Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The garage is smelling pretty good

Yep, that is a really misleading title too!  I completed a potpourri of tasks in the garage tonight.

Travis came over last night and helped me move the wings back into the garage.  Its time to finish them up so I can mount them on the fuselage.

First order of business was to cut and prep the pitot tube mount on the left wing.  It still kinda crepes me out to cut into the wing skins.

Next on the list was to put some caulking on the joints where the plastic wire sleeves go through the wing ribs.  This prevents them from vibrating and cutting through the plastic...or so thats the plan.

The gold looking part here is the roll servo mount for the autopilot.  This was a pretty simple install since I only had to unbolt the old bracket and replace it with this one.  i guess I should run the servo wires before I button this bugger up.

This is the pitch servo mount ready to be riveted behind the elevator bell crank.  Had to drill out four rivets and then back drill the top rivets, then using my angle drill I drilled the lower four.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Taking a brake

Sometimes those titles can be a little misleading... I ran the interior brake lines as you can see in the middle two pictures below.

Sunday, after the work depicted in the pictures below, I knocked off a little early and went in to start working on the wiring diagram for the airplane.  Wow, another big learning curve.  Fortunately I can walk in the steps of people who have already blazed this path for the most part.  Nobody has exactly the setup I have but that's part of the fun of it all.

Im trying to take a photo of the fuel line I installed.  It seems a bit long but I will wait until the new fuel valve arrives before I send it back for a shorter version.  Speaking of the fuel valve, I got confirmation from Andair in the UK that the valve is suppose to ship today.

Here is a picture of the brake lines running from the weldment exit point to down the center of the fuselage and over to the manifold that is mounted on the firewall (see next picture).

...and here is the manifold.

For my final task of the day I went ahead and primed the inside of the control tubes.  Hard to see but if you look closely you will see the inside looks grayish.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sunny Saturday fun

Today I spent some good time in the garage and make some progress.  I won't bore you with dialog, just the pics.

Here I am installing the static line and the ports on both sides of the fuselage.  Its hard to see the white static line as it arc's over the bulkhead but its there.  I decided to glue the static ports in because I see so many people having issues trying to rivet them.  I have read many a blog entry about people who have glued them in with great success.

Oh yea, I started the day out by getting the problem child gear weldment mounted.  I think I installed it at least three times this morning as I worked it for a good fit.  I was also able to get the fuel line run on this side but that was after I took this picture.

These are the fuel tank vent ports that stick out the bottom of the fuselage.  I had some fun with them by cutting the size of the "nut" down to about half the original size and then contouring it a bit.  I think they turned out pretty good!

This is the vent port again but this time I am epoxying some screen over the opening to prevent bugs from nesting inside.  Once the epoxy sets up I will trim the screen and clean it up a bit.

Here is the outside of the static line port.  Looks kinda like a metal eraser head sticking out.  A little hard to see with all the reflection so I put an arrow up to indicate the port.

This is what the other side of that port looks like.  I still have to clip the static line that goes forward to the underside of the longeron but I want to make sure the glue is set up permanently before I start tweaking those lines.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The world rights itself again

Ok, just a quick post to let everybody know that with the help of VAF and Harry I was successful in removing the leg from the weldment and in fact I almost got the weldment installed before it was time to come in.  On another note I got word from Aircraft Spruce that I can return the valve without a restocking fee.  They don't seem to have the correct valve and since I need an extension anyway I ordered a new valve from Andair.  The correct valve this time!

No pictures tonight.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Ok, I have to vent for real this time.  It seems the airplane gods are conspiring against me.  The gear leg is still very much stuck in the weldment and doesn't seem to want to move any further out no matter how much effort I put into it.  I posted to VAF in hopes that somebody there has a miracle cure but I am running short on hope. To top that off I found out tonight that the Andair fuel valve I ordered from Aircraft Spruce is the wrong one.  It has female connectors on it and that makes the new fuel lines I purchased useless.  So I have sent an email to AS to see if I can return it but again I am not holding out much hope for any "love".  I can order the correct valve from Andair but they are in England so who knows how long it will take to get the new valve. I guess I might as well bring the wings back out into the garage and finish them up....

This is as far out as I can get it...

