Category Archives: Administrivia

Sunday Scratching

Last night the Blogbrother came over and we continued to work on the right wing of the RV-12. When we last left you, the bottom of the wing was skinned*, but what we didn’t tell you is that these skins weren’t fully attached, because they wrap around the leading edge to the top surface and go back about a foot or so, where they’ll form (we think, without reading ahead in the plans in detail) a lap joint with the skins that run aft from that point. The aft upper skins have a lip that hooks into the wing ribs and also serves to stiffen the skin (and therefore the wing, when all is assembled) considerably.


The wing is designed so that the aerodynamic forces of flight, which can be calculated straightforwardly with algebra and trigonometry, are transferred to the spars, which are the backbones of the wing, and then to the fuselage. Many pilots know useful rules of thumb here. The wing must support the whole weight of the plane and its passengers and contents, which are limited by regulation to 1,320 lbs. So each wing bears 660 lbs of force in unaccelerated flight (If you suspect the numbers are metric figures expressed in Imperial units, you’re quite right — the Light Sport Aircraft standard is a 600-KG standard, vis-a-vis the parallel Euro regulation which limits the planes to 450-Kg gross weight). This is not an aerobatic category airplane, which limits the maneuvers it is designed for (again by regulation, one is not to exceed 60º of nose-up, -down, or bank). At 60º of bank, some of the force vector of the wings (“lift”) goes to oppose gravity and keep the plane in the air, and some goes to keep the plane turning in a tight circle…conveniently enough, that doubles the load-bearing of the wing, so each wing (left and right) is independently bearing 1,320 lbs.

So the designer must make each wing twice as strong as the bare minimum to lift the plane off in a straight line… but wait! We haven’t accounted for any safety margins. In practice, most light planes are designed for +3.8 and -1 G, unless they are destined for hard work (“utility” category) or aerial athleticism (“aerobatic” category), and they are designed for that load plus a safety margin, which is usually a multiple of 1.5.

Some airplanes are built much stronger (one well-known aerobatic plane is good for 12G in all axes, an acceleration which would conk most of us right out if applied quickly. And big transports are designed for lower maximum air loads, and are flown within narrower parameters. (The -1 manual for the C-130, for example, restricts pilots to +1.5, -0 G at Maximum Take-Off Weight). So how does the AC-130 fly in up to a 60º bank? Ah, those restrictions are at MTOW, the equivalent of max gross weight. So the limit is 1.5 x the plane’s full gross weight, loaded. If the airplane is many tons lighter, the pilots can horse it around quite a bit more without worrying about it reverting to kit form inflight.

Light airplanes may be certificated in multiple categories at different gross weights, also. So you might be Normal at 1670 lbs, Utility at 1400 lbs, and Aerobatic at 1200 lbs., with different maneuvers permitted at each level. It all comes back to the engineer’s original calculation of the load bearing capability  of the structure, and of the air loads imposed on the wing. Of course, the design should not only be substantiated by engineering calculations, but also proven by flight test. (Even engineers make mistakes). The FAA requires homebuilt experimentals to undergo a period of flight testing before they’re used to carry passengers or fly over congested areas: airplanes falling from the sky in a rain of aluminum pieces are generally bad for the occupants, anyone underneath, and the reputation of aviation as a whole.

Every once in a while, some national socialist gets the idea that there’s way too much freedom loose in the country when people can build and fly their own airplanes. Not surprisingly, these are often the same national socialists who are alarmed at the idea that you might manufacture your own firearm. So far, we’ve retained this liberty (from some time in the New Deal until 1952, building your own airplane was verboten in the USA).

So, what has all this airplane stuff got to do with “scratching?” Last night, the mosquitos had their way with us as we worked in an open garage. Hence today’s pruritis. Hence, scratching.


Administrative note: later today we may have a movie review up (slotted in yesterday) for the first time in a while. We have quite a backlog of films to review, but the one scheduled for yesterday’s review is only half watched!

* Isn’t “skinned” a funny word? If you’ve got an airplane wing skeleton and a pile of aluminum sheets, it’s “skinned” when you put the skins on. If you’re Hannibal Lecter, on the other hand….

