As noted before, I purchased a partially complete empennage from a fine upstanding denizen of Van’s Airforce. After driving out to Illinois and carefully packing it in a U-Haul trailer with Larry’s help, it is now in its new home in PA.
So, the barn is big. Maybe *too* big. Why would I say that? Well, there are almost too many ways here to set up a workshop, so many that I have fallen victim to some “analysis paralysis.” There are two full size floors, a 1/3 size loft, and an “annex” with a large concrete floor and a second “office” above. The barn footprint is about 36′ x 45′ inside overall. On the main (2nd) floor, there is a wide open space that is ideal for pulling vehicles in and working on them. On one side, there is a 36′ x 17′ room under the loft that might be just right for the airplane workshop.
The problem is, once I build a fuselage in here, how do I get it out? There is a partially completed doorway that could be used, but *what are the dimensions of a completed fuselage less the landing gear*?
Currently my thought is to build the wings in this side room, and probably the fuselage, but once the gear goes on, if I don’t make provisions to knock this wall out later, I’ll have to move construction out into the larger main area.
This space is huge, and would be perfect for building a plane except for one thing: it is simply too large to heat. The roof peak is approximately 20 feet up from this level, and there is no way I’m going to build a permanent ceiling in here (the aesthetics of the barn are just too cool to ruin with a flat ceiling, plus it would ruin the view from the loft). You can see one frame of an EAA workbench under construction near the bike.
Once the empennage attach happens, the plane may be too long to navigate around the posts in the workshop room. At that point, it may be necessary to build a false ceiling in the main room out of 2x4s and plastic sheeting just to keep the heat in. Alternatively, I could try to time the project such that everything post-empennage attach is done in warm weather, but I think that would not go well. Best laid plan(e)s, and all.
Coincidentally with finding a great deal on an empennage kit, someone posted a PlaneTools RV tool kit on Van’s Airforce at a decent discount with some great add-ons. Sign me up!
So now, I have: One partially complete empennage kit, a set of tools in the mail, and a workshop in deperate need of workbenches and shelves. The only problem: it is REALLY cold out right now, and I know the barn (more on the barn workshop later) is bound to be quite uncomfortable. That means that before next fall, I need to get the workshop area properly enclosed and insulated, with some means of heating.
This past weekend I acquired a partially built RV-10 tail kit from a builder in Illinois. The quality looks good and we got it back home with no damage.
Of course, I hadn’t been planning on starting this project for a few months, but this turned out to be quite a deal. Next moves: get some tools, build up the workshop, and have an experienced advisor look it over.
Spent some time chipping ’84L out this morning before flying…snow melt seems to collect outside the door and run in and re-freeze. Also, it looks like it comes in under the wall between the opposite hangar on the other side of the building.
My instrument instructor Rob was gracious enough to help…had nothing to do with him otherwise having to help push the plane out over 1/2″ of clear, hockey-grade ice.
I had to cut a walkway behind the wing to make it safe to get in.
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