Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Welcome! Or, if you're keeping tabs on us, Welcome Back!

Well, we're managing to get another update done - and it's only been weeks, not months! But, that's because things are happening! Here goes:

Inventory & Parts List - It's taken several months to complete, but we now have a fairly accurate and fairly complete inventory of all the "stuff" we got from George. We have organized this information into a set of Parts List spreadsheets for the airplane. We now have one comprehensive document that contains information about each and every part of the airplane, what its name is, what it's pattern or template is, what it's material specification is, etc., etc. There will be changes, additions and subtractions to this set of documents as we progress, but it is a baseline to start from. Amazingly, this had never been done before, and until now all this information was scattered about in various places - or just didn't exist.

One of the biggest challenges was going through all of the old documentation and finding items that were represented as one part, but were actually made from several different parts and pre-assembled. For example, there is a short shaft that the gear are mounted to. It is "anchored" in the torque box and protrudes through the wing spar. In the old documentation, this was represented as one item. It is actually made from 8 different pieces of raw stock. For production, this information is important to know because it will affect material ordering, etc. Now we will be able to tell exactly how much 4130 (0.063) sheet steel is required for one airplane, for example.

During this process, we also accomplished two additional tasks: 1) matched up any left-over inventory with the patterns that they came from; and 2) divided all the inventory, parts, patterns etc. into seperate boxes (for now) for quick reference. So, we now also have a fairly accturate list of inventory we got from George in the sale and now know where to find it!
Vertical Stabilizer Sub-Kit - Armed with the new spreadsheets, we now have an idea of what inventory items currently exists in each sub-kit and what we will need to fabricate to complete an airplane. The first sub-kit on the list was the vertical stabilizer. Turns out that we had all but about 4 parts we needed to pre-assemble this sub-kit. As mentioned in the website, Todd is the "Production Guy" and Dave is the "Assembly Guy." The vert stab sub-kit has been produced and is now in final assembly. Dave will be doing a major over-haul on the assembly manual as he completes each sub-kit. So, in the end we will have a completely revamped builder's assembly manual.
The parts which needed fabrication included the vert stab skin, a mid-rib, a forward spar and a small angle clip. We used a vacuum bagging technique to fold and crease the skin, a break for the spar parts and the old fashioned "bang it out" technique for the mid-rib.

George came out to help get us started and guide us through the "jigging" process the first time.
Once that was done we drilled the skin and built a crate to ship it to the "Assembly Guy" - Ah, I mean Dave. Now it's on to the fabricatiion and pre-assembly of the horizontal Stabilizer sub-kit next.

Materials For the Plane - Over the past several weeks we have been sifting through the newly created spreadsheets and determining materials that need to be ordered to complete the first two groups of sub-kits. This material has been amassed and is now holding down a bench in the production shop.
This is the steel sheets, steel tubing, bearings, hardware, etc., needed to assemble the Tail Group Sub-Kits and the Wing Group 1 Sub-kits. Hard to believe, or maybe not, that including shipping this pile of stuff represents over $1K worth of materials. In some cases there is enough material to make more than 1 airplane, but some things have to be bought in a minimum order - so that's what ya get.

Contacts - We have contacted a few gents recently that are currently building, or have built a Prowler. In fact, we are going to visit Ray in the Thousand Oaks, CA area to see his project tomorrow (Sunday, Sept 14th). We can't wait, as he sounds like a really nice fellow. We have been very encouraged by some of the information Ray has given us with reference to the airplane, and several folks he's been involved with for the past (nearly) 20 years who know the Prowler and have information about it. We're sure we'll have a lot of info to put into a blog post after meeting with him. Much more to follow.
Also, as mentioned in an earlier post, we have been in contact with Stephen in Seattle area who has a flying Prowler. Bryan and Todd are going to visit with him on the weekend of Sept 20th. This is sure to be a major event in the process of expanding our knowledge of this airplane. Steve is an engineer in the field of airplanes and should have a lot of pertinent information to help us. Much more to follow here as well.
Thanks for stopping by. We'll try to get a post out after meeting the two fellows and tell ya what we found.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great progress! I had a nice chat with Bryan Davies about his airplane. I also called and talked to Ron Chamblin (owner of #2 and kit #13). I will write up what I learned from them (status of their projects) and send it to you via email.

Rick Pellicciotti