Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Sorry it has been a while since the last post. A lot of work has been happening, and we have opted to keep the work going in lieu of sitting down to mash the buttons to do an update. Finally, however, we've reached a short lull in the activity so it's time to get busy update the blog.
Here (in no particular order) are progress items that we have recently accomplished:


The push is on to finish the Prowler Aviation West shop. The most recent development is the role of the CDF (California Dept of Forestry) Fire Department. Turns out that because of the potential for wild fires in Nothern California, the building inspectors will not even come out to do a final inspection until you get the "Good to Go" from the CDF. Getting the nod from the CDF is not as easy as it would first appear. Turns out, you must have all the brush (mostly Manzanita) cleared out to a minimum of 100 ft from ALL of your buildings and structures (not just the building you are having inspected). Oh, oh. You must also have the trees trimmed up to 8-10 ff from the ground. OK. They are also not big fans of having tall grass growning under your decks. Ugh. So, several days in the past couple of weeks have been spent cutting & burning.




Grass and weeds are next.

Handrails have been added, downspouts installed and trim boards painted.

Still have exterior window trims to put up, some painting to do, and one exterior light to put up.
Hope to pass the final building inspection before the end of April '07.


Wing Jig - Recently took the time to research and begin assembly of our wing jig. The wing is assembled suspended on 6 posts with the leading edge pointed down. The two end posts attach at the tip ribs. The 4 posts in the middle are not yet complete because we don't have the wing spar pattern completed yet. We have to have the entire wing spar (or at least a full scale pattern of one) in order to get the exact placement of the middle 4 posts. Two of the middle posts attach at the main gear bays and the other two posts attach just outboard of the landing gear torque boxes and just inboard of the junction between the center wing section and the outboard wing sections. These two have the most critical placement. We used a large beam laying on its side for the main center part of the jig. This can also be made from simple tubing, but we happened to have this available at no cost, so we used it.

Drill Press - One tool that we will be using is a drill press. So, the time was right and the money available so a trip to the local Lowe's netted a Delta 16" Drill Press. Really haven't had much of a chance to use it yet, but no doubt it will be a most useful tool in the years to come!

Hydraulic Press - The hydraulic cylinder has been taken to a hydraulics shop and has been rebuilt and tested. The ram had been leaking and needed service. It is now back in the press. Next items up on this area:
1. Build a hydraulic power pack to run the ram. We did get a power system with the press but there are a few problems with it. We are considering whether it is more cost effective to rebuild the old or just buy/build new. Leaning toward the latter.
2. Rebuild the press tables and install them into the press.
3. Test the system for pressure, leaks, etc.
4. Run some tests to see if the system will press out wing ribs, fuselage parts, etc.

Patterns, Parts, and Jigs - We recently began starting to inventory all of the parts, patterns and jigs that we got in the sale from Mr. Morse. We decided to start on the Empanage first for a few reasons. Most importantly, these are somewhat smaller components and Dave will be able to work on them at his place while Todd starts on the wing. Here you see the parts of the tail end of the airplane. Lower right are the rudder parts, lower left are the horizontal stab, middle left is the vertical stab, and above that are the elevator parts. At the middle right are aft fuselage parts and along the top are parts still un-inventoried. Not show are the skin patterns that are too big to fit them all on the table.

Drawings and Documentation - All the drawings that we obtained as part of the purchase of Prowler Aviation have been unrolled, uncoiled, unfolded and stacked on a large table in the center of the office. It measures somewhere in the vacinity of 5-6" thick. The other documentation (binders, books, etc.) are filling a medium sized bookcase. There are also somewhere near 100 or so 3" floppy disks that go with the Apple Macintosh that we got from George. At this point, we're not sure if it will take longer to re-learn how to use a computer that requires "boot discs" or go through all the data on all those disks. It could be close. You can see that computer sitting on top of the desk in one of the early pictures posted below.

Business Cards, Hats, and T-shirts - Now that we got our new logo from the graphic desinger, we have designed and ordered our new business cards, ballcaps and T-shirts.

These were made at It's a very well organized and easy site to use to design your own business cards. You can upload any graphics that you like. For about $22 a pack of 100 shows up in about 3-4 business days.

The shirts are on order, but have not been delivered yet. We'll get a pic or two in another update.

Thanks for checking out our site and our blog.