I worked for the Federal Government for 34 years, and back in my college days, I spent two summers as a clerk in our state department of education, so I totally get what it means to be a civil servant when it comes to following the letter of the law, and the exact text of the regulations. So I have a lot of respect for the folks that work at the Civil Aviation Registry - the people in Oklahoma City that process, record, and issue aircraft registration documents. It's because of their careful adherence to the rules of documentation that we can have clear and traceable titles to our flying machines - and such care is hard to do quickly. So it is a good idea, when registering an airplane, to get started well before you need the paperwork. Continue reading "Dotting the I's, Crossing the T's..."
When you reach the end of a project (an airplane is never really finished, so we just say "the end of a project"), you begin to ask questions about how many "things" or how much time it took. At least, if you're an engineer you ask those questions - we love to measure things. Continue reading "How Many...How Much?"
Nope, it's not just for pilots - sometimes, a mechanic or builder just needs to stick a nut on the end of a screwdriver blade to hold it in a place that their fingers just won't go. Continue reading "Hey Ridley..."
Here's a short little tip for making your composite work a little more efficient.
How many times have you started a work session by mixing up some resin, adding flox or micro, and then slathering it on your project to fill depressions, holes, or other blemishes? The next step, of course, was to stand around waiting for it to cure. Sure, you could have gone on to do other things, but like most of us, you probably left the fiberglass work until the very end of your airplane build (I am excusing those who are building all-glass airplanes - they already know all these tricks, and are proud not to have to deal with all of that aluminum dust...) - so you don't have a lot else to work on while waiting for the goop to harden. Continue reading "Efficient Glass Work"
There comes a time in every homebuilt project where you need to start making lists. To-do lists. Up until that time, you are simply working on whatever you see that looks interesting, or following the assembly manual, step by step. But airplane projects are well known for the old 90/90 rule - "ninety percent done, ninety percent left to do!" It is amazing just how many details crawl out of the woodwork when you actually think the thing looks pretty complete. And all of those details take time - so much time. One of the biggest time sinks is simply wandering around the shop, trying to figure out what needs to be done before the darned thing flies. Continue reading "A Time for Lists"
It's easy to tell when a shop is deep into avionics wiring - at least it is in my shop! I generally start by hooking each wire up and one end and then estimating the length of each wire run. I then add about 10% to my guess, just to make sure that I won't come up short when attaching the second end to its destination - an inch too short is just aggravating. But that extra length always ends up somewhere, and that somewhere is the shop floor. Bits and pieces of wire, pitot/static tubing, masking tape (used to temporarily label wires) - and lots of pink or orange wire tires. Continue reading "Wiring Time!"