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Installed Fitting In Fuel Tank Access Plate – 8 hrs

April 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday April 13, 2014

When I ran the purge line to the right fuel tank access cover I had to remove the cover to install a fitting. That is when I realized that the fitting interferes with the anti-hangup guide on the inside of the cover. So I ordered another blank cover from Vans along with a ProSeal kit and some Poly-Gone AG300 ProSeal remover. Yesterday I put the right wing on the work bench so I could get to the cover to work on it. It is not accessible in the wing rack.

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PolyGone is a jelly-like substance that breaks down ProSeal. I brushed it onto the rib of the fuel tank and let it work for a few minutes. Then I scraped it off with a piece of plastic. After a few iterations and cleaning with acetone it looked pretty good. It should be adequate for a good seal. I also went over it with scotchbrite again to make sure to get good adhesion with the new ProSeal.

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I had to remake the flop tube anti-hangup guide inside the cover. Since the purge line fitting ended up right in the middle of the guide I put a hole in it to allow the fuel to pass through without significant obstruction. I put a bulge in the guide to compensate for the area removed by the hole. I also used the guide support to capture the AN fitting so it cannot rotate on the inside of the cover (since I’ll never be able to put a wrench on it again). The support is riveted to the cover so the fitting cannot turn.

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I mixed up the small ProSeal kit and applied some to the interfaces as I riveted the cover and guide parts together so there should be no leaks around the rivets. Then I applied a layer to the mating surface on the rib and screwed on the cover. I put a dab of ProSeal on each screw also. I tightened up the screws and let it sit for the ProSeal to set up. I will leak test it in a few days.

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I also started modifying the nose of the engine cowl to provide a tiny bit more clearance for removing the lower cowl with the 3-blade prop. I had between 0.20 and 0.25 inch clearance all around and the gap looked nice but it makes it that much harder to remove the lower cowl. Since I will be removing the cowl frequently during Phase 1 I decided to modify this now while it is easier to do. I want another .06 to .12 clearance if possible. I sanded the nose down with a long sanding block. Since I sanded through the top layer of fiberglass into the foam wedge I had added a long time ago I chipped out the foam.

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After I sanded down to my goal I mixed up some flox and filled the open area where the foam was as a base for a top coat of micro.

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Followup: On Tuesday night 4/15 I finished filling, sanding and priming the cowling. It’s hard to see the difference in the photo but here is the finished modification with the spinner plate on. The gap is now a little bigger and it is slightly wider toward the lower cowl since that is the hard one to remove. In this process I also learned that half the battle of installing and removing the lower cowl is getting the rubber seal strips on the inlets out of the way. I found that if I pulls those back with blue painters tape I could raise and lower the cowl much more easily without scraping the spinner as much. Eventually I’l get the process down to where it is not a pain.

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Categories: Cowling, Fuel Tanks, Wings

Installed Purge Line Fitting on Right Tank – 8 hrs

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday Mar 30, 2013

Staying with my strategy to get as much done in the garage before moving to the airport as possible I remated the right wing to the fuselage this weekend in order to install fittings for the fuel injection purge line to the right tank. This was necessary because I needed to determine the precise location to install an AN832 fitting on the tank access cover so it will line up with the existing purge line exiting a hole in the fuselage and the tubing had to be cut to the precise length to install a AN818 nut. Moving the wing around is a big deal so I asked my friend Scott to come help me. Here you can see the fuselage and wing set up to mate together.

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After bringing the two together I marked the location for the An832 on the access cover. When I did I realized that the fitting was going to interfere with the anti-hangup bracket on the inside of the cover so I concluded I would have to replace the cover with a new one that has the anti-hangup bracket shifted slightly to make clearance. Taking off the access cover was no easy feat since the ProSeal was doing a good job of bonding it on place. We used a putty knife sharpened on the end to cut through the ProSeal by holding the blade as parallel to the wing rib as possible. After getting it off I installed the fitting at the marked location and put it back in temporarily for a fit check.

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We remated the wing again and I marked the tubing for the proper length then cut it and installed a flared AN818 fitting. Here is the tubing exiting the fuselage.

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While the wings were off the rack we also installed the non-skid wing walk material I bought from FlyboyAccessories.com. We had to trim the corner to clear the wing gap fairing and the aft end to keep if from hanging over the weak section of the skin.

