This update is long overdue – but well worth the wait. Our welding, machine and fiberglass shops have been running non-stop and so much progress has been made!
They are DONE! The fuselage fixtures AND the Lycoming dynafocal mount. Beta builder Bob Woolley’s fuselage cage is shown in these photos – and goes to powercoat Monday.
Photos of the fuse cage:
The tail cone is 98% matched tool now. You can take it out of the box, cleco the whole structure together and drill the longerons. Debur, updrill, rivet and you are ready to bolt to the powder-coated steel tube fuselage. Just think – in a weekend of light work you can sit in your fuselage and make airplane noises!
Photos of the tail cone:
Photos of the Lycoming dynafocal mount:
We have 15 fuselage tube kits that will start production welding next week. The tail cone parts are being run by the machine shop now.
The Panther Corvair cowling is back from the fiberglass shop and it turned out better than we could have hoped for! The prototype cowling was good, but it was a prototype nonetheless. It was heavy, bulky, the inlet holes were asymmetrical and the split line was not straight. Plus the proto type cowling was vinyl ester. The production cowling is straight, symmetrical, light and strong because it is vacuum bagged epoxy.
The fit on the cowling is as close to perfect as we could have hoped and the installation is scheduled for this week. The Panther has been grounded for just over three weeks – time to get back in the air!
Don’t forget – SNF starts April 1st – come see us! And join us for Dinner and a Movie on Friday the 4th. Our booth is N-032.
It’s coming up on that time again! Every year we look forward to Sun ‘N Fun and this year is looking like it might be our best yet. We moved our booth just a bit to give us a little more room and get us closer to the flight line. We are in booth N-032 which is outside of Hangar C on the end of the row.
We will also be having our Annual SNF Cookout, so please join us and bring your friends! We will have all you can eat (until it’s all gone, of course) hot dogs and hamburgers with all the sides and an array of beverages. After dinner we will show Panther videos AND the film by Lex Sadasivan and Lisa Weseman called SOLO. You truly won’t want to miss this short film written by Dan’s sister Lisa and directed and produced by Lisa and her husband Lex. It is about a close knit aviation family, filmed at our home airpark and Dan is one of the pilots. A must see!
This is a ”More the Merrier – No Frills” event, so come – eat and relax with your fellow Panther, Corvair and/or Cleanex homebuilders and their friends and families. Cost is $10 per person (kids are free). Bring a chair and your appetite, and prepare to be entertained!
So we can figure out how much food we need tell us if you can make it and how many friends you can drag along with you.
Well – I beg to differ. What can you accomplish on your EAB project in 1 hour?
Consider this little story from today….
So, Dan sent an email late last night to our beta builder Bob Woolley. It went something like this…
“I’ve got a few hours of work that could be done if you have any time. Oh yeah it’s on YOUR tail. Wait – I should clarify….I mean your airplanes’ tail (I don’t want any confusion – I know how you Air Force and Navy guys think…)
Seriously – I have the parts for the lower tail cone. If you have time and feel like it you could drill the longerons and assemble it….”
So – Needless to say Mr. Woolley was down this AM. It took him a total of one hours worth of actual work (minus the Bravo Sierra sessions) to assemble what you see below. He drilled the longerons (upper and lower) and cleco’ed the rest together. Now the process of debur, up-drill, (dimple if flush) and rivet sequence shall commence. How easy is that!
So – if you are serious about building anything remotely in this class of airplane, and like instant results – you should consider the Panther. It is versatile, aerobatic, affordable and extremely build-able! Any airplane that can give you the satisfaction of getting that much progress done in that amount of time…
The Panther Fuselage production welding is underway. We have a tube kit professionally cut off of a model that Dan designed with the CNC company. Then the tubes get fitted in the proper fixture and welded. There a many small fixtures, which create the sub pieces of the fuselage – then the sub pieces are fitted in a larger fixture and welded.
Dan and our welder – Vernon Stevenson – are working out any mods to the tubing kits now. Vern is a certified welder and has many years of welding experience to help us set this up right from the beginning. Vern has done welding work for us for years, producing parts like Cleanex engine mounts, intakes and most recently the Panther prototype fuselage and engine mount. By next week the production fuselage tubing kits will be on their way and it will be full steam ahead!
The prototype Panther is currently grounded because we have our cowling off to the fiberglass mold shop to have a mold pulled. The mold we are having done will produce a vacuum bagged epoxy cowling. We debated whether to do epoxy or vinyl and in the end the epoxy will be stronger and lighter. We should have our new cowling within 3 weeks. We will quickly get it fitted and painted.
Our plan is to have one cowling for the Corvair and then a universal cowling for the 0-320, 0-200 and the UL engine. The universal cowling construction will begin once Mr. Bob Woolley gets his fuselage from us. Dan will design the engine mount and Vern will weld it. Bob will then hang his 0-320 on the fuselage and he and Dan will build the cowling from there. Once his cowling is roughed we will have a mold made from it. This will then be the Universal Cowling for the Panther.
Pete Krotje with Jabiru USA is designing the firewall-forward kit for the Panther and Jabiru 3300 combo. When we get our cowling on the way from the fiberglass shop they will be sending us a second one for Pete to use as a starting point. Pete has assured us that he will keep the “Panther” look.
Rear Fuselage: The tail cone/rear fuselage CNC parts in the past were not match-hole. We have our first full rear fuselage set from the CNC shop being test fit this weekend. Photos soon!
Production Shipping: The wing rib/skin/control surfaces kits will start shipping out this week. The parts are ready, however the hardware kit and plans are being finalized. It is likely that some kits will ship with some plan sheets with others coming a week or two behind. The hardware kit will be available on Aircraft Spruce’s website by the end of next week.