Sunday, March 29, 2015

Phase 1 is complete!

Well, I guess this officially ends the building phase of this least for this airplane... ;-)

This week I finished up the testing and flight time on N1605A.  It is now officially legal to carry passengers.  The current status is pretty good with the engine running smoothly albeit still not at full horsepower.  The airplane is flying well and feels light but solid at the controls.  And most importantly its just a blast to fly!

I still have lots of little details to work on including little things like paint!  There is still a bit of fiberglass work to do which is mostly sanding and priming and the dreaded pin hole filling.

That said, here are a few pictures of this week.  I find I don't think to take pictures much while I am flying but here is what I have taken, and a few that were taken by others.

A first for me...this is Jeff's RV-7A and my RV-9A sitting outside of the Bremerton airport restaurant.  My first multi-plane adventure!  Jeff and I flew out for breakfast and then did a quick tour of the north side of Seattle before buzzing down the east side on our return to Puyallup.
Not nearly as good as Jeff's in flight pictures but here he is as we are flying along the north end of Seattle.

A shot of the Cascades.

Mt Rainier.

The Olympics.

That house at the forward edge of my wing tip is Brandi and Josh's house.  Its the one with the circle in the middle of the field.  I'm pretty sure thats Brandi's horse corral.  
And finally Jim flew over in his Cherokee.  This is him off of my wing tip after I flew out to meet him.  We flew back into the Seattle area together and then landed at Renton.  He was spending the weekend in the area.

A shot of Jim's airplane from below.
Stole this picture from Jim.  This is me as we were flying back.  This is the only picture I think I have of the airplane with the wheel pants and gear leg fairings on.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Still in Phase 1

I guess its about time for an update to this blog.  I have been doing some flying (21.3 hours on the hobs meter), not as much as I thought I would but enough to say I am getting more comfortable with the airplane and very much enjoying the flying time.  I found one issue with the engine that involved my alternate air door.  Turns out that the springs that hold the door closed are not strong enough to prevent the door from opening at full throttle so I have taped the door closed and will install a cable actuated door soon.

The heavy wing is much better now.  I re-rigged the ailerons and flaps and that helped a lot.  Still wants to bank to the left but for now I have a small aileron tab that I am using to balance things out for the rest of the testing.  Speaking of testing, today I loaded 180 pounds of cement into the passenger seat to test the stability with weight.  I can't see much of a difference except in, that extra weight really makes a difference in the sink rate.

I have been working on the priming of the wheel pants and gear leg fairing since they need to go on next.  I am hoping that with these installed the airplane will be able to reach full speed and engine RPM.  Right now it seems I am only able to get about 85% power at 2500 RPM.  It should go to 2700 RPM.

One more issue that I am pretty sure I am dealing with is an induction leak. The engine does not like to idle below about 900 RPM.  It should idle nicely much lower than that which from all the research I have been doing tells me I have an induction leak.  I used red RTV to seal the induction tube sleeve's this morning but that didn't help so I have a set of gaskets on order from Aircraft Spruce so that I can replace the induction tube to cylinder gaskets.

And just to make this post complete here are a couple of pictures I took while zipping around the Puget Sound.

This is a picture of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  Who knows, the last two submarines I was on may still be there!

This very picturesque photo was taken when I decided to pop up above the broken cloud layer at 10,500 ft.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

First week of flying...14.1 on the Hobbs

Most of you probably know this already but a Hobbs meter is simply a device that measures in hours how long the engine has run.  So that means I am 14.1 hours into my required 40 hours of solo flight testing.  I would love to say that I am simply ecstatic about the whole thing but I will have to settle for just a simple happy.  I have two issues that are bothering me.  First is the engine, it is not developing full power.  There is still plenty of power for safe operation for this aircraft but its not what I expected to have.  I am having conversations with various experts and am hopeful that this will get resolved soon.

The second issue is a "heavy" wing.  That simply means one wing is developing more lift than the other so the airplane wants to turn to the left all the time.  Yesterday afternoon Jeff and I were discussing this with another builder who brought up something that triggered a memory in Jeff.  We now have a plan of action that should help alleviate this issue.  I will know more soon.

Despite the issues above I have been having a lot of fun flying this airplane!

A new view for me.  Mt Rainier from about 8500' altitude.

I had to post these next two pictures here.  I am really proud of how this little modification worked out.  With my three bladed prop I had to extend the "slot" I cut down the bottom of the cowling to allow the nose gear leg to move forward as I lower the cowling during removal.  That slot was a big opening so I fabricated this little fiberglass "door" which has a hinge on both sides.  When its time to remove the cowl I simply pull the pin from one side and swing the door over as you see in this picture.  

Here is the door closed.  Nice and smooth transition!

I've spent a lot of time at the airport you see in the distance.  This is Chehalis airport and right now they have the cheapest fuel in the area.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The title says it all...

There is a long story that goes with all these pictures but that will have to wait for another post.  Jeff Bloomquist and Harry Nelson both spent the day with me, prepping the airplane, calming my nerves, and recording this event.  The photo's below are courtesy of Jeff and Harry video'd the whole thing from the ground.  I will link that video soon.

Stunning picture of N1605A in flight

Fueling up and calibrating the left fuel tank.  Me in my knit stocking cap (it was darn cold!) kneeling on the wing and Harry running the pump.

The run-up prior to take-off

If you look close you can see me sitting on the runway (just above the 34).  Jeff took this picture while circling above waiting for me.

Look Ma, I'm sitting on the mountain Range

The obligatory and mandatory RV grin

Same grin, just more airplane.

Me looking over at Jeff in flight beside me.

The red lines are the flight path I took for first flight.  In the middle of all that is Pierce county airport.  I was always within gliding distance if my engine were to have quit.

My Airworthiness certificate and log book endorsement.

The morning view on the day of first flight.  Sunrise imminent.

Post first flight, Harry and Jeff working on the after flight inspection and trouble-shooting some fouled plugs.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The moment of truth...

Well folks, it looks like we are just about done with the building.  This week I finished up all of the pre-inspection tasks (and many of the pre-first flight tasks) on N1605A.  Harry and Jeff both helped me immensely with the list and I actually think they are almost as excited about seeing her fly as I am!  Jeff made an initial inspection pass and found a few things that I needed to fix before inspection.  Then Harry made a pass and found a few more.  Both Jeff and Harry also spent considerable time fixing, tightening, and adjusting things.  Finally Marv Scott came out and did a final tech counselor inspection and he found a few things!  So now I am pretty comfortable that I will pass the FAA inspection that is scheduled for Monday at 2 pm!  What does this all mean?  Well if I pass that inspection the next step will be to reassemble the airplane and go flying!  Hopefully my next blog post will be the one I have been waiting to write for most of my life.  The realization of a dream come true.

Harry pulling N1605A back to the hangar after a visit to the compass rose to calibrate the magnetometer.

Different view of Harry and the "Tug"

My final tech counselor inspection report.
This weeks task list...