Week 2, the last day of the build!

At least the last day in Grantsboro. There are plenty more work days to come.

Trailer with airplane parts wrapped and waiting to be loaded
Moving day begins

Friday was moving day for me. I got up and started immediately on packing and wrapping parts for the ride home. My intention all along was to take everything home with me today but pretty much everybody who came by implored me to either:

  1. Leave the plane in Grantsboro and work on it there.
  2. Leave the wings in Grantsboro and come back and work on them there
  3. Leave the wings in Grantsboro and make a return trip to get just them.

I wasn’t going to do option 1. Two and 1/2 hours back forth each time would mean that I’d never get to work on the plane. I don’t have blocks of time that big. I get a few hours here, a couple there.

Option 2 was the same issue.

Option 3 was an option, but only if I couldn’t safely get everything in the trailer. According to my tape measure, everything would fit. Unfortunately we wouldn’t know till it was time to leave and everything was getting packed.

While I was bubble wrapping, taping, going out and buying more tape, and doing more wrapping, Robby and Spork were knocking out the ailerons. The thought was that I wouldn’t need to buy a rivet gun if they could get them built before I left using Robby’s awesome air rivet gun. 

Covering an aileron
Covering an aileron

We also needed to cover an aileron because they are just like the wing and we were not going to be covering the wings before I left. This made for a mini project I could use for reference. 

Unlike the tail feathers, the ailerons and the wings use special rivets to hold the fabric in place. Part of getting the fabric ready is to take a butane powered soldering iron and burn the holes for the rivets. Then you apply the anti-chafe tape, burn a hold in it to match the existing holes, then you install the rivets, then apply fabric tape over that. This aileron was done quickly by Spork and Robby  while I was packing the airplane away so I didn’t get as much hands on as I would have liked. Fortunately Spork was all over this one and he absorbed the process fairly well.

As we were working in the hanger, we heard a plane approaching. It was Jenny on her way to work in Manteo. Instead of the horrible turbulence and headwinds she had the evening before, she had severe clear and a smooth ride on the way back.

Our EAA technical advisor at one of his day jobs, running a restaurant near the waterfront.
Our EAA technical advisor at one of his day jobs, running a restaurant near the waterfront.

We had two visits from our technical advisor while we were in Granstboro. One when we first started, and one on our last day. Since he also owns a restaurant that was only minutes away, we had our lunch on Friday at his place. We received the full behind the scenes tour, including the ribs that were in the smoker for dinner that night. I was ready to get home, but I wish I’d stayed to have some of his ribs.

With lunch over and the ailerons done, it was time to get serious about moving out. We hauled the wings out into the trailer and fortunately they did indeed fit. With the wings and fuselage loaded, it was time to start fitting all the bits and bobs in the trailer. This was the scary part as nothing could contact anything else. Parts are very delicate and one minor ding could mean days of work.

Airplane inside a 24' stock trailer
Everything loaded and packed for the trip

We had a mile of rope, straps, ratchets, and bungie cords securing everything in place. It couldn’t be tied too tightly because that would damage the part. It couldn’t be loose or things would wobble around and rub on each other or the trailer. The answer was a web of straps and lines securing in all directions for each part, plus a couple of miles of packing tape.

Getting everything done required Spork and I both, with me inside snaking my way up, over, under and around trying to route all the lines. A huge thank you to Miguel who cleaned this cattle trailer out extra well. Otherwise I’d have been crawling through poop.

Spork tying off the last of the straps
Spork tying off the last of the straps
Robby's shopping list for me
Robby’s shopping list for me

Robby came up with a tool list for me of things that I needed to order when I got home. It was surprisingly short. Unfortunately some items are not listed on Aircraft Spruce’s website. Dog bone?

Robby's paint booth
Robby’s paint booth

We’ll need to build our own paint booth at some point in this build. Painting is apparently about 30% of the build, not counting building the paint booth. Who knew paint was so involved?

Inside of the paint booth
Inside of the paint booth

When we stopped working about 4pm, I asked Robby where we were in the build. I’d been told it took 1000 hours to build this airplane. We’d now spent about 100 hours on the plane, which is 10%. But it was actually 100 hours x 3 so we’d be 30% done. Robby said that the wings, which I’d ordered pre-built, along with the work that we’d done, accounted for about 60% of the total build. I was very pleased to hear we’d gotten that much done over our two weeks. There isn’t a lot of mechanical work left to do on the airplane. There aren’t that many parts left in raw form. We will be moving onto covering not too long after Sun N Fun 2018. And Spork and I have the summer carved out to work on the plane as much as possible. There is a 5 month lead time on the engine, so I’ll be looking at engines at Sun N Fun as well. Then we need to start installing avionics, painting, etc. Once those things start happening, we have an airplane! But first, we had to get home.

After starting full time on packing at 4pm, we were finally loaded (I’d already been loading off and on during the day) at 7:15pm. Spork and I took off just before dark and headed West to Garner. I was pretty concerned that I would have an issue on the way home and stopped a couple of times to check on things,  but when I arrived I only had one piece that had moved and the packing material had kept it from getting any damage. We were home safe. Success!!

We parked at the front door and called it a night. N41RW was home. Tomorrow we’d put it in the barn.

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