Categories: all aviation Building a Biplane bicycle gadgets misc motorcycle theater

Tue, 21 Apr 2020

Building a Biplane: Improbably, a Sort of Milestone

When I describe the process of building a biplane, I invariably describe it as one that's going to take "ten to twenty years," because that's just how life is. Most credible estimates suggest that doing something like building a Marquart Charger from scratch is a 3000-5000 hour job. I'm probably going to end up on the 5000 hour end of things (particularly if I try for a round engine, but that's a discussion for a different time).

However, taking the middle of that estimate, at 4000 hours, may be a reasonable best-guess.

I mentioned a couple entries ago (and more than a year ago) that I was maintaining a log of all the work I've been doing. I promised to make it more than it started as, and I've taken the first step along that path: I added a "total hours" row at the bottom of the table. It was a lark, but it reveals a sobering truth: despite my jests about being at the very start of the process (which it truly feels like I am), I'm actually making significant progress.

As I write this, the total hours number stands at 388.8 hours. That is to say, nearly 400 hours, which would be about 10% of the build.

I'm 9.72% of the way done with building a Marquart Charger.

It's not a huge number, sure, but it belies the sense I've had for a long time that I was just farting around, making no real progress. No, in fact, I have a complete set of wing ribs finished, an appreciable portion (I'd say around 90%) of the wing parts built, on hand, or poised on the edge of ordering (the cross-brace wires are waiting on me properly inventorying my need for more spruce bits so I can combine the surprisingly expensive shipping), and am in the final stages of shaping the last little bits and pieces that need to be fabricated.

Once I have the cross-brace wires and fork-ends ordered, all that's left is painting a bunch of steel brackets and profiling the spars before I can start assembling the wings in earnest, at which point I suspect things will seem to move very quickly, compared to the visually unimpressive stack of wing ribs.

There's always more work to do (at least 90% to go), but it's nice to take a step back and appreciate that I really have made some good progress.

Posted at 14:21 permanent link category: /charger

Categories: all aviation Building a Biplane bicycle gadgets misc motorcycle theater