December 3, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen:

In this week’s update: Tail cone removed in preparation of a new paint job; Instrument placarding takes place; M1A Start Cart gets a tune up,  and a world renowned classical guitarist practices for next week’s annual Christmas Breakfast.

A cold and foggy morning greeted Team NAE this Saturday as the hangar door opened to working members Ed Shadle, Von Armstrong, Keith Zanghi, Chris Greene, Layne Smith, Sean Rondestvedt, Rich Pengelley, Omar Chramosta, Sam Yellowbird, and Chris Hughes. 


Appearing later in the work day were new team members Craig and Kimberly McNamee, bringing in a steaming cooker full of a favorite recipe of chili and beans. Some kind of good eating!   They were feeling festive in Santa hats having been on a USMC Toys for Tots mission in Lacy. Visiting was Kirby Smith, getting a guided hangar tour from Chris G. and Kirby’s son, Layne.


Main work this Saturday centered on removing the tail cone for needed work access.  The Eagle was lowered from jack stands to the floor and pushed forward, nosing out the hangar door. This allowed maneuvering room for floor jacks to be placed in position and the tail cone to be unbolted and eased out from around the afterburner section.   This is a deliberately slow and delicate operation with very minimum clearances involved. In a few weeks we will have the blistered  paint removed and a fresh new coat applied. With 31 test runs under her belt, on nine different test sessions, the aircraft was losing its bright red paint due to the extreme vibration and heat from the afterburner. Signs by Tomorrow in Houston South has already begun making  new sponsor decals to be applied when the tail cone paint work has been completed.

We again did some experimenting with using a low pressure air bag to raise and lower the front fuselage. More consideration is needed as to size of the air bag and methods of maintaining a balanced load.

Further work was done in the hydraulic steering compartment.  Keith replaced the rigid nitrogen pressure line with a flexible high pressure rated hose and it was more securely fastened.  Also in the compartment, a number of lines and valves had identifying placards affixed. Our good sponsor, Impact Laser Services , made up some engraved plates which were also installed in the cockpit and in the instrumentation compartment.

Ed towed our ancient electrical start cart from its place on his property to the hangar in hopes of getting it running and checking out the system.  The schematics were referenced and a number of attempts to get it going were made with no good results. Ed finally traced the problem to a faulty condenser.  A new and cheap part may be the answer.  Hope springs eternal.

Rich got out the welding unit and was busy fabricating some handles for a floor jack that will make it easier to move around and to be loaded and unloaded.


Next Saturday the team will be attending our annual meeting and Christmas breakfast at LeMay Senior Center.  Those attending will be treated to the musical talents of Craig Dell. Craig is a friend of the North American Eagle™ and 45 year veteran of the guitar, has studied and performed the styles of Classical, Flamenco and Impressionistic, as well as Folk, Ethnic and Progressive guitar.

Craig won 1st Place in the U.S. Invitational Guitar Competition in August of 1976 and has toured extensively throughout the world. He has given two performances at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City and has performed as a featured soloist with the Santa Fe Symphony and conductor Stewart Robertson. He has also performed with the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Wingert. This will be a real fun day as the families of our entire team will be on hand a celebrate a great year and look forward to finally breaking the World Land Speed Record in 2012.


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