Packing up

Moving day is almost here.

I’ve scheduled a Penske 16′ bed truck to move the project to Chicago.  Now all I have to do is clean out two years of cruft and aircraft parts from my rental garage!

I started the day with a nice training flight from KHPN to KPOU.  Someone had dropped their morning reservation on Friday, so I picked it up.  It was cold the night prior, so I had to get to the airport early to get the frost off the plane and to plug in the block heater.  The previous pilot neglected to put the cover on so I had lots of work to do.  The flight was really awesome though!  I was working on controlling my approach speed on final.  I read a good tip about how to really work on fixing your speed first (with elevator control) and then adjust power.  It helped a lot.

When I got to the garage, I didn’t start by packing.  I started by doing the first steps in Section 21: Flaps.  I’m moving the flaps and ailerons to my basement workshop so I can keep building progress going during the move.  First you cut a couple of 4 x 5.5″ blocks of plywood.  The instructions suggest cutting it from the scrap used to make the leading edge cradles, but I had a perfect sized piece of 3/4″ plywood.  You need to read ahead to see that these cradles need to be accurate and square since you will check squareness of the flap with levels.  So I set up and carefully jigged my table saw for the cuts.

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The top of a nose rib has to be square to the top and bottom of the cradle.  A couple of clecos in these holes made it easy to trace the outline:2016-01-30 13.55.54

The fit came out very close on one (with skin allowance) and reasonably close on the other.  I will adjust with the gorilla tape I use to line them to get better fits.  I screwed on a split 2×4 to make very square bases.

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To pack the tank skins, I decided to cleco them together with their ribs.  This will make the assemblies strong and much easier to pack.  When I opened up the rib subkit, I found that some corrosion had crept in!  These ribs are not primed (as they are in the fuel tank).

The corrosion layer is not deep and polished off with little effort (leaving the AlClad in place).  Whew!

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I clecoed the tanks together, and then realized that if I clecoed from the inside out, they would be much easier to wrap and pack.  The moving blanket would pad the cleco tips and I would be much less likely to bend off a cleco and screw up a tank hole.  I used a bit of painters tape to pad one of the rib/skin junctions to avoid rubbing issues.

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Then it was just a matter of wrapping it up like a Christmas present!

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The padded tanks fit very neatly into the spar box.  This will provide further protection when I get them in the truck.  I did check dimensions, so the spar box, the wing cradle, and the tailcone will all fit side-by-side across the front 10′ of the truck bed.  Should be just enough room to get everything in.

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So I wrapped the rudder, vertical stab, horizontal stab, and elevators.  The horizontal stab is 10′ long, but it fits neatly in the bottom of the wing cradle (not shown here).

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The riveted leading edges will also fit under the wings….

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My former trophy wall looks a little bare now!  I’ll take all the brackets with me to Chicago and remount there until I can finish the last chapters of the empennage kit and get the tail feathers mounted.

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Meanwhile, I’ve moved the active build to my basement.  The parts are reasonably sized and I can carry them out through a normal door.  The DRDT-2 is too big for this shop, so I’m falling back on a C-frame that I picked up pretty cheaply.  At least I’ll be warm here (and have a real bathroom!)

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Next up… Box up the remaining small parts (not a lot of big parts left in the crate!), break down my tables and tools, load up the truck, and drive 14 hours to Illinois on President’s Day weekend.


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