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Finished Copilot’s Control Stick – 1.5 hrs

September 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Monday Sep 23, 2013

Tonight I finished assembling the copilot’s control stick including termination of the wires to D-sub contacts on an 8-inch pigtail.

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Last night I potted the pin side of the molex connector inside the lower control fitting while it was plugged into the socket side which was potted into the upper tube a few weeks ago. So now all I have to do is depress the release button on the side of the fitting and extract the upper tube to physically and electrically disconnect the copilot’s stick and remove it.

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Categories: Cabin Area

Installed Flap Position Sensor, Riveted Firewall Recess – 5 hrs

November 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Saturday Nov 10, 2012

For some reason I decided that it was time to install the flap position sensor behind the seats. But first I removed the flap motor channel and replaced three universal head rivets with flat head rivets because the canopy release bar was rubbing against them. Best to get this done now.

The flap position sensor is a Ray Allen POS-12 linear potentiometer. The method of installation came from Mike Bullock on his web site (thank you Mike). I used the same model airplane clevis’s and control rod specified on his site. I also installed a 3-pin Molex connector on the POS-12.

Installation in the flap motor cover was easy. I did a trial fit of all the parts first with the flap motor in the fully raised position and marked the channel where the POS-12 was located with the sensor arm fully extended. The clevis’s were set at the mid point of the threads so could adjust the overall length of the rod at final installation. In this photo you can see the POS-12 mounted to the channel with two #4-40 screws and some cheap lock nuts I picked up at True Value Hardware. I’ll replace those later with better quality parts. I also installed a couple of tie bases to route the wires.

Here you can see the sensor installed. The linkage uses just about all of the 1.2 inch range of the potentiometer. I used my car battery to drive the mechanism up and down a few times to check function and alignment. I used the clevis’s to set the linkage so the POS-12 does not drive into the stops at either end.

The lower clevis is attached to a 1-inch Adel clamp using a small part I made from aluminum angle scrap. I left just enough material on one side of the angle to provide a shoulder that prevent the part from rotating on the Adel clamp screw. One small hole is all that is required to attach the clevis.

At the upper end you can see the POS-12 with the other clevis attached. All that is left here is to route the electrical wires for the POS-12 and the motor forward to the avionics bay.

Another big step today was installing the firewall recess. I wanted to keep this open as long as possible  because I makes it easier to get to things up front but I will be installing the engine soon and the recess needs to get installed first. I cleaned all the faying surfaces with scotchbrite and Simple Green first, then wiped them all down with MEK. I used Flamemaster C1900 sealant which I ordered from Sky Geek. After I mixed and applied the sealant I clecoed on the recess and began riveting. I also used C1900 to plug all the small holes in the corners. This photo shows the recess installed after I remounted the battery box and torqued it.

Finally Back At It Again – 4.5 hrs

September 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Saturday Sep 29, 2012

Well, it’s been more than six weeks since my last post. In the interim much has happened. First, my mother died after a long illness and I had to take care of funeral details with my brothers. Then Denise and I departed for Italy on a 13 day cruise in the Mediterranean to celebrate our 25th anniversary; a trip we had planned for many months. What a contrast. Oh, and in between my daughter drove my car through one of the garage doors. Fortunately the airplane was not damaged but it took time to patch up the door to secure the area. Plus I have been rebuilding a patio cover that was rotting away – a project I promised my wife I would finish a long time ago. Those are just a few of my distractions from airplane building.

After things began to settle out I started thinking about where I was in the build process and I realized after six weeks the details were hazy. I had five or six different subprojects I was juggling when I stopped but now I was unsure about the sequence of events I had so clearly laid out in my head. So it may take some time to build up momentum again.

After looking over the parts I had “in process” I decided to step back and do something I had been putting off before the hiatus and that was to paint the interior sides of the cockpit. A year ago or more I decided to leave the sides bare because I was planning to install side panels from Classic Aero Interiors and the side panels would be covered. But since then I have become more sensitive to weight issues and have decided that I may just install arm rest pads and the side panels would then be exposed. So in retrospect I wish I had painted those surfaces before riveting the skins on. Now it is more of a hassle to paint them but I figured doing that would get a nagging task off my list and help me get back into the build process gradually.

So I spent several hours masking the interior of the cockpit leaving only the surfaces I wanted to paint exposed. That includes the gold anodized bulkhead parts of the main wing spar that are exposed in the cockpit. This is why I save the paper that Vans uses to pack the big kits – for masking for painting.

