Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rejuvenation - Assembly

The paint is finally done and the floats are attached. The plane is starting to look like a plane again. Every piece that we add back on takes us one step closer to flying again. While the deconstruction was interesting and it was nice to be "Out with the old" putting stuff back together is way more inspiring. We had been pretty careful during the deconstruction to make sure that every piece is accounted for. Unless this is done religiously, the construction phase will be trouble. Many of these parts are hard to find and expensive. Some nuts are in the hundreds of dollars. We did a great job of being careful and we found pretty much everything that we needed to put the plane back into flying condition. One of the most difficult operations was putting the wings back on. This required 4 people. Two of us held the wing while the mechanic attached the bolts. There are only a few bolts but the tolerances are very tight where they go. There are only 4 bolts that hold a wing on. Two hold the strut and two hold the wing root to the plane. The first three bolts seem to go pretty easily. The last one always seems to be tough. It took a couple of hours to attach both wings. The prop and the spinner and all the control surfaces went on pretty easilly as well. After about 2 days we had a complete plane. All painted and ready to go, except for the leak test on the floats. We went ahead and fueled the plane and ran it. The plane is very "tippy" on the trailer. If you get too far back on the floats it will fall back onto the back part of the floats. We strapped the plane down to keep it stable. It felt very nice to spend some time in the completed cockpit and to actually hear the engine run. It started easily and ran perfectly. We kept it running for about 15 minutes. I was very happy for about 20 minutes. We then decided to do a leak test on the floats, by putting water in them with the hose. There were very many leaks. My hopes of flying were dashed for several days while thinks dried out and more sealant was applied.

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