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!"
When you're elbow deep in wiring, it is motivating once in awhile to clear all of the debris, check all the connections, and apply some voltage to the input side of the airplane, just to watch things light up! (Note all of those caveats - applying power with dangling power and ground wires can lead to grief when electrons flow where they aren't supposed to - test smart!) Continue reading "Power to the Panel!"
One of the best things about this job is the number of contacts I get from members of the homebuilding community - It's like being at Oshkosh every day of the year! I get information on new projects, old projects, what people are working on... and questions, like the one below. The thing is - while I pride myself on knowing a lot of aviation trivia, I also find that the more I learn, the more I learn that I still don't know. Yup - there are obscure, limited edition (or even one-off) airplanes that have escaped my notice. Many of them in fact. Continue reading "All of Us are Smarter than Any of Us"