Day 53 - December 20, 2014

This Saturday, the main tasks that were worked on included the decals on the vertical stabilizer as well as the canopy latch installation.  As for the decals, they were placed along a strip of tape that was lined up with the horizontal rivet line and from there, taped on in order to space each decal. 
The tail number for TF3 will be N113TF.  Very cool! 

After hours of wire routing and installing plates, the canopy warning light and latch system were completed.  The light will act as a warning light for the canopy as well as a red rotator light to increase night vision. 
Some last details were completed on the engine including the filling of oil and engine coolant in each separate reservoir. The left and right side steps were bolted into place through a hole in the fuselage that had to be enlarged for a nicer fit. 
The interior pushrods were adjusted to clear the flaperon and the elevator pushrods.  Also on the interior floor panels, we adhered the anti-skid material on both the left and right side of the cockpit.  The canopy bulkhead also had the same material applied to it to prevent scratches and dents that could occur from luggage. 

TF3 is really coming close to completion.  We ended the day with an Open House for parents to see and hear all about what we've been working on in class. 
Thank you, TF3 Mentors, for the cookies and nice gift!
Happy Holidays!


Day 52 - December 13, 2014

This Saturday, many important tasks were worked on and completed, including propeller, engine and fuel tank work.  The fuel tank was temporarily installed and the fuel neck was permanently installed.  This involved many bolts and screws. 

Work also continued on the canopy warning light and latch.  This involved routing many wires into place and fitting the canopy to the fuselage.  After a few minutes of positioning the canopy, it was a great fit and the canopy latch also fit very nicely. 
As it turned out, the fuel pressure sensor had a grommet that wasn't the right size, so we had to replace it in order to make a better fit.  Further work also continued on the engine.  This included safety wire work to attach the air filters onto both sides of the engine.   We also double checked the plans for the engine to ensure that every step was completed and marked off. 
Finally, the propellers were attached after finding the right torque value and removing the spinner. The pitot tube, which measures airspeed, was also connected to the avionics.  After this major step was completed, TF3 looks more like a plane.
Stay tuned for next week, as we might be undergoing the inaugural engine start of TF3!

Day 51 - December 6, 2014

A lot of progress was made this Saturday, despite the fact that we were working with a reduced number of team members.  The airplane is nearing completion and since there aren't as many tasks to work on, smaller groups of students will work together at a time and will alternate each week. 
Further installation of the cockpit warning light was worked on.  This task involved routing many wires through the canopy bulkhead and attaching them to the "eyeball" light.  The canopy latch holder was also attached onto the inside of the bulkhead. 

The anti-skid wing walk material was adhered to the right wing after cleaning the surface with alcohol. 
After a long time trying to align three bearings, we finally attached and torqued the bolts on the right wing flaperon.  The spars of the wings were also sanded and primed. 
As we are nearing the last stages of sanding the fairings, work continued on the nose wheel and nose wheel strut fairing.  The steps that attach to the fuselage were Pro-Sealed to avoid corrosion and rust due to water that could seep in.  The area on the forward fuselage where the canopy bolts onto was also Pro-Sealed to prevent corrosion as well as to protect the avionics systems.
Work continued on the engine and the engine coolant overflow container was bolted on.
Check back soon for more progress!


Day 50 - November 22, 2014

This Saturday was another productive session.  More work has continued on the throttle and choke controls.  This involved a whole lot of adele clamps and tight spaces, just to make things harder.  After a lot of work, the throttle and choke cables are functioning well. 

The canopy latch warning light has been installed as well as the "eye ball" light that can be used to look around the cockpit.  This involved riveting and drilling holes to route the wires that power the light. 
The wing seal on the fuselage has been successfully adhered on both sides.  This first involved attaching a layer of electrical tape around the line that the wing root forms on the fuselage in order for that area to be cleaned.  After cleaning, the seal was adhered. 
Also on the left wing, the anti-slip wing walk material was attached.  A heat gun and needle were used to puncture the air bubbles around the rivets and now it looks great.  The inboard wing edges were also cut and sanded to align with the wing seal on the fuselage.  After many metal shavings, the wings look great as well.  
The lower cowling is finally nearing its last days of completion.  The reshaped section of the cowling has been sanded down to clear the cylinders and the radiator duct seal on the cooling duct has been adhered correctly.     
See you in a couple weeks.  We'll be taking a break next weekend for the holiday. 
Happy Thanksgiving! 

