted to get it done professionally. At that point my two partners Alex and Tony Darby wouldn’t agree to getting the wings finished by paying someone so I purchased their share of the aircraft in 2010. After that, I took it to 92nd West Aviation in Lonoke, AR where Don Adamson has since taken on the project. We decided once it got there that the rest of the aircraft needed to be recovered to do it properly and the project turned into a ground-up restoration.

The project is nearly completed, and although it started as a two- to three-month month wing inspection AD and turned into a four-year project, I’m really happy with the work that Don Adamson has done.