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116. We got the Power!

30/06/2014

It’s been a busy week tidying up and getting ready to put the engine in.

There were details I’d forgotten about the seating for the axle; little triangular blocks fit in between the chassis legs to act as a bed for the axles. On top of them is a little bit of rubber to act as a shock absorber, and on top of that is a strip of leather to act as a wear strip. They didn’t take too long to do, and I applied another coat of dope to the chassis legs.

I’d asked Theo to help actually install the engine, and before that we fitted the bungee suspension. It has to be wrapped round the axle and the stub on the chassis foot about 12 times, with little bits of aluminium between the layers of bungee. We’d fretted for ages about this, since it required huge amounts of muscle to pull the rubber tight at each loop, and one’s always fearful of letting go and losing the lot.

But with two of us it proved very straightforward, and we knotted the ends together with a reef knot. Job done.

And then – we had to lift the engine in place.

The main consideration here was safety – not ours, but that of the engine! But again it proved to be more simple than we’d imagined, and we raised it using a couple of chain blocks attached to strops one on each side of the engine. One had been looped under itself so that it would support the engine in any orientation. We raised the engine using both, then continued raising the looped-under one until it was taking all the weight, with the other providing emergency backup. Once it proved satisfactory, we transferred the redundant one to the top of the engine so that it could act as backup again, and by juggling the height of the lift and moving the fuselage forward we got the crankshaft through the anchor plate and started into the rear mounting. There are two keyways on the front anchor plate and we knew they were a tight fit, so we spent a little time working out how to persuade the crankshaft fully home. We’d got most of the way there when I suddenly thought we ought to check it was the right way up. Of course the engine itself rotates, but the oil feed to the anchor plate has to line up with the oil gallery in the crankshaft. Squinting down the hollow crankshaft we could see that we’d got it wrong, so we had to persuade the engine out of the anchor plate again, and rotate the crankshaft 180deg, before letting it back in place. This time everything snugged down very satisfactorily, and our only worry – that the distance between the two engine mounting plates on the airframe might be wrong – proved to be unfounded. 2014-06-27 Engine installedOnce in place, it looks truly awesome, and as we gently rotated it, a little trickle of castor oil came out of the exhaust valves to indicate all was well!

So now, at last, the beast has a heart.

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