Steady Progress

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I love air powered tools. In my little airplane single engine land construction hanger, when I fired up the air wrench, that inimitable sound meant one thing: Making progress toward an ambitious goal of flying the United States. As many States as I could. In an aircraft I had built myself.

Low.

And slow.

Like, 50 MPH slow. That’s pretty slow. For comparison a 737 stalls (ie, falls to the ground) at 125 MPH. My plane would fall to the ground at 35 MPH. The top speed of a 737 is more than 500 MPH. My plane was at risk of falling to pieces in midair above 125 MPH.

So … low and slow. By design and by desire. I want to see every horse snapping its head up, every deer dashing, every coyote running. The trees, the rivers, the lakes, the ponds, the houses and the people glancing up at me. Some mom trying to start her lawn mower. Some dad loading his SUV with groceries. Kids smoking dope in a park.

Flying low and slow in an aircraft is something of a hazard to life and limb. If you have an engine out then there’s no space or time to find a clearing to land safely. You’re possibly done. That’s something to think about. High and fast is the risk mitigating rule. I’ve never been a rule breaker. I’ve always been compliant. Well, there’s not much time left. One decade? Two? I don’t like easy chairs or reclining.

Anyway, it’s a bald fact that complete safety and security are an illusion. There is only risk and how you choose to experience it.

But long before those considerations would ever even be remotely relevant there were still many pieces to remove from TZero:

There are parts to save

and parts to toss:

TZero was going to take more time to disassemble than some engine cores would. It was stuck and wouldn’t rotate. Mad Max, said my wife. Mad freakin’ Max! I didn’t listen to her because she had no basis to deny the beauty of a rebuilt Corvair flight engine.

Because TZero was intransigent, removing the clutch and the distributor would be non-trivial. First the heads would have to come off, the top cover and magnesium fan — then lots and LOTS of penetrating oil had to be applied in all the right places. Tapping with wood in the right places to free it up. The exhaust logs were so rusted onto the heads that it took about 3 days of periodic spraying Liquid Wrench and tapping the exhaust logs with mallet and wood block — then ball peen hammer and cold chisel (very, very carefully) before the exhaust logs (pictured on right above) came free from the heads.

And because I took my time the heads were still 100% intact — which was an absolute requirement.

Build time: 1.5 hrs, 5.5 hrs total.