Two steps forward

and three back.  This was one of those weeks.  Seems as if the harder I’m working on the latest project, the farther behind I get.  And added to the nightmare is an interior made almost entirely of fiberglass.  Said interior had to come out in order to get a gander at the structure behind it.  Any guesses as to how comfortable I’ve been this week?

One of our Embraer’s is in for a scheduled check; one of the cargo versions.  In addition to changing one of the engines and giving the outside a good going over, one of the tasks we have to accomplish is a fairly detailed check of the inside structure of the fuselage (the tube passengers ride in on most commercial jets).  Today’s version doesn’t have seats for passengers, just a liner covering the airframe structure and the normal lightweight flooring covered with plywood panels for damage protection.  The liner is constructed of panels of what’s called Gil liner, for the company that makes it.  It’s a thin flexible fiberglass material attached to the fuselage formers with screws.  A LOT of screws. Underneath that are fiberglass mats encased in thin, lightweight reinforced plastic bags.  

We’re looking at the metal skin, stringers, and formers of the fuselage for corrosion, cracks, and general condition.  The whole inspection takes about 30 minutes (it’s not that big of an airplane) once you get all the innards out of the way.  Getting the bits out of the tube takes a couple of days.  Important safety tip here:  mark the stuff as you take it out or you end up with one hell of a big jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces look alike.  Oh yeah,  wear the protective stuff to keep the fine fiberglass dust of your lungs and your eyes. 

Can’t help ya much with your clothes.  You’re gonna itch and itch very much badly.  And y’all thought we wrenches just got dirty…

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