October 2021 Media and Progress Notes


October 2021 Image links are below.
Jugatsu 2021 shashin rinku wa shita desu.

(Last update:  (19 October 2021)


If you're reviewing this page in response to the unusual safety hazard warnings on my visitor's information page, images of the work in process are provided much further below to visually illustrate some of the hazards.  The preceding narrative provides more detail though it's an extensive read.  Bear in mind that if the aircraft's belly support structure fails, as it might, my aircraft might slide, rotate, or topple from its mid or forward support structures, or any combination of those dramatic movements.  Please remain keenly mindful of these hazards.


Click on a thumbnail to see the media.  Some browsers might present portrait oriented media sideways, sorry...  As usual all republished images from this site must be credited to AirplaneHome.com with correct medial capitalization (not Airplanehome.com nor airplanehome.com for example - use correct medial capitalization in both text and links).

Apologies for my four year long gap since my last media and narrative update.  Many events have occurred since then covering the spectrum from truly wonderful to devastating class awful.  I might never be able to review or even summarize the bulk of them here due mostly to time constraints, sorry.  But I hope to add a bit of commentary for some projects and events below a bit later, and somewhat more extensive reviews before the end of 2021.

But first I relate elements of a currently active project to rebuild my temporary left landing gear support structure, which was never properly centered and has been rotting in some areas, causing a ccw rotational drift of my aircraft and a decline in the level of my left landing gear, the later the source of a mildly annoying left bank in my cabin and flight deck.  Images 1 through 37 illustrate the reconstruction task as it stood on 5 October 2021.

The temporary left landing gear support structure rebuild challenge requires levitation of my left landing gear to free the support structure, release of pressurized air and compression of the strut to provide extra working room underneath, then reconstruction of the existing support structure, this time centering it well while also replacing rotting wood and raising it a few centimeters.  Once complete I'll pressurize both main gear struts to about 1 K psi as usual and otherwise restore everything to normal configuration.

Due to personal and environmental constraints I'm limited to use of materials I have on my site - I can't reasonably purchase new support timber for example.  And all the alternatives for supporting the left side of my aircraft in a manner which levitates my left landing gear are quite challenging and labor intensive.  So my options are far from ideal - each requires a lot of manual preparation labor and considerable safety risk.

The method I'm attempting is a wood and foam panel stack which supports the left side of my fuselage belly to replace left landing gear support.  My hope is that the pressure walls on either side of the landing gear bay are sufficiently strong, and that my aggressive relocations of both interior and exterior mass as far to the right side of my aircraft as feasible are sufficient to prevent a left tip of my aircraft even in windy conditions.  And I hope my very crude belly support structure is sufficiently strong and stable.  Its stability is my key concern - I worry that it might topple directly or the north side of the ground beneath it might eject, especially while rebuilding the temporary support structure, indirectly causing a topple.  I view these as high risk elements - I wasn't able to find a means or the material required to fabricate a belly support structure I genuinely trust.  I trust the strength of my landing gear to arrest a fall, even when the strut's fully deflated and compressed, but if a topple occurs I won't have time to jump to a safe location.  So of course I must try to restrict my work to relatively safe areas whenever possible.  But there are times when I must access a location within which I couldn't survive a topple event, a necessary risk in a zero budget and carbon emission project.

Yesterday's work was minor due to rain and personal fatigue, but as you can see in the 'after' images starting at 24 I moved all the ancillary material which was on or adjacent to the landing gear support structure a few meters distant, so once the tires are levitated I can proceed with relocation of the railroad ties which normally support them, moving the entire structure aft and north a bit less than one meter each way.  Also guests very kindly moved my very heavy inboard flap track, previously used to arrest ccw rotation of my aircraft, to the tip area of my right wing where it provides counterbalance mass with extra length leverage.  (Many thanks guests!)

Today I hope to relieve air pressure in my left strut until all the force remaining on that strut transfers to the belly support structure successfully, then rebuild the support structure.  Or, if the belly support fails during release of strut air, minimal damage occurs to me, my aircraft, and other materials.  This is one of the most nerve wracking tasks I've ever performed - I think success might occur but I'm not confident - this process gives me the willies.  And initial success won't bolster confidence because I must move at least one timber which aids stability of the soil under the belly support structure, which I worry could eject at any time.  So I won't feel comfortable until the left landing gear support structure's fully rebuilt and the strut's pressurized.

If this task is successful I'll leave the belly support structure in place, very ugly though it is, to support future replacement of the temporary wood structure with a permanent concrete support structure.  I hope that plus completion of the permanent forward landing gear support structure will occur by about the middle of next Summer.

The weather's now generally cold and often wet, and daylight hours are short, so I doubt I'll pursue further substantial outdoor projects until about mid spring 2022.  (This is the curse of NW Oregon weather - comfortable conditions last from only about Summer solstice to Fall equinox, with the rest generally cold, wet, and often dark.)  Some indoor work will likely occur, as well as a very long overdue reconnection with friends and loved ones in Nippon.  And I hope to achieve substantial progress with Sentient Artificial Intelligence / 意識 人工知能.


6 October 2021 developments:  I released air from the left strut very slowly over a period of hours until after dusk.  The strut compressed very roughly 60% as the belly support structure also compressed, at one time emitting a strong cracking sound, perhaps due to sudden plywood or foam backing panel fractures forced by the uneven surfaces of the Fir tree logs as the strut descended, possibly suddenly jumping down slightly as occasionally occurs rather than sliding smoothly and evenly.  I perceive no new integrity flaws in the belly support structure but it continued to compress as the strut descended, and with only about 40% of the strut expansion distance remaining I'm concerned about whether the belly support will firm to full support sufficiently quickly, as it must to allow sufficient clearance to rebuild the temporary landing gear support structure to a proper height.  Or whether it will fully firm at all before the strut reaches full compression.

I plan to release more air today, 7 October, hopefully until the strut's fully depressurized.  If the belly support structure doesn't firm sufficiently within just a few centimeters of strut travel I won't be able to proceed to the temporary landing gear support structure rebuild directly.  Instead I'll have to release all strut air to compress the belly support structure as much as possible, then reflate the strut to full extension with the hope that most of the belly support structure compression is permanent or long term, leaving enough room to add another layer to the structure, possibly my last remaining foam panel, then repeat the process.  These modest setbacks aren't surprising but they're certainly unwelcome since they increase project risk, effort, and time, including frayed nerves time.  I perceive no hints of unexpected extra instability in my aircraft's support as a portion of it transitions from the left landing gear to the belly support structure, but am no more confident about the risk elements.

