Hardware Musings


Two thoughts come from the shop today:

First—all you RV pilots out there, the nylon locknuts you need are MS21083N8. They are about a buck fifty from Spruce… buy a couple of them. Why? They are the nut that goes on the top of the standard Van’s (or clones, such as the Bell and its clones) tailwheel. Why do you need them? You probably take the tailwheel off a couple of times a year to clean and grease the spindle, and that nylon locknut wears out. But you don’t have any locknuts that fit a 1/2” thread on hand, so you re-use it—over, and over, and over again. I just found one I could take off with my fingers, no wrench required. So along with those crush washers for your engine’s suction screen, buy a bag and you’ll have no excuse for reusing worn out hardware.

It’s all there, if you can find it.

Second—I remember that the last time I bought #8 set screws. I bought several of them (so that the cashier at Ace didn’t look funny at my for walking out of the store with a purchase total of less than a dollar). And I know that I had them in a little bag, and put them somewhere that I wouldn’t forget. Well… I forgot. And the ten minutes I spent looking through my vast store of hardware could have been better spent driving over to Ace to buy a few more. Bottom line: if you can’t find it, you don’t have it. And even if a handwritten drawer note will mess up the look of all those beautifully printed labels, it will save time in the long run.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.



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