I took a full week of work off, plus the Friday before, to give myself 8 full days to perform the “big push”. Which included: moving the aircraft to the airport Mounting the tail surfaces Mounting the wings Rigging the control surfaces Finishing the work required in the wing roots Weighing the aircraft Calibrating the fuel tanks Configuring the EFIS and sensors Test running the engine All the little things along the way =) It all got done and the plane was ready for inspection and flight 9/23/2017 Moving the fuselage Moved the wings and the rest of the parts using a UHaul Getting ready to weight the plane.
Used 3m Flamemaster 2000+ to seal the reaming holes in the firewall and wire passthroughs Installed foam in the top cowl to seal the prop governor baffle area
Should be easy access in case of an emergency, but out of the way and not encumbering any space from the cabin
Installed passenger seat pan Finished installing seat belts Vinyl wrapped left elevator Installed anti-chafe material on lightening holes that the transponder cable routes through
Wendy came down to help me vinyl wrap the control surfaces. Only few more to go Crotch strap installed. Left seat pan also installed
Installed forward canopy seals Step grip Date plate installed Installed quick drain
Countersunk holes in fairing Riveted nutplates onto vertical stabilizer Riveted nutplates onto horizontal stabilizer Installed tail light onto rudder fairing
First I had to temporarily mount the horizontal and vertical stabilizers Bent the lower empennage fairings per the plans Trimmed the upper empennage fairing to size Drilled the upper empennage fairing to the horizontal and vertical stabilizers
Today I installed and wired the ELT. It’s wired to the G3X system, so in the event of a crash landing it will transmit my exact GPS location to search-and-rescue. Let’s hope I never have to use it! ELT antenna installed ELT unit wired and installed The audio alerter secured to the bottom of vertical stabilizer. This thing beeps loud if the ELT is transmitting, to help SAR find you
Over the last couple of days I’ve been working on prepping for the wing attachment. I’m not going to attach the wings until I move to the hanger, which won’t be for another couple of weeks, but I’m trying to get done as much of the work I can do at home in the shop without the wings attached, prior to heading to the airport. Flap pushrods Setup a bending
Tonight I fixed a avionics issues with the AHRS. Turns out that a coupled of soldered wires came loose. Tracked it down and all is good now. Finished sniffle valve tube
Installed the mixture control mechanism Alternate air source door Alternator belt tightened and alternator bolts torqued PMag ignition wired up P-Lead to the left magneto wired
Installed the scat tubing to the oil cooler Installed the throttle cable to the fuel injector Installed the prop governor cable to the prop governor
Installed fuel line from fuselage to fuel pump Fabricated oil cooler box Installed fittings into the oil cooler. I order steel Aeroquip fittings from Summit Racing instead of using the aluminum ones provided by Van's. The instructions that came with the oil cooler specifically say to use steel, not aluminum fittings. Some guys that have used the aluminum fittings have had problems with the threads galling Oil cooler inlet box mounted to the oil cooler Oil cooler mounted.
Installed heat shields to protect fuel flow sensor Wired EGT and CHT probes on right side of engine Installed breather tube
All wires secured with Adel clamps...there are ton of work...have I mentioned I hate them!
Heat muffs installed. Joined with scat tubing Scat tubing cut to length Installed scat tubing for cabin heat
Secured ball joints Fabricated and install exhaust support Began installing heat muffs
In order to install the exhaust pipe I had to life up the front of the aircraft with the engine hoist, so that I could disconnect one of the bolts on the nosegear and slide it out of the way. This wasn't in the plans...but a few other builders have run into the same problem Assembling the exhaust pipes Plenty of anti-seize Tailpipe secured with the exhaust hangers Exhaust pipes mounted to the engine.
Riveted the alt air source to the snorkel Had to grind away some of the fiberglass material from the snorkel, so it would clear the intake pipe. I had to grind enough that a hole was left in the intake. So I patched it from the inside with two layers of fiberglass cloth Bent the air filter cover edge per the plans Warren's in town from Florida. He spent the
A lot of trimming sanding and measuring to fit the intake snorkel on Zak came over in the afternoon and helped me. He riveted on all of the baffle seals Made good progress on the installation of the alternate air source door
Right baffle ready to mount Right baffle mounted Secured the lower baffles together using 0.041" safety wire. This is how the plans in the RV-7A I build had you to it. Van's has you take a different approach using stainless steel rods that you cut threads on to join the baffles together. Checking my inventory sheet I never received the stainless steel rods when the kit arrived, and I failed to note it back when I received the kit.
Trimmed and then installed nutplates on the air filter frame Mounted air filter frame to forward baffle Finished assembling forward left baffle Riveted nutplates on to the forward right baffle Installed hose flange and screen onto forward right baffle Finished assembling forward right baffle Installed forward left baffle onto the plane
The red stuff is high temp silicone RTV. It helps make sure that air flows through the cooling fins and not around the circumference of the cylinder itself
Started assembling the engine cooling baffles
Fabricated and installed the oil door Completed the supports for the lower cowl near the nosegear cutout Shot some epoxy primer on the inside of the cowl, to help seal the fiberglass from grease and oil
Riveted hinges and nutplates onto the cowl halves Fiberglassed in the inlet ramps. These are to help the air flow smoothly into the cowl, for better cooling and less drag
Laid out rivet holes on the top cowl Top cowl drilled to the piano hinge Fitting the bottom cowl Bottom cowl drilled to the piano hinge Installing the piano hinge that joins the top and bottom cowl Piano hinge that joins the top and bottom cowl drilled Riveted on the piano hinge to the top cowl
Back in fiberglass hell today, working on the cowl. Made good progress. Cut the piano hinges that hold the cowl on to the correct lengths. Then I made the pins that join the two halves of the piano hinges. Then I rough trimmed the bottom cowl and final trimmed the top cowl. The top cowl is ready to drill to the piano hinge tomorrow. Alignment tool for the top cowl Lot's of sanding!
Safety wired bolts on the front spinner plate...looking at the picture I realized I safety wired them backwards. Going to need to fix that tomorrow!
Safety wired prop bolts
Finished the spinner backing plate Prop uncrated and ready to mount Removed the front crank plug. Wendy is cleaning out the excess oil Zak came over in the afternoon and helped me mount the prop onto the plane. Here he is torquing the bolts Prop mounted
Installed oil filler neck
The aft spinner plate needs to be match drilled and cut-out to match the doubler A bunch of hand filing and we've got a hole!
Deviated a bit from the plans and rolled my own solution for the manifold pressure line. Vans has you use a pre-made steel-braided AN hose for the manifold pressure. The hose is run to an elbow fitting connected to the manifold pressure sensor. I need to create a “T” off the manifold pressures sensor line to feed the PMag (Electronic Ignition). I ended up buying some AN Aeroquip fittings from Summit Racing along with some Aeroquip AQP steel-braided hose.
Wired the fuel flow sensor. The wires will be tied down and secured after the rest of the wires are run
Installed oil temp sensor and cap on tachometer drive gear. Installed fittings on fuel flow sensor Fuel injector servo unwrapped The lower sump was filled with preservation oil. This happens sometimes when the engine is shipped with the intake valves in the open position. The preservation oil drips out through the intake vales, down the intake tubes and into the lower sump. First Wendy helped me pull the airplane outside onto the driveway so that the engine would be tilted forward and much of the oil would flow and puddle into the sniffle value port.
Tonight I installed the prop governor. Hartzell prop governor, brand new in the box Remove the cover plate off the engine Prop governor installed. You have to adjust the face plate so that the cable bracket is oriented correctly to the arm. The cable bracket cap screws are left loose, since the cable bracket has to be removed during baffle installation. The green tape is to remind me to tighten the screws for the bracket and apply thread-locker.
Today I replaced both Garmin Autopilot servos. The pitch servo was giving a power supply hardware fault warning when powered up. Turns out this was an issue with some of the servos shipped during the time I received mine. Garmin sent me out two new servos. There was nothing wrong with the roll servo, but they decided to replace both that way neither of my servos would be from that batch.
Went to the local UPS Freight terminal to pick up the engine Got it home safe. Box opened, time to pull it out with the engine hoist Hoisting the engine out Engine pulled out of the box. Now it's time to install some fittings on the back of the engine, before mounting onto the plane Lower oil fitting Upper oil fitting Oil pressure fitting Fittings installed on fuel pump Sanded paint off to attach ground strap Fabricated prop governor bracket Modified a 5/8" wrench, per the plans Wendy helped me get the bolts lined up and inserted into the engine and engine mount The engine is mounted!
Drilling holes for the nutplates Nutplates riveted on. That completed the main wheel pants Cut out this jig for the nosegear wheel pant, per the plans Fabricated stand-offs for the nosegear wheel pant
Cutting a slot for the gear leg to pass through Wheel pant bracket
Tonight I vinyl wrapped the top back of the turtle deck to the rear window. The completes the wrapping of the fuselage!
Rear step where it attaches in under the baggage compartment floor Covers installed on the baggage compartment floor Rear window installed
Should harness cable Shoulder harnesses COM antenna installed XPNDR/ADSB antenna installed Side steps primed with epoxy primer Steps painted with White acrylic urethane
Tonight I finished running the engine sensors wires firewall forward. This included the fuel flow sensor, CHT, EGT and Oil Temp. I think I’m almost done with all of the wiring on the cabin side. I’m in the processing of starting to install the backshells on the garmin connectors. Fabricated a harness using K-Type thermocouple wire for the EGT and CHT leads. All of the engine sensor wire connections are made and the backshells installed.
