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Thread: Building a Nieuport 11...

  1. #1061

    Join Date
    Feb 2021
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    1
    Hi, I believe it is this page:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20200530...arts-page.com/

    And I even found some pictures, for example:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20160510...port/fu037.jpg

  2. #1062

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Alabama
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    I know I've been scare on the forums, and the damned website is dead (gonna have to find another provider and rebuild it) so posting photos is now hard, but folks, I'm alive.

    Fuselage is in the "almost done" stage:

    On gear.
    Controls are in.
    Seat is in.
    Floor is done.
    Firewall mounted.
    Turtle deck done.
    Entry step complete.*

    I had Ron Wade (master of all things metal) of C&D Aviation (where I work) help me fabricate a good fuel float, which is going to work great.

    As y'all know, I wrestled with fuel monitoring the whole time, and while my wreck had nothing to do with it (since I couldn't get reading that were satisfactory to me, I always topped it off at every stop), it still bugged me to no end. The problem is that the tank is wide but not tall. It's a gallon an inch, and the tank is ten inches tall. Traditional floats are designed for tanks that are narrow but tall - meaning that the darned things are narrow and tall, too. They hit the bottom of the tank when it's half full.

    My long tube reading system worked, but I never liked it, as it was down and to the right inside the fuselage, meaning that eyes were down to look at it. It also suffered from tail down/tail up syndrome in inaccuracy (as all fuel sight tubes do).

    The solution needed is a puck that will sit on the top of the fuel, not below it. So we made one out of thin tin (the copper we had was too thick), and it turned out great.

    Cameras kinda crapped out, and I whipped out my phone for some of it, so I might be able to cobble together a video.

    How we did it:

    Cut a circle the size of the float we wanted (about four and a half inches) in MDF board, sanding down a small bevel around the edge, and sanding the plug out of it a bit to increase the kerf.
    We took the MDF plug, dug up a three inch pulley, put a nail in the center of it, and drew around it onto the tin, and then cut out the circle.
    On the MDF with the hole in it, took a bit of scrap wood, drew three lines going to the center of the hole (we really should have done this before cutting it out), and made marks on the lines and the wood to where the wood would hit the edge of the tin.
    Pretty cool centering technique; just put the tin down, push it with the stick until the lines agree on three sides.
    Put the MDF plug on top of the tin and repeat centering technique.
    Into the press with it (one of the big reasons I asked Ron to help), where in less than a minute we had pushed the tin into the hole to make what looked like an ashtray.
    Tappy-tap with a hammer around an idler bearing for a Sherman tank track - yep, we have one and use it for all manner of riveting and stuff - until it's a nice dish.
    Measure around the lip, cutting a clean line (a little less than an inch).
    Using a small set of smooth pliers, we bent up the edge of the dish to bring it to 90 degrees, checking for flatness on the welding table.
    We set this down on the sheet of tin, took an AN3 washer with a sharpie in the middle, and drew around the dish, and then drew around the dish as well.
    After cutting out the circle, we took the pliers and bent up the edge of the flat piece to 90 degrees.
    The dish went into this, and we beat this down to seam it them together.
    Heat and solder the join for water tightness,
    We then tinned a bit of 1/4 inch copper tubing (after making some flanges on it) and soldered it to the center of the float for the rod that will go up out of the tank to tell me how much fuel is left.

    A week in water and no leaks, and with the rod she floats with about an eighth of an inch below the waterline.

    Since the fuel flows out of a hole in the bottom of the tank and the float is flat and larger than this hole, I'll disaster proof the system by soldering some short pegs around the hole at the bottom of the tank in case the float ever gets a leak and sinks.

    * Originally one stepped on the lower longeron with the left foot, bringing the right foot over the turtle deck to step on the seat, much like mounting a horse. But since I made the fuselage deeper, I found that my old stiff self was having trouble with it. The fix was to make a step that is four inches up from the longeron. Now I can get in and out of the aircraft easily.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  3. #1063

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Alabama
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    weirdly enough, some of my older videos actually have ads before they start...



