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This page is going to show all the things I will be working on from this date related to the cockpit, starting with the steel structure to support my safety harness. Previously items would have been saved under fuselage, and instruments.

Safety harness support

Started working on the steel support structure for my safety harness. Its the part that will lift up the shoulder straps, to a point higher then my shoulders, to protect my spine in case of a crash….. 🙁

The visible part is removable so that its not to ugly when looking at the plane when its “being shown” and not flown.

It was in the beginning of the year when I posted a question on the “Airdrome Aeroplanes Forum” about safety harnesses and how the shoulder straps should be mounted. Lots of reactions followed. So what you see here is my interpretation of the safest possible way of doing this. I finished mounting the “invisible” part. Now there is a bit of welding to be done and hopefully that will be ready in a few days so I can show you the final result.

Patience please !!

Safety harness shoulder brackets

These are the brackets that will hold the end of the steel cable for the safety harness. Picked them up from the welder…



Maybe a bit hard to see in the photo on the right , but the bracket sits around a 7/8″ tube and buts against the 1″ tube in front of it. This way there is no need for rivets in the longeron here.

All assembled

And all assembled:


The longeron front is a 1″ tube and the back is a 7/8″ tube slotted in and riveted. As you can see here, this bracket sits on the 7/8″ tube and is butted up to the 1″ tube. This way I don’t have to drill into the longeron and make it weaker !!!!!


The steel structure that sticks through the fabric, and can be removed when showing the plane.


And a closeup of the steel triangle fitting on the support tube.


Two bits of aluminium so the fabric can be glued onto that. Otherwise I would have had just a hole in the fabric that would tear over time I would say……


The whole setup. And just a reminder why I did all this:

The shoulder belts are going to be attached to the two triangle fittings, lifting up the belt above my shoulders. If I didn’t have this, the shoulder belts would have puled my shoulders down. In a crash, that can do a lot of harm, as it will “compact” your spinal cord. But with the mounting points of the shoulder belts higher then the shoulders, that risk is lower !!!!


Aileron controls

Did the aileron controls today. Was a bit tricky getting the two tubes bend and cut to the right dimensions, but managed in the end. So now the ailerons move when I move the control stick left and right 🙂



This is the first time I have done something on the plane that I am not 100{7d16e8204fe0e6723feb9d00795e42e38ac880e6f88f519e81a8ab927d02eaa1} happy with. I will have a talk with Robert, but I feel I will extend the 1″ aileron tube and have the black lever (see photo just above), right above the aileron bell crank (see two photos up, in bottom center).

This will result in the connecting tube going straight up. At the moment, the black aileron lever hardly goes up. Also in both “end” positions of the aileron bell crank, the black lever is pulled towards the middle. If I make the change that pulling to the middle would be a lot less, and the lever would be going up more.
To be continued………

Side panels

Before continuing making changes to the aileron control, I made two panels, one on the left for the throttle and mixture control.1441534_orig

And another panel on the right side for something else.. Don’t know yet but could be some switches maybe, who knows !


Filling the gabs

Started filling in last two gabs around the cockpit so I can drill holes in the “fabric” without tearing it when I do the cockpit coaming. Didn’t want to drill extra holes for rivets through the longerons, so using 3 cable ties….


Aileron control tubes

I didn’t like the way the ailerons work. The lever connected to the aileron is to far away from the bell crank pushing and pulling it.

So I removed the aileron control tubes that were connected to the bell crank. Got a tube of Chromoly steel that I will use to extend the lever that was mounted into the aileron. This way the aileron lever sits right above the bell crank. Still a bit more work to do in the next few days. You will see when I have a bit more to show what is happening 🙂

Upper deck suport

Started with the upper deck, bending a tube that gets riveted against the curved front side of the fuselage. The plan is to have 2 curved tubes, one at the front and one at the back of the upper deck, and maybe one in the middle for support of the sheet that is used for this upper deck.

More in the next few days………..

Start of dashboard

Finished the dashboard. Well without instruments 🙂

Also did the support tubing for the upper deck. The back half is going to be permanently riveted down, but the front part will be removable and also has a little “door” in it for access to the fuel tank.



Going to find a veneer to glue against the aluminium of the dashboard that will be great I think 🙂

Ailerons finished

OK, did the ailerons again today. When I did it a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t happy with it. Now the lever connected to the aileron is straight above the aileron bell crank. Looks good, works good !! 🙂3414098_orig


More stuff complete !!!!!! :


PTT button

Did the “Push To Talk” button in the controls stick today. Looking good I think. Played around a bit with the rubber hose with the wiring inside it to make it flex “perfectly in all directions. Also drilled two holes in one of the diagonals to feed the two wires up into the cockpit so its not visible !!




