Epic Build, Day 4

I accidentally included some of the pics from day 4 on day 3’s post. At this point, with all the posting that is still needing to be done, I’m not going to back and fix it. As long as the work is recorded that is good enough for record keeping.

Seats before Spork finished the seat backs
Seats before Spork finished the seat backs

Day 4 was seat day. I started first thing on the seats and worked nearly all day on them. Fitting, bending, drilling, reaming. They were way harder than I thought they would be. Even the seat backs were a pain as the bushing was hardened from welding and wouldn’t take the bolt. I broke off drill bits trying to drill them out. I jammed bolts in the fittings and had to drive them out with a punch and a rivet gun. Again, I longed for tools I knew were sitting patiently in my shop. A press. A mill. Robbie had everything we needed, but not the things I had. Of course, now that I am home, he has things I don’t have and I’m wishing I was at his shop with his tools. Such is the way of building I suppose.

Once all the drilling, reaming, broken bits, cursing, etc were over, I got the seats installed. The seat backs are mega tight. Like the airplane rolls around on the stands when you try to fold them flat and the hinges groan in complaint as metal rubs on metal. This is an area where I don’t see why it is so tight. Maybe the powder coating took up too much room? Maybe there is a bit of warpage? However these are the seats, and the seat backs at that, not a control surface or piece of avionics. I’m going to let them wear in and see if they loosen up before I remove any metal. If six months in I think they are still too tight, it would take about 5 minutes to remove the seats and fix them then. No need to stress over it now when there is so much more to do.

Spork spent the entire morning organizing hardware. Like 6 hours. This is the mountain of hardware that spilled from the boxes when we first opened the kit. Robbie knows where everything is, and more importantly, what everything is. I however don’t know (I do now) the difference between an AN3-12A and an AN4-11. I need labels. Spork put in the hours and became the master organizer. Then he worked with either Robbie or me to help either put the seats in or work on the tail feathers.

Robbie pretty much worked on cables or the tail feathers all day. There was a lot of adjusting, measuring, testing, and twisting to get them aligned correctly. We had to pick between the tail flying a bit negative which is the factory suggestion or flying neutral as the Highlander does. Neutral helps with heavy loads, negative is better with lighter loads. We don’t plan to fly moose quarters in Alaska, instead opting for kids on joy rides from the farm. We went with 1.5 degrees negative. The factory recommends 1.6 degrees and the Highlander would have been 0 degrees.

This was day four of building. Each day started about 7:30 am in the hanger after sleeping sorta ok in the cabin. We pretty much worked till a late lunch, stopped for a bit to eat right there where we were, then went back to it till around 6pm or so. It wasn’t hard work, not like farm work or working cattle. But by about 4pm I was starting to drag a little bit. I made sure Spork took breaks to play with Banner when he could.

Spork and Banner, the puppy
Spork and Banner

He’s only 13 and he still put in over 8 hour days. I’m supposed to be used to long days but I found myself starting to flag a bit by about 4-5pm.

On day four, I remembered I had a bottle of really good whiskey in the truck. I stopped about 5pm, grabbed a couple of glasses, and poured about 1 fingers worth of whiskey, neat, and slowly sipped as I worked. The last hour or two suddenly went much better. Despite all warnings to the contrary, whiskey is apparently a required component of airplane building. (Don’t worry Grandma, at the end of the day we’ve already done the important stuff).

Leave a Reply