The prime mission for N50KB during the ’18/19 winter in Florida was to be painted. During most of the build I have had a design in mind, inspired by some of the spectacular paint jobs seen at EAA Airventure Oshkosh.
In November I started hunting for a professional paint shop as soon as we arrived from Michigan. During a visit to their shops, each of three bidders was shown a sketch depicting the design. We had a discussion of what I wanted and they gave me an approximate cost.
It is amazing the range of prices I encountered. The highest price was 240% of the lowest
. Although the high bidder has an excellent shop, his price was beyond my budget. The owner of the lowest bid price shop was moving to a new location and could talk better than listen. I chose Fosters Aircraft Restoration
located on the Lakeland, Florida airport (KLAL), the home of Sun-N-Fun.
John Foster is easy to work with. His shop is huge. On my first visit there were seven aircraft in the preparation area. These included two helicopters, a Citation jet, and other cabin class twins. His reputation for quality work is outstanding. Attached to the preparation hangar are three large (50′ x 50′ ?) paint booths. I told John I wanted Fosters to do the job and accepted the three month wait till a March 11th start.
When I wrote this on May 14th, the painting was almost done.
As part of the deal, Dolly and I were to disassemble and reassemble N50KB.
For the first step in the process Fosters crew masked surfaces that were not to be painted, and ScotchBright scored the aluminum surface. Then they applied an acid wash to promote adhesion of the following coats.
READY FOR ACID WASH AND ALODINE
The wash was followed by an alodyne anti-corrosion coating. Next, all metal surfaces were sprayed with a two part epoxy primer.
TWO PART EPOXY PRIMER.
There was considerable body work to be done in front of the tip-up canopy where it meets the front fuselage skin. The crew was able to make a 1/8″ mismatch disappear. Further, they
were dissatisfied with their first attempt, removed the layered fiberglass, and did it over at their own initiative. That has been their approach to the whole process allowing no blemish to exist. However, each of these steps takes time and the original four to six weeks inflated to nine.
Near the end of April the white paint had been sprayed. Dolly and I drove to Lakeland to install the cowl and tail feathers, enabling the layout of masking for color stripes.
MASKED AND READY FOR STRIPES
Most of the color work was complete with just some small areas to be painted. It was coming along nicely.
READY FOR REASSEMBLY
Dolly and I traveled to Lakeland for three days of reassembly. Vinyl N number, wing walk material and other decals were yet to be applied. I left Florida four days after "Dream Weaver" left the paint shop. 6 Hrs 38 min flight time to mid Michigan with one fuel stop. What a plane! We are very happy with it.