Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tree Top Flying At Gilbert International

Here are a few photos from Saturday's Tree Top Flyer (EAA Chapter 1467) Fly-In at Gilbert International Airport, Gilbert, South Carolina.  

Pop and I left Jellystone Air Park at 0930.

Forty-four minutes later we were on the ground at Gilbert International.

Tree Top Flyer Don Schmotzer's Zenith CH-601XL.

Looking down Runway 27.

Transit aircraft parking on the south side of 9/27.

Who likes curves?  Neil Deye's Culver LFA.

Fly-In Headquarters . . . Ron Angerman's Hangar-Home.

Dining Hall.

Eddie Price and Pop taking it easy on the back of the Follow Me cart.

NC1143B sitting pretty.

Photo by Eddie Price

2016 Tree Top Flyers and guests.

Photo by Eddie Price

Heading back to Jellystone Air Park.

Monday, November 7, 2016

38 Special

The combination lock on the baggage compartment of Brother Barbeau's Hatz biplane was having "issues."  When it was originally installed the combination was set at 007. That's right, James Bond, a number that is easy to remember---the builder was a pilot, he knew his audience.  About a year ago we discovered the three-row combination mechanism had malfunctioned.  The latch still worked, but we could not lock the door.  It was not a big deal (so we thought) since nothing heavy or valuable is stored in the compartment.  Also, there doesn't seem to be a strong aerodynamic force working to pull the door open.  We could "kick the can down the road," so to speak, something to address on the next annual inspection---if we remembered.  But you can only kick a can so far. . .

In September the latch failed---in the closed position, fortunately.  I discovered the failure when I tried to retrieve the fuel strainer from the baggage compartment after topping-off in Laurens, South Carolina during a lunch outing with some of the guys from EAA Chapter 961.  Once again, not a problem.  The door was closed and the fuel tank was full.  But it could have been a big problem---especially if I had a passenger.  The fuel quantity dipstick is stored in the baggage compartment.  Like a small regional jet, the Hatz can't carry a full load of fuel when all of the seats are full.  It's nice to know how much you weigh; even nicer to know how much fuel you have on board.

Thursday was designated Baggage Door Lock Repair Day at Jellystone Air Park.  Of course Brothers Barbeau and Baker were both out of town---not that it mattered.  The Jellystoners were out at the airport the day that (and a lot of other) subjects were covered in college.  It was up to me to save the day.  Hopefully we could still fly the airplane when the task was completed!

Step One:

Remove the lock from the baggage door.  This was fairly simple.  I drilled out the screws and removed the lock mechanism from the door.  Once the door was open I was able to remove the latch from the fuselage.

Steps Two, Three, and Four:

Inspect the back side of the lock.  Not really sure what I was looking for.  I was hoping there would be a lever or a channel of some sort that could be used to release the latch. There was a lever, but it wouldn't move.  There were a bunch of holes.  I thought if I inserted a small screwdriver in one of the holes while rotating the combination wheel the correct number would be revealed with a noticeable click, clunk, or whatever.  That didn't work either.

Educate myself.  There is a YouTube video for everything.  If my wife can learn how to construct a quilt by watching YouTube certainly there was someone out there, a Geeky Locksmith Wannabe of some sort, with a video I could use.  As Brother Baker likes to say: "One would think."  After forty minutes of reviewing everything from using a rubber band to apply pressure to the release lever while rotating the combination wheels, to checking for dust on the numbers, I decided there had to be a better way. . .

Find a locksmith.  My iPhone said there was a locksmith 1.7 miles south of Jellystone Air Park.  Maybe those folks could help---and if not, maybe they could help me find a replacement.  I circled the parking lot three times; no locksmith.  I guess my iPhone didn't get the update the shop was no longer there. The next closest place was eighteen minutes away.  I was hungry.  Ouzo's Pizza, a Jellystoner favorite, was right around the corner.  The mission could wait until after lunch.

Step Five:

Get lucky!  One of the videos suggested starting at 000 and moving forward sequentially 001, 002, 003, etc., until you hit the correct combination; assuming the lock was not broken.  While waiting for lunch to be served I decided that since I didn't know if we had a broken lock, or a miss-set combination, I might as well give it a try.  I started rolling. . . When I landed on number 038 the lock opened!  I couldn't believe my luck!  As Brother Barbeau's father-in-law likes to say:  "I'll-be-go-to-hell!"

Step Six:

Put it back together.  Ta-da!

And it still flies. . .  Check out the big brain on Bob!