Monday, December 25, 2017

Why I fly...

Thanks to Harry another wing top skin is riveted on! Harry stopped by on Friday and it only took us 2 hours and 45 minutes (including a break in the middle) to finish riveting the right top skin.  I finished up the aileron brackets and the inboard nut plates on Sunday as well as got started on the leading edges of both wings.  Things are moving right along now.

I got to do a little flying this week as well.  Martin's RV-4 is at Synergy Air in Eugene Oregon and he needed to deliver a few parts for them to work on so we flew down.  It was  a great flight both up and down but we had a nasty headwind on the way back so it took a little over an hour.

As you saw in my previous post Harry, Jeff and I flew to Sandpoint Idaho on Saturday so its been a great week in Darin's little aviation world.  These two flights epitomize the reason why I like to fly.  The trip to Eugene would have been a 7-8 hour trip on the ground and we were able to do it in just over 2 hours.  The trip to Idaho took us 4 hours and a drive of that length would have taken probably 10 hours minimum.  Both trips had some spectacular views and while I often complain about the backward political stance and the horrible traffic in the Puget Sound you can't deny its one of the most beautiful places in the world.

A picture as the sun set over Portland as we flew north.

The right top wing skin with rivets loaded and taped...ready for riveting.
Pretty hard to see but the second wing with the top skin riveted on sitting on the stand with the two leading edges on the tables for work.  Aluminum can certainly be a challenge to photograph at times.

One of the modifications I am making to the airplane is the ability to add extended range fuel tanks to the outer leading edge of the wings.  Part of that process is installing access covers to the bottom of the inboard bay of each leading edge skin.  This is where any pumps and plumbing will be installed to move fuel.  This is a picture of the hole I cut out of the bottom of each skin.  Still lots of trimming and filing to be done yet as this is just the rough opening.

This is the hole after I had cleaned it up and cleco'd the backing plate in place. Actually this is the other wing from the first picture.

And here is the cover plate sitting on the backing plate. When complete this will be fastened to the backing plate flush with the bottom of the wing.
And finally, here it is riveted in place with cover screwed on.

Oh and guess what?  We have a "WHITE CHRISTMAS"!!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Sandpoint Idaho trip

As one or two of you have noted I haven't been posting many flying pictures lately.  Its not because I don't fly much but because the pictures are always the same stuff...nothing new.  Well today that changed.  Flying in the winter can be absolutely stunning in beauty.  Sandpoint Idaho is nesteled in a valley that is worth the trip.  Harry, Jeff and I flew over there today for a "$5 cup of chili" as Harry puts it.

A few clouds as we got ready to launch.

Headed Eastbound (looking North at the Cascades) as we climbed up to our 9500' cruising altitude.

Jeff and Harry on the climb out.

Jeff was playing photographer again today so Harry was lining up for some great pictures.

Jeff swinging around so we can hopefully get a good picture of him.  He always takes the pictures with his SLR and the best I can do is my iPhone which takes great pictures but fixed lens.

Yep thats ice on the tarmac...and no we didn't land on our butts.

Unedited glamour shot of N1605A

Jeff's N825LL glamour shot.

Harry's N529LW "The Rocket".

Sandpoint got about 2' of snow recently.  We had to land on an ice covered runway which was 'fun'.
Headed home.

Mt Rainier with a few clouds at the base.

Starting our decent back into the Puget Sound.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Another wing top skin

Not much to post for pictures this week.  I spent much of the week working on prepping the right wing for the top skin.  Again with ... cleco it on, drill the holes, countersink the appropriate holes, remove the skins, debur, dimple, and reinstall.  So as the wing sits now its ready to rivet.  I still have to finish loading the first round of rivets as well as tape them down but that shouldn't take more than another couple of hours.

I also spent a bit of time working on the electrical design.  I've seen several good plans posted on VAF in the past so I started researching what will be best for me given my mission with this airplane.  I think I have a solution that will work well but its not final since I am sure there will be changes as new avionics/electronics become available.  I made a couple of assumptions with the ignition wiring.  I am planning on using some form of electronic fuel injection, just haven't settled on the particular vendor.

Lastly, I did a little work on the 9 this week as well.  One task I hate to do is checking the tire pressure and as a result the pressure is always lower than I would like it to be.  I recently found a handy little tool that is sold by Cleaveland Aircraft tools that makes this job much easier.  This little inflation tool is long enough to allow me to check the tire air pressure and refill from outside the wheel pants!  All I have to do is drill a small 3/4" hole in the side of my wheel pants that is easily covered with a simple snap in cover available at any hardware store.  I forgot to take pictures so you will have to use your imagination for now.