I sprayed a light coat of Ekoprime on the surfaces first. That died quickly since it was a warm, dry day today. Then I put several light coats of JetFlex on to match the rest of the interior except the footwell area which is still the darker Rustoleum hammered gray I applied before I discovered the Jetflex. The contrast looks pretty good – kinda like I planned it all that way from the start.

That is one small step back on the path to finishing this monster. And now my next step is a little clearer.

Categories: Cabin Area, Fuselage

Brake Reservoir, Fuel Line to Firewall, Started Cabin Frame – 6 hrs

January 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Saturday Jan 21, 2012

First order of business this morning was to mount the brake fluid reservoir on the firewall. The location is described on drawing 19. I marked out the location and double checked to make sure the two bolts went through the angle on the firewall with acceptable edge distance. I drilled one bolt hole first then used the flange of the reservoir to locate and drill the second bolt hole. Then I marked the location for the brake line fitting, drilled it first with a #30 drill then opened it up with a unibit. The reservoir is now mounted as you see below.

The inside has a port that supplies brake fluid to the master cylinders. The two bolts come through the firewall angle can be seen below. These bolts look too short. I’ll have to see about swapping those out.

Since I completed the rest of the cabin plumbing lines I wanted to finish the 3/8 inch line that runs from the fuel pump to the firewall feedthru but I could not find the instructions to determine where or how to mount the fitting. I called Vans yesterday and found out the drawing for the IO-360 installation is OP-32 and comes with the firewall forward kit. Fortunately they emailed the drawing to me so I could go ahead and get this done. The fitting uses a reinforcement plate made from .063 sheet with four rivet holes. One rivet lines up with one of the existing rivets in the firewall that goes through the vertical angle. I drilled out the rivet in the firewall, cleco’d the plate to it then match drilled the other holes through the firewall. The hole for the fitting started as a #40 then I drilled it out to 9/16 with a unibit. The installed fitting is shown below.

On the inside the elbow fitting points downward and has a spacer under it. Upon inspection I found that the spacer interferes with the flange of the hot air box as you can see if you look closely below.

So I trimmed a little bit off the flange as you can see in the next photo. I also made the fuel line that runs from the fuel pump to the fitting and you can see the end that attaches to the fitting.

The other end of the fuel line can be seen below just before it dives under the F-782.

After that I started working on the cabin frame by making the small pieces that are called for on the drawing.

Installed Rigid Brake Lines – 2 hrs

January 20, 2012 1 comment

Friday Jan 20, 2012

I installed the brake lines that run from the bulkhead fitting to the weldments tonight. It was not that big of a deal after installing the 3/8 fuel lines. I started with a piece of 1/4 inch aluminum tube about 65 inches long. After deburring the first end, I formed it into a gentle curve and fed it through the snap bushings on the main spar starting from the fuel valve area. Once it was through the weldment upper hole I gently curled it outward enough using the coiled wire bender to get the AN nut and sleeve on the end and get access to flare it as you can see below.

Once it was flared I retracted it enough to bend it downward behind the fuel line and mate it to the feedthru fitting. Then I made some minor adjustments in the shape of the line routing along the spar just to “clean it up”.

Next, I used the coiled wire bender to make two bends under the fuel valve, one downward and the second forward to run the line to the firewall. Two more bends there brought it in line with the AN fitting on the bracket.

Then I repeated this basic process on the left side. In the photo below you can see the flaring tool being used to flare the end after guiding the tube through the weldment.

Once I had both lines routed to the firewall I marked the tubes for the final cut. There was enough flexibility to pull them back away from the bracket to cut and flare the ends with no problem. I am happy that I did not forget to put any of the AN nuts and sleeves on before flaring! I also added a couple of slight jogs to the lines to ensure that they won’t rub against the firewall structure as you can see below.

I installed the F-782 tunnel cover to make sure the tubes would not rub there either.

Categories: Cabin Area, Fuselage

External Fuel Vent Lines – 1.5 hrs

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunday Jan 15, 2012

Having completed the installation of the main fuel lines to the selector valve I worked on the short fuel vent lines that run from the side of the fuselage to the vent fitting on the tank. I started with a piece of 1/4 inch tubing 11.75 inches long and I installed the nut and sleeve on the tank end first. Then I planned the route to the fuselage fitting. The plans show it going over the tank bracket and then down to the fitting but that looked like it would run into the main fuel line I just installed. So instead I bent the tube downard at an angle and went under the tank bracket. It was easy to make the first bend by eyeball, then measure where to make the second bend to come under the bracket with about 1/4 inch clearance. After making that bend it was no problem to measure where to make the last 90 degree bend to go straight into the fitting. What I like about this route is I could use the Imperial tube bender for all bends so they are all nice bends. None are too close to the AN sleeves for the bender. The completed tubing section is shown below for the left tank. It still has some of my Sharpie markings on it.

