ChapterGram: March 2013
Chapter 976 Offers Builder Workshops
By Barry Davis, Treasurer of EAA Chapter 976 in Carrollton, Georgia, EAA 389226
Right in the middle of January, the cold weather let up and gave EAA Chapter 976 a 70°F weekend - just in time for our January meeting. By 9 a.m., the EAA Learning Center was living up to its name, with more than 30 members in attendance ready to participate in the day's activities.
The morning began with John Howard, who gave a complete overview of composite construction as he demonstrated a patch on fiberglass. I was impressed to see an expert doing this so easily, because the last time I attempted a fiberglass repair, I ended up with it all over my shirt and my fingers stuck together.
Next up was Gardiner Mason with his demo on building wooden ribs. Gardiner has had a lot of experience lately building ribs as his Pietenpol was on the bottom of the pile of planes that were twisted up in the tornado at Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo. His first wings were wrapped around the fuselage and were a total loss. Gardiner has just completed all repairs including another set of wings and center section. His Piet now has about three hours of flying time on it since the resurrection.
I was next in line with a demonstration of rivets and prepping metal for riveting. I have never built a metal airplane but have had a lot of riveting experience over the years. If you need information, including technical information, on riveting, be sure to ask Gary Henderson. He has forgotten more information on riveting than I have ever known.
Bruce Laird and Tom Howard are the chapter's highest-qualified welders, especially on tungsten inert gas welding. Both of them are certificated for food-grade, nuclear, and aircraft welding, and it shows. They explained how to clean and prep the metal, what materials to use, and demonstrated several welding techniques.
Last but surely not least, Frank Metcalfe and Harold Johnson gave an extensive demo on fabric covering that included prepping the airframe, which glue to use, and how to set and use an iron to shrink the fabric. Frank and Harold have covered many airplanes and can cover a complete airplane in about a week. I know this because I saw them do it while covering the five Pietenpols. Most homebuilt projects stall out and are sold when the fabric is ready to start, but Frank and Harold showed us how covering can be the most fun part of the building process.