June 29, 2009

Gunk ain’t what it used to be…

Unless I’m mistaken that is. While the evenings are long and the weather so good, I’m trying to do a bit whenever I can. I picked up some very good advice from Ted Snook in a thread I started on the BMAA forum about renovating MYRO’s pod so I’ll be getting together the stuff I need for that over the coming few days. But this evening I’d decided that with the pod and much of the front end removed, I’d see about shifting some of the grease and muck that’s accumulated in and underneath MYRO over the years. I’d got hold of some Gunk engine degreaser earlier in the day to help do the job. I started off by doing the pedal assembly, then the front forks and then worked my way back to the undercarriage which was in a right old state. I even included the inner section of the rear fuselage cover that’s just behind the seats as that also had a distinctly greasy look, feel and smell about it.

Well it’s some time since I bought and used Gunk but I reckon it’s changed. It used to shift grease like magic and turned white when you washed it off with water. Now it doesn’t do either it appears. Presumably the product has been made more ‘environmentally friendly’ with the result that it now doesn’t do the job it’s supposed to half as well as before 😕

Anyway, I did the best I could and after washing all of the treated areas with warm water containing detergent, I finished off by carefully hosing it all with cold tap water. A quick dry off and although there were still a few greasy patches on some of the more inaccessible parts of the undercarriage, the results made it well worth the effort.

So progress is still quite brisk. I have to get all the parts I treated this evening really clean and grease-free so I can spray a bit of paint on the bits that need it. Then when I’ve done the pod – next week-end maybe – I’ll actually be at the stage where I’m rebuilding. That’s an exciting prospect 😀

June 27, 2009

Excellent day!

In more ways than one. It’s been a bit of a scorcher and as I type this we’re paying for that. It started with a few rolls of thunder then it went from rain to hail and it’s now back to a steady downpour. But I also had an excellent day as far as MYRO is concerned.

I wanted to feel that I was moving forward constructively so I thought I’d make a start by fitting the new engine mountings, the voltage rectifier and the starter solenoid. The latter two items I got from Mark at Galaxy and when I had a look at them a few days ago, I found that both had slightly rusty screws fixing them to the bracket on which they are mounted. I had given them a couple of blasts of WD-40 in the hope that this would ease them as both had to be removed to get access to the bolts holding the bracket to the main tube and it had worked a treat.

I was slightly concerned about the new engine mountings though. Because the engine tries to rotate in the opposite direction to the propeller, one set of mountings has to go on top of the engine brackets and the other set underneath. The engine brackets are made from a 90 deg section alloy extrusion and because the dimensions are limited, the mountings that go underneath must have the edge that goes against the upright of the bracket trimmed off. When I fitted them, however, I found that even with the edges trimmed, both mountings sat slightly proud of the surface on that side because they still slightly fouled the inner curve of the extrusion. I found that the scope for further trimming was rather limited so I gave one a bit of a file to get it to sit down as far as I could, which was about the same as the other did anyway, and fitted them both. Most likely nobody else would have worried about it! Here are a couple of pics showing this part of the day’s work.

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By the way, the other unit that’s mounted on two brackets behind the engine is the fuel pump.

Now, I haven’t yet got the official go-ahead to replace the screen and door plastics but the job will have to be done anyway, so I thought I’d make a start. Step one was to take the doors off which was easy enough as they are mounted on piano-type hinges with a long pin that’s inserted from the top and goes through the length of the hinge. By removing the pins, the doors come straight off.

Step two was removing the screen. The screen is attached to the fuselage upright tubes with cable ties so those only needed cutting with a Stanley knife. It’s also attached to the pod with a combination of plastic bolts and cable ties and I was pleasantly surprised to find that because a flat of each inner nut was against the inner upper surface of the instrument panel, all of the plastic bolts could be removed single-handedly from the outside. Snipping the cable ties then freed-up the complete instrument panel which could then be carefully removed. Once again, here are a few pics of this stage of the work.

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I’d originally thought about removing the pod completely to do any renovations and renewals to it conveniently off the airframe. However, I thought that if I just removed the pedal assembly, which needs a bit of de-rusting and repainting, this would give me enough access to the interior of the pod to do all of the work I needed to do. So out came the pedals.