Installed fuel pressure sensor Installed Mag/Start switch I'm in the process of running all of the engine sensor wires firewall forward. They will be trimmed to length once the engine is installed and the sensors are connected
Wired the ammeter shunt. I made a fusible link by connect about 6" of 24ga wire to the 20ga wire that I ran from the control box. I wrapped the 24ga wire in silicone tape. The idea is that if the wires ever short, the 24ga wire with heat up and sever, acting like a fuse. The silicone is to help contain the heat, and mitigate the risk of the something catching fire.
Today I wired the battery, contactors and main buss. Now when the battery is hooked up, if you switch master switch the avionics turn on =). Progress! I also began installing engine sensors. I realized that Garmin doesn’t include a fuel pressure sensor in their sensor package. They it’s because it’s a different sensor whether your fuel injected or carbuerated. Other vendors I’ve used in the past sell different packages based on the type of fuel system your engine uses, so your not left realizing your missing a sensor when you go to install it =).
Installed battery Mounted master and starter contactors Wendy volunteered to climb under the panel so we could bolt in the amp meter shunt and ANL fuse holder. Shunt and ANL fuse mounted
Today I relocated the GPS antenna to the top of the aircraft, just aft of the rear window. I planned on installing it on the canopy glareshield, however right before i drilled the holes in the glareshield I tested out the GPS and it wasn’t working. Turns out there is a minimum antenna cable length of 6.5ft. The coax cable length was only 3ft to install it on the glareshield. I also didn’t like the idea of having a big white antenna obstructing the nice view out the windscreen.
Guide pins riveted into the canopy frame Modeling clay is used to locate the holes for the pins on the side rails Pilot hole drilled Using the template to drill the holes
Tonight I installed the matco axle that I order. I had to machine two spacers for it to fit correctly. You can order the spacers directly from matco, but there would have been a long lead time and I had the materials and equipment to do it =). Nose gear installed Brake lines secured with friction tape
Brake caliper assembly mounted to wheel Cutting lengths of aluminum tubing for the brake lines Tubing run down the gear leg
Today the AN7-21 bolt I was waiting on got delivered. I went ahead and continued installing the nose gear. The gear leg and fork are now installed. When it was time to install the wheel/tire assembly it appears that the axle spacers are too long. Not sure if Van’s sent me the wrong ones or what. I’m going to have to call them tomorrow and see if I can get some answers.
I’m waiting on the correct AN7 bolt to get delivered from Aircraft Spruce so I can continue on the nose gear install. So tonight I decided to try and wrap one of the flaps to get some experience with the process and decide if I like the finish. All in all it came out pretty darn good. Way easier then painting. The gloss is not “show car” finish, but it does have nice gloss.
Today I began installing the nose…then I ran into yet another snag. Van’s sent me the wrong length bolt for one of the parts. In the hardware kit they mean to send me an AN7-21 bolt, but in it’s place they sent me and AN7-20. Unfortunately the bolt was just to short for the application. I placed an order with aircraft spruce. It should ship out tomorrow and I should have the correct bolt by Tuesday.
This evening I installed the engine mount. The holes on each corner lined up perfectly, but the two lower center holes, near the nose gear goes, did not line up. They were off by about 1⁄8”. So I called Van’s….again. This time the solution was simpler then the landing gear. They told me to just drill out the holes, using the engine mount as a drill guide. It will cause the hole to become oval shaped.
After two weeks of dealing with the left gear leg issues, the new one arrived. I checked it on the bench and it had about 1 degree of toe-in. Totally manageable. I mounted it on the plane, added a 1 degree shim and it was good. I went ahead and mounted the tires. Next up is the nose gear, then the plane will be fully on gear. Left gear mounted with tire on!
Tonight I decided to install the nav lights onto the wing tips. holes drilled Nav light installed
I heard from Van’s today. There was mixed opinions in Van’s engineering dept. as to whether the 2.8 degree shim was too much shimming. Ultimately, to play it on the safe side it was decided that they would ship me a new left gear leg. I opted to pay for second day shipping ($$$$$) so I can get things moving again. The gear leg should be here Thursday. This evening, I uninstalled the left gear leg from the aircraft in preparation for for the new one.
Today I riveted painted and installed the seatbacks. Seatbacks riveted together and painted Fabricating the hinge pins. There are three different ones per seatback Hinge pins installed and safety wired in place Seatbacks installed in the aircraft
With the landing gear delayed, I decided to knock out the seatbacks Fabricated seat back angles Fabricated the seat back piano hinges Seat back brace assembly riveted together Seat backs clecoed together and ready to be riveted
After installing the gear legs last weekend I measured the alignment of the gear legs and turns out the left gear leg had excess toe-in. Based on my measurements the gear had 1 degree of toe-in (shooting for 0) so I ordered shims and waited a couple of days for them to be delivered. After installing them it turns out my measurements were incorrect. After figuring out what was wrong with my measuring I remeasured and turns out the left leg is toe-in 2.8 degrees.
Today I began work on the landing gear. Zak came by to lend a hand! It’s fun having him around the shop! Cutting the gear attachment angles. They come as one piece of angle, pre-drilled. You need to cut the piece to size and trim off some material Taper cut into the angle. After this photo I finished it off on the sander and grinder and primed them Zak assembling the wheel/tires All three wheels assembled!
After sanding, filling, priming, sanding, filling, priming, sanding, filling, priming, etc… I think the canopy fairing is good enough. If I vinyl wrap the plane, the vinyl should come out looking good. I might wetsand the surface a little bit to make the matte areas shine a little, which will help with vinyl adhesion. If I end up painting, a coat of filler primer prior to painting should be all that’s needed.
Spent several hours in sanding hell. Then applied a layer of epoxy resin with a little micro and black dye on top. Will probably need to do one more light sanding tomorrow and the fairing should be good. Fairing after it was sanded, filled and black epoxy layer applied.
Cut-out fiberglass patterns according to Van's plans Added additional masking tape First layer of fiberglass ready to wet-up. I wet it up and sandwiched it between layers of cling film. Then cut out the pattern. According to the plans this help the layup hold it's shape while you transfer it onto on the plane The initial layer is saturated with epoxy dyed black, since it's visible from the inside. It's blends nice with the glare shield First layer on All layers applied Applied peel-ply..time to let it set overnight...then let the sanding begin!
Slurry of epoxy and micro-balloons mixed together with black dye to create a "void filler" between the canopy and the canopy frame skin
Countersunk holes in the plexiglass Vinyl wrapped the glareshield with flat black. Wendy is applying knifless cutting tape Apply the vinyl to the glareshield After pulling the knifeless tape After cutting out the holes in the vinyl for the defrost fans Notched holes in the aft canopy seal Canopy side skins riveted on Fabricated and riveted on canopy wear strips Riveted handles onto canopy Looking good!
Canopy frame mounted on the fuselage Template taped in place to help with positioning of the plexiglass Canopy in position Drilling the plexiglass to the frame plexiglass all drilled to the frame Time to take the assembly off the fuselage and work on it on the workbench Wendy being goofy! All ready for the next steps
Labeled the center instrument panel. The Cricut machine has worked out excellent Installed center panel, TOGA button, Panel Lighting potentiometer and the canopy jettison handle
Masked of the top skin of the canopy prior to painting All setup outside to paint After painting was complete I installed the canopy pin blocks. Canopy painted with pin blocks installed Fabricated the canopy spacer blocks that will be used during installation of the canopy on the fuselage The center instrument panel needs to be installed, prior to installing the canopy jettison handle for the next step. So I
After a week vacation away from the plane while family was in town for Zak and Lindsey’s wedding, i’m back in the shop! Side rails clecoed to the forward canopy frame assembly Side rails riveted Aft canopy frame riveted on
Forward canopy frame clecoed together ready for riveting Forward canopy frame riveted together
Drilling the handle onto the aft canopy frame Riveted the handle to the aft canopy frame Countersunk the holes in the canopy rail assembly Countersunk the holes in the canopy handles Dimpled the holes in the canopy side skin Countersunk the holes in the canopy rails
Fluted the canopy rail angles Countersunk the holes in the canopy rail flange Countersunk holes in the canopy rail angles Riveted the canopy rail angles to the canopy rail flanges Fabricated the exterior handles for the canopy Clecoed together the forward canopy assembly and match drilled holes Deburred and primed the canopy interior handle. Also primed the canopy closeout skin.
Dimpled canopy skin Canopy sub-frame riveting Drilled out the holes in the canopy sub-frame closeout skin
Finished installing the canopy release mechanism This is one of the pins that will retain the canopy when it's shut. It's actuated by the handle I installed a couple of nights ago When the canopy release handle is unlocked and rotated the pins retract Cut out parts for the canopy from the fixtures. Then deburred Wendy and Lindsey came down and helped by scuffing and cleaning the parts so that I could get everything primed tonight before it got dark.
