Monday, December 8, 2014

Big Bird Gets its Feathers plucked, Day 2

Visibility:         Hazy
Temperature:  Cooler than yesterday.
Comment:      No airport operations again today.

A team gathered again to tear down Big Bird in preparation for the rebuild.  Saturday great big pieces were removed, Sunday was the small stuff.

Jan watches Andrew drill out rivets from the rudder..
Frank and Richard work on removing the seatpan which is riveted onto the frame.
John is removing the aileron bellcrank from the airframe.
Pancho is drilling out a rivet to free an aluminum "former" from the steel frame.
Frank is dosconnecting the last of the wires, etc., between the nosebowl and frame.
Several eyeballs are checking to make sure all of the rivets holding the nosebowl onto the frame have been found and drilled out.
The nosebowl is ready to be removed.
The nosebowl is off.
Many hands work to free a stubborn longeron.
 The first step of the preparation is to clean the airframe good.  Since sandblasting can actually peen over a small crack and make it invisible, any suspect areas are first scraped clean of paint.
Martin is using a knife to scrape paint off of suspect areas.
This is the right-hand attachment for the wing strut.  While not unsafe--yet--this is certainly not good and needed attention ASAP.
Right-hand wing strut attach fitting.
Rear wing spar attachment.
More rust.
More rust.
The consensus was that the dent on the tube below has been there for a long time, probably before it was painted the last time.  The dent eventually caused the crack and, and eventually would have been a complete break.
This tube is what holds the forward spar of the vertical stabilizer.

 Dent and crack on tube that holds main spar of vertical stabilizer.
Here is the frame at the end of the day.  No "attached" parts are remaining.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Big BIrd gets its Feathers Plucked

Visibility:          Great
Temperature:   Very nice
Comment:        No Operations today

Today was the appointed day to start the rebuild project on Big Bird.  The runway was still a little soft in some places from the recent rains, and it was decided no operations would take place.  Nobody minded--they came to work anyway.

Jan Zanuto lowers the tail after John Harbick removes the tail stand.
Jan pulls Big Bird to the work hangar.
Jeff Richardson and John Harbick remove the first piece.
Jan Zanutto and Richard Walker work on removing the wing strut while John Harbick works on the interior.
Strut bolts are being removed.
Right wing is on the trailer.  Jan is loosening the left wing strut bolts.
Jan Zanutto makes the first cut in the fabric to make it easier to get to the vertical stabilizer and rudder components.
John Harbick (hidden behind tail) Richard Walker, Dan Gudgel and Martin Caskey remove vertical stabilizer with rudder.

Left wing is off.
Morgan comments about how much lighter this wing is compared to 5H's wing.
Getting the wing to its storage place on the trailer.

Jan, Richard, and John wrestle the wing and trailer for the holes to line up.
Jan is slicing off more of the skin.
The left side is hanging loose.
The insides are bared.
The skin is falling off.
Skin is on the ground.
Dan Gudgel is holding the instrument panel prior to clipping the tubes.
Morgan Hall, Jeff Richeardson, Martin Caskey, Jan Zanutto and Richard Walker eye the frame.
Lifting the fuselage up to the "rotisserie," where it can be rotated.
At the end of the day.