10/8/2004 Received kit at dealership. Arranged delivery at
home at 5:00. My brother, Andy, nephew, Nick, and cousin Ronnie all helped
position kit in garage and helped remove lid. No manual in sight. Will start
removing from crate Sunday and doing inventory. (pics kit)
10/10/04 Took all day to inventory. Thanks to
Arlene for helping or it would have taken at
least 2 days by myself. She came to the house for tubing for the kites she
builds and I kept her working all day. Still
no manual. Will call Monday and see what up with that. (Hrs. 10)
Manual to be sent. Supermarine holds manuals till kit is sold so the latest and
greatest up dates are all up to date. Should have it in 10 days or so.
Made list of missing parts and sent it to Supermarine. Had 1 wheel scratched and
USA dealer, Craig Muth, quickly agreed to replace it. Ronnie noticed that the
wheel didnít have any way of getting air in it. No valve stem hole. Sent it
off to Craig. Afraid to touch
anything else until I get my manual.
Hot Damn! Got my manual. I'm off tomorrow so Iíll read it tonight and get
started in the morning. I'm so anxious now. Iíll need to reread this in a
couple of years when Iím sick of it.
Do this first it says. Good thing. Just happens to be exactly what I did. Remove
top, remove front, do inventory, inspect
parts. Went to Harbor freight and bought an engine stand for $35.00. sawed it in
half and put a 2x4 in it to make it taller. Made a Christmas tree stand to screw
to motor mount tabs in fuse. Used Miata top hanger to support rear of fuse. Now
fuse is at good height and rotates. Started doing some riveting as per manual.
Finished fuse rivets. Built control bellcranks. Test fitted, drilled mounting
holes, removed and cleaned holes, And riveted in. Built pushrod to specified
length and installed. It rubs hole in bulkhead. Will contact Supermarine about
this. Looks correct as per manual. But, Iím discovering that this manual is
vague on descriptions and instructions. Iíve worked all day and it still looks
the same. Glad that Iím not in a rush! (pic.
Building torque boxes. A couple of braces are missing. Theyíre simple standard
aluminum 90 degree angles that I can build. Have a couple of the wrong braces in
package instead. Supermarine agreed to send new ones, but I donít want to wait
and theyíre easy to build. Manual says to dimple belly pan and torque boxes as
per ďstandard procedureĒ. There must be more in that thing than I can find.
It says nothing about dimpling sheet metal thatís already installed. So I
contact John and Supermarine and he doesnít think I need to dimple. Manual
says I do. Sent another message to him about it and waiting for answer. The
answer on my pushrod rubbingÖJohn thinks I have the rear cross plate on upside
down. Manual says to line up holes for rudder cables. So I did. It will not fit
upside down and line up with these holes. I wonder if John as actually assembled
this plane? Going to send another e-mail on this. Installed torque boxes with
3/32 clecos and assemble tank support. Gonna just leave it there till I get an
answer on that dimpling.
like seat can be built anytime. Now's the time. Instructions donít say shit.
Hereís a drawing of the seat assembly. Thatís ok, but does it need dimpling?
Use any rivet I like? Drawing shows bolts outside, nuts inside. Pic shows the
opposite. Shouldnít make any diff., but consistency would be nice. Scotch
brite seat and prepare to assemble. Later..its late. (pics fuse)(hrs. 36)
about 15 rivets already in seat back. Flush rivets. So I guess thatís what
Iíll use. They look like 3/32 rivets, but kit didnít come with any of those,
so I guess Iíll drill 1/8th and use 1/8th flush rivets.
But to drill holes I must first drill out existing rivets to clean up holes and
prime surfaces. Map pocket trim is cut too short on one side to reach seat rim,
so I cut both ends to match edges of pocket. Drill, clean, prime, and rivet.
(pic seat)(hrs. 38)
New wheel shows up today. Still doesnít have hold for valve stem and
now Iím missing the locking ring off of it. BUT, its not all dinged up.
John says I don't need to dimple torque box mounting since wing panels will
cover it. So I test fit once again, drilled to 1/8th and riveted it in. They
look great. Finished rudder pedals. Manual and parts bag don't agree with
assembly. Manual says that master cylinders are to be installed now. Manual says
they are in rudder bag. They're not, and the parts list in the bag doesn't
account for them. I'll look elsewhere for them tomorrow. But wasn't hard to
figure out. Unless I go down in a spin in a few years, then I'll know I
did it wrong. (pics.fuse.)(It looks like this page will use this tab line from
now on). Spent a couple of hours messing with seat bottom. Not at all
satisfied with it fit. Some holes are drilled, some aren't. Seat nose is pre
drilled, but doesn't match seat bottom. Cant install it anyway until I install
rear spar. Test fitted rear wing spar doublers. Of course, the updated parts I
have does not match the Manual. So I trying to second guess the proper
installation of the doubler on the doubler. Finished off the seat back and map
pocket. I find I spend lots of time going back and forth through manual and
drawings to insure I do things correct. The manual doesn't satisfy me need of
detailed instructions so I look at every page trying to look at pics and of
other assemblies anywhere near the assembly I'm working on. I hate to find
out after I've installed something and must re-do. Moved back to cover on back
of fuse, under stab. Have 2 stab supports that are not in the manual. Sent
e-mail on where to put them. Got another part in the same bag that doesn't show
anywhere in manual. Will call Supermarine about that. (41hrs.)