Sunday Sheet Metal

Having Rendered Unto,  the rest of the day will be spent in more secular pursuits, like a bit of lawn and garden maintenance, a bit of writing, an exercise nod to the old ticker, and — the fun bit — sheet metal.


It’s looking less like a skeleton, and more like a wing, eh?

You’re looking at the starboard wing underside, so outboard (the wing tip) is towards you, and inboard (the wing root) is in the left distance. The inboard and outboard wing panels are permanently riveted in place, and the center panel is held on by clecos (the little bronze pins are #30 clecos) and needs a touch of match/finish drilling and deburring before it gets permanently riveted in place. Then the whole thing gets turned over and the flaperon hinges are inserted, the  upper side is skinned, and the wingtip and wing light are installed.

Then we get to do it all over, plus the stall warning system, in the other wing. Then, finally, on to the fuselage center section, the parts of which are impatiently vibrating on shelves in the basement workshop.

Meanwhile, we can hang these wings from the ceiling — where the skeleton of this wing’s brother hangs now — until we take them from hangers to hangar for final assembly to the fuselage bits. Then there’s “nothing left to do,” except for the engine, landing gear, avionics, canopy, and overall final assembly, rigging, and inspection. Yeah, except for that. 

Now you see why airplane builders will tell you that they are “90% done, with 90% to go.” That’s about where we are.

The garden maintenance is much less interesting, we fear. We have two things to do, repair a zero-turn lawnmower (two projects: flat tire and reinstall and level mower deck) and a more general trimming, weeding and clean-up of the stone patios area. We spent an hour just trimming back the dead last-years-sticks from a couple of large hydrangeas. And then we were saved by a call from Plaintiff II that she and Kid were safe in their new home in suburban St. Louis.

Sometime today we’ll redouble our search for a new dag, too. That would put a perfect cap on the weekend.

Sunday Shipping-out

Today, Plaintiff II is shipping out for St Louis after her several-years-long attempt to move back in after a 20-year absence. She leaves with some regrets, apparently. Our only fear was (and is) that she will not go.

We’re looking forward to a reversion to the status quo ante around this place. And expect to be more productive even though “real’ work is occupying more of our time these days.


Sanative Sunday

It’s a day for healing-up from a busy week, for perhaps plugging some gaps left in yesterday’s blog, for a recliner and a poncho liner and a good book.

Perhaps some writing, perhaps some yard work, perhaps a bike ride along the Atlantic shore. Or perhaps “nothing to say, but it’s OK.”

We may be on a regular schedule or a holiday schedule tomorrow. It depends… among other things, on just how sanative this Sunday is.

Sunday Spray-n-Pray

The prayer was brief, if heartfelt.

The spraying involves wing skins and primer, and if it’s successful we can finally finish the jeezly wings and move on to the center section. Yesterday we washed and etched the skins… the collapsible gazebo thing we usually use to hang these parts from spent the winter in the garden shed with the slumbering lawn machinery, which seems to have been a bad idea, as rodents ate some holes in it and relieved themselves all over the rest.

Mouse ordure has a very distinctive smell. Perhaps you can wash it off, but one notices the Blogbrother’s family cat was unusually interested in Your Humble Blogger last night. Standing out in the weather for a few nights has had a salutary effect upon the gazebo. Next winter it’s going in the mausrein basement.

In any event, today we will either get the skins primed, or learn something.

At the Auction, we have won, so far, thee lots containing eleven pistols, including some rarities. We’re out $4k so far (roughly) and we really only want four of those pistols. We may reconsign the rest to RIA, or take delivery and offer them in a blog post here for a limited time, before putting them on GunBroker and sending them on to someone who will love them.

The heavier stuff is up today, starting at 0900, and we have about $8200 in further bids in place.  All of these are keepers, if we win them, so we’ll probably release a few other things from the collection to keep the accounts in balance.

Tally-ho! The Blogbrother is here. Time to go make airplane parts safe from corrosion.


Brother was on time. New sprayer worked well enough. By 0900 all the wing skins were corrosion-protected with Stewart Systems primer. Some look a little runny, some look perfect, hell with it, nobody will see them once the wing is closed, eh. Mission accomplished!

