Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall is in the Air

Its been awhile since my last post.  I have been busy working, and working on the cub.  The engine section is almost complete, which brings a huge smile to my face.  I'm excited to bolt her on the next rendition of "Lady Alpha" in a year or so.  I'm waiting on an airbox and a new muffler and then its just little stuff from there.

Baffling is complete.  The oil cooler is installed, lines, oil cooler winter vent, etc.  Mags are timed and harnesses are hooked up!

New rocker covers installed, along with a new engine mount.  Also have the air/oil separator back on with its tubing.
My next focus is going to be on something different than my cub.  I'm going to finish up my CDCs for my job with the Air National Guard.  I plan to have them done before the end of October.  Then once I'm done with them, I plan on getting my IA.  This will help drastically with the paperwork with this new cub I'm building.  Also, I will be able to annual friends planes.  Then in March I hope to get my ATP.  Really excited for this, because it can open up many more opportunities in the flying industry, should I choose to leave Era Alaska.

While working on all these extra curicular activities, I'm going to be putting together a set of wings also.  I hope to have my wings done early spring of 2012.  I'm getting excited.  Been working on some different paint schemes and ideas of what I'd like to do to make this bird as light as practical.

One of many paint schemes I've been cooking up.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

Everything has been going swell after my latest surgery.  I hope to be back flying here soon.  I seem to have more mobility now that the pins are out of my right ankle.  Makes me want to have them removed from my left one now!  Time will tell...

I've had a lot of time once again to think about my future cub.  Also have bounced a bunch of ideas off of friends.  I think I'm going to try and buy a new fuselage.  This will prolong my rebuild, but I think in the end it will be better.  There are so many unknowns with a used fuselage.  The fuselage I bought back in July has some corrosion issues, that can be rectified, but its still an unknown.  I plan on having my current fuselage repaired, and in the meantime I will try and save up for a new one.  If I don't have the funds for a new one by the time I'm ready to start with fuselage work, I'll use the used one.

That being said, I'm changing my direction on the build again.  I'm going to start with the wings once I finish the engine section.  I plan on keeping the wings as stock as possible.  I originally had the 13 rib wings with 18 gallon fuel tanks.  I'm going to keep this configuration.  I'm going to install the 2000 pound gross weight increase this go around.  Also put the VGs on.  I plan on installing the VGs before I'm complete with laying down all my tapes.  This way I can put a reinforcing tape over the VGs to help adhere them to the wing when wing covers are installed on the wings in the winter.  A friend had this done on his PA-12, and hasn't had a VG come off yet.  I have the ailerons and flaps completed already, so very little work needs to go into them at this point.

I hope these are my final plans.  I'm going to try and stick to them now after careful thought.  We will see I guess.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Under the Knife

Well, I went in to the doctor's office last friday.  They took x-rays as usual, and found that one of the screws in my right ankle was rubbing against my heel bone.  So, surgery round #3.  I went in this morning and they removed both screws in the right ankle.  I can put weight on the ankle, but its still somewhat sore. Hopefully, I'll be able to go back to work for the next shift.  I also hope this is the last time I need surgery.  I can't afford to have any more surgeries, and still try and put the cub together.

Progress is going slow on the cub.  Still putting together the baffling, but the engine section should be together by the end of the month.  Once I have the engine all together, I'll bring it over to  Merrill Field and try and run it at the local engine shop.  I want to make sure it will run, and also pickle the engine for storage.  Seeing as it might take me a year or two at my current pace, I want to make sure this engine won't corrode in the mean time.

Lately I've been thinking how lucky I came out with this whole accident.  I'm still in debt with medical bills and what not, but I'm lucky to be alive.  This year is just as rough as it was last year for accidents and deaths.  Aviation is loosing a lot of good people, and I still ask myself why God spared me.  Also, why he healed me so quickly so I could go back to work and fly.  I think I'll never know, but I thank him.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Last Friday I had a chance to work on the cub a bit.  Felt good to get back at it.  I have decided I need to finish the engine section up first before I start on the fuselage.  One thing at a time.  Also, the engine is the most critical right now because I want to get it pickled before it starts to rust on the inside.

When I got the engine home in May, I tore it down and did the prop strike inspection.  Also, tore apart the old baffeling and flattened them for patterns.  Friday, I traced a few pieces and cut them out.  Took a bit longer than I had hoped, required a bit more trimming to get them to fit better than before, but I got a good chunk of the baffeling completed.  Hopefully I'll have a bit more time this week to finish the project up.  After the baffeling, I plan on installing the oil cooler, engine mount, carburetor, and air/oil separator.  I'll post more pictures as I progress.

A piece of baffeling in remodel mode.

