Pilots N Paws, Phoebe, Dalmatian Mix

July 4, 2010

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Well, after a weather (thunderstorm) cancellation on Friday for a Pilots N Paws mission, I got a call from my buddy and coworker Jon to join him for a mission from Georgia to Virginia. After packing up my mission kit, I headed off to the airport to meet Jon.

My commentary is going to be a little terse for now, but maybe I’ll elaborate some later.

The drive to Shiloh.

I pulled out my stuff (two different sized crates for Jon’s baggage compartment, some plastic bags to line the floor, just in case, some treats, a couple harnesses and leashes, etc.) and waited for Jon at the self serve fuel pump.

My PNP stuff.

Jon pulled up a few minutes later…

Let's go save a dog today!

Because I think I’m clever, I decided to take a picture of all of the airport signs. Here’s Shiloh’s.

It's a good picture, darnit.

After loading up, we got going. Here’s Jon’s panel.

I used to work for the wonderful Cessna Aircraft Company, so I'm a little biased, but this is a nice 1960's era (but hugely upgraded) panel. Well done, Jon.

Jon’s smiling because I just gave him a new yellow Pilots N Paws hat.

Do you think he likes it?

On climbout from Shiloh. Jon's a multi-engine commercial pilot with instructor ratings, too. It was a nice, competent flight.

These funny glasses are called “foggles.” They simulate instrument conditions, and allow one of the pilots (two pilots needed for this kind of operation, the other required to still watch outside for traffic) to practice instrument conditions.

Please remember, I wasn't trying hard to take this picture and ignore my piloting duties looking outside. I just held up the camera and snapped the picture without looking.

Random picture of the trip down.

I was too busy watching for traffic to take any more pictures until Jon took the foggles off on short final for runway 34 at Anson County (KAFP).

Short final, runway 34.

Taxiing in. Crappy focus, but it ended being a cool picture.

Okay this is actually a pretty amazing picture.

This one, too.

Doggie-air-ambulance for the day.

Jon forgot to chock the airplane, so he is holding it with is left hand. He is strong.


Here comes Phoebe!

Ooh, that's an RV-9A! (Very similar to my RV-7, but longer wingspan and bigger tail.)

Look at how happy Phoebe looks!

Jon and I helped Wayne get Phoebe out of the back of the -9A, and Jon's soon took her for a nice walk.

I, of course, couldn’t stop from asking Wayne 1001 questions about his airplane. One of the first things Wayne said he would change was to move the backup GPS over to the right, and move the small secondary AFS screen more toward the middle (that is where the IFR charts show up).

This is a beautifully laid out panel. I love that low center console (I am going to copy the drink-holder thing for sure). Also, very excellent layout. I would be happy with this layout.

Wayne also pointed out that I should use the extensions for some of the avionics connections. Helps with finger access (TWSS). Look at the ingenious place for the fuel tester. Most people put something in the baggage compartment. Why not put it here?

Just some overall airplane pictures.

I love the paint scheme.

It looks fast!

Ha. I get it. "Giggles." Ha.

He. He. (Still giggling.)

Love the tip-up.

The rudder and vertical stabilizer are the same on the RV-7, but the horizontal and elevators are different.

That's a big trim tab.

I love Wayne's idea for an inspection door on the wheel pants.

The most imporant part of the conversation was Wayne explaining that it was pretty easy to carry pups in the baggage compartment behind the seats. When I finish this RV-7, the girlfriend and I are definitely going to be flying pups all over the place.

Jon's son and Phoebe are back.

I don't really know which one is leading the other around...

Let's go get loaded up.

Of course, we have to do the requisite in-front-of-the-airplane pictures. This is Jon.

This is me.

Jon's son and Phoebe, bonding.

About halfway to Roanoke, we flew back over Greensboro (KGSO). I took this picture because you can see the parallel runways, and my house. Guess which one it is?

Our house is right.....there.

That's not cute at all.

Jon was sneaky and snapped this picture of me.

Finally, long final at Roanoke, runway 33.

Roanoke is KROA, and is basically a very beautiful city. It’s set in a valley of sorts surrounded by mountains.

Great views.

So beautiful.

More prettiness.

I can't stop taking pictures of the mountains.

Still on final.

Squeak, squeak.........squeak. (Nice touchdown, Jon.)

Even the tower at KROA is cool.

No runway 33 departures after dark. I can see why. (CFIT, pronounced "controlled-flight-into-terrain.")

Leaving runway 33.

Where's Landmark?

Hey, then I grabbed the video function of the camera and grabbed this.

After we got out, Phoebe was interested in this little piece of grass. I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks.

Phoebe, do you need a magazine?

That first spot wasn't good enough. Let's try the shade.

Jon's son and I took Phoebe inside and met another dalmatian, who came to greet Phoebe.

Then, we headed back outside to take our goodbye picture. If you decide to help these pups out, please remember that hot summer asphalt hurts paws, so make sure you don't leave them out on the asphalt for long. (A few seconds, and Phoebe was letting us know it hurt.)

Then, I got lazy with the camera on the way back to Shiloh (KSIF).

Final for runway 34.

Want another picture of runway 34?

Zoomed in.