Mounted main spar. All holes lined up perfectly. Didn't even have to ream out
the three holes that was suggested. Was a big job for one man. Tried to recruit
wife, but she had other plans. So with a little balancing on the trash can on
one end and a bar stool on the other. I got it after about an hour. then I spent
an other hour looking up torque specs for the spar bolts. The manual just torque
to specs. You would think they would put that spec in the manual, but I guess
its a military secret. I contacted Supermarine for the spec. I'll torque it down
after I get that info.(43 hrs.)
Spent all day taking unnecessary smog parts off 20B. Lots of stuff on those
things. Have decided not to run turbos. I should have ample power without them.
Weight will be within 25 pounds of Isuzu V6 that Supermarine is testing now. But
I will have an extra 40 hp. even without the turbos. Need help in splitting
shaft on 20B for overhaul. Done lots of 13B's but never seen inside a 20B
Finally had to clean shop before I could continue. I don't count those hours in
my build time). Rear spar was next. That looked like a hour job. Nothing to it.
I am so full of crap! Building a plane goes slower than I anticipated. Good
thing I really enjoy doing it. I can see how some people give up after a short
time. I took me over an hour just to remove the plastic covering off the aft
spar parts! I used a heat gun and that speeded up the process, or I would still
be doing that process. Cleco all the parts together and am satisfied with trial
fit. Drill all the holes 1/8 and cleco as I go. Finish drilling, remove all
clecos, clean up holes, scotchbrite all parts, etch prime everything,
re-assemble all parts with clecos, check dihedral, feel good enough to rivet.
This little 1 hour operation took 5 hours. (55hrs.)(pics
Spent 2 hrs. in shop. Installed the right aft spar doubler. Cleco'd on, drilled
remaining 3/32 holes. Almost doubled the doubler with part# 270. That # doesn't
show up in manual. Its a duplicate to #223 so I thought it was for extra
reinforcement. I had it cleco'd up and fixin' to rivet, then I noticed the
little holes a little further back in the fuse that kinda matched these I'm
fixin to rivet. this #270 is a doubler for the REAR seat belt attachment. Once
again, poor manual descriptions almost cost me some grief. So I take 270 off.
Drill the rest of it 1/8tn\h, remove, prime, re-install and rivet. Have decided
to do the door next for easier access to the rest of these internal fuse parts.
Now that I have put the main spar in, I cant rotate it enough for easy
access.(57hrs.) (pics. are coming I promise)
11/03/2004 Installing supports around
door opening. Do a couple of trial fits and drill and re-cleco. Looking at what
IM going to cover up. Hmmm, there's a cable or two under there. The trim cable
and the rudder cables. Look to find those items in manual. Can find the rudder
cable routes and how to hook up there ends. Can find where to hook up the trim
cable on the elevator. I must look too hard for the obvious. Cant find where
those long PVC tubes go. Obvious to me that they are rudder cable sleeves. So
that's where they're going, inside the fuse along the rudder cable path. trim
cable will be mounted before I put on door support trim. I've sent e-mail to
John about those PVC tubes to confirm.
For anyone reading this construction process please take
note: I sound a little derogatory on my building process. My intent is to give
some insight to anyone that might build the Supermarine Spitfire. I spend a lot
of time going back and forth through the manual looking for information that's
just not there. I have never built an airplane before and I may be expecting too
much. I like a set of instructions that go into every detail. Of course that may
take a manual 10" thick. I've inspected other manuals on other kits being
built around Lubbock and it looks like they get about the same information.
Vague. But I must commend Supermarine with very quick turnaround time on
questions. I usually e-mail at night and my answer is there in the morning. they
send pics when needed and have been extremely helpful in most all cases. I'm
very pleased with the fit of the kit so far, and apparently there is enough info
in the manual to build it...I'm doing it.
The pics come slow. I have to do them on a different
computer and prefer spending the time on the kit.
Anyway, time on supports around door, drilling holes for
cable, studying, installing rudder cable tubes, trial fitting, and priming and
refit. 4hrs. And I rivet tomorrow after John gets back to me on those
Worked on plane from 2:00 till 7 today. Finished up the port rear spar doublers
and rear seat harness doublers. Finished map pocket and fuse bracing around
door. I was pre-bitchin' about manual not stating to install trim cables. Its
there..... duhhh. Cut out the upper stringer. Man that makes a lot of
difference! I can get to places in there now. Got my e-mail back tonight from
John on that control rod hitting the bulkhead. Another small discrepancy in
manual. He e-mailed new pic and its totally different than manual. So I have to
drill out rivets and remount cross member. I will wait for his opinion on how to
do this without impairing structural integrity. Don't look like I got much
accomplished in 5 hours, but I worked steady all day. Each part was drilled
and cleco'd, drilled 1/8th, dismantled, cleaned, primed, cleco'd back together
and riveted. I cant friggin believe that I'm enjoying this! (66 hrs)
Got my e-mail back from john this morning on how to re position rear cross
member. Shouldn't be a problem. But I think I'll continue working inside the
cockpit before I move on to the crossmember.