Day 49 - November 15, 2014

The lower cowling, nose gear strut fairing, and ELT were some of the main tasks that were worked on today.  On the cowling, more sanding took place to prepare the final heat shield for application. 
After the heat shield was applied, we had to reshape a part of the cowling that was interfering with the cylinders in order for it to fit properly.  This required heating up the cowling and holding it in the new position until the fiberglass cooled.  We then applied three strips of fiberglass to reinforce the reshaped section.  Also, the duct seal for the radiator was completed and it is now curing. 
 The nose gear strut fairing was temporarily fitted to ensure a nice fit.  The ELT unit was also installed in the fuselage and we made progress on the wiring.

The wings were installed, then removed, in order for the wing seal markings to be successfully completed.  This required drawing lines around the wing skin onto the fuselage, and drawing lines onto the wing skins for proper spacing of the wings from the fuselage.  And in case you're wondering, this is what TF3 looks like as of now.  Here is an up-to-date photo of the fuselage.
In the cabin, work has been done on the interior controls and this is what the present day cockpit looks like.  We're really making progress!

Day 48 - November 8, 2014

This Saturday, Teen Flight 3 again accomplished many tasks.   

One of the first tasks that was worked on involved the stabilator.  Some students were involved in replacing the left half of the stabilator due to a dent on the underside of it.  After a few hours of riveting and deburring, the replaced half was already in place.   
The oil hoses were connected, and due to oil being trapped in the oil reservoir, students also had to drain it out. 

  The fuel neck was taken out because it did not seal properly, and it has since been resealed to the skin of the aircraft. 
  Of course, you can't have fuel without the fuel tank, so that was also reinstalled. 

Other jobs that took place today involved the installation of some of the cockpit controls, which included the cabin heat knob and parts of the throttle.  Last week, the nose gear strut fairing hinge had trouble fitting correctly, and after more sanding today, there is a nice fit.  Also, more sanding and fitting continued on the engine cowling to prep for the installation of the heat shield.  Three sheets of heat shield were applied to protect the cowling from heat off the muffler, exhaust pipe and the four cylinders.  Little work was completed on the ELT today, due to parts that needed to be painted.  However, the details of the ELT wiring were analyzed and some wires were sautered into place.
Check back next week for more photos and progress on these items.

Day 47 - November 1, 2014

We worked in teams and completed many different tasks on the airplane today.  We also spent time cleaning up our hangar's back room area which will free up space for the next build, TeenFlight4. 

The first prep work was started on the installation of the ELT, or Emergency Locator Transmitter.  On the interior of the plane, nut-plates were installed.  These nut-plates are attached to a metal plate which temporarily hold the ELT antenna in place.

The fuel neck was Pro-Sealed on the gasket today to form a removable seal with the skin of the aircraft.  More work has also been done to prepare the nose gear strut fairing.  This included countersinking many holes and riveting those holes to attach the hinges that were placed on the inside of the fairing.  As a result of the tight hinges, the team had to try to align them with the hinge pin for a long period of time. 
Sanding continued on the engine cowling to remove any sharp edges from the earlier applied fiberglass.  The entire cowling was coated in epoxy resin which allows for a smooth surface.  The heat shield, which will later be applied, will now be able to successfully adhere to the cowling.


The front area of the canopy was sanded down to smooth the surface of the previously applied filler flox and to allow for a nicer look. 
Here are some other photos from our busy day out at the hangar.

Day 46 - October 25, 2014

TeenFlight 3 accomplished some very important tasks during this week's session.  Students worked very hard on the preparation of the rear window installation which included a lot of deburring and match drilling to align the window onto the skin of the plane.  It was a good fit and Pro-Seal was added to the surface between the skin and the window itself in order to seal the window properly.

Prep work continues on the inner cooling duct and engine cowl.  Acetone was applied to the contact areas of these parts in order for the epoxy resin to adhere each part together.


Work on the brake lines is now complete.  Looks like good work which means safe landings when TF3 eventually takes flight!


Work also progressed on the fuel tank's filler neck assembly.  This involved clecoing the nut plates onto the assembly.

Work continues on the fairings.  This is a time consuming task, but it is a very important one which will pay off.  Filling the pin holes will make the paint smooth which will allow for a more aerodynamic fairing.  A little more work is still to be done until it is just right!

The build is really moving along.  Check back next week for more updates.