Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday, Nov 23rd, 2017 - DAR (no pics), transition training (no pics), First Flight, Second Flight

Happy Thanksgiving!

:) my ADS/B works.  Tracking from this morning's flight.

Ok, I'm miles behind on my posts, so I'll cut to the chase and try to back fill later.

DAR inspection by Brooks Smith on Monday, October 30th, 2017.  No squawks other than I forgot to put my N number on the panel where the PIC could see it.  :)  Not a requirement actually, but a good idea.  I have my operating limitations and test area.  Time to get ready to fly this bird.

Transition training with Tim Ribble in his RV-6A.  Totally forgot to take pictures.  Did 2 flights - first was 1.5 hours and pretty much wore me out.  I've been flying a Cherokee for the last 6 years or so and getting used to the acceleration and performance really took some getting used to.  Climb out at 1500+ fpm dual (Cherokee solo on a good day *maybe* 800fpm), and if I wasn't careful I'd be 120kts downwind, which the Cherokee can only do in a dive.

But what a blast to fly.

We did all the usual things - steep turns, turns around a point, power off and power on stalls, accelerated stalls, slips, power off landings, slow flight, unusual attitudes, etc.  Then went back and did about a dozen landings.  After about the 5th I was starting to get the hang of it, and of the 10 or 12 I had a couple (including the last one) that you couldn't even tell you landed.  Called it quits for the day and determined to do another flight after digesting all the info.

We were back at it just practicing landings on 11/14.  We had a pretty decent crosswind 10 G 15 about 30-40 off the nose, so it was really good practice.  On about the 3rd or 4th I knew I had it - I was pretty much nailing every one.  I think on the 5th one (which Tim said was perfect) he turned to me and said you're ready.  I totally agreed.  Did one more and packed it in for the day.  Now I just had to wait for good weather for my first flight.

Saturday Nov 18th was supposed cold, dead calm, and CAVU weather - just some high cirrus.  Perfect day.  Friday afternoon I sent out an email announcing a 7am launch to my EAA buds at KCPK.  I got there about 6am to use my engine pre-heat (hair dryer) and the CPK EAA first flight gang showed up to help, support, offer last minute advice, and just keep an eye on things. We had fire extinguishers,  Nick had his handheld and Pete and Glenn had their vehicles should the worst happen.  I briefed everyone on my plans as well as emergency fields if I had a departure problem and couldn't return to the airport.

Glen was out early as I was preheating - offering excellent thoughts and advice from his first flight in his Zenith.  He had a very heavy wing -  a common problem - and we were discussing the best plan to deal with that if I ran into that issue.

Going over the plan with Nick and Glen.  Takeoff runway, emergency landing fields if we have a problem before we can safely land back at the airport, etc.  Nick had his handheld to provide ground communications.

Getting buckled in an ready to go.

Cold  morning - frost on the ground. I think it was around 32 at the airport. Waiting for the oil temps to come up so I can do the run up.

Patti and Connie doing an interpretive dance while they wait to keep warm. :)

Got the engine nice and warm and went wheels up at about 7:15am. The engine ran great and even with a judicious power application (because I was ready to abort at any minute) I was still off in maybe 600 feet and she climbed like pretty much every RV.  I kept the deck angle fairly shallow to help keep the engine cool but I was still seeing 1300+ fpm rates.  Turned downwind and started a racetrack climb to 3000.

Here's a video of the takeoff courtesy of Nick Jones.  I did one final runup on the runway just to make sure she wasn't going to conk out on me.

Dale's RV9A First Flight takeoff

We have some stills of the landing but no video.  I had to swap ends on the runway - the surface winds were dead calm so I was going to stick with 5, but the winds aloft were 30+ and when I turned base I knew I'd never make it.  By the time I tried to turn final my groundspeed was hitting 120kts.  Didn't realize the winds were that high almost down to the runway.

At any rate I probably did the worst end swap in history.  Trying to stay within gliding distance of the airport and in a position to be able to land while at the same time changing to right traffic for 23.  It was truly ugly.  I heard someone on the ground said "what in the heck is he doing?".  It was bad.