Right wing ready for rivet loading.

See the cross marked on the wheel pant?  Thats where I drilled a 3/4" hole to give me direct access to the tire inflation stem.  Using a 3/8" socket on an extension I can reach in and remove the valve stem cover.  Then stick the inflation tool in to both check pressure and inflate as necessary.

Version 1 of the RV-10 electrical power distribution plan.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Riveting the right wing top skin

This week I finished the dimpling of the wing ribs, trimmed the corner where the two skins overlap, and started the process of riveting the skins to the ribs.  I know I've mentioned this before but all too often I come upon a step in the process that seems like it should be very quick.  Take this next step of riveting the top wing skin on.  If you look at the first picture below it looks like I'm ready to start riveting right?  Well, that's not really true.  First I have to load all the rivets in their respective by hand.  OK, sounds like a pretty simple, but time consuming process, but its not that simple because its not just a single size rivet...its several different sizes of rivets and they have specific holes they have to be in.  I suspect that it will take me about 2 hours just to load the rivets.  Then I have to place a small piece of scotch tape over each rivet to make sure it doesn't fall out of the hole before I am ready to smack it with the rivet gun.  That's probably another hour.  Then I'm ready to start riveting....but wait, I can't reach both sides of the wing myself so I will have to have some help riveting... enter Harry....again.  Harry is always there when somebody needs some help and even more often when that help is airplane related!  Harry came over on Saturday evening and helped me rivet the top skin.  It was pretty darn quick having two guys who know what they are doing.  We managed to do the entire wing in less than 4 hours!  I think each skin on my 9 took close to 8 hours.

One note I will make about these Van's kits... These pre-punched parts are awesome!  Before attaching the top skins to the spar/rib assembly I put a digital level on each end of the spar to measure for twist and found that there was as much as 1 degree of twist.  That concerned me so I clamped the spar down to the bench with the appropriate support so that it was perfectly strait before I started fastening the skins to the assembly.  After completing the process I measured the twist again without the clamps in place and there was no twist!  Now I have to make sure I keep it that way as I rivet the top skins in place.

Right wing ready to start loading rivets.
All rivets loaded and taped...except for the holes with cleco's of course.

I took this picture so I could show how I handled the skin overlap joint at the leading edge of main wing skin.  These two skins overlap each other and where they mate up at the spar will be double height if you don't do something.  Van's suggests that you grind down each to about half height and then rivet in place.  I tried that on my 9A wings and found that getting a good smooth transition was almost impossible.  This is my answer.  I trimmed the bottom skin back to just aft of the main spar (up in the photo).  Now the top skin lays flat on the spar and the lower skin is supported by the rib.  I did this on all 4 joints on my 9A wings and it worked out nicely so I decided to do the same on this wing.
Wing skins riveted on with the exception of the inner most row where all the nut-plates are.  I finished that up after the picture.

Outboard aileron hinge is the last step in this section and its done!  

I need a place to store the wings now that they are coming together.  This cart will allow me to store them both in the garage here and in the hangar when I am done with them.  As you can see the garage workshop is rapidly running out of room!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Wood work

You know, for a guy who is building an aluminum airplane I sure did a lot of wood work this week.  Two projects had to get completed.  First I sold my 3 blade Catto prop to a nice guy from New York.  That means I have to ship it and that means finding a way to pack it so it survives the shipping process (something not easily done).  After several phone calls I found that the best way to ship it is through a regular carrier and I chose to use again.  They require a pallet for the prop so my 50 pounds worth of prop, spinner, extension and other related gear turned into 100 pounds with the specially designed pallet.

Wood project two was a new stand for my dimpler.  I originally built a platform that I could wrap around the dimpler as it sat on my bench.  Well that wont work for these really long wing skins so I decided to build a small mobile stand that I could sit beside or between my benches.  This way I can feed the skins from one table to the other without as much risk of bending.

Once all that was done I did get the two top right wing skins dimpled.  Next up, dimple the ribs, trim the leading edge corners where they overlap, and then start a long process of riveting the top skins on.

This is actually two pallets put together to make one that is 6 feet long.  There is a support in the middle that holds the prop vertical as well as make sure that any down force is focused on the hub in the middle.  Lots of plastic wrap and I think this is ready to go.

This is the new cart for the dimpler.  It worked well on the first set of wing skins.

Here you can sort of see that it is at the right height so that my skins can feed from one bench to the other.  Of course the dimpler cart can move back and forth to keep the skins on the table.  I remember doing this on my 9 wings without the cart and I had to do all kinds of funky stuff to try to keep the skins level.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wings start to take shape

Turkey Day week!  Lots of food, family, friends, and even a little airplane building time.  What can be better?

