Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Blues

I haven't left the house for two days. The grey, dispiriting Columbus winter weather that has blanketed us for over a week now has shown only sporadic and short-lived efforts to move along. Yesterday was Christmas, and that meant spending the day at home enjoying the holiday. Today provided ample time to work on the airplane but it would been at the cost of going out to a very frigid hangar. The long and short of it is that I lacked the motivation to get decked out in my heavy winter duds. It seemed easier and far more comfortable to stay in and park myself on the couch with soon-to-be-dog (his 1st birthday is in two days) Cabot. He slept, I read a book on my new Kindle.

Still, the nagging thought at the back of my brain was always present: "You really should do something productive today."

So I did.

The next time that I go to the hangar, it's highly likely that I'm going to go ahead and put the wing skins on the right wing. That wing is going to have to be moved out of the way so I can go back to working on the left wing and it will be better to do so only after accomplishing what would have been the next steps on that particular wing anyway, which is to skin it. As it stands right now that wing is especially vulnerable to damage. Once the skins are on, it will be much more rigid and the ribs will be protected.

To put the skins on, the blue protective shipping plastic has to be removed first. That seemed to be a perfect indoor job. The removal of that plastic is by far the most onerous job of the entire build. It's normally hard to remove but I was told recently that it will come off much easier if heated with a blow dryer. I thought that might be worth a try. It turns out that the plastic does come off easier when heated, but the hand required to hold the blow dryer is also needed to hold down the aluminum while the other hand pulls on the plastic.

I enlisted some help.

Co-pilot Egg volunteered to operate the blow dryer while I pulled off the plastic, but she soon decided things would go quicker if the old man just moved out of the way. I did nothing to discourage her from going it alone. After all, I'm normally the first in line to let someone else do the dirty work - why should this be any different?

Within half an hour she had followed my lead and enlisted her own helper.

Here are a few observations about building an airplane with teenage girls:

  • They enjoy comparing their boo-boos.
  • You hear things you aren't used to hearing. In this case, "You smell nice. Is that your new perfume?"
  • They're fine with using power tools, as long as you are willing to call a hair dryer a power tool.
  • They can't work for more than two minutes without sending or receiving a text message.

It took almost two hours, but all of the skins are now denuded of their blue cladding. I handed the helpers a $10 bill and sent them to the mall to hang around for the afternoon.

I went back to the Kindle.

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