I also set a computer room floor tile into the turf behind the right landing to serve as a laser level platform which I hope will provide an accurate reference height for the rebuild of the temporary left landing gear support structure.  However I can only guess that the structure will compress about 3 or 4 centimeters when fully supporting the left landing gear in normal mode, so the final height accuracy could be in error by at least a couple of centimeters.


7 October 2021 developments, as illustrated by images 38 through 56:  I released the remaining air from the left strut, all the while hearing modest cracking sounds which I suspect are partly due to rather minor damage to the aft sections of the composite landing gear bay cover panels.  I view this damage as too modest to be of concern.  Outflow ceased with only about 4 or 5 cm of strut travel remaining.  So I raised the bottom of the strut with a hydraulic jack until it was fully compressed, then sealed the air valve and secured the strut tightly with a light chain and turnbuckle.

However this didn't fully free the tires from the support platform - enough cushion range in the belly support structure seems to remain within the mass range of the landing gear wheels, tires, axel, and lower strut section (the mass held by the lower portion of the strut), which is considerable, but still surprised me as being enough to cause further compression of the belly support structure.  In the meantime the tail descended further and is quite low now.

The left wing is supported to a far greater degree by the wing tip to Fir tree support rigging due to the lower position of the fuselage.  That's helpful of course so long as the rigging remains intact.  But the two bottom cut line gap filler shims fell out when the gap expanded.  That was expected but they'll have to be replaced as the project's completed, a task which will require some finessing of material at altitude, possibly by simply supporting the shims with tape until they're recaptured by compression force.

Currently the aircraft is almost level relative to bank, with the left side slightly low, but with a considerable up pitch.  The center of the belly support structure is located a bit forward of the main gear wheels, which is of more practical significance than I anticipated - perhaps far more.  I'm eager to begin rebuilding the temporary landing gear support structure, and this might be possible by first removing individual railroad ties from under the tires using the hydraulic jack to provide varied support locations so each railroad tie can be finessed free until all tire contact is lost.  However I can't know whether freeing the remaining supported mass might exceed the belly support structure's capacity, or cause a full tip of my aircraft onto its tail, leaving the nose airborne and making a sudden unrestrained cw rotation possible.

But I no longer believe an attempt to add another layer to the belly support structure would, by itself, be genuinely helpful.  Considering the surprising pitch of my aircraft's current posture it might be wiser to use the free computer room floor tiles to add a second and much more modest belly support structure further aft and centered left to right, possibly at the anti-tip pole attach point, to try to eliminate some of the pitch.  That might be much more effective by relieving some pressure from the aft section of the existing belly support structure, and transferring a portion of that pressure to the forward section of the belly support structure which I believe is structurally more secure.

That will likely require reflating the left strut to raise the aft section of the fuselage sufficiently, a roughly 1.5 hour task due to the need to rig both water and electricity for the high pressure pump and the safety related care required to operate it.  I'll also need to prepare the base of a site for the computer floor tiles and move them into position.  Those tiles aren't solid but rather ribbed below their surface and thus aren't as strong as solid wood.  Nonetheless I suspect their capacity will be adequate in this role, though of course I'll monitor the concern as best I can.

However actual work might lead me to pursue some other option.  This project presents many dynamic challenges and my experience with it thus far has involved lots of method changes, some during active work, but others devised between work periods, including during composition of these reports, which seems to help organize my thoughts in some measure.

This project still gives me the willies - every aspect of it seems risky so it constantly frays my nerves...

I hope to add another progress update tonight, 8 October, or more likely early tomorrow morning.

Please expect work on this project to continue through the weekend of 9 and 10 October - weekend visitors should anticipate substantial extra hazards and the possibility of some access restrictions.


8 October 2021 developments, as illustrated in part by images 57 through 68:  This day's work progressed as planned.  I inflated the left strut to full extension again.  And, per my worst fears, the belly support structure expanded to within about 3 cm of its original height, so addition of another foam panel was impossible.  I could only rearrange three 1" x 4" planks in the aft area to concentrate support force to the pressure wall, relieving some of the force which I suspect was modestly damaging the aft area of the landing gear bay doors.

Then I prepared the ground under the anti-tip pole attach point with turf grooming, open cell bricks, and wood planks, then stacked computer floor tiles, a large vehicle wheel, and a few short 2" x 4" planks to support the pole attach plate.

Then I released air from the left strut again at a slow pace.  I should have filled the vehicle wheel with support material up to its rim, and probably should have centered it directly under the anti-tip pole's attach point.  With no interior support the 2" x 4" planks all slowly broke in the center section, emitting creepy cracking sounds for an extended time until support transferred to the rim of the wheel, resulting in arched wood support which has a certain charm, though at the cost of six broken 2" x 4" planks.  The bottom wood planks broke near their outer sides as well, which I didn't anticipate but isn't surprising, also emitting creepy cracking sounds.  However the end result seems solid and reasonably reliable - I think this support structure is fairly secure.  But a bit of inward bending of the fuselage exists in the area of the forward portion of the anti-tip pole attach plate.  It might remain within its elastic limit and thus recover to normal later, but if not I view this damage as too modest to be of concern.  But when the time to fabricate a permanent cement left landing gear support structure arrives I'll reposition this aft support a bit further aft to the stronger structure associated with the anti-tip pole attach point and the over-rotation skid plate support structure.

In the meantime the aft gray water drain mast releases a considerable quantity of water directly into this area daily, so the area is always at least moist, and frequently soaking wet.  Nonetheless the ground contact point seems sufficiently solid, though some compression and thus support height was lost.  However I view this new support addition as quite successful in part because the aft section of the belly support structure appears to be under significantly less pressure, and:

When the strut air pressure was relieved the outboard tire was fully levitated.  And after I fully compressed the remaining very roughly 6 cm of strut travel with my hydraulic bottle jack, sealed the air valve and secured the strut tightly with a light chain and turnbuckle again, the inboard tire seemed only barely in contact with the surface of the temporary left landing gear support structure.  It was dark by that time so a full appraisal attempt wasn't opportune, but I suspect I can now dismantle the temporary left landing gear support structure far less dangerously than would have been possible sans the new aft support structure.

