A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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10 December 2017

504 To 737.

.. is quite a big jump. But it was great fun!

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In the olden days, it was always the idea that if I'd got oil pressure, I'd got an engine and, if I'd got airspeed, I'd got an aeroplane. Then things got a bit more sophisticated (though the same rules applied) with a few more instruments to tell me where I was and how things were going, generally.

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I've always had trouble with artificial horizons. The black lines that stay still are the aeroplane; the coloured bit that doesn't stay still is the bit outside the window. There's something in my brain that doesn't register this properly (a bit like my ruler problem) and I really had to concentrate to get it right on the 737. A glass cockpit seemed to make things a bit easier, especially after I'd adjusted the seat so I could see the Flight Director without the column blocking the view.

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My route was Gatwick to Stansted, with a touch-and-go at Heathrow and Luton respectively. After a bit of a wobbly start down the runway (the rudder's quite a long way back and by the time you think it's not working and push a bit harder, it suddenly bites) we got off and did a few orbits at 5000ft just to get a hang of the general handling. Following the Flight Director down to Heathrow's runway, I got within 40ft of touchdown, looked up and instinctively started to fly it like a light aircraft - mistake. We floated down the runway and I had to throw it away, open the taps and head for Luton where - I did the same trick again though this time, I got down to about 20ft before running out of tarmac and binning it. We were getting light on fuel by the time Stansted was on the nose so I nailed the dot to the cross hairs, picked up the ILS and didn't look up until we'd crossed the threshold. It didn't get us down on the numbers, but I turned off at the last exit without scrubbing the tyres. Not bad for a teenager!

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I collected the jury-rig bits for the disc assembly and had a few hours working out fits and clearances and then getting to grips with how to mount the caliper.

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I'd thought initially that I'd use the bolts on the hub carrier to attach a plate with a block drilled for the radial mount caliper but, I'm not confident of its rigidity. It wasn't a giant leap to realise that, utilising the hub as a base and bolting to it a block, machined to take the caliper, would make a better job of it.

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I'm trying to avoid any alteration to the existing casting - other than drilling a couple of holes in it. In order to get things to fit and make sure that the edge of the disc is in line with the edge of the disc pads, I'll have to add a bit to the disc diameter - 280 to 300mm.



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