A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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06 May 2018

We Live In Exciting Times!

That's if you're excited by aeroplanes, cars and boats. There was a perfect flying day the other week so I popped along to the flying club to continue my PPL revalidation process. Flying for a test is never much fun and although it was gin-clear and smooth as silk, the cockpit load was 10 times more than I'm used to. And the amount of buttons and switches on all the nav-comm kit guaranteed that I would get in a muddle at some point. I didn't have that problem in the 737 because chap was there to do all the donkey work!

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Anyway, I've got the VOR procedures nailed but, identifying the beacon (each one has its own code which is transmitted in morse) is a bit primitive. We can speak to people on the other side of the world on our mobile phones and most of the time it's like speaking to someone in the next room. Not so with aircraft radios. I learnt to fly in 1980 and it seems there's been not the slightest advance in sound quality in nearly 40 years - it's still like being inside a cement mixer full of gravel.

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On the way back from collecting the Speed 20 wings - at 77" long, I just managed to fit them in my Peugeot 407 saloon but had to drive home with my nose on the windscreen - a tea break at Popham saw its resident Staggerwing rolled out and prepared for flight.

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The wings will need a lot of work but will save me a lot of trouble.

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The TA14 chassis and TD21 engine were delivered during the week. It's a huge project and I'm disciplining myself to planning and preparation only at this stage. With the bits and pieces came a full set of 18" (possibly Lagonda) wire wheels. They fit on the front hubs but the hubs on the TD21 rear axle are too short. I'm going to have to think of a mod - possibly new hubs - because the style of body I plan really needs the wheel height. The current wheels, complete with tyres have a diameter of 26" whereas the others have a 31" diameter - more in keeping with the Speed 20 wings. I'll draw up both options before making a decision.

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Peter popped by one evening to show me what he'd done with the speedboat drawings - here is the shape in Solidworks. We can now take a section at one of the frame stations and see what comes out of the CNC router.

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I've been busy completing the disc brake conversion on the Hillman. It's gone well so far and I've managed to achieve a tight and relatively unobtrusive installation with a weight saving of 2.6kg each side. I've got another set of back plates and, because their diameter is greater than the disc, I can weld on a 3" flange and hide the whole works.

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I got to the end of the job and found that the existing brake hoses were too short - they need another 5" to allow for full lock, so I haven't been able to bleed and test them yet.

Thrilling stuff!




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