Sunday, January 28, 2018

Fuel tanks start to take shape

The weather has really sucked this week but I guess that means I am less tempted to go flying...hence more build time.  I spent most of my evening build time this week prepping parts for the fuel tanks.  Deburring and edge dressing mostly.  The weekend I began the process of putting together the right fuel tank.  I remember really struggling with this first step on my 9A but this time it went much smoother.  Either I learned something or the 10 skins are bent a little better (or a little of both) but I was able to get the right fuel tank fully assembled and almost ready to pull it apart for dimpling.  Before I know it I will be elbow deep in ProSeal.

Tank stiffeners cleco'd in place for final drilling.

This picture is my attempt at remembering my numbering scheme.  I'm sure at some point I will wipe the numbers off of one of these pieces...

Center ribs getting installed.

Fuel cap base located and drilled.  This was much harder on the 10 than it was on the 9A.  The flanges of this base are ground in a manner that would allow it to fit a curved skin.  Well the 10 tanks are much less curved so I had to spend a bit of time "adjusting" the curve to fit this tank.  I am pretty happy with how this one ended up fitting.  This is one of the many upgrades that I am putting into this airplane.  The fuel caps that are stock with the kit are inexpensive which is good to make the kits affordable but they are very hard to open.

Inside view of the fuel cap base.  If you look real close you can see where the top of the cap has a small gap.  That is part of the curved face I was talking about earlier.  I wanted to leave as much flange material as possible so I didn't grind it down all the way to the top and bottom edges...its about 1/4" short.

And this is how we end the weekend.  The tank is fully final drilled and assembled.  Now I have to do a little countersinking and then its time to take it all apart for dimpling.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


No pictures of RV-10 work this week mostly because I didn't do much picture worthy.  However, I did do something else picture worthy....I learned to do some aerobatics in a truly unique airplane...a Waco Great Lakes.  This is an interesting airplane in that it is a bi-wing tandem two seat tail dragger airplane.  Very cool.  I got to learn the proper way to do an aileron roll as well as a few other maneuvers such as loops, Immelmanns, Cuban eights, and even got a spin in there.  My stomach protested after about an hour so I had to call Uncle and head back to the airport but wow. what fun.  Harry set all of this up for us at an FBO in Phoenix Arizona.  He stayed down there for another few days to get a total of 5 hours of this stuff....his stomach is much stronger than mine!

Harry with his instructor after our first flight lesson.

The cockpit of the Great Lakes...pretty spartan.

Harry took this picture of me as we got ready to head out to the lesson.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Starting the fuel tanks

This week I finished up the flap gap fairings, did a little work on the bottom skins and since it started to warm up a little I started on the fuel tanks.

The first step was to remove all of the plastic protective film from the tank skins....what a pain!   It took my entire Sunday work session to get the plastic off.  Normally this isn't that much of a pain but this time the plastic came off but the glue that holds it down stayed on the aluminum skin.  This required a couple of hours of work with lacquer thinner and paper towels.  What a mess.

Look closely you can see the two fuel tank skins sitting on each table leading edge pointed up.  They look clean in this picture but this was after hours of work to get them this way. 
Right wing inner bottom skin cleco'd on for final drilling.  This will be a "tweener" project.  It will occur between other tasks that are fuel tank related...or at least thats the current plan.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Flap gap fairings

I seem to remember posting recently that I was going to start working on the fuel tanks next.  Well the weather has been a bit cold so I decided to finish up the wing flap gap fairings as well as prep the lower skins for riveting.  So, this week that's what I have been working on.  I managed to finish up the left wing, flip the wing rack around and get started on the right wing.

I did get a little bit of prep work done for the fuel tanks though.  I moved most of the fuel tank parts up to the garage and I fabricated some anti-rotation brackets to use on the fuel return line that will be installed in each tank.  The brackets gave me a chance to play with my CNC a little more and I am quite happy with how they turned out.  Not quite as nice as the smaller brackets that Van's provides for the fuel tank vent but close.

The one on the left is mine, and the one on the right is the smaller version I got in the kit for from Van's.  If you look close you can see where I had to use a small round file on the corners to make the nut fit.  This is due to the size of the round bit I was using in the CNC to cut the part.  The part above the brackets is the fuel pickup that happens to be a -6 fitting which is the same size as the fuel return fitting I am using.  

