Archive for May, 2014

N147EW Gets Her Wings – 7 hrs

May 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Saturday May 31, 2014

Today marks a major milestone in the build of N147EW. We installed the wings for the last time. And I mean that because I don’t see any way to get them back off again. The bolts are a really tight fit and the landing gear weldments block the front side of the lower bolts so I don’t see any way to drive them back out. Actually, we got all the bolts in on the right wing and 6 of the 10 bolts in for the left wing. The problem was a doubler plate I installed for the COMM antenna in the area of the main spar on the left side and that blocks access to install the four lower bolts. I am going to have to drill out the rivets for the doubler plate, remove it and then install the four lower bolts. After that I can rivet the antenna doubler back in. My fault, I should have anticipated this. I was just blind to it when I decided to locate the COMM antenna there. But there was still major progress today and it looks like the wings are ready to fly. I just hate to have a job unfinished because of a hiccup like this. Patience required!

Here is a photo of me with Denise in front of the winged beast – for the record.


We also received help from Jake Lewis who has an RV-7 at Corona and John Halcrow who I met through VAF. He hung out with me and Denise and helped for about 6 hours today. Thanks guys!



Categories: Last 10 Percent

Installed Prop – 3 hrs

May 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Monday, May 26, 2014 – Memorial Day

I went out to the airport early this morning to get a few things done on the RV. Since it is Memorial Day I did not want to spend the entire day out there. First thing I did was take off the cowling and take a photo of the prop spacer to serve as evidence that the bolts are torqued and striped.


Then I installed the prop with the crush plate and the spinner bulkheads. Initially I torqued the bolts to 15 ft-lbs to seat it for the tip tracking test.


I used my safety wire spool as a pointer for the tracking test. I set it on a stack of 2×4’s so I could get the wire aligned with the first tip.


Then I rotated the prop to the next blade tip and checked the alignment with the pointer.


Finally I rotated to the third blade tip and checked again. You can see by the photos that the alignment is just about dead on perfect. Yes these are three different photos of three different blades taken from the same location. Actually the first time I did this test I detected about 1/16 inch of variation so I inserted one shim made of a single strip of paper under the hub near the low blade. The photos here are from the second measurement after retorquing the bolts to 15 ft-lbs.


When I was done I torqued the prop bolts to the full 42 ft-lb value recommended by Catto and rechecked the tracking to make sure it did not change. I have not safety wired the bolts yet. I plan to retorque the bolts the next time I come out to the hanger just in case there is any loss of preload through the composite hub. Then I will install the safety wire. Next I put on the spinner with the screws loose just to make sure all holes lined up correctly. Looks good!


Moving to the rear of the airplane I checked the travel of the elevator trim tab using my digital level. I am getting 28.7 degrees up travel with 4 clockwise turns of the trim knob from neutral and 26.9 degrees down travel with 4.5 counterclockwise turns of the knob from neutral. That compares to a minimum of 25 degrees required by Vans. I can actually get a little more than that since I can go at least 5 turns stop to stop. So I installed four pulled rivets on the trim cable access cover and installed the cotter pin on the clevis. This is ready to fly.


Categories: Last 10 Percent

Moved Wings to Hangar – 6 hrs

May 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Saturday May 24, 2014

Yesterday I took the day off from work and went out to the airport with Denise. First objective was to fly 2 hrs in a C-172 to get my total hours up to about 94 so I will be at 100 when I finish 6 hours of transition training in an RV-7A. It was pretty bumpy down low but once we got up above 6000 ft it was smooth so we cruised around and go the time in. Then we went to the hangar and dropped off a few things. I worked on installing the rudder and hooking up the elevator trim tab to the cable while Denise went to Costco to pick up some stuff for home.


Today was the day planned to move the wings out to the hangar. For that I rented a 14-ft U-Haul truck. My friend Scott came over again and help me load the truck with wings, prop, engine hoist, and all the other stuff in the garage that I might need at the airport and won’t need at home anymore. Here is a photo of the truck loaded up. We loaded and secured things with twine to make sure nothing moved during the 38 mile ride out to Corona. To load the wings, we first took them both off the cradle, loaded the cradle into the truck, then put the wings back on the cradle one at a time.