Installed the canopy release bellcrank angles on both sides. Also installed the canopy latch torque tube and bearing blocks Assembled the canopy latch pushrod assembly to the dimensions called out in the plans
Tapped the holes in the rollbar for the rear canopy Drilled the holes in the aft and top skins to final size and then dimpled them Installed stiffener angles Installed canopy release handle
Rear window clecoed in place after match drilling to the fuselage Cut notches on the aft side of the rear window per the plans, to clear the roll bar brace
Tonight I completed wiring for now. All the wires from Van’s wiring harness have been connected. I also completed all the wiring for the avionics. I still have to wire the engine sensors and the Master/Alt relays and switches when the time comes, but I’m going to hold off until the engine is mounted and I start working the firewall fwd.
Today I went to the loading dock and picked up the finish kit. I spent the evening doing inventory on the parts. Only a few small hardware items were missing. I’ll call Van’s in the morning and get that taken care of. Crate opened up. Let the digging begin! Starting to get all the parts unloaded Wendy trying on a wheel pant as a hat! Wendy the riveted, reporting for duty!
Tonight I remounted the pilot side instrument panel, then wired the strobe, nav light and boost pump switches. I also wired the boost pump power to the engine monitor, so that I can configure the EFIS to show a message when the boost pump is on. This should serve as a good reminder to shut it off when it’s not needed.
After a lot of experimenting, I finally labeled the instrument panel today. I wanted something that looked “professional”, but something I could also do my self. Buying a laser engraver was out of the question, with a price tag north of $7k. So a little creativity was in order. I’ve been developing a love for Vinyl lately. Since I wrapped the panels themselves in flat black vinyl (3m 1080), I figured why not try to cut the words for the panel labeling out of while vinyl.
Came in three boxes Exhaust system A lot of items to inventory A whole box dedicated to engine baffle parts Who's the conehead?!! There she is!
Wired the input from the stick grips to the GAD27 controller. Now the flap arms move up and down when you push the toggle switches! I still need to finish wiring the power outputs to the roll and pitch trim servos
Installed TNC and BNC connectors on the various antenna leads Transponder lead with BNC connector installed Fired up the panel to do some testing. Still having trouble getting the GTN-625 to talk to the G3X screens
Connector for co-pilot PFD wired up Installed the backup battery onto the co-pilot side sub-panel Vinyl wrapped the co-pilot instrument panel and installed it back in the plane
Propellor arrived. It's going to be some time before I'm ready to mount it Wires for the high speed data bus between the GTN (IFR GPS) and the GTX(Transponder) Wiring up the harness for the GTX (Transponder) More shield wires with shield drains The backplate for the GTX all wired up and ready for install COM radio is talking to the PFD (Primary Flight Display) Drilled holes in the center panel for the TOGA (Take-Off/Go-Around) switch and the interior light switch/rheostat Soldering the wires to the TOGA push button switch All set, ready to go into the plane Transponder, GPS, COM and PFD all talking to each other.
PFD 1 up and running. Mounted ADHRS to the back of the GDU (PFD 1)
Tonight I wired the power and CANBUS connections to the GEA engine monitoring unit, the GAD29 ARINIC unit and the G5 Flight Display that I’m using as a backup. G5 flight display CANBUS and power wires for the G5, GAD29 and GEA
Fabricated BNC connector for COM radio antenna GTR-200 COM Radio / Intercom up and running. Started wiring the GAD27 controller
Since i’m considering vinyl wrapping the plane, instead of painting it, i thought it would be a good idea to vinyl wrap the instrument panel so I could get some experience. I’m in love. I enjoy vinyl wrapping MUCH better then paint. No worrying about dust or bugs getting in your finish. No need to suit up to apply it. No waiting for it to dry before handling it. I’m hooked!
Tonight I started on wiring the avionics. It was a slow start but I managined to get all the wires run for the GMC-307 autopilot controller. I also spliced together the first node of the CANBUS from the roll servo. The 15 pin DSUB connector for the autpilot controller all wired up and done. CANBUS wire spliced together. This connection will go to the GTR-200 radio and then over to
Tonight I only did a little bit of work on the plane. I mounted the avionics ground onto the sub-panel. The rest of the time was spent study the wiring diagrams and documentation for the Garmin avionics i’m installing. This part of the build things tend to slow down a little bit since it’s not as simple as following Van’s instructions. You have to do the engineering yourself here. Where to mount things, and how to wire them.
Pitot and AOA lines routed through the seat ribs. Wires in center tunnel secured Wires routed and organized through the center tunnel, up to the panel
Radio, GPS and transponder (installed behind the bottom of the radio stack) temporarily installed. I used templates i designed in CAD to cut the holes Passenger panel cut-out
Drilled the holes in the radio stack to mount the trays for the GTN-625 (IFR GPS) and the GTR-200 (COM Radio) Machined stand-offs and adapter plate so I could mount the ARINC and Engine Management LRUs in the same spot on the subpanel, stacked Mounted the GAD-29 LRU (Flap Controller, trim controller, etc..) Installed the auxiliary power socket
For the last few days I’ve been working on various wiring tasks. I also started to install the avionics. After design what I wanted the panel to look like, I test cut it using acrylic plastic. This was a great way to feel out switch placement and clearances. Wire runs wired up the control sticks test cut the panel using acrylic test fit some of the avionics to verify clearances
Today I started to install the fuselage wiring harness. It was a bit of a frustrating process. The install would have been much easier has this been done earlier. In all the other kits the wiring harness comes with the kit, and your told the optimal time to install it. In the fuselage kit, the wiring harness is optional (extra $1500). There is no guidance as to when the appropriate time is.
Today I painted the rollbar with the same urethane that I used for the rest of the interior. Then I finished the remaining drilling operations and riveted the rollbar and rollbar brace into the fuselage. I also riveted on the baggage window skin stiffeners. This concludes the fuselage kit. I think I’m going to start wiring and beginning avionics installation while I wait for the finish kit The rollbar and
Tonight I drilled, deburred, countersunk and riveted together the rollbar assembly. Tomorrow I will try to get it painted and riveted into the fuselage. Wendy came down tonight and helped with some of the deburring, she was a big help. Forward rollbar half riveted together Match drilling the rollbar halves to the rollbar straps Rollbar riveted together and ready for paint Riveted brackets onto the rollbar brace
Short night tonight. I decided to use a grey epoxy primer that I bought recently instead of the green P60G2 I normally use. I figured when I shot the parts later with the gray urethane I’ve been using for the interior any spots I might mist would be less noticeable. Unfortunately this epoxy primer dries slooooow. So i’m gonna have to let it dry overnight before I continue working.
I decided to splurge and buy these pre-wired tongsten stick grips. Much nicer then what i've had in my previous planes. They come pre-labeled. Very nice! After I finished installing the control column and stick bases, I made sure I have enough travel, per spec. The plans call for filing the control stops if you don't have enough. I had to do a tiny bit of filing. Show here is the max aft travel.
I started the afternoon assembling the rod-end bearings onto the push/pull tubes. The rod-end bearings were adjusted to a preset length according to the plans Pushrod installed on the control column Riveted nutplates to the bellcrank mount Mounted the elevator bellcrank to the bellcrank angles Bolted the bellcrank assembly to the bellcrank mount Installed the middle push rod, bellcrank mount and pitch autopilot servo into the aft fuselage
Installed gas springs onto the canopy cradles Mounted the canopy jettison mechanism onto the fwd sub-panel Finished riveting the forward top skin
Parts primed Drilled and riveted pushrod ends onto tubes
Sawing the threads off the hardward. It's used as a pin in this application The canopy jettison mechanism all put together Riveted the doubler onto the forward skin. Sealed with tank sealant Dimpled top forward skin Fabricated top hinges for firewall Drilled the hinges to the firewall Begain riveting the top skin on after priming. This was a bit of a messy job. You apply tank sealant where the skin rivets to the sub-panel bulkhead.
Riveted the instrument panel frame into place Mounted gas struts for canopy Drilled bolt hole for canopy release mechanism Fabricated canopy release pushrods. I used the mill and lathe for these steps. I feel sorry for folk who half to do this by hand. Doesn't seem like an easy thing to make accurately by hand Drilled bolt holes Need to mill slots. I used a bolt through the previously drilled hole do determine when I had the holes perpendicular.
I remembered that I had purchase the flap position sensor kit from Van’s a while back. When I was installing the flap system I totally forgot about it. Well, last night I remembered. In order to install it some of the parts had to come back out for modifications. A little hole had to be drilled into the center portion of the flap torque tube Fabricated the rod that connects
Installed nutplates onto the center wire channel Riveted the wire channel into the fuselage Installed the canopy decks onto the longerons. Van's has you seal underneath them with tank sealant Installed instrument panel supports to the canopy deck I discover I was missing two brass inserts for the brake lines the other night when I was installing the brakes. They arrived this afternoon from Van's. So I took a few
Riveted the sub-panel assembly together Painted, then riveted in the sub-panel assembly Primed then painted the next batch of parts for this section
Trimmed the sub-panel according to plans Primed batch of parts for the upper forward fuselage Began riveting parts together
Match drilled flap torque tube assembly Drilled a safety wire hole in the flap linear actuator arm Flap actuator and torque tubes installed
Brake lines run, and rudder cables connected. Rudder cable guides Rudder cable guide keeps the cables from rubbing on the fuel lines and acts as a bushing through the forward wing bulkhead
Brake/Rudder pedals assembled with brake master cylinders installed Fabricated rudder pedal bearing blocks Braked/Rudder pedals installed. I mounted the brake reservoir on the firewall, but forgot to take a picture. The right pedals are plumbed into the reservoir
Today I sprayed “Destroyer Grey” urethane from Eastwood on the interior. This was my first time shooting a solvent based urethane. I figured it would be good practice if I end up spraying the exterior myself. I have all the safety gear (fresh air respirator, full hood and tyvek suit), so why not spray the interior with something that’s going to be durable. On my last plane (N211WJ) I was a bit lazy about this step.
