Friday, September 12, 2008

T-Minus 14 Days and Counting!

Only 14 days. Two weeks! Honestly, if my motorcycle were feeling better, I would want to just hop on and take off! It is nice and cool and clear this morning; perfect riding weather.

She looks SO forlorn in the back yard, and hasn't been on the asphalt in over two weeks. That is the longest I have gone without enjoying the open road, in more than nine months. Well, Ok. I am being a bit dramatic here. An 'open road' in Las Vegas, like a snowy winter day here, is rare.

Misery loves company. One of my bosses, well, rather a co-worker than my boss, has been hearing of my motorcycle repair woes; my clutch issues, and now the difficulty I am having in finding tires for my ride. Yesterday he tells me of his airplane building woes.

Several years ago I had dreams of building my own. When I decided it was probably not the right time in my life for such an adventure, he continued on, and dove in. (

As his domain name implies, it is a wooden plane. A fine, beautiful adventure. If anyone knows anything about building wooden aircraft, they likely also know that very high quality wood is necessary. Every piece must be individually checked for quality. The grain needs to be just so, and there can't be any knots or pockets.

He separated the wood and took some of the best pieces to build the ribs of the wings. The ribs, twelve if I remember correctly, must all be identical. Meticulous work, attention to detail and more than a month's worth of evening and weekend work was necessary to build good, strong wing ribs for his plane.

So, not so long ago he attended a get-together of the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. He brought several completed ribs to show the other plane builders there. Luckily there was someone there well versed in wooden plane construction. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how one views these sorts of things, he pointed out that while the the large pieces of wood that were used to build the ribs were indeed 'aircraft grade', many smaller pieces used to build the ribs were sub par and not as strong as they could or should be. A case where the larger piece is good, but smaller subdivisions are not.

As with my motorcycle woes, here is another case of it being better to get bad news and having the opportunity of nipping it in the bud before the bud had a chance to grow and bite back. These issues are causing us both a certain amount of stress but it is for the best. It's better that I find out my clutch is bad before a 6,000 mile ride and it is better for him to find out his ribs are sub par before he is 6,000 feet in the air. Either could be deadly.

Maybe, just maybe the gremlins are working in our favor for a change.

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