Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rockin' on the Rollbar

The problem with quitting a work session when confronted with an unpalatable task is, of course, that your next session is more than likely going to start with an unpalatable task. That's not an immutable eventuality since there is always the slim possibility that the task in question was only undesirable because of the contemporaneous mood of the worker and will look more favorable to a fresh and rested person, but that was not the case when I got to the hangar and had to immediately disassemble all of the parts that I put in place to ensure that the rollbar was correctly positioned for match drilling to the rollbar mounts. With the holes having been successfully drilled, it all had to come apart again for deburring and priming.

Removing the panels was easy enough, but that rollbar was every bit as hard to remove as it had been to install in the first place. At least I had the job of trying to get it back on there again just a few hours later to look forward to. With everything laid out in my hyper-clean, dustproof paint booth, I applied the first coat of primer, followed by a top coat to match the rest of the interior. The only parts that were left with just primer were the two aluminum mounts that would be enclosed by the rollbar. The primer I bought at Advance Auto Parts seemed hardly up to the task. It stuck to the metal about as well as Lindsay Lohan sticks to sobriety. I knew it was all going to scrape off of the mounts when the rollbars were pushed back onto them. I also tried priming the rollbar itself with similar results. The much maligned Rust-Oleum seemed to stick much better.

While the first coat was drying, I went flying. The weather was perfect for it and I still needed to replace the fuel used for my non-BFR flight on Wednesday night. As I've mentioned before (albeit on the flying blog), calm-ish air is wonderful for flying, but it brings with it a couple of challenges: lots of other people flying, and some confusion as to which runway to use. The frustration factor comes in when people that departed from calm wind airports don't pay attention to the fact that the wind picks up later in the day. As I was waiting to depart Madison Co. (KUYF) on runway 27 with a full load of fuel, I had to wait for a guy that entered the pattern to land in runway 9.

The winds had picked up to a good six or seven knots out of the west, but either it was more convenient for him to land on 9 or he just hadn't bothered to check the wind. Fine, but the problem was that the three other planes approaching the airport heard him declaring his intentions and in a lemming-like procession all declared their intentions to land on 9. As tempted as I was to key the mike and suggest that at least one of them consult the windsock, I held my tongue and waited it out. Well, at least until one of them declared that he was going to do touch & goes. I waited for him to land but departed on 27 after his first effort as he was turning into the downwind for another try. It sure makes you wonder how they fail to notice all those extra knots on the runway - you can't miss it with an RV.

The paint was dry enough when I got back to allow me to flip over the parts and paint the other side. Faced with another wait for drying paint, I went ahead and fashioned the seat belt shoulder mounts. It was the normal separate and deburr operation, but with the added fun of adding a radius to the corners and chamfering the edges. Chamfering is just a matter of rubbing off an edge with the Scotchbrite wheel, but I still hate it. It's the word, you see. A "chamfer" sounds too much like something your doctor might find on you (or, heaven forbid, in you) during one of those socially awkward rubber-glove inspections of those private regions where you always hope and pray that nothing untoward is ever found.

As was preordained by the gods of inconvenience, getting the rollbar back on over the mounts was harder the second time than it had been the first. I really ought to compose a list of The Immutable Truths of Life. Isaac Newton, step aside. My laws will prove more robust and enduring than even yours. And hey, you only have a list of three, you slacker!

It took quite a bit of wiggling and yanking to get all of the rivets to go in. This was definitely a case where I didn't want to have to use the drill to remind a recalcitrant hole what it means to wear the #30 on this team - these things needed to line up right where they had been drilled. No room for touch-ups on this one.

The actual riveting was, as always, the fun part.

The rest of the panels were also ready to get put back on. There was a lot of dimpling to do first since there were a dozen or so nutplates that were to be installed.

Unlike the pneumatic riveting of the rollbars, the manual squeezing of the rivets for the nutplates was no treat at all.

There was one hole that needed to be protected from accidental premature installation. There are a couple of braces that go on the right side, presumably to add support for the fuel tank. That hole is common between the vertical and horizontal brace. The horizontal brace was to be installed now, while the vertical brace comes a page or two later.

Here it is, all riveted except for the top of the brace.

This was another case where the riveting was a little less pleasant than usual, even though it involved the air riveter.

It's just about ready for the attachment of the tail cone! There are a couple of braces that will go on pretty quickly before it's completely ready. I'll save those for an easy job for the start of the next session.

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