It's been over a month since I last posted to the blog and I'd like to say I have a lot new to report but I don't.
Covid continues to limit travel but I still have access to the shop. I've been feeling a little discouraged lately about my airplane build project. It's getting done but sometimes it feels everything is moving slower than I thought I'd like when I started this journey. Perhaps it's the overriding doom and gloom of media, news and society right now bringing me down.
A couple of days ago, a story was posted to a blog I follow and it reminded again me why I'm building not just buying. It's about learning and mastering my passion, not about instant gratification. If I keep reminding myself of that truism and how much I enjoy being in the shop, maybe I can also remember that no matter how much no progress is, no progress is just that. Some progress, even a little gets me closer.
Anyhow, I have been getting to the shop this past month. Had a couple weeks of back soreness that continues to linger, but feeling better enough now to work on the plane regularly. Might as well, not much else to do at the moment.
A regular reader of my blog asked me for a picture of the flapperon control horn complete and attached to the inboard flap. Here it is, final riveted to the root rib, prior to closing up the nose for storage. I realized when I was looking for this picture, I had a few others from the past couple of weeks. I'm onto my 3rd flapperon (the 2nd inboard one) so I apologize if the order of the pictures is confusing. They really are all the same build sequence as what I've previously posted, but I'll add some comments to each,
Laying out another skin with the biggest straightedge you've ever seen. The weight of a square steel tube keeps it in place, small finger clamps at each end can't do the trick on their own:
An important aerodynamic principal is to keep all flaps exactly the same dimensions (I'm very close to the plans, but not exact). To accomplish this, I used the completed inboard flap as my template to lay out the next skins and where the skeleton sits inside the skin:
I used the bender to gently form the trailing edge past 90 degrees, then a wide board to press it down flat. Small wood pieces screwed to the table kept everything in place for the press down:
Here is how I drilled the flap pick up angles to the nose rib. Started with A3 moving up in hole size to A4 then A5 ensures a nice clean and round hole for riveting later. While I had them out, I did the remaining 3 flapperon skeletons the same:
With the skin bent, rivet lines laid out and confirmed by dry fitting the skeleton, I drilled the upper skin to A3, using a scrap piece of plywood as a backer to prevent damage to the lower skin (it's very easy to do, not much room between the two!)
Using the skin holes as a guide, I lined up the ribs and drilled them out to A3. The steel tube keeps things flat and tight. I also did the spar at this point to A3. I leaned later to wait on the spar holes until AFTER I rolled the nose skin around.....
In the picture below, the nose skin is already pre-bent. Here I've flipped the whole thing upside down to rivet the lower skin. Again, I used the steel tube to keep everything tight, I also clmped the trailing edge down to the bench under some strips of wood to help secure everything:
Ratchet straps draws the nose skin over. If I'd been smarter, I would have waited to drill the spar holes once both skin edges were in place, but using the hole duplicator worked ok. I'll do it that way on the next ones.
The outboard flap sections do not have a tip rib. The tip is occupied by a fairing that I've yet to make (3D print!?!?). To help keep the shape of the nose correct, I inserted a piece of steel tubing that approximates the curvature of a tip-rib nose if it were in place. This worked well to keep the skin straight to the spar:
With everything drille dout and square, all holes are upsized to final A4 size and then the whole thing comes apart..... again.
Clean everything up using purplle ScotchBrite pad and a little acetone, ready for priming:
Once the primer is dry, everything gets assembled again. At this point I added the flapperon connection splice plate on the outboard flaperron. After fitting, it too was primed. Again, the matching bolt hole in the splice pate doesn't get drilled until later when mounting both to the wings for final adjustment:
So, here is an updated pictogram of what is complete (in blue), a good barometer of progress I suppose:
Moving onto the 2nd outboard flapperon, it's pretty much wash. rinse, repeat. I did take some time to check the straightness of the flapperon spar. I set it up on the steel tube and used heave steel blocks to reference against. This gave me the chance to verify the measurements and ensure ther was now twist in the spar (a common issue with scratch build parts) that could lead to a twist in the flapperon once it is skinned:
Laying the skeleton on the skin gives an easy reference to where the rib and spar rivet lines will be:
The trailing edge is carefully pre-bent in the bender, then.....
..... folded over using a long board and down pressure squeezing. Inserting the skeleton for fit confirms everything matches the previous 2 flapperons:
Top side riveted to A3, nose skin pre bent and flapperon flipped over to river the lower side (just like the last 2):
With the skin in position, flapperon pick-up angles can be laid out on the skin and cut out (I "think" I already showed this previously?):
It's nice to have the company of Ron's dog Maggie in the shop. Company is probably too polite - she's more of a supervisor!
The third flapperon is now almost complete. One more inboard one to do, but I was wrong when I thought the 2nd, 3rd and 4th would go quicker. It doesn't. But progress is happening and I'm happy about it.
Maybe it was a sign of brighter days ahead, but the other morning when I entered the shop, I'd thought Ron had left a work trouble light on in the Cessna cabin:
Turns out the glow wasn't man-made at all (trouble light or fluorescent).... it was just the sun streaming in the window of the shop roll-up door. Life is beautiful isn't it?
In closing this blog entry, I want to quote the author of the blog I spoke of reading the other day:
“At any real level, flying is not a sport, a hobby, a pastime nor entertainment. It is An Endeavor, worthy of every hour of your life you invest; Those who dabble in it find only high cost, poor reward and serious risk. They are approaching it as consumers. Conversely, for those who devote their best efforts and their serious commitment, the rewards are without compare.” -ww-2006
New here? Try starting at:
Husband, father and 911 dispatcher. Long time pilot with a licence that burns a hole in my pocket where my student loan money used to be. First time aircraft builder. Looking to fly my own airplane.