High Mountain Doings

From 8200 feet along one side of the Upper Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, my blog is about many things: travel including river and bicycle trips, and other experiences as well. The focus is on photography, not lots of text.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

CIPA College 2009

Finishing up two days, Friday and Saturday, Mar 27-28, at the Colorado Independent Publishers Association "College". It's two days of intensive instruction and information. Lots of websites to look at, and lots of ideas to follow up on.

Part of what I learned is that my blog should be on my website, rather than here, and there is code to include in my website to make this happen. First, of course, I'll need to rewrite my badly outdated website. To do that, I'll have to prepare or locate certain photos. It's a never-ending series! It would also be good to do some stuff that justifies the redoing of my site...

CIPA member and past president Kenn Amdahl is right now summing up the College with song and a guitar. And some words--Kenn praised Obama's book, Dreams of my Father, because O. tied it all together with an idea. It isn't just a chronology. I must hurry up and read his other book so that I can trade with Patty, per a deal we made!

Kenn just told us something else about President Obama, who we know is a rather good speaker: How Obama got that way, said Kenn, was by reading aloud the speeches of Abraham Lincoln. And also that Lincoln got that way by reciting the speeches of a certain Irishman who had lived fifty years earlier than Lincoln.

This CIPA College has gotten me to thinking what else I want to put in books, of which I have three in mind: First, another river guide, this to Cataract Canyon in Utah. Second, a book about building my Sinus motorglider. Should this be named Pipistrel High? Toward that end, I must drill more holes when I get home--this time to mount the other wheel. Third, Highway 50 Across America, which will contain aerial photos, which is my reason (read, excuse) for building the Sinus.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sinus Brakes and Electrical Panel

I believe that I sanded the axle bearing on one wheel a bit too much, and the result was that these boltheads dragged ever so slightly on the wheel spokes after the wheel was assembled. Solution: I used two different sanding attachments on my Dremel tool, and shaved down the boltheads on their outside edge. I probably removed about a millimeter of metal, and it did the trick. I did not have to do this on the other wheel. This was time-consuming, but the bright color of the wheels and brakes almost makes up for that!

This is the optional Beringer wheel/brake system, with axle assembly not in place. Once I get to using it, I'll be glad I have the Beringers. Construction has been slow for various reasons, and tomorrow I need to drill four straight holes through the landing gear legs on each side, having secured the brake parts in place to locate these holes. Bolts will go through these holes to hold the whole brake assembly together.

This is the "electrical panel" mounted inside the cockpit of my Sinus. The mounting was not particularly convenient. It was difficult to maneuver the panel into place while also working a bolt through one of the holes. I still have not gotten a bolt into the lower-center mounting hole because the hole in the firewall that was partially drilled by Pipistrel as a guide wasn't really much of a guide at all. Its location was way off.

All the bolts that mount this plate have Allen wrench type heads. This is more convenient to work with than plain hex-head bolts. Instead of nuts, the fasteners at the forward end are nuts with a flange on one end, and four parts of that are bent down into points. These dig into the fiberglass of the firewall, and this fastener readily stays in place. The firewall is made of a polymer material into which the points dig in easily, and the fastener remains in place.

Electrical panel mounting is temporary, since there will be carpeting and sound deading material glued onto the back side of the firewall. This will be cut away in places where necessary to mount things like this.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

MOP Meeting

MOP stands for Metropolitan Organizations for People, in which Patty is an organizer. I went with her on March 19, 2009, to a meeting held at one of the schools in Denver. That meeting filled a rather large school auditorium! Arriving early in order to help with anything that came up, I ended up helping direct arriving cars into the school parking lot--a very small part in a large undertaking. I was glad to contribute even a little.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Snowshoeing

It was the second day of spring. We went snowshoeing.

At the northwestern edge of St. Elmo (which of course isn't far from the southeastern edge) there's a road that goes up past several houses. It's just downhill toward the meadow from the Tincup Pass Road, which starts uphill just there. In winter, some folks ski into their cabins but most dwellings remain dormant until St. Elmo's spring, which at just over 10,000 feet comes later than most.

In fact, March and April are usually our heaviest snow months and I hope it happens that way again this year. We need the snowpack now in order to fill the rivers later.

Pictured are Patty and her granddaughter Susana, snowshoeing on the road perhaps a quarter mile from St. Elmo, Colorado, eleven miles from home.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Engine Mount Fitted!

During the process of marking the hole, it helped considerably to block up the engine mount with a small piece of wood that was on hand. Here, the trimming down to the black firewall material is much more complete than shown below.