Here is the bracket with the fitting places in side.  This bracket will be riveted to the inside of the tank with the nut and then the fitting will be installed from the outside.  This allows me to tighten the fitting from the outside without needing a wrench on the nut inside.
Left wing flap gap fairing completed.

Interestingly those new aileron brackets I installed caused me a bit of angst when trying to fit the fairing.  Unless you saw the original you won't be able to see it but I had to modify the bottom right corner to fit the added bulk of the hinge mount.

To add to the problem you can see that there was no room to get a bucking bar on that rivet that is next to the back brace.  I was able to smash it to where it will work perfectly well but it technically doesn't fit the mil spec for smashed rivets.  I guess I will have to live with this one rivet being 95% as strong as the rest.  :-)

Leading edges

Somehow I forgot to post this blog entry.  This was originally suppose to be posted on the 28th but it is...a little late.

This week work on the leading edges continued.  These are really fun parts of the airplane to work on because they are big but there is relatively little detailed work (other than drilling, deburring, etc) and when you are complete there is a large visible portion of the airplane taking shape.  Next up is the fuel tanks which may take a little longer due to the sealing process.  Lots of Proseal (trade brand for a super sticky sealant that is fuel resistant and works great for sealing fuel tanks).  There will be a few modifications to the fuel tanks as well which will be fun.

Oh, one more item of note...I ordered the fuselage kit this week.  There is an 8 week wait period on that kit so I expect delivery some time in Feb/March.  Hopefully I will be done with the ailerons and flaps by then.

This is the right leading edge after drilling/deburring/dimpling.  It is ready for riveting at this point.
And here it is after one night of riveting.  Not quite done but only three rows on this side and about 5 on the other side are left.  I'm doing this alone and its getting a little hard to reach all the way down on both sides; one holding the rivet gun and the other holding the bucking bar. 
Both leading edges are almost complete.  You can see a little tape on the forward section.  Those are rivets that I need a little help with.  Ben came over Thursday afternoon and helped me finish these up.

Speaking of Ben, here he is helping with the attachment of the leading edges.

A bit hard to see but this is a picture of both wings with the leading edges cleco'd on.  These wings are getting BIG.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

It's been a great past couple of weeks around here.  I've had 2 five day weekends in a row.  Add in lots of family and friends, and no small amount of flying and you have the mixin's for a memorable time.

Speaking of flying I spent a couple of days working on the 9 this week.  I have had heated seats installed in the airplane from the beginning but I didn't have them wired up.  Well this week I started the process of making that happen.  Last weeks flights proved to me that a little seat heat would do wonders in making some of those cold flights more bearable.  I didn't quite get to the point of hooking the seats up because I have to pull the seat panels and that is a long job that may have to wait until I do the annual inspection in the next couple of months.  However, I now have power available.

Another interesting thing happened with regard to the 9 this week.  Part of the rewire process is creating an "Essential" buss of power.  This bus has two power feeds, a normal from the master switch and a backup that comes directly from the battery through a fuse and a special switch.  On this bus I have moved both of my ignition power leads as well as power for the electric fuel pump and the G5 backup EFIS.  In an emergency where I lose the Master solenoid I can still fly the airplane.  However, the unexpected benefit to this change was that the airplane starts MUCH faster now.  In the past when I went to start the airplane it always took a couple of seconds to fire.  When I started it for the first time after making the change the engine fired immediately!  The only thing I can figure is that when I engage the starter my battery voltage is dropping far enough that the VPX is rebooting.  Since my ignition power was coming from the VPX they were not getting power until the VPX completed its boot cycle which is very short.  I may have to reach out to Chad at Vertical Power and see if anybody else has reported this.

Finally, related to the work on the 9 I had to do a test flight once all the work was done.  So, Harry and I saddled up and flew to Oregon to pick up a few supplies for some Apple Pie Moonshine.   Can't wait to see how that brew tastes!

The leading edge is attached and riveted on the left wing.  The only step left to complete in this picture is riveting the top side and Ben was nice enough to stop by and help me do that on New Years day.  :-)

Leading edge installed on the left wing with the same caveat that the top rivets are yet to be done in this picture.
Ben took this picture of me and the wings after we had finished the riveting of the leading edge and stored both wings in the cradle.  Thanks again Ben!