Today I finished riveting the baggage area. With the fuselage turned on it’s side in the rotisserie the job was much more manageable. I took pictures, but do to the orientation of the fuselage there a bit nauseating! Next I started working on the rudder pedals. I fabricated the spacers for the brakes, riveted together the brake pedals, the sprayed them with the urethane paint that i’m going to use on the interior tomorrow.
Today I decide to bit the bullet and build a rotisserie for the fuselage. Bending over the side of the fuselage on a step-stool trying to rivet and do systems installation inside the fuselage was destroying my back. It’s touch to climb in at this point because there’s really nothing to sit on. So I burned an afternoon building a tool instead of building the plane, which drives me crazy. However I think it’s going to be time well spent and my back is going to thank me!
Dimpled holes in baggage floor Riveted nutplates to baggage floor Began riveting the floor into the fuselage
Primed parts Fabricated/Trimmed flap bearing blocks according to plans Installed the flap bearing blocks into the plane Fabricated the seat back hinges Used layout fluid to mark pilot hole and centerline for match drilling Hinges match drilled to the baggage/seat skin
Wrapped up the fuel system install. Just need to install the fuel line supports.
Tonight I fabricated and installed the fuel lines. Cutting aluminum tubing down to size Fabricated fitting that goes from the fuel selector to the fuel pump/filter The fuel line that goes from the fuel pump to the firewall requires compound bends and seemed a bit complicated to make. I had left over stainless steal hose and fittings from an upgrade I did on N132RD. So I decided to fabricated the
Tonight I started installing the fuel system Had to cut out the fuel line brackets Fuel line brackets riveted in. Next I installed the elbows on the fuel selector valve. They are secured with 4 screws, that need to be permanently staked once installed. I used a center punch to stake the screws Next I installed the three nutplates on the bottom of the fuel selector valve Fuel selector valve installed in the plane Time to install the fuel boost pump and filter I noticed that the orientation of the safety on the fuel filter, as it came, would make it difficult to get access the first time I have to remove the safety wire to clean the filter.
Today Zak and Lindsey came over and helped Wendy and I flip the fuselage upside down. This was so I could get good access to the bucking the rivets by sitting on a stool with my head in the baggage compartment. This was much more comfortable then climbing inside. We were able to get all the rivets done for the joining process. Lindsey and Zak came back over at the end of the day and helped us flip the fuselage right side up again.
The aft tailcone clecoed to the mid/fwd fuselage. Exciting! Riveted nutplates to the baggage bulkheads Dimpled flanges in the baggage bulkheads Began riveting the baggage bulkhead into the airframe
Began riveting the top skins onto the aft fuselage, in preparation for joining the two halves. I had delayed this step several months ago so the that the aft fuselage could be stored in the basement. It wouldn't fit through the basement doorway with the top skins on. Riveted the intercostals into position Mounted the rollbar bases Trimmed the vents to size. The rest of the steps on the vents get delayed until after the forward sub frame is installed, to insure there aren't any interference problems, since the vents get glued on, instead of position by matched holes or anything precise like that.
Wing root fairing angles riveted on Reinstalled bulkhead bar assembly Worked on seat back assembly
Riveted rollbar angle onto bulkhead Riveted flap reinforcement braces to side skins Dimpled, deburred and trimmed the wing root fairing angles Riveted spar web stiffeners onto spar webs Riveted nutplates onto bottom skins Riveted nutplates onto wing root fairing angles
Wendy shooting rivets from the floor while I stand over her and buck them. What a wife! Various cabin structures riveted in place Arm rests riveted to the side skin
Riveted a variety of parts to the side skins today, including the firewall, longerons and side plates. Still have a bit more to go
Started the day off priming the bunch of parts i'm going to need for riveting Riveted the rollbar angles to the intercostals (strange name for a part) Riveted the side plate, upper drag fairing and various stiffeners to the side skins After putting the side skins onto the fuselage I notice that I had riveted the outboard baggage ribs with the flange outboard of the bulkheads...seemed right at the time. But now with the skins on I noticed the mistake.
Deburred then dimpled the side skins Separated, deburred and dimpled various mid-fuselage parts. The fwd side skin stiffeners are show here Modified the arm rests per the plans. This is probably so that you can get access to one of the rivet holes. All the various parts from today that were sperated, deburred and dimpled. All ready to be primed
Trimmed the longerons according to the plans Primed side skins and longerons Riveted engine brackets to longerons Fabricated hinges to mount to firewall for engine cowl attachment Attached side skins and match drilled hinges to the firewall flanges Countersunk fuselage side plates Countersunk holes in lower longerons Countersunk holes in upper longerons
Tonight I worked on the longerons. They had to have their holes final drilled to size. Then I had to make wood blocks cut to specific dimensions so I could bend a 10 degree twist into each longeron Wood block so I could chuck the longerons in the vice and twist them Before I bent them a notch had to be cut out in each one Time to twist them.
Tonight Wendy helped me rivet the forward and middle fuselage structures together. Had to machine a custom bucking bar to reach the rivets in between the two center bulkheads Landing gear braces installed and bolts torque. They we temporarily installed previously. They had to removed during the riveting process
Primed the parts that need to be riveted while joining the Fwd and Mid Fuse structures Clecoed the fwd and mid fuselage structures together Installed the brass elbows with into the gear braces Upper and loer drag fittings installed Match drilled the holes from the center section plate into the upper drag fitting Temporarily bolted the gear braces into the fuselage structure. They'll have to be removed during riveting Fabricated
Wendy helping me rivet the forward center section and cover ribs to the bottom skins Installed the firewall passthroughs, sealed with high-temp RTV Fabricated stainless steel hinges for the cabin heat doors Installed cabin heat inlets and trap doors Riveted the battery box to the firewall Riveted the cover panels and nutplates to the the cover ribs
Dimpled the fwd bottom skins Rived the antenna doublers and skin stiffeners Riveted the muffler hangar doubler to the muffler tunnel side walls Riveted the muffler hangars to the side wall tunnels Riveted the muffler tunnel to the left and right bottom skins Riveted the firewall assembly to the the left and right bottom skins Riveted the side tunnels and the cover base to the to each other and to
Tonight after I finished riveting the firewall I deburred and primed all the parts for the forward lower structure.
Tonight I finished riveting the nutplates to the firewall. Relay doubler plates and nutplates riveted to firewall Finished riveting nutplates to the the firewall
Tonight I almost completed the riveting of the firewall. I still have to rivet on a few more nutplates. It got to late and we ran out of steam. Will knock out the rest tomorrow. Applied tank sealant to the center section of the firewall Firewall angles riveted on This doubler plate, along with some nutplates still need to be riveted on
Riveted angles to the right firewall panel Countersunk holes in the top firewall angle Dimpled holes in top firewall panel Applied tanke sealant to the bottom edge of the top firewall panel, before riveting Clecoed the top firewall panel to the left and right firewall panel. Riveted several of the outboard rivets per the plans Dimpled the holes in the center firewall panel Clecoed the tunnel panels / center firewall
Dimpled holes in tunnel panels. Then riveted nutplates on Countersunk the firewall angles Riveted firewall angles to the tunnel panels Dimpled holes in the left and right lower firewall panels Riveted angles to the left firewall panel. Ran out of time for the night. Tomorrow I'll rivet the right side
After finishing the riveting of the baggage compartment I began work on the firewall. I deburred and primed all the parts called out in this section of the plans. Wendy was a big help and scuffed and cleaned all the parts while I finished deburring and setup the priming equipment.
Today Wendy helped me rivet the baggage compartment ribs to the center skin
Tonight I got the bagagge compartment rib structure assembled and riveted to the bulkhead forward of the baggage area Power outlet bracket Riveted part of the aft landing gear brace to the seat rib Assembled the loading step mounting structure. I realized there were a few parts I forgot to prime the other night. So I got everything setup and primed them Outboard baggage compartment ribs assembled with the step
Wendy helped me dimple the holes in the bottom center skin Back riveted stiffeners, nutplates and doubler plates to the center skin Riveted landing gear brace to the center skin Wendy helped me rivet the seat ribs to the center skin Seat ribs and bulkheads riveted to the center skin
Riveted seat ribs to aft center bulkhead Modified flange bearing per plans Riveted bearing and bearing bracket to the fwd baggage bracket Traced cut-out for landing gear in left and right forward bottom skins Cut out the landing gear slot Countersunk doubler plates Drilled various systems holes in bottom skin per plans Finished the night off priming the rest of this sections parts
Riveted reinforcement doubles onto baggage ribs Dimpled, then riveted nutplates onto seat ribs Riveted bushing clips onto seat ribs Rivet seat rib doublers onto second from outboard seat ribs Riveted crotch strap brackets onto seat ribs Fluted the outboard seat ribs and outboard baggage ribs so they fit the contour of the center bottom skin Riveted nutplates onto the outboard seat ribs
Tonight I deburred and primed most of the mid lower structure parts. There were a lot of them.