Once we arrived at the airport, we unloaded the stuff and there sits the wings safe and sound (I have been paranoid about damaging the pitot tube for the last two years). I may try to install them on the fuselage next weekend if I can get some help.


Categories: Last 10 Percent

First Build Day at the Airport – 4 hrs

May 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday May 18, 2014

It’s been hot around here this week so this morning I headed out to the airport early to get started on final installation of the empennage. The horizontal stabilizer was already mounted yesterday so I started on the elevators. When I got to the bolt that ties the two elevator horns together at the center bearing I ran into trouble. Getting the washers in between the horns and the bearing was a pain that took at least a half hour but there is almost no room to tighten the AN4 bolt that goes through the horns. I messed with this for quite a while making only a few degrees progress at a time, but finally I go it all tight. No way getting a torque wrench on this so I can only go by feel. Fortunately the lock nut makes the torque much less critical.


I took a break and went for a spin in a rental C-172 for about 1.5 hours. I am trying to get my total hours up to break 100 to keep the insurance cost down. Yes I am a LTP ( low time pilot). When I got back I finished by installing the vertical stabilizer.


Categories: Uncategorized

Moved Fuselage to the Airport – 4 hrs

May 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Saturday May 17, 2014

This was a major milestone day on the project. I moved the fuselage, and numerous small parts, to the Corona airport to a hangar I leased starting today. The wings will follow later in an enclosed truck  but today was all about getting the fuselage there safely. Last week I contacted a local towing company with a tilt bed truck and they were initially uncertain about the job. They have not transported an airplane before. After I emailed them some pictures of the fuselage they were confident they could get it on the bed and secure it. So this morning the driver showed up and we began to load it up. Here is a photo as we began to winch it up onto the bed. We had straps on all three landing gear struts so the load was well distributed.


Once on the bed the driver tilted it up horizontal and lashed it to the bed in multiple directions. It certainly looked secure.


Off we went on the 38 mile trip to KAJO. My friend Scott and I followed in my car.


The journey was uneventful – just the way I wanted it to be. Most was on the freeway at 65 mph. When we arrived at the airport I lead the driver to the hangar. That’s Scott with the baseball cap.


This shot was taken as the tilt bed was being raised and before it was translated aft to touch the ground.


We guided it down the ramp onto flat ground and the driver removed all the straps. It was a relief to be on solid ground safely.


We rolled it into its new home at KAJO. I was ready to get rolling so I placed the horizontal stabilizer on the tail cone and put in the bolts. Let’s get this process started. We also pulled off the plastic film on the outside of the canopy – something I have been anxious to do for more than a year.


Now I need to rent a truck and get the wings out here so I can get final assembly done and schedule my inspection. I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Categories: Last 10 Percent

Prep for Moving to the Airport – 6 hrs

May 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday May 11, 2014

This weekend I did some more prep work for moving to the airport. I took all the blue vinyl off the fuselage and cleaned off the red ink that bleeds through from the mill printing. I also caulked a few holes in the subpanel where rain could otherwise drain through. I also put the horizontal stabilizer and elevator on and adjusted the pitch axis autopilot servo to stay within the recommended angle range. Then I put the travel limiter on the servo motor to prevent it from ever going over center.


I also tried to install the stock travel limiter on the roll autopilot servo but I could not install it. It just won’t go into position with the motor mounted to the bracket. So I made a custom travel limiter that protects the motor from going too far counterclockwise. The clockwise direction is not a problem because the motor axle nut will hit the push rod and prevent the drive arm from going beyond the 2 o’clock position. I made the custom part out of two layers of .032 aluminum. If I see any indication that the custom limiter is not strong enough I can modify the stock limiter by trimming off the right travel stop which would enable me to install it.


Categories: Last 10 Percent

Top Forward Skin Riveted On – 4 hrs

Sunday May 4, 2014

I waited as long as I possibly could to do this but today I finished riveting the top forward skin onto the fuselage. With this on access to the area behind the subpanel is only from below and it is much harder to get under there to work but I had checked everything else off the list of things to do before moving to the airport. So now this bird is ready to go to her nest and get her wings attached for good. I just have to nail down the arrangements for a hangar.


Categories: Fwd Fuselage