Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Stop press!

STOP PRESS: Another new development!!!!
As part of the Royal Aeronautical Scociety and Boeings investment into the BAP project, we have been assigned a representative to ensure that all is running smoothly on the build project, both here and in London. Martin Davey, our representative, noticed that even with both Tim (our Engineering Development Technician ) and myself, we could certainly use an extra pair of hands or two. After a short advert in the local Air Workers monthly flyer, a staggering 18 retired aeronautical engineers applied to volunteer their services to help out on a regular basis in school. After an initial phone conversation, four volunteers were selected and we met up with two of them last week. They have a range of fantastic skills which will benefit the project immensely from project planning to reporting, build schedule preparation to hands on fabrication advice. I would like to thank Martin and all the applicants for their interest and look forward to working closely with the selected volunteers over the life of the build next year.

Please keep up to date with the latest developments on the ‘Build A Plane Blog’ by following the link from the secondary schools website.

Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all the build team.

Christmas update

Since our last update a massive amount has changed, not just to the plane itself, but the greater impact it will have on a wider range of young people in Bristol

The build managed to get to a stage where the construction manual, parts diagrams, part location manual and common sense just didn’t work together!! We spent quite a long time ensuring that all the parts necessary for the next chapter of the build were ready and to hand before we started.

This chapter of the build is all based around the cockpit and includes not just the foot brake and rear flap controls, but the elevator joysticks, turning controls and… a thin wooden floor! The main cockpit structure was delivered pre-welded, so all we have to do in effect is kit out the space inside. There are thousands of different parts which all go together in a particular way to make the aircraft fly correctly so we needed to make sure we got it right!

Some of the parts were really tricky to put together however we rose to the challenge. Students used their knowledge of engineering tools and processes to accurately measure, mark out and fabricate some of the special small bespoke pieces, whilst others simply had the pleasure of bolting together individual components like a Lego kit!. As well as creating the rudder and brake pedals, we have now recently started to manufacture the control sticks which make the plane go up, down, left and right in the air. These are very important parts and as such, we are taking our time to make sure things go perfectly.

The other main development is that the weekly extended learning sessions are to be… extended!! We have come to realise that an hour a week is just not feasible, so, every Fortnight on a Tuesday, our students will start the build at 12.35pm and have a full five and a half hours to concentrate on the build until 6.00pm! This will also allow our partner school, The Orchard school, to bring their students down and have a much longer build session than before. The new longer sessions will start every Tuesday week B in the new year.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

April 2011

The first job has been to work on the fuselage removing some of the over-sprayed powder coating on the frame work. The legs of the plane which join the wheels to the aircraft have to be bolted onto the frame in a very tight fitting tube. After the coating had been removed using emery cloth and a drill and the tolerance and fit confirmed, the legs had to be marked because the plane has to be so precise we ensured our accuracy using some of our specialist engineering equipment. Using the granite surface plate, two angle plates and a height gauge we were able to mark exactly 0.8 of an inch from the end of each leg as required.

The red coating is an ink so that the scribed line shows up more clearly.

Once the legs were installed and the new line centered with the hole in the fuselage we started to bolt on the wheel stub axles.

The axles obviously must be perfectly in line and level with the fuselage and this is where we are going to start off from next week!!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

March 2011

On the 15th March 2011 we officially opened the Build a Plane project with a number of representatives from Boeing, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Light Aircraft Association, Orchard school (our partner build school), New Fosseway, our own build team and the Lord Mayor of Bristol amongst others.

After an initial welcome speech by Mr.Davies, many other leading figures in the build programme spoke and welcomed the project officially to the Bridge Learning Campus. All guests were treated to a tour of the engineering department, a look at the build area and all the component parts. The morning was extremely successful and a lot of very important and useful contacts were made. The launch event only proved even further our intention here at the Bridge to be a recognised centre of excellent practice and vision.

Anyway the build has finally begun!! After several weeks of careful and meticulous inventory and storage planning we have now arrived at the point where we know where each and every part is located. This will mean that as each part is required for the assembly we can collate all the
parts first so everything follows the build manual. We have produced a sheet where after every step I will sign off the build event to say that it has been completed and then our LAA inspector can also then sign off to say everything is ok.

When the plane eventually travels down to London for its final scrutiny this will hopefully prove everything has been done in order and completed properly.

Monday, 14 February 2011

14th January 2011

Our plane has arrived!!! The plane arrived in mid January with representatives present from the Royal Aeronautical Society ( RAeS), our Chief Executive Mr. Mark Davies, Dave Hall from the Light Aircraft Association ( LAA), our engineering development officer Tim Baldwin, Assistant Head Steve Spokes and myself, all there to off load the boxes and more importantly sign the contract! The plane was delivered in two boxes; one larger box holding the pre-fabricated cockpit frame structure and the other longer box holding all the thousands of other plane components. Our build a plane students have been hard at work making an inventory of all the parts to ensure we have all the bits we’ll need.

The next step was then to securely store all the parts in labelled lockable cupboards to make sure everything is secure and we can find the parts as we need them. We are all looking forward to the official launch of the project sometime in March where we are hoping representatives from Boeing and possibly a TV crew may be attending... fingers crossed. Finally, we have to start constructing the plane itself and the first piece to make are the rear tail wings and rudder. You can keep up to date with monthly progression by looking at images and storyline on our weblog at Mr. Buckley