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[February 16, 2006]


Yeah, it has been 5 or so days since I have worked on the project. It is not for lack of motivation, or frustration, but rather I had to go down to Jacksonville, FL for a few days to do some network upgrades. It really couldn't of come at a better time. The night before my flight it snowed about 15"! I was looking forward to the flight down because it was on a 717 - the same plane I did the sim time on in Long Beach at Alteon about a month ago. As I walked onto the plane it was bad ass to see how realistic the sim was to the real cockpit layout. That is about where the coolness of the 717 stopped. I have never been so uncomfortable on a flight as I was on that airtran flight to ATL then to JAX. I am not that tall of a guy - 5'11", and my knees were in the back of the seat in front of me. It was so bad that I couldn't slouch and get my legs under the seat. They try to sugar coat their flights with free XM radio, but it was the worst flight I have ever had. I am never flying AirTran again. It wasn't until I landed at JAX that I remembered that AirTran is really rebranded ValuJet. Hell if I am ever trying to save a few bucks for my company again by flying with them!

Anyways, today I brought my counterbalance to work with me to shave some of it off. I started it in the bandsaw and that was WAY to slow. So I walked it over to the milling machine and let it go to work on it. The mill did a damn nice job on shaving it down. I noticed on the inside of the counterweight some pockets of air. Hopefully not a big deal. They aren't toooooo close to the edges to cause any specific concern. I got it home and finished it off with a nice radius in the transition of the edges. It turned out OK, but no one will ever see it inside of the tips.

Next I riveted the counterbalance skins on, RTV's the stiffeners, then put the skeleton in. I riveted the counterbalance skin on and left if there. EAA Technical Counselor Bob Scherer is coming over in the next few days to take a look at my work. I figured I wouldn't rivet any more than I needed to now. Besides, everything left is pretty much AN426AD3-3.5's. I can just set up thw squeezer and hammer those out in a few hours.

All of the hard stuff for the empennage is pretty much done now. I have my first lesson in a tailwheel (Citabria) this weekend up at 0W3 at Hartford Air. I am pretty excited to see what tailwheel flying is like!

The counterweight after the milling.


You can see the air pockets in the middle. When I first saw these as the milling machine passed over, I thought that the milling bit was ripping the counterweight apart.


The somewhat finished product. I did do a little more to make it prettier.


RTV's the stiffeners.


The skeleton inside of the skin.


I needed to use Oops-Rivets where the spar, rib and 2 skins come together. I tried the AN426AD3-4.5's and I think holes on the spars were a little on the big side. The 4.5's squished WAY too far down. I decided to use the Oops just to be on the safe side.


The counterbalance skins riveted on.

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