23 January 2008

Like assembling a (big) model airplane

January 2008 After yet another round of delays clearing quarantine requirements, the beast was finally delivered to the assembly hangar and unpacked. I was pleased no damage had been incurred during its long journey from Lithuania. Its engine cowlings were removed for the quarantine inspection - in case any unwanted travellers had hitched a ride. Note the aircraft behind the beast is Lindsay Sinclair's Yak-52.

A small access hatch is visible on the top of the upper cowling. It provides access to the oil tank filler.

When I was a boy, I used to build plastic model aircraft. The disassembled vertical fin and fabric-covered rudder reminded me a lot about those plastic models. On occasion, I would end up with leftover parts after assembling a model. It wouldn't do for the same to happen with a real aircraft!

The horizontal fin and fabric-covered elevators are also reminiscent of a plastic model kit. Note the substantial greenish yellow arm with a large weight at the end of it. This is the elevator's mass balance. Its function is to change the natural frequency of the structure; which in turn, raises the structure's critical airspeed (at which flutter occurs) sufficiently far away from the operating speed range of the aircraft.

Looking from the front towards the rear, the massive bulk of the main wing spar to fuselage attachment point is testament to the need for the airframe to bear loads ranging from +8G to -5G. Note head of the wing attachment bolt at the left edge of the picture. The rest of the right wing is to the left.

In the foreground, the left rudder pedal's leather strap is visible. To its right, the black knob is for adjusting the rudder pedal position. Above the rudder pedal, the wing spar carry through with its layered doubler straps bolted together again gives some idea of the heftiness of the load bearing elements. Note the two yellow tanks in the background - they are the main and auxiliary fuel tanks.