Here is the whole shebang in a time-out in the corner until it decides to cooperate.  I expect this technique will work just about as well as it worked with the kids when they were younger.....not.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Time to hit the brakes

Ok, that title is a stretch but the past two nights I have been able to accomplish a couple of tasks.  First I installed the Andair fuel valve, and tonight I installed and drilled the brake pedals to the rudder pedals.  On a less than exciting note I have not had much success getting the right gear out of the weldment.  It still moves slowly but its not coming out and its not making me happy.]

Here is the "jig" I used to align the rudder pedals with the brake pedals.  

Notice the use of a file clamped to the brake pedals to keep them aligned and then the angle on the bottom of the rudder pedals to keep them aligned.
This is the fuel valve as I was loctiting the connections to the valve.  they are interchangeable so they come unscrewed.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I just have to VENT

Yep, today was vent running day.  Actually I started out by installing the left side gear weldment (mount).  This took a little time but it is not in and hopefully never coming out again.  After that I started on the vent lines.  These require some odd bending of the quarter inch tubing but I got both sides run.  Now I have to modify the fitting that exits the forward part of the fuselage before I can call this complete.  Now I am sitting here watching the Seahawks play the 49ers.  Seahawks are losing right now but I am hopeful they will pull it off.  HOLD THE PHONE!  The Seahawks just scored and the score is tied.

On a slightly less happy note I was not able to get the right side gear leg out of the weldment.  Not sure what I am going to try next...

I had to modify this floor stiffener for the right side weldment and since I was working on the left weldment I decided to do this now.

Part of installing the left weldment requires back drilling for these two screws.  Turned out just fine.

Here is the vent run on the right side.  I don't have a picture of the left side but its a mirror of this one.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Stomach is sore

Today I spent the majority of my time leaning over the edge of the fuselage installing the flap control system.  I got it all done and I even managed to get the gear leg mounting holes reamed out to .311.  However I have run into an issue that I may need to get a little help with.  The right side gear leg will not come out of the mounting bracket!!  It feels like it may be galling and I hope that's not the case but its very hard to turn in the socket.  Tomorrow morning I am going to apply a little heat to the mount and see if I can get it to expand enough to work the leg out.  I can't install the mount with the gear leg in there so this is definitely a problem to solve soon.

My first safety wire job.  I haven't done safety wiring since I was in training in the Navy!

Here is the completed flap system.  Took me pretty much all day (6 hours) to get this thing put together but its done and I am happy with it.

Here is the problem child.  I took this picture after successfully reaming out the hole so that the bolt is a nice snug fit.  However, when I removed the bolt and tried to take the leg out it wouldn't move.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Almost airplane noise time

The last couple of nights I haven't been home to work on the plane but tonight I got a few minutes to put the seat frames in and try out the CA-1 demo seat that Classic Aero sent me.  I am looking at their new seat which is much cheaper than the one I really want (Aviator) so they were nice enough to send me the demo seat so I could sit in it and see how it feels.  Well, after sitting in it for about 30 minutes I have decided that I am going to spend the money and get the Aviator seats.  They are designed for long cross country flights and that is really what I am building this airplane for.  I did get Amy to crawl in so I could get a picture of her in the airplane as well.  Details below.

Here is the seat in the pilot side.  The seat is actually very nicely made and a definite upgrade from the Vans foam.  I just doesn't fit the mission I have for the airplane.

Here I am sitting in the pilot seat testing out the throttle quadrant position that I plan on using.  Seems to work just fine but we will see once I get the full center console in there.

Here's my Amy in her super puffy coat sitting in the airplane for the first of many times to come!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A weekend of details

The weekend comes to a close and I have spent at least 14 hours plugging away on the airplane.  Lots of little details completed and I have a few pictures below for your perusal.

First task of the weekend was to install the crotch strap brackets for the seat belts.  Its not easy working a pop rivet tool in between those seat ribs but I got them in.  I also finished up the trim servo mount.  Now I have to wait to get the controls installed before I can do the final hookup.  The wiring also has to be finished but that's down the road a bit yet.
Speaking of seat belts, this little plastic contraption is where the shoulder belt harness wire comes through the baggage compartment walls.  Remember a month or two ago I posted about mounting the seat belt anchor, well this is the path where the cables get up front where we will be sitting.

If you look closely at the baggage wall you can see the front side of those plastic blocs where the cable comes through.  You can also see the tunnel cover temporarily installed.