But then I got to thinking again. I doubt anyone will have this much of a chance ever again to do the thorough job on MYRO that it needs. So should I remove the pod after all? I agonised for some time, as it meant removing the front forks and wheel as well as four pod mounts, two undercarriage trailing links and the ties between the rear of the pod and the bottom of the fuselage covers. Then I recalled the advice I gave to someone a few days ago about something they were worried about doing, which was, ‘Just Go For It!’ So that’s what I did and here are the resulting pics.

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Once I’d got it off I knew that I’d done the right thing. It’ll be easy now to clean and renovate the pod itself, and I might even go through with my original idea of having it re-sprayed. Have to be careful about the weight though. And now cleaning and repainting the pod floor tubes will be a doddle as well.

So that was the end of day one and I was really pleased with the progress I’d made, despite the large numbers of small boys who all wanted to know what I was working on and what I was doing. Taken all round, an excellent day 😀

June 25, 2009

Yipee!

I know it doesn’t look like much, but just take a look at this pic.

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Yesterday I received the air filters I need plus the throttle and choke cables that were originally connected to my engine, from Mark at Galaxy. So now, when the bits shown in this pic, which arrived today, are added to all the other stuff I have in my garage, I’ve finally got everything I need (ahem…. except for a prop 😕 ) to get MYRO back in the air! To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement – I’m absolutely over the moon 🙂

I was thinking about actually fitting the engine mounts this evening but I decided not to. Best to do things properly a step at a time starting this week-end. Doing things half-baked is when you make mistakes and I don’t want to do that.

The W002 Repair Form that I sent off to the BMAA about fitting new screen and door plastics plopped back on my doormat a day or so ago. Seems I stupidly failed to notice that I have to get the form signed by the Inspector who will check MYRO out in due course, so as we’ve already spoken a few times in the past (about Our Trike), I gave him a call and popped the form in the post to him. That will be the last ‘major’ airframe purchase I have to make, I think, and I’ve already been told by someone who recently did the job that it comes in at only £70-80. Well worth it I think in terms of achieving a considerable appearance upgrade.

So that’s it! Yipee – I’ve got more or less the whole of this week-end to myself and I can’t wait to get going 😀

June 22, 2009

Getting the show on the road ….. at last

Several days ago I phoned Bill Sherlock to ask about replacing the clear polycarbonate in MYRO’s screen and door panels and he kindly advised me of the required thicknesses – 1.5mm for the screen and 1.0mm for the door panels. I had got hold of that information from elsewhere and really just wanted authoritative confirmation that it was correct. However, I was very glad that I’d phoned him for another reason. Ordinarily I would then have blasted merrily away, got hold of the plastic and done the job. He wisely cautioned against doing that in view of a recent incident when a door that had been recently repaired in such a way fell off an AX3 while in flight, narrowly missing a person on the ground.

He suggested that I downloaded and submitted a BMAA W002 repair form to the BMAA Technical Office covering the work to be done. So that’s what I did a few days ago, and now I’m waiting for a response. I don’t see how the repair can be prevented or whatever, but it does officially flag it up to the BMAA Inspector who will eventually inspect MYRO for its PTF (Permit to Fly) and will then be able to pay special attention to the completed work to ensure that it fully meets all the requirements for safe flight. I would be happy with that 😉

And I’ve also made some more progress today. Yesterday, as the weather was so good, I decided to pop down to the strip, not to fly but to take the reference pics of MZEL that I will need to help me put MYRO back together. I was surprised when I arrived at the strip in the mid-afternoon to find that it was almost deserted. There was just one owner who had not long returned from a flight and was cleaning the front of his aircraft, and that’s all! What a shame as at the time, it was glorious for flying. Trouble was, the weather forecast had said that it would be dull, clouding over and with a chance of occasional light showers 🙁

Frankly, it could not have been more wrong. Isn’t it incredible that even with all of the technolgy that’s available, apparently it’s still impossible to make a reliable area forecast for just a mere few hours ahead. The mind boggles 😕

