ScaleBirds, Home of the 63% Scale Hellcat replica kitplane project.

Holiday Homebuilding

Hey everybody, long time no see!  

Hope you all enjoyed the Holidays of 2016!

We've tried to make the most of ours, without going too crazy.

Onto the P40 (P36?) build: 

So I've recruited a high school intern into helping us out now.  He has been helping me with fabricating the fuselage skins and adding stiffeners.  Its fun to watch him learn new stuff and build skills, and fun to watch the build come together at the same time.  With his help all the skins for the fuselage have now been finished up and are ready for primer coats.  

Scott just finished cutting out all the metal ribs and spars for the Vertical and Rudder as well as the corresponding MDF forming blocks and jigs.  We are ready to start on the tail build.  I will have the intern (his name is Roger Jr.) form all the ribs and save me the hammering. I think with some guidance he will be building the entire tail group.  OK, I'll do a little bit more than guide. At least the first one. 

And as far as the Verner goes:

We are in the middle of installing the Verner 5Si radial engine on my Fisher Aero Corp Avenger V as a test bed. The Avenger R? Avenger R5? Still havn't figured out a name. The design phase is mostly complete, parts made, and everything more or less has been ordered. As of Wednesday, the engine is hung and looking great as you can see:

We are ready to install the major systems - fuel, oil and electric. Some stuff is already mounted but not hooked up, other things are going to mount to the engine mount. Scott's been gumming up the works by making a time-lapse video of the install, which means waiting to start while the camera gets setup; but once it's started it just hums along.  Should be fun to watch though, and hopefully helpful for those interested in Verner motors and how the install goes.  

According to the schedule I've been going on, all of this work should have been completed a while ago. Wanted to fly the Verner while it was still warm out!  What's the hold-up?   Well, my excuse - poor as it may be - is early in November, my car garage/storage tent decided to self destruct.  It was an older model but the codes checked out. Well, guess it diddn't.  The tent was a temporary solution for the normal stuff that the airplane parts have been displacing from the real garages.  On a project like this space is at a premium and airplane parts tend to take priority.  So looking at my options, I decided to build an addition to my separate two bay garage.  It already had a concrete pad ready to go (which was seen back when we were load testing the Hellcat horizontal.)  Piece of cake right? Right. Well it took 6 weeks to finish.  I was thinking "3 weeks - no problem."  I used to be able to do something like that easily in three weeks anyway.  I don't know why things take so much longer to finish now.  Anybody feel my pain?!?  Then, after that, I got the flu which took me down for two weeks.  When it rains, it pours!  

Well, we are back on the project and rolling.  Yesterday I had four guys working on parts, machining, CNC routing, designing.  It was a thrill to have that much production going on.  I think 2017 will be a great year!   

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