Sunday, August 14, 2011

I was framed!

I've been reading a series of short whodunnits written from the perspective of a defense attorney. And by "written" I mean fill-in-the-blanks-on-the-same-story-over-and-over. Every single one of the five that I have read have been the same story: his client is innocent but every piece of evidence points to an easy guilty verdict for the prosecution. And each time, the defendant has been framed. Oddly enough, they're still fairly entertaining stories.

More entertaining, I'm willing to bet, than my sharing that I read them. It's all in support of the work that we're doing on the airplane, though, so just be thankful that I kept it short. The work in question is the beginning of the dreaded canopy installation. The next month will likely see nothing but canopy work, although we might squeeze in some odd jobs now and then. The canopy starts with a frame (hence....)

The first thing to do is the deepest countersinking that I've ever [intentionally] done. This will hold a screw that will in turn hold one end of the gas struts that will lift the canopy.

Next comes a strange little job. The canopy is already welded together, but there are five holes to be match drilled and riveted. It seems odd that the rivets are required to support the welds, and it also seems odd that I was finally able to match drill holes and have them in alignment when it came time to rivet. Maybe I should have been welding the parts together all this time...

Speaking of welds, the next step is to grind off a portion of the weld in the center of the cross bow so the canopy won't rub against it.

I started out using a much larger file but it was hitting areas that I didn't want filed. I switched to a smaller file.

Then I test fit the canopy.

After attaching the struts to the screws....

I had to cut off all but two protruding threads.

At that point, the frame was ready to be attached to the airplane.

With the canopy frame, floor boards, seat backs, cushions, and seat belts installed, I thought it was time for another trial fit. Here I am, framed by the canopy frame.

This seemed a good stopping point, particularly since I won't be in the shop again until at least Wednesday. I did some research and found that the drilling of the canopy plexiglass is fraught with opportunities for cracking the area around the drilled holes. The best advice (as near as I can tell) seemed to be to use a manual drill to reduce the chance of a bit grabbing hold of the edge of a hole and creating a crack. I went out looking for one, but it seems that in these days of ubiquitous electricity a hand drill has become something of a specialty tool. I found one at but it will take a few days to get here.

That's not a problem since at least the next two days are going to be miserable as I prep for one of the most undignified and uncomfortable medical procedures known to man. And, things going the way they always do for me, the late week newspapers will be headlining stories about the medical breakthrough that has replaced colonoscopies with a five minute, hassle-free alternative that has been waiting in the wings for just the right time to emerge.

You're welcome.

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