This week the wings start to take shape.  I'm working both wings at the same time to make sure I build one for each side instead of two left wings... I hear that it has happened!  However, for these next few steps I am working one wing at a time because I just don't have room to do both wings at the same time.  Too bad actually...I need a bigger work space....and a bigger hangar...oh and while I'm at it I might as well have a runway outside my door too!

I ran into a bit of a snag on Friday and was a little frustrated so I decided to play with the new tech tools that have been made available to us.  Namely the new 3D models for Garmin avionics and Van's recent release of their instrument panel CAD files.  This is COOL!  I can see what fits where, including all braces and brackets.  I can add or delete components as needed to make my panel what I want it to be.  Oh, the models don't come with the pretty simulated display images, I had to add those.

Check out what you can do with the new 3D tools/models!  This is a potential layout including position of my avionics...much work to do yet but this is going to be much easier to lay out and create a nice neat wiring plan!

Started out with aileron attach brackets.  The two in the middle are not by plan actually.  Last year Van's put out a Service Bulletin about some cracking on a couple of aircraft where this bracket attaches to the rear spar.  The SB outlined an inspection and if cracking was found, a repair with new parts.  I decided to order the new parts and install them now so the SB will not affect me down the road.  These parts are much beefier and have a nice backing support as well (shown on the far right).

Right wing as I begin the process of riveting the rear spar to the assembly.  You will notice the plan book sitting on top of the wings.  The number of different sizes and positions is rather complex so I'm trying to keep the plans near to minimize Oops's.
This is the aft side of the new inner aileron bracket and attachment.  Its a lot beefier than the one it replaces and if you look at the next picture you will see even more beef!

Here is the back side.  This is two pieces of very thick aluminum riveted together in a U shape to form a very sturdy back side to the aileron attach bracket.
Left wing rear spar attached.  Next wing skins.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Priming in high humidity

This week has been about priming.  Priming in high humidity is not a good thing because the air compressor tends to force that moisture out of gas and into liquid...right about the time it hits the spray nozzle on my paint sprayer.  This moisture either drips on the aluminum I'm trying to prime or it fans out into a nasty mist that speckles the aluminum.  Either way the primer will not stick to aluminum that is wet.  So, I have to go back, clean up the poorly adhered primer and then re-prime the aluminum.  It doesn't look good, which is ok for priming, but it definitely adds time to the project that doesn't need to be.  So, I did a little work to the air supply for my paint gun. I put a new moisture separator in line and I replaced the small moisture separator that I screw on to the base of my gun.  Between these two steps I seem to have got the moisture under control.  All in all it took 3 priming sessions to get everything primed.

Beside the priming marathons this week I did get a little work on the wings done.  The tie down ring attach points are riveted on.  The ribs are riveted on the right wing and I'm getting ready to put the rear spar on the right wing. 

Wing tie down mounting points installed.  Still need to attach some brackets on the back side for the aileron controls.
Round 2 of rib priming

Yea, figured a selfie was due.
Flap hinges riveted to the wing ribs.

Torque tube for control linkage riveted on the inner most wing rib.

I was having a bit of an issue with some of the rivet holes lining up so I got out the wing skin and cleco'd it in place to see if the rivets were ok...all OK.

After I riveted the wing ribs to the main spar I was looking at the rivets when I noticed this pretty cool view.  Reminds me of those infinity mirrors.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Main Spar work

This week Amy came home so I spent a little less time in the garage and a little more time with her.  Not too many pictures this week because I've been doing a lot of main wing spar and related parts prep.  This means lots of deburring, countersinking, priming, and many other un-picture friendly tasks.  I did try something new this week though.  I have to prime the large countersunk holes in the main spar to protect the freshly cut aluminum.  Rather than try to brush or spray with my regular priming tools I decided to try a detail air brush.  I was amazed at how nicely this works for small spot priming tasks.  I used very little primer and got a nice thin layer of primer on each hole.

I managed to get all 30 wing ribs prep'd for primer this weekend.  Drilling, deburring, edge straightening and scuffing...long weekend.  I only got half the ribs primed Sunday evening so I will have to have at least one or two more priming sessions before I can move on to the wing skins.

This is a picture of the primed countersunk holes where I used the air brush.  You can see the nice even spray pattern around the hole.
Using the de-burring wheel on my p-grinder to clean up some edges and holes.  There are 30 of these little devils to work on.  These ribs alone took most of the weekend.

Using the tool I built last year to true up the edges to 90 degrees.  
A few of the ribs ready for some touch up priming.