11/07/2004 Worked on hatch covers for about 1 hour this morning. Had to stop on those. Have to order some more tools. That short little tool list that's recommended is short a few critical items. Dimpler, solid rivet masher, counter sink bit, so far. So I go to the rear and start installing stab plate and braces. Got it all cleco'd in. Cant rivet it in yet until I drill rear pivot arm crossbrace and relocate it. So, Its beautiful outside, think I'll charge up and go fly some RC for a few hours.
Back to Spit. Start on door again. Trial fit about 30 times, but I want it perfect. All cleco'd together but tired out after about 3 hours of messin' around with one door. And I haven't got the plastic off or drilled 1/8th yet! But, it sure fits nice! (71 hrs)
11/10/2004 Spent 3 hours trying to decode manual enough to trial fit center section ribs. Manual part #'s don't match marked #'s. Not too hard to figure out, if I figured it out right. Sent e-mail to Supermarine to confirm my assembly. All of this is only to align aft spar. Once I rivet it in, all of the ribs come back off. Then I go back inside cockpit and finish seats, trim levers, landing gear controls, and yoke. I'm off work tomorrow so I will spend lots of time on the Mighty Spit then. (74 hrs)
11/12/2004 Supermarine got back to me this
morning. Sure enough, they updated the rib assemblies but haven't updated the
manual to match. Anyway, I get the aft spare lined up by using their measurements.
Then to double check, I use a plumbob to make sure the fuse is level. Then I use
a laser to make sure my floor is level. Then I measure the tip of the main spar
to the floor. Its dead level. Then I measure the aft spar to the floor to make
11/14/2004 Dimpled two seat lower brackets.
Drilled lower seat parts 1/8th , cleaned and primed and riveted all brackets on
lower seat brackets. Prepared seat hinge for assembly. Prepared seat
runners. Dimpled all hatch covers, installed nuts, primed, and installed 3 hatch
cover is fuse. Got 1/2 way through assembling trim levers. (90 hrs)
11/17/2004 Spent a couple of hours assembling throttle and trim levers. Another case of trial and error. Friction knob came with nut installed in it. Manual says to install nut on base. cant have it both ways. I took nut out of friction knob and ran bolt through it to nut mounted on back. Manual doesn't tell you where to install washers, penny washer, or the spare bolts and nuts in the bag. Its on and looks good. Gonna call it right and go on.( controls pics)(94hrs)
11/21/2004 Spent 3 hours on turtle-deck stiffeners. Drilled them all 3/32 and cleco'd everything on. Still have to drill 1/8, clean and prime, and dimple. O yeah, and pull off all that frickin' tape. Gonna have to rivet something pretty quick, running out of cleco's. Went back to work on door for the rest of the afternoon. That was about 4 more hours. I drilled the door 1/8th, disassembled, cleaned holes, primed, dimpled braces and outer edges, and reassembled with 1/8th clecos. Now I still have to wait on dimple tool to dimple middle of the door skin. Its back-ordered at Aircraft Spruce. Loren Sharp of the local EAA chapter came by to give me a few pointers. Sure glad he did. He made some suggestions that sure will save me some grief in the future. Plus he may have a dimpler I can use till mine comes in. (101 hrs)
11/25/2004 Drilled all the turtle deck skins and stiffeners to 1/8th. Removed them all from fuse. Their fit on the factory drilling is excellent. I was surprised how tight and perfect the factory hole alignment is. Finished building door. Fit is excellent but door latch will not work as it comes from factory. total rod movement is only 6 centimeters. The handle itself doesn't allow enough travel, and the rod brackets are not wide enough. The spring binds at 7 centimeter. Waiting for e-mail on that. My brother came over and helped me dimple the belly of the fuse so I can start installing seats and Joy stick. Manual says joystick shouldn't have any slack. It does. Says distance between front spar and front seat bulkhead should be 10.5 inches, it is. Parts bag isn't consistent with parts on drawing. E-mail on this too. Install rudder tubes with new specs, and put rudder cables in them. Must get step drill bit to install delrin bushings. its hard to believe the time I've already spent on this thing. Time really flies when your having fun. Still enjoying every minute of it. (108 hrs.)
11/28/2003 Spent the first 3 hours this morning with the intentions of installing the seat. I have the supports cleco'd in. I tested the flap tube that runs through the supports for clearance. I've riveted in the control rod cover. But that seat is about 1/2" off. I assembled it completely on the bench, but when I cleco it to the belly, it all moves back and wont line up. Will send Supermarine pics tomorrow and see what they have to say. Trial fit the joystick tube also. its also off about 3/8". I must have something screwed up. Haven't riveted yet, so its adjustable. Installed the new delrin rudder cable eyelet's. Finished re-installin the rear crossmember and pushrod. It all clears now and looks right. Mounted the master cylinders on the rudder pedals and finished bolting up rudder pedal assemblies. (117 hrs.)
12/05/2004 Well, was sick most of last week so I didn't get anything done. Felt back to normal today so back to it. Started this morning on seat again. long story short. It ain't gonna work. e-mail SM for a custom cut seat bottom if they will do such a thing. If they do I'll post so and if it worked. Something's gotta change or I WILL have to install a lawn chair!
