DC-3 Event - August 16, 2014

The TF3 students were treated to an informative and fun Saturday afternoon as they were invited to see a great piece of aviation history, the famous Douglas DC-3 airliner!

A company known as Aerometal International, LLC, which specializes in restoring aging and historical aircraft, invited the students to come see and learn about these revolutionary planes.

The afternoon's festivities consisted of a couple of lectures about the history of the DC-3, comparing it to the RV12, and some demonstrations on the inner workings of the propeller, engine, and how to activate the landing gear. Students were also allowed inside the aircraft and given a brief overview of the cockpit controls and features. They even got an up close and personal look at the engine and propeller. And as a nice closing, they even got a chance to fly the planes...

...on a simulator!

Everyone had an amazing time, and TF3 would like to thank Aerometal International for taking the time to showcase their DC-3s. A big shout-out and thanks to Victoria, Ken, Ron, and Bud for being such charismatic and knowledgeable speakers! We were so pleased with your presentations and blown away by all you did!

Visit Aerometal International's website and see what they're all about. Be sure to check out their blogs and get the latest on their current restoration projects: 

Summer Sessions: July Summary

A lot has happened within the hangar despite the heat of the summer, and for optional sessions, good turnouts have meant incredible progress!

The fuel tank skins have all been attached along with the miscellaneous parts (e.g. the return lines, valves, gauge). Fuel testing was done, the leaks were spotted and fixed, and now the tank is officially sealed up and complete! With the air lines fabricated, the next step will be to fit it inside the fuselage.

One particularly exciting feature currently being installed is the Garmin avionics system! The plane now contains a Garmin G3X Touch display. This is a brand new system, never been used before in any of the previous builds. Since it is a new feature, instructions are being made as we go along installing it, which results in a great deal of time and effort to get it all set-up.

Work continued on the cowling, specifically in fitting and sanding the piece, but also in the oil door assembly. The camlocks were installed, but the door and hinge have yet to be riveted together. The wheel and nose fairings came sometime in mid-July, so students were busy deburring and sanding down those parts. Landing gear received some adjustments and the brake lines were attached. Next step will be fitting the fairings.

Towards the end of July, some students and mentors were rushing to get ready for the big Airventure Oshkosh event! Like the previous year, plans were made to have the TF1 plane on display, so that meant modifications and inspections. The fuel tank had to be modified with a new fuel gauge, so students and mentors were on the clock to try and get the tank altered and running smoothly before embarking on its over 2,000 mile journey.

Wow! July sure kept everyone busy. Stay tuned to see what August has in store.

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!