Monday, August 16, 2010

CAD Work Continues in a Busy Summer

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for stopping by to check up on us. Well, the busy summer schedule associated with the "day job" combined with summer family activities has kept me out of the shop for almost 8 weeks! Fortunately, for the time being, there is always CAD work to do. It gives me something to do while commuting, sitting on call, sitting in a hotel room and any other long periods of time I spend sitting.

Of course, the biggest news of late is covered in the previous post; The 6th Prowler to fly. I will update again after Bud's follow-on flights. Congrats again, Bud!

1. A New Addition to the Prowler Shop
2. Bryan & Todd visit Ray and his Prowler
3. AirVenture 2010
4. CAD Work Progress

1. A New Addition to the Prowler Shop - The newest news is something that I've been working on for a good part of the summer. I came across a gent that had a 3 axis CNC Knee Mill for sale in his garage about 10 miles from the Prowler - West shop. It had sustained some damage and was sitting on a pallet and hadn't run in several years. To make a long story short, I took a gamble, put in a low-ball offer and bought the mill. Turns out that all the damage was just superficial and visual, but did not affect the functioning of the mill in any way. The only 1/2 day that I've had in the shop since mid June was hooking up the mill and testing it last Friday. Here it is:
Happily, the mill works fine and will be invaluable in making Prowler landing gear parts (or any 3D parts) in the future. We weren't really ready to spend the $,$$$ for this right now, but I was able to get it at such a ridiculously low cost that I couldn't afford NOT to do it now. Another sizable learning curve to conquer! Tally Ho.

2. Bryan & Todd visit Ray and his Prowler - In July Bryan and I both had some time off on the same day in the LAX area. Ray was available that day, so we drove up to see him. Bryan and Ray were able meet in person and it was cool to watch two guys that are very knowledgeable about Prowlers converse and compare their building experiences. Here's a pix from the visit:
Ray's airplane is moving right along. The day we visited Ray, he was just beginning the process of pulling many of the systems out of the cockpit to make room for riveting on the skins on the sides of the cockpit. He should have that done by now and be in the process of re-installing all of the systems. With that complete he will soon be tackling the engine and related systems. Here's a current pic of his panel:
It was a great day and we all enjoyed the visit. Thanks for hosting on short notice Ray.

3. AirVenture 2010 - One word universally sums up AirVenture this year - WET! It rained nearly 3 times the average monthly July rainfall for Wisconsin in the week just before AirVenture. There were large sections of KOSH and the EAA grounds that were not usable and were sectioned off so that planes, trains, automobiles and people wouldn't get stuck in the mud. It made for a fairly disorganized show this year, but the show did go on. It's truly amazing what EAA managed to come up with for alternate plans (on several fronts) to keep the show going, despite the weather. Here's a pic of an impromptu Prowler meeting with (L to R) Todd, Rick and Bryan:
The two highlights of the show for me this year were seeing two beautifully restored airplanes that have never been at any airshow before. This first one is a VERY RARE Royal Navy Spitfire (Carrier Version)!! Yep, with folding wings and a tailhook! There are only 4 known to exist like it in the world, and this is the ONLY ONE that is flying in the entire world! The restoration on this airplane was the best that I have personally ever seen. This is an absolutely gorgeous warbird:
The other airplane was "Kathleen" a newly restored F4U Corsair. My personal favorite. If I could have any plane I wanted - the Corsair would be it! This one is owned by a former TWA guy who bought it from someone out of a jungle in El Salvador in the early 70's. It was restored by Airpower Unlimited in Jermoe, ID. It's a beautiful aircraft:
All things considered, it was a great time. Then again, the worst day at AirVenture still beats any other day of the year - period!!!

4. CAD Work Progress - I think I can safely say that I have about 2/3 of the Prowler parts CAD'ed out. Each part is actually drawn 4 ways: First - a standard 3-view of the part; Second - a flat pattern drawing of the part; Third - a plasma tool path drawing; and Fourth - a 3D view of the part. In addition, I then take the individual 3D part drawings and put them together into sub-assembly drawings (where appropriate). Here is an example of all of the Radiator parts gathered together into a 3D drawing (with one side off):
The colors are there for contrast to distinguish one part from the next. To date, here is the status of CAD work for the Prowler Sub-Kits:
Completed - Vert Stab, Horz Stab, Elevator, Rudder, Center Wing Section Main Spar, Outboard Wing Main Spar, Torque Boxes, Center & Outboard Rear Spar, Center Wing Components, Outboard Wing Components, Radiators, Ailerons, Flaps;
Remaining - Main Landing Gear, Fuselage - Cockpit, Fuselage - Aft, Tailwheel Components, Engine Compartment Components.

At this point, I am hoping to finish the majority of the CAD work by the end of the year. Once that is complete, we will start using the CAD info to begin making parts for our airplane. From this point on, when we make a part for our airplane, we will be doing it using the same processes that we will use in production later.

That's it for this update. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another Prowler Completes 1st Flight!!!!

Congratulations to Bud Tedesco on completing his 1st flight! Bud reports that he and Prolwer N12BT took to the skies on 30Jul2010. Bud says the plane flies great and is very light and responsive on the controls.

Here is a video of Bud starting his Prowler before the first flight.

This is the video of his first flight. Right after the initial lift off you will see the airplane appear to sink back toward the runway. According to Bud that was intentional as he was going to set the airplane back onto the runway because of a "funny" engine sound. But the Prowler moves so fast that he realized that he was out of runway, so he again powered up and pulled back on the stick to continue the first flight. That sink apparently caused a few gasps back with the ground crew. He didn't really mean to scare anyone, and there wasn't anything really wrong with the plane.

Here are the YouTube links for these videos. You may find these have a little better quality:

Bud's gripe list from the first flight includes:
1. Oil pressure - seemed to be be fine before flight @ 65psi, but he noticed it was around 15psi during the flight.
2. A heavy left wing - will most probably be fixed with some simple rigging changes to ailerons and flaps.
3. Engine running rich - Bud is going to dig into the books and see if he can adjust the mixture linkage and mechanical fuel injection system to get a better setup.

He also reported that the flight controls are very responsive and you don't have to actually "move" the flight control to get the desired outcome - just a simple "pressure" will do.

Once again, Congratulations Bud!!! This is a monumental accomplishment. You should be very satisfied. Great Job.

I'm also WAY overdue for a Prowler Blog update. I'm going to try to get to that ASAP. Until then I'll be working the day job and dreaming about our first flight. Thanks for stopping by.