Friday, March 16, 2012

Sandia Airpark, Albequerque, NM

5 May, 2012

I stopped at Sandia Airpark because when I had posted the idea of this trip on the Kolb forum, Dennis Kirby immediately replied, offering assistance and hospitality.  This was the start of many such offers of welcome and assistance.

When I was off-loading the aircraft, one ramp slipped off the trailer and dumped the aircraft onto the ground on it's side .......hard......  The impact damaged the pod, broke the pod mountings, and broke the tailpost.....   It was going to need a good TIG welder to repair the pod mounts, and a lot of work to remove the fabric on the vertical stab to replace the tailpost, then re-cover and paint....a real problem, especially with no workshop.  While I was pondering the dilemma and feeling very depressed, Stacy and Candy arrived and listened to my sad story.  Stacy said, "...I have a complete machine shop in my hangar, bring it down there..."  And she does have a COMPLETE machine shop, and what's more she really knows how to use it all.  It was really fascinating to watch her assess the work to be done and make her plan.  She did a very fine job of TIG welding that thin wall tubing without damaging the adjoining fabric.  I patched the pod with some body putty and then she quickly set up a mini spray booth and did a re-paint job that's better than it was originally.  Then with her hydraulic press she very skilfully bent up a stainless steel doubler for the tailpost.  I know how difficult it is to get the radius and alignment just right for such a piece, and this one is just perfect.  Then of course she just had to polish it, and the result is beautiful, looks like it belonged there from new.  With that doubler bolted and riveted over the broken piece, it's now stronger than original.

A couple of days later I was having trouble taxiing straight, and realized that the wheel alignment was out.  When I bought the aircraft I had noticed that one landing gear leg was a bit bent, but willing to live with it.  Now I realized that that bend also put the wheel alignment out.  Just as I was measuring this and pondering what to do, Stacy taxied up in the Cessna 150 that she had completely overhauled and rebuilt firewall forward.  Once again she said, "...Bring it to the hangar..."  Then she chucked the leg in her lathe, and put a dial gauge on it.  Then multiple times back and forth to the press until it was true within a few thou.  Saved by Stacy once again!

Stacy starting work.

Candy and old farts from the airpark fascinated by it all.

No comments:

Post a Comment