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Chronological Updates, September, 2010
9 Sep 2010
Progress on the plane this month is going to be a bit slow, as I am trying to belt down and finish off my private pilot license! I took the written exam last week, passed with a 98% (just one wrong). I was done with the flight training portion of everything back in February, just needed to take the written and the checkride. But I got called away on several long trips abroad and by the time I got back, I felt like I wasn't up to speed anymore. Work stayed busy and I never got around to getting back on the wagon until just this month. With the written out of the way, I just have to get my flying back up to par and then I'll do the checkride and that will be that. Flew three times this week, am scheduled to fly every day next week. With any luck, I'll have the license before I leave on travel again (beginning of October).

After the next major round of travel, I expect the wing kit to show up more or less immediately, so I've been figuring out what I want to get done on the empennage before then, and what I'm going to table for the time being. There's not a tremendous amount left to do as far as the plans go. I just need to finish attachment of the horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer tip fairings. After that, the only remaining tasks are custom things like blending the fairings tips into the skins and adding rudder trim. I'll definitely defer these customizations until later. I'll probably defer the build-up of the aft faces of the VS and HS tip fairings as well—get all of my fiberglass wet work done all at once some time in the future.

The left-side tip fairing of the horizontal stabilizer still hadn't been trimmed or matched drilled, so I took care of that tonight.

Left Horizontal Stabilizer Tip Fairing Trimmed

It's pretty much like the other one, with the same 1/8" overshoot in width. Also, the aft-most rivet hole on the bottom side turns out to be too close to the aft trim edge of the flange, so it's more or less useless. I'll probably put a big dollup of flox in there before I attach it. For now, the horizontal stabilizer tips are as far as I am going to take them. So soon I'll probably dettach the elevatrors from the stabilizer and store all three. This will free up the work benches for wing work come mid-November.

While I had the dremel cutting wheel out, I went ahead and trimmed down the vertical stabilizer tip fairing flange as well.

Vertical Stabilizer Tip Fairing Flage Trimmed

For whatever reason, this one had a flange that was about twice as wide as it should have been, so it required a cut all the way around. I didn't like the way the tip of the flange fit inside the skin either, so I trimmed that almost entirely off. All that is left to do with this one before I put it away for the time being is to match drill it and trim the aft edges to clear the rudder counterweight. The aft face build-up, the nutplates, and any potential camera modifications will wait until after the wings (and possibly considerably later).

The only other thing I did tonight was take off most of the blue vinyl from the tail cone in the garage in preparation for moving it to the shed (again, to make room for the wing kit crates when they arrive in November).

12 Sep 2010
This evening, Michael came over and gave me a hand stowing some of the empennage components as a preparatory step for clearing out the shop. I need to have room to accept the wing crates when they arrive in November, which means that the tail cone had to leave the garage, and the horizontal stabilizer/elevator combo had to be unbolted from the work benches and stowed.

I cleaned out my shed in preparation, and we hung the tail cone from the ceiling. The aft end is hanging from a small hook I put in the underside of a shelf via the tie-down eyebolt. The front end is suspended by a a ratchet strap hanging from hooks in the ceiling.

Tail Cone in Storage

I taped up all the larger holes and taped some masking paper over the open front end in some sort of an attempt to keep mice, wasps, etc. from making a home in there. We'll see how effective it is.

With that done, we disconnected the elevators from the horizontal stabilizer and stored them temporarily in the living room. The horizontal stabilizer was unscrewed from the workbenches and returned to its high shelf perch in the shop. The elevators were then placed on top of the horizontal stabilizer for safe keeping.

Horizontal Stabilizer and Elevators in Storage

I'll give the garage and the shop a once-over with the shop vac, then I can pronouce the work space ready to accept the wing kit. I'm going to be on travel for most of the time between now and when the wings show up, so there won't be much in the way of progress on the plane until mid-November.

30 Sep 2010
I haven't done much work on the plane this month because I've been concentrating my efforts on actually getting a pilot's license. I told myself I wanted to get it done this month, and I just barely did. This morning I passed my checkride and am now a certificated pilot. Woo! Now to start getting some hours in my 182 and working on my instrument rating.

In the meantime, there isn't much going on with the empennage kit anyway; I'm really in a holding pattern waiting for the wing kit to arrive, and that is at least six weeks out still. Not a big problem, since I'm going to be gone for four of those weeks anyway. Maybe I'll get a bit more fairing work done in October before I leave for Tanzania... we'll see. Anyway, don't expect much here until the latter half of November.

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