Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Overcoming the Block

I should have added this entry earlier but I now seem to always run out of time to update the blog. While I was slowly overcoming my building block and getting more and more acquainted with the idea that no matter how much I despise it, the only way this landing gear will get fixed is by ME doing it, I now find myself struggling to keep the blog updated with the current status of the build.
Finally, I have decided to add the text to it at least, hoping that reading out the camera and adding the photos will then just follow sort of automatically.

So, over the last week, I was able to finish the prep work on the lower cowl to get it ready for gluing on the seal strip to the radiator frame. The cleco holes had to get filled and then the outside of the frame had to get sanded flat and scuffed up to allow the silicone to get a grip.

One little problem area was identified. The round corner on the frame had so much resin/flox build-up between the duct and the cowl side that I can foresee issues when fitting the silicone seal in this area.

I have decided to try to trim this build-up back using the Dremel tool and see if I can make a bit more room for the back-strip of the seal.
Now the cowl is waiting for the actual glue job to get done.

More importantly, in respect to overcoming the block, I acquired a couple of cheap zinc-plated steel sawhorses (originally providing 28.5" of height) and trimmed 4" off their legs to get them down to the 25" of height Van's asked for.

That worked out pretty well but the wobbly response of the sawhorses to the application of rotational forces, lead me to believe that I could and should improve their stability for this task. I used a 3x1.5" cut to length and screwed it onto the inside of the sawhorses' top. That way it supports distributing the load on the sawhorse and doesn't mess up the 25" height I had just accomplished.

I was quite anxious about putting the quite heavy fuselage onto these fairly wimpy looking sawhorses, so I decided to let the plane sit at least a full day on the supports and measure if there were any signs of approaching failure.

It turned out that the sawhorses work just fine and do not seem to slowly give in. I also wiggled the fuselage sideways quite a bit, to simulate what will happen when I remove and reinsert the gear legs and it appears to be stable enough to take the forces.
If you have sawhorses you would like to use for the job, note that the front support at the steps is taking most of the load. I would guess that it is about 70-80% of the weight. The rear load is so minimal that you could even use a plastic sawhorse to support the tail and be perfectly fine.

The plane is sitting on the supports for 3 days straight now and, with the padding on the sawhorses, the main wheels still are between 1 1/8" and 1 1/4" off the ground and there was no sign of settling. The next steps are to drain the brake lines (something that has to be done to tackle the seepage of the brake fittings anyway). Then, as soon as I have a few hours of building time in a row, I should take the gear legs off and get to the core of the Service Bulletin.

With the upcoming Super Bowl® weekend, I'm not sure if this will happen so soon ...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Psychological Block

What is going on?

More than a month since the last post and nothing new to report?

Well, yes, at least when it comes to airplane building.

The big news that happened in December last year was that I changed jobs. And that, naturally, comes with a lot of collateral changes. These certainly contributed to me having less time to build and less time to think about the RV in my carport. All of this was, and still is, contributing to a lack of progress on the build.

Another reason is that I seem to be suffering from a psychological block at this point. It is caused by the fact that everytime I make some little progress on the build again, I soon thereafter receive a change notice from Van's telling me that what I just did was completely in vain and that I will have to tear it down again when - WHEN(!) - they have figured out just how to do it.
After the fuel tank modification, that had just come out a few weeks after I had happily sealed mine up, it now is the landing gear that requires some significant changes.
The very landing gear that I had held off to attach for so long and had worked around to just not have to work on it in an awkward way or interfere with the electric installation.
And, now, after I pulled the trigger on it, I received the next change notice that tells me to pull it all apart again and drill out a bunch of rivets to fix what should have never been broken to begin with.

It sure doesn't help my motivation, despite the fact that I am really close to turn this pile of aluminum into a federally registered aircraft. Right now I am still waiting for some missing parts for even doing this landing gear modification as they were on back-order when I received my "care package" from Van's some weeks ago.\

So what I'm doing at this point is to keep on waiting and hoping for warmer temperatures to come along with the back-ordered parts. As a matter of fact, we have a pretty garstly winter this year in Tucson and temps are actually around freezing in the morning. While this would appear to be warm for Ohioans, it is completely unacceptable for Southern Arizonas and not helping with motivation to leave the house either.

Give me a few more days, maybe a couple of weeks, and I should have been able to overcome my latest hiatus and get back to work.