That took about an hour to give in that I need new parts. So I move to the wind screen. I drill out temporary rivets and remove sheet metal and chrome molly frame. Sand and paint the frame. Now go to the wind screen parts bag and get windscreen. Damn! there's a big ole gouge in it. I didn't catch it on the inventory, so I might have to eat it. Anyway, I'm not putting it in today. Move on to the cute little air scoops on the top of the fuse. Got everything ready, The screws are 3/16...the anchor nuts are 8/32. Not doing that today either. So I move on to the fuel tank cover. Ted (builder in Australia) warned me that this is about like the seat. Be careful. Measure 3 times drill once. So I'm so careful measuring, drilling, riveting, dimpling. Tapping 30 holes. Bout crapped when I tried to install it the final time. Didn't fit worth a crap! What's up with this? I'm gonna have to start looking in my underwear for shit cause I'm apparently not smart enough to tell without looking! Andy (brother) comes over to borrow his battery charger back and helps me try to install this thing. Get this. It will fit, and fits pretty darn good. IF you install the screws in a certain order. And not just simply top to bottom, or criss cross. We had to start at the right front, then right rear, then rear center top and down the left side. then forward down the left side. I still have to take this thing off and prime it. Hope I can remember how to install it again. I do wonder if temperature has anything to do with the fit. Its cold in the garage. I do have to heat it up tho to get all that tape off. (125 hrs)
12/09/2004 Spent a couple of hours on the fuel tank cover again. I've about wore out the screws trying to make this fit nice. Too late. I think I'll have to get another one. Its on and its really not too bad. Its just not as nice as I would like it. Wanted to install gas cap cover, but manual doesn't show what part #'s to use. The hatch parts bag shows to have 2 fuel cap covers. Wonder what the 2nd one is for? Wonder if this the right bag in the first place? Wonder why there's not any part #'s in the manual showing the right part to install? will e-mail for those answers.
Got the new lever in for the right side controls. I checked to make sure the counter sink was on the right side. It is. So I drill it, scotch brite it, clean it, prime it, paint it (3 coats). While it dries I disassemble the control assembly to remove the lever that has the countersink on the wrong side. I take the know off the old lever to install on the nice new painted lever. Damn! the know doesn't fit. The lever is wider where the knob fits. O well, I can grind it down to fit. Now of course I have to repaint where I ground it down. Then I install it in the new control mechanism. Not hard to do but does take about an hour. Get it all finished up, move the levers side by side....the knobs hit...hard. This will not work. The angle of the bend is way less than the old lever. Well, like they say in China....Fuck! Guess I will take it apart, again, and put lever in vise and try to bend it. Of course I'M sure I'll screw up my pretty paint job. It can be redone. I'm glad I took a couple of hours today to fly my combat kite in a 30 mph wind. It was a Blast! And I feel like accomplished SOMETHING today.(130 hrs)
12/12/2004 Took apart the lever on the right side. Bent it into shape. Didn't even crack. Re installed assembly and all is well. Decided to mess with that seat again. Remember back on 11/12, I discussed the seat assembly sequence. Well, my problem with the seat has been my sequence. I wanted to put the two seat brackets in first and fit the seat bottom to them. And they were way off as I said before. So today, I figure what the hell...I ain't got nothin' to loose by just doing it different. So I mounted the brackets to the seat bottom first and pushed the assembly down between the aft spar and the front bulkhead. Couldn't believe it! Just kinda fell in and lined right up! Spent about 4 hours on it and just ran outa gas. My one little hot dog at lunch is used up and I have to get regassed before I can finish. Its all riveted in except the belly pan. And its all cleco'd just waiting for rivets. So progress was made once again even though I was pre-bitchin about the parts not fitting. Great feeling of accomplishment today after the seat fit. Building an airplane has been very rewarding. I'm anxious to get back at it Monday! (135 hrs)
12/16/2004 Started this morning around 10.00am. Finished riveting in pilot seat to belly of fuse. All fit excellent. I'm still amazed about this. Nevertheless, its in and in right. So next I move to the rear seat. this also takes lots of trial fitting. Its nothing like the front since its only two parts, but it is a tight fit. I drill 3/32 and cleco in. The trick is to cleco in from the front and move to the back. I had to trim very little off each side too so it would sit low enough to match up with the rear pre drilled holes. removed it several times for the fit I wanted. Drilled it 1/8th, cleaned up all the holes and primed. Had to stop for a couple of hours and build a table and chair setup, and a toy box for the granddaughter for Christmas.