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Categories: Fuel Tanks, Wings

Made Access Panel for Fwd Upper Skin – 12 hrs

March 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday Mar 23, 2014

I find my list of things to do before I move the airplane to the airport is getting shorter although I occasionally find things I overlooked to add to the list. This weekend I took on the mini-project to add an access panel to the upper forward skin of the fuselage. I mean the skin immediately in front of the tip-up canopy. There are quite a few components under this skin, like the VP-X Pro unit, EMS module and the entire array of ground terminals. I have been concerned about access to this area after the skin is riveted on, which will be soon, and I have seen other builders install an access panel or two here so the idea got under my skin (pun intended).

I started by laying out the location for the panel on the skin itself with a sharpie. I also made a scale layout in AutoCad to lock down the dimensions. I cut the new access panel and the doubler I needed from .032 stock sheet. Then I cut the opening in the top skin with the thought that if this does not work out well I can always order a new skin from Vans.

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To ensure a good fit I put the skin on the fuselage to match drill for the rivets that will attach the doubler to the skin since the skin is curved when installed. I started in the middle of the opening and worked my way out to the edges.

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This is how it looked with all the rivet holes drilled and clecoed. There are lots of rivets to help reinforce the skin around the perimeter.

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After deburring and dimpling the skin and doubler and spraying on a coat of primer I put the skin back on the fuselage and riveted the two parts together.

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Then I laid out the hole pattern on the cover plate for the mounting screws, match drilled it, and installed countersunk nutplates for #8 screws.

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This is how it turned out, with only four screws installed for now because it will come off again for a while before the skin is riveted to the fuselage. The access hole is not huge but it provides good access to the VP-X, the ground block and several connectors that would be really tough to get to without the access panel.

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I also finished wiring up the Nav/position lights and landing light on the left wing tip.

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Preparing to Lift the Airplane – 6 hrs

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday Jan 26, 2014

In order to fit the wheel pants and align the gear leg fairings to the direction of flight I need to lift the airplane off the landing gear. The gear legs deflect under weight and the angles relative to the fuselage change. So I started investigating options for lifting the fuselage a few inches and take the weight off the gear. If the wings were installed I could make some jacks that lift at the tiedown ring points along the main spar but that is not an option in the garage. It would be too much trouble to rearrange the garage and install the wings just for this task. So I spent some time Saturday working on a design for some cheapo jack stands I can put under the fuselage at the wing spar. The photo below shows my progress in building them. The raw materials cost me less than $20 for these. The 4×4 columns will support the weight with four diagonal braces on each one to carry lateral loads and keep the columns from tipping over. The stand on the left has a 9 inch long 5/8 inch diameter threaded rod installed with nuts and bearing plates which will allow me to jack up the upper bar by several inches. I still need to screw together the right stand and install the threaded rod. More to report later when I set this under the spar and see how it works. I estimate that the airframe weighs about 800 lbs right now and the c.g. should be slightly in front of the main spar so I will use my engine hoist to lift at the front to take weight off the nose wheel.

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I also worked on wiring the nav/position lights through the wing. I installed a 4-pin molex connector on the wires of the Aveo Aurora light and ran a twisted shielded 3-conductor wire through the wing conduit. I terminated the wire on a mating 4-pin molex connector for the light. I also made a small aluminum clip to hold the connector on the wing rib and keep it from rattling around. The connector can be easily slipped out of the clip to make installing the wingtip easier.

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Categories: Gear Fairings, Wing Tips

Wrapping Up Wing Tips, Progress on Nose Wheel Fairing – 9 hrs

January 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday, Jan 19, 2014

The fiberglass stiffener I laid up inside the right wing tip had cured for 24 hours so I gave it the push test. Sure enough, the flexible region on the bottom was much stiffer and the tendency to oil-can was gone. So I removed the wing tip from the wing and inspected it inside. All looks good. I might paint on one more layer of epoxy just to finish it but I would say the experiment was successful so I will do the same to the left wing tip.

On the other wing tip, the Pliobond was pretty well set up by now also so I removed the tape on the reflector, pulled off the plastic film and installed the lights. I also riveted the hinges to the fiberglass. That took a while because I had to clean the epoxy out of the holes and countersinks. I riveted the aft aluminum rib in place and bent and cut the hinge pins to final length. Except for adding the internal stiffener, this wing tip is done. I am ready next to install connectors and wire both wing tips up through the wings.

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I refocused my efforts on the nose wheel pant and leg fairing. On the first try to install the aft section of the wheel pant I found it to be extremely tight and the opening for the tire was too small on the aft end especially. I did a rough marking being conservative on the first try and starting trimming. Here is the first marking.

