Saturday, June 29, 2013

Young Eagles

Today was break day.  I drove down to Thun field in Puyallup to assist with the local EAA's annual Young Eagles day.  The day consisted of volunteer pilots and ground crew (my contribution) flying 150 8-16 year old kids around the Puget Sound.  What a bunch of excited kids and a lot of fun.  Here are a few pics of the day.

A couple of the RV's that were flying kids today.

This plane showed up toward the end of the day.  He wasn't giving kids rides but I had to take the picture anyway.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Skin Rivets get set in left fuel tank

That was not easy.  The pro-seal makes it hard to get a good "fix" on the rivet tail and its so hard to see if the shop head came out ok.  Next up: end ribs. Here are tonight's pictures.

Top side

Bottom side

Left fuel tank starts to take shape

So I'm sitting here eating my lunch when I realized that I had not posted a couple of pictures I took last night of the evenings work.  I managed to get the left fuel tank cleco'd into the re-modeled tank jig with a nice batch of proseal.  Still lots of work before I am ready to call it complete but this was a big step.  Tonight it will be time to put my riveting hat on and see if I can keep from messing all that work up.
Looking inside the fuel tank at a nice even line of proseal on one of the ribs.
The end ribs will not get installed until I am done riveting these inner ribs and the required plumbing is added.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Challenging evening

Tonight I started the process of riveting the pro-sealed fuel tank filler opening and the drain plug.  It was not easy!  I manged to get all the rivets in but I found that it is easier to use the rivet gun and bucking bar but when I did that it was harder to get the rivets flush with the skin.  I ended up drilling out a couple of rivets and redoing them, and realistically I should probably have drilled out another one or two because the did not squeeze as neatly as I wanted them to.  Fortunately this is not a structural rivet joint so even if the rivets are only 95% as strong as perfectly set rivets it is more than enough.

I also modified my fuel tank jig to allow me to put the skins in without a bow in the middle.  Part of the next step is to cleco the ribs back into place and I don't want to use the force that my clamping jig requires.  So using some examples from other builders I decided it cleco both side of the nose in place and then slowly insert the skin and ribs into the jig.  The problem is that I was worried that this would "dent" the skin where the top edges of the jig would be pressing against the skin. See my solution below.

boards attached to fuel tank jig top to prevent bowing of the skins when they are in the jig.  You can also see the riveted drain flange before I cleaned it up.

another picture of the board on the other side of the fuel tank jig.

The finished fuel inlet.

the inside of the riveted fuel inlet with proseal on the exposed shop heads.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Things get sticky

Not much posting going on around here lately but that's because there hasn't been much new to post about.  That changed today.  For the past week or so I have been prepping the left fuel tank so that I could seal both fuel tanks at the same time.  This morning I reached that point and it was time to break out the Pro-Seal or more commonly known as "Black Death".  This is a very sticky sealant that is a two part mixture.  It is used for various tasks such as sealing up a fuel tank.  I will say my first experience with the stuff was not as bad as I expected but man is that stuff sticky!  All I managed to get done today was to install the lower tank stiffeners, the drain flange, and the fuel inlet flange.  This week I hope to get all the ribs set and possibly be ready to seal up the tanks by installing the rear baffle next weekend.

fuel tank skin with stiffeners installed and sealed.  You can see the black "fillet" around each one if you look closely.

fuel inlet sealed.  No rivets yet because I am using a process that has me let it set up for a day or two before pulling the cleco's and riveting.  Its suppose to be less messy that way.

fuel inlet from the outside.

Other fuel tank skin with stiffeners, fuel inlet and drain flange sealed.

Electronic scale sealed in a zip loc bag.  I used this to measure the two parts of the pro-seal.

Rivets of various sizes in these cups for cleaning with MEK.

"Black Death" 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yet another fuel tank jig

For the last couple of work sessions I have been struggling with getting the left fuel tank ribs cleco'd to the skin.  The skin is just not pre-bent enough and it requires a LOT of downward force to get the rivet holes to align properly.  The clamping jig I used on the right fuel tank didn't work as well this time and in fact it started to bend the rib flanges/webbing at the base (flat side).  So, I struggled with it and finally came up with a new jig.  This one allowed me to use the center lightening hole with a broom stick to apply the needed amount of downward force.

Edit 8-4-2013  I want to say that I think this jig may be unnecessary.  If you use the cradle with boards supporting the entire length of the leading edge, and then use 2 cleco's in the front and 2 in the aft before you fully seat the skin into the jig you will have a much easier time.  I did this later in the process and described it in a little more detail there.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Air pump

I have another update for today.  I just ordered the prop for the new engine.  I called and talked to Craig Catto from Catto propellers and he has a new generation of three blade props coming out that has some significant low end improvements and a slight top end improvement in performance.  It has not been announced yet but since I wont need it until next year he is putting me down for the new version.  He also mentioned that they have an option to match a Van's spinner to the prop and have it drilled correctly.  I think that will be a must when the time comes.

