394. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

We spent a good deal of the summer worrying about the recovering process on 1264, and were delighted to find that Randolph, one of the main manufacturers of dope, could offer a dyestuff and UV blocker that will replicate the original colour of 1264’s fabric, but – we hope – last considerably longer.

We placed an order on 26 November, and were a little surprised to learn that it wouldn’t be in the UK until the middle of February.

In fact, it wouldn’t have caused too much disruption since it was late January before we’d completed the fabric covering and applied the two initial coats of nitrate dope, which was in stock. But there has been a major problem with customs or some such which has delayed the shipment from the United States – not just our stuff, but many other customers’ products as well. The shipment was delayed until late February, and so we put back our two planned weeks to dope and then rebuild by another fortnight.

Unfortunately there is a delay of yet another two weeks, and the problem now – apart from rescheduling our other commitments – is that it’s starting to impact on the start of the season. So this week we are making a bit of a start on reassembly as far as we can.

Aileron 1.jpg
The bracing wires transmit the load from the aileron horns to the rear spar. They are a bit of  a fiddle to fit, since they have to be bent in situ, with the risk of accidentally poking an end through the fabric. And they have to be bent to exactly the right length, since there are no strainers.

Today, we’ve been reapplying the external bracing wires to the ailerons and centre section. Tomorrow we’ll start reattaching the strut sockets to the wings and put the fuel tank back on the fuselage.  My pilot’s licence needs revalidating and I’d hoped to get that done this week, as well as getting formation training, ready for the new season of display flying. But the weather isn’t playing ball either. Hrrmph!

Aileron 2.jpg
These ferrules are made from the same wire, and Rick invented a new, and very clever, way of making them. The wire – which is a posh version of piano wire – has to be bent first, then poked through the hole in the bracket without damaging the fabric, and then the ferrule threaded over both parts before the loose end is bent back to lock everything in place.

And because of the delay in arrival of the dope, the week when I should have been revalidating my display rating (postponed because the wheel fell off in August) is now going to be tied up rebuilding 1264. There just aren’t enough days in the year!

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