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Glen Gamble

Glen, a local contractor popped in to talk about doing some ripping on the land next door. I had to show him the garage. Immediately he came up with stories of other people in the area flying in their planes. All good !!

Family on Christmas day

Today we had our Christmas lunch with the family. Andy, my brother in-law had been following everything on my website. Today I had semi assembled all the bits I have made so far. The whole fuselage, the rudder and elevator. Everyone, including Lesley, my mother in-law was very impressed. For me is was also the first time to see this whole assembly. Even I was impressed. Looking really good ! 🙂

Cor and Ingeborg

Busy live we have, more people around today. It was the son of my parents friends who used to have lunch at my parents place when the two of us used to go to primary school 5 million years ago. Cor and Ingeborg and 2 of their friends could not believe what they saw.

Ayden Crequer

Ayden, found me through my website, lives in Christchurch and works as an engine and frame engineer at Air New Zealand. He was very interested and asked if he could come and look at the fuselage and the engine. So today he came.
Ayden was very impressed with the Velie engine, and the quality. One of his colleagues is prepared to do a Non Destructive Test on the crank shaft and the con rods. I am a little reluctant to take all of that apart because it looks so good, no movement in any of the bearings and pins. But on the other hard I would like to do the tests. So will talk with him soon.
Also the fuselage made him jealous. He loved it !! 🙂

Evan Belworthy

Evan from Cust, a local aviation “fanatic” came to see me tonight. Evan, is going to certify and test fly my Bleriot when it’s finished. He had no comments at all about the plane as it stands right now !!!!!!
Also I wanted him to have a look at the engine, and as expected he wants me to NDT the crank shaft and con rods, just to be on the safe site. Something I always said I wanted to do anyway, so no surprises there. Plus I am going to have the bushings that are in the con rods, measured, while I can, as it feels like there is some room now, now the oil is gone after cleaning. So all in all good, no drama’s. Just making sure its all going to behave when I rely on it !

Starting the Engine BBQ day

We had our Starting the Engine BBQ today!
People here were brother in-law Andy and his wife Sally, mother in-law Lesley, step son Sam with his family, Ayden one of my plane friends, 3 of my colleagues Phil, Warren and Andy with his wife Katy and son Bexter, the neighbors David & Ruby, Claire & Nigel and their kids. And last but not least Nicki (the wife 🙂 ), and Lidia and Rutger (daughter and son).

Here is Lesley’s (my mother in-law) report on her website:

Today was the official “Starting the engine” BBQ at Nicki & Gert’s home. It was a beautiful afternoon – sunny and warm – and a great lunch was served which all enjoyed. There were probably about 25-30 people present for the big event. And then it was time. All the males present were busy asking questions or giving advice while the females stood back and waited for the action and it wasn’t long before the action began. Everyone was most impressed and it all went off without a hitch. I believe there was a minor hitch but that was men’s stuff and I think got sorted fairly quickly.

Here are a couple of photos of the event.



And Nicki’s reply on her website:

Yes – great day – the hitch isn’t fixed yet but easy to do apparently. Gert was pleased with how it all went and I was pleased there was enough food 🙂
And the sun was a bonus – I had made Gert and Rutger go and find firewood to light a fire outside for people to stand around, in case it was cold but that wasn’t needed. And just after the last person left the southerly swept in. So all good. Thanks for coming Mum and Andy and Sam (the Seadowners who were there).

So yes all went well.
By the way, this hitch is the contacts of the distributor in the magneto’s. Looks I can just unscrew the little nuts out and put new ones in. Hopefully they come out OK, and don’t have to use the “spark erode” people.
Just got a video that Sam made posted on YouTube. Thanks Sam, looks great:

At some stage you see me checking the temperature of the 5 exhaust’s as I am expecting that one of them isn’t firing. And yes I was right. Cylinder #5 didn’t fire. Later we found (with the help of Warren and Phil) that the contacts in the distributor in the magneto had worn a bit and the one for #5 was definitely a bit short. So next little job will be removing the little nuts and replacing them with new ones, or make something that fits 🙂

Evan Belworthy

Had a second visit from Evan. He did a final inspection of the wings before I start with the fabric. Basically he was happy with all the work I had done, and I even think he looked a little impressed.
Only two comments he made were:
I have to rust protect the steel brackets that are used for the internal bracing cables and the static and the flying cables, so that’s a matter of cleaning them and using the green spray can paint I have used on the fuselage and another coat of paint on top of that.
Plus also the internal bracing wires, where they cross each other and where they touch the bottom rib tube, need to be protected from rubbing, by using a piece of Teflon tube glued to the ribs and similar for the bracing wires where they cross.

So all in all very happy with that.
Also showed him the steel structure that I have made for lifting the shoulder safety belts, and the Rimu veneer I was cutting for the dash board I was working on when he came in.
Then walking into the shed, quickly another look at the engine, which he had seen last year as well when it was apart, and the propeller, made by Chad. He loved it! He knew Chad from the earlier Pietenpol days. So all good 🙂

Darnelle and Cam

Had a visit from my step daughter Darnelle and husband Cam. They were very impressed with the whole project. Its getting close to the final stages now so easier for outsiders to “see” what its going to look like…

My parents

My parents are here at the moment and also one of their best friends, Piet Hubregtse, just for the day. One of his reasons for popping in was, you guest it, looking at the plane and the engine.
He is a mechanical engineer has been working on ships with big, I mean big engines most of his working career. He really liked seeing the Velie and could tell me about all the little details that “proved” to me that he knew what he was talking about 🙂
Also learned a few new things.
First was the rings in the piston, there are 3 rings, the top two look identical and are for sealing, knew that, but the 3rd one apparently is an oil scraper. Now if you look at one of my pictures with the pistons on it you will see that this ring is sort of a double ring. And because its the “lowest” ring I suppose that’s what it does, scrape the oil for the inside of the cylinder wall.
When looking at the fuel tank he also told me about condensation, and I sort of knew but this confirmed it. When not using the plane you need to keep the tank full or empty, but full is better I think. This way with changing temperatures during day and night, no air is sucked up (when its cooling down) getting moisture inside the tank. This will over time create condensation that will go down to the sump. So make sure you empty that before flying.
Apart from that he was just very impressed with the plane and engine. So it was great to have someone here liking what I am doing. I must be doing something right 🙂