Monday, July 29, 2013

Now you see me...

So here I sit the night before Dad and I fly out for Oshkosh 2013.  I am very excited about what is going to go on for the next several days but before I go I thought I would publish the weekends work that occurred.  First, I had lots of help this weekend.  Alex Miller came over early Saturday morning (ok, it was 9 am but that's early for most kids) and helped me rivet the outboard half of the left top wing skin.  Then Dad showed up about noon and he ended up helping me finish off the left top wing skin J-Stringer.  Finally Mariah helped me rivet the right inboard top wing skin on Sunday.  And last but not least Dad and I was able to build the rolling wing stand so that I can get the wings off of the build stand and get that much of my garage/hangar back.

One last item to mention, I lost my tungsten bucking bar some time last week.  Dad and I tore the garage apart looking for that little bugger and couldn't find it.  Well I got to thinking about the last place I had used it and a very bad picture started to form in my head... I had last used it in the right wing while riveting those VERY HARD TO GET TO rib know, the ones that are buried deep in the leading edge of the right wing....the ones that are not accessible without removing the fuel tank that I have bolted down.  Yea, those ribs.  Well, rather than panic we got out my trusty inspection camera and snaked it down the lightening holes too look into that last leading edge bay.  Guess what we saw sitting in the unreachable bay?  Yep, the bucking bar.  So Dad went to town pulling bolts from the fuel tank and we managed to retrieve the bucking bar.  Can you image how much damage that little sucker would have caused when I turned the wing on its side for the first time?

Not much for pictures but here you go.  Oh, I don't have a picture of the wing stand but you should see plenty of pictures of that once I get the wings set in it for storage.

Its very hard to see where the wing starts and the cement ends but here is a shot of the finished left wing top.

Here is the right wing inboard top skin nicely riveted together.  Yes this is the one that has no bolts in it because we had to remove them to pull it.  See narrative above for gruesome details.

And this is a shot of both of them looking forward (as I imagine it)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

One for the road

Since I am not going to be able to work on the airplane for the next couple of nights (going to Portland for training) I thought I would do a quick update of tonight's work.  Mariah came home from her trip to Salem and was able to help me put the last 6 rivets into the leading edge on the right wing.  It was a hard spot to reach with the bucking bar since we had to reach into the the lightening holes about arm pit deep and hold a bucking bar blind.  We managed to do it and I was able to get the fuel tank installed and the top skins cleco'd onto the ribs.  Only one picture for tonight.
Right wing with leading edge complete and top skins cleco'd on.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another week goes by

I am kind of surprised to see that its been a week since I last posted an update.  Last week was pretty crazy at work with lots of meetings but I did manage to get some work done on the airplane.  Not much picture taking since most of what was accomplished was on the right wing and a duplicate of what I had already done on the left wing.  There are a couple of items to discuss though.  First, my engine arrived this week!  There were three boxes of engine parts of which Travis was nice enough to take one of his days off and wait for the delivery at home.  Two 140 lb boxes showed up on that day and I picked the final 68 lb box up from the FedEx office the next day.  Now I need to get some help putting it all together.

While Travis was over I took advantage of him to help me start riveting the inboard top skin to the left wing.  We had a little trial and error as I messed with different rivets sizes but in the end we managed to get it done and it looks pretty good.  Mariah has decided she doesn't much care for riveting I think.  She got a rash on her knees from kneeling down on the cement floor during our last riveting session and now she seems a little reluctant to assist.  I'm burning out the good help!  I hope Travis doesn't go next.

One other item that came up this week.  I think I have settled on a paint scheme for the airplane.  I'm a doodler and that means when I'm on calls or doing something that requires me to concentrate I tend to doodle.  Well that doodling resulted in the drawing below.  The paint colors are not correct but the design is pretty good.  Still trying to decide whether or not to use red or gold for the accent color.  It will most likely end up red because the engine is red, but I do like the gold color as well.

Potential paint scheme

One of the new cylinders for the engine.  I had to open it up and look!
leading edge and inboard top skins riveted on.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weekend - Part two

OK, so the fly in was a big hit for me this weekend, but it wasn't the only thing that happened hits the top three list.  Thursday and Friday mornings I flew with Jellica my flight instructor and completed my biannual flight review.  I am now legal to fly once again.  It didn't take as long as I thought it would but it wasn't quite like getting back on a bicycle again after 15 years.  None the less I am excited to be able to fly once again.  Now I can start working on my IFR rating.