In retrospect I doubt an attempt to finess disassembly of the temporary left landing gear support structure sans the new aft support structure would have been successful - I now suspect my aircraft might have tipped aft and possibly banked further left.  That could have been a huge setback (and possibly an injury or fatality event), so I'm quite relieved that I didn't attempt that option...

As best my measurement tools indicate my aircraft's currently either bank level or only very slightly banked left, and has a bit less up pitch than the day before.  But my two bubble levels seem substantially in error since they provide conflicting indications when rotated 180°.  My phone seems a bit more consistent, generally indicating very nearly level bank attitude and a roughly 2° up pitch.  But I need a more accurate and reliable tool for determining level.  Maybe golf balls or similar on my cabin floors will end up being my primary level detecting tool...

Convenient though my current essentially level bank is, I'd much rather have the substantial right bank which would have resulted from a considerable levitation of the left landing gear.  Since that wasn't achieved I can only initially rebuild the temporary left landing gear support structure up to the bottom of the tires, which will result in a left bank when the support structure compresses under the mass of my aircraft.  I should be able to use my hydraulic bottle jack to raise the strut enough to insert shims later, but that's a difficult, time consuming, and dangerous task which will likely require hours of effort to insert a few centimeters of shim material.  The central problem is that my largest hydraulic bottle jack, though I think marginally within specs for the load, is under a lot of pressure when supporting one side of my aircraft and at constant risk of forward or aft tipping, which would result in a sudden short distance aircraft fall with a likely forward or aft position shift, likely causing a cw or ccw aircraft rotation.  I do need to rotate my aircraft a bit cw, but it's much better to use the flap track as a leverage beam since that configuration provides reasonably fine control for that task.  But the flap track probably won't be helpful to raise the strut straight vertically.

So the challenge to achieve pitch level support will remain after my initial rebuild of the temporary left landing gear support structure.  However my primary goal with the rebuild is to provide reasonably safe and reliable support for the left side of my aircraft until the permanent cement left landing gear support structure can be fabricated.  Creating a bank (and upon inflation of the main gear struts pitch) level attitude is a significant benefit but only a secondary priority.

For the first time I feel slightly more confident in the stability of my aircraft.  But only slightly, with my primary worry a potentially catastrophic sequence which could occur if the left wingtip support rigging fails, which would cause a sudden drop of the wing followed by strong deceleration forces as the fall's arrested by the wing attach splices near the wing root, which might tip the aircraft into a left bank.  I'd like to add a backup chain to that rigging, and might.  However it's dangerous top of ladder work in rather moist conditions so a danger tradeoff judgement must be made, which I'm deferring until a work activity period.  Also the possibility of ejection of support soil from under the belly support structure, especially in the forward area as I move stabilizing railroad ties, remains a serious concern.  Overall I'm slightly more confident, but only slightly - this project still gives me the willies - every aspect of it seems risky and it continues to fray my nerves...

Work will continue through this weekend, 9 and 10 October.  Visitors should anticipate substantial extra hazards and a significant possibility of some access restrictions.  I hope to fully disassemble, or nearly so, the temporary left landing gear support structure, leaving the left landing gear high in the air and my aircraft only marginally supported left of its center of mass.  This is a very dangerous situation and will remain so until I finish restructuring the temporary left landing gear support structure, which could be a lengthy task since I must perform a lot of repositioning of very heavy railroad ties, including gingerly digging some out of soil embedded positions, then groom soil which will require considerable digging to break up high side turf, then perform lots of railroad tie appraisals, and then proceed with the actual reconstruction of the temporary support structure, which might be hobbled by a shortage of solid railroad ties.  This process could require several days of dry weather work during which safety risks will remain high.  So please anticipate these elements.

I hope to add another progress update tonight, 9 October, or more likely early tomorrow morning.


9 October 2021 developments, as illustrated in part by images 69 through 85:  Starting quite late due to unintended extended sleep, this day's work progressed as planned except that the inboard tire pressed against two railroad ties with too much force to remove them by hand or even with a crow bar.  So I had to mount the hydraulic bottle jack on a second layer railroad tie plus small wood blocks to close the distance to the strut, then raise the strut enough to free the last two top level railroad ties.  I hoped to avoid that because it added safety risk and implied the left side of my aircraft would stabilize to a lower level than the surface of the original temporary support platform.  And so it did, though only modestly so - perhaps about one or two centimeters.  Nonetheless once the platform is otherwise complete I'll have to finesse the hydraulic jack gingerly to raise my aircraft's left side enough to insert a shim thickness of, I'm guessing, about 5 to 7 cm under the tires, an uncomfortable task.

Although I positioned one railroad tie temporarily as illustrated in some of the images, I plan to place at least one layer of 16 computer floor tiles on the bare soil to serve as a crude foundation.  Hopefully they'll distribute force to a broader area of the ground and reduce overall moisture exposure for the railroad ties.  They won't cover the entire area if placed directly side by side so I'll leave a one or two cm gap between tiles except for center tiles directly under the tires in forward / aft orientation, and possibly a wider gap between the inboard and outboard central tiles to better center them under the tires.

The original structure was seven railroad tie layers tall, with only three railroad ties for each of the first four layers.  I prefer to use four ties per layer for the new structure - two outer and two inner, with the central ties placed directly under the tires inboard and outboard and centered under the tires but with an only modest gap between them forward and aft.

But very roughly half of the railroad ties are badly decomposed and thus only useful in desperation.  Which seems likely to occur because I have only one or two solid railroad ties I can free from the right side support platform, and no other genuinely suitable material.  So the final three or even four layers will have to be composed of whatever I can find and crudely arrange to provide support, even if only through the winter.  The top layer can be composed of just three solid railroad ties, then the rest of the surface, which will provide no aircraft support anyway so long as my aircraft's position remains stable, can be composed of Fir tree logs or any crude material which could provide emergency and ordinary foot traffic support.

Fir trees which have recently died can serve for a few months but the logs are poorly shaped and require a lot of time to sufficiently prepare and move to the structure.  In at least some cases I'll probably use substantially rotted railroad ties, which even when rotting seem likely to endure longer than Douglas Fir logs, which rot swiftly and spread decay biota profusely since they're entirely untreated.