    A few notes:

    1. I don't have a brake that's long enough for this stuff.
    2. This mask stuff where I think I don't have to shave didn't work out too well.
    3. Cleaco? Never heard of her.
    4. I didn't realize until I had sprayed the wood that I had no shot of it with all the parts in it!
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  4. #1064

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    50
    Great to see you back, Frank! Been wondering what's going on in the hangar. I had to smile when, in the instrument panel video, you realized you forgot the two side panels for the switches - I've done that myself.

    Could you rivet a couple of panels to the main one?

    If/when you have time, a 3 minute video showing the status of the plane would be nice to see.

    Welcome back!

  5. #1065

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Alabama
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    I did a quick walk around with the GoPro for you, and will probably put the shaky video up in the next couple days.

    Yesterday I didn't get a lot done, owing to a minor medical twitch, but the fuel tank is about ready for finalization and mounting.

    I also put on the floor panel, as A) I was afraid it's going to get beat up getting moved around the hangar, and 2) I wanted to reward myself by seeing it. It'll have to come off for covering, but that's not such a chore. I also need to make "beauty plates" to go around the cutouts for the landing gear.

    I didn't do that last time around, as I wasn't as interested in looks so much as getting her into the air, and to be honest I really didn't have the skills to make them well enough to actually improve the aesthetics. Two years of working at C&D aviation on aircraft that make magazine covers and take home trophies fixed that.

    I find it amusing that my little Nieuport, as imperfect as it was, turned out to be a resume. Ron and Don Wade had seen it a couple times, and knew that I made her from raw tubes and covered her under a tent in the back yard. The first Patriot Recruit was going to Oshkosh as display (it's the EAA raffle plane in the museum waiting for a winner - how cool is that?), and they needed a hand doing final prep and gave our EAA chapter a call for volunteers. At the time I was happily retired, but I figured it was only right to see what I could do for fellow chapter members. I fabricated a few minor pieces, ran the stringers down the fuselage, and generally helped out; fabric covered aircraft aren't exactly a mystery for me.

    At the end of the third day, they asked me to come back for a fourth - as an employee.

    My entire aviation experience was in the Nieuport, excepting pilot training (CTLS and a Champ). I think I've done well simply because I'm ignorant as to what I can't do; Ron will say "Make a thing" or "Sort out the Garmin wiring harness" and I just dig in and do it (and stop when I'm lost and ask questions). My fabrication skills have gone way up - we needed a light bay for an Experimental aircraft, so I just used a very beat up one we had laying around, took some measurements, and made it; the highest complement came from Don, who said "Huh, you found one, and it's new old stock, too. Adding the nut plates to hold the lens bracket is the way to go."

    So on the rebuild I'm applying a lot of what I learned to improve what I had before. It's naturally slowing work down, but the corollary to "Pretty don't make her fly," is apparently "but it shows craftsmanship." Or, in our business, "but it wins awards and increases the value of the aircraft."

    My little Noop will never win an award, nor will she ever be worth the sum of her parts in dollar value, but she will look even better, be more comfortable, and a tad bit more functional.

    Name:  noop_with_floor.jpg
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    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  6. #1066

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    50
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Giger View Post
    I did a quick walk around with the GoPro for you, and will probably put the shaky video up in the next couple days.

    Yesterday I didn't get a lot done, owing to a minor medical twitch, but the fuel tank is about ready for finalization and mounting.

    I also put on the floor panel, as A) I was afraid it's going to get beat up getting moved around the hangar, and 2) I wanted to reward myself by seeing it. It'll have to come off for covering, but that's not such a chore. I also need to make "beauty plates" to go around the cutouts for the landing gear.

    I didn't do that last time around, as I wasn't as interested in looks so much as getting her into the air, and to be honest I really didn't have the skills to make them well enough to actually improve the aesthetics. Two years of working at C&D aviation on aircraft that make magazine covers and take home trophies fixed that.

