Sunday, November 23, 2014

A little here...a little there...

Lots of details this week.  Not many pictures but lots of smaller tasks complete.  First, the instrument panel is least temporarily.  I say temporarily because I decided to order and install an instrument that will monitor and allow me some control over my electronic ignition system.  That instrument has to be mounted in the panel so at least one more time I will be pulling my pilot side panel out to cut yet another hole.

Jeff came over on Sunday to give me a hand and I had planned on having him help me fill the brake system with fluid.  Turns out I didn't have the pump necessary (oil squirt can) so instead we installed the canopy again and then chatted about various things.  I later went to the local auto parts store and purchased the squirt can and then filled the brake system.  I also greased the nose wheel pivot while I was doing the greasy stuff.

I went through the fuel system and installed the remaining hoses.  I found I still have one hose that is about 3" too long so I will be sending that one back for a trim.  The rest of the system seems to be good now.

One of the items on my list of to-do's before I take the airplane to the airport is to get the throttle and mixture cables installed.  Well since I am using a center console and forward facing induction I am having to fabricate the mounts for both ends of the cables.  For the center console I had to remove one of the inner bulkheads and move it about an inch forward, re-drill, dimple and rivet it before I could install a clamping system that will safely attach the cables.  For the engine side I have to fabricate a couple of brackets to do the same thing but these have to be made from steel instead of aluminum.  I am in the process of fabricating them from aluminum now and when I get the geometry correct I will make them from steel.

And of course I spent a lot of time this week on the plenum.  I can't wait until I can start doing weekly posts that don't have the word plenum in it....that day is coming soon as you can see from the pictures below.  Maybe one more post since this is Thanksgiving week and I have lots of airplane time in the mix.

First on the list for the week was the right side panel.  Mark took this picture of me watching the CNC machine cut the panel out of carbon fiber.

I realize that its hard to take a picture of carbon fiber but this is about as good as I could do without being out in the daylight and its WAY to cold out there to be rolling the airplane outside for a photo shoot.

Remember a week or two ago when I showed the pictures of the oil separator drain/check valve?  Well, here is the final solution.  I trimmed off the flange that is suppose to be hose clamped to the pipe.  Then I drilled the hole for the drain to fit into.  Now I have to take it to a TIG welder on Tuesday to have it welded in place.

The plenum is getting very close to being done.  I spent a lot of time sanding, fiber-glassing parts and waiting...  Here is the last piece to be added to the beast.  Its the aft right side corner where the oil cooler would normally sit.

And this is what it looks like Sunday evening.  The plenum is now whole and ready for finishing.  Lots of micro and sanding...drilling of holes to final size.. priming...and installation of some plate nuts that allow me to bolt it to the baffles.  Speaking of baffles you will notice I trimmed them down to their final size.  Getting close!
Just for fun I decided to fabricate this little finger pull from carbon fiber.  I was going to use Tee aluminum but nobody in the Seattle area sells the stuff so I decided to give it a try using carbon fiber.  I'm glad I did, this actually turned out pretty nice.  I will probably paint it eventually but in the mean time it looks cool, is very light, and very strong.  You can see where it goes in the next picture.

This is the top of the sliding canopy.  When the canopy slides shut it actually drops down about 3" or so on the aft side to seal the cockpit.  It can be a bugger to slide the canopy open from the outside without lifting the aft end of the canopy.  By attaching this finger pull at the aft end  I will be able to lift up and pull back which should make opening the canopy much easier.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Transition training complete!

Big news of the transition training is complete!  It took about 6 hours of flight and at least 40 stop and go landings but I got my endorsement.  It became clear that I need lots of practice to gain the finesse of those "greased" landings but I got it up and down safely and I feel comfortable in doing my phase one (first 40 hours of flight) solo.  I really enjoyed the time flying with Mike Seager.  He is a wonderful instructor, infinitely patient and always calm.

So, between the EAA chapter meeting on Tuesday evening and three days in Oregon for the transition training I only had a few days to work on the airplane.  What you see below is what you get for the week!

This may be the most flown RV ever built, and it still flies like an amazing RV!  If I remember correctly Mike said this airplane has about 6000 hours on it...6 of them mine.

This is Mike Seager the RV transition trainer that I trained with.  In the background you can see the RV7 that he uses to train tail-dragger pilots.