I might try to mitigate the problem by piling soil higher before beginning assembly of the structure.  That's immensely time consuming and I have only a small amount of reasonably available soil sans damaging my site's profile, but it might be enough to add a couple of centimeters to the base height.  I might consider adding a second layer of computer room floor tiles too, using those which provided steps to my right wing tip, a function which Fir logs can be contrived to provide.  The added soil and floor tiles are long life additions so their inherent base location's ideal.  I might need to consider adding another two layers of computer floor tiles as well, stealing them from the stack directly in front of the temporary forward fuselage support structure.  That would eradicate a safety enhancing support redundancy in the forward support structure, a disadvantage.  But currently those tiles cause some work area access awkwardness and I suspect they provide an only modest safety benefit there.

So this is a shortage driven material finessing game.  I'll groom the ground, perhaps add soil, than place one to four layers of computer floor tiles, then assemble the structure with solid railroad ties until they're exhausted, except perhaps to reserve three for top layer placement directly under the tires.  Then I'll gather whatever crude but hopefully usable material I can find then finesse it into the structure, even if it'll only endure until decent weather returns.  If that proves to be untenable I'll have to consider purchasing replacement used railroad ties now, an ultimately wasteful expense I highly prefer to avoid.

However due to ground stability and secure tire support factors I also need to try to start and end the structure with beams aligned perpendicular to the fuselage (inline with the wing if it had no aft sweep), as was the case with the original structure.  That won't be possible if use a higher turf level and computer floor tiles to reduce the structure to six layers to conserve railroad ties.  I need to study this factor further, but my initial judgment is that I must have a seven layer structure, although a modestly higher one than the original.  So I won't add soil and computer floor tiles to eliminate a layer, but rather to render a modestly higher structure.  Unless reduction of the structure to five layers might be achievable...

Ground grooming and computer floor tile placement will require a lot of time and might be the only thing I accomplish today.  I'm eager to rebuild the structure until it's close to the tires as soon as I can to reduce safety risks, but I doubt I'll be able to accomplish that any sooner than about Wednesday, if that.  And much longer if I must prepare lots of Fir tree logs for any layer other than the top one.

I continue to feel slightly more confident in the current stability of my aircraft.  But still only slightly, and since I didn't add a backup chain to my wing tip rigging a failure there could cause a cascade of other failures.  However I'm no longer as concerned about the possibility of ejection of support soil from under the belly support structure.  That area's visually exposed now and, since the original temporary support platform was fully disassembled, it's also bereft of railroad tie buttress support.  But it looks reasonably stable moderate term.  Overall I'm slightly more confident, but still plenty skittish...

I hope to add another progress update tonight, 10 October, or more likely early tomorrow morning.


10 October 2021 developments, as illustrated in part by images 86 through 89:  This was long day of little more than simple and very boring soil shuttling work - a good shovel workout but mind numbing.  The weather was quite chilly at times with periods of rain and perhaps even a couple of snowflakes.  I'm not a fan of this kind of work in winter conditions...

A quick and rough accounting for sound railroad ties indicated an inventory sufficient for only about two or possibly three layers of support structure.  So it became clear that I must use every other practical means and material available to fabricate most of the structure, including the most obvious options, lots of extra soil to raise the effective ground level and full use of available computer room floor tiles.  And I must try to reduce the railroad tie or mimic portion of the structure to five layers.

I'll press four layers of 16 computer floor tiles into service to serve as a crude foundation with a total thickness of nearly one railroad tie.  And as illustrated by images 85 and 86 I moved enough soil into the area for almost another layer, much more than the couple of centimeters anticipated, with the help of a very kind and energetic guest near the end of the day.  I exhausted the soil pile in the construction area adjacent to the forward landing gear support structure as illustrated by image 87, but hopefully I'll be able to find enough soil elsewhere to complete a bit more than a full layer of base height, although a shortfall may be compensated by top layer plywood or other shim materials.  These two layers should reduce the height of the rest of the structure to five layers as minimally required.

About half of the computer floor tiles will come from the stack directly in front of the temporary forward fuselage support structure shown in image 89, a loss of a safety enhancing support redundancy there, alas.  Those now provide partial support so they're in compression.  I removed a portion of the top layer of wood and scrap shims and hope I can pound or wedge the last of that material out today without upsetting the position of my fuselage.  It won't be easy since the rather heavy wood will be difficult or impossible to manage gracefully when it pops out to avoid damage to the sheet metal concrete framing, especially since my primary attention will be on the stability of the fuselage and jumping for my life if necessary (not that I think I could successfully do so).  This stack was completely loose at times as I raised and lowered my aircraft in earlier days and I considered removing the shims then, but didn't, a shame since doing so would have been very easy and safe at those times.

I groomed the surface turf in both shovel work locations since the images were captured, but only crudely so under the tires due to dark conditions and personal exhaustion.  Today I plan to add more soil if available, place rotted railroad tie material around the north and east perimeters of the base area to corral the soil, which should merge into a much more solid mass within a few months, then complete the grooming to a uniform and level state.  Then I'll add computer floor tiles to a four layer depth, tamping the first layer down to embed them into the soil (though at a 2 or 3 cm loss in structure height).

I suspect those tasks will consume a full day, but if progress is swift enough time might remain to begin stacking railroad ties, which will provide a visually more dramatic indication of progress and, much more importantly, a shorter fall distance should my aircraft lose existing support stability.

However none of this work will reset my telemers or mitochondrial DNA...

I hope to add another progress update tonight, 11 October, or more likely early tomorrow morning.


11 October 2021 developments, as illustrated in part by images 90 through 97:  Image 90 is just a modestly better view of the forward turf grooming - it's not related to 11 October work.  The remaining images were all captured before I heavily soaked the foundation soil with water.  (I didn't capture any images of the soil in soaked condition.)

This was another long day, this time of nothing more than carefully framing the base of the support structure with derelict railroad ties, grooming the fill soil to a reasonably level surface, then soaking it thoroughly.  The framing and grooming tasks consumed the entire day - I soaked the resulting fill soil surface after dusk.  The weather was a bit chilly but dry and sufficiently comfortable.  (Nights are cold and thus unpleasant however.)