At any rate I got turned around and made a much better approach to 23.

Pete saw that swap coming and went down to the end of 23 to catch the landing, so he had some great
stills of it.

The landing was uneventful - very easy plane to land, and after the transition training I felt extremely comfortable.  I was totally prepared to go around and had practiced it up at 4000 in case I needed to, but there was no need and I wanted to land and look everything over after 45 minutes in the air with a new engine.

Safely back on the ground.  There is some shimmy in the nose gear, no side play (I made sure the breakout force was properly set) but there is definitely a rolling resistance.  Nick suggested we balance the nose wheel and I definitely intend to do that.

Very glad to be back safely on the ground and with no unpleasant surprises.

And here's some stitched together video my Dad took (thanks Dad!).  Pete mentioned I definitely have the RV-9 whistle.  You can hear it in the overhead pass on the video.  We have several -9s and other RVs locally and you can always hear them coming in, especially if they are at speed.  Personally I like it. :)

The RV grin. One very happy builder/test pilot.

I had some minor squawks after the first flight (to me anyway).  Interestingly, my D-10 had perfect airspeed, but the altimeter was wonky.  My Skyview had perfect altitude and vertical speed, but the airspeed was zero except when rotating and pitching up to land/slow flight (that's a clue).  I suspected I had the pitot and AOA tubes swapped, and in fact that was the case.

Keeping with the "only change one thing at a time" we use all the time in IT, I swapped the Pitot and AOA at the ADAHRS for the Skyview and left the D10 untouched.

I had one other issue - my SL-40 powered off just after I rotated.  Turned out to be not quite seated in the tray.  I reseated it and got it working again.

After the flight I opened up the cowl - no leaks.  The folks at Aero Sport power did a great job on this engine.  Runs like a champ.  I changed the oil and Nick cut open the oil filter - nothing magnetic and not much metal, which is a good thing.  Ready for the next 10 hours or so.

Given it's dark by the time I get off work, I decided to try to start flying in the morning before I head out to work (that's got to improve the day considerably in my view).

Thanksgiving morning was cool, clear and had light winds, so I headed out at 6 to do my 2nd test flight and hopefully knock out test cards 2 and 3.

Fueled up and took off just a bit after 7am for a 1.5 hour flight.  There was a thin layer just north of the field at 3200 so I went up to 4000 and just hung around doing about 2 mile radius turns around the field, both left and right.

Very happy with my instrument setup - easy to keep both instruments in the scan and I have redundant everything.  (but not the still goofy altitude on the D10 - need to swap AOA & static on that guy).

I was consistently seeing between 122 and 125 KTS air speed at 2400, which is about right without fairings and with the engine still not broken in.  Once I get it all broken in and add the fairings I'll determine if some pitch adjustments are needed on the Sensenich.

KCPK from 4000 on an early morning.  Beautiful day.  Smooth air except right at that layer just to the NE.

Sunrise over the Atlantic to the east - pretty good visibility - I'm guessing 20+ miles.  Really nice day to fly.

I ended up validating my ADS/B this flight, which was great.  I also finished verifying everything on the engine is working correctly, can check off on the Skyview (minus the AOA calibration, which will come later), the SL-40 worked great, so that's fixed.  Also did some steep turns, slow to 65KTS with flap extension and retraction.  Time to move on to airspeed validation and finish breaking in the engine before I do a lot of climbs/descents and stall validations.

Monday, June 26, 2017

June 26th - inboard wing fairings, cowl upper baffles, finish prep for final wing install, final install the wings, start putting the avionics back in

After doing everything I could do with the wings on, I took them back off for what should be the last time (it was).

One thing I don't recall if I mentioned before.  A lot of folks have ideas on how to mark the wing skin holes for match drilling the fuse skin (which is unmarked).  I originally intended to just use a hole finder, but found the fit was too tight for it to work for more than one or two holes.

A friend of mine, Kent, mentioned an idea he had used that is the best I've heard yet.  Rather than just draw straight lines with a mark at a certain distance, Kent suggested drawing two angled lines for each hole.  Once you have the wing assembled you just re-extend the lines onto the fuse skin and you have a cross marking the exact drill spot - you can see the lines I drew.  I actually did one better and drew the straight lines as well.

