As a writer, there is nothing that makes you happier than someone telling you “I read your blog and I really liked it!”. There are always different reasons for each person liking my writing – whether it’s something that resonates with their life, or just a well-written passage in general – but no matter what it is, that tiny piece of encouragement makes me happy.
Two weeks ago, I wrote something that hits a point in so many lives of the people around me. We are all in the middle of this last stretch of our university lives, and the feeling is also present in a lot of my friends. So it was nice, getting all their feedback and comments about my writing. One of my friends gave a very nice analogy, which I want to share. He described this period of time as “the loud climax of a symphony orchestra”. All the thunder and clamour and everything, it comes crashing down on you at once. But enjoy it while you can, because the next thing you know, it will be all over… and you hear nothing but dead silence.
That cannot be more true.
So anyway, I was building up a pretty good momentum with all this blogging before I got too busy with this airplane that I’m building these days. It’s due to flyoff on April 6th, and we’re about halfway done… which is good, but we would ideally like to do some testing before actually flying it. If we want to make the tests, then our schedule is definitely a bit tight.
All in all, this plane has been teaching me a lot. I can design a plane and calculate forces to make it stay in the air. I can even tell you what to do to make it perform better. But to actually build it from scratch – that’s a completely different challenge. I have no idea how things usually bond, or how to actually make everything stay together. I used CA glue on styrofoam, which completely melted it. We changed from a balsa wing (using ribs and spars) to a foam wing due to time constraints, and I wasn’t a big fan of the idea because a foam wing just didn’t seem as good. And then after a long chat with my professor, I realized it’s not really that bad; the only thing that a foam wing loses in is a bit of weight savings, and also aesthetic purposes. These kind of things… you really don’t know how it’s done until you do it for yourself.
In case you’re wondering, here’s some progress:
The original balsa wood, uncut.
Getting things cut using the laser printer.
Unfortunately, for thick wood, the laser printer doesn’t cut all the way through (even with multiple passes), so you have to manually cut the pieces out.
All the fuselage parts, ready to be assembled.
Half of the fuselage…
…and of course, not everything turns out perfect. Balsa wood is really easy to break if you apply pressure in the wrong places, so this happened.
Eventually we got there though! So here’s our fuselage.
As for the wing, it was cut out of foam using a foam cutter.
Same for the tail. We have a v-tail, instead of separate horizontal tail + vertical stabilizer (which is what you typically see on commercial aircraft).
So far, they’re still in separate pieces, but eventually they’ll be joined together. And then we put all the other things – control surfaces, motor, battery, propeller, hook up some wires, and you have yourself a plane!
Moving onto a completely different topic… this morning when I woke up, I just couldn’t get out of bed. I was exhausted, and I didn’t want to move. Somehow, I forced myself to get up, and eat a decently good breakfast. Then I remembered, I haven’t been running for the past two weeks, and today is a break in the hectic schedule that I have, so I forced myself outside. And then it was cold, and I almost wanted to just scramble back indoors and hide away. But instead, I pushed through it, and got down to Harbourfront.
My usual route is east along Lake Shore, but today I decided to run west. I went past the Music Garden, past Ontario Place, past Liberty Grand, and I saw Humber Bay Bridge all the way in the background. I’ve wanted to visit this bridge ever since first year, when we had to do a bridge project, but I never did. So today, I was like “oh why not, let’s just run there”. Next thing you know, I can’t stop myself from running. I literally felt like Forrest Gump… I just kept on going. That Humber Bay Bridge is about 8 km west from Harbourfront, but I made it there. And back. Yes, I ran a good 17 km today.
(Probably a bad idea now that I think back though. My legs are really sore, and my knees actually hurt from all the impulse!)
The view was beautiful though. It was so worth it.
The Humber Bay Bridge is a magnificent arch bridge. I remember learning back in first year, an arch is essentially an inverted cable with loads hanging from it. That is also what makes arches different from a catenary – as a catenary is simply a hanging cable (with no loads), while an (upside-down) arch carries loads on it.
It’s interesting to see these love locks adapted to so many bridges around the world. In the far background, you can see that tiny spec that is the CN Tower.
Another hour of running later, the spec becomes life-size once again.
Seeing Liberty Grand (where I was for our Grad Ball just a few weeks ago) and Atlantis (location of the Engineering Science Dinner Dance last October) already brings back some nostalgic memories. Time passes so fast!
It’s also very interesting to see Atlantis in the daytime. When we were there for our formal dinner, it was late at night, and I couldn’t see anything. Of course, I knew we were on top of water, but I didn’t have much of a sense of what it looked like. Here’s a much clearer view.
Exploring that area reminded me that I really won’t be in Toronto for much longer. If there’s anything else I want to see, the time is now. I’ll have to plan a few more trips for myself while I have the opportunity to see the rest of this city!