Dashboard design

Finished drawing the cut outs for the gauges and the switches. Initially I will have the two magneto switches, the anti collision light switch and the front light switch. Later I will add the switches needed for AIR 🙂
Also found this local guy, who is going to make me a 2.5mm thick piece of veneer of Rimu, a very nice looking native tree here in NZ. I will stick that to the aluminium. Will be very nice !!!!1415001027

Cutting fuel gauge tube

Was looking at a picture of a fuel gauge in a cockpit where the fuel hose was running in front of the cockpit. Currently I have this hose running in front of the fuel tank, but I can only see the bottom half (see photo above; Sat 25 Oct) …..

So the idea is to move the whole hose about 300mm (or so) backwards so its in line with the dashboard. I am building the hose into a 3/4″ tube that has a bit cut off so its visible and “protected”.
I started cutting the tube but you can only go 4″ or so, until I had this perfect idea of moving the blade to the other side of the hacksaw. Easy !!!




What do you think ?

I love it. Going to look so beautiful when the veneer arrives. I know it’s not like the original Bleriot, but then I need to legally have these instruments so might as well make it look classy !!!797820_orig

Rudder pedal spring

This morning I started working on the “spring” behind the rudder pedals that pull them forward. What I decided to make after talking with Mike in Rangiora, is a system of pulleys (behind the pedals) and bungee cord (elastic).

Apart from not having enough bungee cord it’s all finished, so will get a longer piece on Monday and finish it then !!

So what you see below is just in front of the right pedal. You can just see it on the left with the hinge at the bottom. From the pedal, the bungee cord goes over the “vertical” pulley on the right, and then comes out at the bottom, going backwards again via the “horizontal” pulley on the left, across the left side to the other pedal. So if one pedal goes forward, the other one goes backwards, and by creating some tension in the bungee cord, the pedals will always want to go forward, resulting in nice tight steel cables going to the rudder from these two pedals.

Oh, and the wooden block is the end stop of the pedal.



Picked up the piece of Rimu veneer today for the dashboard. Just so you know what Rimu is:

Dacrydium cupressinum, commonly known as rimu, is a large evergreen coniferous tree endemic to the forests of New Zealand. It is a member of the southern conifer group, the podocarps.

I will start cutting it tomorrow and make some photos. It looks really good !

More openings

Been away all day, but just had to do this one thing so it didn’t feel like I didn’t do anything today:-)
Cut out the opening for the longeron on the right side. Nicely fits now. Next I will have to rivet the alu dash board, and then glue the veneer.
Oh no, first I will cut out most of the holes for all the instruments and switches, then glue it and then finish the holes.

Fuel gauge almost done

Did more work on the fuel gauge today. Its almost finished. Below you see at what stage I got now. Happy with it so far !


Above you see a spring coming out of the back with the clear hose in it that will be connected to the top of the fuel tank. I am using a spring here to make it possible to create a sharp bend in the clear tubing as it would otherwise collapse. It also protects the hose from being cut by the sharp edges of the aluminium it goes through.


And the front of the dashboard. When finished you won’t see the spring that’s visible now.

The 3/4″ tube with the front cut away is hold in place with a piece of 7/8″ and will be riveted onto the dashboard. The 7/8″ has the 1/8″ hole for the rivet, and the 3/4″ has a hole slightly bigger so the 1/8″ rivet drops into the 3/4″ gauge tube and doesn’t interfere with the spring 🙂 So the 7/8″ is there to hold the 3/4″ basically.

After I got to this stage I noticed that the top of the 7/8″ tube, cut on an angle is going to be covered nicely by the top-deck, as that overhangs by about 1.5″. Before I wasn’t sure what to do with that top, so it just worked out nicely.

FG almost done

In the last few days I have finished all the bits and pieces for the fuel gauge. Will show it when I install it permanently, after the Rime is glued onto the dash board (still looking for a main switch)…..

Bending sheets

Just been to an engineering shop for bending the sides of the two top-deck sheets. One is going to permanently riveted to the dashboard, and the “front side” above the fuel tank will be detachable somehow. Thinking of using leather strep’s for holding it down…..

Dashboard prep

Started with some preparations to get the dash board finished. I riveted the aluminium dash board in place. Mounted the main key power switch and made a hole for it in the Rimu veneer. Tomorrow night I will mark the position of the rivets protruding through this dash board onto the back of the veneer, that’s 2.5 mm thick, so I can cut out some voids.

This way the rivets don’t sit in the way when glue-ing the veneer to the dashboard. All other switches and instruments will be mounted after the veneer is glued on.

Will show what its like tomorrow 🙂

Marking Rimu back

Marked the back of the Rimu veneer with paint where the rivets go, by putting a bit of green paint (see photo) on the rivets and then pressing the veneer against it.

Tomorrow I will use a cutting bit in a drill press to “carve” a bit from the veneer at the back so it fits perfectly against the aluminium dash board. The veneer is 2.5mm thick, so taking 1mm of should be OK.


FG indicator lines

Picked up the label that goes inside the aluminium tube for the fuel gauge 🙂 Going to work just right !


When you look at it like this your eye’s go a bit funny, but in the fuel gauge it’s rolled up and and behind the clear fuel line containing the petrol. The bit of paper I tried looked fine, so as soon as its in (hopefully this weekend) I will try it !

