Friday, February 12 2010 @ 01:05 AM EST
Contributed by: Kevin Horton
I spent most of the day at the hangar, working to open up the clearance between the upper and lower cowlings. Korrey, the painter, commented on the fact that the edges of the upper and lower cowlings touch all the way along the horizontal line where they meet. There needs to be a gap between them, or the paint will chip.
He said that he had faced this issue on some other aircraft, and had used a needle file to open up a gap with the cowling installed. I didn't want him to do that, as the hinge eyes could be scored, which could eventually lead to a fatigue failure.
I attacked the problem this morning - I decided that it would be best only remove material on the edge of the lower cowling, as that would also help solve a problem I had with the hinge eyes interfering with the edge of the lower cowling when installing it. I marked a line where I wanted the new edge to be, then removed the upper cowling. I used a thin feeler gauge to slip between the hinge eyes and the inside surface of the cowling to protect the eyes as I used a needle file to remove material. It worked, but it was very, very slow. It would take over a week to finish at the rate I was going. I eventually got brave and very carefully used a Dremel tool with a small cutoff wheel to remove most of the material, and only had to do a bit of cleanup with a needle file. I got the left side finished, then stopped for the day.
Originally, I had hoped to get a short aerobatic flight off this afternoon. I had flown on seven of the last nine days (six times for work, and once in the RV-8), and really wanted to go up again today. But I ran out of time. It has been many years since I flew that many times in a few days. Oh well - it was a good run while it lasted.