Chapter 21/25 – Bird flipped upright

Well, today was the day.  I finalized some wet sanding on the bottom of the strakes and also applied some fine line tape along the black paint edge with the white paint. Clearly way easier to do this last task while the bird is still inverted.

I then went into Star Wars “TIE Fighter” mode by installing the half moon flip brackets.

I also hooked up the winch components and got it online before attaching the cable to the front of the nose.

Since i didn’t want any rubbing of the winch cable on the nose/belly of the bird, I taped padding to the bottom of the nose/fuselage.

In addition, I wanted the nose gear down so I didn’t have to mess with the wiring or the battery, but it presented a slight problem since the winch cable would press/slide up against the nose gear strut fairing.

I used a few plies of blue painters tape and some duct tape to ensure that the winch cable didn’t extract any paint from the side of the nose gear strut fairing.

I manually lifted the nose a significant way off the ground, as I did the first time, to ensure no untoward rubbing or scraping occurred between the fuselage and the fuselage dolly, and to get the winch cable off the belly/nose and further up along the nose gear strut fairing.

After a bit of time, Jess (my helper) and I got the bird into the now infamous shuttle lunch position.

Here’s a couple more shots of the bird in the shuttle launch position.

We then used tie down straps attached to the nose to very slowly lower the nose down onto the nose wheel strut.  The other end of these tie down straps were attached to my truck trailer hitch and we simply backed the truck up very slowly to ease the nose down.

And Voila!  The bird has been flipped and ready to press on.

A side shot of the just flipped bird with the half moons still attached.

Here we are a bit later after the half moon flip brackets were removed and the bird is about to get moved into the shop.

A couple more side shots of the just-flipped fuselage/nose/strakes.

And one from the other side, for posterity’s sake.

And finally, the bird is where it belongs (right now) in the shop, ready to be finished.

Once back inside the shop, i gave the upper side of the bird a fairly good cleaning with Simple Green. I also removed the longer “wing” bolts from the CS spar.

Here’s a video that recounts our bird-flipping adventures!

With a good day’s work under our belt, we were ready to call it an evening!


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