Searching for the missing pieces
Still next thing had to be somewhere to do the work, a workshop had to be built. so it was going to be knife in the piggy bank time again.The Continuing Saga Of Acquiring And Rebuilding A Classic Microlight
Then out of the blue a phone call from an acquaintance, Andrew a flexwing flyer, “are you still after Tiger Cub bits? a cousin of mine has lots of stuff give him a ring”. A phone call later I’m over the moon: Bob (the cousin) seems to have most of the bits that I’m missing but in the past he has flown SP and landed her in cabbage patch at Woburn undamaged but it made a hell of mess of the cabbages. After a natter we make a date when we could meet up.
When speaking to Francis who I’ve met on and off for several years he mentioned he had in a box, fully inhibited, a Robin 440 ex Pathfinder that had only done 10hrs, I’d better check that piggy bank again.
Right ! make arrangements to get Norfolk to see Bob and later the same day to get round to see Francis This involved getting hold of Andrew as he is after an engine and Bob has one of those brand new still in a box and heading off.
We arrive well late but Bob’s long suffering wife is still waiting. the bits are scattered around three sheds and apart from the engine covered in humungus cobwebs. Still after delving in the debris of ages and looking at a little Scout that Bob has donated to Flixton Museum I find most of what I’m missing agree a price over the phone with Bob and head off to see Francis. On arrival we are greeted by Francis who shows us into a workshop to kill for, where we look at another good looking engine complete with reduction drive for which he asks a very reasonable price this is rapidly agreed and I head off to the pub with Andrew to sort out who is having what.
OK I now have a good basis for the project. I have an enthusiastic inspector. What I need now is somewhere to do the job. No way is this going to be a quick job ,I work 8 till 5, I’m about to be involved in a house move and I have a complete inability to ignore the siren calls from DF whenever the weather is flyable.
Now I need that workshop, luckily the garden is big enough. Right add to the list build workshop… Two months on, house move done with most rooms liveable, workshop built and complete enough to be used.
Its now time to get in touch with my inspector Gary to inspect the bits. Gary arrives, checks my paperwork then moves into the workshop. He sifts though my collection of parts dispensing wisdom, recommendations, enthusiasm and sharing reminiscences. After he has gone I hasten to write it all down, I feel that I have direction once more. I am well pleased that out of my heap of bits only a couple of minor parts are condemned as not fit for purpose and that Gary seems to approve of the way I propose going about things. Twelve months after first seeing the Ad its time to get stuck in.
First thing I need is a general plan on how to proceed. I already have a workbook set out on my computer( courtesy of Joan, it’s handy to have a Chartered Engineer on your side). In there I have listed all the parts that I have with their source. In other columns I can track the various stages of work of the jobs required for each part e.g.dismantle, clean/check, crack test, rebuild, paint, cover and a notes column in which I can click on a marker and bring up any remarks by Gary. Ain’t she a clever gal. As the plan is to replace all fixings with new and crack test all brackets and areas around holes I set out to play with my crack testing outfit. Wow that is pokey stuff in a confined space. Too much of that and you would be away with the fairies. Must be damn near as good as the stuff that’s allegedly behind some of the yarns on e-group.
For a while I have been looking for a 25ltr tank of decent quality as the originals seem impossible to find. A remark made at Popham comes to mind. Gordon at Thrusters had a surplus of 25ltr Thruster tanks a phone call reveals that he still has.
A journey to Ginge is called for, always a pleasant place to visit anyway. When we arrive Gordon isn’t there but he has left the tank out for us and a prowl around the factory shows us Gordon’s latest toy. The newest edition of his floatplane complete with retractable wheels and Jab engine.
I drive back trying to think of where I could fly one like it, that would be something. Now of course I have to design and get approval of a tank mount to withstand all the forces. After brainstorming with Joan I have a lot of ideas to offer to the airframe before taking it apart.