Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to the Canopy

I feel like the honeymoon is over.  Steven came out on Saturday and helped me remove the wings.  Its kinda sad because it really looked like an airplane for a while there!  Anyway a few more tasks are complete including redoing a couple.  I had to replace the motor mount bolts that I used to install the motor mount.  For some reason Van's sent me non drilled bolts which means I could not put cotter pins in after torquing them.  I ordered new bolts and after removing the wings Steven helped me replace them one at a time...with the engine supported by the engine hoist.  After that it was time to start looking at finishing up the slider.

One last task before removing the wings was drilling the gap fairing.  This will get countersunk screws that will attach to the nutplates I have to put in the wing.  This step was to position and drill the required screw holes.

Saturday morning while I waited for Steven to come out I decided it was time to get the flap position sensor installed and adjusted.  here is the end result.  This was a little tricky because the sensor only has one inch of travel but the flap arm can travel much more depending on where I install the adel clamp that holds the other end of the sensor rod.

One more task I completed while I was waiting was to install the "Nose Job" from AntiSpat Aero.  This little device is suppose to prevent the nose gear from folding under if I ever hit something hard enough.

And this is the first iteration of my plan for fabricating the canopy skirt.  The idea here was to bridge the gap with this packing tape and then use some bondo type material to smooth it over.  well that didn't work so good....  Lost about 4 hours of work on this one.

Top view of the same layup.

You can see the hole in these bolts...Now I can install the cotterpins.

And here is version number two.  This time I didn't bother trying to smooth it out with bondo.

And here it is about 3 hours later with two layers of glass and two layers of carbon fiber laid up.  Tomorrow the sanding begins...not looking forward to that.

Top view.  The top layer is actually fiberglass but the layer underneath is carbon fiber so the whole thing looks like carbon fiber when its wet.  The glass is clear when its wet.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This thing might actually fly...once I figure out how to get it out of there...

After this weekend I really feel like I am building an airplane.  With a little help from Amy, Travis and Mariah (all at different times) I was able to make a lot of very cool progress.  Check out the pictures below.

A couple items I didn't take pictures of include finally installing the aux fuel pump and getting it wired up.  I also ordered most of the hoses I will need to hook up the engine (Oil cooler, fuel lines, brake lines, and sensor lines).

I don't know what I am so happy am I going to get this thing out of here?!?  Chainsaw the support I guess...

Amy helped me install the comm antenna.  She can get into the airplane so she held the antenna in place while I put the nuts on.  I then routed the antenna cable through the appropriate wire run grommets and put a new end on the cable.  All hooked up and ready to go.

Here is a small panorama picture of the airplane as it sits tonight.  Saturday Mariah helped me install the right wing and then a little later in the day Travis helped me install the right.   I spent the entire day today leveling, measuring and then finally installing the flaps and ailerons.  That means I also hooked everything up so now all control inputs are working.  I didn't lock everything down since I have to take this all back apart.  The whole purpose for putting the wings on was so I could do all that measuring and drilling.  Still lots of work to do before I remove the wings, including drilling the all important rear spar attach bolt hole.

While I was waiting for some help on Saturday I decided to go ahead and mount the rest of the exhaust pipe that includes the mufflers and the heater muffs.  These new trombone pipes are really easy to work with!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

cleaning up the details

I decided to do a mid week update because I have been working on a lot of little things here and there.  I decided to start from the tail and work my way forward doing lots of little things.  As I have been working over the past several months I have installed things "temporarily" which means I don't install cotter pins or torque the bolts down and indicate that they are torqued.  That's what I have been working on for the most part but I have made a few advances as well.

I removed the canopy once again because I need to paint the new attach brackets and I need to put some countersunk screws in the roller track.  The pan head screws that are there now do not work with the new tip-up mod that I installed last weekend.

After getting the elevator hooked up I found that my pilot side control stick was hitting the switches on my panel.  That means I had to adjust the push rods at the belcrank just behind the baggage area bulkhead.  This is a picture I took while I was laying in the fuselage in 100 degree heat trying to get all the washers and bolts in the proper location.  The stick now clears the panel but not by much so I may have to do a little more adjusting.