History drove me to perform the framing task as carefully as time allowed.  When I fabricated the previous structure at least a decade ago I thought I'd centered the first layer under the landing gear well, but the final structure was dramatically off center forward and inboard, leaving the landing gear tires near the structure's aft and outer corner.  So it never provided as reliable a level of support as it should have.  I still don't know how that happened - it's a mystery.  So I positioned the framing yesterday with numerous redundant cross checks and overall care, hoping to avoid another centering flaw.  However I still need to rotate my aircraft a bit clockwise so I tried to center the framing about 3 cm forward of the bottom of the tires, hoping the support structure's center after corrective rotation of my aircraft will be optimum or very nearly so.

I used rotting railroad ties for framing material.  I think they'll easily endure through this winter, and possibly even a few more.  Hopefully fabrication of a permanent support structure will begin before they need to be replaced.  In the meantime they'll have to be corralled by some sufficiently strong material to insure they won't be pushed aside by soil ejection pressures.  I might utilize the wire fence for that task once my aircraft is raised off of the belly support structure.  Or possibly beforehand, depending upon my sense of the cohesion of the fill soil once it's sufficiently dry.

Contrary to my previous appraisal the computer floor tiles are exactly two feet wide and thus 16 of them completely fill the 8' x 8' square outline of the support structure (which is defined by the 8' lengths of the railroad ties).  So I'll set the tiles in direct contact with each other.  That's not ideal because their edges will be aligned, or nearly so, under the center of the tires, whereas better support would be provided by placing the tile centers under the tire centers.  But no placement option seem feasible, and since layers of railroad ties and other material will separate the computer floor tiles from the tires the problem can be overcome by placing the inboard members of the bottom layer of railroad ties across the centers of the floor tiles, then stagger further layers of inner member railroad ties in a linear line toward the final layer which will be centered under the tires as best I can.  That should result in pressures well centered on all structural elements.

If the soil's sufficiently dry I hope to place at least the initial layer of computer floor tiles today.  Placement of the first layer will consume a lot of time - possibly the entire day - since they'll need to be extensively tamped into position to try to force soil into their bottom rib gaps, a difficult process in part because leveling the entire array of 16 tiles after initial tamping will require much more tamping, level measuring, and frequent repetition of that process.  However once the first layer's complete succeeding layers should require only simple placement with little or no additional effort.  Then I can begin placing railroad ties, which will provide a visually more dramatic indication of progress and a shorter fall distance should my aircraft lose existing support stability.

The current gap between the soil and the tires seems smaller than I anticipated, and addition of the floor tiles will add a bit less than the equivalent of one railroad tie layer.  I've not made any new height measurements yet but plan to do so later today.  In the meantime I doubt there's room for five layers of railroad ties and mimic material - in fact my very rough sense is that three plus shims might be enough.  If true it's a good development since so few sound railroad ties remain to complete the structure.  However I've not actually measured levels yet - I'll know far more definitively later.  In the meantime trouble could develop though - I need an odd, not even, number of railroad tie layers, so if five layers are too many but three are too few I'll have a problem.  If that's the case my first consideration for a solution will be addition of a considerable thickness of shims - if I can find suitable material.

It's difficult to overstate my displeasure with cold weather...

I hope to add another progress update tonight, 12 October, or more likely early tomorrow morning.


12 October 2021 lack of developments (and no new images):

I inadvertently slept until about 13:30, rushed in a very cold cabin to prepare to salvage as much working daylight as I could, then just before doning my coat and exiting, glanced out a window to see light rain, which continued as showers into 13 October.  I dislike losing any work days when my aircraft is teetering with a left side center of support only a bit outboard of its center of mass, and especially when I might need only two or three more days to reestablish far safer left langing gear support, or just a short fall to it.  But it seemed immediately clear that the minimal work time window in very unpleasant and slippery conditions wasn't worth the overhead in personal rigor and laundry time.

But there's a spiritual element as well:  Though it's merely rudimentary construction, this work requires dedicated intellectual energy and focus to provide best available safety and chance of project success, and it's physically taxing, fatiguing, often harsh, and at times utterly boring.  But the personal reward is mostly limited to just resolving a simple physical need - we perform such work because we must, not because it provides a sense of fulfillment - no new science, technology, or other advancement is involved so the only sense of accomplishment is elimination of a practical problem.  And that level of personal reward can't support a high personal investment level indefinitely - eventually our spirit rebels even if the need remains unresolved.  Burnout is complex in spiritual structure and powerful, eventually overwhelming personal discipline.  And it must be addressed, sometimes simply by investing some time in other affairs, but occasionally by modifying or changing fundamental elements in our personal activities or goals.

But the much simpler element, wet and cold weather which can render such work impractical (though not entirely impossible), is a logistics problem which could become rather serious.  The rain falls upon my left wing where some of it collects into a stream at the wing root which then falls into a corner of the support structure's soil base, keeping it soaking wet.  That's a substantial problem since the foundation soil needs to dry sufficiently to become supportive.  Since the rainy season is upon northwestern Oregon I might have to address the issue by diverting falling water not only from its current impact point, but to a sufficiently remote location, which will require fabrication of some form of crude water channeling, a significant distraction.  I might have to cover the support structure's base with a tarp as well.  However those steps might still be insufficient because even more water falls from my right wing root, which then flows into the soil above the left landing gear support base, moistening the entire area.

My inspection of the site in the early evening was disheartening:  It was still very moist and a pool of surface water lay under the waterfall from my left wing root.  I might be able to install the computer floor tiles and perhaps the railroad ties while the base is somewhat moist as described below, but the soil must become firm enough to support half of my aircraft's mass before I fully lower the left landing gear onto the completed support structure.  So the tires will likely need to remain levitated until the soil firms well, which might require several days of dry weather.  And I've little idea when such weather conditions might occur...

In the meantime I'm considering an option which might utilize these wet conditions to advantage in one regard.  The bottom layer of computer room floor tiles need to be well embedded so that soil fills the gaps between the tile's ribs, and, depending upon whether pressurized air can percolate into then through the soil, which I suspect is much more likely when it's quite moist, this might be optimally achievable by installing all four layers of the floor tiles, then all layers of the railroad tie and mimic material, including two extra railroad ties for the first layer which may be substantially rotted but still have one solid edge set so as to combine with the two outside ties to provide centered force on the two outer rows of floor tiles when a modest proportion of aircraft mass force is applied to the entire support structure.  (The first layer's center railroad ties will naturally be placed over the centers of the inner rows of floor tiles.)  If the support structure is well centered under the landing gear tires, as I think is sufficiently the case, application of a small portion of the aircraft's mass via my hydraulic jack should uniformly press the bottom layer of floor tiles into the moist soil, embedding them well in a level position.  That could eliminate a lot of manual tamping and leveling work.  The soil can't be so wet that the mass of the floor tiles and railroad ties alone will distort the soil substantially as fabrication proceeds however - it needs to be firm enough to support the material sans local area sagging or partial submersion of floor tiles.  The first layer or two of floor tiles might be light enough for current conditions, but further material stacking might need to await drier conditions.

