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8 JANUARY 2003
Fixed the plywood reinforcements to the thigh support.

9 JANUARY 2003
Peter made a plywood cut out for the headrest base then covered it with glass cloth and epoxy before setting in place. It looked fine from one side, but when he checked the other side all the cloth had fallen off and he had to make a hurried wooden clamp to fix it.

10 JANUARY 2003
Because of Peter's experience yesterday, he is now an expert at fitting plywood inserts. So Ian made the next one under Peter's expert supervision. Later we went to see Ian Rickard's very nice Europa in Woking. Nearly finished, and contains lots of helpful modifications. Here is a picture of his lovely new Rotax 914 turbo charged engine.

200 MPH here we come!

11 JANUARY 2003
A lovely day so Peter decided to play golf instead of building the plane. Juggling the desire for aviation with the need to keep his handicap below eight is quite tough. Spent ages trying to calibrate our new epoxy dispenser but gave up when it kept giving wrong readings. So Ian assembled the bases of the control columns. Used Redux glue for the first time. This stuff is designed to fix the outer panels on the Space Shuttle so it should be adequate for us. The motto is 'wipe it off your fingers before it dries'. Here is the finished assembly which does not look much for 2 hours work:

A nice little bearing

19 JANUARY 2003
Peter had spent the last two evenings working on the cockpit module. When Ian arrived today he found the module was only half its original size and a note from Peter said that the drill had slipped so he carried on cutting away the module. The beaming smile on Peter's face when he came into the workshop gave the game away....the module was supposed to be trimmed back severely, but he only just found out.
We assembled the various push rods for the controls and also agreed to buy an autopilot. We have not reached agreement on the radio yet. Peter likes Capital Radio which is full of screaming schoolgirls, and Ian likes Magic Radio because they play lots of oldies.

21 JANUARY 2003
Used up our last pair of surgical gloves so decided against epoxy work. Instead Ian sprayed the internal aluminium parts with Zinc Chromate for corrosion protection. If the camera was available there would be a lovely picture here of green fingers!!

After a few interruptions caused by snow and by Peter's flu, we carried on with our construction. Peter had spent a day sanding the cockpit module without a face mask. No wonder he has a blocked up nose. We are nearly ready to install the autopilot. We had to cut out two nice plywood lay ups and replace these with thicker wood in order to hold the weight of the autopilot mechanism. We had some generous help from one of Peter's clients in making a metal arm especially for our autopilot. They have a lovely website here.

This is the autopilot. Hope it is worth £1200!!

Ian was particularly complimentary about the work peter had done on the autopilot housing bay. So it was Ian's turn to try to earn a compliment (his first one from Peter).

We have bought a special kit to fit a proper fuel gauge. The original design provides a sight tube to check the fuel level, but we felt it was sensible to have a gauge on the instrument panel as well. The kit instructions were followed religiously by Ian. They included making a hole in the tank for a probe then assembling a special seal for the hole. It needs to be fully sealed so that we don't get petrol fumes in the cockpit. Ian was very proud of the assembly. Peter suggested that we test it by applying some soapy water around the assembly and blowing into another of the holes in the tank. The presence of bubbles would have shown a fault. Well, the bubbles were the size of footballs! Back to the drawing board.