Tonight I finished working on the forward middle bulkheads. Bearing brace brackets riveted together Countersunk holes in the forward center section bulkhead Riveted nutplates onto the forward center section bulkhead Riveted the cover ribs and side angles onto the forward center section bulkhead Riveted the bearing brace bracket to the cover ribs and the web of the center section bulkhead Reamed the holes in the forward center section bulkhead
Today I continued work on the forward middle bulkheads I started the day off countersinking holes in the aft center section bulkheads Next I prepped the remaining parts of the middle bulkhead for priming Bearing bracket countersunk and ready for priming Parts primed Riveted the nutplates onto the aft center section bulkhead Riveted the side angles onto the aft center section Riveted the bearing bracket together Riveted the bearing bracket
Today I started working on the forward mid fuselage bulkheads. Some of the steps required the use of a reamer, both a .311 and .375 reamer. I missed that when reviewing tools to buy for fuselage work. Luckily McMaster-Carr is open on Saturdays for a half day. $45 and 1 hour hour drive later I was back in business. Mid fuselage bulkheads parts primed Started riveting the doublers and side
Tonight Wendy helped finish sorting the the parts and hardware. Inventory is now complete. Looks like a couple of hardware bags are missing. I’ll contact Van’s on Monday to have them sent out.
Today the Fuselage kit arrived! This evening Wendy and I cracked open the crate and began inventorying. We almost completed inventorying before it got to late. We still have a little bit of hardware to go through. We should be able to wrap it up tomorrow. Opening up the crate Wendy removing the packing paper from the crate Wendy and I inventorying parts. She unwraps the parts and calls out
Tonight I finished installing the nutplates on the wingtips. I also final drilled and dimpled the outboard edge of the wing skins. All that’s left now is to do the nav light installation in each tip. drilling the right wing tip to the outboard edge of the wing drilled and countersunk the nutplate hole pattern onto the wingtips Riveted the nutplates to the wingtip
Today I did a bit of work on the wingtips. I got the nav light lenses drilled and nutplates installed. I also drilled the left wingtip to the wing. I still need to install the nutplates on the left wingtip and do the same on the right wingtip.
Today I began working on the wing tips. I did all the trimming today. Including trimming the fiberglass wingtips to fit and trimming the wingtip lenses to fit. Trimming the inboard edges of the wingtips. Next up was trimming the lenses. First I had to cut them into two pieces. One for the left and the other for the right tip Lenses cut and half next they had to be trimmed and sanding over several iterations to get them to fit nice Here are the lenses all trimmed.
Tonight I finished installing the heated pitot systems. I mounted the pitot heat regulator to the middle access cover of the left wing. I decided to use Molex connectors on everything so future maintenance will be easier. I also test fit the pitot tube now that the push/pull tube is installed. There was some interference with the pitot lines and the torque tube coming out of the heated pitot tube. I had to shorten the lines coming out of the tube even more.
Tonight I finished installing the aileron trim. Turned out i didn’t need to move any holes. The problem was being caused by the springs rubbing against the push/pull rod. I ended up have to bend servo tab arm up about 35 degrees in order to raise the springs up away from the tube. I also had to adjust the orientation of the springs. Now all is good. Servo tab bent
Tonight I installed the autopilot roll servo The servo First I had to fabricate the pushrod that connects the servo to the aileron bellcrank Tapping the tubing the tube tapped on both sides and cut to size The final product. The push rod Then it was time to install the servo in the wing
Today I began work on the aileron trim. I got all the parts cut out, deburred and riveted. Unfortunately the when the trim servo is mounted in the neutral position the ailerons do go straight. I’m going to have to move the tabs over inboard slightly and that should fix the issue. Should be a quick fix tomorrow. Trim servo bracket Trim servo motor The bracket, with motor mounted underneath secured to the inspection cover Tabs riveted to the push tube.
Today I finished mounting the ailerons and the pushrods. Tomorrow it’s on to installing the electric aileron trim
I started the day off cutting the torque tube collars to size Then I match drilled the collars to the torque tube brackets For the next drilling operation I had to create a spacer block with an exact dimension. So I decided to mill it on the milling machine Hit by dimension (1 1⁄64”) right on to within .0005” Then I had to drill the torque collars to the other torque tube sub-assembly.
Today I started the day driving down to McMaster-Carr and picking up some new brass tubing. I totally forgot McMaster sells raw materials. I decided not to use the brass tube I made yesterday because I was unsure of the alloy. It would have probably been fine, but I was able to get the same alloy Van’s sent from McMaster for $13 and 1 hour round trip of driving. So I decided to pull the trigger and get some new tube.
Today I installed the new end rib into the flap. I forgot to take a picture. Not much to see really. Everything went smooth. No cranks in any holes =).
Today was one of those days when you say “I hope tomorrow is a better day”. Today was a day of pure Fuckery! Let’s break it down. I started the day mounting the ailerons…then I discovered there is an interference issue with the aileron and the inboard aileron bracket. Basically, Van’s released a service bulletin several months ago which was a redesign of the inboard aileron bracket. It’s makes the bracket significantly thicker.
Today I put in a long day and knocked out the ailerons. I got the riveting complete on both of them. Tomorrow I’ll start on Section 23 which is mounting the ailerons and doing the fabrication and installation of the push pull tubes to actuate them. Both ailerons after completing riveting
This morning I started the day off priming the aileron parts. During the cleaning process I noticed I countersunk the wrong side of one of the brackets. So I had to fabricate a new one from scratch. Luckily I had a some material on hand. I used the original as a template and it came out great. In afternoon I started riveting some of the parts and countersunk the trailing edge.
Today I started the day off match drilling the nose skin to the stainless steal counterbalance. Then I worked on the aileron aileron stiffeners. First there holes had to be drilled to size. Then they had to be separated, trimmed, deburred and dimpled. I wrapped up the day dimpling the remaining parts, including the skins. Tomorrow I’ll prime and start riveting. Match drilling the counterbalance weight to the nose skin Drilling aileron stiffeners to size Getting ready to start separating the stiffeners from each other and trim to size Cut lines layed out The final result.
Today I began work on the ailerons. I spent some time cutting seperating and deburring the various brackets and ribs. Then I started the match drilling process of the stainless steel counterbalance. Various hinge bracket parts got separated, deburred and countersunk Main ribs parts got separated and dimpled Match drilling the holes in the counterbalance weight to the nose ribs
Today I finished riveting the right flap. Then I frabricated and install the brass bushings on the flap brackets. After inspecting the right flap I noticed a few of the rivet hole on the outboard ribs looked cracked. After further inspection I confirmed that the inboard rib did indeed have cracks in it. I think its because of how thing the ribs were and the rivets weren’t lined up straight when I squeezed them.
Today I finished riveting the left flap. Tomorrow I’m gonna try to finish the right one and get started on the ailerons. Let flap all finished
Today, after taking a couple of days off to recharge, I got back at it. I started riveting the flaps together. I got the sub-structure of both the left and right flaps riveted together. I also got the top skin riveted on the left flap. Left flap in cradle with top skin on Right sub-structure riveted together Top skin on the left flap riveted on
Tonight I dimpled and primed all of the flap parts. The priming was done at a temperature 37F. I was wondering how the primer would work at that temperature. It was fine. P60G2 primer is nasty, but it works great! Some of the flap parts dimpled My setup for priming in the dark...it's 37F out tonight! The primer still did great! Left flap parts after being primed Right flap parts
Today I started the day of prepping the flap ribs. All holes need to be drilled to size and the edges deburred. Then I clecoed the flap structure together in preparation for various drilling operations later in the day. Next I fabricated the trailing edges. Then I clecoed the flap assemblies together with the skins in order to perform some drilling operations. After that was complete I disassembled the flap assemblies and countersunk the trailing edges.
Today I started the day off creating cradles for the flaps. Similiar to the ones used to assemble the leading edge and fuel tanks. Then I started working the various prep work for the nose ribs. Mostly final drilling holes and deburring. Then I had to cut one of the flanges off each of the flap ribs. One of two flap cradles I cut them out of extra material from the crates that the wings came in.
Today I riveted the right bottom skin. Then I installed the nutplates for the inspection panel covers on both wings. I also drilled and dimpled the inspection cover screw holes. Now onto the flaps! Right bottom skins riveted on All 48 nutplates riveted in for the inspection cover screws Inspection covers with the holes drilled to size and dimpled. I primed them the other day when while spraying the wing skins.
Today I riveted the outboard bottom wing skin on the left wing. Tomorrow I will try to wrap up the right outboard skin. Left wing fully skinned!
Today I finished riveting the the inboard bottom skins. I also did some bench testing of the heated pitot tube. The guidance from Garmin is to not trim the aluminum tubing coming out. Other vendors recommend trimming to no shorter then 6”. However I need to trim the tubing down to about 5” for good clearance from the aileron push tube. The reasoning behind the guidance from the vendors is that if your going to transition from the aluminum tubing to nylon tubing (which I am) you want sufficient tubing length to absorb the heat from the pitot tube.
Today I mounted the right fuel tank to the main assembly.