(During my inspection I failed to measure the current gap between the soil and the tires to detrmine how many layers of railroad ties and mimic material I'll need, an oversight which leaves an important question unanswered.)

This project could turn into an extended battle with fall and winter precipitation, possibly involving rather extensive tarp and water channeling measures.  Which of course diverts time and resources from other projects and contributes to personal burnout.  But such is life in the trenches, and hopefully I'll be able to muster enough discipline to return to the effort today.  But I offer no guarantees...

In the meantime I took the day off yesterday and this morning for more sleep, interior hosting of a large group of young guests, and waxing philosophically here.

Quite warm rain as often falls in Miyazaki is generally novelty class fun.  Rain in this region is usually near 0° C from October to about April however.  It's never fun - it's just plain miserable...

I hope to add an actual progress update tonight, 13 October, or more likely the next morning.


13 October 2021 developments, as illustrated in part by images 98 through 104:  My Internet connection became dysfunctional on 13 October for reasons unknown, with no means available to predict when of if it'll be restored.  I completed this update at about 01:45 on14 October but don't know when I'll be able to upload it.  If the problem persists I might try to tether my phone to provide a cellular data connection for my laptop.

Images 103 and 104 just illustrate the forward support structure sans its stack of computer room floor tiles, which I successfully freed with the help of both my hydraulic bottle jacks (due to awkward positioning neither alone was sufficient).  Guests (many thanks!) and I then carried and stacked all of them close to the left support structure work area.

I slept quite late again leaving only a bit under three hours of daylight work time, plus almost one hour after dark.  But that was enough to free the forward stack of computer floor tiles, move all the tiles into the work area, including those remaining on my right wing tip, groom the 8' x 8' soil surface to a more level and consistent state, then install the first layer of floor tiles as shown in images 98 through 102.

Occasional sprinkles fell but the temperature was warmer so there was no cold weather stress.  The 8' x 8' soil surface was no longer utterly soaked but still quite wet and thus awkward to groom.  But it was manageable, though with less precise results than would have been the case in drier conditions.  After I laid the first several tiles some repositioning was required to achieve placements which aligned well with the framing boundaries and all adjacent tiles.  I plan to tap them into more precise alignment today (14 October) and clean the top surface a bit with a shop floor brush and perhaps a wipe towel.  (I could clean the surface thoroughly, rendering a beautiful white appearance, but the effort would be of no practical benefit.)

I measured the gap between the soil and the tires very roughly, and the result suggested that from the soil surface five railroad tie equivalent layers of support are required, matching the result of my last actual measurement.  But today I'll stack three more tiles under the outboard tire then measure all elements again, including use of a laser equipped level to transfer the location of the bottom of the right landing gear tires, as best I can estimate it, to the left side as a bottom of tire target, then, assuming the structure will compress about 6 or 7 centimeters, about half during embedding of the first layer of tiles into the soil, and the other half overall structural compression when fully supporting the left side mass of my aircraft, calculate how many layers of railroad ties and mimic material I'll need.  If four, as might be the case, I'll try to execute the top layer in the form of numerous layers of shims so as to preserve the odd count of railroad tie and mimic material layers needed to orient the first and last support ties perpendicular to the fuselage for best distribution of forces on the soil and most solid support of the tires.  But I can't know how much structural compression will occur until the support structure's fully loaded so the total height of shims will be determined late in the project.  Hopefully I'll be able to locate sufficient shim material on my site...

I hope to add another progress update tonight, 14 October, or more likely the next morning.


14 October 2021 developments, as illustrated in part by images 105 through 117:  My normal Internet connection remains dysfunctional, alas.  I've narrowed the problem a bit but need more time to explore for a possible resolution.  In the meantime I tethered my cell phone, a very slow connection (due to my weak signal area) with a 1 GB per month limit.  I uploaded all the image thumbnails but a substantial proportion of the full image uploads must be deferred due to long upload times and to avoid too much depletion of my cellular data limit.  None of the 13 October images and only 105 and 106 of today's images are uploaded.  I'm uploading 109 now but will defer the rest.  Bear with me please...

I completed placement of all four layers of computer floor tiles, tapping each tile into very good alignment with all others and cleaning each layer rather thoroughly as the work progressed, then added the first layer of railroad ties as illustrated by images 105 through 117.  A significant volume of water was used for cleaning so the soil underneath remains quite moist as will be required later to embed the bottom layer of floor tiles well into the soil.  My shop floor brush (one of three new ones donated about two years ago by very kind newlywed guests, thanks tons!) was quite effective so very little extra effort was necessary to clean the tiles well.

I invested a significant amount of time trying to render a more precise measurement of the proper height for the left tires to level them with the right tires but achieved no improvement - my levels seem conflicted so I have no reliable level reference.  When practical I need to acquire a reliable level measuring tool...

But in approximate terms it still appears that five railroad tie equivalent layers of about 18 cm support are required above the soil level.  The first is mostly provided by the four layer group of computer floor tiles, then the second through forth by railroad tiles, then the fifth a thick layer of shims or other contrivances whose composition remains to be determined but might be guided the thickness required.  And I now believe final leveling will have to be an iterative process involving insertion of shims under the right landing gear tires then measuring level with rolls of golf or computer mouse balls on my cabin floor.

I planned to include two substantially rotted extra railroad ties within the interior of the first layer to provide centered force on the two outer rows of floor tiles, but now suspect it's better to center all the solid ties on the floor tiles as shown in the images, then add partially rotted ties on the outer forward and aft sides to extend firm support to the edge of the structure for as long as that wood retains some vertical integrity.  Since they'll remain comparatively accessible those rotting ties can probably be replaced later.  I might have enough remaining partially rotted ties to provide outer edge support for all three layers.

