Monday, February 28, 2011

Wow, what a difference [insert appropriate temporal period here] makes!

It's a trite expression. I'm so tired of hearing it that I actually cringe whenever someone says it. Actually, I think I've moved beyond 'cringe' and now grind my teeth. All of that having been said....

Wow, what a difference a day makes!

Yesterday I enjoyed temperatures in the high 50's accompanied by a light breeze and soft blue skies by shooting a round of sporting clays in the morning and working on the RV-12 wing in the afternoon. The shooting didn't go nearly as well as it did my last time out. You may remember that I had a brand new ("to me," as the impecunious like to say) shotgun last time out, and scored a 22 out of 50 with it. This time around I shot 9. The message here is clear: I need to buy a new shotgun every two weeks.

This morning I drove to work in a Mitty-esque drama that was something akin to flying a B-17 through thirty miles of flak to deliver a load of bombs to the oil fields of New Albany, Ohio. Well, minus the abject, visceral terror of getting blown out of the sky, anyway. With the flashes of lightening in the night sky playing the visual role of flak bursts and the violent slaps against the side of the car from the gusty winds, it was easy to slip into the role of Squadron Commander Dave.

Or it would have been if I wasn't drenched; having failed to buy gas the day before when the weather was nice, I was forced to stop before making the long trek to work. As I stepped out of the car, there was just a light drizzle. Just as I started pumping gas, though, the clouds broken open with a deluge and the winds behind it forced it horizontally under the roof over the pumps. Fortunately I was there to block most of it or the pump might have gotten wet. And what a shame that would have been!

Still, as I was battling my way north with the winds pounding against the flanks of the car and the deep puddles on the highway trying to wrest control of the steering wheel from my white-knuckled hands, I was able to think a few positive thoughts about the pouring rain:

- I had picked a great weekend to replace my worn wiper blades with a pair of brand new (really brand new, not "to me" brand new) Rain-X Latitudes. I had AutoZone install them on my car, but also bought a pair to take home for the wife's car. I couldn't figure out how to get the old ones off and the included instructions offer no assistance on that topic, so I offered Egg the opportunity to take the car back up to AutoZone and get some help. Where's the opportunity for her in that? Well, anytime you can mock your daddy for his ineptitude, well.... kids love that!

- It wasn't snowing.

- It was washing the accumulated salt off of my car - another thing I had failed to do over the weekend.

- It's Monday and I would only be inconvenienced while driving to work as opposed to a rainy weekend day when the whole day would be a write-off.

That's as far as I got with happy thoughts before I caught up with a truck and added temporary road blindness to my list of woes. Man, do those things ever throw up a bow wave!

It was a productive weekend by any measure. On the topic of the RV-12 (oh, and let me now say "Welcome" to those of you that are well versed enough with my preliminary ramblings to just scroll down to the first picture), I was able to get to the point where all that is left to do is to seal the wingtip. I would have gone ahead and done that, but I ran into a situation that I wanted to spend some time thinking about first. We'll get to that in a minute.

First, I found a better way to break the irritatingly-dimpled edge of the wing walk doubler. I'm a huge fan of the converted visegrip edge breaking tool, but it simply wouldn't work with those dimples in the way. The original edge breaking tool that I bought (and hated when trying to break the edges on the tail cone) worked much better.

Riveting the doubler, just like everything else about this wing, seemed easier this time around. I still had to do a Mitty-esque farm veterinarian thing to get the ribs lined up correctly, though. Mooo!

So, there's the right wing mostly done.

The hangar is getting mighty crowded. I've all but decided that it's time to start the more-than-likely lengthy process of selling the RV-6. I need the space. It's due for annual inspection in March and I hate to spring the $$$s (and working hours) for that when a pre-buy inspection is likely to be right around the corner. As much sense as it makes to get busy with selling it, it's still a horribly difficult decision. I'll sure miss it when it's gone!

I started on the wing tip. This too went much more easily the second time around.

Until, that is, I was getting ready to close out the wing tip and noticed that I had forgotten to run a length of fishing line through the wire bushings in the ribs. The fishing line would someday be used to pull through electrical wires for navigation, strobe, and landing lights if I were ever to decide to install a lighting kit. I have no plans to do so at this point, but someday I might. I'm trying to decide if it's worth doing now, or if it would be just as difficult to do now as it would be to do at the time I (maybe) install the lights. It all comes down to whether or not the wing tip has to be re-opened to install the nav lights for not. If so, same pain then as now. If not, slightly less pain to do it now.

Sigh. Another tough decision.


Anonymous said...

To retrofit tip lights, you cut a oval hole (about the size of a flattened softball) into the underside of the tip, near the handhold. The instructions provide a template. You would reach your hand in and grab the string and pull the new wires. There are only a couple of rivets you have to take out as well, in order to rivet on a new fiberglass piece that the tip lights mount to. That piece covers the hole you cut so it does not have to be neat. So you would really miss having the string!
Now for the right wing you have to cut the landing light hole. This is a small hole too but does give you a bit of access to the front of the ribs where the snap bushings are. But installing the landing light through that hole is going to be like endoscopy. I did it from the back before doing that upper wing skin. Tough decision. I actually left in a string even after installing the lights! An extra wire between the tip lights makes them stay in synch. You could also add a wire to switch the strobes separate from the position lights. I did not do either of these. Bill H.

Torsten said...

IMHO, inserting the fishing line right now is way easier than trying to do it through that tiny cut out in the wingtip that you'd open for the nav light fairing. It is also positioned at an awkward angle that would make it almost impossible to get your hand to the snap bushing in the outer wing rib through this hole unless you could get Egg's helping (small) hand to do it.

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