Ok, time to get back to the plenum and baffling.  Here you can see where I had to cut the back side of the plenum, spread it apart and move it back about a half inch and then rotate it about 30 degrees to get it to fit the baffles.  You can also see that I had to cut the entire plenum in half and remove about a half inch from the middle to make the sides fit without pushing the baffles out.

Here it is after I trimmed everything and then started fitting it all back together.  Now I have a bunch of fiberglass work to do.  The good news in all this is that everything seems to be coming together finally.  I have spent WAY too much time on this plenum.
Here is the plenum as it sits Sunday evening.  Its mostly back together and the fiberglass has set up.  Now I need to apply some micro and sand it all down.

I took this picture with the lower cowling on so that I can see what work is required to make the induction system fit in the cowl.  As you can see from this picture there is very little room available.

And the final task of the day, while I waited for the epoxy to set up, was to fabricate this little guy.  This fits between the bottom of the cowl and lower edge of the firewall.  It will help support the bottom of the cowl where the exhaust pipes exit.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Its getting cold out there!

As the title says I have had to turn the heater on in the garage a little lately.  I'm glad I am done with the canopy but I still have lots of fiberglass work to do and that is not nearly as much fun when you cant do the sanding outdoors.

So this week has been yet another in a long line of small projects.  Some pretty cool and others not so noteworthy, or at least picture worthy.  For example, I am including pictures of the panel lighting that I installed this week but not the exhaust alignment process I went through.  Its interesting to note that I frequently go back and look at older posts and realize how much I leave out.  A good example is the panel lighting that I put in this week.  Normally I would just show the picture and explain what it was, however there was a lot of work that went into getting that piece installed.  I had to fabricate, prime and paint the aluminum backing for the LED light strip.  Then I had to match drill the mounting holes to the holes in the glare shield mount (not an easy task).  Then I had to cut and bond the light strip to the aluminum backing.  And finally I had to run wires through the panel via a tiny hole at the very top that was a pain to drill.. route the wires down behind the panel to the dimmer controller (all of which required me to be on my back up under the panel)... and then tie wrap everything to make sure it was secure.  You can't see all of that in the picture.  Oh one more thing, I came along behind and squeezed a small dab of clear silicone sealant into the tiny hole I drilled in the panel so that the wires would not chafe (hole was too small for a grommet).  I guess the moral of the story is that there is always a lot I leave out on these posts.  :-)

Speaking of panel it is all lit up.  This picture is looking up from the seat level.  When sitting in the airplane you can not see the lights as they are above and behind the lip on the glare shield pad.
This is the aluminum backing plate after priming, painting and attaching the LED light strip.

In this picture you can see the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) probes after I drilled and attached them to the exhaust pipes.  There is one probe for each exhaust pipe and the goal was to make the tip of each sit at about 2 3/4" down from the exhaust flange.

Here you can see the EGT probes, the lower spark plugs, and the Cylinder heat temperature (CHT) probes are all wired up.  After I took this picture I also ran the #4 gauge wires to the alternator and the starter.  Those are some heavy duty wires!

The part that I am holding is a one way check valve (yea yea I know all check valves are one way).  It is suppose to mount on the tailpipe but as you can see from the little yellow lines I drew there is not enough room for it.  I sent an email to the manufacturer to see if maybe they could send me one that has more of an angle to it.
Here you can see the right side exhaust hangars that I installed.  This consists of a bracket on the tailpipe, four stainless tubes with flattened ends and a piece of rubber hose to connect two rods into a semi rigid hangar.  The stainless tubes are flared slightly before sliding the rubber hose and clamping to prevent them from separating.
The left yellow circle shows the Adel clamp and outboard stainless connection that attaches to the motor mount.  The middle yellow circle shows where the two stainless tubes meet (with a small gap between them) and are then captured by the rubber hose and hose clamps.
And in this picture you see where the hangar attaches to the engine (right circle).
Going through my checklist of items to complete or verify I came across this little bugger.  Van's recommends that you safety wire the flap arm to the motor.  I couldn't remember if I had done that when I installed the whole thing so since I couldn't see in there without standing on my head in the baggage compartment I used my camera to snap this picture.  How did we ever survive without our cell phones?
I started putting the baffles back in again but this time I had to cut the holes for the spark plug wires (The oblong hole) and also the hole for the cabin air heat (the one with the screen)

This picture shows the last sensor wired up. The manifold pressure sensor.  This one took a little longer because I had to Tee it off for the PMags.

I had to remove the intercylinder baffle on the right side so that I could drill the hole to run the fuel line that goes from the servo to the flow divider (the spider looking thing in the picture).