Now for the auction, which kicks off at 0900 Central… maybe we’re not going to watch that like a lobster kettle. We’ll just open it at the appointed time and see how things cooked up.

Stable Sunday

Stable as in stability, not as in horses.

We’re not expecting much to happen today. Blogbrother’s brilliant new sprayer came with a DVD that won’t play, so we won’t be priming the insides of the wing skins today. (One supposes we could simply fix the old sprayer. Alas, the local dealer says the factory has no parts for the old industrial, rebuildable sprayers). Until we can prime skins we’re at a building impasse.

The Blogfather will be stopping by later and we’ll go for a drive up to Maine to see what’s on offer for seafood lunch. Formal Father’s Day Night Out is tomorrow.

So, the options for post-Rendering Unto activity today, pre- and post- hanging with the Old Man are:

  1. Continue working on the lawnmower;
  2. Continue working with the book scanner;
  3. Continue work on book writing;
  4. Load up the blog for the week;
  5. Tidy the office, which looks like the Wreck of the Hesperus;
  6. Square away the 3D Printer, for which the manufacturer has a neat new upgrade on offer (basically takes the Mark One to Mark Two level — this is a good thing).
  7. Prepare tax paperwork for the green-eyeshade brigade.

All those things need doing, and bandwidth being a real thing we can only do a couple of them today. Let’s see if we can finish the jeezly mower by the time His Dadship comes by.

So it’s going to be a pretty stable day today. We’ll get some things done, not everything.

Coming Soon: Two New Irregular Gun Features

New Year's BangTwo new adventures coming our (and therefore, your) way, starting this week.

  • As we try to break in a new carry gun, again, we’re going to run 1,000 rounds through it at our two ranges, blog about the experience, and see if we get any better with it.  Be interesting to see how the gun does with a variety of ammo. (We are quite shamelessly ripping off Tam for this idea).
  • And we’re going to start pulling stuff from the safe, the library, the work-in-progress pile, the War Room or the I Love Me wall and write about them.

We see the first one called “1,000 rounds With (Gun X)” and the second as “Found in the (Safe, Library, etc.)” but we are the first to admit those names are lamer than a retired Green Beret, and so we’d welcome any better ideas.

Single Spaced Sunday

Writing, writing, writing.



And about to blow a deadline. Sure, it’s a self-imposed one. But in the end, self-discipline is the only discipline.

Making the 1 July 16 first-draft deadline for Firearms of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic 1918-2018. Volume I: Handguns was kind of driven by the desire to have that into production before the next book, a “reported polemic” on gun control and the moral turpitude of its greatest proponents, went into the final push.

We want to have the technical book put to bed before the political book, because, frankly, it’s the more important, long-term. But the gun control book has a great marketing opportunity coming up, to wit, an election between two candidates, both of whom have supported gun bans and even confiscation in the past (and one of whom says he doesn’t, now).

Frankly, we’d rather write about obscure European gunmakers and their quirky products, or work on an adventure novel, than join the tin-pan orchestra of political hacks advocating for one side or the other: especially when, if you’re a gun-rights libertarian, both parties want to use and then betray you. But looming over any decision is this: at some point or other we’re going to have to, as Larry Correia puts it, GET PAID.

Whole dozens of people will want a book on Czech firearms history, especially an e-book. Especially one with three volumes envisioned to tell the whole story! Our only hope to break even on this whole windmill-tilt enterprise is to live to see the long tail of e-book sales, whereas the best specialized gun books have historically gone out of print always. (This calamity has befallen many of the key sources in the subject of Firearms of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, from compact, dense paperbacks offering a collector an overview to lavishly illustrated Czech-language books; we’ve found some of them searingly expensive, and some of them, impossible to obtain at any price).

So what do we do? Let’s ask the commentariat:

What Should WeaponsMan be Writing, NOW? free polls


Your vote may or may not influence our decision. To make sure that we see your comment, post it here, not at; we’ll try to get to those, but that requires another step so it’s less certain it’ll be seen.

And if things are a bit slow around here, note that the 1 July 16 deadline is practically upon us.