Monday, August 24, 2009

Rejuvenation - Geometry

We had been very careful to leave the float attachment gear on the plane and not to touch the flying wires that keep everything in line, but as the time came to paint the floats and all of this gear, we decided to remove it and thus do a better job painting these parts. So we built a rig to raise the plane from the lifting rigs on top. These rings are good for lifting straight up, but it is not good to put a side load on them, so we used a 6x6 piece of lumber and ran eye bolts through them. We then attached chain via shackles to the eye bolts and we lifted the plane using a chain hoist that we purchases for about $90 from Harbour Frieght. The chain hoist worked really well since it is a gentle and controlable lift. The chain will scratch or remove paint if you are not careful with it. We raised the plane gently supporting the tail with another human. Once the plane was up it was pretty stable. We then unbolted the attachment gear. This is another on of those things that is really strong as long as everything is attached and tight, but it turnned into a pile of spaggetti when off the plane. It is important to keep track of which parts go where and to remove as few parts as possible. Once some of the tubes were off I was able to really clean out some "years old" dirt dauber nests from inside the tubes. More useful load for me.... We reversed the process once everything was painted. We installthed the attachment gear to the floats first while they were on the trailer. We rolled the trailer under the raised airplane and lined everything up as best we could and lowered the plane to the gear. It took several hours to get everything attached, but not tight. The tightening would wait until we got the geometry straight. It would not do to have the floats improperly aligned with the plane or each other. All these things are possible with the miriad of possible adjustments. We found points on each wing as a reference and tightened this and loosened that until everything came into alignment. This was not nearly as bad a process as I imagined. We did a great job, because the first landing was very comfortable.

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