September 27, 2005

Priming Drill

Acid etched the flaps and ailerons, then alodined, and finally primered them this evening.

September 26, 2005

Stop Position

Yesterday I figured out a way of laying out the aileron stop position using a conveniently thick file. The aileron stop is a tiny little rascal so clamping it is a bit of a trick. With both drilled, I re-checked the travel limits and both sides are within Van's specs for limits. That done, it's onward and upward to start prepping the aileron and flaps for priming. Hopefully the weather will clear tomorrow and the temperature will rise so I can prep and prime the aileron and flaps.

September 25, 2005

Turkey Day

The Turkeys keep making a visit to browse the field. It turns out the
large hens check out the place first then the rest of the flock shows up with this years youngsters to browse. Really neat to watch them.

September 24, 2005

Aileron Stops

Priming of the empenage parts worked out pretty well. Found a fit problem with the fiberglass/rib on top of the rudder and formed up another rib and drilled and fitted it to make sure there is no interference with the rudder. Machined the stops for the ailerons and used my location jig (the angle pinned to the end wing rib) to drill the stops. Van's calls for the stops on the inboard aileron hinge bracket. I found the outboard hinge easier to set up on so I used that. I'll check with Van's to see if there is a big deal with doing that, but I doubt it. The ailerons are pretty stiff torsionally.

September 23, 2005

Paint Booth

Tried out the new paint booth set up on the empenage assembly. The new primer was nice to work with. I went to a fancy cooking store to get a small assortment of dippers to mix the 5:1 ratio on the primer/activator for Dupont's OEM/Fleet grad Corlar primer. The sales lady was wondering what planet I dropped in from...

What's nice about the new primer was was you just mix it and shoot it. The industrial grade (a darker grey) has to be thinned somewhat to shoot. The wings and fusalage should be a bit of a wrestling match to primer... Stay tuned!

September 22, 2005

Turkey Trot

Zipped out the front door and ...Nice surprise, the girls are in the front yard. By the time I went back in the house to get the camera the flock of turkeys were pretty well moved on.

Finally finished the paint booth and did another attempt at getting the crossbow sensor to interface with the software, this time with sucess. Looks like a bad or loose serial cable was the problem.

I really have to work at getting all the junk in front of the garage to the dump! Anyone need about 20 gallons of quenching oil? Also, you can figure it's a redneck household by the Christmas lights, which are still attached to the garage... Thank you!

September 21, 2005


After a couple go-rounds via email with Crossbow I got the sensor running. Here, the shot is of the sensor powered up, but the software didn't recognize it, apparently because of a cabling problem.

Turned out the Crossbow check out software requires Windows 2000 or better and would not run on my 98 box. So, thanks to my ISP who had a Windows 2000 package in the shrink wrap... After swapping cables I got the sensor and the PC talking on Thursday the 22nd. Now to get Linux to interface with the sensor.

The secondary circuit with the large LED is the unit's power supply to guarantee a nice clean 4.98 volts to the device. Still hard to believe the little rascal has three accelerometers, three rate gyros, three magnetometers, a GPS, two pressure sensors, and a partridge in a...

September 19, 2005

The Sensor

Finished welding the paint booth panels and started piecing... err... duct taping the panels together when the UPS guy showed up with the navigation sensor from Crossbow. Sure is a tiny little rascal. Hard to believe it has three accelerometers, three rate gyros, a GPS receiver and two pressure sensors on board!

September 17, 2005

Squaring Up

The little details take a while to build the paint booth. Here we do a quick and dirty jig to weld the piece square...

September 16, 2005


Saw my aeromedical doc today to get a medical for the pilot's license. I see my Cardiologist Tuesday, and he'll be the key guy on info to the FAA for the medical. The treadmill test (a full nuclear imaging study) showed the schemia (low blood supply) downstream of the stent is still there... Course this all shows up when they have you zipping along at a rate I keep telling them I wouldn't do outside of direct medical supervision unless they were firing LIVE AMMUNITION at me! Other than that, no hiccups at the aeromedical... Wish me luck Tuesday with the Cardiologist.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we continued development on the paint booth with a modular plenum assembly to deliver filtered air to the booth. I figure I'll deliver air with a shop vac and duct the discharge downwind so I can keep overspray off parts in the garage. Of course there are alternatives, i.e. not that I haven't painted car parts outside, particularly when doing a quick and dirty rocker panel to get some old iron past inspection for another year. (Cathy's Geo Tracker has a particularly attractive set of rocker panels made from aluminum flashing complete with matching factory paint color sans the clear coat.)

September 15, 2005

Paint Booth

To date I've been priming parts in the garage, and mostly interior surfaces. So if the odd bug or speck of dust got into the final result, I didn't worry about it. But now that we need to prime the exterior I thought I'd better take some precautions to protect the primed surface or face endless hours of sanding!

The mission has turned into one of how to make a portable paint booth without spending any money on it. I had a lot of 1/4 inch and 7/16 bar laying around the shop so I cooked up a modular 10' by 10' by 7' skeleton for a paint booth for starters. I figure I'll use plastic sheeting and duct tape to wall it all in...

September 13, 2005


Tuesday I ScotchBrited the horizontal stabilizer and elevator parts then got to thinking it was time to bite the bullet on getting primer for the exterior of the aircraft.

Our EAA Chapter (740 Twin State Flyer's) met for the last BBQ of the season and we
had a pretty good turnout. I think I'm getting the hang of using the grill to flip the burgers.

