It’s been a long and late weekend, especially for Jean and the composites team. But first things first – Thanks to Chalkie for volunteering the use of his and Peter Hengst’s immersion suits from their 2003 Oshkosh centenary flight for our trip. It hadn’t been hours since a friend had sent through a record of water temperatures in the Bering straits and only minutes since we’d discussed taping up our sleeves and trouser legs in the absence of a better solution, when Chalkie’s email arrived. So we’ve taken up the offer and the suits will get a second chance to do some ocean crossings, hopefully once again without getting to see any water!
Meanwhile things are moving along slowly at the factory. For me, more the paperwork man, the pace on the construction of the plane seems painfully slow. The wings still need the standard leading edge tanks installed, work on the centre fuselage was only commenced this morning (Sunday 10 July) and the panel still looks mostly like a bird’s nest of wires! But Jean, Ryall, Ruan, Joseph, Brends and Florence in composites have been working serious hours. The blanks for pulling the canopy perspex over are dry and merely need to be annealed before use and the two main door frames are laid up and ready for finishing. Tomorrow a marathon session on the main canopy frame in which the doors will be housed. Mike assures me that tomorrow, with the full factory workforce available, things will suddenly begin to move more quickly. I promise to report further on that tomorrow.
Our objective remains to fly the ATW plane on Thursday or Friday this week and depart Wednesday or Thursday next week. That will always, however, be subject to safety considerations.
Meanwhile, the Airplane Factory features on Carte Blanche tonight, so if you have a TV (I don’t) get before it to watch the action.