Sorry for the lack of updates lately, but this time I have a good excuse: We are moving! Mary got a job offer that promised to be a very positive step for her career, but which also happened to be on the west coast. She took the job, moved out west, and is renting an apartment. Eventually we intend to look for a house in the Pacific time zone, but in the short term the airplane project will have to be moved cross-country and then put into storage for a while. Fortunately, I have a new friend out west who's agreed to allow me to put my airplane in his hangar.
In the meantime, I am still in the midwest packing up everything and getting ready to sell the house. I suppose it's only fitting that I'm the one left behind to do the packing, because – either by weight or by volume – the majority of the stuff in our house is the responsibility of yours truly. This whole process has caused me to realize that I'm a total tool hoarder and a complete packrat for anything mechanical. For instance, these shelves used to be absolutely chock full of tools and airplane parts, but in terms of my total shelf space they only represent ten percent of the total hoard, tops. I still have a lot of work to do, but a whole lot of stuff is already packed away.
I filled up the fuselage with as many bulky-but-lightweight items as I could – carpet, seats, interior panels, fiberglass fairings, etc. I also temporarily reinstalled as many components as possible, to reduce the total number of items that have to be moved. I think this is actually the first time I've had both the canopy and cowling installed at the same time. I have to admit, it looks pretty cool.
To allow it to fit on the truck, I had to remove the horizontal stabilizer from the fuselage. That's just as well, because I don't think it would have fit through the single-bay garage door otherwise, thanks to the annoying post in the middle of the garage. I left the vertical stabilizer attached, in order to help soak up the load from the tailwheel mount. The forward spar of the vertical stabilizer is temporarily secured to the fuselage with a block of wood and some clamps.
I used miniature furniture dollies under the main wheels to allow the fuselage to move sideways and snake its way through the narrow garage door. In this photo you can just see one of them under the left main tire.
Can I count this as the airplane's first grass landing?
After more than a decade of building, I had hoped to be able to fly this airplane soon, and it is in fact really close – but not close enough. So, time to call for the big truck.
The trailer currently in use by Tony Partain's trucking company is pretty neat – all kinds of clever attachment points to tie down airplane parts.
Unfortunately the wing stand wouldn't fit on the truck, so I'll have to donate it to a local builder and figure out something else for the other end.
Here's how the wings are transported. It's all very secure, and it keeps them out of the way of the fuselage as it's rolled inside.
This is the last time I'll see my airplane project for a while. It was a pretty heavy feeling seeing it disappear around the corner. Still, our new living situation should eventually allow me to spend more time working on finishing this project – after a few months to get re-settled, that is.
To be continued…