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54. Decision


On Wednesday we built the fuselage. It may not look too much, but these days mark a sort of watershed, because we are assembling the component with the intention of leaving it assembled for ever afterwards. In fact, the fuselage is the last major component to achieve this watershed, so we set to with a will, and working methodically from front to back (apart from Rick who worked methodically from back to front) we removed any bolts still in place, painted them with Duralac, replaced them and put the correct washers and locknuts on, tensioned the right amount. Along the way, we found a number of little brackets that still needed drilling, bracing wires that still needed installing and so we tried to make sure that they were all dealt with as we went along. A delivery of strainers enabled us to complete all the outside wiring, but a muddle over left hand and right hand threads on some of them meant that we had to leave most of the internal bracing until next time.

But we carried on in this fashion all day, with only a short break for lunch, and by about 1700 we could do no more with the fuselage upside down in the jig and took the momentous step of lifting it up bodily and turning it on its side in order to complete the bits on top we’d not been able to reach. Those done, we stood back and admired our handiwork. It was definitely a champagne moment, and we celebrated by attaching the tail surfaces so that we could get the maximum effect. They look as if they are going to fit fine, and we took pictures and dreamed little dreams of sitting in it for our first flight.

Celebrating the assembly of the fuselage and turing it over - Rick Bremner and Tim Wood, Theo's stepson.

Celebrating the assembly of the fuselage and turing it over – Rick Bremner and Tim Wood, Theo’s stepson.

Thursday saw a number of problems arise, some of which we were able to fix, some which we’ve had to leave on hold.

When we fitted the tailplane and rudder, the one seemed to clash with the other. Back to the drawings, and we found a little spacer added to the drawing in January 1915 which indicated they’d come across the same problem back then. Unfortunately this meant the struts needed adjustment to fit but this proved to be not insuperable.

Rick then moved on to the control mechanism, which needed finishing off with three taper pins to attach the warp lever to the rock tube. Meanwhile I’d been hoping to make up the heel troughs, which are strips of ply (which we had) with pieces of ash at each side (which we also had). Unfortunately the band saw blade was blunt, and that put an end to that. We also needed ash for the seat frame, and going through our stock I found there was nothing of sufficient size and straight grain, so once again work had to come to a halt. And we tried to adjust the fuselage wires to make it perfectly straight and flat, but here again we found that the missing cross bracing made this impossible, so it will have to wait.

Tomorrow we want to have a grand assembly off all the pieces built so far, so we spent the evening painting some final wing parts ready for the big day.


From → Building

  1. Wonderful progress! It will be a truly momentous day when she flies and it’s a real pleasure keeping track of your progress with these posts. Well done and best of luck for the work ahead.

    • Thank you. It’s such a pleasure working on it, it will be a shame in some ways when we get to the end!

  2. Agreed completely with Austerpilot!

    this is an amazing labour of love on your part which I do hope to see in the air one day.

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