New Year, New Career

The SSDR Eindecker hasn’t flown for a while and is in need of a bit of TLC, so I wheeled it out into the fresh air…

…and then wheeled it across to the work hangar where it was stuck in the back:

The work hangar is big enough to hold two helicopters, a trailer, a tractor, two containerised offices and a bunch of lockers, so the Eindecker didn’t take up too much space…

Also, the work hangar has a particularly awesome toolkit…it was time to get to work!

With the help of paramedic Rich the wings were removed and set aside. That’s the only two-person job of the whole process:

The control cables were disconnected and the hinges disassembled to remove the rudder:

Then it was the turn of the elevator. I lifted the tail up onto the toolkit for easy access. Note the wooden chocks adding a bit of counterbalance as the aircraft is very nose heavy. One of the points of this whole process is to modify the aircraft by moving the battery from the engine compartment down to the tail. The battery is tiny and not much mass, but way down there it will have a long lever arm and help to balance the aircraft in flight. At the moment to fly level there is a fair bit of back pressure required on the stick…the forces are very light and completely manageable but it would be nice to be a bit more balanced.

Tail feathers removed, and tail lashed down to a drum of water. Not taking any chances!

The next day we picked up a hired box van with tail lift. The only way to load the aircraft was tail first, with the tail up in the extra space above the cab. This exacerbated the nose down tendency so special attention was paid to lashing the tail down with lots of padding. As it was we stopped halfway through the 15 -minute journey home to inspect everything and retighten the lashings.

After all the faffing about reversing the van into the narrow gate, it was a simple task to unload the fuselage and wheel it into the home workshop. Note the home-made wing stand sitting waiting for the next delivery:

Second run complete, the whole aircraft is now safely in the workshop, ready for cleaning, refurbishment, repairs and modifications. We used the RV builder’s dimpling frame lashed to the tail to hold it down. Vans aircraft are in trouble at the moment so the RV8 build is on hold…their kit prices recently went up by 32% as the company tries to emerge from its financial woes. It makes sense to me to hold back and see if they will actually survive. In the meantime, the tools are still useful, even if just as tie-down weights!

Retirement looms and the Eindecker is a first project, but it doesn’t really qualify as a new career as per the title. The intention is to do my Flight Instructor (Aeroplanes) rating…no more helicopters for me!

With the FI(A) I’ll be able to continue to fly with somebody else paying for it, and let my pension pot have a bit more time to grow.

I’ll also be able to pass on some hard-learned experience to the young’uns. Should be fun.