Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I have wings!

Managed my first flight in 3 years this morning -in a Dynamic.  Just as well I had the CFI with me as it's a lot more complicated than the Tecnam since it has a constant speed prop which needs to be handled. I always thought that the words meant that the engine did all the controlling of the prop pitch but, no, it's the pilot that has to deal with it.  Met up with a Nanchang pilot at lunch who explained it to me in terms of a car and having to change gear which made things plainer -apart from the fat that there are infinite combinations of engine and pitch! But at least I get the idea now.  It's a slippery little beasty with almost too much power for its own good.  Rather glad that I didn't have to start off with from the very beginning!
So today was an introductory flight with the CFI congratulating me on my performance after a 3 year gap. I didn't have enough time to watch his face or body language as I was dong the circuits, which was probably just as well. So next week we'll hopefully start in earnest so that I can get my Microlight Licence back -and then start to think about tail-dragging....

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Nieuport Accessories

While we wait for Rex to return from OZ to finish the rigging I thought I'd tackle a couple of accessories: a mount for the Lewis Gun that I made some time ago and a 'truck' for the rear end to make it easier to manoeuvre in and out of the hangar.

 I'll be trying to copy the French Moreau mount -with some help from Ryan Southam in the welding department:

As for the rail wheel truck, I'll be seeing John Evans on that one as he made one for Graham's N11.  But I do have some of the parts which is a good start I guess.....

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The ladies on public view

Well, we managed to get everything sort of attached and looking pretty good for the Classic Fighters Airshow here at Omaka.  The ladies went to support Paul Chernikeeff on his ROTEC stand and received a great deal of attention.  No surprises there! Chris Boyce produced a great explanation of history behind our Nieuport 16 and its colour scheme.


Where to from here, though? As it's nicely assembled we'd like to get it weighed to make sure it comes under the microlight category. Then we need to do a bit of surgery - the very nice under panel aft of the firewall no longer fits now that we have installed an air filter! Words were said. After that it's a case of getting the correct hardware for attaching the panels to the under surfaces, having a test run of the engine, get a proper inspection performed and then face the paperwork. We still aim to have it flying this year but who can tell?  You will of course be kept informed.......   

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Not only fly, but fire!

As you can see, the aircraft is coming together nicely and is starting to look like a war machine!

The next stage is to replace some temporary fittings with the permanent ones, plus a bit of a modification for the front lower panel to accommodate the air filter (which wasn't there when we first got it).

Then we will get it inspected and certified -but not until after the Classic Fighters Airshow this Easter.

The final embellishment will be a mounting for the Lewis gun replica on the top wing.  After that we will let it fly around for a year or so before we start to think of a change of colour scheme -or even configuration.  The ladies need to show themselves off!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Have wings, will fly further!

 A couple of happy chappies having successfully mounted both sets of wings and with the engine cowling temporarily in place.

A couple more wires to mount and a lot more nuts and bolts to put in place and she'll be looking good for the coming Classic Fighters Airshow.

Plus a few extras to try to make it look even better than she is at the moment. It is almost a shame to take her out into the bright Marlborough air, she looks so pristine! (I did give her a bath the other day....)

It's been a long haul since I forget when but it is so good to see her almost ready for her first flight.  There is of course the inspection to take place plus some (or should that be 'a lot of') paperwork and the payment of certain monies to certain regulatory bodies before that can be accomplished.  But, hey, she should be in the air this year!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Have wings, will fly

...well, once we get them mounted, it will.  All nicely painted and roundels applied. 

Chris is our master decal applier, seen here attending to the upper wing, top and bottom. Plus the completed lower wing.

The fuselage has now been returned with its motor, so we can add the side panels before we start mounting the wings and rigging them prior to the coming Airshow at Easter. Plus there will be some added extras to get people talking (I hope!).

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....