Giles G-200 Cowling – Onsite Digitization
Well the real “meat” of the Giles G-200 cowling project has begun. I flew out to very very hot Sonora, California yesterday morning so I could scan the aircraft and engine. It was an absolutely beautiful flight from Watsonville to Columbia – very still air, great visibility and very little traffic. I removed the back seat from my Cessna 172 so that I could fit the FARO arm and its’ case in the back, along with the rest of the gear. With such an uneventful flight, I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures along the way. Here’s what my plane looks like mid flight with all my digitizing gear in the back:
The flight took me over the Mount Hamilton area south and east of San Jose, which I think is some of the most amazing country in California – you can just make out the observatory here:
The aircraft is currently located in a shop in Sonora, so I’m not on the airport, but I suppose that’s for the best since I would get far less done if I had other planes to walk around and look at all day. We got the plane pretty well fixtured in place and got to work setting up my “office” for the next few days:
I’ve now got everything that I need scanned on the engine. I try to do as much of a quick and dirty model of the engine, since all I really need to know is where the cowling might possibly interfere with the engine – everything else is just superfluous. You can see in this shot the engine and the band of points that I captured around the firewall to set the shape of the rear of the cowling:
I brought my “base” cowl into the file and just very quickly scaled/rotated/translated it into position to see roughly how it’s going to work:
Considering I just eyeballed the “base” cowl without any real reference to the actual airplane, I think I got pretty close! Once I get a very nicely built surface for the firewall, I can use the tsMatch command to fit the base cowl to the actual aircraft, but that won’t be for a few days. Now it’s time to start working on the rest of the fairings – the wing root fairings and gear leg fairings will also overlap onto the cowling, so there’s lots more scanning and designing to do. On a personal note, this project really amounts to the realization of a dream – maybe a year and a half ago I had this idea that I would get a digitizer and be able to travel around and work on really cool projects. Suddenly, here I am, flying around in my little trusty little Cessna 172 and getting to do custom fabrication in a way that I find very exciting. Very cool!