Technical Counselor Visit   March 27th, 2007

Deene Ogden came to visit today. He is the technical counselor for the local EAA chapter. He took a lot of time to look at my tail components, and complimented me on the work. I guess I ain’t doin’ too bad then :-).

He gave me some general advice on all sorts of things, like using ‘blue foam’ to finish the control surface openings, lighting, etc. I really enjoyed the visit, and will try to stay in touch with him more often.

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Getting Started on the Wings   March 25th, 2007

I’ve spent the past two weeks taking inventory of all the wing kit components, as well as putting everything away. I’ve got plane parts in the garage, computer room, and guest room!

I’ve asked our local EAA technical counselor, Deene Ogden, to come take a look at the empennage parts. I figured I’m going to wait until he’s here to get started on the wings as I’m sure he’ll have some good advice. Meanwhile, I’ve been deburring ribs (there’s lots and lots of them).

I also took the front spars out of their plastic bags and inspected them for damage. They look nice and shiny…

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The only thing left to do in the left elevator was to roll the leading edges. I enlisted Fabiola’s help, and we finally got it done today. This rolling business is probably the hardest task so far. It’s very hard to have these things come out looking good. Everyone says you can’t really see them once the elevators are mounted, so we’ll see.

To roll the edges, we used a 1″ diameter pipe, duct-taped to the skin. Fabiola would hold the skin while I used two vice-grips to roll the pipe and skin. This is really easy for the first skin, but when it the time comes to roll the skin on the other side, the 1″ pipe won’t fit without hitting the skin you’ve just rolled. I ended up using a plastic sprinkler pipe for the first section and this worked out very well. For the middle section, the pipe wasn’t long enough, so I used some PVC pipe. BAD IDEA. The duct tape came loose in the middle of the pipe (not sure if it was because it was PVC, or something else), resulting in a skin which was perfectly bend at the edges, with a nasty ‘wave’ in the middle. After a lot of cussing and thinking, we decided to use more rivets in the center section. This made it look better.

Here’s the finished elevator:

At this point, there are only a few tasks remaining in the tail. I am going to hold off on these until later in the build process:

  • Mount, match, and drill the elevators to the horizontal stabilizer
  • Drill some holes in the lead counterweights to balance the elevators
  • Attach wires to the electric trim, as well as trimming out some of the material in the elevator which may interfere with the trim arm.
  • Attach the fiberglass tips.

Other than that, the tail kit is done! ..just in time too, ‘cuz the wings just showed up!

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The wings are here!   March 10th, 2007

I ordered the wings in December. After an 8 week lead time, plus another one or two weeks for packing and shipping, they finally arrived. I had them shipped to the ABF truck terminal in Austin (home delivery costs more than the actual shipping cost from Oregon to Texas!), so I had to rent a trailer to go pick them up.

If you ever need a trailer, Jon’s Rentals on Pond Springs Rd. is the place to go. He hooked me up with a 16ft flatbed trailer for $30 a day. I just showed up with my truck, and they hooked it up and everything. Couldn’t have been more pleased with them.
I thought I’d need some help unloading, but the boxes were only 200lbs each, so it wasn’t too hard to get them off the trailer by myself.

I had a lot of things to do at work, so I decided to go return the trailer and go back to the office. When Fabiola and I came back in the evening, we started carefully opening the crates. Here’s a picture of Fabiola playing with the pry-bar 🙂

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