29 August 2006 Images and Progress Notes (and a 4 May 2007 note)

4 May 2007: Terribly sorry for my long absence. But I'm still alive, and although this project has been near stasis since last fall, in the meantime reconstruction of my personal financial foundation has been notable, and an important threshold was crossed a couple of months ago. Now, at long last, I should be able to direct discretionary funds into this project. My income is very modest, so funding will be very modest. But for years I was generally restricted to trivial spending. Now I can accumulate funds, and when the savings are sufficient, spend them on significant ambitions such as the long deferred landing gear support pillars. There are many challenges ahead, and progress will not be blinding fast. But, hopefully, comparatively visible progress should reappear. I'll relate more within very roughly two months...

30 August 2006, updated 31 August 2006: Click on a thumbnail to see the images, file sizes as shown. The first 17 images were captured on 7 July 2006. The rest were captured on 29 August 2006. Unfortunately, it was about dusk at the time, which significantly reduces the quality of interior images due to lack of light. Sorry about that - I'll try to do better next time.

Terribly sorry for the very long time since my last update. While I've been very busy, most of the work I've accomplished over the last year has had little visual impact. But there are a few exceptions, such as the cockpit, and, for what it's worth, the enormous quantity of scrupulously clean flotsam that's accumulated in the cabin.

Regarding the cockpit, I cleaned and installed several additional original 727 modules, instruments, and legend panels generously donated by Irving Jensen (thank tons Irving!), and installed a new 17" DVI connected 1280 x 1024 computer display in the P2 panel ($90 from TigerDirect after rebates, which were honored).

The liquid crystal display is secured with the original standard 1/4 turn fasteners, and can be easily removed and replaced with the original engine gage racks (except that I'm short the 1/4 turn fasteners, so currently two of the original racks just rest in place). I didn't alter any original aircraft structure in any way, so no loss of full restoration potential occurred. That's my goal with all the cockpit work, though only time will determine whether I'll ever have to modify any original structure. The custom aluminum frame that holds the liquid crystal display was built from scratch, and I'm quite pleased with the result, though it was a lot of work, simple though it may appear. It's a very tight fit - it's as large a display as can be installed in the P2 panel without cutting the module mounting flanges. (Ordering the display was a bit of a risk since fit was questionable - I was lucky.)

I haven't finished the mounting work for the two small liquid crystal displays in the P4 and P5 panels yet, and may not until next winter, when outdoor work becomes impractical. The goal is the same - they should also be easy to remove and replace with original 727 modules. They're currently secured with the standard 1/4 fasteners, but the computers powering them, legacy Mac laptops, need to be trimmed and secured to the back of the display to create a unified module. Currently the laptop bodies are just loosely attached behind the display panel. I have several of these old laptops, and will add them to otherwise blank spaces as time permits (next winter mostly), and network them of course.

Display content is another matter. Currently it's just a slide show of some 727 training manual pages and "2001: A Space Odyssey" movie stills on all three displays. Dynamic displays from a flight simulator would be better, and while I've loaded FlightGear on the Mac Sawtooth that's driving the large central display, it doesn't yet run properly, I'm guessing due to a RAM problem in that system. But I don't have time to troubleshoot that now - it's an indoor winter project.

The stall warning module in the P5 panel is off location due to a temporary conflict with the liquid crystal display. I'll correct that later. And the two new artificial horizon instruments are just sitting in the only openings large enough to accommodate them until I determine where they really belong. The cabin altimeter instrument belongs in the Flight Engineer's station, but must await the parent module it mounts into, which I don't have yet. In the meantime it sits in an opening in the Captain's panel.

There's a great deal more restoration and other work to perform in the cockpit of course, but most must await winter weather so that I can focus on the outdoor work I can only reasonably execute during the summer and fall.

I've completed some basic infrastructure work, including the permanent water connection, and installation of a key primary service stanchion body section. The water connection incorporates a top coil of tubing which is designed to provide a lot of play so it won't be damaged as the aircraft dances about during an earthquake, as will the other service lines. The primary service stanchion isn't complete of course - more conduits and structure for primary utility power, telecom, TV antenna, water line heater wires, other cables, and an empty conduit for adding underground cables later without having to dig, should the need arise, will be added when I'm able. Additional vertical support structure and a system such as a magnetic latch to keep the top lines coiled normally, but disengage to allow them to stretch out when pulled by substantial aircraft movement, will be installed as well.

