CHAPTER 33 - Odd Jobs

Not much can really be done, now, before jigging the bulkheads and starting to install the rest of the structure. However, there is one job that must be done, and a few things I can play with. The job that has to be done is the bending of the main longerons. I clamp them together and have little trouble making the first bend. Next, I cut out a bending template from plywood and start the main bends. This looks easy on the Orndorff videos but is really a bear. Bright idea number one - I use ratcheting cargo straps to pull the longerons into the female bend template. Well, that got me about 2/3 there, but trying to add shims to the template and increase the bend simple ruins the cargo straps. I was using a cresent wrench to increase the lever moment of the ratchets and they simply folded; meanwhile, the longerons are not even sweating!

Ok, so I put them across a sawhorse and put my weight on it. Hmm, need someone on the other side. Judi (whose weight I cannot divulge; it's not much but it's a female thing) gets lifted into the air. However, with a little synchronized bouncing we finally make progress. I have got to get a hefty bench and a vice's on my list. In the photo you can see the (finally!) bent longeron and the remains of the cargo straps. I discovered that the strap material is rated much higher than the strap units, so I kept them for use as tiedowns.

Next, I played around with the controls. Since the F604 is already primed, it doesn't need to go to the painter. So, let's put the control sticks together and see how they work. After much filing of bushings (and some emery cloth for the passenger stick), I get things fairly smooth. Clamping the assembly to the bulkhead is no problem and I backdrill the mounts and temporarily bolt them in place. Now we set the bulkhead up on the sawhorses and we have control sticks. Moving them around while making airplane noises consumes the rest of an afternoon (Watch out! He's on your six!) While disassembling the controls, I drill the hole through the right stick - with the wrong bit. Well, it's ruined (the bit) and the burrs prevent removal of the stick. I'll work the stick out later; in the meantime I replace the bit and redo the hole with the right bit, not removing much extra material - the dead bit (a general purpose bit) gave a good account of itself before it died. Seems I need a refresher after not working on the plane for several years.

Well, next is preparing the seat ribs, which will be needed once the bulkheads are back from painting. Using the controls and the F604, I determined where the lightening holes need to be relieved to allow full movement. I also split the innermost ribs after fabricating their joiners. Not much else to do but wait, now.