Hapkido Online

Monday, June 30, 2014

Builder Log Spruce JuJu

Left: Aluminum strait edge ruler screwed firmly down to the bench.

Right: New work bench. 1 of 2 hopefully.

Week 12

June 30, 2014

Time Spent 4+ hours

Total Time: 45 hours

Finished up the first work bench this week!  Julie and I spent a lot of time reorganizing the barn.  The hardest part was pushing the very large cast iron wood stove back into place by its chimney pipe wall penetration.  Once I get the chimney pipes reconnected we’ll have heat.  I look forward to burning wood scraps in the stove.  Next winter I’ll be able to epoxy all winter long!  You can see we have an entire quarter of the barn cleared out now for the project, now that is progress!

Picked up two yellow aluminum rulers that were 48” long (shown in photo). They were only $8.00 apiece.  Asa and I carefully wet drilled nice neat holes in them about every 8 or 9 inches. I used our longest aluminum strait edge to make sure they were lined up perfectly before screwing them down.

Dad gifted 11 prebuilt wing ribs to me from TEAM and a Teleflex cable.

Thank you Dad!

I had worried that differences between TEAM’s jigs and mine would cause minute differences between the wing ribs and my concerns were somewhat justified.  They are a little different a 1/16th off here and a 1/8th off there.  I think the prudent course is to use my ribs for one wing and TEAMs ribs for the other wing.  Aerodynamically I don’t think it will matter.  The outer dimensions are very close. 

The new stuff arrived undamaged.  Overall very pleased with TEAM, glad I picked the Minimax for my first plane.  David Cooper has been ever available when I needed help or advise.

I hung the new ribs up in the barn separately from my ribs.  I really like the laser cut gussets.  Shame team doesn’t just sell gussets.

One thing I can say with pride is that my home made wing ribs are cleaner and nicer looking than TEAM’s.  When you make things for your own plane you take the time to get it as perfect as possible.  Of course they have more experience than me and I suspect that my level of precision simply isn’t needed for wing ribs.  The TEAM ribs are perfectly sound and strong, nothing wrong with them at all.

I also bought some used cheap used galvanized metal conduit and some phosphoric acid.  I’ll use the acid to dissolve the zinc coating and thus rendering the metal safe to weld.  This I’ll use to practice welding this summer.

I plan to upgrade my Lincoln with a gas kit so I can MIG (Metal Inert Gas).  It can arc weld right now with a spool of fluxed wire but I think the MIG welds are stronger and look better.  I’ll get a cylinder of CO2/AR mix for welding steel and a cylinder of AR alone for welding aluminum.  The Minimax as designed does not have a lot of welding if any required but I think I’ll weld my own motor mount.  Plus I might shape my cowling out of aluminum instead of carbon fiber.

Just for fun I lofted the vertical stabilizer this morning.  I LOVE my workbench.  Having a metal ruler screwed down in combination with a carpenter square is the bee’s knees!  It’s like having a giant drafting board.  I’ll get back to wing building soon I just wanted to make something new for awhile.  After 45 hours of wing ribs, I’ve earned it. 

I still have to put the blocking into the specialized ribs for the aileron brackets and so forth.  Today I’ll go to the hobby lobby and see what their plywood looks like; I’ve heard its aircraft grade.  I’ll do a boil test with a few plywood coupons and compare it with the stuff I’ve been getting from aircraft spruce.
Next week I’ll get the materials to build the next bench.  This one will only be five feet long instead of eight feet.  I plan to bolt the two benches firmly together perfectly flush.  I can do this because I’ve put carriage bolts in all the feet of the tables so they can be raised or lowered tiny fractions of an inch with a ¼” box wrench.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flight Design CTLS and workbenches.

Yesterday I flew the Flight Design CTLS for about an hour.  My instructor was Bob Chandler, owner of Chesapeake Aviation.  My impressions of Chesapeake Aviation are that it is very much what I expected and what I have seen at a number of flight schools.  Bob's wife Dot answers the phones and greets people at the door.  She put's in seven days a week there, I may suggest they take a couple off.  Bob was outstanding, very knowledgeable about the aircraft and he took nearly an hour showing me all of its eccentricities before we even took off in preflight.  The Citabria was sadly down for engine maintenance but it looked very nice.  Bob thinks I should get my Sport pilot in the CTLS and then get a tail wheel endorsement after the fact in the Citabria.  Then he says I can build my time for my private and so forth in my own plane. Bob thinks my plan is a good one and economical.


The CTLS is fast (cruise 130 mph, stall 39 mph) and it takes some getting used to.  For example we had to back way off power on the downwind leg of the pattern just to give it time to slow down enough to land. 


It's the first plane I've ever flown that used a stick instead of a yoke.  It's extremely sensitive and responds to the slightest control input.  Since it's a two seater when you are in the left seat you hold the stick in your left hand and right hand on the throttle, from the right seat you fly the opposite way.  Compared to the GA planes I've flown up till now the CTLS handles like a sports car.


The other thing that took some getting used to is the glass cockpit.  Pretty much everything was displayed on three LCD screens, engine numbers on the right screen, GPS middle screen, and then the flight instruments on the left screen in front of me.  It's fairly intuitive but still different and I struggled some.


The cockpit is quite roomy inside and we didn't rub shoulders like I usually do in GA planes.