The White powder coating I ordered arrived today so I got right to powder coating the pitot mast. Next I assembled the components for the magnometer mount and began riveting the bottom inboard skin of the left wing The pitot mast after being powder coated The mast baking in the oven Assembling the garmin magnometer mount and mounting brackets Mounting bracket assembled Began riveting the bottom inboard skin. I ran out of time before dinner.
Today I primed the top skins, gap fairing, J-Stiffeners, access covers and magnometer mount parts. Then riveted on the aileron and flap gap fairings on both wings. Top skins primed Aileron gap fairing riveted in place Flap gap fairing riveted in place
This morning I tested the right fuel tank for leaks again and found another leak that I missed a couple of days ago. So I mixed up another batch of the quick cure tank sealant (AC-240) and made a spot repair. It was near the inboard leading edge. I decided to try to accelerate the curing by placing a space heater next to the sealant. According to the tech sheet you can force cure up to 150 degrees.
Today I cut the hole in the bottom skin for the Gretz pitot mast and fabricated the doubler plates and reinforcement angle. This all had to be self engineered so the process was slow moving, but everything came out good. I ordered some White powder coating to finish the pitot mast. It should be here Tuesday. I also drilled another hole in the first few wing ribs and relocated the magnometer wiring to the new hole.
This afternoon I fabricated the mount for the Garmin Magnometer. I adapted the ADAHRS mount the Van’s designed for Dynon. I also dimpled the J-Stiffeners, aileron gap fairings, flap gap fairs and bottom skins. Tomorrow I’m gonna try to get everything primed and ready to rivet. I’m waiting on a few odds and ends from various suppliers before I’m ready to rivet on the bottom skins. I expect to get
Tonight I spent a bunch of time trying to figure out how I could enlarge some of the systems holes that I drilled earlier. Based on Van’s wiring and pitot routing, the plans are optimized for using the Dynon ADHRS mounted in the wing. The pitot and AOA lines terminate a few bays shy of the root. So Van’s put’s wire in those holes once you get inboard of that location.
Today I leak tested the tanks. I pressurized the tanks to about 1 psi and spray soapy water all over them. The left tank came up leak free! The right tank however showed a couple of leaks on the outside corners. So I mixed up some fast cure sealant and resealed the leaky areas. Hopefully I’ll be able to retest tomorrow or Monday. After I resealed the right tank I mounted the left tank to the wing assembly.
Tonight I fabricated the landing light lens for the right wing. I also installed the Aeroled landing light and began wiring the right wing Landing light and lens installed Landing light lens fabricated and ready to go in Autopilot servo, aileron trim servo and light wires installed
Tonight I fabricated the landing light lens for the left wing. I had worked on it a couple of weeks ago but I cracked it. The replacement got delivered last week. Take two and all went well. I also installed the Aeroled landing light and began wiring the left wing Landing light with lens installed Had to make spacers for the landing light bracket. Decided to use the lathe to
Today I finished riveting and sealing both fuel tanks. I am glad that’s over and done with. Building the fuel tanks is a super unpleasant task. This is the second time I’ve built fuel tanks, and each time I’ve said never again! Glad it’s done. Now I need to wait till the weekend and let the sealant cure before leak testing them. Fuel level sensor (float) installed Rear baffles and Z-Brackets installed.
Today I riveted in the J-Stiffener and tank attach bracket into the right tank. Then I installed vent line and inboard rib in both tanks. Then it Wendy came down and helped me apply sealant to all the rivet heads in the inboard and outboard rib joints. Next up I need to fit the fuel level floats, then I can install the rear baffle and Z-Brackets. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on the tanks.
Today Wendy and I finished riveting the ribs into the left and right tanks. We still need to rivet the J-Stiffener and attach bracket on the right tank. Then i’ll install the vent line and fuel float sensor. Then it will be time to close up the tanks. Wendy laying down tank sealant Left fuel tank with ribs installed
Today Wendy and I continued riveting the fuel tanks. We were able to rivet all the stiffeners, the fuel cap flange and the drain flange on both tanks. We also got started riveting the ribs into the left tank, but we ran out of steam for the day. We’ll continue riveting them in tomorrow. Wendy standing proud next to the tank skin with the stiffeners, and flanges riveted in Left
Today Wendy worked with me in the shop. First we dimpled both of the tank skins. Then we began the tank riveting process by riveting the parts onto the inboard tank ribs Wendy applying tank sealant to the mating surfaces we're about to rivet together Fuel tank skins dimpled
Today was a real short session. I primed and riveted the tank attach parts.
Tonight I continued work on the fuel tanks. A lot of drilling, deburring, dimpling and countersinking. I still have the tank skins to dimple and then the riveting will begin. Dimpled the tank stiffeners Separated and deburred the tank attach Zs Tank attach Zs deburred, countersunk and nutplates installed Countersunk fuel cap flange Deburred, drilled and countersunk the tank attach brackets and shims
Today Wendy came down to the shop to help with another riveting session. We got the leading edge of the right wing riveted on. Time to start on the fuel tanks =) Both wings, with there outboard leading edges riveted on
Tonight I started working on the fuel tanks. I got all the ribs drilled, deburred and dimpled. Then I fabricated the tank stiffeners and vent line retainer clips. I also drilled the holes for the finger strainer flange in the inboard tank rib. Tanks stiffeners all cut to shape and deburred Tank ribs drilled, deburred and dimpled Tanks stiffenrs and vent line clips
Wing cradle Wendy helping me rivet the left leading edge to the wing assembly Leading edge riveted on You cant see it in this picture but the lens is cracked near one of the holes. I'll have to order a new one and remake it :(
Today Wendy came down to the shop to help me rivet the right leading edge together. She really is my “Rosie the Riveter”! Wendy bucking the rivets
Today I riveted the left leading edge parts. It started with a lot of nut plate riveting. Then I had to get the assembly clecoed together, which is a project in and of itself. Afterwards Zak came over and helped me rivet the skins to the ribs. Big thanks Zak! Riveted the nutplates to the landing light backing plates Riveted the nutplates to the landing light mount bracket Nutplates riveted to the access plate doubler Nutplates riveted to the splice strips Put flush rivets in the holes that come pilot drilled for the stall warner.
Today was a short day, being Thanksgiving. I did manage to get all the parts for the leading edges primed. Next up is riveting
The leading edge in the cradle. I had to install all the ribs so that I could drill out the top hole of each rib and drill out the j-stiffeners Wendy came down and helped me dimple the leading edge skins. I all finished deburring and dimpling the other small items The cutouts for the landing lights come pre-cut into the leading edge in the RV-14, but the edges are jagged from the CNC cutter.
Today I started the day off building cradles to hold the leading edge assemblies while building them. Then I started preparing the ribs. The usual edge deburing and fluting followed by drilling out all of the holes to full size and them dimpling then. I also had to modify a few of the ribs per the plans. I finished the day off by cutting the splice strip off off the fuel tank skins and deburring/dimpling it.
Today Wendy helped me for round 3 of the riveting of the top wing skins. We managed to get all the rivets in the top right skins driven. Now it’s on to the leading edges! We were having fun! Wendy doing her Rosie the Riveter pose!
Today Wendy helped me for round 2 of the riveting of the top wing skins. We managed to get all the rivets driven. Tomorrow we’re going to try and knock out the right wing. I've got the best wife!
Today I finished deburring the top skins of the wings. Then Wendy came down to the shop and helped me dimpled all of the skins. Later on Zak came over and helped me prime the skins. In the evening Wendy put on her “Rosie the Riveter” hat on and helped me start riveting the top skins. We go about a 3rd of the way done with the left wing before we decided to call it a night.
Today I finished riveting the rear wing spars. Then I began working on the top skins. I got the inboard top skin drilled and countersunk for both wings. Tomorrow I’ll get start on getting the skins dimpled and primed. The left wing box after riveting on the rear spar Inboard skin clecoed on for drilling and countersinking
Today I finished drilling the left rear spar. Then I countersunk/dimpled the holes in the spar flanges. Afterwards I primed all the rear spar pieces. Once the primer dried I started riveting on the rear spars. I was able to get the left one complete. Tomorrow I should be able to wrap up the right one. The rear spars and their pieces all primed Aileron hinge brackets riveted together Left rear spar riveted on Another shot of the left rear spar riveted on Left spar all done.
Tonight I worked on the rear spars. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures. I did get a lot of work done though. Assembled the aileron brackets (use parts from the vans service bulletin) Back drilled the rear spar doubler plates Cut out the hole in the rear spar doubler plates for the aileron push/pull rod Match drilled the inboard doubler, ribs and reinforcement plates for the right wing. Should be able to wrap up the left wing tomorrow and get everything primed.
Tonight I riveted the ribs to the main spar. Then I torqued down the bolts for for the ribs. Finally I installed the snap bushings into the ribs.
I started the day out with drilling the systems holes in the wing ribs. There were a lot of holes to drill, so I set up a couple of work stops on the mill and was able to knock out drilling the holes pretty quick. Then the holes need to be deburred. In the afternoon Wendy joined in and helped me get the hole deburring finished. Then we scuffed/cleaned the ribs and brackets parts and in preperation for priming.
