Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Airplane Hauler project, pg 6... cont'd

 The Airplane Hauler project is moving right along, and nearing completion! It'll be a big help to me, so I don't have to constantly move things in and out of my little Ford Escape, and make it much easier to quickly get out to the field and fly a little. Outside temps have been rough, here...in the mid & upper 90's with super high humidity. I'll get up and start on it at sunrise, and work until about noon. By that time, I've had all I want and I'll go in for a nice cool shower :-) OK, here's where the project is, now... 


I noticed, while working with those nitrogen filled lift cylinders, they would try to push the lid in one direction or another when the lid was down. All of the cylinder energy was converted to side force on the hinges when horizontal. So, I added additional fasteners to help hold that. Also, I made a huge mistake on the strength required to lift this 74 lbs aluminum lid (about 37 lbs required at the lift handles to open) . I originally bought a pair of 100lb force cylinders, and they were WAY too much for the job. I literally had to swing my body weight on the lid to close it. I only want to have them help me lift it, I don't want them to hold the lid up. I fabricated a pair of lid safety poles for that purpose. After seeing rogue winds throw canopies over cars, slam trailer doors, and such at fly-ins for years, I prefer to hold the lid a bit more securely. I'll use lid the support poles to keep it from closing, and the bottom of them will be pinned to keep wind from grabbing the lid and yanking it up and over. Additionally, the lift support cylinders will help keep it from over-opening as well. The cylinders came late today, so maybe I'll get them on, tomorrow.

Here's a few pics of the lid support poles and the floor pockets I made for them. I have to go back and drill the pockets for the insertion of a security pin. The poles are hinged in the lid, and a light duty bungee will be connected near the bottom to a point on the other side of the trailer for retraction when the lid is down. 

Rust and scale was removed from the rest of the latch hardware, it was all primed / painted, and installation of it has begun. The old hardware was very rusty, and has stained the aluminum below it. I've tried rubbing compound, hand glaze, non-acidic AC coil cleaner, and a host of automotive cleaners. Nothing seems to touch it. I'd love to hear from anyone who might know a trick to remove these stains at wb4iuy@gmail.com

The first set of wing racks were built to utilize the full length of the opposite wall (100" or internal space). 12 pieces of 3/4" PVC (7/8" O.D.) was cut to 20" long, and the 25" long 2x4 uprights were drilled with a 7/8" wood bit at 30 degrees. The ends of the PVC were split to allow a simple canopy bungee to slip over the ends and apply a tiny amount of pressure to the wing panels to hold them securely while in transit. The spacing was drilled at 4-1/4" center-to-center, based on the thickness of the wings I use. I'm not sure I like that, it's a little closer than I had hoped for. I think I'll go back at a later time and drill a new set of uprights at maybe 5" CTC spacing. Hey, it's a work in progress, right? :-) 

A little area at, and just behind, the inner fenders was framed up to allow for storage of a pop-up tent, chairs, fuel, cleaning supplies, cooler, etc. It has tabs to lock the flight box in place and that will be secured by an elastic strap. Since I couldn't store the canopy up front, I decided to keep the front area clear for other aircraft placement in the floor. Again, as time goes on, I may change my mind on the location of things, but this is where I am at the moment.

The interior is fairly clear and uncluttered, so far. Time to start placing wheel chocks for the airplanes and see how it all works out. I'm still not sold on the flight box location, since it's a heavy item and the trailer tongue weight is very low... A tail heavy trailer is like a tail heavy airplane, they don't handle so well...

Finally dropping in a few wings and airplanes to get the location of the wheel chocks worked out. Nope, I'm still not sold on the flight box location. I may frame up a space in the nose of the trailer and play with it up there, and leave more space open in the rear for airplanes side-by-side...