Sunday, January 25, 2015

The big move

It seems like I have been waiting for this day for so long now that I should have not slept at all last night.  Oddly enough I slept like a baby.  I have two additional major milestones to meet on this journey, first engine start, and of course first flight.  I had set a goal to be flying by mid march and right now that's about six weeks away.  Will I make it?  I don't know but I think its possible.  I think I mentioned in an earlier post about the DAR inspection being somewhat dependent upon the travels of the inspector.  In the grand scheme of things it just doesn't matter that much.  The airplane will fly when its ready and not before.

I did make yet another change this week that will set me back a little.  I decided to replace my existing comm radio with one that allows me to receive VOR/ILS/GS information.  If you don't know what those acronyms mean it basically means I will be able to travel in clouds safely with more than just a GPS.  My original plan was to get my instrument rating and only fly GPS but I recently found out that for my final check ride I need to have the ability to shoot at least one non GPS approach and since my airplane was not equipped with more than GPS I would not be able to train in my airplane.  Hence the reason I am opting for the Comm/Nav radio (Garmin GNC-255A).

OK on to the pictures of the week.  Obviously the big focus this week was getting things done to the fuselage that will be easiest to do in the garage.  I think I have met that goal.

As I have done in the past I am going to start this weeks update off with how we sit as of Sunday night.  Woo Hoo N1605A is in its new home!
This is the lower half of the engine cowling where the nose gear leg intersects it.  I had to fabricate a fiberglass fairing to seal this gap.  In this picture you can see the tape I added as a release agent and you can see the molded clay that will form the shape of the fairing.

This is a closeup of the shape of the clay.  It was actually easier to mold the clay than I expected.  A big thank you to my friend Daniel S for providing me with the clay.

This mess is what it looked like after I applied the fiberglass strips and topped it all off with some special cloth that helps leach excess epoxy out of the lay-up and also provides a nice surface to apply more fiberglass to if needed.
And this is the final product after I pulled the tape, did a minimal amount of shaping/sanding.  That large open area forward of the fairing will get covered in the coming weeks.  I plan on using a piece of fiberglass that fits exactly in the opening and then is held in place with a couple of  hinges, or a flange.

Since I will be mounting the wings I decided I better get my aileron push rod tube seals in place on the fuselage.  These are just simple home made seals that I fabricated out of rip-stop fabric and an aluminum ring.

One of the last steps required for the nose wheel fairing is to drill a hole on each side that will give access to the bolts that my "Bogey Bar" attach to.  What is a Bogey Bar?  Well its a device that slides over those bolts (one on each side) and allows me to steer the airplane while I am pushing it around.  In this picture I am using my laser level to mark the location of the bolt.

And here you can see where I need to drill with the wheel pant installed.  Nifty tool that laser level.


Moving out of garage and into the sun....yes the was in the 60's today.

Too bad we didn't get pictures of us trying to get the airplane onto the trailer.  But here it is all loaded up.  Jeff Bloomquist and Randy Albritton were my best friends today!

Tying it down tight.

Is there anybody in there?

Here we are at our first stop light.

And down the highway.

Arriving at the hangar in one piece!

Jeff took this picture of me holding the airplane to keep it from rolling down the ramps on its own.  Look how high that tail is!

Snug in its new home and ready for the next step.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

7 Days

How many of you remember the TV series titled "7 Days"?  It was about the future where limited time travel (7 days into the past) was possible.  Anyway that has nothing to do with this weeks title...
In 7 days I am moving the airplane to the airport!  One of our EAA chapter 326 members (Randy) has offered to let me use his trailer (and him) next Sunday to do the move.  Jeff will be helping too and who knows there may be others show up as well.  So I have a few tasks to get done this week in preparation for that big day!

Speaking of tasks, I got a few done this week but I swear this airplane is just generating tasks for me to complete prior to taking it to the airport!  Every time I go into the garage to take one item off of my list of things to do another two pop up.  I have a short list of 3334, 36 items that have to be completed prior to moving and each day I try to take one or two (or more) off the list.  On some days that is possible but it seems every day I add at least one more thing to the list.  Frustrating at times but exciting none the less because they all have to be done (preferably before I take it to the airport next weekend).  Here are a few of the tasks I removed from the list this week.

Oh, and while I am at it I have to say this....GO SEAHAWKS!  They are on the way to the Superbowl for the second year in a row.  After coming back from a serious deficit and then winning in overtime, they deserved this one.

In this picture you can see that I finally  trimmed the oil cooler air supply hose and got it temporarily mounted.  You can also see the blast tubes I put in for cooling the PMags.

This is the other end of the blast tube.  I had a hard time finding a way to keep them pointed at the base of the PMags so I decided to use a loop of lock wire that wraps around the base of the PMag and then attaches to the nozzle end of the blast tube.

I got the upper plugs wires and the associated grommets installed.

This is the left side of the engine and if you look closely you can see the wire run that holds the end of the blast tube in place.  Its getting a bit crowded back there.

If you remember a few months ago I mentioned that I had purchased and modified the Van's baffle kit.  Well I was going through and plugging up any holes or gaps in the baffles (necessary to keep the cooling air flowing through the cylinder fins) and found a rather large gap on the aft side of #4 cylinder barrel.  I struggled with finding a way to bridge the gap and eventually came up with this idea.  Its hard to see in the picture but basically I took a piece of aluminum sheet and then cut and bent it to both fit the curvature of the cylinder barrel as well as close all gaps.  I am amazed at how well it came out given the location and the fact that I had to estimate measurements because there isn't enough room in there to get a good rule in.
See that little black button in the middle of the picture?  That's the new co-pilot push to talk button.  I spent most of my airplane time on Wednesday in the cockpit finishing up the wiring changes that I needed to make.  This is just one of several.

