N34KP's rebuild

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Richard Roller
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N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

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Okay everyone. N34KP is going to be rebuilt. I'll be posting interesting things as they happen. It would probably make more sense to build a new one, but I couldn't stand the thought of Ken Perkins Pietenpol not flying.

The fuselage will be pretty much new from the pilots instrument panel forward. The wing needs a new rear spar. The front spar and leading edge are damaged in the center section, so the wing will become a three piece wing. Lots of bent and broken things.
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

Well Richard, you probably don't need any help or tips on how to stage the rebuild, but when I had to rebuild 41CC, my logic was to put the wings away for the time being, remove the engine and mount and stow them out of the way for the time being, and focus on getting a rolling fuselage back together again first. This would allow moving it around and out of the way more easily as well as providing fixed points where the rest of the parts would attach to and that I could take definite measurements for. It also provided a much-needed boost in my attitude when I could finally roll the fuselage out of the hangar again to stand back and imagine it back together. In spare moments I could work on instruments, interiors, control cables, and miscellaneous stuff on the rolling fuselage without disturbing anything else or needing another work area.

It's good to hear that you passed through the "dead zone" when the feelings of loss and despair usually run pretty high and you think about taking up golf instead of airplanes. The spirit of Ken Perkins obviously runs high in your hangar!

Oscar Zuniga
Medford, OR
Air Camper NX41CC, A75 power
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

Yes. getting a rolling fuselage makes lots of sense. I plan on hoisting the wing up to the hanger rafters, get a table built and leveled and get started cutting wood.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I built some stands to support the wing on. It's high enough to walk under, but I can get to it for measurements. I put the wing on the stands today. Doing it all by myself turned out to a bit of a hassle!
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

Okay! Great progress since taking the wing out of the picture gets about half the workspace freed up but as you said, still leaves the wing where you can measure and examine.

-Oscar
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I've had a pair of work tables from a local Piet owner donated to me to set the fuselage on.
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

Richard; perfect! Getting the fuselage up onto a bench or table at waist height will provide just about the best working condition until you need to start fitting the landing gear and the plane needs to be just a bit higher (top longerons at about chest height). My Piet was on a table and sawhorse for about a year as I reworked this and that, while my welder worked on fabricating or repairing metal parts. When it got to the landing gear, the fuselage had to be elevated to get the geometry correct. and with it up a little higher, I then moved to the fuel tank and firewall to work on stuff up there.

The reward? The plane will fly again ;)

-Oscar
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I know there's been no updates to the repair. Life gets in the way. First horrible weather at the airport. Then a trip to Oklahoma for my mom's 95th birthday (she still lives in her home!). Now I've been stuck in Madison Wisconsin since the 3rd of November. My wife, Lisa, and I came for a concert and she went into the hospital the night we arrived. She's been there ever since. No, we didn't get to see the concert.
Last edited by Richard Roller on Fri Nov 17, 2023 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

Sorry to hear about your wife, Richard. Hate when that happens... hope she gets better and can go home.

This is our first November 15th without my mother-in-law. It was her birthday today and she would have been 94. She, too, lived independently in the same house she had lived in since about 1950. She was a real sweetie.

-Oscar
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

It's been a while since an update. Well, my wife got sick and has died, so I have not gotten anything done other than planning the repairs. Today I ordered wood and a new batch of T88. It's been very cold here and my hanger is not heated, so who knows when I'll be able to start anything. I'm anxious to get started. I need something to occupy my mind.
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KenBickers
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by KenBickers »

Richard,

This is so terribly sad. I'm so sorry for you.

Maybe there are some things you could do at other folk's (heated) hangars or perhaps up in Oshkosh that would let you sharpen the skills that you'll be using once the weather begins to become more welcoming. Week after next, EAA is hosting a whole bunch of online building workshops. If nothing else, they might help you take your mind off the grief.

