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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Assault and Battery! Part 2

Here is a post I thought I published . The box construction was completed last spring, as with the mounting of the turnbuckle parts.

So, here is the narrative.

After working on a way to secure the batteries, I came up with an alternative means to mount the battery cover.

I found a turnbuckle that would work to secure a modified battery cover plate.

To prep the box for the turnbuckles, I cut two holes in the battery box flange.

I cut the threaded portions of the turnbuckles an cemented them in place with a mix of resin and flocking. This fix was similar to the original fixtures on the original box. 

This part was completed prior to packing the glider up to take to the airport.

The battery compartment needed a cover to secure the batteries in place. I used a piece of thick fiberglass that was removed from the trailer. I found a couple of wing-knobs at a local hardware store and mounted the threaded screws in them. I attached a couple of washers for strength, and added a piece of felt padding.

Here is a photo on how it is attached to the battery box.

I finished the wiring and soldered the connectors
The terminated wires were then snapped into the marked ends.

Although these two photos shows how I did the battery connectors, I have since changed them due to the possibility of getting the wires crossed. I have since used polarized connectors.
With the batteries in place, I connected an aircraft radio antenna to the radio and powered the panel up. I did not connect the power to the transponder.

I did a radio check and received a positive reply, from my wife on my portable radio, from the other side of the house.

I then tuned in Albuquerque Approach and listened to the incoming traffic.

I can't wait to get this bird up in the air!

Well, That is it for the end of the year 2012 !

Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Trailer Update

With winter closing in, I was able to finish the trailer enough to load the glider and take it to Roberts shop at the airport.  I encountered some fit issues, but the glider traveled well.

I will continue to update the trailer saga this spring, when things warm up.

It is now time to see when Robert and his right hand man, Joseph,can start work.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Trailer! Part 8 - Struts and stuff!

I know I'm missing a few post that I wanted to get in before releasing this update, but after two and half years on this project, I have reached a milestone, the plane can now go to the shop at the airport to be finished.

Over the past couple of weeks, I was able to get the top of the trailer finished enough for us to get the top weighed.

Last month, the SSA issue of Soaring had a post about the need to replace some Cobra trailer struts. They mentioned a company in Surrey, BC Canada, called Strut Wise. The owner Frank Irvine was very helpful, and they were able to provide working struts for my beast trailer top.

The top is over weight due to the steel frame, but I was assured that the struts will handle to load. They require a little OMF to get them started, but they move with ease upward. Closing the top requires care to get the frame to line up on the top of the bottom rim.

But all in all, it works well.

I added the tail wheel cup and a tail strap from Cobra
Some how, my instruction where not followed to keep the height of the nose stop the same.
I believe the welder at the trailer shop shortened the frame. 
Until it was put in the trailer did I find the mistake, and now it's too late.

I have over payed for all the welding work that was done on it already for me to take this back and have them redo their work, and get double charged.
The glider required a little jocking around inside to get things to fit, which was a challenge without the help of the dolly tracks. I will need to make some adjustments in the spring, when I finish the trailer top, but for now, let's just get the glider finished!
Oh my god!, I have a garage again!

I will continue to play "catch up" on the post and to fill in some gaps

The project is getting that much closer to being finished. As they say.. I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel" ... Oh God, I hope it's not a train!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Trailer! Part 7 - The trailer front half!

This past week, I took off work to finish the front half of the trailer top.

The top was was glassed in with the same number of layers as the back half, with the exception on an additional layer of 18oz. roving.

The extra layer will stiffen the the roof, and prevent sagging.

The mold was removed, to my surprise, came off quite easily.
With the help from my wife, we rolled the top over. 

The next step was to create the access hatch cover. I needed to make this before moving the top outside.

To protect the front of the trailer top, and to prevent the hatch cover bonding to the top glass, the hatch mold was made of .25 inch plywood, cut to shape and treated. I then screwed it onto the trailer top front. a layer of aluminum tape was applied, and then I used mold release wax to treat the surface. 

The hatch cover was made with several layers glass, like the rest of the trailer top, with the exception of the additional two layers of carbon fiber to keep it extra stiff.
The hatch cover popped off the mold, and the extra material was trimmed..
I left a lip on the edge so I can make the inside lip for the hatch to fit over when its mounted to the trailer. That topic will be addressed later. 

With the hatch cover made, It was tip to mate the two trailer top halves together. I used my truck, and the lift gate to move the top to the waiting trailer.
And again, with the help from my wife, we slide the top onto to the front of the trailer.

