Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Is it live, or is it MemOrbx?

I've been playing (and sometimes seriously using) flight sims since the days of Jet and TRS-80s. I knew that a company called Orbx had revised Flight Sim X's default scenery to be more accurate, and I was delighted to see that one of their additions was a very realistic Skagit Bayview Airport.

 I really don't have time for simming anymore, but it was worth a laugh to buy the Skagit Airport add-on and dream of the day I'll be flying OspRey there.


Yes, I am building again, working on the fabric to get it ready for painting, nothing really worth posting. I'm really enjoying the variety of people at Skagit, and the much greater GA activity than was at Bellingham. It's also fun to be back near my old friends at the Heritage Flight Museum, even if it means getting distracted by Greg or Alan having fun on a summer day.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The bluest skies you've ever seen...

On departure from SFO a couple weeks ago. I don't think I've seen the sky so clear in a long time.

Take me home, country roads

A little Boeing humor at the Miami Sim building. 

The biggest problem with women in aviation is that there aren't enough of them. 100+ years of flight and they're still a very small minority

Long story that has nothing to do with SeaRey building, but last year an opportunity presented itself and G & I decided to move again, making my Bellingham hangar almost an hour away. Some old friends tipped me off about a hangar for sale at an airport near our new house, and, as much as I loved my Bellingham nest, I decided it was time for the SeaRey to migrate, too.

The new hangar was cheaper than I was selling Strato 21 for, which was good because it needed some work. Biggest problem was that the slab for the row of hangars was not properly sealed, resulting in lime leaching upwards because of moisture. Had to pressure wash that off first, then seal the concrete. I'm told by other owners that even with the sealing it's going to be a battle against the salt.

However, there are a couple great things about the hangar. While I loved the rustic interior of Strato 21, I was always worried about the wood building catching fire and wiping out my plane. The new hangars are metal, fully insulated, have an electric overhead door, and have natural gas available. I had a heater installed right away.

To battle the moisture/lime problem a 6mil plastic vapor barrier was put down, then the hangar got the plywood floor treatment again.

For various reasons I went with 23/32 underlayment this time, I can sure tell the difference. Strato 21's 1 1/8" floor was like walking on butter. This is still nice, but not as cushiony.

Another difference. At Strato 21 I used Spar Varnish, this time I used standard floor polyurethane, but the process was the same. Dump, mop, repeat. 

There were a couple areas where the varnish pooled and, despite my best efforts, made small puddles. Oh well...

In the meantime, packing Strato 21 was underway. Funny, but the feeling was not sad, there was a contentment that this was time, and natural. The sales process was frustrating, I had encounters with.... let's say a wide variety of personalities who came to look and make offers.

It was much easier to leave the big workbench and built-in shelves at Bellingham and build new ones.

Moving weekend. How long can you hold your breath?

Farewell, Bellingham. 

One big thing I'm going to miss is the overhead winch. 

During the move I wrapped the fin with a sheet to protect it from UVs. I didn't tape it down enough and the tape ripped in the last miles, setting up a flutter at the top of the fin. There was no obvious damage and after talking it over with Jim we've decided that it's ok.

Strato 21 was sold to a good guy who will appreciate it. A bit weird to see it empty, but there was no regret as I turned in our gate passes.

It's June, perfect weather, and that meant it was time for a hangar warming. Mike flew his SeaRey up, we got the BBQ out, kicked back, and met the neighbors. The new airport is much more fun, and almost within walking distance. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Another builder's blog

Speaking of building, here's another SeaRey builder's blog, I'm learning from his posts.

Just for fun

We were enroute to Hanghzhou when a privately owned Gulfstream pulled up next to us, they were kind enough to give us a shout and offer to send us this pic of us in flight before they passed us like we were standing still. We were in perfectly smooth air, but it's still a bit disturbing to see how much the wing flexes. Fellow SeaRey building and Boeing engineer Jeff tells me it's designed to do that, so if it's fine with him... I just hope I never see OspRey's wing flex like that.

This is what my car looked like when I returned from the trip after I had shoveled out half of it. Strato 21 does not have heat, hard to build in the dead of winter.

Seen on my commute to SeaTac last week. 

Spring is coming

I'm not going to get into what's kept me from OspRey the last few years. If Life is truly just a big game, then sometimes it throws you curve balls, bean balls, and fast balls at various times, and sometimes all at once. But we're still here, rolling with the punches when needed, and fighting when necessary.

KITPLANES magazine was running a series of articles about epoxy hangar floors, as a joke I sent in a picture of my wooden floor and was asked to write an article about it. If you missed it, it was in the December 2016 issue.

And here's the hangar as of last week. Don't worry, OspRey has not been sold, we're just getting ready for a migration. 

Speaking of migration, the snow geese are here from Russia.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Boxing Day, Mk II

One thing about the Friese ailerons is that the leading edge shape is critical for proper flying characteristics. Kerry fine tunes every SeyRey by hand after flying it, but for those of us far away from the factory this is not an option.

Fortunately, mi amigo Jim Ratte has taken the guesswork out of it by building a jig to mount them. It's a PITA to box and ship the ailerons corner-corner from Bellingham-Malabar, but Jim's work is worth having the airplane done right. (If you haven't built your ailerons yet, it might be cheaper to send Jim the parts and have him build and cover them all at once.)

Here's how I built my shipping box, all for under $50. First a sheet of 4x8 ply gets cut to 74" long, then 2x15" and 2x 9" wide. Reinforce the edges with 2x2, and attach the sides with 1" screws.

Reinforce the ends. The endcap is made from the scrap leftover when you trimmed the sheet to 74".

Another 2x2 along the bottom.I didn't photograph it, but this is also a good time to attach the 4x4s to the bottom, allowing a pallet loader or forklift the carry the crate.

A length of scrap 2x1 reinforces the sides. Remember delivery day when we found out (too late) that a forklift had punched into the end of the shipping crate, damaging the hull? I do.

Don't forget the top.

Fit check good.

Ikea to the rescue again! A simple way to pack the ailerons.

Fill in the gaps with block foam...

and a sheet of bubble wrap just because.

Off to Jim.

By the by, if you need something shipped Irene O'Donnell at is an excellent person to talk to. 816.949.6688