December 13, 2016 - Visit Master Triplane Builder

Bruce B. knows a guy named Dana Narkunas down in North Carolina who has built numerous Fokker DR-1 Triplanes.  Bruce asked me if I wanted to go meet him and see his shop.  Sure!  I need a motivational shot to get back to work on my own Triplane project.  The weather was decent on this mid-December day so I took a day off to work, Bruce and I pre-heated the RV-7 and we headed down south.

It was an easy, less than two hour flight to Henderson-Oxford Airport (KHNZ).   Per the weather forecast, there was a high overcast layer all the way down.  But ten miles north of Henderson-Oxford, we ran into this low overcast layer at 1,500 feet.  Totally unforecasted!
Henderson-Oxford Airport has a courtesy car which we used for the 20 minute drive to Dana's house.

Our timing was perfect.  We were able to see a Triplane project Dana just finished for someone.  Because the fuselage is not covered, I was able to get a great look at all the stuff which goes on the inside of the fuse.

So here is the fuselage with the bottom wing on the floor to the left and the middle and top wings to the right.

A better look at the middle and top wings.
A couple of ailerons for the top wing rest on the floor.
A rudder and horizontal stabilizer.
Dana explains the difficulties in making the wing strut brackets.
There is some serious wire and turn-buckle action going on in the Triplane fuselage.
Sorry, no Le Rhone rotary on this Triplane.  That's a modern,  Lycoming O-320 there.  This is the same engine I will use on my Triplane.
The undercarriage.  Almost a fourth wing, actually.
A better look at the bottom wings.  Those lines running lengthwise are just chalk lines to help keep the rib stiching lined up.
A closer look at the wing box spar with mounting brackets.
A closer look at the outer wing struts.
The cabane struts which support the top wing to the fuselage.
The elevator hangs on the wall.

A close-up of one of the spar brackets.  This is what I'm currently stuck on with my project.  It may not look like much but go ahead and try to make one out of sheet steel.



A good look at the lower cockpit.

Dana gave me a ton of tips on building while we checked out the project.  Then he gave me advice on flying a Triplane over lunch.

On the flight home, we were in the vicinity of Patuxent Naval Air Station when two F-18s in close formation passed ahead of us, about 1,000 feet below.