Tonight I continued work on the wing ribs. I started with cleaning up and deburring the torque tub assembly parts. Then I drill the appropriate holes to final size. Next I spent some time getting the flap hinge bracket plates mostly straight. They arrive a bit bowed and you have to put them in a vice and show them a little love with a hammer before they can be used. Next I back-drilled the flap hinge bracket assembly to the ribs for both the left and right wings.
Tonight Wendy came down to the shop and helped me drill, debur and dimple all of the wing ribs. It was a monotonous job, but it had to get done. Big thanks to Wendy! Wendy and I drilling out the holes in the wing ribs Wendy dimpling the holes on the wing ribs Wendy's peeling the plastics off the ribs while I deburred them with the die grinder All the ribs deburred, drilled and dimpled.
Today was a short day, then it was of to the Acworth Beer Festival =) I did manage to debur, prime and attach the aileron bellcrank brackets to the spars. The right aileron bellcrank bracket, which includes provisions for the autopilot servo Left aileron bellcrank bracket
Tonight I finished riveting the nutplates onto the spar. Then it was time to countersink all of the holes in the spar flanges. After that I primed the spar flanges since the countersinking removes the anodized coating. Tank attach nutplates in the spar web The access plate nutplates riveted in More nutplates All the bazillion holes in the spar flanges countersunk The spar flanges and tiedowns primed
Tonight was a lot of drlling and countersinking. I drilled out the remaining holes in the spar flanges and then counterunk the holes for the fuel tank and access plate nutplates. After installing the nutplates for the tank attach screws I countersunk the holes. Tomorrow I’ll finishing install the nutplates for the wing access convers. Counterinking the rivet holes for the nutplates Nutplate holes countersunk The tank attach nutplates installed
Yesterday the wing crates were delivered. Zak came over and helped me unpack and inventory everything. A couple of parts were missing and one item was back-ordered. I contacted Van’s today and there going to get the missing parts sent out to me. Tonight I got start on the main wing spar section. I fabricated and drilled out the Wing Box J-Channels for both wings Picture of the left wing
The wing crates were delivered today. Zak came over and helped me unpack and inventory everything. Big thanks Zak! A couple of parts were missing and one item was back-ordered. I’ll contact Van’s tomorrow and have them send out the missing parts and get an ETA on the back-ordered item. Wing crate # 1 Wing crate # 2
Today I finished the contour standing and filler for the horizontal tip fairings The fairings after some sanding and body filler
Today I started glassing in the horizontal stabilizer tip fairings. I started by cutting foam to match the shape of the fairings. Then I glassed them in using a couple of layers of glass cloth. Once that cured, I applied a thick coating of epoxy/micro-balloons that I could sand and shape into the final contour. Tomorrow I’ll do the final contour sanding and use a little bit of bondo/body filler to for the finishing touches.
Today I was able to get both of the elevator tip fairings installed. Then I temporarily mounted the elevators onto the horizontal stabilizer so I could trim and fit the horizontal stabilizer tip fairings. Tomorrow I’m going to do some glass work and glass the ends in for a nice finish. Right elevator fairing riveted on Left elevator fairing taped in position for drilling Holes drilled in the left elevator
Tonight I started off by tapping the 4-40 holes in the tail light bracket from last night. Then I moved onto trimming, drilling and riveting on the top rudder fairing. Then I got started on the right elevator fairing. After trimming and drilling the fairing it was time to countersink the holes in the fiberglass. I got a little overzealous with the countersink and ended up wallowing out some of the holes to large…so the blind rivets weren’t going to grab on some of the holes.
Tonight I drilled the holes in the lower rudder fairing and mounting tabs on the rudder. Then I installed the nutplates onto the mounting tabs on the rudder. After that I riveted and epoxied the mounting bracket for tail light in to the back of the rudder fairing. Holes drilled in the rudder fairing and the nutplates holes drilled out in the mounting tabs Riveting the nutplates to the mounting
Tonight I squeezed a quick hour in a trimmed the lower rudder fairing. Started to trim the fairing Test fitting the fairing to the bottom of the rudder
Today I match drilled the horizontal stabilizer to the aft fuselage. That about does for aft fuselage work for now. I’ll be working on the fiberglass tips for the next few weeks until the wings arrive The horizontal stabilizer mounted to the aft fuselage Had to use the angle drill in order to drill the lower holes A proud man!
Today Zak came over to help out. We spent the afternoon drilling the holes in elevator horns. It was slow going but we did a good job. We had to machine a drill guide on the lathe to make sure we drilled the holes in the horns perpendicular. Zak putting the bolts and nuts on to mount the elevator so we could drill the holes Machining the drill guide on
Tonight Wendy came down and helped me mount the elevators to the horizontal stabilizer for the first time. It took a lot of trial and error to get the bearing adjusted for the proper clearance between the leading edge of the elevators and the rear spars of the horizontal stabilizer. Next up i’m going to match drill the holes in the elevators horns, which is is a slow and tedious process because you want everything to be precise.
Tonight I riveted the rib and j-stiffener to the top skin. Then I dimpled and deburred the side skin. I won’t be able to rivet either of these skins on at this time, because I won’t be able to get the assembly out of my shop, into the basement with the side skins on. So I’ll have to leave them off to the side until later in the project, when I’m ready to mate the rear fuselage to the aft half.
Tonight I got a little bit of work done on the plane. I temporarily mounted the Vertical Stabilizer so I could back drill a couple of holes for mounting bolts. Then I dimpled and primed the top skins of the aft fuselage. The vertical stabilizer mounted to the aft fuselage. Looks pretty cool! The top skin and components dimpled and primed.
Tonight I primed the parts for the aft deck and then riveted them together. I had to do some match drilling for some brackets as well. I also ran the antenna cable for the ELT. The aft deck primed and clecoed on. I'm back drilling holes into the horizontal stabilizer attach bracket. The aft deck riveted on The molex connector for the trim servo. The hole in the aft deck comes milled by vans to fit the connector perfectly.
Tonight was a short night. I installed the static ports and static tubing. Then I did some wire cleaning up. The static tubing connected to the port. RTV sealant is used to make sure it doesn't come loose. Another shot of the static runs to both sides of the fuselage
Tonight I started out by riveting the reinforcement angles located in the aft most compartment. Then I riveted on the rudder stops. Then it was time for the nut plate in the aft compartment to be riveted on. Lastly I ran the UAT cable to the back of the fuselage Rudder stops riveted on Had to dimple the nut plate before installing them Nut plates installed Rudder cable guide installed
Today was a marathon of riveting. Zak came over and put in some hours to help me get the aft fuselage side skins and bottom skin riveted. Big thanks Zak! The aft fuselage with the side skins and bottom skins all riveted together
Tonight I primed the the side skins and longerons. Then I started to install systems components like the rudder cables and wiring harness while access is still good. Then Wendy came down and helped me get the assembly clecoed together for riveting. Aft lowe skin and aft bulkhead riveted together Side skins and lower skin/bulkhead assembly clecoed in place The aft bulkheads and some of the systems wires Some of the systems wires and rudder cables.
Tonight Wendy came down into the shop to help me do some riveting on the aft fuselage. Then she helped me dimple some large skins (she’s the best wife!). I countersunk the longerons and dimpled the last of the j stiffeners. Tomorrow I’ve got some priming to do before it’s back to some more riveting Bottom skin riveted to the bulkheads Another shot of the bottom skin riveted on Aft side skins dimpled Longeron countersunk I got my new c-frame rise table kit from cleavland tools today.
Tonight I got started on riveting the aft fuselage together. First I had to dimple and prime the j-stiffeners, bottom skin and the forward aft fuselage bulkhead. I finished the night getting several of the bulkheads clecoed to the bottom skin. Tomorrow I’ll start riveting them on. Dimpling the j-stiffeners Dimpling the bottom skins Forward aft fuselage bulkhead dimpled, primed and nutplates riveted on Battery angles riveted to the forward
Tonight I worked on assembling the aft fuselage bulkheads. Drilling, dimpling, priming and riveting them. I also did some work on the battery tray brackets. Aft fuselage bulkhead riveted together. The ears sticking up will be used to mount the horizontal stabilizer later Next aft fuselage bulkhead deburred, dimpled, primed and riveted together. The tab on the bottom is a guide for the rudder cables Another aft fuselage bulkhead deburred,
Tonight I started off fabricating the rudder stops. Then I moved onto to bulkhead work. I got two bulkheads drilled, dimpled, primed and riveted. It’s started to get late but I managed to get one more drilled, dimpled and primed. I’ll have to rivet it together tomorrow. I tried using the Stewart Systems waterborne primer on the first bulkhead tonight. It worked pretty nice, but doesn’t dry nearly as fast as the SEM EZ Coat I’ve been using.
Today I got started on the aft fuselage, also called the “tail cone”. It was mostly prep work like trimming and fabricated brackets. I did get to use my milling machine for something! That was fun! This is what I've got ahead of me in the next section These brackets had to be cut apart and trimmed and deburred Trimmed the end off this bracket per the plans Had to do some fabricating on this bracket.
Tonight I got the elevators finished! I even got to do a little electrical and safety wiring!. Time to move on to the aft fuselage. Now that the sealant is cured I finished riveting the trailing edges elevators. Here's the right elevator Left elevator trailing edge complete Trimmed and bent the end of the trim tab hinge so it can be safety wired once installed Time to safety wire the hinge.
