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150.  Things are hotting up…

02/02/2015

2015-02-01 Bristol Scout snow at Milson

But not in the hangar. This was the view outside the hangar on Sunday morning when I started work on the Scout.

It’s been a while since I wrote on the blog. This is partly because there hasn’t been as much progress as I’d have liked and partly because what progress we have made hasn’t been very photogenic.

The need for progress is becoming urgent if we are to keep on schedule for the first flight in the spring. Essentially we have two major items waiting to be made, and a long list of little jobs, some of which have to wait on the large ones.

We are still waiting for the petrol tank, and the cowlings and side shields.

The side shields and tanks were going to be made by Steve Moon in Southampton, who is said to be the go-to man for these items. Since the side shields are attached to the petrol tank, this meant that the tank had to be fitted first. Poor Steve had had a heart attack in the autumn which had slowed him up a bit, but he said that he could get onto our project in March. This meant that we had to have the tanks completed and installed by the end of February.

Then a couple of weeks ago, Ian Harris picked up the work on the tanks again and we were able to get them away for tinning, which has to be done before assembly. The results of the tinning were frankly disappointing; the plates were distorted by the heat, and the finish was decidedly patchy. But Ian felt it was possible to carry on and we could rectify the situation later on.

What he also said was that the tanks would now take top priority, and that if we wanted he would take on the manufacture of the side shields.

This was a big help, since it meant that Steve Moon could make the cowlings without needing the aircraft in this works. This meant that the manufacture of cowlings and side shields could take place in parallel, and we shouldn’t need the trailer to be complete until a good deal later.

In the meantime, there is a long list of relatively minor parts we can be getting on with, and progress on these has been slowed by the fact that Rick had an argument with a circular saw – and lost – and while his hand is strapped up I’ve had to help out with some other urgent work of his. That’s now done, and I’ve been able to get back to the Scout. We’ve now got engine controls in place and working; the oil pipework is complete, and the petrol pipe from the Tampier valve to the bloc-tube carburettor is all in place.

Engine controls and fuel and oil piping coming along...

Engine controls and fuel and oil piping coming along…

The ply cover has been covered in fabric and doped, and we’ve made a rebate in the front engine former for the petrol tank when it arrives.

Rick and Ian have one good hand each, and so are able to do the riveting on the tank (!), and are expecting to get a good chunk of it done in about a week’s time.

Theo has taken a list of jobs away with him to do in sunny Dorset, and we have done much of the work to install modern seat belts (a requirement if we’re going to be allowed to fly it). I have some old seat belts off another aircraft (in fact I’ve got four!) but we’ve decided that all of them are a bit too tatty to go on the Scout so I need to order new ones…

So progress is being made, but my detailed list of jobs to be done before we can go flying runs ot five pages, closely typed, and there are a good few sleepless nights wondering if we’ll make it to the next centenary if we miss this one…

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