June 26, 2011

Good day’s work

Yup, I managed to get everything done that I wanted to. As it was so warm, I thought it’d be a good idea to press on with the pod repairs. First I nipped down to the local shops to see if I could buy a metal sanding disk to fit into the electric drill. I couldn’t without going a lot farther afield so I settled for a rubber disc version and a pack of assorted round abrasive papers. In fact, although I went through papers at a fair old rate, it did the job and it wasn’t long before I was able to start on a few of the little repairs with some of the fibreglass mat and epoxy resin that had been left over from when I did MYRO’s pod last time. There are still one or two to do but I’ll come back to those later.

Then I sorted out the forks. They needed a good rub down to get rid of most of the brush marks from yesterday and after I’d cleaned them, it was so warm that I was able to give them a coat of white primer followed soon after by the gloss. Not a good thing to do, but they’ll have plenty of time to harden off before I need to fit them and it doesn’t matter if a little bit of the gloss is lost by spraying it a bit too soon onto the primer coat.

The final job this afternoon was the cabin floor tubes. I rubbed those down too and was able to spot white prime them in before hanging them up in the garage to harden off. The reason is that I want to give them a rub down before spraying the gloss coat so I want the primer to have a chance to harden.

So that was it. A good day’s work well done and I can begin to see the job coming together now. With a bit of luck, in a couple of week-ends time, I should be able to start stripping the damaged items off MYRO. I don’t know what I’ll find, of course, until I get into it but if the weather plays ball, who knows, I might have MYRO back together by end July/early August. Now that would be nice – in time to get some Summer flying in 😉

June 26, 2011

Best flying day of the year so far

And I’m going to miss it, of course. Here’s the weather for the rest of the day for Sheerness, which is just over the Medway estuary from Stoke.

Sheerness Weather

It’s already a scorcher today, with very light winds. So a good day for flying but maybe not so good for working out in the open, which is what I’ll be doing! I seem to remember that this is a bit like what happened last year when I was finishing MYRO off ready for inspection and permitting at Linton. Beautiful, scorching Summer days (I got a bit of sunstroke I recall) which turned to grey skies, low cloud and wind through almost the whole of August. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen this time around 🙁

The forecasters say that we’ve only got a day or so of this before it turns back to what it was like before so best make the most of it. Must get cracking!

June 25, 2011

Made a good start

After my earlier post today, before I started on the forks I thought I’d just see how much work the pod will need to get it prepped for spraying. The answer, I’m very pleased to say, is not too much. I had a go at the more messy (only my opinion – they actually aren’t that bad) internal repairs with the rotary wire brush and ground a few chunks away. The wire brush will work but I think tomorrow I might see about getting hold of a solid grinding disc which, with care, should remove the excess fibre glass a bit more quickly.

Then I turned my attention to the outside of the pod. I started with a medium sheet on the electric sander but soon found that the coarsest one I’ve got does a quicker job and still leaves a very nice smooth finish. So that was very encouraging.

I then put the pod to one side and removed the nose wheel from the forks and stripped them for cleaning and painting. Unfortunately, I found that due to poor maintenance, one of the bearings in the nose wheel had seized (for ‘poor’ read ‘no’) and the hub had therefore been spinning on the bearing. I’ll have to see when the time comes whether this means that actually the wheel, which is made of nylon, will be unusable because the bearing is not now being retained in the hub due to wear of the nylon. It may be that when I replace the bearing with one of MYRO’s that I will be able to retain it enough by using silicone sealer, for example, but if not it looks as though I will have to get hold of another wheel. Mark at Galaxy had at least one, but the one he showed me had too small a spindle hole to fit on the AX3.

The rest of the afternoon went well and I made excellent progress. The forks cleaned up a treat and I gave them a good coat of anti-rust grey primer. In fact, because it turned really hot, the paint was going off so rapidly that it was staying a bit too thick with a lot of deep brush marks. Still, they will come out well enough when I give them a bit of a rub down before I give the forks a coat of white as I did with MYRO’s. I also had time to clean up the two cabin floor tubes and spot prime where they have been a bit worn and scratched, before giving them a dash of white too to freshen them up.

