Archive for September, 2013

Air Mod Refurbs

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Air Mod is still on the job, and the past week was one devoted to even more interior fixups. A picture’s worth a thousand words, they say, so here are a few that illustrate the nature of the work. It’s all part of a wide-ranging series of incremental improvements. Take a look:

The old, rotten plywood floorboards are gone! Long live the new, much stronger and better looking aluminum-reinforced floorboards--both front and rear. Here you see the front floorboard.

The old, rotten plywood floorboards are gone! Long live the new, much stronger, lighter, and better looking aluminum-reinforced floorboards–both front and rear. Here you see the front floorboard.

This is the center console, reworked to include an access panel so that repairs and inspections of the mechanical landing gear position linkage can be easily made in the future.

Air Mod's Dennis Wolter, cutting the "waterfall Bubinga" hardwood veneer for the interior side panels.

Air Mod’s Dennis Wolter, cutting the “waterfall Bubinga” hardwood veneer for the interior side panels.

Final fit and check of the new side panels, armrests, and seats. Also, a look at the pilot's new seat, showing off the Garrett leather covering.

Final fit and check of the new side panels, armrests, and seats. Also, a look at the pilot’s new seat, showing off the Garrett leather covering.

Air Mod made a storage box in the forward spar cover. This takes advantage of previously-unused space.

Air Mod made a storage box in the forward spar cover. This takes advantage of previously-unused space.

More to come, so stay tuned! Soon we’ll be able to show off  the finished job……

Slidedown tiedowns

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

While we wait for another report from Air Mod, I thought I’d mention Sal Corio’s “Slidedown” tiedown system. Corio came up to the Debonair display at Oshkosh–er, EAA AirVenture–and wondered if we wanted to try out his knot-free tiedowns. Of course, we said.

The Slidedowns are meant to work with The Claw and other stationary ground tiedown rings. Slidedowns, as the name implies, use small sliding cylindrical tubes to exert a locking force on tiedown ropes. No more elaborate knot-tying here. Just slide down the tubes until the ropes are taut, and you’re done. They come in various colors, and are cut to fit both low-wing and high-wing airplanes. Retail price for a set: $69.85 through Slidedown, Aircraft Spruce, or Banyan.

They make for fast tiedown jobs! Here’s a look:

The Slidedown's tubes hold tension on the tiedown ropes. No more knot-tying drills!

The Slidedown’s tubes hold tension on the tiedown ropes. No more knot-tying drills!

Contents of the Slidedown package

Contents of the Slidedown package

Close-up: Air Mod’s work in progress

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Thought I’d share some photos that Air Mod sent along. They document the steps Air Mod takes in its corrosion-control initiatives. It’s labor-intensive work that’s essential to keeping airplanes alive–especially older ones such as our/your 1963 Debonair. Air Mod president Dennis Wolter told me, “Sure, the interior will look great, but if you had to show people the single most important thing we do around here, it’s this attention we pay to dealing with corrosion. When we’re done with an airplane, it’s good against corrosion for another 20 to 30 years.”

There are also some good shots of the seat buildup and reconditioned interior parts.

Air Mod is also installing an Airwolf Filter Company spin-on filter assembly. This will help keep the engine oil cleaner (the original engine has a screen, not a paper filter), and let us examine the filter element for any particulates at oil-change time.

So here’s a look at the work in progress:

De-gunking the belly, with lacquer thinner, Scotchbrite pads, and a respirator

De-gunking the belly, with lacquer thinner, Scotchbrite pads, and a respirator

Belly clean. Note Reynolds Aluminum name on corrosion-free skins.

Belly getting cleaner. Can you imagine 80 hours of this?

One clean, corrosion-free belly

One clean, corrosion-free belly

 

Inner sides of fusalge show the end product of a thorough cleaning

Inner sides of fuselage show the end product of a thorough cleaning

Belly, finally cleaned up and finished with a coat of zinc chromate

Belly, finally cleaned up and finished with a coat of zinc chromate

Cutting the patterns for the seats. Air Mod has used Garrett Leather for past AOPA sweepstakes airplanes

Cutting the patterns for the seats. Air Mod has used Garrett Leather for past AOPA sweepstakes airplanes

Making the template for the rear seats

Making the template for the rear seats

New, aluminum-reinforced floorboards (foreground) replace the beat-up old plywood ones behind them

New, aluminum-reinforced floorboards (foreground) replace the beat-up old plywood ones behind them

Reconditioned, ergonomically correct seat, waiting for back and headrest covers to be installed

Reconditioned, ergonomically correct seat, waiting for back and headrest covers to be installed

 

Inspected, reconditioned, and painted seat frame, new reinforced seat sling, new foam, and new rollers

Inspected, reconditioned, and painted seat frame, new reinforced seat sling, new foam, and new rollers

 

Airwolf remote-mounted spin-on oil filter, awaiting fire-sleeved oil lines.

Airwolf remote-mounted spin-on oil filter, awaiting fire-sleeved oil lines.

That’s it for now. More to come!