A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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26 November 2017

There I Was...

... upside down, nothing on the clock.... well, not exactly. A trundle round the houses in a Cessna 152, demonstrated to me and my instructor that I still knew which way was up. My only 'moment' was when, as the main wheels (defying all probability) 'kissed' the grass on landing, I instinctively pulled the column back that extra inch to keep the tailwheel on the ground. It must be 25 years since I last flew a nose-wheel aircraft so I think I'm excused.

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The Mazda-engined racing car project is underway; the MX-5 has been stripped and the Locost chassis has appeared. It'll need a couple of tweaks to the front end before we can shoe-horn the engine in but everything else will remain the same. As far as the body goes, I'll have to pay another visit to the fibre-glass guys as I've forgotten most of what they told me.

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I've made a bit of progress with the idea for a disc brake conversion for the Hillman. Learned Counsel pointed me towards Wilwood four piston calipers as a starting point and I roughed out a dummy disc to see if there was room for everything. It's tight, but achievable (the red pot and the washers are to support the caliper to check I've enough clearance). There's a brass grease cap on the bottom kingpin bracket that may need some redesign to give me a little bit of extra leeway with the disc mounting bell. I've either got to weld the disc and the bell together or bolt them. If I weld, they'd have to be machined true afterwards. Bolting would save a lot of trouble but, if the assembly wasn't true then I'd have to machine anyway. The jury's out on that at the moment.

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At least I'll have time to think about it all as I've been sent back to Norway, though to a different place.

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Haugesund is on the West side of Norway. Its City Hall features in the Norwegian edition of Monopoly and a statue of Marilyn Monroe stands in the harbour (according to her birth certificate, her father came from a nearby village). There are other attractions - an art gallery for instance - which I'll try to squeeze in between visits to the electronic gear I'm looking after. A power cable runs under the sea between two of the many local islands and, as the cable-laying ship buries it all in a trench on the seabed, its integrity has to be monitored. Part of my journey to and fro, involves a very steep descent into the Karmøy tunnel; over 5 miles long and nearly 500ft deep. This takes me under the island of Fosen and, in the middle of it all, there's a roundabout bringing in traffic from a different direction. It's an extraordinary feat of engineering.

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Working here in the summer - around August, September time - must be glorious, though at this time of year it's a different story. It looks tranquil enough but, I was there on this spot when the hail came down. I usually curse my hard hat; not this time.



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