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!"
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!"
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"
There may be more than one way to skin a feline (I've never tired), but if you stray from the instructions while skinning this wing, you're going to drill yourself into a corner! The process for drilling the skin to these long Xenos wings is one of the few step-by-step procedures given in the plans, and the number of parts and the way they overlap and allow/block access means that following the steps is well advised. Continue reading "Only One Way to Skin This Wing"
Oshkosh 2018 is in the books, and hopefully, pilots from all parts of the country have made it home safely. It was a good year according to many of the kit and accessory manufacturers that we talked to, with more sales up, and crowds of builders descending for information. My indicator was the number of people who rushed the booths and tents as the show opened Monday morning, hoping to get the inside scoop on a planned purchase and get that hot money out of their pocket. That's good for all of us, as it shows a distinct uptick in the homebuilt movement!
Cruising across the wilds of central Nevada the other day, my thoughts turned to GPS and the frequent outage NOTAMs we get when the military decides to play games with the signals. Its not uncommon for wide swaths of the western deserts to have warnings that GPS might be unreliable for significant portions of time. Now don't get me wrong - I am the very understanding of the potential military issues of having or not having GPS available (by the military and everybody else), as well as the need to train for use without it. We have to remember that initially, GPS was designed as a military asset - the fact that it has now been incorporated as key technology in everything more advanced than a toaster is simply a testament to its universal acceptance. Continue reading "Thoughts in Cruise"