My best, Ken
Chuck in Indiana
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Chuck in Indiana »

That's horrible, Richard.. I'm truly sorry. Yes, you need *something to do.* Maybe build a double wall area with painter's drop cloths and 2X4s you could heat?
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I took advantage of above 30° temps today. I hoisted 34KP off the ground and pulled what's left of the landing gear off. I also removed most of the fuselage fabric. All in preparation to bringing the fuselage home to start the repairs.
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

Richard, this part is really where the loving care comes in. Mending the bones, one broken piece at a time. Rebuilding the frame; truing it up, squaring things off, scarfing, gussetting, patient reassembly. It's like rehab after a terrible car accident, but one where you know you'll walk again.

Four Kilo Papa will fly again under your loving, caring hands.

-Oscar
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

Thanks Oscar. I'm going to give it all I've got.

I've decided to move the dining room table, build a work table in the dining room and do the repairs there. Great lighting and a easily cleaned ceramic tile floor (for spilled epoxy!). Nice and warm too. It'll help having my tools in one place also.

When the fuselage is done I'll cut the center section out of the wing and do the repairs at home also, build a new center section here too.

Lisa would roll her eyes, but she would understand.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

Well. Lots of delays due to family issues (one of my grown kids) and paperwork related to my wife dying. Today I had a free day, so I assembled the pieces to the new work table in the dining room. Everything turned out surprisingly level and square. I am going to put braces to the floor on both ends. 34KP already has enough damage without me dumping it on the floor.
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Chuck in Indiana
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Chuck in Indiana »

If you sheet the bottom, it makes a very stable box. Also, if you move the I beams inboard a bit, you can store long things on the outside where they are handy.
Ferinstance..
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LarryM
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by LarryM »

That spar looks like a newsletter article.
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

I know, right Larry? Built-up spar with plywood webs and lightening holes... nice job, and interesting. The airfoil isn't a stock Piet and the spars look deeper than a Piet's, but the concept is good just the same.

Oscar Zuniga
Medford, OR
Air Camper NX41CC, A75 power
Chuck in Indiana
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Chuck in Indiana »

It's a Legal Eagle. I was just showing the concept of the building table. The spars are very light, though.. and the wing has been tested to 4Gs.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

I see you've got the patient under sedation on the operating table now, Richard. The cuts will be painful to make, but the broken bones and dead skin have to be cut away before new stuff can be grafted in. My Piet's damage wasn't as extensive as yours, but it was every bit as painful for me to cut, pry, chisel, scarf, sand, and glue until the frame was back to its original strength and ready to rebuild. I tried to plan my cuts so as to remove all of the crushed or splintered wood and leave clean strong gluing surfaces with room to work clamps in, but some of it was tight work. Worse yet, there were times when I'd be working on something and -dang!- I'd spot a broken glue joint or a hidden bit of crushed wood that I hadn't seen before, or I'd see something that I wanted to remake a different way and I'd have to get out the pull saw again. There will be a time when you turn the corner though. I guess we should form a Recovering Air Campers support group or something... me, you, Helsper, Purtee, Markle, Bickers, others. Carry on.

Oscar Zuniga
Medford, OR
Air Camper NX41CC, A75 power
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I've cut the plywood between the trusses off. I found some more damage, here and there. The next step will be to peel the remaining plywood off the truss itself, then the floor plywood. Probably not necessary, but I'm considering 45° plywood when I go back together. Something to consider.
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Chuck in Indiana
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Chuck in Indiana »

How do you plan to get the plywood off? That looks like a tough job to me..
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I'll remove the plywood with a heat gun and a thin piece of stainless steel sheet. I did it for years while working on 767's.

Removed a lot of the plywood from the truss today. I also removed the rest of the controls that would be in my way.
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

What a patient and loving endeavor, Richard. The Pietenpol community will owe you a lot for preserving this piece of Air Camper history alive and flying. What an excellent fellow you are for doing this for Ken, for the Pietenpol family, for the aviation community as a whole. You could have just chucked it all into a bonfire and walked away...

