The Second Week

The second week was different right from the start. The first thing Mr. Rob had us doing was covering, which is a simple process. First, apply many coats of glue to wherever the fabric is going to touch on your piece, second, lay your piece on a large rectangle of fabric then trace and cut. The last step, ironing is both the worst step and the best step. Let me explain, when you iron this special fabric, it shrinks. Now, believe me, I love it when a plan comes  together. Shrinking the top and bottom of the elevator/aileron/tail feather/wing is immensely rewarding and one of the funniest things to do while building an airplane. However, shrinking the sides of the fabric, the part touching the tube and glue, might be the worst step of building the airplane. you have to fix all the mistakes you made while applying the fabric. All in all, covering is an enjoyable rung in the ladder that makes up building an airplane. As long as you have a nice breeze to let out the noxious fumes the glue pervades.

After covering a few plane parts, me and Mr. Rob built the flaps and the ailerons. This was very enjoyable because I was able to listen to Mr. Rob, who had done everything under the sun and stares, singing along to James Taylor’s songs. Like I stated in my previous post, Mr. Rob was a great host and always kept us entertained.  But I digress, the flaps, which are eight feet long, have two hundred ninety four rivets each. The only crummy part about the flaps and ailerons was deburring . The process is as follows, put the pieces together( a little less than twenty pieces for the flaps and around fifteen for the ailerons). Cleco half of the predrilled holes with small clecos. Then, drill the other half of the holes. Afterwards, put the big clecos in the holes you just drilled. Next, unclico the small clicos and drill their holes. Then, take everything apart and debur all two hundred ninety four rivet holes. You can then put every thing back together for the last time, yay, because, the next step is to put a few clecos in and rivet the flap pieces into one piece. For those of you who don’t know, a cleco is a small cylinderesk tool that is used as a non permanent way to put soothing in a hole to keep two or more pieces together. To say the least, my clecoing and unclecoing speed drastically improved from the first day to the last. Even though I was faster than before, Mr. Rob, who was building his sixth Just SuperSTOL, smoked me every time there was a contest.


The First Week

So, building a airplane actually isn’t that hard. It’s strikingly similar to building a lego set, except with power tools, five times the amount of pieces , and, in our case, a professional telling what and how to do it. Also, your life depends on how well you fit the legos together. This sounds like a lot of hard work but it isn’t. The hardest part of building an airplane is the amount of time it takes. For instance, building and painting the rudder pedals took a day and a half. this usually stops pilots from finishing their build.

Having Mr. Rob there to help us saved tons of time. On top of not having to inventory the entire airplane’s parts, he helped us figure out the manual. I can not stress enough how much help this was. The inventory alone would have taken several days, and the manual skipped over some interesting parts, like how to install the rudder pedals. Mr. Rob also gave us advice on what to do with our airplane. For example, he gave suggestions on which avionics, aka flight instruments, to put in our plane.

Mr. Rob also kept us entertained.  Apparently, like my dad, Mr. Rob knows everybody in his home town. We had constant visitors, ranging from his dad, who bought us lunch and had tons of interesting stories, to the owner of the largest trucking company on the east coast. They were all cool in one way or another.  On top of all the guests, Mr. Rob had three dogs. Rudder, a old, brown bird dog who could barely hear, Birdie (I’m not sure how you spell it), a middle aged gray dog who looked like a good runner, and Banner, a cute puppy with one brilliantly blue eye and one blue and dark brown eye. Banner’s blue and brown eye gave him the appearance of winking at you. Both Rudder and Birdie were amazingly trained. Banner was as well trained as could be expected from a puppy. All in all, both the friends and the dogs provided an interesting and enjoyable break from work.

The dogs weren’t the only animals. Almost every night, one or two birds managed to penetrate the walls of the cabin we were staying in. Without fail, these birds provided comic relief as me or my dad tried to shoo them out of the house. These birds were fearless warriors and I had to dodge an attack more than once. However, it is normally whoever has the biggest stick who wins the wars. Since birds don’t have hands and me and my dad had a broom, we always won the frequent skirmishes.

The trip was loads of fun and I can’t wait to continue tomorrow.


My first post

In five days me and my dad are going to go to Grantsboro, NC and start to build some airplane at some place for who knows how long. Supposedly, the average build time for this kit is one thousand hours which, apparently, is a short build time. On top of that, the wings are prebuilt, so the build time should be shorter. Still, my dad is in charge so… yeah. On a more hopeful note, we already have decided that the airplane should be called the “Transmograflier,” that it should be cardboard brown, that a stuffed tiger wearing flying goggles and a flight jacket should sit on the dash and that it should have a picture of Calvin and Hobbes flying in a box on the side. Now, all we have to do is put in the x amount of hours needed to build and paint the airplane, find the space needed to keep the airplane in, clear a runway on the farm and learn how to land on a long dirt strip that’s surrounded by trees and isn’t straight or level. This should be entertaining.