Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Done!  Chris & I spent about 4 hours putting everything back together.  She’s beautiful!
Logbook entry:
Aircraft painted by Chris Calovini of AV8 Paintworks at KMNN using BASF Limco Single Stage paint system, paint codes RED016, GRY012, BLK002.
IMG 5604
Chris doing final polish of the canopy. 
IMG 5606
All put back together 

IMG 5612Out in the sun 

IMG 5613
At Home

IMG 5614
Back in its own hangar

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nearly there



I know, you’ve heard that before.   I’ve been saying “real soon now” for a while, but I’m pretty hopeful that I’ll get not only my RV back next week, but also my Cardinal.

The current plan is for me to finish my work weeks from hell (15 shifts in 16 days) on Tuesday around 12:30.  It’s a 90 min drive to DLZ where I’ll stop and look at the Cardinal, pick up my bill and any tools that I think of from the hangar.  Drive up to MNN, hopefully by 3:00. Meet with Chris and admire the paint, which will be 99 % complete.  He & I will put on the wings, canopy, flaperons and rudder.   There’s a very small detail that needs to be painted on the wings, but Chris can’t do that until they are mounted, as he’s matching a curve on the fuselage and measuring and painting won’t be close enough.  I’ll leave the RV with him overnight to work on that little detail.

Next morning, Dale & I meet at 8:00 to go over the Cardinal in detail and do its post-maintenance flight (see below).  Assuming all goes well, he flies me up to MNN and I retrieve N76012, in all of her new livery.


Imagejpeg 0 1

Chris has added the extended black dorsal stripe.  I was concerned about the black that we talked about adding to the vertical surfaces (see previous post), and Chris had the same worries, so that didn’t get added because it would have made the tail look way too heavy.   I may fiddle with a less aggressive treatment, but not for a while!


Imagejpeg 0

The top cowl and spinner have received the grey treatment.  It makes the plane look fast, even on the ground.  You can't see it very well in this picture, but there’s a thin red and black line at the transition from grey to red.    Chris was not happy with the transition from the fiberglass cowling to the aluminum top skin over the panel.  If you look carefully, that top skin is not installed in this picture, so I assume he’s working on it to meet his excellent standards.

I’ve made several references to my Cardinal, so here’s a little back story on what’s going on with her.  I’ve been flying her with a partner, Dale Conklin, for about 10 years.  He decided to sell the plane to me last year, so officially purchased her on 1/1/17.  I decided to use the DLZ A&P, Shane Young, instead of the gentleman who previously owned that shop but continued to maintain 23V after he semi-retired.  As is typical for this situation (new mechanic), there were numerous items that had been felt to be OK by the old A&P but not by the new one.  As a result, 23V has been in the shop for the same 3 months that 012 has been in the paint booth.  As a result, I’ve been completely grounded, despite being the proud owner and financier of two separate planes.  As luck would have it, I think both of them will be airborne on the same day.  Just for completeness’ sake, I’ve included some pictures of 23V in the shop.

IMG 5602

On the jacks for rigging the gear.  The nose gear is infamous for being difficult to rig properly.  In this case, it turned out that there is a critical measurement/step that is not explicitly listed in the manual.  That cost me a day of labor charges.


IMG 0946

This is the nicest thing I’ve seen on her for a long time.  The internal panels are closed and the upholstery back in: signs of being done!

IMG 0945

The horizontal stabilator needed to come off and have some serious work done to replace the bolts that hold it on.  Took a long time to drill out the old ones and find the correct replacements called out by the AD. 

IMG 5537

This is a close up of the area that needed all the re-work.  You can see the clecos on one side.

IMG 5315

An older picture from last fall with my son-in-law.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

in pursuit of perfection

I just got a text & call from Chris at AV8 Paintworks.  Yep, it’s 1:30 AM and he’s working.  He’s just not happy with the design of the black swath on the fuselage.  If you look carefully, you’ll see two blue strips on the vertical stabilizer and on the fuselage.  He wants to extend the fuselage black stripe to the blue line, and add black onto the bottom of the vertical stabilizer.  He really thinks that this will make the lines sweep and flow much more artistically.   I told him to go ahead!


Imagejpeg 0

thin blue lines


Fullsizeoutput 7e2

crude photo manipulation to fill in the black areas

Friday, March 10, 2017

Almost Done With Painting

We’re getting close!   I went up to AV8 Painting on yesterday to check on the progress of the paint job.  Chris had taken my very rough sketch and added a very nice black element that makes the plane look a little longer and much more interesting.  He was a bit worried when I walked in since he had made a moderately substantial change from my original sketch, but that’s exactly what I wanted him to do.  I never claimed that my rough sketch was anything more than that and I wanted him to use his artistic experience to make it work.  I think he did a great job.


IMG 5586

Full body view of completed paint scheme

As you can see, he added a black ‘swoop’ to break up the large dorsal red that I had originally sketched.  He then added another, more angular, ‘swoop’ behind the red that terminates under the vertical stabilizer.   We haven’t mounted the rudder so the end looks a little odd.  The engine cowling is not attached, so ignore the front for now.  I really like the ribbons of beige that separate the red & the black.  I agree with his rationale—that adds a great deal of visual interest, yet doesn’t make it look cluttered.

One option, that I think I will exercise, is to make the upper cowling hump (behind the spinner) the beige.  Again, just a simple addition, but one that will add some interest.  I will probably have him do that when he gets the wheel pants painted.  The flap handle is also on the “touch up” list, but right now we are both interested in getting this thing finished and airborne.