Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Headed East

Today I fly out for Wisconsin to spend a couple of days in Milwaukee then on to Oshkosh for five more days.  I'm looking forward to a few days amongst so many airplanes and pilots... but those vendors are going to break me!  Why do they have to have such cool stuff there?  Anyway last night I managed to get a couple of last minute tasks done on the airplane and thought I would post them so I could at least look at my own blog to overcome my builders withdrawal that I know is going to hit me hard!

I didn't take any pictures but I finished up the roll trim servo mount.  This was a necessity so I could install the seat pans and move on to the aux electric fuel pump mounting.  I ran into an issue here that I will have to remedy.  This fuel pump has turned out to be a bit of a bugger...I may have to go back to doing it the way Jeff did and use the standard Vans kit and cover.

I also put the final bead of Sikaflex on my canopy.  This bead was main to fill the spaces where I had the rubber spacers holding the canopy away from the frame.  Sikaflex requires a small gap of about an eighth of an inch to have maximum strength so the spacers were necessary.  I wish I could say that the final bead was perfect but even after repeated attempts there were areas that I just could not get smooth.  I still think it turned out great!  Amy and I put the canopy back on the airplane this morning and I am still amazed at how well it fits.  When I get back it will be time to finish up the canopy by installing the handle, fabricating the skirts and screwing the slider tracks down.

Finally I got my seat belts installed and "tested".

The beginning of the famous "RV Grin"

You can see in this picture that the inside corner will need some work to make it look better.  The rest of the stuff looks ok.

And as a parting gift to myself I am adding this last "as it sits now" picture.  By the way, for those of you that may not know the canopy looks all cracked up and messy because I have the protective plastic still attached to the outside of the glass.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm not going to sleep tonight...

BIIIIG day for me.  The canopy is on the airplane without clamps and it fits!!  I have lost at least half a head of hair (did I have that much left?) waiting for this day.  After removing the clamps and masking tape Amy helped me set the canopy on the fuselage.  It sat down perfectly on to the mount points!  It fits all around the fuselage very nicely.  Ok, enough talk...

Oh yea, I got my seat belt crotch straps installed today as well.

Ok, here is what it looked like at the start of the day.

and here are a few pictures of what it looks like now.

My new access panels...
And one final shot with the canopy slid open.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Has it really been 9 days?

Wow, looking at the date of my last post tells me that its been 9 days...time sure flys.  So those 9 days have not been totally idle since as I mentioned in my last post it was Arlington fly-in time.

Arlington was a blast this year.  I got to spend a lot of time with friends and airplanes and it doesn't get much better than that.  Some highlights for this year include Jeff getting an award for workmanship on his airplane.  That was an awesome award that was well deserved!  If you ever get a chance to look closely at his work on that airplane you will see why he won that award.  The second highlight was a first for me.  I got a chance to ride along with the Blackjacks while they did a 12 ship formation show on Saturday.  I took a video of the ride and posted it on YouTube.

Jeff getting his award!

With the airplane today was a big day.  I have been prepping and fretting about gluing my canopy onto the frame.  Well today was the day.  It is glued and if there were any mistakes they are permanent now.

I'm not sure I will get another post in before I leave next Wednesday.  I have to spend a couple of days in Milwaukee at Brookdale and then its off to Oshkosh!  So, this is about it for the month of July.  Oh wait one more thing, I got my P-Mags on order and the GRT Mini was shipped.  I will have lots to do when I get back!

One item on the list was the painting of the rollbar and slider frame.

Can you see an airplane in this picture?  Another picture of the slider and roll-bar paint

So, I decided that access to the forward bay of the fuselage was not sufficient.  I decided to follow a few other builders and put some access panels in.  This is the first cut of the top skin.

Here you can see the spacer and the back-plate on the skin.

I dont remember if I mentioned this yet but I decided to install my GPS antenna's under the access panels instead of under the cowl where many other builders place theirs.  This is the fiberglass cover that will fit in the access port.  I think I still need to add a layer of cloth...or two maybe.

Ok here we go.  This is the canopy taped off, sanded for adhesion, and ready for cleanup.

Here the frame is sanded and ready for cleaning.

I used the Sikaflex activator, waited about 15 minutes, and then painted the primer on both surfaces.  This is what the canopy looks like primed.

The glue has been applied and clamps set for at least 24 hours.  I will let it set for longer than that probably.

Another view a little closer up.  You can see the Sikaflex if you look closely.  Its the black goo.

And finally I got a chance to install the final set of wires.  The large brown and white bundles are engine monitoring wires.  Now that these are in I am very close to being able to rivet the final piece of skin on!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Arlington weekend coming up

With the Arlington coming up this weekend I wont have a lot of time to work on the airplane for the next few days so I am going to do a quick update.  The past few days have all been about the engine and its getting close.  I am waiting for a couple of parts and some gaskets but have a look below.

This is the bottom side of the engine.  Exhaust, starter, alternator all visible in this picture.

Top side of the engine.  Not much changed from the last picture.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The engine ... part 1

As the title suggests I started on the assembly of the engine.  I had hoped to make this some kind of EAA event but I couldn't find a guru willing to be the supervision so today I decided to start assembling it myself.  Its not hard but the manual really sucks so I am using a variety of different sources for information.  I have a couple of pictures below and I have a lot of work left to go.

I also worked on the canopy this week.  I have it all trimmed and ready to glue but I have some painting to do first so the glue will have to wait.

Finally I worked on the wheels and brakes.  I got the mains mostly ready to install on the airplane and the nose-gear is pretty close but I haven't put the wheel on yet.  I need to adjust the breakout force before I do that.  I need a small fish scale to measure how much weight is required to make the wheel swivel.

Left main wheel and brakes.  I still need to drill the axle for the cotter pin but I am waiting on a response from Avery on the nut that they offer for their RV jack.

Here is the windshield all trimmed and ready to glue down.  Lots of work yet before I get to that step but I am hopefully past the stage of cutting and sanding the plexi.

Interior view.

Here is the engine after phase one of the assembly process.  Still having issues with the push-rod tubes not wanting to stay in place.

Here is the bottom of the engine after I installed the sump.