So the most exciting part of the trip was on rollout when I felt something crawling up my leg….OH MY GOD THERE IS A WASP ON MY LEG! AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

(swatting, stomping, screaming, etc.)

(dead wasp on the floor…breathing a sigh of relief.) Okay, I’m exaggerating, we are pilots, and we cannot be distracted during a critical phase of flight.

Here's the plane being tucked away. Can you say "man-cave?" (I pronounce it "jealousy.")

Whew. Good day. Back home, we decided we were going to stay in for the night, but not before cooking up a good all-american meal. I am a spoiled, spoiled man. Let me explain.

I grabbed some baby back ribs from the store and threw them on the grill (sealed in the foil) for 2 hours at 250°. After 2.5 hours, I opened it up and added some bbq sauce.

Here's the bbq sauce added. Keep in mind, this is homemade bbq sauce. Dijon mustard, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, molasses, brown sugar, salt, pepper, sauteed onions, garlic, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, etc., etc., etc.)

Then, I snuck inside (I was supposed to be manning the grill) and grabbed a picture of the homemade mac n' cheese.

This looks horrible. Just kidding.

All I can say is "Mmmm."


Finally, dinner is served.


Now all we need are some explosives to celebrate the 4th of July. Have a good holiday, everyone.

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Started working on the Elevator Tab

June 20, 2010

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After some more days of not doing anything, I managed to make it out to the Pilots N Paws fly-in today. It was good motivation for working on the airplane.

Anyway, I’ve drilled the left elevator skin to the skeleton, and the next step is really to take everything apart, deburr, dimple, countersink, prep, prime and assemble…


I have some things that need to be done first. Mostly, the directions want you to bend the elevator tab “ears.” Well, I don’t think I want to go the bent route. Here’s what I am worried about. I don’t think anyone would really notice, but I don’t love the way this looks.

Bent trim tab ears. I think I'm going to cut mine off and make little ribs.

I think with some work, I could make them look like this, but given how finished these surfaces are, I don’t know if they started as bent ears or riblets.

WHOA! This is awesome. This guy really finished this joint up nicely. Everybody be jealous.

Finally, I found a really nice riblets version. I like this, and this is what I am going to be aiming for (although I am going to try to use solid rivets.

Great finish on the cut-instead-of-bend tab ears. I'm going to strive to make mine like this.

Anyway, I also think cutting the ears off (not bent down in the way) will allow me to use solid rivets in the blind-rivet locations on the top and bottom of the elevator (outboard trim spar rivets). We’ll see.

First step is to get the skeleton re-clecoed in the skin.

The trim spar and the inboard rib.

Van’s wants you to countersink either piece for flush rivets (not for any real flush reason…I think they need to be #40 size holes, and they don’t give you any universal head AN470AD3 rivets). Anyway, per standard practice, I dimpled both.

Dimpled instead of countersunk.

After clecoing together the skin, I am ready to start the headscratching with the tab. Let’s find the tab spar.

There it is.

Let’s go ahead and cut off these tabs. After careful measuring and marking, I’m ready to put blade to metal.

Inboard side. I'm nervous about chopping these off.

Outboard. (see how I lined up the line parallel to the flat portion near the top and to the left of the relief hole near the bottom? This doesn't work. Read on to find out why.

After a quick snip (not too close to my final line) I removed the vinyl from the interior of the skin in preparation for using a file and scotchbrite pad to clean everything up.

Devinling before finishing those cuts.

After working carefully with a file and edge finisher…

Looks good.

Before I really finalize things, I’d like to get my tab placement set up. First, I tried using this extra piece of rudder stiffener.

It worked okay, but I later switched to something a little longer.

After some moving around and fiddling, I re-read the directions, which tell you to bend the elevator ears down along a bend line that is perpendicular to the hinge line. Well, that means that the cut lines should be perpendicular, too. Of course, like I mentioned before, my original outboard line wasn’t perpendicular. All that file work for nothing.

I drew new lines (one on top of the other, ignoring the needed clearance).

Drawing new, perpendicular lines.

Then, I made a “pretty close” cut with the snips. I’ll need to really clean this up, as well as move the line to the left for clearance purposes (I’ll wait until the hinges are drilled to really see what I need. (The instructions call for 3/32″, but that is for the blind rivet head clearance that I won’t have to worry about.)

Pretty close, but still needs trimming and finishing.

Next, I moved back to the tab. Here’s my new line.

I'm bummed because the upper part of the tab, factory provided, is not perpendicular to the hinge line. That means there will be a slight angle there. Bummer.

After getting those refinished, I got the tab mocked up. I kind of worked backward. I want to use the inboard edge and the trailing edge to get placement, then verify I have adequate clearance on the outboard edge and between the tab and elevator for the hinge (there are some hinge dimensions on the plans). I think I’ll have plenty of room.

This looks good, but I'll have to keep trimming that outboard edge.

Here's a closeup. You can see the edge near the top of the tab is angled a little left. This is how it comes from the factory. The marker line and aft portion of the tab are both perfectly perpendicular to the hinge line (line through the center of the rivet holes).

Later this week, I’ll work on getting this perfect, then tackling the riblets that need to be constructed before doing any more work with finishing the skin.

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