Sunday, January 19, 2020

Moved Lewis Gun Forward 3 inches


 While I've been waiting for better weather I fixed a problem I've had getting in and out of the cockpit.  I had remade the mount for the Lewis Gun to remove the clutter from the upper surface of the center section.  I thought it completely wiped out any lift in the center section, with all the tubes. 
Unfortunately I moved the gun back about 1 1/2" making it harder in my old age to get in and out of the cockpit.  I kept hitting my head on the gun. 
I remade the mounts to move the gun forward 3" and to shorten the rear handle about 1 1/2".  It's now very easy to get in and out.  You don't even notice the gun is there.


 I made longer rear mounting brackets to move the gun forward and still use the brackets in the center section.

 I moved the forward mount back along the barrel.  It made the clamp around the barrel a little more complicated but it works.  I had to re-bend the tall brackets slightly to make everything fit. 
I like the look better with more of the barrel sticking out past the mounting.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Hangar for Fly Baby


 I've move Fly Baby to the tee hangar next to where I started at Gordonsville airport 30 years ago.  I'm now in hangar 8.  Bill is at the end of the row with his Fly Baby.
Now I need to get flying.  I had my hip replaced in September so now I can operate the brakes.  My BFR, Medical, and insurance are up to date. Hopefully I'll be back flying the C172 this week. 

I still need to weigh the plane update the log books.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Antique Fly-in, Stearman Fly-in and a visit to Mom & Dad

We didn't make it to Oshkosh.  Life Happens.

 Instead we took the plane with us to the Antique Fly-In at Blakesburg, Iowa.  The weather was great and we were able to park the plane next to our sales tent (RagBag.com).  Lots of people stopped and we had fun talking with them.  We were right up front between the Museum and Fly-in headquarters.  Maybe we inspired someone to build a Fly Baby.

 One of the people who stopped was Kurt Gubert from Ashley, Michigan.  In 1977 Kurt phoned my dad and asked if he could stop by to see the plane because he was thinking of building a Biplane Fly Baby.  He was so impressed he bough a set of plans and started building.  It took him 34 years to finish N6443, lots of other projects.  He liked the WWI paint job Dad had done when he built the biplane wings so his is painted like a Sopwith Pup.  He also made the gear with bungee cord axles and WWI style wheels.  How cool to have both planes on the field at the Fly-in.  Kurt lives about 30 miles west of my parents.

Here is the process for loading the plane on the trailer.

With the stands braced upright the wings are loaded on the racks and strapped on.  The straps are crossed to provide fore and aft stiffness.  The lower wings are on the inside and the uppers on the outside, with the tips toward the front of the trailer.

Once the wings are loaded the stands are laid down.


The fuselage is then aligned with the ramps so it will be centered on the trailer.

With the plane lined up correctly the tail wheel just follows the wooden track to the front of the trailer.

These pictures don't show it, but it's easier to tie down the main landing gear and tail wheel before the wings are stood up.

The wings racks get stood up with the wind brace latched.  The top braces are bolted on and the lower ratchet straps added.

The last thing is to strap the ramps to the deck of the trailer.


After the Antique Fly-in we always stop for the week at Galesburg, Illinois and the Stearman Fly-In.  This year was their 48 th Fly-In.

We parked the plane on the trailer next to our tent right at show center.

We didn't put the wings on but instead just hung the story banners on the wing for people to read.  Again lots of people stopped and talked, good fun.

After the Stearman fly-in we always stop at my parents home near Flushing, Michigan.  The plane hadn't been back there since we hauled it to Virginia in 1989.





Mom and Dad were delighted to see the plane that had been so much a part of family.

The whole family was there.  Everyone had spent some time helping build it when we were kids.

Brother David and Sister Diane look on as Mom and Dad inspect the new look.

 You can see how everything is tied down , and sister Debbie with here husband Don.

The tail surfaces are clamped to keep from moving.  The tail wheel is tied down so it can move fore and aft as the plane bounces but can't come up out of the track.  David, Dennis and Debbie getting ready to unfold the wings.



We didn't put the wings on but brothers David and Donald helped move the wings down so everyone could see the plane.


Dennis, Dad, Diane, David and Donald Checking out the plane and remembering the Good Old Days.  Everyone in the family spent time building Fly Baby.

We're back in Virginia.  I'm healing from hip surgery and look forward to flying Fly Baby very soon.  More good old days yet to be enjoyed.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Wing Racks For Trailer

Once the plane was assembled at the airport I finally sat in it.  I was shocked to find out I couldn't twist my right heel far enough to operate the brake on that side.  I was scheduled for a hip replacement on Sept. 19, which would solve the problem, but until I recovered from the surgery the plane was not flying.  I had been asked to bring the plane to the 50th Oshkosh Fly-in, because it had been there for the first one in 1970.  The only way it was going anywhere was on the trailer.  This meant we needed to add racks for the wings.

 I made the actual racks from 2x4s and 3/4" plywood.  The plywood supports are spaced to be at a full rib, and glued and screwed to the 2x4.  The outer edge of the 2x4 is cut at an angle to fit the leading edge of the wing.  The opening where the leading edge sets is wide enough for some 3/4" thick padding.

The vertical poles are "U" shaped grip strut material from Lowes.  2x4s were clamped to the posts to hold everything square while I drilled the holes for the eye bolts and the bolts at the top of the plywood pieces.  The eye bolt goes through the outer plywood, 2x4,and inner plywood.

John Gaertner suggested weldable hinges, which I got from Tractor Supply.  I bolted one to the bottom of each post.  I selected hinges with a pin of about 1/4" diameter so I could replace the pin with a 1/4" Grade 5 bolt.  This allows the racks to be easily removed from the trailer.
 The racks fold out to the side to allow the fuselage to be loaded on the trailer.  To make this work well and to have all the weight on the hinge, not the bolts, the hinge is placed so the loops set on the trailer frame.  The posts are bolted to the hinges on the same side with the end of the posts touching the loops of the hinges.

I put a spacer on the grade 5 bolt rather than cut it shorter.  They only came in a few length increments.


 The racks were located on the posts as low as possible but high enough to clear the fenders when raising or lowering the racks.

The grip strut came in 10 foot lengths and I didn't cut them off until everything was done so I wouldn't make them too short.


 With the racks done some bracing was added to assure the racks don't move enough for the wings to rub on the fuselage.

At the bottom there are ratchet straps and at the top there are braces made from 1" EMT Conduit.

 The top braces do most of the work.  They're held on with self locking nuts on bolts in the holes of the grip strut.

The joints are color coded to assure it all goes together correctly.

 There is almost always a breeze outside so we needed some way to hold each rack in the vertical position until all the cross bracing was installed.  I used a scrap of the 1" EMT and an eye bolt in the trailer floor.  When you stand up a rack you have a helper position the bottom end of the tube over the eye bolt and install a 1/4" safety pin with a bale catch.  It holds it very well in a light breeze.  I wouldn't install the wings in a high wind anyway.

 To protect the wings in the racks we got some 3/4" thick Noodle Kickboards at the Dollar Tree.  They cushion well but don't compress flat like foam rubber.  They have a curve on each end.  We cut off the concave curve end.

 To attach them we used Outdoor Carpet Tape.  It seems to hold them on just fine.


Trailers done.  Let's go to a fly-in.