The reflection from the light makes this part look gold but its not.  This is the tunnel cover, just one more step along the way.  After I had finished this post I was looking at the drawings are realized that I had used the wrong rivets.  Guess I will be drilling these out and putting the correct ones in tomorrow.

This picture shows the covers under which fuel lines and wiring will run.  Lots more work to do here.  The one thing I did do a little differently was I riveted the access plate to the assembly since the only reason for this access plate is to get access to a low pressure fuel pump that a normal carburated engine would use.  I am installing a fuel injected engine when uses a different pump, hence the comment about lots more work required.

Well, here is the result of this weekends work.  In actuality there doesn't look like much done here, but I assure you that a lot of non visible hours are hiding in this picture.  Heck if nothing else just fitting the forward seat floors took a while.  Lots of fitting, adjusting, and adding of nut-plates.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Chugging along

Tonight I managed to get the baggage floors and the aft seat floors riveted in.  It has taken me a few days to get this done because I was working on putting some cutouts in the baggage floors.  These holes will eventually be used for the remote transponder and the ELT.  I wasn't sure about antenna placement so I spent a lot of time researching and measuring.

A couple of good things happened this week.  First I got word that my prop is being cut now and should be shipped in the next three weeks.  The finishing kit will be ready the second week in February and finally I ordered some braided hoses for the wing to fuel valve and dual brakes.  These come from TSFlightlines and so far I really like working with Tom who is the owner.  He has been great in answering my questions and making suggestions where necessary.

Here they are, floors riveted in and the openings for future use visible.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A weekend of pure BLIS

Yep, this was an awesome weekend.  No I didn't get much done on the airplane but wow let me tell you about this weekend.  It really started Saturday morning when I met up with Harry and Jeff at Pierce Co Airport in Puyallup (thats where my hangar is).  Martin and his family met us out there to have a look at the planes, and hopefully someday join us for a flight.  They took a few pictures that turned out great and I will post at least one of them below.  Anyway we took off and flew up to Skagit county airport North of Arlington where we stopped for some breakfast.  It was VERY cold but the air was a smooth as silk and the views were spectacular.  Jeff and Harry did some pretty awesome close formation flight including a few maneuvers like an overhead break to landing.  I got some of it on video and some in pictures but none of it does justice to how cool that is!  On our return home I stuck around to help Jeff pull his cowl (he was doing an oil change) and then went over and helped Harry pull his cowl to clean up a little oil.  After a couple of hours of that we decided to go out for a short flight during which I rode with Harry, took Jeffs camera, and took a ton of pictures of him in flight.  I sure hope some of them come out!

Sunday was even more fun for me.  Harry has an immaculate Cessna 150 that he keeps hidden in his second hangar.  Today he let me fly it up to Arlington where we stopped for some brunch followed by a nice trip back to Puyallup.  It was a wonderful day for flying and it was something I really needed.  The last I flew was a couple of months ago and this was a real confidence builder.  Anyway here are some pics.  Oh, one more thing, I did get a little work done on the airplane.  I drilled the back panel of the baggage compartment but didn't get around to installing the nut plates.

Harry and Jeff in close formation.  The sun makes this a poor picture but it is cool none the less.

My house\neighborhood from the air on Sunday.

Me standing in front of Harry's Cessna 150 after our flight on Sunday.

The aft baggage compartment drilled for nut-plates.
Harry, Jeff and I at the runup area of runway 34 before departure on Saturday.  Photo courtesy of Martin B.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The vacation ends...

Well, today was my last day of vacation and I am not looking forward to getting back to the job but hey, gotta pay for this darn habit of mine!  The last couple of days have been taken up with lots of priming.  In fact I did three sessions of priming with the last one being this morning to finish up a few pieces.  Mariah helped me rivet the steps in place and I did a few other odds and ends.  Oh,  I also ended the day by rearranging the garage with the airplane in the center bay.  The right bay was not deep enough to hold the entire fuselage once I start working on the engine.  So, not much for pictures but here they are.

The new garage configuration.  Also note the primed parts laying in various locations.

The left step riveted on.  I decided to use flush rivets instead of the round head  version.  I think it looks better and has slightly less drag.   I also primed the entire step on both sides to prevent any rust since these are steel parts, not aluminum.  I also primed the inside of the tube.