Things were going just ducky until I went to the paint shop on Wednesday to get a gallon of primer... $350 poorer I went. I was not able to get the aircraft specific primer DuPont reps advocated at Oshkosh because DuPont does not sell it to jobbers, only direct mfg's like Cessna et al. So, after some discussion with the New England DuPont person we chose to go with the fleet version of the Corlar primer used in high end big rigs i.e. Autocar's.

I was previously using a heavier commercial version of Corlar and liked it, but thought I'd play it safe on the exterior primer to avoid any surprises from the unique thermal shock environment aircraft can exhibit relative to automotive and trucking applications.

Since we can't get aviation topcoat colors from DuPont I'm thinking maybe going with Ferrari Red isn't such a bad idea after all... But for now, we'll stick with just getting the bird primed for storage for winter. Onward and upward, we have more important things to work on than paint... But not just yet.

September 12, 2005


I liked how the horizontal stabilizer ribs came out so much I decided to make one for the vertical stabilizer as well. Not shown, but I actually made two of them, then took a little shortcut on the drilling (on the bench) and when found out it was crooked on the assembly. So... We cooked up a second one. These little custom
formed small ribs are really not that hard to make.

September 11, 2005

Rib Making

The usual routine on RVs is to do some variation on fiberglassing the end pieces shut on the horizontal and vertical stabilizer sections. Now with some 2024 in fully annealled "0" temper around (from the canopy work out) and a piece of oak I got to thinking, gee maybe I should try to form a little rib to fill in the hole and just rivet the assembly shut.

Took a couple of practice pieces but, in the end it was worth it. Now all I have to do is rivet the rib to the fiberglass and pop rivet it to the empenage assembly. I did the first one before taking the hike to the B-29 crash site in Perkinsvill, VT this afternoon. When we got home we popped out the second rib and drilled and fitted them.

Now all I have to do is make another oak mandrel to form the the rib for the vertical stabilizer.

Dead B-29

The Weathersfield Vermont Historical society hosted a "moderately strenuous" hike in Perkinsville VT today to the site of the 1947 crash a B-29 bomber on a training mission in rainy weather. Twelve souls were lost on what started out as a training flight from Tucson, AZ heading for Bedford Massachusetts.

Apparently the pilot had earlier tempted fate by dropping down and taking a peak and almost lost it according to one report where it almost hit the bridge in Bellows Falls. If he was dropping down to take a peak the second time, he got a very nasty surprise. He pulled and banked to avoid Hawks Mtn. (named after a 1700's militia general), but he didn't make it.

One hundred and seven people of all ages showed up for the hike. According to the Historical Society and the land owner, the parents, children, and grandchildren of those who died have made pilgramages to the site. It's very pretty, now, the accident at the time woke the whole town up and locals were on the seen in about an hour or so after making the tough hike with no trail in heavy rain to search for survivors.

It was a gorgeous day for the hike. By the way, the Historical Society published a reprint of some of the newspaper headlines from the time. My how time does not change. Among the headlines on "The Boston Herald": "Wallace Says U.S. 'Would Fight for Arab Oil'...

September 10, 2005


Took all day putzing around on the various platenut and hole drilling details to finish the gap fairings on the empenage assembly. Came out nice, and now to acid etch, alodine and prime everything.

September 09, 2005

Poking Around

Small details day: After spending some time re-familiarizing myself with flightgears source code I finally took a break and finished up some details on the tail of the fusalage, namely drilling and tapping the 6-32 threaded holes for the horizontal stabilizer gap fairing attachment.

September 08, 2005


After finishing up some details on the vertical stabilizer and rudder I tried out some Dupont treatments for aluminum to make sure the paint stays put when it gets on. First you acid etch the surface then you put on an alodine treatment to bond a sacrificial material to the surface as a last resort against corrosion. After treating and washing everything I was a little stuck for a place to dry the parts on. So the Oldsmobile rack got pressed into service.

September 05, 2005

More Feathers

Turned my attention to the intersection fairing between the empennage assembly and the fusalage. I also started fitting the underneith metal fairing strip. I'll do as much as I can at this juncture before having to take the tail assembly apart to get at some drilling and platenut work for the fasteners to hold the fairings on the fusalage.

Once off the bird, the tail feathers will be primed before all the parts go back in house for winter. Should be a nice cavernous garage this winter for the winter sprawl of the plow truck et al... We were going to do some grouting today in the plane room but Cathy got a nasty case of tendonitis from working on the floor the day before. Slate floors last forever, but installing them can definitely leave you somewhat the worse for wear.

September 04, 2005

Tail Feathers

Been doing some light detail work on the tail lately. Trimmed the empennage to fusalage piece, and will sand and drill it later. Finally got around to drilling the fiberlass pieces for the elevator and rudder. Have some more detail drilling on the bottom part of the rudder, and also need to form a little rib to close off the leading edge pieces.

We've been laying a slate floor in the room the fusalage sits in for the winter so I've only got these small items done while Cathy and I "recover" from laying the floor. Slate is pretty much indestructable once you finally get it installed.

Earlier in the week I finally ordered an intertial sensor from Crossbow in California. Thier uNav sensor. Their certificated sensor is something like $15,000 clams. Since this will be a VFR bird we are going to make the most of the uNave sensor which is actually designed for use in RC and UAV robotic aircraft... It's also only %10 percent the cost of it's certified big brother used I believe in the Chelton glass panel systems.

September 01, 2005

Chapter Items

Message from C.G. Vlahakis:
Chapter patches are available at $5.00 each. See me at the next BBQ. We are planning to order golf shirts again. The last batch cost about $22/each. I will be getting a new catalog and will get current prices. Members can order colors and sizes and will be required to put $20 down before we will order. We do not want to be stuck with inventory and find that this is the best way. T shirts are available from Bill Molloy. See him at next BBQ or meeting.