Monday, March 31, 2008

Paint Step 4: Chromallusion Pure Fire - Step II

The Tejas AeroServices team is getting close to taking 252Q into the paint booth to apply the Chromallusion paint as well as the various required placards (e.g. no step, no push, Mooney logo, etc).

NOTE: The CI paint will be applied between the bright blue taped lines.

The white squares are paint masking stencils. We are not using stick on decals like most planes have. The placards are all painted on. Painting required placards is a laborious process, but the end result is awesome. The fine details are what make a good paint job a superior one. Attention detail is clearly the hallmark of Tejas. Nothing gets by these guys.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Paint Step 4: Chromallusion Pure Fire - Step I

The Chromallusion Pure Fire ribbon masking tape has been laid down and we are getting close to applying the paint.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Current State

Few more photos of the right wing...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Paint Step 3: Ming Blue

The Tejas AeroServices team applied Ming Blue to 252Q last night. Here are some photos of where we are today...

The next step in the process is to apply the color altering paint called Chromallusion by DuPont. The CL process is quite involved. Here are some photos of the different materials that will be applied to 252Q in a very specific order to get the color altering effect. Any glitch in the application of CL will require a complete strip and repaint, which is why only a couple of shops in the country are capable of applying Chromallusion paint to an airplane.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Masking for Blue Complete

The Tejas team was working hard today covering areas that are not suppose to be painted and doing the final prep for blue.

Here are some photos of todays progress...

It sure is nice seeing the new 252Q N-Number being masked and prepped to be painted.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We're close, but no cigar

I'm happy to report that I visited with 252Q last week, but sad to say she's not quite ready to come home. The drawback with creating a highly customized scheme is it is difficult to gage how long it will take to complete. The saying that "All good things come to those that wait" come to mind as I left 252Q and flew back home to Chicago :(

Thought you'd like to see some more photos of Chris Wells laying out 252Q's scheme. His attention to the small details is quite impressive. I also quizzed him on every aspect of the paint scheme I could think of and he was able to answer most questions form the top of his head or turn directly to the page referencing what I was asking about. He was not only able to do this with my plane, but he was able to describe in detail what every airplane I pointed to in the shop was going to look like when painted.

I also spent quite a bit of time with lots of people that work at Tejas. I met mechanics, painters, general laborers, etc. Everyone I met seems to like what they do, they take pride in their work and are clearly experts in their fields. This is the first time that I've been out on a floor of a maintenance facility and didn't hear people griping about their jobs, counting down the time to leave, etc. The Tejas team rocks!

Can you pick out 252Q?
Even though this isn't the final product, she certainly isn't looking like the typical airplane you'd find on a ramp. If all goes well tomorrow they will be applying the next color -- Blue.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Paint Step 2: Medium Silver

Here are some photos of the Tejas team applying Gray. The design is slowly starting to revel itself. It will really pop when they apply the next color -- Blue.

These guys are serious about their work. They wear a space suit whenever they are in the paint booth in order to keep particle contamination to a minimum. The slightest bit of dust in the paint will ruin an otherwise perfect paint job.

NOTE: Check out the Filters above the hangar door. The air is micron filtered and the entire booth is positively pressurized with air. The Tejas paint facility is engineered to push all unwanted dust and particles away form the airplane. They also raise the temp considerably in the room in order to reduce humidity and cure the paint.

The finish on the wing is spectacular!

We are running a bit tight on schedule, but we are getting very close to the finish line. The project should be finalized next week.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Size Does Indeed Matter...

We hit a bit of unexpected snag this week. When Chris at Tejas was laying out the lines on the wings everything was going along very well. Abet too well... When he moved to the Fuselage he was thrown for a loop. The measurements in the schematics did not align according to the detail view drawings.

It common to have some sizing issues when taking a two dimensional drawing to a 3D airplane; however, what Chris was finding was not what he expected. He knew something wasn't right, so he went the extra mile to get to the bottom of what was going on. He literally dimensioned the entire airplane and compared it to the drawing scale. His diligence reveled that the Scheme Designer drawings were 18" longer than the actual size of 252Q!

NOTE: if you recall in my last blog posting I commented on the fact that it was clear that Chris had been carefully reviewing the design docs because the pages were warn. This attention to detail is how the error was found. Many shops would have likely followed the layout as specified and painted it. When painting you lay one color down at a time. The error probably wouldn't have been found until the entire aircraft had been painted! Chalk one more up for Tejas.

We contacted Scheme Designers and they quickly spring into action. They dropped everything they were working on to help us make things right. They asked Chris to take digital photos from a specified distance. Then they overlaid their drawings on top of it. Tejas and Scheme Designers worked via a remote web conference to completely digitize the entire fuselage including windows, panels, doors, etc. Wow!

One may think that digitizing the fuselage would be the hard part, but actually it wasn't. After they got the fuselage digitized, Scheme Designers had to modify a larger design to fit a smaller airplane. It looks about the same to the naked eye, but in actuality the lines are shorter, the curves are slightly different and the width of the lines are smaller. This process was similar to taking a design off of an A36 Bonanza and applying it to an F33 Bonanza. Suffice of to say, it was a heck of a lot of work and they did it all in less than 24 hours!

Here's a screen shot of what the process looked like:

Second Color Layout -- Medium Silver
The master design document was resubmitted to us and it was passed off to Tejas to start laying down the next color. We lost a bit of time because of our unexpected fire drill, but we are swinging back on target. Here are a couple of photos with the second color stripping ready to be painted. If we don't hit any more snags, they will be done next week.