Things have been crazy busy, and very productive around SPA over the last few weeks.
This is going to be quick update, in no particular order.
Wing Kits -
Builders have been working quietly through their wing kits. They have been busy little bees with their noses to the grind and things are going well for some, and not so hot for others….
Here are just a few examples -
Steve Pedano is a first time builder and is one of our home field guys. He has been ripping through the kit at lightening speed and is doing a great job! Below you can see he is ready for his wing skins. He just finished the spars a few weeks ago! Hats off to Steve.
Steve Pedano – First time builder ripping through the kit! We don’t hear from him unless he wants more parts!
Builder Jim Hurdle has been such a good sport, like a lot of our builders, patiently waiting on his wing kit. Unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you crate something there is always a chance it can get damaged in transit. This was poor Jim’s fate – forks through the end. Damaged a few skins and a control surface. He can still get started with his spars while he waits on his replacements – but it is still a time consuming effort on all parties due to claim paperwork, repacking and reshipping - plus diminishing stock!
Fork through the end of the crate – you can tell the crate was turned on its side at some point….
The forks ripped right into the end of the skins
Wing kits are shipping out to customers at a slower pace than we had anticipate and the plans and builders manual for these sections is still incomplete – however a builder can get their spars, flaps and ailerons all completed along with all the wing ribs prepped. We should be finished up with the builders manual for this section in the next two to three weeks and the assembly plan sheets will be right behind this.
Rear Fuselages –
The rear fuselages/tail cones parts are done and we are finishing up the builders manual for this over the next few weeks as well. Bob Woolley is finished with his, Paul Salter is doing the final touches (debur, dimple, alodine, prime and rivet), and Tony Spicer starts his this week! Look for updates on Tony’s Picasa Site starting tomorrow or Thursday.
Other builders who have not yet received their wing kits will be getting their tail kits included with the shipment. Builders who have their wing kits will be hearing from us soon!
See some photos of Paul’s rear fuse build below (roll over to see details and double click to enlarge):
Starting with the lower longeron – trim at the proper angle and file it smooth
Then drill the lower longerons using the pilot holes in the skin as a guide
Assemble the bulkheads – just cleco together
Cleco in the pre-formed stiffeners
Slide on the turtle deck, and finishing stiffeners.
Almost done – just do the robot stuff now. Drill the tail wheel socket, debur, dimple and rivet! A few bushings and voila! Ready to bolt to the forward fuselage!
New Facility, Welders and Forward Fuselage Cages -
We now have our welding crew up and running at full capacity. We have three full time welders and will do in depth intros in a week or so. (One you already know – everyone knows Vern!)
The new facility is also up and running – here are a few shots of the production progress. Not too big, but big enough! (roll over to see details and double click to enlarge)
Bird’s Eye view of the new shop. Welding on the right, and parts storage on the left. Packing and shipping in the back.
The rotisserie for the Panther fuselage frame assembly
Should have fuselage #5 out of the fixture by EOW! Rolling right along!
Panther Control Stick – a thing of beauty. Comes right from the CNC tubing shop like this!
A Day Late – But Never Forgotten
We hope everyone had a safe and reflective Memorial Day weekend. We have the deepest respect for all the soldiers who have given their lives for our precious freedom, and our continued condolences to their loved ones!
I had a brief conversation with a good friend of mine who has served a lifetime of protecting our country this afternoon. He lost a dear friend, co-pilot and fellow soldier to the ultimate sacrifice in WWII. I asked him if he had a hard day yesterday. His response was as I expected….he said “I think of him every day, and yesterday was no different”.
I came across a quote that I had not read before that I think holds the essence of all the soldiers we carry daily in our hearts that are gone from this earth:
“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” -Minot J. Savage
With respect and honor we remember and thank our fallen soldiers,