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Once I trimmed the aft section of the wheel pant enough to fit roughly close to the final position I cut a notch in the front section so I could mate the two sections together. To get the pant level I put a piece of electrical tape down the side with the lower edge aligned with the centerline at the nose and the aft end. That made it easier to measure the height above the floor at the front center and aft ends. The plans say this height should be 6-13/16 inches and immediately I saw that that was going to be difficult. The pant naturally wants to sit lower than that and it looked too high compared to the drawings. That is when I noticed a small note on the drawing that said the dimension is with no deflection in the tire – i.e. no weight on the wheel. They also showthe axle height which is 5.5 inches. I measured mine at 5.1 inches with weight on the tire. That 0.4 inch difference made a big difference in the fit. I adjusted the 6-13-16 inch dimension to 6.41 inches to compensate and was able to align it to that position relatively easily with a 0.5 inch wood block spacer on top of the tire. It now looks pretty similar to the position I have seen on other finished RVs.

I also installed an Anti-Splat nose gear stiffener I ordered to help address my concerns about the infamous tip-over issue of A-models that is well documented. This is not the perfect solution to the problem but there is evidence that it helps so I spent the extra $350 as insurance. Installing this thing was a bear. I won’t go through all the details, but getting the clamp installed over the gear leg took quite a while and some elbow grease to get it bent into final shape close enough to get the screws installed with the stiffener bar. Here it is installed although the position along the leg needs to be lowered slightly toward the wheel pant.

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Next I worked on the fit of the gear leg fairing, trimming both the top and bottom ends to get a good fit. I wanted the Anti-Splat device installed to make sure the fairing would fit over it as advertised and to be able to make any small adjustments to position to facilitate that. There is still a lot of work to do on the fairing and the wheel pant but this is not a bad start.

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Wing Tips Again, Started Nose Wheel Pant – 9 hrs

January 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Saturday Jan 18, 2014

One thing I noticed about the fiberglass wing tips is a flexible area on the bottom surface where the curvature is slight. It does not take much force to oil-can the surface. I guess that’s why some builders add stiffeners inside the wing tips. I decided to give it a try on the right wing tip so I cut a 2 foot by 1/2 inch wide piece of foam core and laid two coats of 9 oz fiberglass cloth on it. I goes across the flexible region. The foam core was wet with epoxy first then two layers applied over it and flared into the surface.

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Then I put the wing tip back on the wing to cure to make sure it sets up in the installed shaped.

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Back to the left wing tip I cut the opening for the LED light just like I did for the right light. After smoothing all the edges I installed the light to make sure it is centered correctly.

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Then I took the light back out and made a reflector plate out of .025 aluminum Alclad sheet. This is time consuming because the shape is cut specifically for this wing tip. I taped the reflector in place and marked the light opening from the inside and cut that to match. When everything seemed to fit right I bonded the reflector to the fiberglass tip using Pliobond. I taped it all down to allow it to dry for 24 hours.

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Since I was waiting for glue to cure on both wing tips I started work on the nose wheel fairing bay fitting the two pieces together and drilling holes in the flange to hold them together. This will be my next project.

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Categories: Wing Tips, Wings

One Wing Tip Light Installed – 8 hrs

January 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday Jan 12, 2014

This morning I assembled the Squadron light into the right wing tip. This view shows that I installed the mounting plate first with the springs and spacers and adjusted the angle to get it approximately aligned using my wedge tool for reference. I’ll have to make the final angle adjustments on the airplane after the wings are installed. The mounting plate is surprising stiff in this configuration.

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Then I installed the light on the mounting plate. I decided to reinstall the Baja Design bezel because I like the looks. I could leave it off but I would need new metric screws because the stock screws are countersunk. This light includes a nice waterproof connector already attached and the mating connector is in the box. A nice plus.

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Here is the final assembly with the Aveo Nav/Pos light and wing tip lens installed. I am pretty happy with the results.

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Back on the wing tip  installation to the wing, I primed the modified aluminum ribs and installed this nut plate as a retainer for the hinge pins.

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I made a retainer block for the hinge pins using a piece of UHMW I had on hand. There is a slot in the block that captures the pins which are bent at a 90 degree angle. One screw holds the block down which keeps the pins from moving. I used a temporary socket head screw until I pick up a couple of suitable countersunk screws.

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Categories: Wing Tips, Wings