Sunday, 25 March 2012

Super Solution Artwork

I have found that while I do for the most part enjoy the build process, I have also really enjoyed meeting, speaking with and corresponding with air racing enthusiasts, full size and RC builders, and historians associated with the Laird Super Solution, as well as lots of people who just love antique aircraft.
For me this has been a great side benefit, and makes it much easier while building in Dubai.
There is almost no interest in Antique or sport aviation in this region, so It is a real pleasure when I can speak with like minded individuals.
I am also amazed at the amount of really talented artists and illustrators who have chosen the Super Solution as a subject.
The other day I was surprised to be contacted by Jim Newman. Jim is the artist who drew the Laird Super Solution Cutaway drawing for the EAA museum many years ago.
I have this drawing front and center in my little shop, and refer to it constantly, it has been a huge asset, and I am very thankful Jim made the effort at the time they were building the EAA replica to produce this fantastic drawing.
There is even a picture in the EAA Super Solution book, (now long out of print) of Jim with clipboard in hand recording the details of the Super Solution.
It is a real pleasure to be in contact with Jim, who is a former RAF pilot, and is still active in aviation.
Jim tells me he currently has a number of these posters available, so if anyone is keen I can provide Jim`s contact details on request.

I was also recently sent some CAD drawings by an RC modeller from Slovakia who is in the process of recreating the Super Solution digitally, and is extremely detail oriented. The drawings to date are amazing, and highly detailed as well. I am really looking forward to seeing the model he builds from these.
It is great to see the interest level still high for this wonderful aircraft, and lets hope there are many more RC models built and flown.

I have also corresponded with, the artist of this beautiful drawing, Lyle Brown. I love the way he has captured the aircraft, it looks like it is basking on the ramp, ready to leap forward!
If anyone is interested in a copy of this beautiful drawing, it can be ordered via:

finally something other than wings!

The original (and the EAA replica) had steel airfoil shaped ribs, and an all welded constuction.
I would guess that they hydroformed the originals? and the EAA ribs were made over bucks.
As I do not currently have a 1000 ton press in my garage, I decided to go the alternate route and use a big hammer.
I began by having a set of 1/2 inch thick steel rib templates water jet cut.
But when they came back from the water jet cutter they were pretty crude, and while the basic profile was there, they needed alot of clean up, and the edges radiused.
This was my first experience with water jet cutting, so I am not sure if this was a fair example of the process, but I would be hesitant to use it again over laser cutting.
I had to make two form blocks for each rib profile to allow the 025 4130 material to be sandwiched in between.

I then made up a set of templates to cut the 4130 sheet blanks out.
Next I cut the blanks out, bolted them into their respective pairs of steel form blocks and proceeded to whack the ribs into shape. After having recently made so many aluminum ribs and formers for the ailerons, I forgot how much harder you have to hit steel. The ribs proved to be a good workout.
The various vertical and horizontal fin ribs are now formed, still to complete are the flanged lightening holes, but these are on hold as I have ordered a set of combination punch, and flanging dies, and they are enroute via dogsled or similar based on how long they are taking!
I have left the ribs slightly long to allow for an exact fit on assembly.
Once the holes are all punched an flared, I can build some basic assembly boards, bend the various 4130 tubes and start to fit the ribs.
I now have a set of very heavy steel rib form blocks, stored away gathering dust along with every other one off fixture no longer needed.
Maybe I should put up a photo of my fixture graveyard, although I find it rather painful to look at, so maybe not.

wing fitting attach locating assemblies

I decided that I needed to build fixtures to mount the wing attach fittings to the fuselage.
As my basic welded fuselage is currently being fabricated in Toowoomba, Australia, this presented some issues with matching wings to fuselage.
(a small distance issue)....
The best way I could think of to accomplish this was to build dummy wing sections of the upper and lower wings, and mount the actual fittings in place. This then ensures that the wings will bolt to the fuselage exactly. (fingers crossed)
I built the lower wing fixture to be stub sections of both the Left hand and Right hand wings. The tube in the leading edge was for alignment only, but the tube behind the rear spar locates the aileron spar, and diameter to ensure there will be no longeron to aileron interference issues. I removed the fittings from the LH and RH wing spars and used them on the fixture, so all should line up on assembly.
Should being the operative word.
The top wing only required a spar assembly which locates the center attach fitting, and the rib profiles each side to set the incidence.
I plan that a side benefit of these two jigs will be to use them to fabricate the wing to fuselage fairings, as it is much easier to fit fairings on a stub wing assembly than to have the actual wings in place.
I boxed up these two jigs and shipped them off to Australia, where they are now on hand for fitting fitment.


I have now managed to complete the assembly of the second aileron, and I am quite happy to see them assembled and moving nicely.
I am happy that they have turned out almost friction free, and move easily, but this also makes me concerned about flutter. I am quite amazed at how much weight is required fwd of the hinge points, somwhere around 4 pounds per aileron! but this can not be determined exactly until I rivet the ailerons together, and this will have to wait until the inspection.
So with the fittings now all attached, and the wires in place, the only part left to do on the lowers is the leading edge and tip plywood, which again shall be after the inspection.

When I stand back and look at these two wings with ailerons I am just amazed at how much time they have sucked up!, I think I could have finished a single seat Pitts in the same time these have taken. But they are done, and the balance of the top wing is much easier to complete.... I hope.