Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.

And so goes week 2 of our Lazair project. Gabe and I had planned to look at a trailer/portable hanger this weekend, and do some RC trainer development. (more on that later) Instead we got a call from Dale Kramer on Friday night, and he flew in from Texas on Saturday. He's going to be here for a week or two working on some motor and controller advancements, and he lent us a hand on the plane Saturday evening and Sunday.

Dale really jump-started our progress. We stripped the fuselage and removed the rest of the parts requiring service or upgrade. We're up-sizing the control rods, and adding strength to a few other places, to accommodate the extra weight of the electric drive train, and a couple of plus sized pilots.

This was the fuselage when we wrapped up Saturday night. You can see two cardboard boxes by the garage door slowly filling up with parts. It is almost always more work to fix something right, than it is to build it from scratch.

We also constructed some plywood cradles for the wings, which serve as both a nice storage solution, and a necessary work platform.

The cradles allowed us to start ripping in to the wings, and pulling the ribs. We need to check each rib, and reinforce or repair them as needed. We'll also be making a few modifications to the structure of the wings before we recover them.

As I get a better feel for the assembly and design of the Lazair, my confidence in the aircraft is rapidly increasing.

This really is an incredible little aircraft, and the tear down and build up will give a level of familiarity few pilots have with their machine.

Next we need to open the leading edge of the wing, and check the foam ribs within. We may need to add some extra epoxy or make a few repairs.

We flipped the fuselage over to remove the landing gear. We'll be replacing them with a tricycle configuration, complete with a steerable nose-wheel.

Gabe and Dale finish removing the seat cover.

We'll be taking the floor pan out as well, to allow for access to rudder pedals and to make a few other tweaks.

One more wing to tear down, and we should have a good idea of the steps and materials needed to complete the project. Some of the parts we'll need are going to come from Dale, others we'll fabricate or source on our own. I'll post a list of resources as we go.

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