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While waiting for the main gear hoop to arrive, I’ve been doing the bits and pieces one can do without it. Tonight I finished half of the last reinforcement layup between the forward and aft LG bulkheads. I might have finished both, but it took a bit to cut the glass and I had a time limit. I didn’t want to rush the other side.

At this point, I need to hoop to proceed any further. Until it does, I’ll probably start mounting the spar and working on the strakes. The other option is the turtleback, but I don’t want to install it unti I have some more interior work done. I may get its jig built, and do the off-plane layup just to get it started.


Tonight I cleaned out most of the hangar and got most of the workshop ready for business. John has already used the hotbox for a few bits he was working on. It took all night to get it ready, so I didn’t do much, but I did sand the edges of the firewall-to-aft-LG reinforcement in preparation for installing the mains. It was just a 5-minute job, but it counts as plane building, so I’m back in the saddle!

Tonight I watched John doing a short taxi test. It’s simply amazing how smooth and powerful the Mazda 13BT is. I’ve seen Lycomings, and they vibrate like hell – the Mazda is so smooth you can hardly tell it’s buzzing along. Moreover, in a Lycoming, the Cozy will strain against the brakes when you go WOT, rolling forward a bit even on Matcos. The 13BT? John wasn’t even giving it all the boost it could theoretically take, just doing a normal runup, and there was NO way the brakes could hold back – he was at walking speed before he let off. The brakes are fine, it’s just a powerful engine and an adjustable prop (that has a big impact, too).

Tomorrow John will help me flip the plane over, then I plan to fix a few undercarriage dings from the move, and do the LG bulkhead reinforcement that’s impossible to do with the plane on its belly. Hopefully the hoop will arrive soon…

Hangar Closer shot Couch and desk First restart job

This weekend was all about cleaning – cleaning the hangar, that is. We now have several work surfaces, pegboards, and cabinets mounted, the wings, canard, and spar stored, and the hot box set up. We still have to get the rest of the stuff out of the way so we can get around, but hopefully by the end of the week we’ll be done with that and ready to get going again.

OK, this normally comes much later in the construction cycle for most builders, so it’s normally more of an event, but my Cozy is now officially in its hangar! We moved over the weekend, and while there’s still a lot to clean up, and still a lot to BUILD, this feels very good. It’s a big step, and it feels good.

I’ve also been getting in some flight time. Nothing loggable, but I’ve been spending some time in the right seat in John Slade’s bird, and learning a huge amount from the experience. Not just about flying the Cozy, but about the build cycle, too. I think the most valuable aspect of this (in addition to the experience) is that it’s showing me what I cared about before that just isn’t important and what I wasn’t even thinking about yet. I can now shuffle my priorities to address things that are actually meaningful.

Oh, side note. We’re also probably one of the only hangars in the world that’s fully carpeted. =) We were required to tear out the carpet from our old office when we moved, and it seemed a shame to throw it out. John insisted on this, over my objections, but I’m sold now. It’s much nicer to stand on than bare concrete, and will help insulate the floor slightly when we work on cold winter days. We’ve laid down some scrap aluminized insulation sheets to catch oil drips for safety’s sake.

This coming Wednesday John and I will return to the old office with the pickup to get any last items we may have missed. John is out Thursday (build nights are now Wed and Thu), so I’ll use that time to start arranging the build space in the hangar and mounting all the work tables. As it turns out, we have rather a lot of work surface. I love using door panels for these, and have collected quite a few over the past few years. They’ve now all ended up at the hangar, so I think we have 9-10 of them to use as work benches. I just need to build legs for the ones that don’t have them yet.

With any luck, we’ll be back to building full time by the following week!

I have never in my life had the misfortune to work with a company with service as poor as this misbegotten excuse for a telecommunications provider. Ever since they bought SBC (which was no great shakes to begin with), our phone service has been a downhill slide into a stinking mire of service issues. We have had our service cut off. We have had our unlimited long distance converted to a per-minute plan and received multi-thousand dollar phone bills with no notice. We have lost service inexplicably. Our DSL costs MORE than cable for less speed and iffy connectivity.

They always apologize, but what good is an apology when nothing changes in the future? I don’t want an apology, I want good service!

Now we’re moving. What could be more fun than another phone problem? Answer: Three phone problems!

  1. At first they refused to speak with anybody but the owner of our business. Come on people, do you really expect to talk to the ‘owner’ of HP or IBM when they call for phone service? We’re not paying $30 a month for a residential line here, and we’re certainly not paying to get ME on the line to move phone lines with everything else on my plate.
  2. Then they told us we couldn’t keep our phone number. In the next town over. What? What business moves and discards its phone number? Oh, wait, no, sorry, we can keep it, but for a rate so high it must burn its wings, a Daedalian offering in the telecom world. It’s actually cheaper to reprint all our business cards and letterhead.
  3. Finally, despite telling them in VERY clear terms that we’re moving on the 15th, and we want to transfer on that day so we don’t disrupt our own customer service, we’ve just discovered that over the weekend all of our phone lines and DSL service have been shut off. All of them. I suppose we shouldn’t have expected a company for whom customer service is a vague mystery one reads about in books to understand our OWN determination to provide good customer service.

What choice do we have? Not much, in the past, but recently VoIP services have produced better business offerings, and you can bet we’ll be exploring them. Now it’s becoming MUCH clearer why traditional phone companies are fighting VoIP so much. It’s not that customers are switching to get better rates – phone companies are great at competing on price. It’s that they know they can’t compete on service, so retaining monopolistic control over a market is their only hope of staying in business.

AT&T, you get our fax lines, but you can kiss a business customer goodbye for the rest of our account.