Sunday, July 24, 2011

When 90 degrees seems cool...

Question: When do you look at a forecast for temps in low 90s and say "Yeah, that's more like it! I'm goin' to the hangar!!"

Answer: When you've just spent a week looking at forecasts in the 100s and saying "Nope, no way I'm going to the hangar!"

So yesterday, finally, I got back to work. Cadillac Pete was also chomping at the bit and was more than happy to brave the slightly-less-of-a-sauna-but-still-a-sauna-none-the-less hangar (in fact, it was his idea!) and help out with the next steps. We're still in the mode of hunting back through the plans to find things that I didn't do when I was supposed to because it didn't make sense to do them until now. In this case, those things included installing the Flettner tab and the electric motor that will be used to control its position.

The tab itself fit into place almost as if it had been designed to. Of course, it had in fact been designed to just that, but that doesn't always mean anything at all. It could just as easily taken hours to get the thing to fit - it's happened that way before and it will happen that way again.

The mounting of the trim motor tray is a case in point. It took quite a bit of finagling (which is Latin for 'cussing', I think) to get it into place. Having done so, however, I was relieved to find that the bushings that I had agonized over more than a year ago when I first measured and cut them from a piece of tube were actually the correct length. I double, triple, quadruple checked them because they seemed too short. Now I know why: the black plastic bushings take up the slack.

Then it was just a simple matter of crimping five connectors on the wires. Well, not so simple in the event. The wires are very, very thin. I couldn't even strip the insulation off with my nice wire trimmers because the wires were too thin for the tool. They were also too thin, as it turns out, for the crimped on connectors to get enough wire to grab ahold of. The connectors fell right off after being crimped. I went though a couple of connectors (fortunately I had amortized the cost of shipping a couple of replacements by buying ten after the last time I ruined one) before realizing that I would have to find a better way.

What I did was to take a length of 20 gauge wire and strip a short piece of insulation off the end.

I cut that end off, carefully leaving a very small length of insulation on it. I braided the new thicker wire onto the too-thin wire. I would then have a thick enough wire to crimp.

I was afraid that the thin wire would still be too weak to support the connector, so I added a piece of shrink wrap tube to add some strain relief.

And there they are, all hooked up and ready to go.

With the exception of not having any control cables attached to it, the tail is functionally complete.

Pete had been kind enough to bring me a loaf of bread that his lovely wife Красивая женщина had been kind enough to bake for me. Figuring that getting the Flettner tab and its drive motor installed was about all of the work I wanted to do in the awful heat, I decided to call it a day and head home for a sandwich made from said bread.

Today was a little cooler than yesterday, but that's akin to saying that a crocodile is friendlier than an alligator. You really don't want to take a bath with either of them. Pete was on hand again to help with the installation of the flaperons. This was to be another of those jobs that I would have had no hope of doing alone. It's been an absolute godsend having someone to offer a hand. I imagine this kind of stuff can be done alone with enough inventiveness and perseverance, but I'm sure happy that I don't need to have either of those traits in abundance to get this thing done, because I don't.

This is the business end of the flaperon:

The black cone aligns (and, I suspect, fits into, after sufficient inventiveness and perseverance have been applied) with the open end of the flaperon torque tube. The olive drab tab that you can almost see below it fits into the slot of the torque tube. Between the two of them, those two things will align the wing as it is inserted into the fuselage and provide the torque to rotate the flaperons.

With the flaperons finally installed, the wings went back onto the airplane. It was too hot and uncomfortable to even consider moving onto the next step. That step is pretty critical: we will be aligning and drilling the flaperon torque tubes.

No comments:

Post a Comment