Several Updates

from Mark Zimmerman…

21 Dec (links to photos):

17 Dec:

Well, we all are preparing for grande holiday cheer and getting itchy for a break in the action. This said, we must remember that our minds need to be on the task in front of us. Safety first! This must include the thoughts that this airplane will be traveling with pilot and passengers long after we’re gone. Just think, some of our military airplanes have had 3 generations of pilots behind their controls. This airplane is no different. 

Last week saw wing completion with only wingtip lighting and wiring as the open items. One wing is in the cradle freeing up tables and space for fuselage subassemblies. Peter will be in tomorrow to help our electricians terminate the wires and smoke test the lights. 

Subassembly projects on tables at present include:

  • Center bulkhead complete now with baggage floor and ribs in mate. As soon as the crew finishes their final step we will transfer this subassembly to the Seat Pan crew where they will mate the forward portion to complete this section. 
  • Seat pan and forward floor is in process of cleaning parts in the classroom; after wing lighting is complete a table and space will free up for their assembly work. This is doubtful to occur until after the Christmas break.
  • Forward lower firewall is well on the way after finding that Van has a dull punch working the stainless. We had much work deburring and reforming straight parts. Thanks y’all! That stainless steel is difficult to work but there is reason it’s called a “firewall”. 
  • Vertical Stabilizer is seeing bearing blocks come together and parts cleaning. This is a great project where the work is very similar to wing building; ribs on a spar and skin to cover. Congratulations to those who drew this subassembly it is good straightforward work. 
  • Rollover Structure parts have been accumulated an much edge deburring is well on the way. This also is a pretty straightforward subassembly that will get built, worked, disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled several times. You folks working this subassembly will get much use from our in and out deburring tool. Our generous friends from Cogsdill Tool Products graciously provided these to help you do a professional job with professional tools. Be very very careful that you don’t bend the tip going in and out carelessly. 

Well, with that said, I want to thank you all again for your commitment to this project. Students, you guys ROCK! The mentors brag on each and every one of you who all bring your skill, talent, and ideas on how we should go about this job even when we get some real “headscratchers”. This is what “aircraftin’” is all about. This is your airplane and your assembly project, please take advantage of the opportunities that has so generously been provided. 

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to your families from ours. We look forward to a safe New Year and the lab time with you.

10 Dec:

This week is likely to see completion of both wings. At this point the lights are being installed on the right wing (landing and wingtip). The left wing is not far behind with the stall warning installed and the close out skin ready for rivets. We will need to install the flaperons on both wings and check the clearances at the root where we had some interference with the skin and rivets at the aft spar stub fittings. If this is an issue we may need to replace the LP rivets with CS. We need someone to bring a power supply (12v battery) so we can check (smoke test) the installed lighting. 

With the wings complete and in the cradle we will free up our assembly tables for fuselage subassembly projects. We will split up into smaller teams of students and mentors as the wings are done, I see this happening fairly soon. 

The way I’d like to see this initially progress is as follows :

  • Jeff Sipes and Tom Wood on Section 24 Rollover structure. First period you’ll have 2 students with one in second.
  • Tom and Bonnie Lewis on Sections 6 and 7 Vertical and Rudder. First period you’ll have 2 students with one in second.
  • Bill Schaaf and Martin Sutter will be our “Engine” guys so I’d like to see them build up the firewall sections starting on the lower Section 22 and right on into the upper Section 29. First and second period you’ll have 2 students.
  • Terry Heffley and Kevin Ross will Work into Section 21 through page 5 figure 1. First and second period you’ll have 2 students.
  • Keith Brown, Bill Hertel, and Don Christiansen will also work Section 21 starting on page 5 at figure 2 then throughout the section. First period you’ll have 3 students and 2 in second.

Mark Kirk has a new student coming in this week so we’ll have a new face to fit into our teams. 

3 Dec:

Our newest project, the center carry through bulkhead is progressing nicely with a bunch of clean and straight holes professionally drilled with students using a drill jig. This part under construction is the backbone of our fuselage that will house the main landing gear and fuel tank. 

Wing work is not far from having both wings skinned and wired. The right wing will house the landing light. A template is provided to cut out a portion of the leading edge where this assembly will be installed. This project requires delicate surgery so great oversight will be necessary. Probably a one on one mentor/student will need to accomplish this task. This also includes a mount and lens assembly (we need to consider plexiglass drill bits for our arsenal). Wing tip work has also begun and will require considerable time to get all the parts cleaned and installed. I can easily see three more work days to finish up our wing work, not to include the installation of the flaperons and testing the lights. This is a huge accomplishment when one considers where we were last year at this time. 

As the wings projects complete more subassembly will ensue with smaller work groups delving into parts for the fuselage. Again, if anyone has a particular project they would like to oversee, just let me know.