He also mentioned a couple of items I will need.  Either a 2.25 inch or a 4 inch prop extension and he suggested ordering it from Sam Tillman at Saber Manufacturing.  Finally he mentioned a guy who owns a 9a with a similar configuration that is testing the new prop.  I'm not going to post the name but I am going to do a little research and talk to him about the prop/engine combination.

Weekend work

Lots of time in the hangar this weekend.  I started the weekend by taking the right fuel tank up to the point of sealing it with ProSeal.  This is suppose to be a very messy process and the instructions suggest that you do both tanks at the same time to be most efficient.  So I decided to hold off on the sealing until I have the left tank ready to go as well.

As part of the final dimpling of the right fuel tank I noted that the dimples for the mounting screws were much bigger than the holes I had countersunk on the main spar.  So, I removed the wing skins and using my countersink bit I re-worked the depth of the holes.  I thought I had used a gauge to do this the first time but I don't think I used the correct gauge aluminum sheet so I made a new gauge and now the holes are correct.  I did have to re-prime the holes but with the 7220 rattle can primer this was a pretty simple task.

After that was complete I decided it was time to do the cutting of the leading edge for my landing lights.  This was a little nerve racking as I had to cut into the skin with my Dremel cutting bit and try to keep it nice and strait.  It turned out to be a very satisfying task.  The end product came out nice and doing things that are not in the plans was new to me.  I liked it.

After finishing the landing light openings I moved on to the left fuel tank.  I'm struggling with getting the skin attached again.  My clamping method is not working as well as it did the first time....  Oh well I will get it figured out tomorrow night.
top skins removed so I can get to the holes I need to countersink deeper.
After countersinking and with new primer covering.

Landing light cutouts in both leading edges

Left fuel tank in the jig to be cleco'd together.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Things that go VROOOM in the night

I wasn't going to post tonight but some things have transpired that I feel its necessary.  First, I have been busy working on the right fuel tank but there hasn't been much picture taking going on.  So I will just update you with words.  The tank is almost ready for sealing up and pressure testing.  I am quite amazed at how much work goes into building a leak proof tank.  I am finding that following the plans that have only the left wing drawings is a bit of a challenge when it comes to working on the right wing.  I have no problem converting the image in my head, but I do have a problem remembering that I have to convert it when working on the right wing.  Sheesh.  I will have some pictures in my next post I promise.

Now on to the exciting news for the day.  I have come to agreement on an engine purchase.  This is a very new engine with a new top end.  I spoke to the guy who is selling it on the phone tonight and oddly enough I was quite comfortable chatting with him and making the decision to buy the engine.  The engine is a Lycoming IO-360 which for those of you who don't know that means 4 cylinders and fuel injection.  There are a number of upgrades to this engine which is why I am excited about the purchase.  The engine produces about 200 horsepower which should ensure I have more than enough power to climb over those pesky Rocky Mountains.  This particular engine is an angle valve which means it is newer but a little heavier than the parallel valve engine.  With the RV-9 I think that will actually help me since the CG is so far aft in this airplane.  Neither Amy nor I are big people so gross weight was never really an issue.

The thing about this engine that really interests me is that I get to put it together.  The case is sealed with a new technology (rubber o-ring) but I get to do the rest.  Jim, if you read this you wanna come over and help?  :-)

Now I need to order my new prop!  Catto tri-blade, here I come!

Sheesh, this is getting expensive!

My new engine

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Speaking of fuel

So I mentioned yesterday that I was going to discuss my progress this weekend on the wings so here we go.  Yesterday before the awesome day of flying I was able to get the leading edge sections of the main wings assembled, cleco'd and put on the main wing spars.  I ran into a problem where I was not able to get the holes to line up on the top side of the ribs no matter how hard I pressed down with my hands.  So, I created a nice little 2x4 molded to the same curvature of the leading edge and then used it with a clamp to press the rib down enough to get some cleco's in.  It worked out nicely.

Unfortunately I did run out of cleco's today.  So I posted on one of the EAA Facebook pages and a very nice fellow RV builder sold me a bag of 100 for $20.  A great deal for me!  Thanks Russ.

My clamping jib that allowed me to get the cleco's into the ribs.

And here they are, the leading edges cleco'd to the main wing.  The area that is still open is my next task.  The fuel tanks will sit here. 

This is another little contraption that I created.  This is a wood workers marking gauge that I created a  little aluminum pen holder.  This allows me to mark a line parallel with any edge I like at any distance I like.  This came in very handy today and I'm sure will many times in the future.

Amy took a picture of my wearing my cleco bibs and dressing the edge of the aluminum skin.  That skin needs to be smooth so I don't cut myself.

Fuel for the fire!

Yesterday started like most Saturday mornings with me in the hangar working on the leading edge of the main wing.  I will post more about that in my next post because I struggled with getting the skin cleco'd on to the ribs.  I did find a neat way to make it work but I don't have any pics.