It took me most of the following day to get the front aligned with the back half.  I then cut out a rough opening so I can access the inside of the trailer to apply the bonding fiberglass to the seam split.
I followed Uraula Hanles instruction on how to bond a broken fuselage guide me thru this stem. I added additional ribbing to reinforce the inside.

While the first layers of the seam were curing, I cut out the openings for the rear tail lights and mounted the lights in place. I added the the license plate holder and light.  These will come off when I'm ready to paint the top, but for now, I just need them to be working so I can get the essential internal parts mounted, and the glider delivered to the airport for completion!
I placed the unfinished hatch cover over the opening.

For almost two years, this trailer for the first time, does not need a tarp to protect it! YAHOO! 

 I will do cleanup and add a layer of paint to protect the glass, but the final external finishing will be done later, after the glider is in the hands of the shop!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Trailer! Part 6 - Déjà vu!?

Finally the temperature is getting down enough where I can start working with fiberglass again!.

I pulled out the wood and start reviewing my drawings.

The new trailer steel hoops in the forward area on the trailer are a little off from my original design. So, I will stick to the original design and cut the hoops off to be re-welded after the front on the trailer is mounted and secured.

The design for the mold required more facets than I wanted to deal with, but that is burden I chose when I accepted this project.

I reused much of the wood from the back portion of the trailer mold to create the mold for the forward trailer mold.

I created panel frames to create the forward curve.

This is where my wife walked in and saw this!

Her comment was, "Are you preparing to storm the beach in Normandy!?"

Aluminum foil tape was used to seal the edges and seams.

The last step was to add the facet edge with cut paneling strips.

I used a hot glue gun to tack the strips in place,

.... and then masking tape to seal the seams.

The wood was sanded and sealed.

Tomorrow.... the whole interior gets a good waxing.

Next week I start the process of applying the fiberglass... Oh Joy..

The new O2 System and Radio Mic install

Over the summer, when it was still too warm to work on the trailer top, I managed to finish the plumbing for the oxygen system.

I purchased a Mountain High System last spring and after careful studying on other gliders O2 systems, I planned out one that I believe will work just fine in the Libelle.

I found that the first stage needed to face down with my planned arrangement.

I mounted the refill port and tank gauge where it was accessible though the hat-self cover.

I originally bought the standard 3' high pressure hose, but I found that it was too short for where I needed to read the gauge in the cockpit. So I had to reorder a 5' hose. There were already small holes drilled in the ribs, I reused them to strap the hose in place, and ran it thought the glass straps in the side and under the seat pan tray lip.

Don't worry about that dangling chain on the refill port cover. I will get a better one that will secure the cap.

I drilled a opening in the lip and mounted the cockpit gauge. I also cut a notch in the seat pan lip to slide under the gauge.

While I was working on that side, I attached the boom microphone mount and ran the cable down the side. The cockpit padding will cover the cable when the plane is finished.

The next step was how to run the low pressure hose and still keep it away from anything that will hang up the controls or pinch the hose.

I ran the hose along the rear wing pin suspension tube and carefully strapped it down with plastic ties. There were holes in the ribs were I ran the tube in, through and around to avoid the aileron yoke and elevator rod.

The hose the was run through the glass straps into and under the right side seat pan tray lip.

Mountain High had a panel mount hose port that fit perfectly in the tray lip. I cut an opening in the seat pan for the port access. I will use the plastic hose to attach the demand regulator, and fit it into the side padding pocket.

It's now the end of September, the temperature is falling. It's time to finish the damn trailer!


Here is a revision to the low pressure hose install. A blog reader, Mark , suggested an excellent idea to prevent the hose from getting pinched by the plastic tires. He suggested that I shield the hose with a ridged plastic tube. I found that the tube I'm using for the steel wire shield had in ID the was just a shade wider than the OD of the low pressure hose. It was a perfect fit. And was rigid enough to prevent the plastic ties from biting into the low pressure line.

Again, Thank you Mark!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Dog Days of Summer

Well, I have not been doing much work on this project since the first weeks of June. Summer came in Hot and heavy. It has been too warm to work with the fiberglass resin, so finishing the front of the trailer has been put on hold until it cools down.

I have been busy with school, and since I have finished this semester, I will finish wiring the fuselage and plumb the O2 system.

I have even taken some time off to do something unusual ... like ... fly!

More to come in the next couple of weeks!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Trailer! Part 5a - UPDATE!

