My T210L Cessna started its life in October 1972 when it was purchased by a builder-developer of residential homes. The developer flew it around mostly California until April of 1981 when it was seized by the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes. It spent the next 20 years chained to a post at John Wayne Airport in Orange County California while the parties argued about it in court. Finally, as you would expect, the IRS won and auctioned off the airplane in May 2000 and I was the high bidder at $4,000. While the airplane was chained to the post, the tires had gone flat and a windstorm tore off one of the doors.   Vandals had stripped it of radios, instruments and all kinds of parts.
 My purchase of the sick airplane started a five year rebuilding project.   We stripped all the wires out of the inside of the airplane and replaced everything from the firewall forward with a new engine, propeller, and all the accessories. We equipped the airplane with an air speed indicator, altimeter and a hand held portable radio and had it ferried from John Wayne Airport to Chino Airport where we could work on it.
At Chino Airport we completely dismantled the airplane, removed our new engine, the wings, tail and everything—all wires, cables, tubing, etc. It truly became a “spam can.”   The first phase was to sand blast the interior of the fuselage with glass beads to remove all corrosion and spray it with aladyne to prevent future corrosion. This took more than a year to complete. I had a full time employee working on it every day, under the supervision of Buck Burns of Buckley Aircraft Maintenance at Chino Airport. 
After the fuselage was cleaned out, we reinstalled the engine, numerous factory upgrades and got it sitting on its landing gear. We then attacked the wings and tail. We were surprised to discover that there are over 300 small parts in a pair of wings when you take them all apart. We examined each part, cleaned it to use it again, or replaced it. We became well acquainted with the salvage yards around the country that had 210s that they were parting out. It seems I had a trip to Tom’s Aircraft Parts Department in Long Beach, California, every week for new parts. About this time my grandson, Keith Roscoe, was waiting to be inducted in the Air Force and he had about a nine month wait before the load master school that he was headed for was running its next class. He worked on the 210 during that nine months. This put two people working on it full time. It was necessary to remove substantial portions of the skin on the wings and tail to access all the interior compartments to remove any possible corrosion. After everything had been removed and glass bead blasted, or replaced, our “spam can” was ready to be turned back into an airplane. 
The crew at Buck Burns put the wings and tail back on and reinstalled the engine. The next step was to install windows. They had all been previously removed during the cleaning period. The plane then went to Chino Aircraft Painting to have the exterior stripped down, cleaned and repainted. What a difference a new coat of paint made! We really felt like the job was finally moving forward after three years. 
Buck Burns’ crew then installed new control cables, new gas lines, hydraulic lines, and Keith Roscoe and I completely rewired the airplane. I made an arrangement with John Frampton at Global Tech Instruments to buy a complete set of almost new instruments that he had obtained from a King Air that went to a glass cockpit. Global Tech overhauled them, yellow tagged them and sold them to me. This let me upgrade the instruments to a later style and add an HSI. 
The plane then went down to Advantage Avionics where Mark Krueger directed his crew to fabricate a new instrument panel and equip it with a Garmin audio panel and a Garmin 530. I also purchased a used King KNX 165 with a glide slope and a KS 76 transponder. The King KNX 165 gave me dual com and ILS systems. 
On September 16, 2005, after five years of work, we took the airplane on its first flight . . . no interior of any kind, but looking great! This meant back to the workshop with two pages of squawks. Things really started to smooth out. A month later, in October, I went on the first cross country down to San Antonio, Texas, to see Keith Roscoe graduate from his basic training and head off to Altus, Oklahoma, for C17 training. Back to the workshop again, but only one page of squawks this time. 
After about a year of flying the airplane, we finally felt that it was really debugged and flying perfectly. We had purchased every upgrade for the airplane that we could find i.e. the exhaust stacks, oxygen system and oxygen tank, internal cabin vent system, vortex generators and the list goes on. We contact cemented half inch foam rubber to all the interior surfaces of the fuselage to dampen the noise. We took all the old interior plastic and those pieces that we could reuse, we coated the inside of them with a layer of fiber glass to strengthen them. The ones there were too badly damaged, we replaced. We then contracted with Augustine Acosta of Chino Aircraft Interiors to do a complete leather interior on the airplane. This totally completed the project. It was now a presentable airplane that performed flawlessly! 
I have been flying the airplane about a year after its completion and I am very pleased. It seems to carry pretty much everything I stuff in it without any difficulty and goes approximate 165 knots at about 15 gallons per hour. I previously owned a Cessna 172 and it is really interesting: The 172 would fly to Las Vegas in about 2 hours and 15 minutes and burn approximately 20 gallons of gas. I make the same trip in the 210 in about an hour and burn the same 20 gallons of gas.
The project was tremendously bigger and more complicated than I had any idea. I got well acquainted with all of the tech reps at Cessna Pilots’Association with my millions of questions and the tech reps at Cessna Aircraft for their patience in digging out answers for me.   Both groups were very patient and incredibly helpful. The project could not have been completed without their help. My “spam can” turned into an almost new airplane that flies beautifully and trouble free.  I think my cost on the project is in the $200,000 range for what I consider a new airplane. I believe it was a real bargain and I am very pleased with it. Dreams do come true with a lot of hard work!

Bob Cashman’s article appeared in the June 2009 Cessna Owner magazine recapping the restoration of N210DE from the original C-T210 “L” version to the latest “R” version via STC (C-T210R).  What a labor of love! I was glad to help Bob as one of the pilots to fly the airplane immediately after Buckley Aviation signed it off and then on the cross-country trip to SAT to break in the engine.  It was a bare bones machine in those days.  We used a flashlight to illuminate sections of the instrument panel on the night ILS approach into Las Cruces, NM.  
Bob wasn’t kidding when he indicated you could literally pack anything into that airplane.  On the trip to Oshkosh last year (July 2009) we loaded the airplane to the rafters and were still 170 lb under gross.  The airplane flew like a dream with neutral trim setting on the climb out at Vy.  What a beautiful and economical workhorse of an airplane!
Ray Hecker - CFII & MEII
EAA Chapter 92 President and Flight Advisor