We went up and flew out of the pattern and Bob let me make some turns and then just cut me loose.  He asked what I would like to do.  I told him I would like to head back and shoot approaches so we flew back to the airport and did a few touch and goes and then landed full stop.


At home I've been building work benches.  Just about finished with the first bench.  I decided to buy new wood and build from scratch because the loft stuff just isn't built flat and true enough to be considered.  Decided to use the full sheet of plywood so these project benches are each 4 x 8 and 33 inches tall.  Today I am going to pick up some carriage bolts to make them adjustable on the bottom. 


I still have to bring the loft storage platform in the garage down to make room for a new closet and I am still going to use the loft structure.  I am just going to make tall narrow tool benches out of it (instead of low wide work benches) to hold some of our bench mounted tools (bench sander, bench vice, etc.

My oldest daughter Caelynn is visiting for a few days and has an interest in Aerospace Engineering so I thought I might help her to build a wing rib, just for fun.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bed Time Stories for Little Pilot's

So last night my son wanted me to read him a book before bed.  "Do you want me to read you a book, or tell you a story?"  At first he chose the book option but when after offering him several choices he had already heard ad nauseum he finally relented and asked for the story.  "Do you want to hear about the first man to break the sound barrier?"  He nodded.


I told that story to the best of my ability beginning with how many pilots and planes went up to break the barrier and many were lost.  Using my hands to gesture the shaking and the sound waves.  As we went up into the belly of the B-29 he was completely rapt.  Higher and higher, then to step across the abyss of air and space to nestle into the Bell X-1.  I made sound effects of the rockets firing and described how the plane began to shake.  And finally the massive sonic boom and the heroic safe glide down and landing.


He ate it up! "Tomorrow will you tell me another story daddy?"

Of Ribs, Family, and good Friends.

I put the temporary gussets on the final rib for the right wing and gingerly popped it out of the jig this morning. I've been practicing getting my angle cuts perfected so that each piece of RS-1 (1/4" Spruce square) fit's snugly against every other piece. The plans say everything can be cut at right angles but I wanted to practice my craftsmanship because in other areas of the plane that precision is required. I was thankful for all that practice on the other ribs because for this rib you have to epoxy the spruce together and not rely so much on the gussets.

Looking at the empennage, it's a lot bigger than I expected. I realize now that this too will require a work bench. I can't wait to get that built so I can carry on.

Incidentally my Easy Cutter Ultimate tool grew dull. For those of you who have this tool I can tell you it's easy to sharpen. You just remove the lock nut and bolt and the blade slides right out with the handle that is attached to it. Then I sharpened it like I would any good knife and slid the parts back together. The spring is a leaf type and is mounted firmly to the handle that supports the cutting base so you don't have to worry about it bouncing into a pile of sawdust never to be seen again. Once reassembled the cutter worked good as new. Now that I know how easy it is I'll sharpen it often.

Finally, best news ever, my dad (a pilot himself) offered to pitch in and help me out not only with my plane but also my flying lessons. Dad if you are reading this, thank you very much sir, indebted to you. He ordered me another rib kit from TEAM and set me up at Cheasapeake Aviation for an intro flight.

I've come a long way from moving some boxes in the barn and building a rib jig on a folding table. My wife (who is an aviation buff herself) is on board. I now have a friend (Peter) 30 minutes away who is building the same kind of plane and helps me in many ways and the support and wisdom of my Dad who is has been flying various types of aircraft from ultralights on up to Boeing 747's for over 40 years. Not to mention everybody at TEAM and on this forum. I am truly blessed, thank you all.

Friday, June 6, 2014

So.... I started building this plane..

Folks I've railed against the injustice of modern recreational aviation and how it's all so expensive, etc, etc.  I am tired of being a spectator to flight, it's time to be a participant.

So I've taken the plunge and happily accepted a free set of drawings from TEAM Minimax.  I've decided to build the Hi-Max 1700 variant which ideally uses one of a number of  Rotax power plants.

I started building last fall and thus far have about 33 hours of work on this project.  My routine is that I go down to the barn in the wee hours before work and put in at least an hour a day cutting and gluing.

Given my budget (or lack thereof) and available time to work (or lack thereof) I am not overly concerned with project completion.  I suspect it will happen one day but I try not to dwell on it.  Instead I've learned to embrace the simple joy of building the plane.

Mornings filled with tunes on the radio, a hot cup of coffee, and the smell of fresh sawn spruce have the cumulative effect of putting a smile on my face for the rest of the day.  It's good medicine for a man who dreams of flight.  For while I am not yet flying, I am involved in getting there and that counts for something. 

Thus far I've built enough standard ribs for one wing.  Which seems like a lot but the time just flys by really. 

A few ribs are special on the High Max for they have to carry the aileron bearing brackets and also act as "end ribs" for the wing.  I'll be focusing on these for the next little while.These special ribs require a wider range of skills and tools because they include some metal work.  I'll keep you posted.

I feel my decision to go with TEAM has been a very good one.  While I've built models over the years and helped my Dad work on real planes some growing up, in a very real sense I am a novice.  I wanted to work with folks who are willing to answer questions on the fly.  David at TEAM has been very supportive and has made things easier.

Also the max has an avid builder/owner forum the East Tennessee Lonesome Buzzards and just about any question I could dream up has already been asked on there.

I'll drop in here from time to time and upload some photo's to let you all know how it goes.