Every hole came out dead on.  Worked great.

 Drilled all the inboard wing holes to #19, dimpled and installed the K1100-08 nut plates all around.

A couple of the screws had to be trimmed short - they came uncomfortably close to the fuel tank bracket that marries up with the corresponding bracket on the fuse.

Once that was done I added some additional wiring holes in the fuse where the conduit comes through.

I also drilled a 3/4" hole and installed a bushing to allow the pitot and aoa tubing to pass through to connect to the tubes coming from the tail

Spent some time going over all the preparations.  I'd forgotten to install nut plates on one of the access plates on the left wing, so I did that.  Much easier when the wings are on the stands.

Also freaked myself out on the roll servo wiring.  I couldn't figure out why I hadn't run it.  Finally remembered it was rolled up in the fuse because it's a run from a Dynon hub with a couple of extra power lines and the central disconnect.  Since the hub is in the tail and the power/disconnect came from forward, I ran them in reverse and will pull them into the wing now that it's mounted for good.

On Sunday Becca, Greg and my Dad came out and we put the wings on for the last time.  Having been through the process once before helped immensely.  Start to finish it didn't take us much more than 30 minutes for both wings.

Making sure we've got all the bits and pieces ready.  Since Becca is the smallest, she sits on the spar with a light, mirror and the ground down bolts to put them into the spar holes when Greg and I get the wing lined up.

Won't be needing the wing stand any more.  Any RV builder's need one?

Making sure we have the correct wing in place for easy installation.

Becca watched the holes as we moved it into place and told us when to stop.

I'd greased up the spar root, so it slid in pretty easily.  Just a little wiggling and fore and aft to correct the alignment with the fuse.

Using an inspection mirror helps you know when the holes are exactly in line.  The first one is the hardest.

You have to spread the aft spar "hand" with a screwdriver so the aft wing spar can slide into place.

You also have to wiggle the wing up a bit to make sure the wing doesn't hand up on the lower fuse skin and get bent out of shape.

Repeat the operation with the right wing.  We put all 4 hardware store bolts in each side.  I plan to pull them one at a time as I'm installing - that should hold everything in alignment when the close tolerance bolts go into place.

Fini - total time was only about 30 minutes.  Sure helps to have experienced help!  Thanks for taking the pics Dad!

I took a vacation day today, which turned out to be great timing.  A cold front went through last night and this was the best weather we've had in weeks.  High was around 82, but with the low humidity it felt great all day.  Probably should have gone flying but I wanted to get the spars bolted in.

I don't have a lot of pics of the install.  I started with the two upper bolts on each side.  I wiggled the wing until they were as loose as I could get them, then pulled them one at a time, lubed it up and drove it in.

At first I tried a dead blow hammer, but that didn't work very well.  I then tried my plastic Avery hammer (supposed to be used for the dimpling jig but I have a DRDT so I never used mine) They worked great for driving in the bolts.


I froze the bolts in our chapter fridge.  I don't know if it helped or not, but I can tell you it wasn't nearly as horrible as the tales I've heard, so maybe it did.  I read last night that Paul Dye always freezes his (although I think he uses dry ice, which is much colder than any freezer).

At any rate I started at 8am, and had all 8 bolts in by just after 9:30, although they were not torqued yet, and the bottom ones didn't have the nuts on yet.  Getting those on behind the gear weldments on an "A" model are tough.

*Don't* forget to put washers on all the lower bolts on the head side.  Twice I forgot and had to pull the bolt back out so I could put it in.

Also, do *NOT* drive the lower AN7 bolts all the way in - just leave enough thread to get the nut started, then use a ratchet/wrench to pull it home and tighten it up.

I was able to wedge a 5/8" wrench in place that allowed me to tighten all 4 lower bolts.

Right side large bolts done, working on the lower 1/4" (yes, you'll notice I forgot the washer). :<  Argh.  Had to pull it back out, which took longer than getting it in.

All the bolts in place, including the AN4-13A's that go in the nut plates in the middle.