Tonight I got most of the riveting done on the elevators. The trailing edge ribs are glued in with sealant and now all that remains is to rivet the trailing edge tomorrow, after the sealant cures. I started the night blind riveting the forward ribs to the forward spar Some new toys for the shop. The pneumatic squeezer and long reach yoke are going to be great additions to the shop.
Today I got more elevator riveting done. I think it should take one more session. Started with back-riveting the remaining elevator ribs Then I riveted the rear spar of both elevators using this 'special' bucking bar that I bought from Cleveland Tools. It's specifically design for this step in the RV-14. It made bucking the rivets in this location possible. Without it it would have been a tough day. Another shot of the bucking bar.
Tonight I continued riveting the elevators together. Riveting the rear spar to the top left skin Back-riveting the lower rib halves to the top left skin. It's nice having the steal table. I can just back rivet directly on it, no need to use a back riveting plate. Lower right elevator skin with the bottom ribs riveted on Back-riveting the bottom halves of the ribs onto the lower left elevator
Today I got all the parts for both the left and right elevators primed. Then I started the process of riveting the elevators together. Elevator skin primed Spars and other parts primed Riveting the counterbalance ribs together using the c-frame. Elevator spar and ribs riveted together Counterbalance skins riveted on Elevator horns riveted on.
Today I spent the entire day in the shop trying to make up for all the time I’ve been spending on Wendy’s barn, 10 hours today. Below is a list of stuff I got done: Dimpled Elevator skins Dimpled, Primed and Did some riveting on the trim servo reinforcement plate Countersunk/Dimpled the elevator spars Dimpled the elevator ribs Primed and Riveted the Elevator Trim Pushrod Dimpled, Countersunk and Primed the trim tab spar Dimpled and Primed the trim tab skins Bonded the trim tab foam ribs with Fuselage Sealant Riveted the trim tab together I got so busy I forgot to take pictures till the end when I was riveting the trim tab together The foam ribs get bonded in with tank/fuselage sealant The smell of this stuff reminds of building the fuel tanks on my first plan...good times!
Today was a short day. I spent most of the day installing fence for Wendy’s barn. I did manage to get some work done on the elevators. Most of the work was around trimming and countersinking the trailing edges. Also did a bunch of countersinking on the spars. Unfortunately I only took one picture :( Back drilling the trim tab hinges.
Tonight I continued work on the Elevators. First I had to trim some of the material off the trim tab skins. Then I made the bends in the left elevator skins, where they overlap near the trim tab. Only I bent both skins in the wrong direction…so I had to take my time and fix that before moving on. Then I finished off the night with clecoing both the elevators together to be setup for the next steps tomorrow.
Tonight I started work on the Elevators. There was a lot of prep work on small parts tonight. First I had to cut and separate the forward elevator rib halves. Then I cut and separated the rib shear clips. Finally I cut and sanded the foam aft elevator ribs. The forward elevator ribs before being cut and deburred. Notice the black pen lines, they indicate where the ribs need to
Today I finished riveting the Horizontal Stabilizer. Zak came out and hung out for a few hours and tried his hand at riveting. Today became one of those trying days when missing a simple detail in the instructions results in almost two hours of rework. I ended up riveting the rear spar in upside, and caught after setting the 200 rivets that hold it in…so it was a nice long session of drilling out rivets before re-riveting the rear spar back in, this time in the correct orientation.
Today I countersunk the Horizontal Stabilizer spars. 200 holes each, for a total of 400 countersunk holes. Then I got started on riveting the Horizontal Stab together. I ran out of steam about half way through. I should be able to wrap up the riveting tomorrow. The rib and spar structure riveted together The Horizontal Stab in the cradles I built. The riveting is about half way done at this point.
Today I dimpled and primed the Horizontal Stabilizer skins. I also primed the remaining ribs. A little more countersinking and I’ll be ready to rivet everything together. Wendy came down tonight and helped me dimple the skins. It's much easier with a second person.
I started the day off building cradles that Van’s calls for. There used to hold the Horizontal Stabilizer for final assembly. After that I riveted the doublers onto the front spar. I finished up the night deburring and dimpling all the ribs. Tomorrow I’ll get them primed and ready for riveting. The Horizontal Stabilizer cradles. They'll get clamped to the workbench during final assembly The front spar with the doublers
Tonight I continued work on the Horizontal Stabilizer. Most of the work was on the forward spar. Similar to the work I did yesterday on the rear spar. A lot of back drilling, deburing and countersink. I managed to get all the parts primed before calling it a night. Should be able to rivet the fwd spar components together tomorrow. Rear spar and doubler after being primed Spar reinforcements after
Today I started working on the Horizontal Stabilizer. Most of the work was on the rear spar. It involved match drilling and the doubler and the spar. Then I primed both of them and riveted them together. Afterwards I match drilled and riveted on the hinge brackets. Deburring the rear spar The doubler riveted to the rear spar I used the C-Frame to rivet the hinge brackets on The rear spar, doubler and hinges riveted on, with all parts primed.
Today I finished riveting the rudder together. All that’s left is the do the fiberglass fairings. Vans has you circle back at the end and do the fairings on all the control surfaces last. I like that idea, I want the limit the number of times I have to mess around with fiberglass. Next up is the Horizontal Stabilizer. The rudder all riveted together Another picture of the rudder all
Today I finished dimpling the rudder parts and countersunk the trailing edge wedge. Next I back riveted the rudder ribs halves on to the corresponding skin. Tomorrow I’ll tackle the dredged trailing edge wedge riveting A bazillion countersinks had to be machined into both sides of the wedge The rib halves and shear clips riveted to the skin
Today I started the day off with a priming session. I got all of the rudder parts primed. Then I did some fabricating work on the trailing edge wedge. After that, it was on to dimpling the rudder skins and stiffeners. I’ve got a bit more dimpling to do and then it’s on to riveting it all together. Rudder skins primed Rudder stiffeners are primed Rudder spar and doublers primed
Tonight I continued work on the rudder. It was mostly more deburring (I had to debur the large skins) and some minor drilling operatings. Tomorrow I’m going to get everything primed. Most of the rudder parts all deburred and ready to be primed A few more parts waiting to be primed.
Tonight I got started on the rudder. The first few steps are to some part trimming and a lot of deburring. That took up most of the night. Tomorrow should be a little more exciting ;) Many of the parts tonight came attached together and had to be cut apart, trimmed and deburred An example of some of the trimming. Van's had really made the tasks pretty trivial with the RV-14.
Tonight I wrapped up the work on the Vertical Stabalizer. All thats left is the fiberglass fairing and some other minor task, but Van’s has you work on that later. So it’s on to the rudder tomorrow. I used the C-Frame to rivet the spar doubler and brackets on. The doubler and brakets riveted on. At the end of the night, I've got a Vertical Stabalizer!
I jumped right in this morning and started on the Vertical Stabilizer. Each task today took me a few minutes to knock the rust off, and then it was like old times. Todays tasks were: Match drill, debur, dimple and prime the lower rear spar doubler Rivet on the lower rear spar doubler Cleco together and match drill VS ribs and spars Cleco the skin to the ribs and spars, then match drill all the holes.
I spent the afternoon finishing inventory and doing some last minute organizing. I organized all the hardware and small parts into bins. It was time consuming, but should result in a faster build since I won’t have to go digging for parts and hardware as I work. Parts layed out for inventorying. I put them on shelves when I was done. Don't want to ruin the ping pong table! Large skins in the corner all accounted for Spars and doublers Spars and doublers Each line item had to be accounted for Nuts, bolts and other hardware, organized by size Drawers of rivets and miscellaneous parts.
Went to the loading dock to pick it up If you know me, you know I’m impatient. The crate for the empennage/aft fuselage arrived at the local loading dock this morning, and they were set to deliver it Monday….but I couldn’t wait! So Wendy and I hopped into the truck and took a drive over to the Old Dominion loading dock in Lithia Springs and loaded it into the back of the pickup.
The hasn’t shipped yet, and I know as soon as it get’s hear i’m gonna want to go heads down. So I decided to use the extra time to keep getting the shop as organized as I can. Wendy has been helping me organizing things. We reorganized my big toolbox. I have a lot of “random” tools and doo-dads. So we’ve be trying to categorize things and put them in plastic containters.
Tried some priming techniques Today I tried spraying the Sherwin William P60 G2 Wash Primer that I purchased. I experimented with brushing it on as well. Turns out i’m allergic to it when I spray it. This isn’t the first primer i’ve been allergic to. When building my first plan I used Dupont’s Variprime and it made me itch every time I came in contact with it. Doesn’t seem like I have an allergic reaction once it dries, so I’m gonna stick with brushing and rolling it on for now.
Re-organizing the shop In preparation for the arrival of the empennage and tailcone kit I started to reorganize the shop for more working space. Not done yet, but made a ton of progress. The dirt bikes are still in the way, but that should be rectified when Wendy’s barn and garage get delivered in the beginning of September Look at that clean table! Things are getting more organized
Building the RV-14A It’s time to get back one the horse. Today I placed my order for the tail kit of the Van’s RV-14A. For a while now I have been debating whether to pull the trigger. I’ve struggled not having a project to sink myself into. After some deep soul searching, and doing some convincing with Wendy, we made the decision to ride the crazy train again! :) More updates to come soon!