Here is how it looks installed.

The other side was exactly the same process except I made the first bend by mirror imaging the left side. Here is how it looks installed also.

I decided next to put the fuel pump back in the cabin to make sure the clearances to the new main fuel lines were all good. As you can see in the next photo its all good. I love the way this all fits with the new style Andair fuel pump and the trim cable.

The brake lines are next on the agenda so I installed the an fittings on the firewall per the plans. I’m still deciding whether to install a parking brake so I will work on the rigid lines to the weldments first.

Tank to Selector Fuel Lines, Round 2 – 2 hrs

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Friday Jan 13, 2012

Today I ripped the whole fuel line out that I installed yesterday. After sleeping on it last night I decided that I could and should do better. One thing I was not satisfied with was the area under the fuel valve. Last time I formed the first bend before installing the tube on the spar but I formed the second bend after the tube was routed through the weldment and side wall. This resulted in a sloppy large bend. I decided to form the first two bends under the fuel valve before installing the tube. To get it right I made a short test piece from the AN fitting on the valve to a few inches beyond the first snap bushing. Actually it took two attempts to get this right but once I did I had a formula for a good fit. The tube makes a 90 degree bend 2.7 inches below the AN fitting going not perpendicular but at a 60 degree angle to the main spar. Then it turns 60 degrees to enter the first snap bushing. Both of these bends are made with my Imperial 470 tube bender so they are very clean bends with absolutely no kinking. I installed an AN fitting on the test piece to make sure it was engaging the valve correctly for fit purposes.

Then I took a new 40-inch long piece of tubing, slipped and AN819 sleeve on the end and flared it, then formed the first two bends like the test piece.  In the picture below you can see the test piece next to the 40 inch long piece to be installed. You can see how I duplicated the shape so I should not have to shape this area under the fuel valve once I get it routed.

Bruce Swayze did a great job of laying out how he installed his fuel lines on his web site. Following his lead I bent the line into a large arch and feed it through the first snap bushing. I removed the bracket for the second snap bushing from the spar to make pushing it through a little easier. It’s just slipped over the tube and floats until the tube is routed through the side wall. O yeah, don’t forget to slip the AN818 nut onto the tube before inserting it through the first snap bushing!

I also discovered another error I made last time – I ran the tube through the lowest hole in the weldment. Bruce ran it through the middle hole. Today I found that makes a huge difference in making it easier to route through the weldment and out the side hole. In the photo below you can see how the tube now routes through the weldment and out the side hole in a relatively gentle bend. It will not do that routed through the lowest hole. It must make a compound curve s-bend which is really difficult to work along the tube.

In this picture you can see how it now exits the side skin following that gentle arc.

Once I got the tube fully inserted I connected the fuel valve AN fitting which fit nicely this time.

Then I formed the s-bend between the weldment and the side wall. The s-bend makes it exit the side skin perpendicular to the surface but I only have to do this once now that the tube is in place. I used a 1/2 inch wood dowel and a cut-off broom handle – one between the tube and the side wall and the other down through that hole in the top of the weldment to get into the inside radius of each bend. I used the coiled wire bender for this process too of course so the tube would not collapse or kink while bending and to protect the tube from the sharp edges of the weldment and the side wall holes.

In the photo you can see how it now runs straight out the side hole and well centered on the hole.

Then I formed a 90 degree bend on the outside of the fuselage to run the tube forward toward the fuel tank fitting. I used the coiled wire bender here also and the broom stick handle against the side skin to form the radius. Now is the time to slip the rubber grommets on the tube and insert then into the side skin holes. The first grommet must be pushed through to the inside of the fuselage and then the second grommet installed on the outer skin as seen below.

This next picture shows the grommet installed on the inside doubler.

Finally tonight I removed the tank attach bracket on the side of the fuselage and finished forming the tube and tweaking it until it ran straight through the hole in the bracket. This took some trial and error, putting the bracket on to check alignment and taking it back off to make adjustments but I didn’t have to install the nuts each time so it only took a few minutes.

I’m almost home on this tube run but I still need to form the last bend and put an AN fitting on to mate to the tank. But that will have to wait until tomorrow.