    I find it amusing that my little Nieuport, as imperfect as it was, turned out to be a resume. Ron and Don Wade had seen it a couple times, and knew that I made her from raw tubes and covered her under a tent in the back yard. The first Patriot Recruit was going to Oshkosh as display (it's the EAA raffle plane in the museum waiting for a winner - how cool is that?), and they needed a hand doing final prep and gave our EAA chapter a call for volunteers. At the time I was happily retired, but I figured it was only right to see what I could do for fellow chapter members. I fabricated a few minor pieces, ran the stringers down the fuselage, and generally helped out; fabric covered aircraft aren't exactly a mystery for me.

    At the end of the third day, they asked me to come back for a fourth - as an employee.

    My entire aviation experience was in the Nieuport, excepting pilot training (CTLS and a Champ). I think I've done well simply because I'm ignorant as to what I can't do; Ron will say "Make a thing" or "Sort out the Garmin wiring harness" and I just dig in and do it (and stop when I'm lost and ask questions). My fabrication skills have gone way up - we needed a light bay for an Experimental aircraft, so I just used a very beat up one we had laying around, took some measurements, and made it; the highest complement came from Don, who said "Huh, you found one, and it's new old stock, too. Adding the nut plates to hold the lens bracket is the way to go."

    So on the rebuild I'm applying a lot of what I learned to improve what I had before. It's naturally slowing work down, but the corollary to "Pretty don't make her fly," is apparently "but it shows craftsmanship." Or, in our business, "but it wins awards and increases the value of the aircraft."

    My little Noop will never win an award, nor will she ever be worth the sum of her parts in dollar value, but she will look even better, be more comfortable, and a tad bit more functional.

    Name:  noop_with_floor.jpg
Views: 238
Size:  99.7 KB
    Hi Frank,

    Many thanks for the quick video showing the progress on the Nieuport. Looks like great work.

    I have always found that the second or third version of any kind of build I ever did comes out much better than the first. Both in looks and quality of build. This was especially true of my flying model airplane builds as a kid. And it doesn't take any longer, really, to make it nice because you already learned how to do the basic construction. A lot of thinking time expended in the first build is not necessary for the second build. When I'm doing something for the first time I'm glacially slow. Mainly because I don't want to screw it up. Sometimes I screw it up anyway.

    Last year I designed and made a cover plate for my fuel selector out of 0.064 aluminum. The first one I made took hours. I wasn't totally happy with it, and the second one I made took 30-45 minutes and I'm quite pleased with it.

    So keep up the good work and make it as nice as you can even if it's a part that isn't seen.

    The pick up stick idea is great.

  7. #1067

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    Aug 2011
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    Alabama
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    The stick was pretty high on my improvements list. To heck with historical accuracy - there's no good way to pick up the tail when built as plans. This lead to an unfortunate event when my brother-in-law, when helping move the airplane, picked her up from horizontal stab and ripped out a rivnut that held one of the supports.

    This is another improvement I made - they're now held on with bolts. I'll make little circular access covers in the fabric for them.

    Anyhow, the aluminum tang for it isn't enough. But cutting a broom stick down the middle and use it as a tang on a knife and it'll be more than robust.

    I'm really, really, really hoping the more traditional spring gear set up is going to work out. No reason why it shouldn't, and if it keeps the tailwheel from flexing side to side like a broken shopping cart wheel I'll be thrilled. My landings won't have that unique fishtailing action at the rear of the aircraft.

    For everyone not a subscriber to the channel, here's the walk around:

    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  8. #1068

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    50
    "The stick was pretty high on my improvements list. To heck with historical accuracy - there's no good way to pick up the tail when built as plans."

    I think one way they did it in WWI was to lift the tail onto a steerable cart:

    Name:  Move_cart.jpg
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    You can see it in action in the Youtube documentary: 4 years of Thunder, Part 1, right around the 13 second mark

  9. #1069

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Alabama
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    Thanks for the video share!

    These planes also had tail skids, rather than wheels.

    One of the many side projects is a tail wheel lift, a little device that will slide under the tailwheel and lift it into flying position. Right now I have a little table and a block of wood for those purposes, as for pre-flight I like to have it like that for checking oil, filling with gas, checking fittings, etc.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  10. #1070

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Alabama
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    Here's the video of completing the fuselage frame.

    It took forever, but I'm actually really pleased with this video; I managed to cut down a crapton of raw video into what I think is a concise, informative video:

    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

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