Saturday, April 3, 2010

Slowly I turned....

I only had a brief opportunity to work on the plane, what with getting re-situated after our vacation and taking puppy Cabot to the vet for his third set of shots. And there was the matter of attending a racing event in support of Schmetterling's sister company, 8105 Racing. As a sponsor of sorts, I felt that I really ought to be there to represent the aviation arm of the conglomerate. This early in the racing season, it's already starting to get dark by the time the cars come out for their qualifying runs, which I only mention in defense of the graininess and sub-par focus of this picture:

I only stayed for the heat races so I don't know how things went in the feature, but it appears that the new, more powerful engine he's using this year is just what he needed to be able to run with the pack. Unfortunately, the new chassis isn't quite dialed in yet and he lost a lot of ground coming out of turn 4. There's a notable dip down into the apex of that turn and my theory (which is just that as I have never driven a NASCAR modified, nor have I driven so much as a tricycle around the Kil-Kare track) is that the car gets light as it climbs back out of the dip, causing a "loose" situation out of the turn as the car gets light on its wheels. None of the drivers seem to drift out to the wall for the very short straight before turn one; they seem to pinch the car down to keep it more in the middle of the straight. Again, with never having driven on the track myself I don't (and can't) know the reason for that. In any event, he finished his heat race in the second half of the field.

All I was able to get done on the fuselage was what seemed like it would be an easy step, but actually wasn't. The idea is to cleco the bottom skin onto the center section to ensure that the center section bulkhead that was clamped into place is correctly positioned. It ended up being a two-man job performed by me alone. I had to first situate the whole thing upside down in order to have access to the holes to be clecoed. I also needed to prop up the ends of the bottom skin:

I wasn't 100% sure if I had the skin right side up or not, but those elliptical openings will eventually be access ports and it seems like the covers should be recessed into the skin so they are flush:

Then I had to ever so slowly and carefully roll the thing back over to avoid damaging the skin. The airplane skin, that is. My own skin got a pretty nasty cut on my index finger when I scraped it against the sharp edge of the aluminum. I also had to find a way to prop it up so that it wasn't resting directly on the clecos. I did that with some scrap 2x4s I had laying around in the shop. What a great argument for never putting forth the effort to throw stuff away!

Now I just need to work up the nerve to drill those 72 very important holes!

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