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.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wheel well that ends well!

Back to that damn wheel well.

After having the fuselage upside down, the lights I was using illuminated a short coming on the leading edge of the wheel well fairing. It was not shaped symmetrically.

I didn't take a photo of the problem before, which I should have, but here is a picture after I reshaped the side and leading edge. Notice the tan color of the original fiberglass, and the light green of the new fillet.

I roughed up the original glass with 80 grit sand paper and applied a thick layer of resin mixed with cotton flock. ( I love this stuff over Cab-o-sil).

I covered the resin putty with peel ply to help keep it shape, and kept a light on it to keep the air temperate warm for curing.

After the resin cured, I sanded the material to the corrected shape.

The fun never seems to end!

Stay tuned...... Bigger things are still a happening,

                                   and No she's not ready to finish yet!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Belly Up!

The post title pretty much sums up what is happening here! And it will be a short one too!

Upon the recommendation from Robert, for it's lack of use, he suggested that I forgo the CG hook, and fill the CG hook opening.

I used fiberglass fabric sheets, cut to fit the hole from the inside and then a layer over the outside to feather it in.

With a little resin paste mixed with cotton flock, I filled in the holes and evened out the contour.

                                                      Finished and ready for inspection!

See, I told it would be a short post!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Trailer! Part 4 - Scrape, scrape, scrape, the boys are marching!

The trailer has been like a bad penny to me!

After leaving the trailer with Sandia trailer for over three weeks, I get a call from them with some unsettling news!

The estimate was 1/2 of what the original estimate was to do the whole trailer! $3500 to sand blast, re-skin, and replace the floor boards. The sand blasting alone was over $1500. The whole reason why I stripped it down was to lower the cost. I delivered half a trailer ready to be cleaned up, and so the price was cut in half, even after I did all the work stripping it down to save on the clean up.

So, I have the trailer back home, and I will do all of the clean up. Sandia trailer will re-skin, put in the floor boards, and make the hinged lower frame for the glass top.

At least the new Cobra hitch was welded on!

Here in New Mexico, the weather has been playing tricks with me. Through the month of June, there was no rain. Due to work and school, I was unable to do any work on the trailer over the weekends, but as soon as I was able to plan to clean the rust off of the trailer frame and paint, Ka-boom! Thunder and rain.

From the second weekend in July and every weekend until the second weekend this past October, it has rained every afternoon!

Between the rain drops...
I started the work from the back of the trailer frame, and worked forward. I used everything from sandblasting, belt sanders, to a mouse sander. On tight areas I had to blast or use my hands to remove the rust.

Don't worry, when this photo was taken, I was still adjusting the jack Stands. The trailer didn't fall over!

Special Note:
The sales clerk at the paint supply shop recommended the product "Rust Mort" to treat the rusty areas. The product is a phosphoric acid solution that converts the rust and seals the corroded areas. It will only attach the rusty areas. But be advised... you MUST clean the residual product off before painting over it. Any moisture in the atmosphere will reactivate it until it has been neutralized.

I will spare you of the gory details, but sand and spot painting this was a pain in the ass!

I sanded down the fenders and blasted the rust out of the wells. Cleaned up the hub and leaf springs.

 Here is a sample of the fenders before the cleanup.

And after painting the primer on the them

Notice the blue tarp used to cover my work between the rain drops!

The next task was to repair the tailgate hatch. It was full of holes from light, reflectors and tie down latches.

I sanded the steel gate, which had over three different colors on it.

I used chopped fiberglass and fine cloth to repair the holes. I was please with the results. I used primer on it to seal the metal and to show any areas that I missed

And a shot with more of the frame painted with primer.

Eventually the frame did get sanded, treated against rust, and painted with primer.

I finished the frame the first week of October, and Sandia Trailer has it now to put the floor in, skin the sides, and fabricate the hinged lower frame.

The secret to getting a project like this completed is, Money, Space, Time, and Money... Of which I have little of!. But I do have plenty on insanity!

But if you really want something, you will find a way to get it!


Oh, by the way, remember how I said the trailer is like a bad penny... While transporting the trailer to Sandia trailer to finish the bottom work, the wind was blowing hard, and blew open the gate and it hit the road, the trailer lights blew off, and my license plate hit the road..... Like I said, this project,... well , you know the rest!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Trailer! Part 3 - The cradle that rocked the hand!

So far my worst nightmare on this project. Also mentioned earlier, including the use of old blue Astro-turf. 

