Saturday, July 30, 2005

Phantom inspection reveals costly damage

Wes and I went back to the airport yesterday to start disassembly of the cage of the Phantom. It was nice sitting in the lawn chair telling him exactly what I needed done. It seems that surgery recovery has at least one advantage! We found moderate to severe damage to a few components. This unexpected damage caused the budget overrun to grow even bigger. I really should have been more realistic thinking that I could buy a decrepid Phantom for $1800 and be able to restore it for $1000 more, including an engine change. Silly me! The forecast now is that I will have about $6500 total invested. Of course, this could change as inspection continues. Still, if I can have a like-new restoration when I'm done, I will be doing well. Good looking Phantoms can be had for $6500, but you would have to expect some repair/replacement costs as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Diagonal upright tubes. The top holes where they attach to the keel bracket are very elongated. I could sleeve them to repair, but see the gap between them. One is bent substancially, in more than one direction. Enough to warrant replacement with new, Big-Man diagonal upright struts, which require a pair. About $55 each...$110 total. The redish color on the one tube is a color test for a transparent red paint that closely mimics the anodized look. I could use either blue or red since the Phantom sails are red, white and blue. I think I'll go with the red. Posted by Picasa

Small dents on the right side cage member. I don't believe they warrant replacement of the tube, saving me about $100. Posted by Picasa

A questionable feature. I don't know if the left side cage member was fabricated by a previous owner who used the wrong diameter dies on the tubing bender, or if this is crash damage that has been straightened. It is nearly identical on both sides of the tube, 180 degrees apart from each other. Posted by Picasa

Horizontal shot showing just how bent the front cage member is. Posted by Picasa

Overall shot of the front cage member. Those are some sort of spacer/splice on the left side. Although I had to remove this piece with a rubber hammer, the dents were already present. Posted by Picasa

Left bend portion of the front cage member. The previous owner was actually flying this way. Posted by Picasa

Welded up material on front cage member. More evidence of unprofessional repair work and just another indication of the terrible condition of the front cage member. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Phantom disassembly begins

Today my teenage son (13) Wes and I went to the airport to start disassembly of my Phantom. Since I'm still recovering from my neck fusion surgery, he's the braun and I'm the brains, so-to-speak! I directed him what to do and how to do it and he really did a good job. I forgot my camera so I couldn't document the disassembly, but there's a photo below of new parts to install that arrived today.

We removed the pod, removed all the downtubes and set aside the main boom assembly. Now all that is left assembled on the fuselage are the cage bottom tubes. I'll take a picture of them when we go back for some more. Wes mentioned something about tomorrow, so apparently he had a bit of fun taking the machine apart! I brought the downtubes home for cleaning and inspection which may start tonight. I'll keep y'all posted on the progress.

I'm thinking of painting my tubes with one of those transparent anodize-like paints. They have about seven colors and I'm thinking that only the red or the blue will go with my red/white/blue sails. Blue seems more traditional since that's what is on many Quicksilvers. I wonder how the red would look?

New parts from Phantom Aeronautics arrived today. New short seat with seat mount tube, new vertical stab lower trailing edge, new 4-point harness, new landing gear bungees, new stainless steel free-air scoop. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Phantom is home....sort of....

I brought the Phantom back from Dawsonville, Georgia yesterday. With hurricane Dennis looming, I decided to leave the pieces strapped on the trailer and in my front yard, instead of taking it to the hangar. If anything gets damaged while it's on my property, my homeowner's insurance will cover it.

We are supposed to get between 60 and 70 MPH sustained winds tonight with stronger gusts. Fort Deposit, where my MX stays, is supposed to get even stronger winds. I went out there this morning to wrap my BRS with plastic as well as my instrument pod, the air cleaner and the fan housing. I also attached another tiedown on each leading edge, tied the rudder to the hold-down at the rear of the hangar and strapped my elevator in the "up" position with the seatbelt. I hope she will be OK!

I hope the Phantom will be OK too. As a matter of fact, I hope my house will be OK.

Just before leaving Dawsonville, Georgia for the trip to the Montgomery, Alabama area. Posted by Picasa

Another view from the rear. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Flying among the clouds.

I did some flying close to Ft. Deposit on the 4th. Clouds were about 50% broken. I didn't take my GPS, so I don't know what altitude they were forming, but it was up there. I'd estimate that the bottoms were at about 2000 feet or so. I'd say that the tops of some extended to 3000+ feet. I took some shots while among the clouds. It's pretty cool! The most recent pictures are posted first because I was brain-dead while uploading them. The few shots without clouds are when I emerged from a break before traveling to the airport.

Can hardly contain myself to get my Phantom flying!

One of the ponds local to Ft. Deposit that I reqularly fly over.  Posted by Picasa

Nice house nestled in some hardwoods next to I-65.  Posted by Picasa

I-65 just as I emerge from the cloud bottoms.  Posted by Picasa

Descending through an opening.  Posted by Picasa

Just before I get below the cloud bottoms.  Posted by Picasa

Descending following the breaks.  Posted by Picasa

Descending following the breaks.  Posted by Picasa

Descending through the breaks.  Posted by Picasa

Still descending through the breaks.  Posted by Picasa

Flying amongst the clouds, careful to maintain minimum distances.  Posted by Picasa

Still climbing, maintaining minimum distances.  Posted by Picasa

Picking the break in the clouds to descend through.  Posted by Picasa

Almost above the tops!.  Posted by Picasa

Just above the bottoms and climbing.  Posted by Picasa

Climbing, right at the bottoms of the clouds.  Posted by Picasa