Coot N29DW Rebuild
It has been nearly two years since my last entry. Two things happened to slow the project. A partially reassembled Coot Amphibian N29DW came up for sale. This aircraft had been flipped, causing the main and aux spars to be cracked. The spars have been replaced but the ribs and skins were not reassembled on the airplane. The price was acceptable and my A&I mechanic agreed to open up some space in his shop for us to work on it together. So N29DW was crated in a container truck and shipped from Minnesota to Virginia.
There were several reasons why this was a good move. The airplane is complete, although mostly in boxes, and it has been known to fly and fly well. I can use it as a training machine for both the construction of the Long Coot and practical flight training inpreparation for flying the Long Coot. It is a unique Coot with an interesting history, and putting it in flying condition will eventually reap good rewards. A hangar opened up at its new home airport and I was able to make a space trade with my A&I. Having the Coot here, working on it, seeing it, feeling it, and analyzing it is much easier for me having a three dimensional machine at my disposal, so it is helping me understand more of what I am trying to do with the Long Coot.
The manufacture of steel components for landing gear and wing attachments have me building a blacksmith shop in my garage. I haven't finished with the layout yet, but so far I have a coal forge, a small gas forge, an induction heater, and air compressor and an air powered hammer, two anvils and and welding/cutting table. When finished I will be able to fabricate, harden, and temper all the steel components for the Long Coot. I should also have gained enough expertise to sub out some of that work if I so choose. For me it is difficult to ask someone else to do something unless I know what I want and how to ask for it. Learning how to do it myself will give me the ability to ask for complex fabrication and heat treatment with confidence.
Looking at the Coot I have in my shop has led be to seriously consider increasing the beam on the Long Coot. A wider beam would allow for better floatation, making the aircraft easier to get on step, but it also allows for a center door in the windscreen allowing a backseat passenger to access the front deck for assistance with docking. Egress to the front deck on the Coot is not easily accomplished. I would also like a lowwer deadrise, perhaps 12 degrees at the step instead of 20. To this end I have been looking at stitch & glue boat designs from Bateau.com in the 15-17 foot range. If I can pick a hull with known good water handling charactersitics I may be able to adapt that hull to the forebody of the long coot, and possibly reduce build complexity in the process.
One miracle at a time.