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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Covering fuselage

After about 4 full days, the fuselage is now covered with ceconite 102 and all ready for spraying the last layers and then paint. It was a pretty straight forward technique, but I'm very happy that I had good guidance all the way from Kåre and Dagfinn at Aeromech, Kjeller.

First we did the sides. Then the one leftover sheet was almost enough for the bottom. It lacked a small patch of a few square inches. So I decided to use it and put a patch on the bottom. You know, during WW2 these L-birds were shot at all the time and patched up at night ready for next morning. So why not make a patch here and save 6 meters of ceconite! :-)

I was waiting for a VHF COMM antenna which was in a suitcase from my trip to Oklahoma the week before covering. However, luggage got lost when we were delayed due weather in Chicago and we had to keep open a sheet above the antenna ground plane in order to wait for the last antenna... Thanks to Steinar my colleague who came by one morning to terminate connectors to the coax cables. It will be very exiting to test how the antennas under the ceconite will perform. I strongly believe it will be fine. I have mounted GPS, VHF COMM, TDR and ELT antennas back there. So, the only visible antenna will be the original AN-29-C used on the BC-659 radio. The only concern I have is that the TDR and VHF antenna might be too close. In that case the TDR might cause noise on the VHF radio. Plan B is to use the AN-29-C antenna, possibly modified with a modern VHF whip antenna on the top.

All in all a great week with a leap forward towards the goal of flying before MAV's 70th birthday which is on the 9th of December 2014. Next up: getting the fuselage and wings up to the sandblaster's farm. He has a paint garage as well and a professional car painter from Lithuania working there. I asked him to teach me to spraypaint, so that I could say I did it all myself, but he was not happy about that... perhaps I can convince him to let me do the grey colour under the wings... ?

A proud owner, pilot and restorer admiring the final result!

Kåre Hovland at Aeromech. Perhaps the most experienced Cub restorer in the country.

After 3 layers of Rand-O-Proof mixed with a little Super Seam and thinner.

The antenna ground plane. Would have liked to spend more time making all cables neat and tidy, but VHF antenna arrived so delayed that we had to settle for "good enough". Will be very exiting to test range and signal quality to see if the ceconite reduces coverage significantly. I can do all this because the aircraft is in the EXPERIMENTAL category, no need for STC's etc. ELT needs programming before installation can be completed.

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