The final item I wanted to share this weekend was the work on the airplane.  Most of the work was done today and last Thursday but I am happy to report that with the excellent help of Mariah The leading edges of both wings are almost complete.  Mariah and I managed to rivet up the outboard leading edges today (a 11 hour day of work I might add).  I'm beat after that much riveting but see below for the final product.  The wings are starting to look like wings once again.

Oh, one more thing before the pictures...the right fuel tank passed the leak test!!!!!!  I didn't have any leaks!!!  That's exciting!!! (hence the excess exclamation points)  I can't tell you how happy I am to be past that particular step in the build process.  And to have it complete without added work of finding and sealing leaks is a bonus.  Almost like I won the builders lottery.

Left wing top side

Left wing bottom side.

Both wings top side.

Right wing bottom side.

Where to start

I think this entry is going to have to be broken into two entries.  Two major subjects to discuss tonight.  First I will talk about my 4 day weekend.  This weekend was the Arlington Fly in/Airshow.  I have never been drawn to airshows because what those people do in airplanes I will probably never do.  I have to admit that their flying skills are so far beyond mine that it is somewhat amazing to watch them do what they do!  Anyway, the airshow was not the best part of the weekend, the airplanes were.  There had to be several hundred airplanes at Arlington airport this weekend for the fly in.  There were a very large number of Piper Cherokee's not to mention Cessna's of all flavors.  There were many different types of experimental airplanes as well and as you might have guessed that's where I spent most of my time.

My friend Jeff was there with his son so I spent a large amount of time hanging with them but I also met so many people that have the same passion for flying that I do.  I want to point out one person in particular that I met that really gave me inspiration.  His name is mike and he had a very well built RV-7 that he had put a number of customization's of his design into.  He not only went into depth about them but allowed me to take several pictures so that I might replicate his work.  He is planning on going to Oshkosh this year so hopefully I will get a chance to visit with him there as well.

Well, enough talk, here are a few of the many pictures I took.
Field of dreams....

As a fellow member of my local EAA chapters daughter kept reminding me....this is "beautiful Angel"

Rumor has it that this is actually the owners wife/significant other

Nicely designed panel.  Simple but fully functional and then some!

These are the seats I would like to use.  They have a nice adjustable lumbar support and the owner of this plane has flown for many hours in one day on them in complete comfort.

A newly finished RV-9A with the exact same configuration as the one I am building.  Sliding canopy and James Cowl for starters.  This one has not yet been painted obviously but the owner says he is having too much fun flying to take it in for painting....hmmmmm.

This is Mike's airplane with us sitting around bs'ing.  My friend Jeff is the one in the red hat and his son is sitting beside him.  Mike is the one in the red shirt.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fuel tank leak test - Sat

For the last couple of days I have been doing leak checks on the left fuel tank.  The first iteration included a balloon sealed over the vent line.  This looked like it was going well until Monday morning when I came out and the balloon was pretty much flat.  I was a little disappointed thinking I had a very small (and hard to detect) leak in the tank somewhere.  After coming home on Monday night I decided to use the manometer method to check for leaks thinking the balloon may have a pin hole in it.  So, I hooked everything up, filled the hose up with water, pressurized the tank up to 1 psi and started spraying the tank down with soapy water to see if I could find the bubbles.  Well, it took a while but I finally found them.  They were on the test fittings that I had installed for the test!!!  Woo hoo, I tightened up the two fittings and started the test again.  Here it is 24 hours or more later and the tank is still sitting where it was last night at this same temperature!  I am calling this tank sealed.

While all of this was going on I have been busy with the left wing skins, deburring, dimpling, re-dimpling, and prepping for final riveting.  As of tonight all I have left to do is the leading edge skin dimples and I can start the process of riveting the left wing together.  Finally.

Oh, one more thing.  The instructions call for me to "bevel" the joint where the two upper wing skins overlap at the point where they butt up against the fuel tank.  I kept looking at this wondering how I was going to get this to look decent using a hand file.  So I decided to see how other builders had done it and I found a few people who had actually trimmed the inner skin a little and then beveled the aft part of the rest of the overlap area.  I did that and you can see the result in the pictures below.

