Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasfl├╝gel 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.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I'm WHAT!!!!

Yes, that is what I was thinking when I received a phone call from my work. Friday, May 28th at 4:30pm, the end of the company bi-weekly pay period, I received a call from my supervisor informing me that I was being let go. Seven and a half years with the company, and that was it! I have just joined the ranks of the twenty percent of this country!

Now I had to put my project on hold. There is no way one could justify spending anytime or money on a frivolous project when you now had a bigger worry, how you are going to afford keeping a roof over your head!

The company gave me a stay of execution by letting me stay on for one month to allow them the time to break the news to the clients of other companies I was working with. There were all sorts of conditions that I had to keep secret, or they would terminate me on the spot. You've got to love that upper management and the value they have toward their employees! (which of course is based on their bottom line, and I'm sure they're not skimping on their bonus either). So, I played by their rules, in order for me to get a jump on finding new employment.

For the next four weeks, I concentrated on keeping the clients unaware of what our company was doing. I was keeping them happy, and looking for work (averaging ten to twenty applications a week), and worked on my school assignments.

Any donations sent to my paypal address axflyer@aol.com to help me finish this project will be gratefully accepted!   ;-)

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Any way , all kidding aside, .... on the following weekend, I vented my frustration by starting the sanding off of the gelcoat on the fuselage, and the removing of the last of the linkages in the rear area of the cockpit.

Let's look at those parts.

When you first look inside the fuselage through that access hatch, you realize you need to have small children around to help with removing parts. It is a tight squeeze.

As you can see, there is a great deal of surface corrosion that will need to be addressed.

Here is a detail photo showing the copper tubing used for the original oxygen system, and also the black COAX used for the antennae. This COAX was a heavy, non aviation grade wire. This appears to have been a replacement since it was not pulled thru the original holes in the ribbing . To add insult to injury, they left the old COAX still in the ribbing. Note the white wire in the top left side of the photo. It's the one in the middle of those three wires fished thru the rib. Who ever did this mod needed to be shot!. If you look at the center red circle, the Black COAX was held in place by a single plastic zip-tie. They also drilled a hole straight thru the rib and out thru the bottom of the fuselage.

I thought this hole was from a BB shot by someone on the ground. No, just some drill happy person doing a hack job while mounting the antenna cable. And then not taking the responsibility to repair the damage. 

Continuing the examination and removal....

This is a shot of the left side with left aileron linkage and airbrake actuator.

And below is a shot of the right side, with the elevator control rod , airbrake actuator.

Before removing the push rods, linkages and actuators, I had to remove the old copper tubing and electrical wiring.

Then starting with the airbrake actuator rod, I began removing the nuts and bolts and parts, one by one, only leaving the landing for another day.

As the parts starting seeing the light of day, the extent of the corrosion and what would be needed to clean them could now be appreciated.

Next, the extent of the corrosion.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Part 2

After correcting the problem with my fuselage cradle, I removed the seat pan. It is now quite apparent that the cockpit belly was subjected to a gear up landing. Another bit of damage history omitted from the records.

During my pre-buy inspection, I did not know what I was looking for, but seeing the mis-matched fiberglass inlaid is very noticeable.
More lessons learned.

I removed the seat back completely by cutting the steel cable, and placed all of the fittings and nuts and bolts into marked Tupperware containers.
I inspected the seat back. The old polyester resin repair job was separating and I will need to grind it off and repair the damage with the correct material.

Another point noted in my pre-sale inspection was that Charlie stated that the mechanical vario wasn't working for quite some time, and that he relied on the Audio during his flights. Right after I removed the seat pan, I noticed something unusual about the condition of the plastic tubing for the pitot static system.

The T-connector for the tubing that supplies air from the TE probe to the Vario's was disconnected (note the red circle) ... Gee do you think that could be the reason why the mechanical vario wasn't working! I'm surprised that the audio vario worked as well!

As I nosed around inspecting the Pitot Static / TE probe tubing, I found a Thermos bottle attached to the tubing, glued behind the seat bulkhead and against the outer wall of the main wheel well. It was crudely glued and taped together. This was being used as the capacity flask for the TE / Vario system.

This seemed to be to be an unusual item to be used as a capacity flask, but then again. It was officially certified, I think??? The thermos had a label on it identifying it as a certified part, well kind'a.

Robert came by the house to check on my progress. As he looked at the nose and inspected the tow release, he stated, "yep, that's the original release and it needs to be replaced".  It's a PTT looking for a place to happen!

The next focus was to remove the stick and the linkage's that followed back to the aileron controls and elevator.


It was a chore to remove the stick in such a tight spot, but I now had room to remove the pedals and the nose bulkhead. I next removed the electrical wiring (which was not aviation grade material) and the tubing for the Pitot Static system and TE probe.

The pedals came out easily. They are held in with one bolt. I just needed to cut the steel cables, and they too were free. The next task was to create a tool to allow me to reach in three feet and pull off the nose bulkhead. I had to create a rod with a flat-angled knife edge to remove the sealant around the bulkhead, and then use the same blade to pry the bulkhead off.

This task is not for the faint of heart! It was a royal bitch to get it off. The bulkhead is held in with six bolts, and a thick seal of what looks like plumbers putty.

Once that was accomplished, I was able to take the bolts off of the nose release hook. But before the hook would come free, I had to cut the Bondo away from the nose ring that completed a lip in the nose opening.
This was the last task for me to complete for this weekend.

By the weekend of May 15th, I had removed the landing gear actuation rod and the control rod for the airbrakes. I also removed the CG hook release.


Once I completely gutted the cockpit , I started sanding down the loose fiberglass on the floor and cut away the mounting blocks and bolts for the lead weights.

But my life and project were due for a shake up in the weeks to come!