Anyway, I got the pics I needed using flash in the hangar without having to pull MZEL out into the open. Then today, armed with them and the AX3 Parts Manual, I was able to make an initial list of the components I need to make a start on getting MYRO back together, in particular getting the engine mounted on the fuselage. Then I phoned P & M Aviation and emailed it over. Hopefully they’ll have everything I need in stock and with a bit of luck I’ll hear from them tomorrow to give them my card number so the items can be despatched. After that I got onto the ConAir web site and ordered the twin EGT gauge that I need. Rosie said that the twin CHT gauge that’s still in MYRO should work OK as she thinks that previous problems were down to the sensors that I have replaced, of course, with the ones on the wiring loom I got from Mark at Galaxy. I also ordered some high temperature red silicone for the exhaust manifold joint, so pretty soon I should have everything to hand to make a proper start on the work.

The first steps in most projects are small ones as in this case, but hopefully pretty soon I’ll have things moving along a bit more briskly. The show is at last getting on the road 🙂

June 17, 2009

My Trike

When Our Trike, which is still in the workshop at Ken’s, is eventually sold and I’m just working on getting MYRO sorted, I wonder if I ought to change the title of my blog to ‘My Trike, I’ll have some fun getting it flying’. Just a thought…. 😕

June 14, 2009

Started on MYRO….. just!

The weather the last two days has been glorious and I’m pleased to say that I managed to make the most of it. Yesterday I thought I’d nip out to Ken’s at last, to fit the new Master Switch on Our Trike. I made the connections up but when I went to fit the switch in the panel I realised that the hole was far too big. I then realised that the washers that were needed were still on the old switch, which I’d left at home in my conservatory. So I’d made a wasted trip! I’d been hoping to fit the switch, then get Our Trike out of the workshop and take some pics for Ebay. I suppose I could have taken the pics but I decided to switch to Plan B instead 😉

I had some household chores to do first but I thought that rather than leave it to the next morning, this would be a good time to return the trailer, leaving the whole of Sunday free. So that’s what I did. I’d agreed with Rosie to leave it at the strip so if she needed it, it would be handy for her. It also means that if by some miracle I do get MYRO ready to go within weeks rather than months, it will still also be handy for me.

The next time I was at the strip, I’d hoped to be able to take some close-up pics of MZEL’s engine mountings to help me when I come to fit MYRO’s engine. Unfortunately, by the time I’d arrived it was too late, so I parked the trailer and drove off. I’d got about half a mile before I remembered that I’d wanted to pick up MYRO’s wing struts that Rosie said she had left near the wings, so I turned round and went back for them. I carefully tied them onto the roof-rack as I didn’t want them to vibrate and rub together on the journey home. Luckily everything went as planned and I got home while there was still just enough light to get them off and safely laid on my back lawn.

I was up bright and early this morning but first of all before I could start on MYRO, Toddie made sure that I first took him for a long walk over the local field. Then I could do what I wanted to do. For reasons I won’t bother going into, Rosie had removed MYRO’s fuel tank, so I decided that the first thing I’d do was re-fit it. This seemed a good idea as it fits behind the right-hand seat and all of the work I intend doing is forward of that. With the tank in place, everything behind the seats can be left more or less undisturbed.

I’d never bothered looking closely before, but the tank holds 25 litres and is held in place by a webbing harness that is attached to the right-hand seat frame and cover. Fitting the tank looks deceptively simple – just drop the bottom of the tank into the harness, pull the top straps over so the tank is upright and tighten the harness.

Well, yes, in theory. I ended up taking all the pipes off that were attached to the tank, including the main fuel supply that enters the tank through a hole in the top and has a filter attached to it that lies in the tank bottom. The whole arrangement had to be removed 😯

I ended up struggling for a good two hours but finally the tank was in place where it should be. Here are a couple of pics that I took at the end of the job.

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It was tricky because of the lack of space to work in and, I have to say, pretty tiring too, but I was very pleased how neat it looked at the end 🙂

Rosie had also switched MYRO’s stick with MZEL’s because it had a PTT (push-to-talk) switch in for her radio. I was happy about that because it means that I can eventually fit what suits me without having to worry about fixing a hole that was left by what was there before, but it meant that I had to re-fit the stick that Rosie had left lying on the cabin floor.

The diagram in the AX3 manual looks scary, but when you look at the fixing itself, there’s actually nothing to it. That’s the reason why, incidentally, I want to take some detail shots of MZEL’s engine mountings. Ten minutes or less and the job was done, as you can see.

