Monday, February 25, 2008

Now the fun begins...

My mama always said, "the proof is in the pud'en." What she meant by this is the outcome of what we do define us. I have written for weeks about the quality of Tejas's work, but at the end of the day it is the last bit of detail that will ultimately determine the outcome of the entire project. It is what people see that makes a top-notch paint job stand heads and shoulders above the rest.

The Devil's in the Details
The guy in this photo is Chris Wells. He is the Senior Design Engineer and Master Painter that is charged with applying our complex design to 252Q. Pay particular attention to how he is focusing in on what he's doing. He is taking his time to get the tape in just the right location. Also check out the design book laying on the wing to his left. The pages are worn and clearly have been examined many times. This careful attention to detail is what separates a true professional form everyone else.

NOTE: This was not a staged photo. It's the real deal...

The Final Countdown
At the time of this writing we are 57 days into the project and about 2 weeks from delivery. The Sherwin Williams Acry Glo Titanium has been applied and now they are laying the stripes out by hand (we have a total of 5 colors plus clear coat).

Tejas does not use stencils or decals like many shops do either. They believe the only way to get the stripes perfect with a clearly defined edge is to lay them out by hand. They have to account for rivets, walkway, fuel caps, access panels, vortex generators, etc., which is virtually impossible to get right on a computer since every airplane is slightly different. Suffice of to say, it is no easy task to take a 2-dimensional design and apply it to a 3-dimensional flying machine.

You may have noticed on the above photos of the tail that the Titanium is not applied over the entire surface like the wings. The reason for this is that the elevator and rudder have to be precisely balanced. This is where Tejas's Mooney experience comes into play. They have to apply three different colors to the tail on the top/bottom left/right sides. They have to paint each color individually, stack them one beside the other and then apply exactly the same amount of paint on both sides to get the controls to balance!

I'm sure they are loving me & Scheme Designers right now ;)

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