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While there are some kit manufacturers, including Zenith, who offer a "two weeks to taxi" builder-assistance program, our EAA Chapter 245 project will take considerably longer than two weeks. That's perfectly OK as we will benefit from the passage of time as a means by which to season our decisions on major investments such as engine, prop and avionics. We have not yet made those decisions so the Sunday build sessions give us a terrific opportunity to discuss the merits of each potential candidate, as well as to consider the more challenging issue of how to fund these large purchases. (If anybody happens to have a suitable engine, prop or avionics, we are very open to donations or other means by which we can help offset the cost of these items!)
You may recall from my last blog post that we had been experiencing a driving rain - definitely not typical winter weather for the Ottawa area. This Sunday showed us the other side of the coin, with several inches of fresh snow and a biting north-west wind. Our Chapter hangar is not heated, although we have a small workshop which is kept warm to ensure our water supply doesn't freeze. The clubhouse portion of the hangar is heated via a woodstove. The fire has always been the central point around which members gather in the winter - those close to the fire can shed a layer or two of their winter insulation, while those further from the fire tend to keep their toques on. It's in this area where the lower fuselage is being assembled. Our motley array of donated couches and chairs has been pushed aside (hmmm, perhaps moved to their final resting ground?) and a wonderful "build table" erected in the middle of the room. This build table has become the new gathering point as our force of volunteer builders congregates around the plans book, plotting the next assembly steps.
This past Sunday saw a smaller group of builders taking up their tools. We're still waiting for Z-channels to complete the fuselage sides, however there were several assembly steps which remained to be completed as we await the arrival of parts. The lower fuselage section is likely the most complex part of the aircraft - work on it continued to move forward. It's really something to see that we have rudder pedals and brakes installed so early in the build. Yes, it really DOES look like an aircraft.
I think we're all hoping next Sunday will be a bit warmer so the clubhouse can more quickly warm up to a comfortable working temperature. Cold tools drain all the heat from ones hands. Pre-heating the workspace is becoming more of a priority. Perhaps this coming weekend one of our team will show up early and have the fire roaring by the time others arrive.