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81. Removal

04/11/2013

Having completed an assembly of the whole aircraft which has enabled us to get accurate dimensions for things like the drift wires – oh, and sit in it and pretend we’re about to go flying – we’ve decided to free up space in Theo’s workshop by moving the fuselage up to our local airfield in Shropshire, where it will share a hangar with my Escapade and Rick’s Kitfox, and where Rick and I can work on completing all the detail work required on it. It’s also closer to Ian Harris, for when he wants to make a trial fit of the tanks.

Theo suggested borrowing an open trailer to do the job, but I put my foot down and insisted on something enclosed – it’s just TOO valuable to put at any greater risk than we have to!

That meant a 7.5 tonner, which was the only thing long enough to fit it in.

So on Thursday morning, I set off very early to pick up Rick and drive to Hereford by 0800, where the very nice people at Baynhams sorted us out with a tail lift 7.5 ton Iveco lorry, while regaling us with all the amazing things the criminal classes nick from their fleet, even when it’s stored in a lck-up carpark with razor wire all round it!

Rick drove, since he normally drives a van, and – thanks to the governor fitted to it – we got to Dorset in about four hours.

The fuselage is a good fit in a 7.5 tonner, with the elevators removed. Once the engine is fitted, things get a good deal tighter, but I think it may still be possible, and this would make the whole project much more practical if it can relatively easily be moved by road.

The fuselage is a good fit in a 7.5 tonner, with the elevators removed. Once the engine is fitted, things get a good deal tighter, but I think it may still be possible, and this would make the whole project much more practical if it can relatively easily be moved by road.

A quick cup of tea, and we got onto loading up our precious cargo. The tail lift certainly came in handy; although it weighs very little, it’s a bit unhandy, and the whole operation would have been riskier without it. It took a while to get everything secured properly, but we set off an hour and a half later, Rick in the driver’s seat again, and eventually turned up about 1900. The airfield is only accessible by tiny lanes, and we spent a while planning our route to miss the very narrow bits.

The airfield owner was there to greet us with a powerful torch and a cup of tea, and unloading took very little time. It was 2130 by the time I’d returned the lorry and got home, but it’s a great feeling to have the fuselage available to work on, and I find myself inventing excuses to pop across and have a look at it.

Safely stored alongside Rick and David's aircraft

Safely stored alongside Rick and David’s aircraft

There is a longish list of jobs that need doing, and we’re hoping to make good progress on them shortly.

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