Debonair Sweeps: Bracket Attack


The offending alternator bracket. Note the two breaks.


Where do you find a replacement alternator bracket for a 50-year-old airplane? Probably not from the manufacturer, which long ago stopped making replacement parts for airplanes that old. No, you have to check the salvage yards.

In the Debonair Sweepstakes’ case, we sought out Wentworth Aircraft Inc. (, the Minnesota-based supplier of a huge array of aircraft parts. We’ve used Wenworth several times in the past, when older sweepstakes airplanes needed new latches, doors, and other airplane parts both large and small.

Here’s the background info. On a flight out of Wichita’s Colonel James Jabara Airport, the Deb’s landing gear wouldn’t retract. So it was back to the airport and into the shop for some diagnostic work. Up on jacks and fed by a power cart the gear–of course!–functioned perfectly. And they continued to work at fuel stops on the subsequent legs to the avionics shop, Santa Fe Aero Services.

But once in the shop for its massive avionics upgrade, technicians got a good look under the hood. What they found was an alternator bracket that had broken in two places. This helped cause the gear non-retraction issue by failing to put out its rated power (55 amp/hours) and thus depriving the gear motor of the juice it needed.

There wasn’t much of a search for a serviceable bracket. Remembering Wentworth from earlier sweeps restorations, your truly called them first. I got a Wentworth service rep–Dave–on the phone, gave him the part number, and sent him a photo (see above) of the failed part. He began digging and called back with the good news: Part found!

It’s proof once more of the value of salvage yards (please don’t call them ‘junk yards’) to owners of older airplanes. Wentworth in particular has scads of reasonably-priced components that can be so essential in keeping GA’s aging fleet in the air.

  • Tony

    mine, mine, mine

  • Cary Alburn

    As the owner of an older airplane (1963 Cessna P172D), I certainly agree. Fortunately my hangar is literally next door to one of the best in this part of the country, Beegles at Greeley. If they don’t have it, they can find it, and if they can’t find it, they can make it, or so it seems. While some older airplane parts are still available from the manufacturers, they usually want an arm and a leg for them. Why not get an older but still serviceable part for an older but still serviceable airplane? Most of the time there’s no logic to searching for a new replacement when an older one will do just as well.


  • Steven Oxman

    Three great locations/businesses for Beechcraft parts for planes like your Debbie are: Select Air Parts in VA, Arrell Aircraft in CA, and Dawson Aircraft in AR. Steve Oxman BE35K

    • thorne

      Steve–thanks. Who knows–we may need them!

  • Joseph Carter

    I own a 1961 Piper Colt. When I need parts Preferred Air Parts is my first source, then Univair which has PMA authority for the short wing Pipers.

    • thorne

      Another great lead–thanks Joseph

      • Madhushree

        we have huge inventory of parts available with us in S.Korea. We want to sell the whole lot. If anyone interested do contact with email ID so that I can send the list. Certs and tags will be provided with the parts.

        We also buy unwanted avionics for recycling by weight. If anybody has lots lying uselessly we can offer good price. Do contact on 770.932.9915

  • Franklin Smith

    Please! Please! Please! I want it!!!!!

    • thorne

      You can have it only if I decide to let it go……oops, did I really say that? Anyway, I can’t win it because I work for AOPA….

  • Gary

    Hoo Doggies! That’s one fancy panel. Can’t wait to use it. Life’s a Beech. Then you fly.

  • Sac Michael Kors

    Despite the changes in his life, he isnt completely dismissive of his lavish old ways and his Hollywood past, “Without that platform, I couldnt have done what I did. If Id never said yes to all the money and largesse that comes with success, I wouldnt have had to make this film.”