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

Friday, February 5, 2016

"Wanna make it better?"

One fine day last year when I was busy swearing at myself and wondering what to do about the compass problem, a museum volunteer named Syd stopped by. I didn't know much about Syd except by an excellent reputation, but discovered that he had been an avionics tech in the Navy, and while I was a teenage Navy brat riding my bike around NAS Alameda dreaming of being a pilot, Syd was somewhere nearby working on the A-3 Whale.

Syd looked over the panel and electrical systems, asking questions and carefully examining our work. I like this... I like this.... I see about the compass problem, that's bad, what are you going to do about it? Ok, good idea... There is absolutely nothing wrong with the job your friend did, he said, it looks real good, and paused. After a moment he looked over his glasses at me with a twinkle in his eye and smiled. Want to make it better?

I hate it when people say that. I love it when people say that.

"Which way is Ireland?"

Well..... here's one big reason I haven't worked on Osp for a while. I gotta redo my instrument panel.

When we flipped the switch and put power to the avionics, the magnetic/vertical card compass promptly swung almost 45 deg off heading, and when I read the PAR-100EX radio manual it stated that the compass should be at least 6" away from the radio. D'oh!!! Even using the compensating screws I was unable to get a good alignment, and the problem remained when I switched to the Garmin GTR-200.

I discussed solutions with a couple local avionics techs, but either the solutions didn't work or I wasn't satisfied with them, too kludgy. There were a couple things that were annoying me about the way I had designed the panel anyway, so I've made the decision to take several steps backs and redo it. It'll delay flying again, but what I have in mind will pay off later, details to come later as I implement them.

First, I made some braces to hold the panel in place...

then I removed the nose deck. This gave me easier access, plus a better overall view of where stuff fit. 

I also pulled the Skyview and the radio so I could see what was going on behind the panel while I was in the cockpit.

The ACI e-flap controller is a nice piece of engineering, but I'm not crazy about the faceplate. Won't take long to make a different one that fits in better with the aesthetics of the panel.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Rub-a-dub-dub, and a WTF?

As the summer went on I picked a warm morning and gave the wings a bath, washing off a couple years of hangar dust and getting them back inside the hangar before the PolyBrush got UV'd.

After they dried I noticed a sticky yellow substance oozing from the right wingtip fairing. By the consistency it's been happening for a while, consensus is that it's resin from the expanding foam used to fill the hollow edge of the tip, and if the wing been stored horizontal the resin would have just accumulated at the edge. But what's puzzling is that there is no foam high enough to be dripping through the opening. I'll be keeping an eye on it. Left wingtip is fine.

Friese ailerons

Nothing fancy here, just a record of assembling the new ailerons. They're essentially the same parts, but the ribs are shorter, the secret is with the hinges and fairings.

After I shrank the covering I discovered that I had not lined up one of the ribs as well as I thought. A call to my favorite Tech Support told me to put a piece of 2x4 along the leading edge and gently tap it with a hammer. Worked fine.




Glad to have them done, but truth be told, I'm a bit sorry. There are some aspects of the build I'd like to do more of, like covering. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Around the World in (many) Days

People often ask "How far can you go in that thing?". Back in October Mike and I had the opportunity to meet a gent who gave the ultimate answer to that question.

Michael Smith started in Melbourne, Australia in March with the intent of reflying the Qantas Empire Flying Boat route of 1938 from Sydney to London. Long story short, he got to London, took a break, and decided to keep going, making it all the way around the world in his custom built SeaRey, Southern Sun.

Michael was taking a break in Seattle when Mike and I were able to meet up with him for breakfast.

Michael continued from Seattle up into Alaska and along the Aleutians, before making an incredible one-stop leg from Adak-Attu-Kushiro. That's 1,680 miles in one day!!!!

I've got a great life, but it's good to see nice guys do even better. Congratulations, Michael, it was a real pleasure meeting you.