So all in all, a good day with positive results and some of the more nasty little jobs out of the way 🙂

June 25, 2011

Been here before

So familiar territory. I needed to strip all the paint from the inside of the new pod before I could do the small repairs that are needed and having done it previously with MYRO’s pod, I knew it would be messy and not very nice. So best just to get stuck in and do it 😯

I used the same solvent-based paint stripper as before, let it sit for a while and then just attacked it with a largish diameter circular wire brush in the electric drill. Previously I did it manually but this time it was much quicker and it turned out pretty good! Take a look at the pics below.

null

null

I got covered with a light spray of thick, damp grey paint stripper (grey from the paint it contained) but it was worth it I think. The inside is easily clean enough now to take the epoxy I will use for the repairs, as I did previously with MYRO, without any fear of it not sticking. The small repairs done previously by someone else are also now exposed. They aren’t as pretty as the ones I did on MYRO’s pod but now I can see them, I can clean them up a bit and improve them. In the end, once I’ve finished and the pod has been repainted inside (and out!) you’ll never know that they are there 😉

I’ve just finished a quick lunch, so I think I’ll leave the pod for now and crack on and make a start on the forks. Been there before too 🙂

June 18, 2011

In the eye of the beholder

The following pics aren’t much to write home about – just pictures of a bunch of old microlight bits really. But to me they are very special because they show all the parts I need to repair the front end of MYRO – the pod, the cabin floor tubes, the down-strut, the forks and the nose wheel.

null

null

This morning I nipped out and bought a heat gun – quite an inexpensive one because I’ve never used one before and I didn’t know what I’d be doing with it once I’d done the job I bought it for, which was to remove the Cyclone AX3 transfers from the pod I got hold of. Well, as you can see from the pics, it worked a treat and it only took about 45 minutes to get all the lettering and stuff off the pod. Here’s a shot of the AX3 that the pod and the other stuff shown in the above pics came from.

null

Yes, it’s MYFI, the old Medway Airsports AX3. What a coincidence that I was supposed to be moving MYRO to Stoke before the accident happened, and will do when I’ve finished the repairs, and how fitting that although MYFI is no more, some parts of it will be moving back to its old home, in MYRO. Because MYFI’s pod was blue, I’ll have to have it repainted of course. When I originally repaired MYRO’s pod, I tried to avoid painting it to save weight, but this time I’ll have no choice. The up-side is that the pod will end up looking much better than last time, because instead of just having bare gel coat, this time it’ll be finished in glorious glossy red! It also means that I’ll be able to apply my pod graphic straight away, and this is how I expect MYRO to look with it on.

null

Ironically, MYRO could end up looking better after the repairs than when I did the job the first time. I hope that is the case, because at least then all of the work will have been worth it. I’ve shown MYRO without any prop at all. In fact, the one I’m looking to acquire is actually the same type as is shown fitted to MYFI in the pic above.

To finish off, here’s a final shot of that collection of old microlight bits on my back lawn – sorry about the state of the grass, by the way.

null

And that reminds me – must get the mower out and beat the dandelions into submission again before they take everything over 😉

June 16, 2011

Parts – almost there!

I’m truly indebted to the incredibly kind person who’s helping me out with parts for MYRO. This week just about all the remaining parts that I need to repair MYRO were delivered by courier and after laying them out on the ground I’m now raring to get started. Just one small tube missing (wrong one sent in error) but although I may be mistaken, I think that MYRO’s one may not have been damaged after all. I’ll have to see when I begin to strip off the damaged items.

At present I can’t do any work during the day because I have a back-log of work for my business which must take priority so I’m hoping to be able to make a start this coming week-end. The first thing will be to get cracking on the pod – do the small repairs that are needed, strip off the Cyclone AX3 transfers and get it prepped for respraying – then clean and repaint the replacement forks and tubes so they’re ready to go on when I have the pod back. That way the panel and all its instruments and wiring will not be exposed to the open air for any longer than absolutely necessary as unlike the last time, MYRO’s out in the open and not under cover in my garage.

I know that once I can get started and get some momentum going, I’ll soon have MYRO back in the air where it belongs 😉

June 13, 2011

Some day!

Yesterday the weather forecast was for heavy rain to move in from the south-west eventually covering the whole country. And the forecast was dead right.

So I decided to make the best of a bad day, drop the parts off that I picked up last week-end from Sandy and take my engine to Galaxy Microlights in Wiltshire for Mark to shock-load check it. Well, the weather was atrocious for driving – rain the whole way down, while I was there and the whole way back. But I achieved what I wanted to do and brought back with me the aileron and trailing edge tube that I need for MYRO. So slowly but surely the parts are coming together for the repair.