One of the engine mounting bolt holes on the left-lower side of the cockpit, near the nutserts where the rudder and brake pedals will mount. Here, a spare screw marks the hole, which was soon enlarged to 6 mm. The other hole visible is from manufacturing the fuselage and will be filled with epoxy at some point. The hole turned out to be rather near the gray material that makes up the floor, so I'll probably have to trim the edge of that away so that the washer will have a flat surface to rest on. The engine mount will, of course, have quite a bit of weight on it, in addition to pulling the aircraft.

Preparation of the mounting points on the firewall included removal of shiny metallic foil, and the removal of the underlying layer of fiberglass cloth, down to the black fiberglass firewall material. For that, it helped that I found a very small set of snips in my dad's toolbox. A pilot who started me in flying, he would surely have approved the use of his tools in building a motorglider.

And here's the result--my engine mount fitted to the firewall of the Sinus. It's hung there loosely for now. It will be mounted to the engine, and then the whole assembly will be hoisted and mounted back onto the firewall. The bolts will be installed and tightened, using (blue) Loctite to make sure they don't loosen. The two lower-outside bolts are 6 mm while the other three are 8 mm.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Engine Mount Question

I'm trying to find the exact location for the engine mount in my Sinus, and it's causing me difficulty.

First off, I know that airplane engines are often canted a few degrees because of uneven thrust by the propeller. Maybe this is the entire root of the problem.

Anyway, the engine mount bolt holes are not equally high on the firewall when the mount is held in position with an approximately equal distance between the mount and both sides of the firewall. The top-starboard (top-right, looking toward the nose) bolt hole is perhaps 1.5 cm lower than the corresponding hole on the port (left) side. The two outside-bottom bolt holes are offset in the same direction, but about half as much. They still look mountable on the pads, but they're different.

This is with the bottom-middle bolt hole offset a little toward the starboard side, but still on the mounting pad there. I have it the recommended 42 cm above the outside of the fuselage, as best I can measure that distance, which is difficult. I see that in the factory manual, it shows this same situation--the bolt offset a bit to the starboard side. On Paul Kuntz's site, it shows this same bolt squarely in the middle. The top bar of the engine mount appears to slant slightly to starboard, though I haven't put a level on it. The fuselage itself is not exactly level as I have it supported.

Measuring between the top and bottom outside engine mount holes, it's a slightly different distance between them, by maybe half a cm, with the port side a bit longer.

As soon as I decide whether the bottom bolt should be more starboard, more port, or neither, then I'll drill that hole and more accurately locate the other holes. But I think I've done it accurately enough already to see the difference I described above.

Hmmmmm....I measured the 42 cm from the lip of the outside (bottom) of the fuselage. But the surface slants downward as it passes underneath the firewall. Is that where I should have measured from, and if so, how? This gets more complicated by the minute. I suppose those top fittings on the engine mount have to meet the cowling.

So...I wonder whether I should worry about this, or should I just drill the holes and be done with it? Is there anything I could, or should, do?

Questions, questions. If I didn't come up with so many things I need to stop and figure out, I'd have a lot more done by now!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Lower Engine Bolt

Above is the front inside of the cockpit. The holes on both sides will be for rudder pedal/brake assemblies. The lower engine mount bolt goes through the firewall ahead of the gray material, and halfway between the sets of holes.

Below is the bottom of the firewall, as seen from in front. I have to install the engine mount bolt where there's a cutout in the outer material, exposing the fiberglass. My question is, how do I reach the backside of this hole to install the bolt? I can reach in under the floor, but I'm not sure my arm is quite that long. I'm supposed to put fiberglass resin around the head of the bolt to hold it, but how do I get it there to start with? I expect there's an easy solution, but I haven't thought of it yet. I'd rather not cut a hole in the gray floor material just to reach this bolt.

The other opening to the right here is for some other kind of line--maybe the fuel line.

Friday, March 06, 2009

A Little Farther Along

I checked with Andrej Horvath at Pipistrel to see whether it was correct that one of these places marked by the factory on top of the fuselage was about half a cm farther forward than the one on the other side. And yes! That was correct, so I went ahead and Dremeled them out. The openings will be for the parachute harness.

These are openings in the top of the fuselage. They were already cut, but the factory marked where they should be enlarged. I did that, but the markings were not precisely aligned with the existing openings. So I'm waiting to see what will get installed there before I enlarge them further.

I thought it would be easier to paint this part of the interior because of its angle, before inverting the fuselage. So I did.