But there are limits to what I can legally do now. I don't have the funds to build the three landing gear support pillars, and won't for very roughly 18 months. That's an enormous frustration. And it's a big risk since the aircraft would not remain on the current railroad tie and foam panel platforms during an earthquake. But I can't spend money I don't have - patience is necessary. And since I can't build the pillars yet, in practical terms there's no point in applying for a building permit, which would just stagnate until the pillars (in provincial building terms the foundation) can be constructed. And thus other infrastructure work can go only so far - I can plan and experiment, but of course I can't fill trenches or finalize most items. But I did finalize the water system connection (I hope I don't get busted). And I plan to add the permanent telecom and TV antenna connections soon. I dug a trench for the sewer line for the aft lavs, by hand as usual. And I purchased enough 4" sewer pipe to make the connection to the septic tank, which is just to the right side of the nose. It's yet another trench which will remain open for years...

I added a comparatively high capacity sprinkler above the power meter pole. It's mounted at a height that allows it to keep the forward fuselage and right wing wet for wildfire mitigation. I also installed a fire hose connection in the ground below the fuselage, and I have a modest but serviceable 1.25" hose on hand. Both were tested and work fine. Either will deliver water as fast as my well pump can provide it when their valves are fully open. I still need to add a sprinkler to cover the aft fuselage and left wing. Of course, these and some sprinklers I have in the forest won't stop a wildfire. But they're useful adjuncts to an overall fire fighting effort, especially when activated well ahead of a fire's arrival, and might tip the balance when combined with other efforts. But they do depend upon utility power, and in a wildfire that's a very weak link of course. (My domestic generator needs repair - it can deliver some power, but it's clearly not capable of delivering full capacity for reasons unknown.)

I've mounted a few of the window panels as you can see. But most of the rest must also wait until winter.

The clutter that overwhelms the cabin is the result of pressure washing the last of the components acquired from the Lake City Florida 727 freighter during December 2004 to January 2005, plus a lot of pressure washed personal domestic possessions that I've moved out of the disgusting old mobile home, before the mice and mold render them unrecoverable even by my substantial pressure washer. This is no small task - I've accumulated more artifacts over the years than I can reasonably manage (yet less than I need it sometimes seems), and any that have been in the mobile home have to be thoroughly cleaned before I'll allow them in the aircraft. For electronics, including TVs, stereos, computers, work related instruments, and similar items, this means disassembling them, pressure washing the individual sections, moving them into the very dry cabin (due to frequent operation of an air dehydrator), then reassembling and testing them once thoroughly dry. It's a lot of work, but it fully restores them to showroom condition (in terms of cleanliness), and thus makes them compatible with the aircraft. Frankly, it's either that or discard them - the mobile home is that badly degraded (it's genuinely disgusting). Most items will simply sit in the aircraft for later use, although some serve to inform or entertain me during work breaks or as background to work. This effort is ongoing - I'm trying to complete as much pressure washing as possible before the weather degrades, and hope to essentially finish it by winter, reducing the mobile home to the barest of basics (and cheapest, since remaining items may be unrecoverable later).

Most of the cleaned 727 components as well as some of the domestic items that now clutter the cabin will be moved into the rear cargo bay later this year to partially clear the cabin for further work. But I hope to permanently install some of the 727 components this fall, if there's enough decent weather left when the pressure washing is complete (assuming I can complete the washing). The images of the flight control surfaces, such as the flap sections, slats, and spoilers illustrate some of the work ahead. These incorporate tracks and actuators, so in theory I may be able to restore functionality to some flaps, slats and spoilers. But I wasn't able to fully complete the disassembly of the Lake City aircraft, so I'm missing some components, including some left wing inner flap drive tube connection joints, and the stabilator actuator. And the Lake City 727's Krueger flap actuators had already been removed, so I still don't have any of those. Nor any of the remarkably difficult to acquire pitot tubes, nor a Skydrol compatible hydraulic pump. So my ambitions will be limited in some areas. But I do have all the flap jack screws, the elephant ears, all the new slats with tracks and actuators, spoilers with actuators, the main landing gear actuators, the nose gear steering actuators, and the over rotation limit assembly, including its actuator, plus numerous other components. So if my pump keeps working, I should be able to advance the restoration to a notable degree.

Again, sorry for the long period between updates. I'll try to avoid such extended dead air in the future.

This page is free of the ever annoying "try and" grammar error, the "ain't" of modern times. ("Try to" is the correct phrase as you know.) It's also free of the "talk to" grammar error, as is so pervasive in drug commercials for example. ("Talk with" is the correct phrase wherever a conversation is interactive. "Talk to" describes a non-interactive lecture. "Make love with", rather than the incorrect "make love to", is another example.) But I'm hardly infallible of course, as my friends and colleagues will readily attest. If you spot any errors here, please flag me so I can improve this page and thus advance my ambition to portray myself as linguistically more refined than I actually am.

Thanks all and regards, Bruce

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