Day 30 - June 7, 2014 & Day 31 - June 14, 2014

For the next two sessions, the majority of students continued with the same projects.

The right gear leg was installed into the fuselage, allowing the wheel and brake assemblies to be attached. Meanwhile, the upper and lower cowlings were temporarily attached and fitted to the front of the plane, in order to be marked up for hinges.

Pro-seal work continued on the fuel tank. The students helped fabricate fuel return lines and the float arm, attach the mechanical fuel gauge, as well as installing the fittings for the tank vent. After that, a little cleaning was done with rubbing alcohol and acetone to remove any excess sealant left on the surfaces. Never hurts to practice good aesthetics!

Regarding the tail section, fairings were the objectives. The tailcone upper and lower, as well as the rudder and vertical stabilizer tip fairings, were all trimmed, deburred, and fitted in their respective places. 

With schools out of session, that means the summer break has officially begun! TF3 will be taking a temporary break, however there will be some optional sessions throughout the hiatus, which students are encouraged to attend. Production will slowdown for a few months, but please stay tuned for any summer progress and achievements! Enjoy the sun and rack up some flight time!

Day 29 - May 31, 2014

No more sharpie ink, or shiny, reflective aluminum surface is inside the fuselage, there's now a nice, smooth coat of pale gray covering the plane's interior.

Continuing work on the rudder consisted of completing the skeleton assembly before the skins were finally laid and riveted on, completing yet another piece of the empennage. With all components now completed, empennage attachment awaits.

But before that step, a few of the students began the process of tailcone attachment. With a little shuffling and rearranging of obstructions, the tailcone itself was shifted and clecoed into place behind the baggage compartment. Students clecoed the shoulder lugs and deck skins before fastening the assembly with rivets.

In regards to the landing components, the left gear leg was attached, which took some effort and patience, torquing those bolts through those doubler plates wasn't an easy task.

The fuel tank was brought to attention again after a little break. Work resumed on scuffing and riveting a few pieces on the outside of the tank, which of course implies pro-seal! The powerful aroma of the thick, gray mixture returns! More in store next week!

Day 28 - May 24, 2014

The plane's interior will be painted later this week, so a few students spent the day scuffling and scrubbing the cockpit clean. And that includes the tight spots, too!

While work was being done inside the cockpit, the canopy was detached and the epoxy resin on the fiberglass was sanded down.

The vertical stabilizer skins were riveted on to the skeleton assembly, completing that section. The group then moved on to rudder construction and began some deburring and match-drilling. Spar caps were positioned and riveted onto the main spar component.

The engine group worked on attaching the fuel return assembly and cleaning up some pieces with acetone. Additionally, some work was done on the spinner assembly. Specifically, the spinner was trimmed and sanded, while the pitot tube was installed.

Day 27 - May 17, 2014

Fiberglass work has officially begun on the canopy, as the first few layers were adhered on with an epoxy solution. All students were given a quick instruction on the basics of the fiberglass process, i.e. the techniques of applying and creating the epoxy. They were given the opportunity to try out some epoxy application with some scrap pieces of the fiberglass and metal. Essentially the fiberglass is applied on the plane to help relieve the surfaces of any noticeable edges. It helps streamline and create a smooth, professional finish to the contour of the plane.

On to the empennage. Students spent the day assembling the skeleton of the vertical stabilizer. Students helped flute ribs, match drill some holes and rivet components to the main spar, before finally riveting both ribs and spar together. Skin attachment will follow.

Work continued as usual on the cowlings and the engine. A pair of students worked on assembling the fuel tank drip trays. While prep work began for trimming the tailcone fairings.

Day 26 - May 10, 2014

Earlier in today's session, the students were given a mini lesson on aerodynamics and the purposes of the stabilizing surfaces of the airplane, i.e. the antiservo tabs, stabilator, rudder. Then work commenced on the various sections. The stabilator was finally completed, with the anti-servo tabs and counterbalance weight attached. The assembly was set aside for future use and work quickly began on the vertical stabilizer, prepping the skins and ribs.

As for the canopy, fiberglass work was the next step. Some students started tracing and cutting out fiberglass pieces in preparation for the layering.

A couple students reverted back to landing gear components and learned the process of wheel balancing using an awesome homemade mechanism by Mr. S.Vangrunsven. Others helped with attaching the cooling shroud to the cylinders.

The hangar was especially packed today with some unfamiliar faces. Today was the official TeenFlight 3 Open House, so family, friends, and curious individuals filled the room observing the students as they worked. Guests were able to see all the various projects currently in progress, and were treated to a slide-show presented by previous TF students on their experiences flying the TF2 plane. The TF1 plane also made a special appearance, so visitors and guests were able to see the 'final product'. Everyone enjoyed themselves and were all equally impressed with the work and diligence shared among the students and mentors.

Thank you to those of you who generously gave a donation to the Airway Science for Kids Program, your support helps promote aviation among younger generations and allows amazing opportunities, like TeenFlight, to exist and continue. You help provide and sustain the ASK programs and we, the mentors and students of TF3, greatly appreciate it!

In addition, we would like to thank everyone who took the time to visit us in the hangar. It was wonderful to see such interest, and we all enjoyed your company!

Day 25 - May 3, 2014

Work continued on the stabilator and anti-servo tab pieces. Hinges were drilled and prepped, along with the skins; both components were then riveted on. The tabs are now complete and will be attached to the stabilator next session to complete the assembly.

Further sanding and trimming continued on the cowling pieces. Shaping those fiberglass pieces can be one tough and dirty job!

As for the canopy, the bubble itself was finally screwed onto the frame. The canopy foam blocks were then temporarily placed and will be trimmed and glued to the frame later. Then some further work was done within the cockpit on the instrument panel.

In the engine department, trimming began on the cooling shroud. Work proceeded on disconnecting and removing components to gain access to the cylinders, where the shroud will rest. Among the midst of the disassembling however, the engine mount was connected.


Day 24 - April 26, 2014

A mysterious wooden box was spotted in the back corner of the hangar this morning. The students and mentors were treated to the arrival of one very valuable and important component...the engine! So a few students helped to inventory the kit before jumping straight into disassembling it to add in extra components such as the cooling duct.

Further work continued on the empennage pieces. For the stabilator, the box spar and ribs were constructed and riveted together. The anti-servo tab involved some flange, rib, and control horn riveting.

The canopy bubble was positioned and match drilled into place. Then, with the help of some duct tape the side skirts were also situated and drilled in their proper areas.

Work began on the top and bottom cowlings. There was lots of trimming and sanding done to shape and fit the pieces.

Day 23 - April 19, 2014

With the tailcone completed last session, the majority of the students began construction of the empennage. Preparation and assembly included components of the anti-servo tab, vertical stabilizer, and the stabilator (a piece which combines the functions of both the elevator and horizontal stabilizer into one unit).

 Work resumed on the canopy with a couple of students helping position and fit the frame. Great effort was required to force the fixture flush with the fuselage sides, so when it came time for canopy skirt attachment, minimal dents and impressions would show. The baggage bulkhead and aft windows were temporarily installed on the fuselage to assist with the canopy bubble fitting. Some adjustments needed to be made, i.e. sanding the edges, in order to create a proper fit. The bubble will be positioned and ready for attachment drilling next session.