Anyway on to the main subject for today.  Jeff called me while I was out working an asked if I would be interested in going flying with him and Harry in their RV's.  Sheesh that took all of about 3 milliseconds to come up with my answer...

Jeff's panel as we are rolling out for takeoff from Thun field in Puyallup.

Harry's rocket as he approaches for some formation flying.

Jeff's RV-7A at our first stop in Hoquim.

Harry and his rocket.

This is the best pic I had of Harry on the left.

Spruce Goose Cafe where we stopped for some pie a'la mode.  That's Jeff on the left and Harry on the right.  Jeff tells me that you have to get here early in the morning on the weekend because it gets VERY busy with people flying in.

A line up of RV's

This is the best pic I have of Jeff's RV-7A from Harry's rocket.  The sun was getting pretty hot by this time and there was a lot of glare for my iPhone to handle.

One more neat thing happened yesterday that I thought I would mention.  As I was taking all of these pictures Dropbox was (unbeknownst to me) uploading them when data was available.  I got a text about 2 hours into the trip from Amy who said "I'm getting your pictures on the computer at home!"

I could gush for hours about how much fun it was to spend the afternoon flying around the pacific NW but I will just say this... I am so glad I decided to get back into flying because this is the life I wan't to live.  The people are superb and you wont find a friendlier group anywhere.

Friday, June 7, 2013

On my knees

And it ain't in prayer.  Tonight I was able to get the J-stringers installed in both wings.  This turned out to be an interesting puzzle since I was not able to open the garage hangar door high enough to slide the stringers into the wing.  The wing stand posts prevented the door from rolling up high enough so I ended up unbolting the top section of the door and folding it down so I could roll the door up high enough.

After the stringers were installed, drilled and cleco'd I moved on to mounting the lower skins.  I had to "borrow" a few cleco's from the top wing skin to have enough to sparsely hang the lower skin.  I ended the up spending most of the night on my knees clecoing the wing to the frame.  My knees are sore!

Oh, one more thing, I got a delivery from Vann's today with a few parts I ordered that need to be installed in the wing while its in the build stage.  Deluxe fuel caps (come highly recommended), Fuel pickup lines, and the flexible conduit that will hold the wiring in the wings.

Lower skins cleco'd to the wing frame.

Picture of the J-stringer cleco'd to the wing skin in its angular channel.  You can also see all the way down the inside of the wing lightening holes.

My new parts!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A little skin in the game

Tonight I managed to get the top skins for both wings cleco'd on and drilled.  That took me a lot of time...about 4 hour actually.  So, not much to show but the weather outside is amazing!  I'm working with the hangar door open and lovin' it!

The wings with the top skins all cleco'd on ready for match drilling.  I know I have said it before but I am absolutely amazed at the quality of these kits.  All that real estate and every single hole is perfectly aligned.

A slightly lower view of the same thing....also something we don't see in Seattle very often.  If you look at the right side of the picture you can see some bright stuff...I think they call that sunlight.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More Wings and things

So I decided its time to update the blog with all the recent work.  I took Monday off and spent the whole day in the hangar working on the wings.  First, as usual progress was slower than desired but at least things are progressing.  First a tip for anybody who may be reading this and find themselves at the point where it time to rivet the wing ribs to the main spar.  The instructions dont give any kind of required order I opted to start with the 4th rib in from the inboard edge.  In doing so I was able to remove the other inboard ribs and had lots of room to work as opposed to having to work between the closely spaced ribs where we will be walking on the wings to get into the airplane.

Main spar with the ribs cleco'd on.  Notice the medical tape I used to protect the spar itself from my destructive bucking bar skills.

Right wing with ribs riveted onto the main spar and getting ready to rivet the trailing edge spar.

Right wing sitting on the wing jig I built last week and left wing almost fully riveted together.  This is the point where Amy drug me kicking and screaming out of the hangar to spend some time with her.

Both wings fully riveted together and the top wing skin with doubler plates getting ready for attaching.  I had to stop a little early tonight to go to the local Home Depot aircraft parts store and get some threaded rod to build the wing span supports so that I can level the wings on the jig.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dem's alotta ribs

Today I did a marathon run.  The plan was to get the wing ribs sanded, straitened and fluted.  After that I would drill the mounting holes and finally do a little priming.  Well let me tell you, this priming stuff is for the birds!  I spent the majority of the afternoon up until 9:30 tonight just getting half of the ribs ready to prime.  Sheesh,  and I didn't even get the primer applied.  Oh well I am ready to begin the priming process in the morning after I get back from Tahoma Ridge.
Drilling the 3/4 inch hole that the wiring tubes will run through.

Look at all those ribs!  

My old priming rack wouldn't hold even half of the ribs so tonight I built a new one.  This one spans the entire width of the two car side of the hangar.