is a
Veteran-Owned site.

I still look forward to getting in the shop to work on planes but once there it can be difficult to remember what I wanted to do when.
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The Struggle for Stability

Sequencing is tough when I forget what’s next

Text and photo by Tom Hintz

Posted – 9-17-2015

As I write this I am deep into the current project, building the ESM 88” Zero and that effort is highlighting one of my Alzheimer's-related concerns. Every plane project has a sequence in the construction that makes the most sense and limits backtracking. I am realizing that while I frequently recognize this sequence in the current ESM 88” Zero build I am just as liable to forget all about it. For instance the other day I was working on the wing and went out to the shop to get a tool but I came back with the fuselage. I had to stand there a while to mentally backtrack so I could recall what I was about to do and what tool I needed to do it.

There is a level of fiscal sanity in the building of a giant scale plane that when followed prevents the use of cheap parts or reusing good parts that are exceeding a logical lifespan. While this concept can be somewhat difficult for me to follow normally the recent loss of my last major site sponsor has complicated this dramatically. The easy decision was to scale down the entire project and at least temporarily abandon the long term goal of flying this warbird at the Joe Nall 2016 meet.

Cost was never a non-issue when deciding on what component to use but I was able to give what the viewers of the site wanted to see far more weight along with what would best fit the needs of my site. One of the decisions I had to make for the ESM 88” Zero build was what redundant battery system to use. In addition to cost there is a major space and placement factor with the ESM 88” Zero. Where we had been using a separate system to manage the on board dual batteries (so if one fails the other automatically takes over) a relatively new development offers a receiver with the dual battery capability built in. I literally had to write my thinking out so I could see that the benefits of this new system easily outweighed the stand alone one I had been using. The new receiver certainly saves on space and weight plus makes installation easier in the confines of the ESM 88” Zero. In addition there is a considerable cost savings with using the newer receiver. Numbers are increasingly difficult for me to understand and though the savings are substantial with this new receiver getting my mind to recognize that along with the safety it offers took writing it all out and reading it over and over.

Once I had made the decision to go with the newer, cheaper receiver it seemed like the only real choice but getting to that point is increasingly difficult. I spent way more time deciding on the components for the ESM 88” Zero build than with previous projects. It is increasingly necessary to write out the options to force my brain to consider quality, capability and cost all at the same time. Trying to run all that through my brain without seeing it written out has become unreliable.

So, I have to alter how I do things. I think I am still coming up with the right answers but getting there takes longer. The dramatically reduced budget since the loss of the sponsor adds another layer of complication that extends the process of deciding a bit more. What concerns me is that the emphasis on cost reduces the quality of the content I can produce in some instances. But that is what I have to work with and the effort of making those decisions certainly works my brain so there may be some level of benefit in the struggle.

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