Sunday, February 23, 2014

Too tall for me

Ah, what a nice weekend.  Saturday I went to the Pacific NW aviation Conference and Trade show.  It was fun to listen to a couple of seminars and spend a little time with the EAA 326 group.  One thing that Mark Baker (president of AOPA) talked about is the three top priorities that AOPA is focusing on this  year.  The most interesting to me (at least today) was a comment he made about the third class medical changes that they are pushing for.  He said he expects some kind of movement in the next few months.  Thats huge for me!

Ok as far as the airplane goes I was able to get the Horizontal Stab, Elevators, Vertical Stab and the rudder hung this weekend.  I have a few pictures to show you below.

The EAA chapter booth at the show on Saturday.

Next door is the Team Flight display.  This is a pretty neat program where the kids actually build the airplanes.  Very cool.

This is where the elevators get connected together and attached to the control pushrods.  If you look down the that dark hole you can see where they all come together. 

Here I am clamping the elevator to the HS so that I can align the two elevators and drill them to the control linkage.

This is what the other end of the control linkage you saw above looks like.  This is the belcrank that eventually connects to the control stick.

If you look under the Vertical stab you can see the point where it connects to the fuselage, or at least the forward connection point.  This is an area of intense scrutiny right now because the manufacturer of the kit recently released a service bulletin about potential cracking here.

Here I am clamping the Vertical stab (VS) to the fuselage so I can drill the many holes for bolts that hold it to the airframe.

Rudder attached, the first time... one of many.

This is the internal rudder stop.  Vans has you place them externally but I like the way this looks and operates better.

And finally this is what things look like tonight after a longs days work.  Still a little work to do on the rudder stop to get the full 35 degree's of deflection.  I did try to put the fairings on the top of the VS just for fun but its too far up for me to reach.  This thing is getting big quickly!  Once I put it on its own gear it will really stand tall.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The hammer falls

Well today was a day for me that most people dread.  We got word that Emeritus (where I work) is merging with Brookdale Senior Living and that the new company will be name Brookdale Senior Living headquartered out of Nashville.  They have a presence in Wisconsin but neither location is high on my lists of places I would like to live.  Amy is not at all interested in moving so it looks like my time to hunt for a new job is coming some time in the next year or so.  The deal is not final and there are a number of roadblocks to be navigated but it was made public today so we are on the road.  I'm actually ok with it since I have been wondering for a while now whether or not 17 years at one company is too long.  I guess now I don't have to wonder any longer.  I have to say that I have loved working at Emeritus and if I do end up moving to another company I will certainly miss the people I have worked with.

On a different note I did spend a few hours in the garage tonight and was able to finish up the horizontal stabilizer attach process.  The final steps required some pretty precise measuring and drilling of holes.  All in all it came out very nice and I am very satisfied.

Probably a little hard to see in this picture but the bolt you see had to be centered on both sets of angle you see in the picture.  I think I nailed this one perfectly on both sides.

The next step has you set the incidence angle on the HS.  Here I am using a 12" drill bit set in the tooling holes to measure the incidence.  This measurement on the forward side and the aft measurement must match.  I can't take much credit for these two matching since it did not involve drilling of holes but I am very happy that it came out perfect.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tails has it

Tonight was one of those nights when some exciting stuff happens.  As you will see below I took the first steps in getting the horizontal stabilizer installed.  I had to fit the elevators first and that took some time drilling some pivot points and the holes where the elevator push rod will connect.  Anyway see the pictures below.

One of the holes I had to drill was through the bearing you see in the picture.  To protect the bearing I had to make a bushing that fit the 1/4inch hole yet had a hole big enough to drill through.  I don't have any bushings so I was stumped until I remembered that I have some left over 1/4 inch tubing.  So, I cut a small piece and cleaned it up enough that it slid nicely into the hole.  Worked like a charm!

Here is the Horizontal Stabilizer with the left elevator attached.  This is what I was working on most of the evening...drilling holes, adjusting the fit, and other little tasks.

Here it is!  The Horizontal Stabilizer is clamped to the fuselage for the first time!

Another view.  wow, there is still a lot of work to do on the tail!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A little here a little there...

Tonight I spent a couple of hours in the garage and took care of a few small tasks.  Small but every one counts!

The Naca vents are glued in.  These are the air intakes for fresh air in the cockpit of the airplane.  There are two of them, one on each side.

This is the Naca vent on the inside.  Like my "clamp" job?  I used two part epoxy to glue the vents in place and the duct tape is just holding the vents in place while the epoxy sets.

I also installed the elevator control belcrank. I wanted to get this installed so that I could measure the amount of space under it for installing the ADSB and Transponder antenna's.

This little guy was the nights big project.  I had to fabricate two of these out of some heavy duty angle.  The hard part was that each of them had to have a small bend added.  If you look at the plans that the part is sitting on you can see what I have to work with.

The final task of the night included using some fire-blocking caulk to seal around the stainless steel recess.   I will rivet this in place as soon as it is cured.  The cleco's hold it in place securely while the sealant cures.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Knocking off early

Decided to knock off early today... 10 hours is enough time in the garage and my knees are a tad tender.  Andy came over today and we finished up the lower skins on the wings so that is a HUGE task complete.  There are a number of tasks that require two people and that is definitely one of them so between Jeff and Andy I feel like this was a great weekend worth of work.

I was also able to finish the remaining dimpling of the fuselage top skins.  No more skin dimpling!!  Not much for pictures today.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mid weekend update

Normally I wait until Sunday night to update the blog but there have been a number of tasks completed in the past few days and I have a few extra minutes on the computer tonight so I thought I would get a start on the weekends post.