Spent about 5 hours on this part. Did notice that the next step is to install the passenger seat back. It says to rivet in. But the bulkhead is cut out for nuts. Plus the bottom nuts are mounted where the rear seat bottom rivets in. Something doesn't add up here. hurry up and sent an e-mail to Supermarine, but they should be closed till Jan 10th or so, so I might not get an answer. Lots of fun though! I recommend it for everyone! (140 hrs)
12/19/2004 Back to the rear seat. Supermarine got back with me and agreed that anchor nuts should be installed in rear seat back. So I installed all the nuts and built the rear seat back. Still have to drill back to match up holes for screws. Moved on to landing gear cables. Once again, the manual doesn't tell how to mount the cable bracket. It can go two ways. Of course I install it incorrect the first time. This only took an hour for this endeavor. You have to remove all the nuts off the cable, and the seals, install the little bearing on the end, cleco the bracket on the fuse and cleco on the control levers. By the way, the manual don't tell you that you should cleco the levers and the cables and the bracket all at one time. If you rivet in the levers first it will be hell to install the cable bolt. Lucky for me that I just happened to do it that way. Anyway, I install the whole thing and discover that the cables lack about 1/4" reaching the full 75mm travel. (75mm travel is the only hint you get on correct installation). So I remove the whole contraption, turn the cable bracket around, re cleco back in and measure. Works fine now. Remove the whole contraption again, install seals, install cable bolts, cleco in and measure again. Cool, its right. Rivet in, check travel again, its right. Now piss and moan that I had to do the same job twice just because of lack of info. The lever job was about 2 hours total. Back to the rear seat bottom. Riveted it in. All fit well except flanges against fuse sides. My local EAA expert, Loren Sharp, comes by weekly to check my progress and quality of work. He suggested to put a solid piece of aluminum under those flanges to get a tight fit. That will be later. Have to go get the aluminum. So back to the air vents. I rivet on the anchor nuts (those were the wrong size if you remember, but there were 2 extra in the seat back bag that were the right size) Prime it all real good since water could get stuck in here. Rivet on scoops. Cut correct holes in Plexiglas and trim to miss windscreen frame. Install Plexiglas with lots of silicone since the rivets through the scoop hold the Plexiglas away from the fuse about 1/8th. Nothing said about that in manual (imagine that). let dry for a few days and install vent. Gonna be busy this next week, so probably cant get back to plane till next Sunday. (149hrs)
12/26/2004 Got started on the Spit about 11:00 a.m. this morning. Cut some 1/8th spacers to go under the seat where it attaches to fuse. The tabs are pre bent and they were a little short to get perpendicular to the fuse sides. The spacers worked excellent. Moved on the passenger seat back. I was worried about the holes lining up after I drilled them to the correct size. Some of my buddy's came over Christmas Day to look at the project and looked at what I was talking about and came up with an unanimous decision that the holes were ok if just drill them right where the pilot holes are. So that's what I did today and sure enough, everything lined up fine. So its bolted on now also. Next was the seat belt anchors. The manual shows two different pics for examples. Neither one show the spacers that come in the parts bag. Parts bag has 4 large penny washers that are too big to line up with hole to mount to the fuse. One manual pic shows to use the penny washer, the other pic doesn't show one. Back to the guessing game. I installed the spacers on the end the belts will hood to. I didn't use any penny washers. Will have pics on "seat" soon. Next was the fuel tank trial fit. All of that went pretty smooth except any explanation of installing anchor nuts to the underside of the tank mounts. Book says nothing. Parts bag came with anchor nuts and its own rivets. Even though the rivets are not long enough to go through the spacers, mount and the two stainless brackets behind the motor mount. All the rivets will do is hold the anchor nuts in place, so I choose to drill to 1/8 and install supplied rivets without them going all the way through. They seem to hold fine. I still lack the rear tank mounts, but I'm wore out today. That will have to be later. (157 hrs.)
12/30/2004 Got in about 5 hours work on the plane today. Built the elevator pushrod that runs under the seat. Bolted it to the center pivot arm. Don't have the bolt to mount it to the joystick. Nor instructions of where it should be, nor pics or drawings of how it should mount up. I can see it will need some kind of spacers. O well, will mail Supermarine after the `15th when they get back to work. Decided to mount the door and make latch work. only mounted with two rivets in case I want to remove it. Works great. Painted it while I was at it. Fits real nice. Messed with tank mounts. The rear ones don't fit like I like. When the plastic wedge plates are used, the mount sits at an angle. The plastic just isn't thick enough. Plus the supplied bolts aren't long enough without the angle. I'm making my own spacers. Will do pics if they work. Was hoping I would get a new windscreen by now. Guess they may not send it till after Jan 15th. I'm getting caught up with the fuse section. Windscreen would be nice right now. Turned the manual to chapter two. Remounted ribs and leading edges. Manual shows to put stiffeners on ribs. No part#'s in manual or on stiffeners. I found some but don't know if they go to the ribs. Must be cut to fit. Scared to use them until I find out. Guess that will wait till the 15th too. Laid a couple of wing stiffeners across ribs. They must be joggled before I can install them. Gonna ask one of the locals how to do that. Maybe Sunday on that. Must joggle some ribs too. But all the center section ribs are temporarily installed. again. Doesn't seem like much accomplished in 5 hours. Getting to a spot of hurry up and wait, (162 hrs)
1/13/2005 Just an update. Holidays done, I'm eager to get back at Spit. But just cant do anything till that windshield gets here. I'm thinking, go get the lexan and build one since it looks like Supermarine didn't send one before they closed. So Monday I go to Bowers plastics. They tell me that its no problem. Will even cut it out for me if I will wait till Tuesday. All for 45 bucks. Hot damn! that will work, so I say go for it. Tuesday...sorry, didn't have the stuff in stock will Wednesday or Thursday. Fine. So I call today...looks like it will be Monday. Figures. Supermarine will be back open Monday, but even if they ship it out Monday it could be another week before it gets here. I'll give Bowers till Monday I guess. Ordered and arbor press and a sheet metal break last week. Today the press comes in, the break is backordered. Ruck me funnin....Needed that break to go ahead and do turtle deck. (Also gave up on pushrod bolts and went to airport and bought some, so I could go ahead and install turtle deck.) Guess that's delayed too. So that's about it. 30 days gone without much work.
