Look Ma - No Wings!

Something changed radically in the shop this past week - a milestone came and passed - and so did those huge long wings for the Xenos! Notice the workbench? No wings! With the help of a lot of airpark neighbors, we had a marathon month of drilling, deburring, and riveting, and the long motor glider wings are now tucked safely in their racks, awaiting installation in the fuselage - which now comes back to center stage as we pull out the drawings and figure out where we left off. Continue reading "Look Ma - No Wings!"

DAM!

DAM windshield cleaner

One of my earliest "jobs" in aviation was as an unpaid (but compensated with experience and flight time) line-boy/hangar rat. I'm sure that was the first time I washed an airplane windshield, and I used whatever goop in a bottle was thrown at me by the FBO owner. In the many decades since, I have probably used just about every chemical available to clean windshields and windows, including good old H2O, and I am still looking for the magic elixir that simply makes deceased bugs and other debris leap off the canopy when it is merely brought out of the cupboard. I am still waiting - but a new product from McFarlane Aviation Products comes pretty DAM close! Continue reading "DAM!"

A Building Epidemic!

Rans S-21 Outbound

No need to rush out to your doctor for the latest vaccine, unless, of course, you are living at our air park and your spouse is allergic to seeing a new airplane kit arrive! It seems that new kit starts in our neighborhood are blossoming - now doubt a follow to a successful AirVenture and economic optimism on the part of many who have been contemplating a new build. Continue reading "A Building Epidemic!"

Now THAT'S a Squeezer Yoke!

giant-squeezer-yoke

It's no joke folks - if you want to do a big job, you need some big tools. Most metal airplane builders are familiar with squeezer yokes - heavy steel shapes that attach to either a pneumatic cylinder or a hand squeezer to squeeze rivets and dimple sheet metal. Really big ones might handle a depth of about four inches. But for some jobs, you need to reach really far inside the sheet from the edge, and for this, most folks use a C-frame dimpler that you hit with a hammer. Continue reading "Now THAT'S a Squeezer Yoke!"

One Down - One to Go!

Xenos wing

All has not been quiet in ye 'olde aeroplane factory since we got back from AirVenture. With another kit coming in late September, and the shop fully up and running, it was time to get moving on the wings for the Xenos, and the result is now a finished left lifting surface, with the right framework ready to go on the workbench to get its skin in the next couple of weeks! No, we have no intention of finishing up the motor glider before the little jet arrives, but it would be nice to have the majority of the metal work done so that it's "just" a matter of systems work and over-all integration. You know -the last 90% or so... Continue reading "One Down - One to Go!"

Old Dog, New Trick

I've been working on airplanes for a long time, and some things I do a certain way because I have always done them a certain way. Deburring for instance - I can't begin to think of how many tens of thousands of holes I have deburred (both sides!) on countless airplanes. Drill, debur, repeat... the mantra of the metal airplane builder. I have almost always used a hand-crank deburring tool with two or three flutes for the job, and I can do it while watching TV or (probably) in my sleep. One and a half turns, then on to the next hole, endlessly. Continue reading "Old Dog, New Trick"