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Fri 03 December 2004

Welcome back - I got back to New Zealand yesterday afternoon and am looking forward to getting back stuck into the project.

This is a 6 week session with hopefully some visible progress being made. Big things that I would like to be able to complete include:

  • Wing mounting
  • Empennage mounting
  • Gear mounting
  • Canopy frame
Obviously there are lots of associated components that will also be worked on, but we will see how we get on.

I also need to go back and fix some of the write ups from the last 10 days from the last visit but I've been having IT problems (dead hard drive) so am rebuilding the system. No data loss, just hassle when I would rather be building aircraft. 
Whilst I've been away, Dad has been doing various bits, but mainly on the 'supporting infrastructure' rather than the actual plane. However, the first thing was to unpack and shuffle the contents of the shed to a more usable layout.
During the break a 'special offer' on an engine hoist at a local dealer was found so that was added to the list of tools / equipment for the project (and provides another object for me to bruise my shins on :-).
A more sturdy, low level platform has also been made to support the fuselage.
One of the biggest jobs has been the compressor / air and sheltered area. The compressor is now based outside under cover and the air is piped around the shed to multiple different locations. This has been a big job but should make some of the forth coming weeks a bit easier - one less thing to trip over - and significantly quieter :-)
The external covered area also now has power and lighting which should make spraying a little easier.
First real work on the project was to start removing all the various sub-assemblies that we stored attached to the fuse. Then a good vac and clean up.
Nice simple job to start with, trimming the wing rear spar. Previously I hadn't twigged this needed to be completed but before the wings were presented back up to the fuse this needed to be done. As it is a fairly important cut (minimum edge distances for the joint) we did it the old fashioned way - by hand.
Then after much debate, emails and thought, we elected to use a reamer on the 'laminated' plates on the spar so the close tolerance bolts will fit.

The factory basically just say use a hammer to 'knock' the bolt in, however even without the spar in place we couldn't get smaller shop bolts through the rear sections.

The various options seem to be 'scraping' the hole out or (as we have done) use a brand new, sharp accurate reamer of the right size to finish the holes.

It is probably only a couple of thousands of an inch too small but if we had gone down the hammer with a 'light' tap, it would have had to be a club hammer and the bolts would have been one time 'nails'.

It is also important for us that the wings can go on and off as some maintenance may need to be away from the airfield.

A difficult call (whether to ream), but we used it sparingly, after a lot of testing (and close tolerance bolts) and then very carefully.

Don't follow me - call the factory!

We then presented the wings up to the fuse and got to see the first real alignment.
We had some problems getting the tongue in the slot for the rear spar, but a little persuasion and it all slipped in neatly.
We also got all 4 shop bolts in and the wing was getting very 'tight'. No movement at all and when the close tolerance bolts are use it will be rock solid.
Carl Morgan