Sunday, January 14, 2018

Oratex on the trim tab

My son is a huge fan of the Luftwaffe. So when he saw Coltin Brown's OD Highlander at OSH he said that we should cover ours the same and add German Storch markings.  Here is a test piece of Oratex on the trim tab.  As Paul "BDA" on the Wings forum states, there IS a learning curve.  I'll re- do this later when we initiate the covering process.

Left wing drilling

Rear lift strut bracket, and jury strut clecoed in place.  Since I had the factory rig the wings to the fuselage, I didn't bring in the lift struts and match them to the brackets.  Just factory had a 53 inch mark for the jury strut placement.  I did match the brackets to the jury strut prior to drilling.

January work left wing

I went out to the hangar to fabricate the Tip brace tubes.  I misplaced one of my faceplate protectors, so I used a paint scraper.  This keeps vice marks off of the al tubing. .5 hrs.

I'm back in the basement with the wing.  It's too cold to be in the hangar.  I don't want to pay for the propane to warm up the shop.  It's 10 degrees today.  Above are the lift strut brackets.  I had to use a threaded angle #30 bit to get under the anti-drags tube, and a long #30 bit to get past the tiedown loop. 2 hrs.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Starting on the Left Wing

Dec. 29 I'm starting on the left Wing.  Most of the hardware work I completed while I worked on the right wing, such as trailing edges on the flap and aileron, and flap and aileron hinges.  Today I drilled out the lightening holes on the gussets. 1 hour.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Fabric Choice

Chapter one;  I have been very sure which covering process I was going to use from the beginning.  When we finalized the purchase of Highlander 393,  I had Just delete the covering.  My only experience with aircraft covering was to take a Poly-Fiber workshop at Columbus State.  It was a three day course.  Further, Since Jim and Donde Miller, the Poly-Fiber East Coast distributers, owned one of my familie's old farms, and was only 15 miles away, the choice was obvious.  Additionally one of the great vehicle painters in Columbus, Jerry Boggs, is one of my early aviation mentors, and exclusively uses Poly-Fiber.  For years he painted Tru-Sports IRL Indy cars (Think Bobby Rayhal).  BUT literally a week before I was to order, I got word that the Millers had sold their inventory. and was out of business.

Chapter Two;  Lo and Behold the next week Stewarts Systems  (SS) moved  7 miles north of me.  Wow!  I went up and talked to Andy Humphrey, the new owner, and was impressed.  I called many of my aviation mechanic friends and found that they all avoided the process.  Mainly because they had never used it and they thought (incorrectly) that SS was the old Blue River water born system.  I also spoke to first time users of SS and they loved it. No previous bias.  I also didn't want my son robby to be exposed to toxic solvents.  I was set to use Stewarts.  BUTTTT.

Chapter Three;  I keep getting pulled off my Highlander Project! (insert angry face here)  Life......

  1. Boy Scouts: One of my true passions is to be involved with these young men.  My Son, and his fellow scouts are involved in many adventures.  As a former Fighter Pilot, I do everything I can to encourage them to seek a bright future, and teach them perseverance, and Leadership.
  2. Farm:  When we "Bought the Farm" (not good in pilot lingo),  we just intended to have a runway.  But, as anyone knows, with out CAVU, taxes are exorbitant.  We tried to lease the excess land, but the lease payments didn't cover the CAVU taxes.  So I spent 6 years carving out a cattle operation with the newest fencing, hydrants/watering systems, winter heavy use pads, and pasture seeding.  2016, 24 head, ... Oh crap,..too many health issues.  Sold the heard Spring 2017
  3. American Airlines;  I was blessed to be selected as a member of the initial cadre of the 787 program.  I was last of the 44 Check Airman (CKA) to be hired.  Most of the early CKAs did the early product development for our clients (AAL pilots, transitioning to the 787).  I was hired to be an operator.  The kind of CKA that will take the student on his or her first flight in the 787. (with revenue passengers)!  Many many days away from home.
  4. Health issues:  My Wife had fibroids removed in April.  Colon resection, 6.1 lb. fibroid removed. And Oh shit instant menopause!
  5. Cancer:  In 2015 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  3 of 12 areas are a Gleason 6.  I have a great friend in Jim Hartke (how was my F-16 training partner) who is a top geneticists. he suggested I take the Polaris genetic test.  It showed I'll most likely die of something else first. A 3% chance I'd die from prostate cancer by my 80th birthday.  Well, not good enough for me.    1 December 2017 I said enough; It comes out!
  6. Time: I'm running out of time.  I don't have time for 3 coats of base, 3 coats of UV Blocker, 3 coats of white, and 3 coats of color, 5 coats of Clear, or what ever your process requires.
Chapter Four;   In rushes Oratex.  I've been watching Better Aircraft Fabric in Alaska for a few years.  I was initially turned off by the cost.  I ordered a sample of their process in Nov. 2017.  I tried to on my Highlander trim tab.  It was easy and actually fun.  No additional processes. Yes it's more expensive, but my time is worth something.  I'm an AP/IA and with 3 projects behind me, I think I can construct the Highlander in the time stated by Justaircraft. 600ish hours.  Well 200 hours are covering.  Oratex is, glueing and shrinking!  My son and I have always wanted an  Olive Drab German Storcth with German vinyl accents.  A Highlander with Oratex is perfect!

So to save 200 hundred hours build time, Oratex 6000 it is.

I've spoken to Joe and Lars.  In the end,  This cost of this process is a bit more, but "Time is Money".


Heated Shop

In August we decided to enclose the back 16 ft. of our 50X60 hangar.  We went with 10 ft. ceilings.  2X10 full span rafters 16" on center, with blown in R-19ish insolation.  We installed a Mr Heater 50,000 btu propane heater.  An 8 X 12 foot cannon ball sliding barn door separates the shop from the unheated hangar.  We installed a man door in the slider. Finished the first week of December.

After we finish the Left Wing in the basement this winter, my wife can again have here basement back!

Brakes, Wheels, and Bungies



Running lines.  I may change out the Left Master cylinders for a separate reservoir and parking brake.  

Wait, HE missed a wrap.  No, there is no use busting my knuckles here since I intend to use TK's nitrogen shocks.  I installed these bungies just to move our Highlander out of the shop area before we enclose it.

My son Robby trying for a ground loop.  Get that over with-now! ;-/