This cradle has been fighting me with tooth and nail! The tear down wasn't bad, but it was the fiberglass cradle that was driving me crazy.

The problem with the cradle was the fact that it was too narrow and compressing the fuselage at the cockpit, flatting the sides and preventing the canopy frame to close without pushing the sides of the frame in to get it closed.

To correct the problems, the cradle frame supports needed to be spread wider, and the cradle needed to be spread about an inch to two inches so the fuselage will sit comfortably.

The first hurtle to overcome was widening the cradle. I was told that if I heated the cradle to over 180 degrees, the resin will soften enough to spread the fiberglass shell.

I cut a piece of board to fit the inside width of the shell and pressed it into place. I set up two halogen shop lights to heat up the resin.

I placed a thermometer inside the shell to monitor the temperature to 180 degrees.

 While the shell was cooking, I turn my attention to correcting the dolly frame.

I sand blasted the rust and old paint

I was able to spread the uprights to the desired width without breaking the welds.

I then primed and painted the frame. But, this will change later after I find out that the shell cannot be corrected.

After days of fighting the cradle shell re-shape. (actually it was weeks!), I put the heat test to the max. The shell would not bend at 180, or 200 degrees, so I bumped it up to 300 degrees, and all it did was cook the resin, it would not bend!

So, I was left with the task of remaking the shell.

I started with the original shell, but mounted to a board with the correct spread. To prevent the polyester resin sticking to the old shape, I laid a layer of plastic on the surface.

Next a layer of peel ply nylon 

Followed by a mixed layers of glass roving ...

and chopped glass mat, which soaks up a lot of resin!

After a dozen layers or so, the thickness of the finished cradle matched the old one. I spent a couple of hours sanding and finishing the shell so it would be ready for painting and re-covering.

Now let's get back to the dolly frame.... As it turned out, the new cradle and something special modified to the dolly rail, required the dolly to be modified.

The side uprights for the rocker arms needed to be moved out to the sides for the new width of the shell, and gone are the bottom tube supports and now are angle iron. I had my good friends at Sandia Trailer do the modifications.

And of course, it all had to be repainted!

Over the summer I was looking for a replacement material for that lousy Astro-turf crap. I bought carpet, but later was told that the pile was a little too thick and it would trap soil. It wasn't until I came across the solution at a boat repair shop here in Albuquerque of all places..... Interior boat carpet The material was soft, short pile, easy to clean, and it will not trap soil like regular carpet!

It was easy to cement to the fiberglass with Dapp contact cement, since the carpet was designed for that application.

I started at the edge, And carefully rolled the carpet into place, while applying pressure to ensure an even application.

Next I measured a lip of the carpet to be rolled over the edges for extra padding and protection

I used cloths pins to hold the carpet in place while the cement cured.

Here are the results of weeks of racking ones brain and fighting psychics. .. there was a lot of cursing too!

I hope making the mold for the replacement Horizontal stabilizer skin isn't this arduous!

Tail wheel well and the mystery hole repairs!

Again, as you might recall from the first posts of this blog, I found many areas that needed some repairs due to wear and tear over the years.

The worst by far was the groove worn into the inside of the tail wheel well from the air fill stem. It was just a matter of time before a good hard landing would break the tail wheel right out of the tail. 

This radius groove was cut by the air fill stem that was improperly mounted in the hub.

I taped the axle sleeve opening and then used a mix of fine glass cloth and cotton flocking to fill in the groove. I followed the application with a couple off layers of fine glass cloth to seal it. The final cover was peel ply nylon and the excess resin was squeegeed out.

The results... No groove!.

I removed the peel ply and then sanded off the excess resin to return the wheel well and exterior fairing to it's original shape.

The axle sleeve hole needed to be cleaned out. I test fitted the brass sleeves and axle to verify that the alignment was good.

I replaced the wheel back into the wheel well to verify the fit and if the wheel will rotate freely.

And it did!

The properly mounted inner tube and the air stem does not rub against the wheel well.

The mystery hole was first thought to have been cause by a rock striking the belly during a take-off roll, but in fact had to be caused by some repair station drilling a hole in a rib to zip tie a replacement Coax antenna cable into the fuselage.

I filled the hole with a wad of chopped glass roving and a mix of resin and cotton flock. I cover the patch with a single ply of fine glass cloth and then nylon peel ply. I used a piece of foam with plastic sheet to press the patch to the correct contour and let the resin cure.

The repair is completed and ready to sand smooth.

The odds-and-end tasks are never done!