Oscar Zuniga
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Air Camper NX41CC, A75 power
Chuck in Indiana
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Chuck in Indiana »

Richard Roller wrote: Sun Mar 03, 2024 9:30 pm I'll remove the plywood with a heat gun and a thin piece of stainless steel sheet. I did it for years while working on 767's.

Removed a lot of the plywood from the truss today. I also removed the rest of the controls that would be in my way.
Does that work with T88?
LarryM
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by LarryM »

Where is the plywood on a 767? I miss the wood block on the engineer's panel of the 727. I never did know why it was there.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

None on a 767 structure. 😁

We used thin stainless steel (.015 +-) to cut through the adhesive under exiting patches, etc. We also used it when cutting pieces out of the skins over underlying structure. Slide it between the layers and cut very carefully through the skin until you saw sparks start to come out, then stop.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

Yes, you can soften T88 with a heat gun.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

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I pulled the ply off both sides of the truss in the repair area today. The Spotted Cow was a reward! 😁
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

"The repair area". I like that ;o)

-Oscar
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

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My help.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I cut the left and right station piece and the rear diagonals for moving the seat back today. Lots of measuring before the cuts. They turned out good!
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

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Well. My first glue up. This is the test. I could tell it's been a long time since I did composite repairs for a living, I mixed way to much! I had about 4 times more left over than I used on the joints. Oh well, I'll get back in practice. Nice joints with just enough squeeze out. I'm done till I get a chance to check the joints, tomorrow afternoon.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

Both in now.
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Chuck in Indiana
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Chuck in Indiana »

Attaboy.. :D
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

A zero results day. Spent most of my time doing death of wife related things. Depressing. Then I took a nap. Next project is the cutting and splicing of the longerons. Stay tuned.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I pulled the fabric off the belly this morning. Ken used Superflite when he covered the Piet back in the late 90's. I don't believe he used their epoxy varnish and you can see most of the finish lifted when I pulled the fabric off. Back in the tail, where I did a longeron repair several years, I used the Superflite epoxy varnish and it adhered just fine and did not pull off when I removed the fabric.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

I had to do a repair to the lower left longeron where the tail wheel brackets attach 5 years ago. 15 to 1 taper centered on the middle between the bolt holes, .625" tall. I'll be splicing the longeron due to damage from last year's crash. I removed the doubler today and I was very pleased to see the previous repair glue line holding good.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

Finally got up the nerve to try the first scarph. This is the lower left longeron, just forward of the tail post. 15 to 1 slope. Done with wood chisels and hand planes.
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Chuck in Indiana
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Chuck in Indiana »

Saw it on facebook.. it'll get you another Attaboy here. :D
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

Seeing no other attaboy posted here yet, I'll raise my voice with one. Nice work, Richard! And with the simplest of tools, too. Carry on...

-Oscar
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KenBickers
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by KenBickers »

Count me in with another attaboy!


Cheers, Ken
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

"For what it's worth". I've used drywall screens several times where I've needed to work old adhesive between pieces I didn't want to pull apart. Both on this project and the longeron repair from 5 years ago. I use the medium usually. Sometimes I dull it first so it won't be so aggressive.
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

Oh. I have some of that same drywall sanding screen but never thought of using it when an exceptionally rough type of abrasion is just the ticket. Great idea... thanks!

-Oscar
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

Left and right rear, bottom longerons are being glued.
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taildrags
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by taildrags »

Tailpost will be in place in a jiffy.

-Oscar
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

Glued the right lower longeron doublers today, inside and out. Heading south to see my mom and sisters in the morning. First time I'll have seen them since my wife Lisa died.
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Richard Roller
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Re: N34KP's rebuild

Post by Richard Roller »

The glue up turned out good. The edges will need to be planed to fit.
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