HP-24 Project

Update 13 November 2003: Re-clutched and gassed up

This weekend I re-installed the Subaru engine and got it running, and everything was fine. It was sort of a spooky experience watching the engine computer relearn the management maps for mixture and timing.

This was the first time I'd ever removed a computer-controlled injected engine; and while it caused me some trepidation, it ultimately made this the easiest engine R&R since my 1968 Spitfire. Instead of a zillion black emission control hoses that need to be labeled at both ends, this engine has about a dozen electronic plugs, all of which are unique.

Anyhow, up at the shop, they've brought in my 175-gallon propane tank and connected it. The tank has about a gallon of gas in it, probably just enough for leak checks.

I did some more work on the heater installation before I noticed that there was a huge leak in the gas input line. What had happened was that I'd missed a T connector when I was replumbing it to go only to my shop. Up in the shadows under the eaves, this T connector sends a spur into the shop unit at the end of the building. When I was inspecting the system, I mistook the T for a straight union. And unfortunately, that spur line wasn't plugged inside the shop unit, so we ended up pumping a handful of gas into that shop before we figured it out.

So, I spent Sunday morning on a ladder disconnecting that spur line and plumbing around it. In the end, I got everything hooked up. On Wednesday I got a call from the gas company saying that the leak check passed, and that the system is good to go.

Monday afternoon, the heater got delivered. That evening, Brigitta and I drove it up to the shop just to get its 96-pound bulk out of the driveway.

This coming weekend, I'm going to make the angle iron frame that connects the heater to the wall, and then jack the heater into the frame (which will be about 8 feet above the shop floor) using a bunch of pieces of allthread and a few heavy-duty nuts. I don't know if I'll manage to actually start and run the heater this weekend, but that's my goal. I must have heat before I can restart work on the wing plugs.

In other news, I'm starting some of the artsy-fartsy work of building a marketing campaign around the HP-24. This is all just a bunch of pretty abstract ideas about who I'm going to be selling them towards, how it would be most effective to position the aircraft, and what words and images will most effectively drive that positioning. This is the sort of stuff that will hopefully go completely unnoticed by the core population of Resourceful Builders who are already HP glider enthusiasts.

I say hopefully, because I'm frankly a bit embarrassed that I have to sink so low as to actually do any marketing at all. But in order to make the HP-24 a successful project, I have to drive sales out beyond the confines of the fairly small population of established homebuilt soaring enthusiasts. I have to reach out to people who would not otherwise have thought of building their own glider, and I even have to reach out to people who normally rarely even think about soaring. And I can count on about five seconds of their undivided attention to do it with.

I guess I should be even more embarrassed that some of the images I'm collecting to build a campaign with are coming from pop music videos. No satisfaction there...

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page updated 13 November 2003 all text and graphics copyright (c) 2003 HP Aircraft, LLC