1/16/2005 worked a whoppin' 10 hours on plane today. Bolted in the pushrod with the right bolts, so I can install the turtle deck. Figured that would take a couple of hours. as usual, 10 hours later Im not finished. And all went well. Vacuumed the metal filings out of the fuse. Then cleaned up and sanded and painted the sheet metal brake I borrowed. Was a little rusty and I didn't want my nice new aluminum mashed in it the way it was. Bent the lip on the lower side of each of the three turtle deck skins. Dimpled all the turtle deck skins and the stiffeners. That's a lot of dimpling! I hammered enough holes today to make Hugh Heffner jealous! I turned a simple job into a major one. Nothing in the manual said where to drill the holes in the stiffeners. Looked like to me the closer I got the hole to the "C" channel, the stronger it would be. What I didn't think about is the dimpler tool wont fit if its drilled that close. I've already drilled all the turtle deck stiffeners. So I had to use a nail and the hand rivet gun on each and every hole. The plus is, I do believe it is stronger this way. Got all the turtle decks cleco'd in and primed. The biggest time consumer and the toughest part of today...pullin' off that frickin tape! My fingers are so sore I wont be able to pick my nose for a week! Maybe I'll have a windscreen tomorrow. (172 hrs.)
1/20/2005 Was 75 degrees today and no wind. Spent most f the day flying combat. But got back on the plane for a couple of hours late. Finished clecoing on the turtle deck and the rear glass frame. Studied the landing gear to be familiar with the assembly. Must email Supermarine tonight to find out about the turtle deck. Was told by Geoff not to rivet the turtle deck. But the manual (which doesn't say exactly when to rivet it) is saying in the first chapter to rivet the rear windscreen. It rivets to the turtle deck. So something not adding up. Still don't have front windshield. One coming from Supermarine and another being built at Bowers Plastics. If Bowers not ready tomorrow I'll blow them off. After all, they said one day...Monday it will be two weeks. (174hrs)
1/23/2005 Well, spent about 4 hours on Spit today. Geoff had told me earlier that the bolt that holds the elevator rod to the joystick had 2 spacers and some washers. I was thinking that was for the ailerons. Mainly because it had two bolts. I took pics for him to determine, but impatience got to me, I installed one bolt and the spacers and washers so the joystick-elevator rod assembly could be finished. Now I have an extra bolt and 2 castle nuts that go somewhere. I keep all the extra bolts and nuts in a special box and mark where they came from, so later down the line I can double check these assemblies...just in case. Primed all the leading edge ribs, and installed stiffeners and primed outboard wing stub ribs. That was about it in four hours. Still waiting on windscreen, 2nd answer on turtle deck, answer on landing gear. Now I'm having trouble figuring out how the landing gear is to be done. Mine came assembled. So now I must disassemble it to get it through the wing spar. So Now I must remove the lock nuts. Not sure how many times its safe to spin locknuts on and off. Plus the bolts aren't long enough to show the 2 threads outside the nut like the FAA requires. Plus I cant get the assembly apart. It has a tube inside a tube. the small one with the wiper must come out and I cant get it out. Will see what Geoff says and try to spend all day Thursday back on it. (178hrs)
1/30/2005 Well, ended up with the flu again Tuesday night so that stopped any work Thursday, but got going again today. Took the landing gear over to a buddy's shop to weld on the stiffeners that were sent as an update. He dismantled the gear for me. It was pre-assembled and I couldn't get it apart. I was just too tender, he used a bigger hammer. Tig welded the little braces on and all is well. Got home and removed all the wing stub ribs again. Drilled holes for landing gear on both sides. Bolted gear up on both sides and adjusted the locking pin. All fit very well. Pulled all the tape off the rest of the wing stub ribs just cause I can't do much else till the frickin windshield gets here. Guess I'm gonna have to eat plastic cups and shit one! (184hrs.)
2/03/2005 Still a bit under the weather, but got my windshield in. I'll be damned if I wasn't going to at least get it started. Drill it all 3/32 and clecoed in. Lots of trial fitting before drilling. Looks good so far. Got a few pics of granddaughter in plane. (187hrs.)
