Sunday, July 4, 2010

Second hand jigsaws

You know the ones, those that have a nice box -but are missing some vital pieces.  Well, I'm afraid "Never Been Kissed" (work that one out!) is in the same boat.  Whoever originally built it had decided that he'd be operating off asphalt runways and therefore needed brakes and a tail wheel.  The latter has been constructed with a rather nice bunch of pulleys and cables to swivel it with the rudder.  At the other end he'd also built some nice little brake pedals sitting atop the rudder pedals complete with the necessary adjustment arms.  As for the brakes they're motorbike wheels with drums as opposed to discs -I suspect that at the time disc brakes weren't that easily come by and would probably been very expensive. All well and good so far.  The missing bits, however, are a) the means of holding the drums still (there not being any sort of locator or bolts so to do); b) the cable itself; and c) the routing of the cable from the brake pedal brackets to the brake drums.  This might perhaps be self evident were it not for the fact that the positioning of the brake/rudder bracket suggests that it wasn't going to follow the undercarriage legs at all but head backwards with some curvature somewhere to get it back to the brakes themselves....

What to do? This has yet to be decided but as we anticipate it just flying out of Omaka with its grass runways, we might just replace the tail wheel with a skid (but still connected to the rudder) and dispense with the brakes entirely.  In fact our resident WW1 pilot experts suggest that that is much the preferred method as there is a higher likelihood of ground looping with a tail wheel than without. The things you learn.

I've written off to the last known addresses of the two principal players in the hope that some of the thinking can be revealed.  One has been returned as "unknown", so I live in hope that the other one (the guy who actually built it) might still be around.  The main reason for the writing, however, was to let them know that all their efforts had not gone to waste and that "Never Been Kissed" was still alive and, if not kicking, at least wiggling a toe or three.

This week the engine arrives so we really must get those undercarriage legs back in place.  And that's another story: he'd used ordinary hardware roundhead bolts to connect the undercart to the fuselage.  Our resident mentor (and sign off inspector) says that's a 'no-no' so we have to use the proper stuff complete with castellated nuts-which won't fit in the undercart legs.  Hence a bit of surgery is required to enable them to fit in place.  More learning taking place which goes to show that you're never too old to learn.  You might just need a bit longer time. Like me.

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