Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Back(s) in the saddle again

Does it seem like it has been awhile since I've worked on the plane? It sure does to me! The last couple of weeks have been laden with distractions. A couple of afternoon/evenings were devoted to trying to get the Dynon D-180 in Capt. Lonnie's RV-12 to "talk to" the autopilot and GPS. To the best of my knowledge, that still isn't working. There was a late business dinner and a couple of unscheduled late nights at work provided courtesy of the folks that sign my paycheck, and we all know how hard it is to say no to those kind of folks. We've had bad weather that has kept me away from the hangar, and we've had slightly less bad weather that was good enough to do a little flying. We had a flat tire on Co-pilot Egg's car that needed to be replaced, despite her belief that it wasn't all that bad - it was only flat on the bottom, after all, and why the big fuss?

Things might be getting back to normal, at least if today is any indication. I was able to get home from work, get my clothes changed, and get out to the hangar while there was still good light. There were a few loose ends to wrap up on the seat backs and I hoped to get them out of the way so I could move on to the upper firewall. While it has been difficult to spend any meaningful amount of time out there, I have managed to stop by for brief periods in order to get the seats painted. All that remained to do today was to mount the aluminum Toblerone braces to the backs of the seat backs and install the assemblies into the fuselage.

Speaking of the Toblerone braces (I call them that for reasons that will be obvious if you consider the following photos), I can't figure out exactly what they're intended to be.

They mount onto the seat backs with hinge wire, so they're clearly expected to be able to move. As near as I can figure, they act as a type of seat recliner, albeit offering only two slightly different positions.

In any event, the seat backs are complete and installed. Don't they look comfortable?

Yeah. No they don't. Well, the seat cushions come with the finish kit. They'll look a lot better with the cushions on them.

Time just flies by (so to speak) when I'm out at the hangar. It's one of the few places where I can work at my own pace and without interruption, so I tend to just putter around and relax. There are distractions, of course, such as today when someone I've never seen before showed up and pulled Doc's Varga Kachina out of the hangar and prepared to fly it. That wasn't really a distraction in and of itself - the real distraction was that it was quite windy out there and he was just letting the wind bang the flight controls around in a most disheartening way. It's hard on them to be banged around like that, and I really, really like that Kachina. It's none of my business, and I treated it as such, but it's somewhat akin to averting your attention when you see someone abusing a helpless child. Can't we all please just think of the Kachinas??

Moving on, I started on the upper firewall. It's a nutplate kind of part, at least at first. Well, actually, the first step was to cut some hinge for the cowl mounts. I needed a 26" length and a 12.5" length. Two of each, actually, since one half of each will go one the firewall and the other half on the cowl. I had enough hinge material for both of the 26" parts, but only enough for one of the 12.5" parts. Paying for sins of the past, that; the remainder was used when I messed up the hinge piece that got mounted to the lower firewall. Fortunately I have about 5' of the stuff in the basement, left over from when I ordered way to much for fixing the RV-6 cowl in an ultimately successful attempt to see if I could push the shipping charge up to 500% of the cost of the material being sent.

So, back to the firewall. Twenty-seven nutplates. Only a handful less than the number of trombones that led the big parade. And, of course, the dimpling and countersinking that attend such tasks. Two of the nutplates were simple dimple jobs, the remainder were countersinking. The part that gets all of these nutplates is a band to surrounds the upper perimeter of the upper firewall. It provides a home for the top cowl hinges in addition to the nutplate kibbutz with its twenty-seven residents. All in all, a completely unsexy part that contributes more than its bland look suggests.

Bit of a problem here. The band starts out flat which pretty much ensures that it isn't going to want to sit flat after being forced into a curve, but the dimpling of the outermost screw holes created a bend in the opposite direction. Now it really doesn't want to sit flat. I'm probably going to have to take the twenty-five clecos back out and pre-bend the band to get me out of this bind that allows for an incorrect bond.

Hey, have you ever noticed that 'bund' isn't a word? Too bad - I would have liked to use all five.


From the mailbag: (Ssshhhh - he doesn't know I call him that)

Did you find any discrepancies on the 26" piece vs the photo in the plans??

Yep! The drawing for the 26" piece of hinge shows a hoop flush with both ends. That's neither mathematically nor physically possible and, in my deeply considered opinion, is yet another example of frivolous artistic license from those crazy rapscallians at Van's along the lines of "metric crescent wrench." Or just a mistake. Either way, I don't think it will make much difference since the matching piece will have the same number of interlocking hoops and the total length of the hinges will still be just as tightly coupled.

1 comment:

KLewis said...

Did you find any discrepancies on the 26" piece vs the photo in the plans??

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