Sunday, January 11, 2009

Building an Aeroplane

I had my first bash at helping to build a plane yesterday!

I'd been down to New Braunfels first thing in the morning, to visit their Pancake Breakfast fly-in. Winds were gusting to 30+ mph so I wasn't expecting much action and sure enough, not many planes were about. No matter, all the pilots drive in anyway and sit around in the cafe, hangar flying. I sat for a while with the pilots and another photographer, Dennis, who I see around at these things. Which was all very pleasant.

Onwards to Kingsbury, where I had to deliver some photos to Roger who owns the place. We sat for a while looking through those.

Then I asked if I could get involved in doing something. It was a work day, in which lots of volunteers show up every two weeks or so, to build planes, repair vehicles etc etc.

So, they put me to work on a Thomas Morse Scout wing which had been restored and had a loose cover of Ceconite fabric over it. They gave me an electric iron and set me to work heat-shrinking the fabric over the wooden rib structure.

Tom Gaylord kindly sent me these photos.

Here's me ironing out wrinkles under Roger's tutelage:


Once all the wrinkes were flattened, and Roger had inspected the wing, it was time to apply the first coat of nitrate dope. This is (as I understand it) a base coat to strengthen the fabric. Beyond this lies rib stitching and dope-based paint.

Here's me painting on the dope:


And (as Tom put it) the usual supervisor-to-worker ratio, or one worker; four BSers!


I probably spent 3-4 hours working on this lot. It was a lot of fun though and it felt good to be involved in doing something. Hopefully I can get down there again and do a bit more.

1 comment:

Tamzin Jane Cochrane said...

What a lot of fun! I am sure you had a great day, must be like if i was asked to help in a patissiere kitchen. I would love it, no matter what job was given to me- except the washing up-potwash can do that!!!