2/04/2005 Drilled windshield and frame 1/8th. Dimpled windshield frame. Counter sunk holes in lexan windshield. Primed outside and inside. painted inside flat black. Will wait for help Sunday to install because use of lots of silicone. want help for alignment. Got seat belts from Aircraft Spruce. Will install them Sunday too I hope. (189hrs)
02/06/2005 Today was the day to install the windscreen. Was afraid to do this by myself since I had to use lots of silicone. Was afraid I would have an uncontrolled mess. So My brother came over and gave me a hand. It took us about one hour and a half to get it all clecoed and riveted in. I use all his spare time before the Superbowl. I also finished off the yoke assembly. Received the spacer and new bolt for final installation so I finished it off today. Then moved on to cleaning cockpit and painting the interior. Finished bolting up landing gear braces. Removed turtle deck again and trimmed so all three match on the bottom. Finished up by tapping the eight bolt holes in the windshield frame, installing the wedge plates. and bolting it up. (195hrs)
02/10/2005 Had a couple of ours last night to work on plane. Scotchbrite the starboard wing ribs and got them primed. Same for the rear landing gear brace. Discovered that since I have installed the landing gear support brackets and the switch plates, now I must remove the switch plates to get to the rivets in one of the ribs. Manual only has a drawing of this process. Would have been another great place for installation sequence. (197hrs)
2/17/2004 Spent about 4 hours on plane today. Finished priming all the wing sup ribs. Built both aft landing gear supports. Rivited in aft port ribs. Ted is going to factory and taking a zillion pics and will wend me copies. This should be extremely helpful. He said Supermarine is re-making the manual right now. Writing it as they build a plane. Good plan. Ted also informed me that I need to remove the turtle deck, pull out the rudder cables and hang weight on them for an hour to pre-stretch them. Sure glad I haven't rivited on that turtle deck. Nothing about this in the first chapter building the fuse and installing the cables. Ted says its in the back of the manual with final adjustments. Would be nice to have it mentioned before installing the cables to begin with. Its like teaching your kid to crap....then mentioning...o yeah....ya need to drop your drawers FIRST! O well, new manual in the works (201hrs.)
02/20/2005 Spent 8 hours on plane today. Was pretty disappointed with my results. Riveted in the aft spar ribs on both sides. The inboard ribs lacked about 1/8th inch in length to fit to the rear spar like I think they should, so I built an 1/8th spacer for both sides and it fits fine now. As I'm working on the landing gear and cable assembly, which is not mentioned in the manual again after installing the cable to the levers, so its all guess work except for a drawing or two, I discover some grommets that should have been mentioned back with the levers. So I disassemble what I've done with the cables and install these grommets. Once again a 10 minute job now takes 30 min. Also the Springs and rubber covers come in a bag listed "trim cable" So I search for a bit, looking at anything attached to the elevator trim cable to see if any of this stuff really goes to the trim cable. Sure enough, the little bearing housing and nuts for the trim cable to attach to the trim lever is in there. But, I finally decide the springs and rubber boots go to the gear cables. I have to remove the existing seals off the cables to get the spring and boot to fit. Hope this is right and and update isn't going to tell me not to do it this way. At the same time any instruction would be nice. The manual says to remove the landing gear during the rib installation, but nowhere do I find when to reinstall it. So I'm afraid not to install everything now before A flip the fuse over. So I'm going to continue installing the gear assemble. Thought I would be finished with that today, but that ain't happenin'. I'm searching the manual now for how to install the micro-switches. Lucky I have communication with Ted (building one of these in Australia) He warned me just in time not to finish installing the outer ribs on the wing stubs, which I planned on doing today as the manual instructed. Ted says I will have to use these ribs later on the outer wings for alignment. Kinda like my rudder cables huh! Ted did tell me that Supermarine has another manual on CD now and one is being sent to me, so I'm gonna wait till it gets here before I go any further. Maybe it will be some help. I also understand that Supermarine is building a kit from scratch and making another manual as they go. I hope they get an average dumb-ass like me to ask questions as they go. Its just not the same if you already know what the parts are and where they go. (209hrs)
2/27/2005 Worked on landing gear cables. Thought I would install switches while everything was easy to get to...but cant find any instructions on installing the wiring harness or the switches. So I cut a few stiffeners and primed them. Adjusted landing gear cables to where I think they look good. Made some measurements for installing the leading edge but haven't locked it in yet. Drilled the wheels for the valve stem and install the tires on the wheels. (212hrs.)
3/03/2005 Cut all the top aft stiffeners. primed, drilled 3/32, clecoe'd in place. Doubled all the port side. Drilled and clecoe'd leading edges in place. Messed with starboard landing gear. The locking pin doesn't engage very smooth. Port side works great. Will contact Supermarine for suggestions. (218hrs.)