Gluing down Rimu

Started the process of glue-ing down the Rimu veneer onto the aluminium dashboard. I am using a glue, that you apply to both surfaces. Normally you let it dry for 10-15 minutes and then carefully join them together. Not sure what you call it but you know what I mean.
The problem with that is that, later on when its hot, the aerosol, or something that’s still in it will try to “get-out”, making the glue go bubbly.
To solve this problem, you let the two surfaces dry completely, so that there is only basically “rubber” left. To stick them together, you need to heat up the glue to 200 degC or so, very hot, so it get’s soft again, and then join them together.
This way, on a hot day in the sun, it will not come off, basically because it will not get as hot as the 200 degC that was used to “glue” them together. Al least this is what a “glue specialist” told me. Makes sense.
Will do the heating up and sticking together tomorrow !!

Top deck

I was going to stick the veneer to the dashboard, and also start with the top deck (above the dashboard). So I ended up doing the last one first, and ran out of time to do the veneer. Will do that tomorrow, I promise 🙂
Top deck is looking good. Fits perfectly over the ply sheets on the outside of the fuselage. I will rivet it down as soon as the veneer is on ! Man it is looking good !!!!!!!!!!!

Gluing veneer

Was a bit nervous today, gluing the veneer to the dashboard.

I applied the glue 2 days ago to both the veneer and the dashboard. My son Rutger, made a piece if timber fitting nicely behind the dashboard, and I got a bit of timber from the shed to go on the other side so I could apply even pressure to all of the surface using a few clamps.

So first I used a hot air gun to heat up the glue on both surfaces, and I did feel some stickiness, but wasn’t sure how long I had to heat it. In the end I just stopped, as you do and positioned the veneer onto the dashboard. Put the two bits of timber on each side and put clamps on, hoping for the best.

After an hour or so, when it was cold again, I took the clamps and timber away, and voilà:


Looking very good after I removed to excess veneer from the top, and positioned the back half of the top deck.

As you can see from the photo below right, I still need to file off the excess veneer around all other holes. I will do that using a file pushing into the hole from the front, so I don’t create chips on the “nice” side.

So yes all going to plan !!!!!    Happy.



Veneer disaster

A bit of a disaster. I noticed this a few weeks ago.

The Rimu veneer on the dash board split in half and when hot it shrink-ed and at night it came back again. A few days ago my dad removed it, cleaned the glue, and today I put the Walnut vinyl, the same as on the fuselage. Looks OK, but there are rivets on the aluminium, that you see. Its OK I think, you just need to ignore them……….. Just little bumps.

New dashboard look

Here is the new dashboard. A walnut look dash board. I have cut out all the instruments and switches that I am going to install for now.
Just ignore the rivets that hold the aluminium sheet behind the vinyl. It’s sort of obvious from here but when in the pilot seat you hardly see it.
Also have a look at the fuel gauge on the right 🙂 A bit hard to see, but the clear tube in the fuel gauge has a label behind it with diagonal black and red lines. This will clearly show you the difference between “fuel” and “no fuel”.
The switches are for the anti collision light, two for the magneto’s and on the far right the key switch.


Also I put some “3M Safety Walk” on the foot step.

Just a bit more paint and that’s done as well.


Safety harness frame

After fixing the opening where I had the second seat for the TV recording, I did the cables for the shoulder strep’s of the safety harness. The black frame you see below, slides into an “internal slot” so it can be removed when the Bleriot is parked, and showed.



Mounted seat

Finally riveted the seat down on the fuselage. I haven’t finished the seat yet as I was going to cover it with leather, but there is no time for that now. That can come later. Just need a little pillow in it for now and that will do I think.

Also started working on the electrics, wiring up the instruments. Hopefully that will be done in a few days.

Battery holder

Made a battery holder, so it won’t “fly” away, plus measured up the exhaust stubs. Hopefully I can get those made in time…
Tomorrow all the electrical work should be finished, that’s the plan !!

Secure harness

Top of harness

Have thought for a while to secure the top of the safety harness to the metal frame that holds it up. Up to now that triangle steel “ring” was just sitting in the top of that bar, BUT

Today I made two little steel cables with thimbles on the end. Drilled little holes in the tube exactly where thimble sits, and by pushing a pin through there, the harness is secure and can’t fall of the frame anymore 🙂

Hold down strap
Hold down strap

Skid shoe

Last time Evan flew the Bleriot, the skid snapped of. Probably because the weld of the bracket holding it wasn’t the best.

That bracket is fixed now, but at the same time we noticed that the skid started wearing quite a bit.

Were it’s going over the runway was all flat with square edges, and that probably resulted in the skid snapping as it happened when Evan was turning.
So to fix / improve that, I started making a shoe that goes over the skid or stick.

Had a bit of steel left over of the safety harness support frame, and shaped it so it had nice round edges, made cuts in it so it can be bend to the right shape and then welded.

Made an extra strip for more wear protection to go at the bottom of the shoe.

That should do the trick 😊