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So I’ve made a start on MYRO – just! Every little helps, as they say, and tinkering with little jobs like the ones I’ve done helps the general learning process. I don’t think it’s a good idea to just blast ahead – you need to learn about the aircraft and how it must be treated. After all, when you’re zipping along at 50 or 60 mph at 2000 feet, there’s quite a lot at stake 😉

June 7, 2009

Tucked up nice and cosy

I was tempted to call this post The Longest Day in keeping with the D-Day commemorations because it has certainly felt like it today. I have to confess that having heard thunder rolling in the distance at around 5.30am I decided I might as well have a lie in and eventually got out of bed at 9.00am. But from then on I was working all day, humping stuff around, to get MYRO into my garage. My son and a young neighbour helped me get MYRO off the trailer and here’s a pic of it on the ground and uncovered for the first time since last August.

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I started by moving all the stuff in the garage that I’ve had to keep and that was in the way onto my patio. Then I had to give the floor a good old sweep and find places to stow the loose bits, like the tail fin and the fuel tank. Parts like the tail fin and later, the horizontal stabiliser that I also had to remove to get MYRO in, have to be treated very carefully indeed because if the fabric covering is damaged in any way it would be a very expensive to rectify the problem, possibly requiring the purchase of a new replacement cover. I decided to look for ways of suspending the fin and stabiliser from the wall and this I managed to do very successfully using bungie straps and rubber padding to keep them away from the wall.

To keep the story short, after getting MYRO in I then had to move all the stuff I’d taken out, back again. I’d done a mental calculation that there would be enough room behind MYRO to accommodate it and I’m glad to say I was right. I can still get to everything I need to and I can pull MYRO out to work on with no difficulty. Here’s a pic of MYRO tucked up snuggly inside my garage.

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Today was a long day and a very tiring one. There was only one slightly dodgy period when it looked as though it might rain and although a few drops fell, it passed over very quickly. So that was a relief for which I was grateful. Getting MYRO safely under cover has made the efforts involved in clearing my garage over the last four weeks or so wholly worthwhile and as everyone knows, decluttering your life is good for your soul anyway. 🙂

Now I can have a short breather before deciding how I’m going to tackle the main job in hand – getting MYRO back into the air. 😉

June 6, 2009

The Eagle Has Landed

And when I picked up MYRO yesterday evening I said to Rosie that I hadn’t been that excited since Christmas 1953 🙂

I had to borrow my elder step-son’s car to bring MYRO home because mine doesn’t have a tow bar and his does. And the logistics suited making the trip down to the Kent coast where Rosie lives yesterday, so that’s what I had to do. My son’s sat-nav worked a treat taking me straight to the road where Rosie lives. It was a chilly dull evening and by the time I reached Rosie’s it was drizzling. Had a quick cuppa, sorted out the registration transfer and hitched the trailer up.

The drive back was 60 odd miles at no more than 45 mph in drizzly light rain the whole way so it wasn’t that enjoyable. I stopped a couple of times to check that everything was OK up the back and I’m glad to say that the journey was totally problem free. By the time I got home it was dark and with a bit of help I parked the trailer with MYRO still on it next to my house where it would be safe.

I knew I would be up pretty early this morning but I had to be anyway as where I’d left MYRO it was a blocking a couple of my neighbours’ garages. The weather this morning was pretty much a continuation of last night’s – breezy, rather cold and with drizzly rain. So much for our glorious mid-Summer. I took a couple of pictures of where MYRO spent its first night before moving the trailer round to the front of my garage. This will only be temporary though, until I can get MYRO off the trailer and into my garage.

Here are the first few pics of MYRO in its new home.

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I am so pleased that things are moving along at last and I can’t wait to get cracking with the job of getting MYRO ready to fly. The cabin shot is similar to the one I posted a long time ago, here, and although things look a lot more disorganised and untidy now, everything is more or less all still there. In fact there will be some big improvements because, of course, I have a new panel to replace the existing one that has a big hole in it.

But more of my plans for MYRO later. At the moment I’m just glad that this little eagle has found its way home to the nest at last, after all this time. 😀