Leak test number 1 with the balloon.

The trimmed overlap area on the inner skin.

The pencil marks are last nights marks for the same temperature.  Tonight when I made the call that the test was completed with no leaks the temperature was 81 degrees and the level in my manometer was at the 81 degree mark from last night.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Super Day off

Yesterday (5th of July) was a "red letter day" as Gretchen used to say.  It started with a drive to Tacoma Narrows Airport to meet Jelica (my new flight instructor) for a couple of hours of training.  We spent the first hour getting to know each other and doing lots of ground aeronautical discussion.  Then we loaded up and did an hour of flying in a Cessna 152.  The plane had seen better days but it flew just great, or at least as good as my rusty skills would allow.  After a short set of simple maneuvers, a couple of touch and go's and one landing to a full stop I was feeling pretty good about flying again.  I won't say its like riding a bicycle because my landings were all a little short on power at the approach but I will fix that quickly enough.  I was very surprised to see that the last log entry in my log book was from 1995.  Wow, its been 18 years since I last flew?  That can't be correct.  I will have to see what Jim put in his log book as to a date because there is no way Mariah was only 4 years old when we made that trip.  No pictures to show of this part of the day.

Moving on, after getting home I spent several hours in the hangar putting the rear baffle into the right fuel tank.  I had one small setback in that I was one rivet short to finish the extended range fuel bung flange.  Hopefully somebody around here will have one otherwise I will be ordering one.

One thing I forgot to mention about yesterday (the 4th of July) was that Mariah helped me rivet the fuel tank skins to the ribs.  She did a great job and it was SOOO much easier with her help.  I have to say I am very proud of both her and Travis and who they are becoming as they grow up!

Today is destined to become another "red letter day".  I was invited to go RV flying with Jeff, Harry and one other RVer today.  I guess the plan is to go to Friday Harbor for some lunch.  Its a beautiful morning for flying!
fuel sender and fuel pickup line for right tank

wing skin getting deburred while I was waiting for it pro-seal to set up.

end ribs installed and cleco'd.
Bottom of fully riveted right fuel tank.  All thats left is to install the access plate and one missing rivet seen in the picture below.

Missing rivet at 5 o'clock.

Top side of finished fuel tank.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Right fuel tank comes together

Tonight I was able to finish up the left fuel tank by installing the access plate and fuel level sending unit.  After setting the left fuel tank on the wing temporarily I moved on to putting the right fuel tank together.  I managed to get the surfaces all scuffed up (on purpose), cleaned with MEK, Prosealed, and cleco'd to the skin in the cradle.  Using the new sides on each face of the skin made this task go much smoother than the left tank.  I also used my Semco gun to apply the proseal which sped the process of considerably.

Right fuel tank after tonights work.

Left fuel tank sitting on spar with access plate and fuel sender installed

inside of right fuel tank 

My semco gun after using it to do right fuel tank ribs.

Left fuel tank rear baffle

The day I have been kind of dreading has come and gone.  Monday evening I took the plunge and prosealed and riveted the rear baffle on the left fuel tank.  This was a bit of a time limited marathon in 90 degree heat.  I was sweating in my rubber gloves and occasional respirator but I finally managed to get the rear baffle installed.  Looking inside from the available ports I think it sealed well but only a leak test will tell me for sure.  I have 4 days off starting on the 4th of July and the temperature is not suppose to be so warm so hopefully I will be able to finish the right fuel tank and get this one pressure tested.  I can say with utter confidence that I will not miss working with proseal.  Its not as bad as I imagined but it sure is not convenient to work with either.  Lots of rubber gloves and my fingers still come out with black stains!

Outside view of rear baffle (on top) installed with brackets.  The opening that you see is where the fuel level sender will be mounted and then sealed into the tank.

Inside view of the baffle seal where a small bead of proseal looks like a good seal.  The baffle is at the top of the picture and the line of proseal runs from about 10 on the clock to 4.  Lots of reflections on this picture.

poor picture of the other end of the tank seal.  This is a picture through the fuel inlet.