I’ve had a nice surprise today as well. I placed an ad in the ‘Wanted’ section of the AFORS web site for a prop being as MYRO’s lovely Arplast that I was so lucky to have got in the beginning, was totally smashed in the accident. I received a call today from someone who has a low hours 3-blade IvoProp for sale that’s currently fitted on a Sluka single seater. My initial search shows that both aircraft, the Sluka with a 447 Rotax and the AX3 with a 503, both use the same 62″ diameter prop, so I’ve already left a message on the caller’s phone saying that it looks as though I’ll definitely have it. That’s something to look forward to – both the IvoProp and the Arplast are modern, high performance propellers that are much quieter than the original GSC 2-blade wooden unit so the Ivo will be a good replacement for the Arplast. With the constant demand for props, I didn’t think that I’d be lucky enough to get hold of another one as good as the Arplast, but it looks as though I might after all. So a bit more good news eh 🙂

June 8, 2011

Another little bit of good news

I was talking to Rob in the BMAA Tech Office about MYRO’s repair when an interesting point came up. Because no ‘fabrication’ such as welding is involved and as the repair only comprises bolting on parts to replace the ones that have been damaged, in fact an Approved Repair Scheme isn’t necessary at all, and neither do I have to have a letter of no objection from P & M, stuff like that. I can just go ahead and do the repairs as all the parts I’ll be using will be automatically ‘approved’ as they will have come from another AX3. All I need to do is keep a record of the provenance of each part ie a note of the registration of the aircraft it came from, preferably provided by the previous registered owner, and have each part inspected before I actually use it. This is great news because it means I’ll be able to get cracking on the work much sooner than I originally expected, so the sooner I can get my engine down for shock load checking and pick up the other bits I need, the better.

Slowly but surely the light at the end of tunnel is getting bigger and brighter. I just hope that it isn’t the proverbial train hurtling down the line towards me 😆

June 6, 2011

Slowly coming together

Everything went according to plan yesterday – with one excellent addition. When I picked up the pod, I was talking with Richard who I got it from and it turned out that he also had a brand new AX3 nose strut that he had bought for his aircraft that the pod came from, but hadn’t used. That was great news because I was going to have to buy a new one myself for MYRO, so we did a deal and I came away with that as well! Richard also still has the main gear and the pedal assembly and the latter is handy to know because I don’t know yet whether MYRO’s has been distorted.

Then I went straight up to Sandy in Bedfordshire to get the other bits. Apart from taking the ‘short-cut’ slip off the A1 before the Sandy roundabout, which brings you out in the wrong place, so I couldn’t find Bedford Microlights initially, everything went pretty smoothly. The parts were on the wing rack just inside the hangar door where I’d been told they would be, so it was just a matter of getting them loaded up onto the roof of my Astra Estate. Many thanks to young Lewis who gave me a hand to do so. I was especially grateful because in the process, after the long spell of dry weather we’ve been having, while we were loading the stuff up it began to rain and we both got soaked.

The stuff I picked up comprised two wing leading edge tubes, two trailing edge tubes complete with ailerons attached and a set of wing struts. I need just a trailing edge tube and aileron from them so I’m really pleased about that and the other items I’ll be taking down and dropping off shortly to go ‘into stock’ where I’m hoping to obtain the other bits I need from.

So things are now beginning to come slowly together. I now need to start thinking about a Repair Scheme which I will have to put up for approval to the BMAA Tech Office and get a ‘letter of no objection’ for from P & M. I can’t see how there will be any problem with that because I will be using all approved parts from a similar aircraft which will be individually inspected before being fitted, so it will just be a matter of conforming to procedures I think. I don’t mind that because in the final event, I’ll be up there at a several thousand feet in MYRO once it’s been repaired, so I want to know that I can trust it just as much as I did before the accident. I’m sure that will happen.

So now it’s Game On!

June 4, 2011

More good news

And don’t I need it, just. I recently had a small knee op and wasn’t able to do much that involved lifting or excessive movement last week-end, so I couldn’t wait to get back down to MYRO today. The job was to get MYRO’s engine off, ready to take for shock-load checking, with the advantage that I’d then be able to see whether the fuselage main tube had been damaged in the accident.

The engine came off very easily after I’d tagged all the wires ready for when I reconnect them and the fantastic news is that the main tube looks perfectly OK. This means that it’s ‘game on’ and MYRO can be repaired. I made a phone call late this afternoon and tomorrow I plan to pick up some of the tubes I will need together with a pod. This really is great as I’m now beginning to see some movement out of the terrible disaster that befell me last month. If all goes well, I’ll be nipping across to Mitcham, near Croydon, tomorrow morning and then up to Bedford Microlights at Sandy in the afternoon where some long tubes that I have to pick up have been stored for the last few months.

So it’s fingers crossed and hoping that from now on it’ll be plain sailing and that I don’t find any nasties along the way once I get stuck into the repair work. Who knows, it might even be possible to get it all done in a few weeks, before all the Summer weather has gone. Mind you, if today’s high winds are anything to go by, we shouldn’t hold our breath for too long waiting for it to just to start 😕