4/17/08, fixed some vid links, etc.
Fisher FP 303
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I'm James, and this is the begining saga of my little Fisher FP-303.
About the end of April, 2004, my brother found an ad for it on his company website, so I went to take a look. The picture below is what I found.
It had been crashed about 9 years previously, and had sat in a garage ever since. It has wing damage on both sides, needs the wings recovered, and generally, get it airworthy again. She swings a wood prop with a 28 hp Rotax 277. It has a nice compliment of instruments, including airspeed, alti, cht, slip, and tach. An FP-303 is a kit built, ultralight class, wood and fabric covered airplane. Nice open cockpit for the "low and slow" in a person. It was originally built by a fellow in Oregon, by the name of Blenkle. Fisher still supports the plane and told me it carried the serial number 3023.
I'm looking forward to getting it flying, so here I go.
This is another shot of the starboard wing damage, and an idea of the way it is configured to fly.
Here it is in my driveway, with my most recent project, a scratch-built epoxy and plywood dinhgy. Her name is Gui, but that's another story...
5/8/04, I bought a "Hillybilly Hanger" from Costco, and am ready to start. Last night I pulled a pattern off an existing wing rib and built up a jig. I now proudly have two epoxied and curing half ribs in my kitchen. I also attended the EAA meeting here in Burlington this morning. They will have a wealth of knowledge and encouragement, I'm sure.
5/17/04 moving along, ready with all the parts for the one wing, just need to glue it up.
5/22/04 This wing is almost done, just a little fairing and fiddleing to do. I started on the new tail Jury tubes last night.
6/9/04. Well... Yes, I've been lazy, but I had some important business to conduct at the Perrine bridge...
Nonetheless. Yeah baby, I now have Jury tubes. Gene from Fisher reccomended I install them, so here they are. Notice too, my FAA part 103 approved bandsaw.
6/12/04 Back at it. I'm fixing some damage to the under side of the tail. The Port wing wasn't as bad as the other, so it is about ready for the leading edge. Just so you know. Using the Ol' standby System 3 "T-88" Epoxy on all this. Great stuff, no smell, white vinager cleanup.
Oh and a crow was having a fit this morning as I was glueing up some stuff. Divebombing the top of my tree. He had a bald eagle treed. Eagle seen here (or crow?) leaving.
6/15/04 Yep, Yep. Last night the sounds of Ether induced combustion reverbarated around my driveway. Yeah baby, wont be long now.
6/19/04 My plans for a rad voyage in the Varga to Toledo were scuttled by thunderstorms, thus, I decided to work on my little plane..
'So', you may ask, 'Did you get her running?'
Consequently, I must ask you, Was there any doubt?
6/21/04 Since I am so not busy at work, I'll give an update on what I don't have pictures of, and where I'll go from here. Other than the above, I've recently installed plumbing for the pitot tube (A slick combo of white poly tube and 1/4 OD copper that comes through the leading edge), wiring for position lights, have new hinges for the rudder pedals, replaced or cleaned the fuel system components, tied it too a tree and ran it for about 15 minutes, all the way to top RPM, Eek! Added little 1/4inch brass thread inserts in the ends of the wings, to attach a turning jig first, then supports for trailering, and hmm, some possible aerodynamic tricks later on. And done little fiddley filling and tinkering.
So...Wednesday a guy is coming over who has experience covering things (Awnings, heh heh) and we are going to start on a wing. I have all the PolyFibre stuff ready and waiting for the cover job. I also have the PolyFibre covering video and manual, so it should go good. Hope all goes well.
Once the wings are covered, all that painted silver with polyspray, resilver the fuselage, the only thing left to do appears to be go flying. I probably should get some tail wheel time in a cub first, but oh well...I still may.
One question I still have, if anybody sees this. The Rotax 277 runs great, once it is running. It seems to need a little shot of gas dumped in the carb to get it going. If anybody has a suggestion on something better, or how the choke actually is supposed to work, I'd appreciate it.
6/23/04 I've always said the measure of a man is how good he is with an iron, or something like that.
Now I have to do the final shrink at 350 degrees, then all the other stuff, brush on Polybrush, rib lace, finish tape, more polybrush, iron again to smooth and then the Silver. But this was the scary part, and it really wasn't too bad, about 3 hours worth and no big problems.
7/9/04 Took a bit of a break. But have gotten my lighting working, and installed new hardware for the rudder peddles. Last night, I laid up the fabric on the other wing. So, I have to roll now. You want the polyfibre in "silver" as soon as possible, to protect from UV light.
7/10/04 Back at it. This is the Starboard wing. Now I just need to lace it up, tape it, and silver it. In my research, someone was complaining that just as you get good at covering, lacing, etc, it is all done! I concur, this is kinda fun, this wing is way better than the first, and the next would be even better, but, I'm getting done. I tried to start the motor today, having carburation issues, so, must tear into that again.
7/27/04 Well, Yeah, still here, but have been distracted by the sunshine and work. I finally did get the other wing started on lacing. So, I should get it going shortly, then fuselage fabric repair, paint, rigging, carb work, and fly.
7/28/04 Cows. Thing about cows, is I didn't think they had much personality. Thought they just stood there and chewed, imagining their thoughts consisted of such musings as "Water tastes good!" Now I'm not so sure. I've been getting some flack on my lack of progress on the plane, that and flying around in the Varga last week with the canopy open, made me want to work. So...Yesterday, I took half the day, almost finished the rib lace, and did my fuel system work. Now I understand how the carb works, and how to start it. As far as cows. There were about 30 of them across the field from my yard. I thought, 'Ah, the motor shouldn't scare em too much'. So I fire it up. Soon there is a giant stampede, and all those goofy cows are standing 10 feet from me with wide eyes and flared nostrils. They were curious about a half naked guy tring to hold back a running airplane, with no wings. Maybe they thought I was dumb, knowing that a plane can't fly without wings. Regardless, they happily followed my progress as I taxied it around the road in front of my house. That was cool, but a bit scary, as I have no brakes and idle taxi speed is faster than a walk. I'm glad the kill switch worked.
8/5/04 No new pictures But...All laced, taped, and silvered on the top skin. I did have a bit of an issue though. Make sure you rinse the MEK out of the spray equipment prior to putting in Poly Spray. Oops. It resulted in tiny pinholes, that had to be brushed to fill them in. I'll finish that wing tonight. I have the battery, and will get to work on final wire detail. Patch the holes in the tail. And, and...
On another note, I took a step away from my impending eccentricity. Not that being an eccentric is a bad thing, one just needs the money to back it up. Anyway, I bought and slept in my very own real queen size bed yesterday. First time I've not had my primary nest on the floor in 4 years. Yep, yep, just like the big kids.
8/7/04 Back in the builders saddle again. Wing done, fuselage patched, and sprayed a coat of silver, drove around the yard again last night too. Seems my biggest problem now, is I don't have a trailer hitch or trailer. Grumble, I'm tired of spending money. I do need a good trailer for the gold mine, but still, tired of spending money. We'll see.
8/12/04 Cool eh? This is first rigging job. Now, I've created a big punch list of fiddley stuff, but that's ok. The wings are quite rigid. I'm impressed. Huge wing span too. I think this thing will be good at soaring, probably a very low sink rate. We'll see.
8/27/04 Still at it. Just fiddeling now, with all the little stuff. That deluge we had was good for showing where water would collect. So, I drilled some holes in fuselage and wings. Now I'm working on my punch list. Here, I fixed a broken nose, replaced pull cord, wiring stuff, got together with "my" fabricator and decided how to mount the exhaust, paint, fiddle, fiddle.
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