Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasflügel Standard Libelle H201B, and a tribute to those who have dared to do the same, and to those who are helping with seeing this dream take flight.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

On the weekend of May 8, I began to remove the contents of the cockpit.

The seat pan was covered in canvas.

And bolted to the floor, there were two canvas covered bags of lead used to correct the weight of the glider.


                                          Twenty pounds of it!

While I was working on removing the seat pan, I noticed something strange with the sides of the fuselage. At the widest point around the cockpit, the sides were flat! 

While the glider was sitting in the trailer, in the hanger for two years, the fuselage cradle squished the sides in.      Who ever made this rig, did a horrid job.

The cradle was constructed out of thick fiberglass, but when they made the shape, they did not take in account for padding, especially for the heavy indoor-outdoor astro-turf type crap carpet thickness they chose to use. The carpet was glued in the cradle, and then forced the fuselage into it, which over time changed the side wall contours.

Since the fuselage was finally free of the constricting cradle, the sides were gradually starting to push back out to the original shape.
Here is the problem, my measurements for my jig where based on the measurements made while the glider was in the cradle, and now the strap and 2x4 uprights where digging into the expanding glass sides.

I removed the fuselage from the jig, and worked on widening the upright supports. When this was corrected, I replace the fuselage back into the jig.

I pondered over the flattened sides and was disheartened to think of this deformity. I called Robert and told him of my findings. His recommendations were to take measurement of the Albuquerque Soaring Club's Libelle 201B there at the Moriarty Airport, and then create an expandable press to push the shape back out. Also, I would need to create templates of the contour to ensure an accurate shape.

To help the shape to expand, the fiberglass would need to be carefully heated while the press was in place. He also suggested the possibility that painting the outside of the cockpit sides with black paint, and setting it over turned in the sun. There might be enough heat to cause the sides to return to their natural shape without creating the press, but a contour template would still be a good tool to have.

While all this planning was going on, the fiberglass started to return to it's natural shape on it's own, after I corrected my jig, that provided a wider span.
As soon as I noticed this, I tried to warm the sides with a heat gun to see if that would cause the sides to widen even more. To my surprise, it did!.

It's funny how the cradle dolly doesn't fit on the undersides of the fuselage now. I removed the astro-turf and retried fitting it, but it is still too tight a fit. I even used a belt sander to thin the glass down, but it's still too tight.

There is no way in hell I'm using this cradle the way it is. It will need to be cut corrected, or refabricated.

Now, lets get back to gutting the cockpit!

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