3/06/2005 Today I drilled all the rear stiffeners. Put double stiffeners on port side. Got them all drilled 1/8th and dimpled and primed. Still need to rivet. Riveted in leading edge and front ribs. Had to remove rear landing gear support plate on the port side due to it being about 3 /16 too far back for the top skins to line up on. So replaced brackets and repositioned into place. Once again the words are much shorter than the actions (224hrs)
3/13/2005 Kind of a disheartening day. Had everything ready to temp install top center-section skins. Installed all the stiffeners, worked the landing gear pins so they're smooth now. But the skins were shipped incorrect. I've got two port and no starboard. They're identical except for the leading edge bend. Both of mine go the same way. Damn! Not gonna get to turn her over. So fine, I'll look for something else to do. Build the axle and brake setup looks good. Got one built and the brake disk was binding in the caliper. Took it back apart and filed on the caliper where it was rubbing on the leg bracket. It made the caliper bind and sit at an angle. Filed it off and it works great. So I go to the other one.....damn....one of the calipers is wrong. So now I'm hung up waiting for parts All of this took 8 hrs. So now I've got to find other stuff to do till the parts get here. (232hrs)
3/17/2005 Well, had the day off and planned on some progress on the Spit. Spent most of the day in regress fixin' shit the manual misled me to incorrect assembly. And maybe its just me. On page 93, that's the first page of the center section, it does say to fit up wing skins but DO NOT rivet. This allows maximum access for as long as possible. But it DON'T say to use the skins as a template for lining up all the ribs. That would be nice. The next several pages show how to set the ribs, joggle the stiffeners, assemble the landing gear. page 102 shows how to line up the leading edge spar and how to make sure its symmetrical. Which by the way I spent a lot of time on to make sure it was perfect. Then it says to rivet in the leading edge spar. Then page 103 it shows mounting the aft spar stay and mounting end brackets to the stiffeners. It shows all of this riveted. So I get all this procedure done and prepare to drill the stiffeners and ribs for the top skin. I must assume this is the next procedure since this chapter kind of just stops and goes on to turn the fuse over. As I'm drilling the aft ribs and stiffeners all goes well, but as I get to the front the ribs don't line up with the pilot holes in the wing skin. Looks like all the measuring for the leading was a waste of time. Now I must drill out the rivets in the leading edge spar and move it up, which pushes the ribs out, for everything to line up. Not too big of a deal, just pisses me off to have all the "extra" holes in my fuse. O well, that's the way it is so I move on. Drilled out the rivets in the leading edge and move it up and everything comes right into line. Cool....but wait there's more! I notice all the pilot holes where there's not a rib. Damn! did I miss a rib??? O no...I missed a false rib that should have been installed before I riveted in the stiffeners. Fuck me runnin'....why the hell was this not mentioned I'll never know. As I go back and look at the drawing, it shows them. But nowhere in the instructions are they mentioned in the buildup process. So Now I have to drill out the stiffeners to install the false ribs. I would prefer to install them up somebody's ASS! So now I'm pissed off and move on to something else. While I was installing the landing gear cables a while back I came across the eyelet and bolts and washers for the trim cable. ( in the landing gear bag...wondered where it might be) But guess what. The frickin bolt wont fit between the trim lever and the fuse. As I look back it was never mentioned to get this bolted in before the levers are assembled, or mounted to fuse. I guess I will have to drill out the rivets that mount the fucker, install the bolt, and rivet it back in. another wasted day. Might as well look around for other parts I should have installed. Found a bag with 2 1-136 tip stiffeners. I've looked everywhere in manual and they're not mentioned. Great. wonder what I must disassemble now to get them in. Will e-mail Supermarine and hope I get an answer sometime this week. E-mails answers have become slow lately, adding to my frustration. I did get the passenger footrest clecoed in without any problems. I have to take my wing skin and get it rolled the other way. Supermarine says this is no big deal, and will save me quite a bit of time not waiting on one to get here from Australia. So that's on the list to do Sunday. I'm p.o.'d now so I'm stoppin' on the Spit and gonna go play with my RC cars. No worries tho. Still enjoying the build even with the little problems. Still impressed with the fit of the kit. But will take joy when I'm finished in burning the friggin manual! (238hrs)
3/20/2005 Well, well, today a much better day. Took the mis-bent top skin to the race car shop and had the leading edged bent the other direction. I'm not totally satisfied with the shape. Just not identical to the factory bent side. Wont be riveting the skin on before O'Sullivan shows up so I think I'll get his opinion. Welded the landing gear brackets while we were there. They look nice. The false rib problem...they are split to install them without removing the stiffeners. See, I was pre-bitchin again. But...they still wouldn't fit. Apparently the original kits had "L" shaped stiffeners. And the ribs, and false ribs are designed to fit around them. Since then it looks like they have switched to a "C" channel. No problem with that except the false ribs don't fit around them as installed. Supposed to mount stiffeners with the "C" forward which I did. But, If I mount them backwards, the false rib fits right in. So I drilled out the stiffeners, turned them around and re-mounted them and all worked quite well. Got all the top wing skins clecoed in on the fuse. Drilled about half the holes in the ribs. Still don't have an answer on where part # 1-136 goes. I can see it goes on the trailing edge, outboard rib. But I have already finished that spot. So looks like I will have to do it again with these parts. Had some of the local EAA guys over today helping me out. Lorne installed clecoes while I drilled which sped things up. Jim came up with a good idea for mounting that trim cable without drilling out the whole lever system. I hate to put this in print...but I'm going to. You must understand that he's built planes before, and he's building on now, so that how he came up with this brilliant idea. He suggested a shorter bolt. Man, those airplane guys are smart! Goes to show, you shouldn't continue on a project when your mind ain't right. I figure when I finish being stupid, I'll stop being stupid. But right now I'm still practicing being stupid till I get it right. I'm ready to flip the fuse now. Will do that some time this week when I recruit enough help. (246hrs.)