162. Comin’ Alive!
Well, today marked an enormous step in the progress of 1264. Theo spent much of the day painting the Union Jacks on the fuselage sides which will be overpainted almost immediately.
Rick visited Ian Harris, who had the air intakes all polished and ready for installation, and some very useful advice about installing the propeller onto the boss, and the propeller boss onto its taper shaft, which kept Rick busy for much of the day.
I moved on to the instrument panel to reposition and wire up the magneto switch, and a couple of other bits and pieces, then filled put some oil in the oil tank, and checked for leaks, and did the same for the petrol tank.
By this time Ian had turned up with his friend Don in Don’s 1924 3 litre Bentley, and we checked the fuel flowrate (it has to be at least 1.5 times the maximum consumption of the engine). We filled a litre bottle in 42 seconds, which is equivalent to 85lt per hour, and since the engine consumes a maximum of 34lt/hr, this would seem to be okay.
Next on the list was filling the oil system with oil, and this kept all of us stumped for a while. It was fairly simple to open the cock and the oil pump bleed screw; the oil came gushing out of there fairly quickly. The next step was to get the oil from the pump through to the engine, and you do this by turning the engine over which operates the pump. We did this for a long time without result. Then we took the oil pump out of the aircraft and tried turning it with an electric drill, which proved that its innards were working okay.
Next we removed all the spark plugs which allowed us to spin the engine faster. Still no result. Finally, Rick disconnected the pulsator and squirted oil down the line using an oil can, and finally that got things moving. We’d already oiled all the rocker bearings and rod ends and the external gears, so the next step was to move the aircraft onto the grass and tether it down for the first attempt to start it.
You use another oil can filled with petrol to prime each cylinder, then set the controls, turn on the magneto switch, and pull the propeller through.
Watch what happens next.
After that there was a LOT of cleaning up to do. Oil, black, burnt particles, and unburnt goo, was spread liberally all over the airframe, from the wing leading edges to the tip of the tail and from the wheels up to the top wing. There is no other solution than to catch it immediately while it’s still wet, and remove it with loads of dry rags.
What an emotional day! 1264 came alive, and the whole project took a giant psychological leap forward. MAGNIFICENT!