Rudder cables are installed on the rudder in this picture.  I also riveted the nutplates to the access panel at the top of the picture for the cover plate that is going to be installed.  I plan on putting a small window in the cover plate so I can visually inspect the elevator bolts during pre-flight.  

Vertical Stabilizer and Rudder installed.  VS is torqued down since I don't plan on removing it again.  Key word there being "plan".

Rudder cable attached to the right rudder pedal.  This required me to fabricate two sets of links that go from the rudder pedal to the cable end.  These are not prefabricated because the length depends on where you put your pedals.  I build two sets, the first out of aluminum, so that I could check the spacing before I started cutting the 4130 stainless steel.

And here is the pilot side (left pedal) connection.  The picture is a little blurry but you can see the connection easily enough.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

On its feet!

I know its early on Sunday for a post but I have a burger burn to attend today and I have some exciting news to share so here you go.  I will let the pictures tell the story.

Woo Hoo!  Engine hung and on its feet for the first time.  To make this happen I first bolted the engine mount to the fuselage, then I used the engine mount and my engine hoist to lift the fuselage up high enough to get the landing gear installed.  Then I let the fuselage back down and hoisted the engine up to match the engine mount.  The bolts were not as hard as I thought they would be but it still took me about an hour and a half to get all 4 bolts in and tight.  Not torqued yet but tight.

Back in the garage but turned around so I can work on the vertical stab.  The garage door wont open with the vertical on when the airplane is facing in.  It was certainly fun jockeying this thing around in a driveway full of cars.

Lots of work led up to the gear and engine mounting.  I spent most of Friday and Saturday working on the canopy tip up hardware.  This picture shows the latch that allows me to slide the canopy back where it will tip up from the rear.  There is a lot of work in this picture.  The brackets had to be measured and drilled to the fuselage, then the plastic block had to be measured and drilled at odd angles to attach to the bracket.  Then I had to put it all together. I didn't take any pictures but I also installed the roller brackets on the forward canopy legs.  This required me to cut the tubing off flush with the bottom rail and then try to fit everything exactly back where it was.  Took lots of time and measuring, drilling, grinding, filing and buffing but its done and it came out great!

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'm baaaack...

Yep, I'm back from Oshkosh and have to say I had a great time.  I saw a lot of airplanes, talked to a lot of vendors, and most importantly I spent time with a lot of great people.  The first two days I was there I spent several hours a day sitting on the side of one of the major runways watching airplanes come and go.  Very busy airport and a lot of fun to watch.  Looking forward to next year already!  I will give you one picture of Oshkosh and since its so large you may have to click on it to see the whole thing.

This is a panorama (180 degree picture) of home-built parking.  There were a lot of RV's in this area.  Lots of drool too...

I did get a little more work done on the airplane yesterday and today.  See a few pictures below.  Oh,  one more thing, Harry, Amy and I flew to breakfast at Skagit county airport today.  Very nice smooth day for flying.  :-)

I got the mounting plates installed under the forward skin.  Here the big white puck is the GPS antenna for the GPS-400 IFR gps.  The other side has the GPS antenna's for the G3X and the GRT Mini-X.

I finally got the aux fuel pump mounts riveted to the floor.  There is a lot more work that you can't see in this picture related to the aux fuel pump and associated panels.

After sitting in the airplane with all the interior in I realized those seats put me a little too close to the panel.  So, I ordered a kit that moves the seat back about 4 inches.  Here I have removed the existing crossbar that the seats normally sit against.  Next I installed the new crossbar.  There is a picture of what it looks like coming up.

I got the side canopy tracks drilled and bolted down.

Here is the new crossbar.  Its much smaller than the original but it took me most of Saturday to get this far.

The heat air distribution panel got painted and installed on Saturday as well.  It will have to come back out at least one more time but its getting close to ready!
And lastly I got the canopy latch mechanism installed.  You would think this would be simple, but noooo, I had to trim the canopy frame tube, the handle rod, and do all that without messing up the paint....too bad anyway.  I had to fine tune it a little but it's in and working now with the exception of trimming the hook.  That comes after everything else canopy is done.