As the images suggest the soil mound is rather tall on the outboard (north) side, and the very crude partially rotted ties used to confine it are essentially unsupported against soil ejection.  I might be able to move enough soil from the same source area just left of the flight deck previously used to the fairly narrow trough between the center support soil mound and structure to the inboard side of the left landing gear support structure to prevent ejection of soil from the center support structure.  If so I'll move the chain link fence to the outboard side of the landing gear support structure to confine the rotting railroad ties and thus help prevent ejection of soil from the mound.  But the most important factor is the integrity of the soil mound itself.  My guess is that once it's moisture content reaches seasonal equilibrium for its location, which is mostly rain shaded by the left wing, it'll prove to be rather dry and reliable.  However I'll need to monitor the soil condition and might need to artificially add some moisture occasionally to prevent the tallest and likely driest outboard area from drying completely to a clay powder state, which I suspect is significantly less reliable than a slightly moist state.

In my view the most important element of this entire project is the success of the belly and tail support structures.  Since they've been reliable (with left wing tip support rigging and a lot relocation of cabin and other mass to the right side of my aircraft) a means to support my aircraft during fabrication of the permanent cement left landing gear support structure, which I viewed as a major challenge for that project, is now proven and ready to utilize.  And since that structure will include very little internal pipe and conduit infrastructure and is much shorter than the forward landing gear support structure (which still awaits concrete delivery), I now view fabrication of the permanent left landing gear support structure as a relatively easy task - perhaps no more difficult and time consuming than the work I've invested for the temporary structure.  Which implies that if funds can be made available, a rebar competent fabricator found and retained, and concrete can be procured it should be possible to fabricate that structure rather quickly and easily.  So I hope this can be accomplished early next year...

I hope to add another progress update tonight, 15 October, or more likely the next morning.


15 October 2021 developments, as illustrated in part by images 118 through 131:  My normal Internet connection remains dysfunctional, and I must conserve data on my tethered phone.  I uploaded all the image thumbnails but upload of the full images must await restoration of my normal Internet connection.

I stacked railroad tie layers two and three following the same integrity profile in which the best ties were placed on the lower levels and interior locations.  So the worst ties are on top and forward and aft where they're least important and most accessible for future replacement.  Exceptions include very badly rotted ties placed in the outermost locations to provide just a bit of support at the perimeters in case needed in an extreme situation, plus some nearly as bad ties slipped into internal spaces between the good ties to enhance support slightly.  I might slip some or all of the remaining bad ties into such positions as well.  All the bad ties were easy to slip in and might remain easy to slip out under normal loads if replacement opportunities arise.  I brushed every tie to remove particulate debris before installation.

The top surface is now only about 7 cm below the bottom of the tires, but the next layer must be much thicker than that since the tires are currently too low relative to the right landing gear and the new left support structure will compress rather significantly under load.  So I need to install significantly more material.  I'll search for options later today but I'm concerned about whether I'll be able to find enough reasonably serviceable material which can stack to a sufficient height and provide a smooth level surface under the tires and at least a bit forward of them.  A forward smooth area is required because my aircraft's currently misaligned counterclockwise, so when the time's suitable I'll move the left landing gear forward a bit, perhaps about 3 cm, to correct that.  Once properly aligned the tires will be solidly chocked of course.

Several other project details still need attention as well, including installation of a soil barrier support fence as described earlier.

So a considerable measure of challenging work remains.  However risks are a bit lower now since a straight vertical fall of my aircraft such as due to a left wing tip rigging failure would be a rather short distance.  Also I cleaned and tidied the site a bit so it's less messy and chaotic.  But two piles of active materials remain as illustrated by images 118 through 120 - they'll be relocated or disposed of when most or all fabrication work is complete.

I plan to wait until at least Monday 18 October before compressing this new support structure with any aircraft mass to allow the soil under the computer floor tiles to dry further.  Whenever I do test support, it will be slowly and gingerly so I can appraise the soil mound's apparent ability to remain intact as increasing pressure's applied.  I plan to retain near contact of the belly support structure for a considerable period as well in case the new left landing gear support structure fails.  (It won't be dismantled until after a permanent concrete left landing gear support structure's been fabricated anyway.)

I hope to add another progress report by early morning 17 October.


16 October 2021 minimal developments (and no new images):  My normal Internet connection remains dysfunctional, and I must conserve data on my tethered phone.  I hope to resolve this soon.

I didn't accomplish any physical work on this project on 16 October other than searching for material to add to the top of the left landing gear support structure, with only minimal results.  The two 4' x 8' sheets of thin (maybe 1.25 cm) plywood which cover shipping containers housed in retired freight vans are available, and I found another even thinner sheet and just a bit of additional milled wood, but the two shipping containers themsleves, each consisting of an additional three 4' x 8' sheets of plywood, are fastened together with so many heavy staples that disassembling them for their plywood would be a daunting and very time consuming task which might significantly damage the plywood, so I doubt I'll pursue it.  I haven't searched for material in my storage van yet.  I hope that bears some fruit since the only other options using on site materials I can imagine are trying to mill downed Douglas Fir trees or decayed railroad ties with a small electric chain saw into usable material, both probably just exercises in folly, or filling the underside rib gaps in the few remaining computer floor tiles with cement to enable them to handle large concentrated mass loads.  However that modification would be difficult to reverse and would add a lot of mass to the tiles and thus the support structure, so it's not appealing either.

However I could leave my aircraft in a left bank until I'm able to rotate it clockwise into proper forward alignment, then fabricate a small platform (maybe 1.22 meters (4') square, starting by cutting the 4' x 8' sheets into halves) for the left tires within the larger 8' x 8' platform.  Reduced stability is the disadvantage of course since a topple from the small platform as could happen during an earthquake or other jostle could accelerate into a longer roll due to the energy released by the small to large platform drop.  However chocking the tires very securely would minimize that risk so it might be a tenable solution.  And it might be my only practical money expenditure free solution.  So at this time I suspect that's the approach I'll pursue.

I also repaired a water valve located within my right wing root.  It was dripping rather profusely, adding moisture to the ground below, thus slowing the left support structure's underlying soil drying process.  (And it was an annoying daily nuisance.)  The repair was easy and seemed to be successful, though I'll check it again tomorrow.

Unrelated to that, general ground moisture remains rather high so I might defer application of a load to the left landing gear support structure until 19 October, which is our last dry weather day according to forecasts, followed by at least a week of frequent rain.  Ideally I'd like to apply full load to the structure, successfully rotate my aircraft clockwise until properly aligned, install enough additional support material to raise the left landing gear until my aircraft's bank level, then solidly chock the tires before the rain begins.  But that's a much more success packed short term achievement than I'm likely able to muster...