I'm in search of a second job with all my off time.  (Free time was a joke, I have none.)  Hoping to find a second flying job that I can fill in for someone or something.  Don't really want to go back to the Guard, actually thinking about getting out to further my flying career.  Also, the pay is not the greatest since I'm not full time anymore.  I can make more doing side jobs, unfortunately, than I can at what is supposed to be one of the best jobs our government has to offer in the flying career field.  Time will tell where I go...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

All over the Board

I've been busy the past few weeks.  Wish I could say its been on the cub project, but I'd be lying then.  After I was done with my shift at Era Alaska on July 15th,  I was asked to ferry a cub from Anchorage to Medford, Oregon.  Hard to say no.

It was a fun and safe journey through some of the best country in the World.  Also, it was redemption.  I was pretty nervous about the trip, as I very well should of been.  The last real long cross country trip I took was when I wrecked my cub.  I was accompanied with a good childhood friend, Brent Shibe.  We both took turns flying at a grueling pace of 75mph.  The good part about this cub, it had 8 hours of fuel on board.  this made it nice, because we didn't have to make nearly as many fuel stops.  The only thing that limited the amount of time we spent int he plane was our bladders.  We made it in pretty good time to Medford, 27 hours.

Along the way on our trip, I got to see my "Alaskan" grandparents in Wenatchee, Wa.  It was so good to see Howard and Janet Pelton.  Also made me feel proud to fly into Wenatchee to see them.  As I guessed, Howard was at the airport to watch us land, and as usual, I bounced on landing.  Its pretty tough landing a cub on pavement with a set of worn out bush wheels.

All in all, it was an excellent trip with awesome weather.  Makes me wish my cub was further along than it is currently.  I'll post some pictures later on.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Letting the Imagination run Wild

Today, I've been doing a lot of research on tools I'd like to buy to help with my rebuild.  Also been trying to find the cheapest place to buy the best tools.  I'm going to end up getting a bead roller with an 18" throat.  This tool will help tremendously with my interior pieces and my cargo doors.  I want to add some strength in the thinner kydex I plan on using for my interior, so the beaded roller will add a bead to the panels for rigidity and a bit more style.  I know the interior is a ways out yet, but I want to order the beaded roller and practice before I order my interior kydex and mess a $150 sheet up.

I've also been looking at some forums online, about building interior panels out of kydex for aircraft.  I've come up with some pretty cool ideas to try that will hide the pulleys for my flap cables and possibly my aileron and elevator cables.  Anything to add a bit more style in the plane, and minimal weight is worth a shot to me.  I'll be cutting some patterns out of wood and then heat treating the kydex.  I plan on taking a ton of pictures of this so I can share how to do this type of stuff with people.  Also, so I can possibly pick up a bit of side work once I have my project completed.

I have Monday and Tuesday off.  I plan on being at the sandblasters first thing tomorrow morning to finish up my fuselage and a bit of work he might have set aside for me to do.  I hope to be at the welders by July 15th, and start with the modifications and the fixes my new fuselage requires.  Every time I think about this, I get excited.  I hope the fuselage comes out as pretty as I envision it.  If so, 29A is going to be one sexy plane.

My fuselage in the sandblasting booth. 

After the welders, I'm going to bring the fuselage to Lake Hood to start with the interior, panel, boot cowl and cheeks, cargo doors, and windows.  Pretty much whatever I can do before I bring the fuselage back to the powder coaters.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Busy Times

One word sums up my life right now... busy.  I'm flying the Beech 1900 out of Anchorage for 15 days this month.  I thought it might be a bit more relaxing than flying out of Barrow, but it is polar opposite.  I'm averaging about 7 hours a day of flying lately.  I'm not complaining, but wow... 50 hours in a few days.  If this keeps up, the cub will be financially covered.  I'm enjoying the flying.  Its challenging and I'm getting to see most of Alaska from a safe altitude.  My instrument skills are being sculpted to perfection.  I also enjoy flying with my Captain.  He's teaching me a lot about flying, and about life.

I had a semi-slow day Tuesday, flew 4.7 hours and was done by about noon, so I hoped over to the sandblasters and worked on my fuselage for awhile.  I ended up getting about 70% of the fuselage blasted.  I hope to finish the rest up tomorrow.  While blasting I've found some tubing that will need to be replaced.  For the price I paid, I expected this.  But there is not as much tubing as I thought that needs to be replaced.

I'm going to replace both longerons from the tail post forward for about 8 feet.  They both aren't bad, but I figure while I've got it this far apart, it needs the attention.  Also, I have a cross member on the belly near the float fittings that shows signs of some pretty good corrosion,  This will also get replaced.  I've got some fabric formers that are in pretty rough shape, and I figure I'm going to replace these as well.  All the gingerbread about the roof is going to be replaced with new, just because with the L-21 glass conversion it will be more exposed and I want it to look better.  Also replacing most of the gingerbread for the boot cowl.  Around the door I'm going to try and fill in most the holes people have drilled in the past to secure the interior.  Of course, the welder has the final say in all these items I'd like to redo.

My posts will probably be spaced a bit farther apart since I'm back working, but I'll try to update every time I work on the plane.  Also have a bunch of pictures I'll post of the blasting and of flying in western Alaska.