One of the major wiring changes I made includes removing the co-pilot stick functions.  This is all the wiring I have left below the floor pan now.  Its much tidier and a lot less complex and failure prone.
I had my data plate engraved this week.  Now I have to attach it to the tail under the horizontal stabilizer.

One of the most time consuming tasks for the week involved mounting the wheel pants.  This is a picture of the right side wheel pant.  In this picture you can see the jig that I fabricated to hold everything aligned with the fuselage at the correct height.  If you look at the left side of the wheel pant you can see a line I drew on the floor.  This line is exactly parallel to the fuselage center line.  There is another one on the other side that was used to line up the left wheel pant.

Yep, there is a wheel in there.

A side shot of the wheel pant.  There was a lot of sanding, cutting and measuring involved in getting to this point.
These gear leggings are suppose to be big speed boosters...along the lines of 8-10 mph increase.  Here you can see the installed version just prior to doing the aligning.
And here is the alignment process.  Measure how far away from center-line and how far above the floor and then wrap a string around the gear legging and make sure the trailing edge is centered between the two strings.  Then tighten up the hose clamp on top to hold it in place until I get the intersection fairings installed.

And just to top things off today I started fitting the nose wheel pant.  This little bugger took some serious effort to spread it wide enough to fit over the wheel brackets.  But its there and I am slowly fitting the tire opening and the bracket position.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another big milestone...almost

This has been a pretty exciting week for airplane building.  I began the process of moving to the airport.  Its only a partial milestone because the fuselage is still in the garage and I have a fair amount of work to do before it goes to the airport but at least I got the wings and a few other items moved.  The fuselage is not too far behind...maybe a couple of weeks.  Technically I could probably take it this week but I want to get the wheel fairings at least fitted before I move it and that should take me a few days.  Now, multiply my time estimate of a few days (3) by at least four (since I always seem to underestimate the time required to do anything with this darn airplane) and we have about 12 days of work before I can move it.

Here is the summary of work done this week...

This is a picture of the back side of the pilot side switch panel.  See the darker blue corner piece?  Well I have decided to replace it with one that matches the rest of the panel. I pulled that piece, measured it, and ordered one for this side and one for the co-pilot side.  Should arrive some time later this coming week.

Ok, what is this?  Well, its the wingtip as viewed on edge and this is the very aft end of it where there are a couple of ribs that get installed inside.  What I am showing here is the method I came up with to positively capture the hinge pins (with lock wire) that will hold the wingtips on.  The plans I used to do this work used a bolt that gets screwed into a nutplate using one of the holes in the rib.  I was not comfortable with that method because of the chance that the bolt could work itself out over time and potentially block the free swing of the ailerons.  Not being able to use my ailerons in flight could prove to be an unhealthy condition.

Here is the big wing move!  Mariah came over and helped me load the wings and Jeff stopped by the hangar to help me unload them.

The wings in their new temporary location.

This is the back half of the hangar and the blue blankets (near the orange tarp) hold the ailerons and the flaps.

And just for the heck of it I took this picture of the left side of the hangar.

Haven't we seen this picture before?  Well, not quite.  I finally got around to fitting the new throttle and mixture cable up to the fuel servo.  It looks pretty much the same but if you look at the longer white bracket you will see where I bent it slightly to give the cable a little more room below the sump.

I also installed this little guy would think it would be a simple task consisting of three small bolts....well you would be I was.  Getting my fingers into some of those really tight spots to put the nuts on the bolts turned out to be quite a task... one full of colorful words.

Still a work in progress but I got the heater hoses cut and installed as well as got started on the ignition blast tubes.  I am struggling with how to hold the blast tubes pointed at the base of the PMags which is why you see one hose just hanging there.  You will also notice in this picture that I have begun sealing gaps in the baffles.  On the left side of the picture you see a long bundle of wires;  well I decided that I needed a fuse closer to the battery for the battery buss.  That got installed today as well.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

One more year passes by...

Happy New Year everybody.  No big parties for Amy and I this year...or any recent year as far as that goes.  :-)  However we did have a nice New Years day dinner with most of Amy's family in attendance.  New Years is a big holiday for the Japanese and Amy and her mom really did up a wonderful dinner.

This week has been a pretty good week on the airplane.  Quite a lot of time spent in the garage and no major steps back!  I decided to finish up the wings so I can get them to the airport.  That was the plan anyway... I did spend a lot of time working on the wing tips but as usual it takes me about four times as long to get a task done than I had anticipated.  Great learning experience though and I am happy with how things are turning out.

The wings weren't the only tasks of the week...see below!

First step in installing the wing tips was to drill the holes that mount the hinges to the wing and the wing tip.

Next step was to drill another set of holes next to the first set.  This new set of holes will be where the hinge is riveted to the wing tip.  The first set gets cut off and attached to the wing with the other half of the hinge.

The extra row of cleco's and associated hinge have been removed and I am getting ready to rivet the hinge in place.  Before I set the rivets I epoxied the hinges to the wing tip.  This will help keep the rivets from pulling through the wingtip fiberglass due to vibration and stress.  In this picture I have set the hinges in epoxy.

And here the other half of the hinge plus the piece I cut off of the wing tip are riveted to the wings.

And her it is with everything riveted in place.  Now I have to install a couple of ribs in the wing tip and adjust the end to match the ailerons.

Here I have trimmed the end of the wingtip open and the after setting the adjustment where I wanted it I am epoxying it back in place.

Oh yea, did I mention I got my new switch panel?  Well here it is with all switches and cables installed.  The new throttle and mixture cables will work nicely and the switch panel looks nice.  I may have to have the end pieces re-done to match this new color.
Wow was this done this week?  Seems like it was a long time ago but I went ahead and installed the baffles on the engine.  Hopefully I wont have to remove them again for a long time.