Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nothing is ever as easy as it first appears......

That was my working life mantra for a long time.  I should have remembered it this time round.....

I thought it would be an interesting idea to fit the Nieuport with Le Prieur rockets (dummies to start with but who knows what we might come up with in future!).  Bearing in mind the need for as little weight as possible I thought I would merely screw the required tubes to the interplane struts.  This was not met with approval! The revised suggestion was that we have a piece of aluminium strip anchored to the top and bottom screws of each of the 'V'-shaped interplane struts which hold them in place and then weld the tubes to these strips.  OK, that sounds fine, but how do you do that when the strips are not fitted on the struts?  After all, there is a distinct possibility that the struts would catch fire if they were fitted.  And the strips have to be held in a certain position to get the angle of the tubes right.

An idea!  Make up a jig which will hold the tops and bottoms of the strips in the right places and angles to match up with the strut bolt holes.  To do that I firstly managed to dismantle a large cardboard box and pressed it firmly on the ends of the bolts; that gets the relative positions of the bolt holes in their correct places. I then made up two jigs, one for the bottom pair of holes and one for the top.  All seems to be OK so I hand the job over to another new 'volunteer' (Ryan Southern) to do the actual welding. Having completed the first set (just as well!), I returned to trial fit the completed arrangement, only to find that the holes don't line up! Various words were vocalised 'sotto voce': consultations are needed.

How this happened is now unknown so the proposed solution is to fill in 3 of those predrilled holes in the strips (the fourth one being the 'anchor') and then drill new holes in the correct places.  This I have yet to do, the first matter being how to determine where the new holes need to be drilled.  Clamps and a punch come to mind.  Watch this space!

Meantime we await the painting of the wings, wheels, ailerons and part of the cowling.  Once the wheels have been done we can refit them and wheel it round to the other hangar to repossess our engine which has been on loan to Graham for at least a year and which he has nicely run in for us! So the hope now is that we can get the machine readied for at least a static display at the upcoming Classic Fighters Air Show at Easter. Whilst it would be nice to think that it had flown by then I think that the title of this piece says it all....

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bungees are "GO" -wheels up!

The bungees got the OK so now it's time to tackle the wheels which are now up on the bench for covering.  There's not much to say about that process so I'll let some pictures tell the story.

 Since they were taken they have received their first coat of Rand-o-Proof and the tyres have been covered ready for their spraying.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bungee attachment Version 2

After inspection of our first effort we were told that whilst the idea was on the right lines, the execution thereof needed a second effort.  So that's what today's task was.  Here's hoping that there won't be a need for Version 3! But if there is, so be it.  All a good learning exercise for these ageing grey cells.....

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hibernation is over!

Winter has finally started to make way for Spring -although it continues to fight a rear-guard action. But at least we are now able to get back into the hangar and not risk frostbite to our extremities (and other places). Last Sunday we (but mainly Brian) had our first attempt at applying bungee cord to one axle end.  We were going to treat it as just an exercise but it seems to have gone quite well so, subject to our engineer's approval, it will stay in place.  One more step forwards.
Actually Winter has been a bit weird this year as our almond tree flowered about 4-6 weeks earlier than normal -but that didn't help the hangar temperatures..... 
As for the wings and their painting, we are waiting for Winter to finally go away and allow the temperatures to rise so that another of our volunteers can make a start on them.
We have given notice that we'd like our engine back sometime in September so that will be yet another task to be done. It has had a few aerial trips already in its sister ship so that we know it's working OK and hasn't given any problems -always nice to know since it is some years since we first bought it! Things are starting to get exciting again!
And just a note about the aftermath of last year's earthquakes: the last of the major internal work has been finished - whoopee! Just need to do some reroofing and then we can start to think about putting it on the market again. (No doubt it will look so nice that we may be tempted to stay. Well I will anyway!)  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Time flies when you're having fun....

I see it's some time since my last post, so we must have been having fun!  And so it has been: we have now completed all the wings plus taped wherever it's needed (and a bit where it isn't!) which just leaves them to be painted.

I'd have liked to be able to show a photo of all four wings together but when you are sharing a hangar with a rather large Focke Wulf 190 , a younger Yak 3 plus bits of Fokker E.V there isn't much room for such a display.  We have to fit our bits in where we can!

Painting won't occur now until the temperature warms up and the humidity goes down, so that will be in abeyance until springtime. Meanwhile there are still jobs to be down in the fuselage: lockwiring of turnbuckles, testing that the brakes actually work(!), quite a few split pins to be inserted here there and everywhere, and the bungie cords to be attached to the undercarriage.

And then we need to get our engine back and re-installed for some test runs to make sure all is 'tickety-boo'.

At some stage the paper work will have to be tackled but I might leave that for just a little while yet.....

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Stitch in time........

No photos (because, let's face it, one green wing looks much like another!) but there has been progress.  But a case of two steps forward and one step back: I lost (excuse the pun) the thread of the correct knot to use.  So it's been a case of undoing a couple of ribs and starting again after good advice from Dave -and also getting him to demonstrate it and my taking photos as he went along. That was much more helpful than trying to copy diagrams out of a book.

So what we have so far is:

One lower wing complete;
Other lower wing awaiting tape for the leading and trailing edges;
One top wing with stitched ribs;
Other top wing being covered.

It's starting to look good for the future!  Although there are still a number of things to be finished off, like lock wiring certain turnbuckles, bungying the undercarriage, covering the wheels, re-installing the engine, etc. But we are getting there!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

And the beat goes on.......

Not much talking, just some photos:



No, the wings are NOT being linked by the tape:

Brian hard at work: