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It doesn’t seem like massive progress, but tonight I got the horizontal support slats cut, and most of the jig pieces drawn for cutout next week. This took a fair bit of time because I was having problems with my table saw’s fence drifting, and I wanted to get some alignment cuts exactly right on the jigs. I’m spending a lot of time on this turtleback jig because I can foresee using it again in the future. With the progress I made tonight, I ought to be able to get the jigs cut and mounted next week.

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I started making the turtleback jig last night, and with luck will make some more progress on it this evening. As of now I have the five jig pieces cut, stacked, and centerlines marked, with notches for the 2x4s. I need to pick up some strapping from Home Depot to fill the inside.

I’m making a slight change over the plans. We have two planes in our hangar, and mobility of workspace is pretty handy. Rather than Bondo this sucker to one of the benches, I’m building it on a bench (to get a flat, stable reference surface), but adding two more 2x4s to the sides. That way it’s self-supporting, and I can move it around if it’s in the way. It should also make it easier to keep it in one piece to loan to other builders, or if we ever decide to build another Cozy (not totally beyond the realm of possibility).

I’ve been casting about for the next thing I should be working on. I can’t move forward with the mains because I am still waiting for the gear hoop. I’ve put most interior details on hold pending installation of the strakes, and those require the spar to be installed. But I’m holding off on the spar because it makes the plane much harder to turn over, and it makes sense to get some bottom finishing done first, as much as possible.

So it’s on to the turtleback! On Thursday I picked up the plywood to start making the forms. I didn’t get much further, though, because John and I went flying in Slick Kitten. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of flight in this plane. I’ve seen people talk about it nonchalantly – how great it is, but as if they’re describing a nice car. Well, not me. This is fantastic! I’m getting to experience two enormous events at the same time – my first few flight hours, and in an extremely fast and agile plane! I could spend days up there, and still find tiny details like turning exciting.

It’s also just a LITTLE distracting from the build cycle. =)

Our airport, over the canard

Well, I’ve now been waiting for my main gear hoop for nearly 3 months, and have done as much as I can do without it. Chapter 9 is actually mostly complete – landing gear, reinforcement layups, etc., all done. I just have to do one little section – the main gear. Ummmm….

Given that it’s likely I’ll be waiting a while longer, it’s time to pick a new project. I don’t want to mount the spar and start the strakes, because that would be best done once the Cozy is on its main gear, and it also makes it much harder to work around. That means the next logical step is to start the turtleback. I’ll try to get by the Borg in the truck on Wednesday or Thursday to get the plywood I need to get this going.

If you need anything from Featherlite, make sure you order VERY early. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, and they’ll have your part in stock. Other times, they’ll wait and get orders together before they do a production run, and you could be waiting a while. A long while. They DO eventually deliver, but you can’t count on their delivery times.