Sunday, June 20, 2010


Yesterday was a good day. I didn't finish the main rib that has given me so much trouble, but I did figure out a way to fabricate two repairs, so it is both legal and safe. Now, I just need to enough skill to apply these repairs without messing up. I also fabricated the part of the rib that is actually nailed into the spar for three different ribs, got one assembled and primed. This leaves me with two ribs left to repair, and two to modify, and all 30 will be airworthy and ready for the next step!

Friday, I didn't get out of the shop until late, because my favorite gunsmith brought a fellow officer in to see his plane. Turns out that gent is up visiting from Arizona, and has a similar model, different year - so they were gleefully going through the plane and comparing modifications, problems, and repairs. Given they have metal large-engined planes and I have a rag n' tube small-engine plane, I thought I'd slip on out after cleaning up - but instead I got asked for stories and explanations on my own lil' old project.

You see, my grandmother grew up in Alliance, OH. And she told me that right before the War, back in '41, her best girl friend worked at the Taylorcraft factory. After school got out, busses would come from the factory and take the girls over for a night shift. "During the day, the men [and here she would sigh] (what men were left) would put the fuselage together, and at night, the girls would build the wings. We had smaller hands, you see."

So my grandmother is quite pleased that I am rebuilding a plane her friend probably put together - and I have been ordered to fly her through Alliance and give a ride to that fiery little lady who's still thoroughly enjoying life, all these years later. Truthfully, I don't mind the order - I look forward to it! But it is quite amusing to me that being able to talk about the history of my plane and the politics and material and labor rationing of America in the opening days of World War Two makes me feel less like a pilot geeking over her plane, and more like a curator and caretaker of a piece of history.

She's no museum piece - she was born to fly, and will again soon!

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