Glidair Project

Update 28 October 2006: Glidair fuselage molds finished

The weekend of 21/22 October we convened Akaflieg Monroe II at Brad Hill's place up in Monore, Washington. This was the best-attended of our Akafliegs: Doug and I flew up from the Bay Area, and Craig Funston and Noel Wade came in from Seattle, and with Brad we had five hands on deck.

The purpose of the event was to lay up the left-side mold for the Glidair fuselage, a task we didn't get to at Akaflieg Monroe I earlier in the summer. We did get the steel tube support truss welded, but there wasn't time (nor did we expect there to be) to do the layup.

Brad had spent the previous few weeks preparing the plug and right-side mold for this work; waxing it and preparing all the flanges and stuff. Brad also took the opportunity to make the mating joggle molds, which bolt onto the flange to form the joggle where the right and left fuselage shells bond together.

We started at about ten in the morning by brushing on the black tooling coat, and broke for lunch and to wait for the tooling coat to b-stage. Craig showed us a neat trick with the TC-1611 tooling coat - if you're careful you can spread it with a squeegee.

After lunch we laid in with the serious goo. As usual we fill the corners and crevices with shmoo, put on one layer of 7725, and then got down to work with the heavy cloth: two layers of DB170, two layers of 18 oz. roving, two more layers of DB170, and then a few reinforcing tapes here and there. By the time we were done it was dark out, and time for dinner.

The next morning Doug and I helped Brad place the welded steel truss in place, and it all looked real professional. Then we spent a few minutes shooting at cans with Brad's new air rifle, a 12-shot semi-auto with red-dot sight.

We spent the rest of Sunday getting back to SeaTac for our Southwest Airlines cattle call. First, we stopped at Arlington airport where we spent a bunch of time just looking at gliders. We opened up Brad's Apis, to see the engine bay he installed, and also looked at a homebuilt two-seater called the Chinook. The Chinook is a fascinating testament to resourcefulness. It combines many interesting features, including a composite forward fuselage skin with aluminum stiffeners, Schreder-style 90-degree landing flaps, and an ingenious wing folding mechanism at the main spar carrythrough.

We also got a good look at several canards of the Dragonfly pattern; basically two-seat Quickies. Seeing those, I am ever grateful I decided to concentrate on female-molded flight parts.

We saw Craig Funston again at Arlington, and he needed some forward-seat ballast in a Blanik, so I also got a nice glider ride that day. There was no lift to speak of, but the day was gorgeous and it was great to get a birds-eye view of the Puget Sound and surrounding countryside.

After Arlington we zipped down the 405 to Boeing Field where my father learned to fly in 1955 or so, and stopped in at the Seattle Museum of Flight. Unfortunately, it was too late to walk through the Concorde, but we did get a nice visit with the main gallery, including one of my all-time favorite sailplanes, Robert Lamson's Alcor. This fine pressurized sailplane is surely the forerunner of the Perlan Phase II sailplane that International Man of Adventure Steve Fossett needs to achieve his stated goal of pressing the sailplane altitude record into the stratosphere.

Too too soon it was time to rush back to SeaTac to return the rental car and join the queue to hurry up and ... wait. A Southwest flight in San Diego was delayed due to some medical situation, and the delay rippled through the Southwest system as gate agents struggled to renegotiate passenger's connections between flights. Our flight was so delayed, and it approached 11 pm as we quietly thundered back into San Jose.

Later in the week, Brad and Noel used wedges and a mallets to separate the two mold halves and liberate the plug. There's a few outies where the plug had fisheyes, but those will knock down really easy. Overall, it looks like a nice professional tool.

Tooling coat on, we return from lunch and prepare to get back to work.

That's us!

Craig cut these round holes in the back of his Tyvek suit for ventilation. I was amused by how closely the upper hole lined up with the round emblem on the back of his T-shirt.

Noel slathers shmoo into the flange corner at the fin tip

And four photoless hours later, the plug is encased in seven layers of heavy fiberglass.

We celebrate. From the left, Doug Gray, Craig Funston, Brad Hill, Noel Wade, and me.

The next morning (22 October 06), Doug, Brad and I lift and place the steel support truss on the mold.

And spend a few minutes shooting.

"Monroe is nice. I'll be baaaaack!"

At Arlington. That's Craig in back, and me in front.

Thursday, 26 October 06, Brad and Noel split the molds and get the fuselage plug out.

Noel blows out the dust. The things on the flanges are the joggle molds that Brad made between the mold half layups.

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page updated 28 October 2006 all text and graphics copyright (c) 2006 HP Aircraft, LLC