First, my friend Jeff came over Thursday evening and helped me start the process of riveting the lower skins on the wings.  We got all the top 7 or 8 rows of rivets done before the 8pm witching hour (can't make noise after 8 if I want to stay on the neighbors good side.  Today I was able to finish the rest of the rivets in that skin.  Next up another EAA chapter friend (Andy Karmy) will be coming over tomorrow to help me with the other wing.  I am really looking forward to having Andy over here because he is known for his incredible speed in building airplanes.  I am hoping to get a tip or two from him.

I just have to stop a second and say that I have never met a better group of people in my life than those I have been introduced to since I started building this airplane!  It started with Jeff, the Harry, and now the list is never ending!

Oh, one more thing for today.  I had my second tech counselor visit today by Brian lee.  He was nice enough to take some of his weekend to stop by and run a knowing eye over my work so far.  I must be doing it right because he had some very nice things to say about my work thus far.

Ok, on to the pictures.

Here is the box with my finishing kit inside!  Amy and I picked it up on Friday.  Just for reference this box is over 4 feet wide, 8 feet long and about 29" high.

This is the canopy in the box.  I could not believe how big that canopy is!!  Under the canopy you can see the frame, the engine mount, and some tires. Woo hooo
These are a few of the fairings that came in that big box.  I am running out of room to put stuff in the garage!

Here is the wing after finishing up the riveting on the bottom skin.  Still several tasks to complete here such as riveting in the pitot mast, installing the nut-plates for the access panels and the wing tips.  I'm sure there are several more tasks but those are the big ones that come to mind.

Here are the tech counselor comments that Brian left for me today.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Unusual excitement

Maybe its the coffee but I'm more excited than usual about the airplane this morning.  I am sitting here thinking about everything that is going to happen in the next week and realized that a lot of things are coming together.  Let me tell you about some of them.  Yesterday I happened to come across a post on from a guy who was selling his RV-7 Classic Aero seat bottoms for $60.  I was lucky enough to be the first person to respond so I now have a set of seat bottoms headed my way.  Whats so exciting about that you ask?  Well let me tell you.  The seats I am planning on purchasing come to a grand total of about $2800.  I just got half of those seats for $60.  You do the math!

Next item up on list is the center console.  I believe this is scheduled to arrive today.  I am really excited about this because its one of my favorite modifications to the plans.  Yep, it will take me some time to install but as I have heard many times before "build the airplane you want, not the one somebody else wants".  As I mentioned before I have already purchased the throttle quadrant for the console which is a non standard configuration.  Jeff mentioned it a couple of times but now I really understand why he enjoyed building the fuselage kit the most.

Friday is another big day for me.  I am getting the final kit from Van's.  This is the finishing kit and includes items such as engine mount, canopy, wheels, brakes, and a ton of other items.  Normally it includes the engine cowling but I deleted that option because I plan on ordering the "Sam James" cowl and plenum very soon.  Hey with the money I saved on the seats maybe I can afford to buy it sooner?

I also just received a bunch of packages with carbon fiber cloth and associated fabrication tools.  I have always wanted to work with carbon fiber so I am going to give it a shot.  Where in the world am I going to find all the time needed to do all this?!?

Finally, in my last post I mentioned the security camera feed that my dad was checking my progress with.  Today I decided to post a snap shot of the view that camera gives, or at least one of the cameras.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Caught making airplane noises!

Yep,  I was in the airplane making airplane noises today and got caught by my dad who happened to look at my remote security camera feed at that time.  I got a call while I was in the airplane, hmmm come to think of it that's a first in itself.  Anyway I spent the last part of the week and the weekend doing quite a few little tasks.  The most significant task being the installation of the Affordable Panels kit that replaces the stock Vans instrument panel with a model that has removable sections.  See the pictures and you will see what I mean.  I still have work to do on it but what you see took me all day today to get done.

The center rib has quite a number of parts that have to be fabricated and then installed on the rib before it gets installed.  You can see several cleco's and they are all holding some of the parts.

Here then forward top skin is installed for the first time.  You can see the frame for the Affordable Panels modular panel kit.  

This is what the airplane looked like when I was making airplane noises.  The seat was a little hard but that didn't slow me down.   Actually what I was doing was placing the templates for the G3X screens on the panel so I could see what needed to be modified to make it all fit.  In this picture you can see where I installed the left and right panels.  The center panel is not installed but thats where the radios and the autopilot controller will go.

I learned something I should have known already.  The bushings for the grips are two different sizes.  The passenger stick is smaller in diameter because it is made to be removable.

Oh yea, I installed the ends on both pushrods.  These are what connect the control stick to the elevator on the back of the tail.

One more task I completed was to prep both wings for riveting the bottom skins on.  Hopefully that will happen this week.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Half time!

Yep its halftime of the Superbowl and the Seahawks are kicking Denvers butt!  Sooo, its also a good time to update the airplane status.  Lots of time in the garage and very little visible to show for it but here goes anyway.

Saturday I went over to help Mark mount his wings on his Glasair.  Big difference between the RV and his Glasair but it was sure fun working on a 'glass airplane for a while.

I finally got my electric fuel pump mounted as well as the new Andair fuel valve.  The full pump is bolted to the cover and then reinforced under with some .063 angle trimmed to allow the brake lines and wiring run to go safely under the pump.  Slowly starting to look like a cockpit.

I decided it was time to mount the control linkages.  At first I thought I would just bolt them in but as I got to working I just kept going and finished them up.  I still have to cut the sticks down a bit and install the grips.  

In an effort to finish up a few tasks on the wings before I rivet the lower skins on I went ahead and installed the access cover on the bottom of the leading edge.  This cover is suppose to give you access to the stall warning sensor but I am not installing it.  Hmm, maybe I can rig up a camera in the same location?