I know there is more to this post trail, but I had to at least show you all what I did last weekend. 

I managed to slide the back half onto the trailer frame, by myself.

I had to make some slight augmentations to the rear hoops and to the fiberglass tube supports, to get the top to sit correctly. One of the hoops will need to be rewelded after I get the top together.

I still need to do some cleanup on the frame top and the shell, so the back fits square. Once this is done. I will attempt to screw the shell to the top frame.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Trailer! Part 5 - Making molds, breaking rules, and losing my mind!!

Back to report the latest progress on the trailer.

The trailer is back from being in storage at the Sandia Trailer. I was finally able to afford to pay the balance and bring it home to work on "Phase IV"

They did a great job installing the side skins and new floor.

And the jinx is still with the trailer.... when I was pulling the trailer out of storage yard, the turn was tight, and my tailgate was down at the time, holding the wood that was used as a cover, so, the gate tore into the skin on the front of the trailer!... Shit!

Before I can build the first mold, I needed to make room in the garage. Since I had no place to store the wings, I had to cocoon them in plastic, and store them outside. (I hated to do it, but it was my only only option.

I purchase the wood for the mold frame last year, while I still had money. The design of the molds will allow me to dis-assemble them from around the fiberglass cast. The first part of the mold was the top of the trailer. This also became the base.

Using the plans that I drew up, I created the side frames using 2x4's and cover the inside of the mold with wall paneling.

The next step was tricky. Since the top was made with two sheets of finished plywood, which where 4'x8' in size, the width of the top was two inches too narrow. the base width of the trailer sides needed to be just over 4' 1" to mate with the lower frame on the trailer top. I added scraps of wood to bring the base mount out to accommodate the attachment of the side panels.

Once the sides were up, the main box mold was finished, now I needed to devise a way to close off the open slit that runs the full length of the mold were the sides align with the base top, then the end cap.

I found that the cheap wall paneling was easy to cut, and I came up with a way to create a bevel top edge.

I secured the panel material with a hot glue gun and aluminum duct tape.

The end cap was simple to make. I just used a strip of the paneling and then taped it up.

With the mold finished, I'm ready to seal the wood and paneling matrial with a fiberglass mold release agent.

This mold is 16' long. and is almost 2/3rds of the length of the trailer.

To prevent the fiberglass resin sticking to the material I used release wax and a solution of PVA. After the PVA dried, I dropped in a layer of peel ply nylon.

The nylon was attached using masking tape and staples.

The first layer applied was the 10oz cloth.

Followed by the 6oz fiberlass mat. Mat is the biggest pain in the ass to use. The only plus side it, it adds bulk quickly, and adds greater strength. The down side is, fibers get everywhere, and it soaks up a lot of resin!... Gallons of it!

This concludes the first stage of the fiberglass top. This will cover the back 2/3rds of the trailer.

The last layer was an 18oz fiberglass roving. After the resin cured fully, I started to lay in the internal support structure. The material that was recommened for this purpose, was cardboard tubing. The tubes were cut in half, and the taped in place.

After the tubes were taped in, I was ready to fiberglass them in place. I used two layers of  fiber glass tape.

The resin soaked into the cardboard, making it extra ridged.
After the tube supports were glassed in, I was ready to pop the mold off. The sides for the most part seperated with little effort. There was only a couple of areas that the resin adhered to the paneling material.

I used wooded shims to pop the glass cast from the bottom plywood base.

The verical fin cover was made from a male mold, made of foam.

I covered the mold with aluminum tape and then waxed the mold with release wax.

The same number of layers of fiberglass was applied to the mold as match the trailer top.

The trailer shell was rotated right-side-up and stabilized with saw horses.

The fincap was then mounted to the top and fiberglassed in place.  Both, on the outside, and then inside.

The skin was fairly smooth, but are areas that needed attention.

Primer was used to find the areas that needed to be filled.

The fin cap required more work, since it was popped off a male mold. The resin voids and pits holes needed to be filled and sanded.

While this work was going on, and moving the top around, I had to add addition glass strips to the tube supports, since I noticed some areas that were stressed.

I relalized that I would need some additional steel loops in the trailer top to support the area were the two parts would be mated together, and also the front area for the access hatch.

Making the forward section will be a challange, now that the temperature is in the 80's here. I will be casting in the early hours before sunrise, or in the late evening, when it starts to cool down.

Before I can make that front portion, I will need to make room in the garage, and that means mounting the back half to the trailer.