And the final picture for the week.  I installed these two aluminum flanges.  They will be used to run cooling air to the PMags.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Plodding along

This week has been yet another in what seems like a long line of task ticker weeks.  I am finishing up the plenum finally and I have taken care of quite a number of smaller tasks that needed to get done.  I'm getting excited about doing my transition training in a couple of weeks but the weather may put a damper on that excitement.  I am also looking forward to moving to the hanger in December.  I still have a lot of work to do before I make that move so it may only be the wings and empennage that gets moved at first but it will be nice having room in the garage again....even if it is short lived.  ;-)

On to the show...

The right side exhaust part that I had shipped back to Clint from Vetterman Exhaust arrived this week so I installed it and then mounted the cowling.  I verified that my newly formed inlets will work and that the exhaust fits inside the cowl.  I actually took this picture because I was going to post it on VansAirforce in the RV-9 forum.  There were a couple of recent updates and I was going to add my 2 cents.  Since the canopy is off I decided not to post it.

I finally got around to mounting the cooling/defrost fans.  It was a bit of a challenge to get the screws in that close to the windshield but they are both in now.  Also in this picture you can see the glare Shield pad that I installed this week.  Its from Classic Aero and it a very nice addition.  I can't tell you how many times I have banged my head against the glare shield already working in the panel.  Now instead of a razor thin piece of aluminum I have a nice padded bumper to protect my noggin.

I also decided that I needed a line input for music.  The original wiring harness had the stereo inputs to the comm system coming from the G3X display (GDU460).  Since I did not purchase the XM satellite radio option I removed the inputs from the G3X and installed this little stereo jack on the co-pilot side.  Now we can have a little in flight entertainment on those long cross country flights.

Here is the new exhaust clearance to the lower cowl.  Its pretty close and after getting some guidance from Clint I will be lining the cowling with a piece of aluminum formed to the shape of the cowl and then "glued" with some high temp RTV in those areas where it is so close.  The rest of the lower cowl will have some heat reflective material bonded to it for heat protection.
The left inlet...current status.

Right inlet current status

Ah, here I decided that since I had the avionics out I would go ahead and install plate nuts so that I can remove the face plates without removing the nuts behind the panel.  In this picture you can see the four new angles with nutplates installed.

What?  The battery again?  Yep, I finally got around to putting the cushion material in the bottom and sides of the battery box.  This battery box was designed for a standard airplane battery but I have a lightweight LiFePo battery and it is a little smaller in size.  I also added the tie down bar to the whole mix.

Oh, and some really fun stuff!  See that gold looking device there?  Well that's the new ignition system, or at least the right side ignition.  Remember each cylinder in a Lycoming engine has two spark-plugs that are fired by independent ignition systems.  (Safety and redundancy).   Still not wired up yet but that will come when I get around to routing all the wires in the engine compartment....soon.
This is a picture of the left side ignition system (PMag).

Just a top view of the backside of the engine.  Its getting pretty tight back there and I'm not done yet!

Ah yes....this little bugger took a lot of work to get installed.  Why you ask?  It looks like you should be able to just screw it in right?!?  Well that's what I thought when I hung the engine.  Turns out that this little nipple would not screw in because the motor mount (white tube at the top of the picture) was in the way.  So how did I get it installed?  I pulled the engine....again!  I must be getting pretty good at it since it only took me about an hour to pull the engine, install this nipple, and then re-attach the engine to the motor mount.  Oh, this nipple allows oil vapor to vent overboard to prevent pressurizing the crank case.  I have an oil separator system that attaches here and will separate the oil from the other gases and drain the oil back to the engine.

I absolutely love the look of carbon fiber!  Here is the new panel that my friend Mark cut on his CNC machine.  It took us about 3 trial passes before getting comfortable enough to cut the actual panel but it fits perfectly and looks awesome!  Still need to cut the right side but this will at least let me get the avionics back in the plane.

Here is the panel after I drilled the holes for mounting.  This thing weighs half that of the aluminum panel I had installed (granted its only half a pound) but it looks much better!
And finally here it is with the avionics installed.  I'm gonna like this I think.  Still need that right side but it should be easy.  
Ok, one more picture.  I really like that carbon fiber look.  This time I got everything powered up again.

One more for the weekend.  The little white device on the firewall is an oil/air separator.  I got it hung on the firewall and all that's left is the piece that taps into the exhaust.