February 24, 2018

Taylorcraft BL-65 Showpiece

1940 Taylorcraft BL-65 N27652

When Jake Bilstad purchased his 1940 Taylorcraft BL-65 (N27652) in 2001 at Spinks Airport in Fort Worth, Texas it was in need of some serious attention. It was just a big pile of parts. It last flew in 1970, then it was disassembled for restoration. 

When I first met Jake he passed me in the hallway at work. He had a bag full of parts over his shoulder and I caught site of the large diameter tachometer. So I just had to ask what it was for! Being a former Taylorcraft owner myself I knew it might be from an early model Taylorcraft. Over the years Jake and I exchanged emails as I checked in on the progress of the rebuild.

The slow but steady rebuild was finished in 2013. Jake said he loves flying it “It performs really well with the C85 engine.” When asked what the biggest challenge was in the restoration Jake said “Finding the time, space, and money to finish it.” The logbooks told a story that took the history all the way back to 1940. It spent most of its life as a trainer at a flight schools based in Minnesota and Wisconsin. As the photos featured here show it is now a pampered cream puff based in Gainesville, Texas. 

(All photos via owner Jake Bilstad)




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