Vent and fuel lines connected.  If anyone wonders, I found that several folks said 3" works well, and I can confirm that 3" for the vent line was perfect.

I'm using Tom's braided lines for the fuel lines, so they were a non-issue.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 4th - May 2017 - install empennage, first wing fitting, misc

After moving everything to the airport in late April, I spent a few days getting everything set up.

At first it was very inefficient - having to move tools back in forth (keeping them in my car trunk) and trying to get things I needed to the airport when I needed them.

The airport is 20 minutes away from my house on a good day, and with traffic it's often 30 minutes.  Getting there and finding I didn't have some necessary part or tool was very frustrating.

It didn't take me long to get some shelving set up so I had somewhere to put things, as well as a portable camp table to use as a temporary desk.

The other thing I didn't realize is how much time can be spent by talking to people that come by (which is a blessing, but can be a bit time waster).  We are fortunate to have a very active building and flying community in our local chapter.  There are probably a dozen guys with either projects or flying aircraft at CPK, so there is a lot of help and eyes to make sure you aren't doing something stupid.

At any rate I decided I had to have a schedule I could depend on, so I worked out a deal with my wife.  Tues and an Thurs evenings I go straight to the airport from work and don't get home til 9, and Saturdays I'm there all day until 6.  That way she can plan when we do go out and know I'll be home if she needs something.  That was one of the best decisions I've made so far after moving.  I can spend my lunch hour planning work sessions and getting my punch/finish lists down pat, and when I get out to the airport I can hit the ground running.

Ironically week nights are by far the most productive.  All the builders pretty much leave each other alone and we work away.  If we do need help it's literally next door.  Pretty great.

The first thing I did was install the empennage - horizontal stab first, then vertical stab, then rudder, then elevators.

I finally installed the cable fairings I made so long ago on a rainy day.

And pulled the manual trim cable through the holes.  What a bear.  Hopefully that was the last time.

Once that was done I got my kids to come out Sunday afternoon after church and lunch and we installed the wings so I could lay out the flap holes, root fairings, drill the rear spar, etc.

Becca did the honors inside with the bolts.  Greg and I wiggled, aligned and cajoled.  I used hardware store bolts that I had ground down considerably, so they went in reasonably easily.  I also lubed up the bolts and spar fairly liberally to prevent galling and to make it slide together more easily.

Both wings done.  Only took us about an hour, and cost me a couple of Blizzards.  Well worth it!  Finally looks like an airplane. :)

Now it's time to start working on all the stuff I need to do before I install the wings permanently.

First order of business - check the sweep.  Ended up being 1/8" forward on both wings.

Check the rear spar edge distance.  Looks good.

Start enlarging the flap pushrod exit holes.

At this point I noticed there was no way to get the bolts through the flap actuator weldment from outboard (which is what the plans showed).  I started to shorten some up, then changed my mind - leaving them like that would drive me nuts.  I just removed the weldment and installed them properly.

After twiddling with the sweep (really hard to get 1/8" out - turned out to be hard to move the tip just enough - very easy to blow right past the distance.  1/8" over 12 feet isn't much.

As good as I can get it.

After setting the incidence on both wings, drilled a #40 hole.  Then remeasured about a million times. :)

Fabricated the forward fuselage fuel tank attach points, then match drilled them to the fuse.

And to each other.

Clecoed on the inboard fairings so I could match drill them.  Need to drill them to size so I can install nut plates.  Also may have to trim them at the inboard side a bit (at least forward) to allow the gap seal to fit.

June 3 & 4.  Among other things, I final drilled the rear spar to size.

Doing the left side my drill bit broke, so I had to drive it out with a pin punch.  Fun times.

Left side drilled to size.  Big sigh of relief.  Glad to have this done.

Pretty good progress in the last month.  Get some more stuff wrapped up and I can start thinking about first engine run and fuel tests.

My friend Tim helped me finish the riveting on the forward skins on Wed afternoon.  (I forgot to take pictures of that) Now that that is done I can start reinstalling the avionics and get all the lines reinstalled.  That also opens the door to reinstall the panel and engine cabling. :)