I hope to add another progress report by early morning 18 October.


17 October 2021 modest developments (and no new images yet):  My normal Internet connection remains dysfunctional, and I must conserve data on my tethered phone.  I still hope to resolve this soon.

I retrieved the two 4' x 8' sheets of thin plywood and the third very thin sheet from the retired freight vans (I'll retrieve the bit of additional milled wood from them later as well.)  Although thin the plywood is in very good condition and certainly useful so, although unlikely, I might further investigate the possibility of disassembling the containers to make the additional six sheets of plywood available.  Those containers smelled modestly mouse debris contaminated and I had to roust one of the sheets from within one of the containers, which proved difficult, time consuming, and dirty even though the plywood itself seems clean.  I wish mice no harm but some are infected with HantaVirus so they and their feces and urine debris can be a risk.  So at the end of the workday I immediately laundered all clothing and showered thoroughly.

I found numerous 1.9 x 28 cm x 1.19 M planks in my storage van, retrieved a few, and plan to retrive many more or all of them later.

I placed the plywood atop the support structure under the tires with their long lengths aligned with the wings, then placed two layers of the planks atop the plywood with the same alignment.  Those planks don't quite span the width of the dual tires but seem likely to barely span their load bearing width.  I decided to keep the plywood intact rather than cutting the sheets into equal halves.  I highly prefer to cover the entire 8' x 8' surface of the structure as I add material of course, but practical limits are such that all further additions seem likely to cover only partial surface areas.  When in final position I'll have to chock the tires as rigorously as I can to compensate for the safety loss associated with a support structure which has central area plateaus rather than a continuously flat top surface.

I had to raise the strut, or compress the support structure, I didn't observe which, with my large hydraulic bottle jack a bit to provide space for inserting the second central plank layer.  Once the jack's pressure was relieved the tires pressed upon the support structure modestly.  So no free gap remains, though I assume further load force transfer will reveal a compression gap of at least a few centimeters.  And an additional rise of very roughly two centimeters is needed to bank level my aircraft.  Hopefully I have enough planks to fulfill both needs.

I still plan to defer application of substantial or full aircraft mass to the left support structure until at least 19 October, the last day before forecast rain resumes.  But I'll try to rig the north side soil restraint fence first - if successful and its integrity seems good I might have a chance to transfer most or all mass bearing from the temporary belly and tail support structures to the main landing gear and fully inflate their struts.  That would be nice, and would begin an integrity test period for the newly restructured temporary left landing gear support structure.  I doubt I'll consider that test period complete until next Spring...

If successful I'd begin my attempt to rotate my aircraft clockwise until properly aligned, then if slow compression and soil settling render it necessary install additional support material to restore a bank level condition, then solidly chock the tires.

On the rare cold season days when weather permits I'd then focus upon completing the only modest work necessary to ready my forward support structure framework and infrastructure for a concrete fill.  Then I'll try to find a means to fund the concrete purchase and delivery...

I hope to add another progress report by early morning 19 October.


18 October 2021 developments (but no new images yet):  My normal Internet connection remains dysfunctional, and I must conserve data on my tethered phone.  I still hope to resolve this soon.

Today, 19 October, appears to be my last dry weather day for at least a week, so I hope to complete most or all major elements of the project today.  It's a race with time...

I installed all but three of the 1.9 x 28 cm x 1.19 M planks, except that one is currently stuck under the left tire and jack bridge. Conditions were dark by then so I couldn't discern why, but the snag probably isn't serious.  I plan to complete its installation plus the last three planks today.  The planks raised the tire support level of the structure by several centimeters, resulting in significant force from my aircraft resting on the support structure.  Hydraulic bottle jacking has become hard and nerve wracking - I seem to be approaching a point which supports a significant portion of the mass which normally resides on the left landing gear, and is more than is really suitable for my jack.

But it's still only a portion of the full force which the left side of my aircraft normally imparts, and I perceive no change to the left bank of my aircraft, and doubt the last layer of planks will result in full transfer of force or a bank change either.  And I'm out of time and materials, so I'll likely have to simply tolerate whatever height difference between the main landing gear, and thus aircraft bank, finally results from this project for the duration of the poor weather seasons.  That won't be a serious issue if the bank's modest, as it is now.  But if the new left support structure compresses much more it could be a more significant issue.  Bear in mind that a portion of the compression might develop slowly over days or weeks, so the result might not be clear for a while.

I moved the chain link fence to the outer (north) wall of the left landing gear support structure but haven't rigged it yet.  I plan to complete that today.  I also loaded a couple of rotted railroad ties into open slots in the second layer of ties, but others seem too large so they might not be utilized.  They're of limited benefit anyway of course.  I also shuttled dirt from the already mostly cleared mound just north of the flight deck to the gap between the belly support structure and the left landing gear support structure.  I didn't complete that task but hope to do so today, and think that will stabilize the soil in that area.

I need to complete as much of this work today as I can then fully inflate both main landing gear struts before dusk.  I'll have to alternate, a substantial nuisance due to complex water cooled high pressure pump rigging, because I can't fully inflate the left side since the right wing tip would impact the ground before maximum extension, nor can I inflate the right side until the left wing support rigging is freed, which I view as too dangerous under its current load - it's far safer to remove most of that load by raising my aircraft.  I must also reinstall the two bottom wing cut line aluminum shims before that gap closes too much as I raise my aircraft.  (They dropped out as my aircraft was lowered and the left wing became supported mostly by the tip which I rigged to an adjacent tree.)

Whatever work I fail to accomplish today will have to be done in colder and wet conditions.  So I hope to have a very productive and safe day today...

But I won't attempt to rotate my aircraft clockwise into alignment today - that and the only modest work necessary to ready my forward support structure framework and infrastructure for a concrete fill will have to be pursued later in foul weather conditions, alas.

If initial load bearing tests are successful I very roughly estimate that most of this work will be completed by Monday, 25 October, though some trailing details and tidying tasks will likely extend into later weeks.  As described above visitors should anticipate extra hazards for some additional days.  But full touring access might be restored by about 25 October.

I hope to add another progress report by early morning 20 October.


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Copyright 19 October 2021, Howard Bruce Campbell, AirplaneHome.com.

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