Panther Final Touches


We are working on the final touches in preparation for first flight.  Things are going well, and the pressure of the inspection is off so the air around the hangar seems lighter, and more fun.  This is good, because it was a little tense before.  Lack of sleep makes anyone a little edgy.

The DAR was very impressed with the airplane, and genuinely impressed with the ingenuity that Dan shows through the design. He kept making comments about how “this is really what experimental aviation is about” and “this is first class work”.  He was interested in knowing what made Dan want to build his own design, and how he got started doing this.  I think Dan was a little caught off guard by this.  The DAR did his job, he inspected everything and made suggestions on how to do things a little differently – but mostly it was a dialog back and forth between he and Dan about design strategies.  Honestly, Dan was going behind him making his own gripe list and Dan’s was twice a long as the DAR.

Once we got all the paperwork straightened out we got our pink slip and it was back to work!

Yesterday was spent doing cosmetic work.

Lining up the wheel pants

Lining up the wheel pants

Dan made a bracket for the wheel pants

Dan made a bracket for the wheel pants

DSC_0140The wheel pants are looking great.  I spent time sanding the wheel pants and spinner, getting them ready for primer.

Rachel - sanding the gel coat off the wheel pants and spinner, prepping for primer

Rachel – sanding the gel coat off the wheel pants and spinner, prepping for primer

Our most dedicated Team Panther member – Paul Salter – made the wing fairings.

Paul Salter fitting his custom wing fairings

Paul Salter fitting his custom wing fairings

Here are some photos of Dan working on the cowling.

Sanding the cowling for fitting to the firewall.

Sanding the cowling for fitting to the firewall.

Fitting the cowling to the firewall

Fitting the cowling to the firewall

Paul and Dan fabricated the seat pan.  It is ready for me to rivet in as soon as I can reach it.  With the tail raised I am too short to reach in and rivet.

Seat pan ready to rivet

Seat pan ready to rivet

I don’t have the whole list of exactly what is going to need to be done before first flight – and I can’t read Dan’s mind.  But – he says “as soon as the airplane is ready to fly and the weather is good enough, he will fly it.  Not a moment sooner or later.”  We have a front coming in, so I would suspect as soon as this front passes we will be ready to truck the airplane down to our test site and do a conditional inspection on site.  Then test fly it for the first time.  Dan’s Dad (Jim Weseman) has committed to giving the Panther a good look over with his second set of highly trained eyes.

So – stay tuned as we close in.  I will keep updates coming as quickly as I can.

Don’t forget – Sun’NFun booth N-057 and the SPA/Corvair cookout on Friday night!

– Rachel


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