It is finally a rolling project

airplane partially on the landing gear
Partially on the gear

Spork and I have officially finished painting the fuselage. Not all the airplane, mind you. But at least the fuselage. That is a big deal because everything at this point attaches to the fuselage so by getting it out of the paint booth, we are able to paint a piece, then bring it out and install it. Or if we are waiting on something to finish drying, we can work on other things like avionics, windshield, engine install, whatever.

Step one was to get the airplane sitting on the gear. With it on the gear, we could more easily move it around the shop and more importantly, we could crawl inside and sit and make airplane noises!

Spork standing beside the airplane as it sits on the gear. He is 6'1" tall
Spork standing beside the airplane as it sits on the gear. He is 6’1″ tall

Once we have all the gear installed, I stood there and tried to remember why I thought an airplane that was so blasted tall was a good idea. Was it really this far up in the air when I first looked at these things? You sit basically at the elbow of his left arm. You have to climb into the airplane using the gear as a ladder, back yourself in butt first, and swing your legs over. Grandma isn’t going to be flying a SuperSTOL anytime soon.

Spork uncrating the engine
Spork uncrating the engine

With the gear on, it was time to temporarily install the Rotax 912 ULS we are using for this airplane. I bought it shiny new and it has been sitting in its shipping box the last several months. But now it was time to break everything out, figure out how to lift it, and install it on the motor mount.

Engine installed, almost time for airplane noises!
Engine installed, almost time for airplane noises!

The firewall needs to come back off, and the engine along with it. But now the airplane is stable enough we can work on it without worry of it tipping over. I did a few pull ups on the motor mount testing its strength and the airplane doesn’t even budge.

Now that we’ve made it this far, the next step is to install the windshield so we can fit the boot cowl to it. Once the boot cowl is fitted, we fit the firewall to the boot cowl and reinstall the engine, for the last time. Then it is time for avionics, throttle, battery hookups, fuel lines. All that stuff. Actual assembly.

On days when Spork is still busy with school, I’ll work on painting the remaining bits. If we knew what we were doing, we could be done in a few weeks. As it is, we are hoping to make Oshkosh in July.

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