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Cozy MKIV - Chapter 9 (An Oaf's Story)

An Airplane Fairy Tale:

Once upon a time there was an oaf who lived in Acton, Massachusetts, and decided to build an airplane. To make a long story short, we'll pick up the story just as the oaf finishes the landing gear mounting tabs (or so he believes!).

In our previous installment, the oaf informed all the inhabitants of virtual-land that there was NO WAY a 15" long strip of fiberglass would be long enough to make it around the landing gear strut for the mounting tab outside layup, and that he had to cut strips 18" long. Now, this had bothered the oaf, especially since he had spent a lot of time looking at the sorcerer's plans and at the drawings. He had thought that his layout and frame he had built for the tabs looked too large, but every time he measured everything he had done, the measurements came out right (or so he thought!).

So, the oaf finished the tabs, drilled out the 1/4" holes, and was very pleased with himself that everthing had gone well, and the holes lined up perfectly. Then, being the big, strong oaf that he is, he put his fuselage on sawhorses, leveled it, and dropped the landing gear into place in order to align it for mounting. But wait! It seemed as though the wicked witch of the west (or east, the oaf could never remember these things) had put a spell on him, which no amount of expensive schooling (paid for partially by the oaf himself, but mostly by his parents) could overcome! While the landing gear mounting tab holes lined up perfectly with the bulkhead holes, the landing gear did NOT fit down into the space provided for it, and when the oaf attempted to put the landing gear cover over it, he could not. It was apparent that the landing gear was sticking out of the fuselage about one inch too far. It was also apparent, after looking at the sorcerer's drawings, that the tabs were WAY too long. The oaf thought it strange that this did not strike the oaf as incorrect long before this.

The oaf thought and thought with his puny little brain (along with mouthing a few expletives heretofore unknown to the other inhabitants of his abode). After a couple of minutes, it became obvious to the oaf what he had done incorrectly, due to that witch's spell. The sorcerer had spelled out that the mounting holes (those 1/4" puppies) should be 0.75" above the highest point on the strut. The oaf had interpreted that to mean the highest point AT THE CENTERLINE OF THE STRUT. (This is why he is known as an oaf, and not as the "engineer/scientist" that the oaf's employer wants to call him). What the sorcerer had meant was "the highest point on the strut at the line 13" off center", where the mounting hole will be. This meaning now made itself clear to the oaf, as the witch had gone to Bermuda (and taken her spell with her) to escape the snow, laughing all the way.

So, the oaf removed the strut from the fuselage, laid out the position of the new mounting holes (which turned out to be exactly 1-3/8" below [closer to the strut] than the original holes), drilled them out (once again, they lined up perfectly), and then cut and sanded about 1 - 2 pounds of fiberglass and epoxy off of the tabs.

Lo and behold - the tabs were of such a length that 15" strips of glass would have been perfectly adequate to glass up the outside layup. Also, the mounting holes were now exactly 0.75" above the highest point of the strut closest to the mounting holes, and the strut fit into the fuselage in such a way that the landing gear cover could be installed without interference.

Of course, the story has a happy ending, but if there is a moral here, the oaf does not see it. Why are we not surprised?


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Copyright 1995, 1996, All Rights Reserved, Marc J. Zeitlin