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. :)

June 4th, 2017 - move to KCPK - late April 2017

I've been on the waiting list for a hangar at my local airport, Chesapeake Regional (KCPK) since Dec.  I knew I needed to get the project moved because there were too many things I could not proceed with until I got the wings on and did some other stuff.

We finally had an opening in late March which allowed a chapter member to move into his own hanger. That freed up our chapter hangar in mid April.  I moved out to the hanger the next weekend, April 22.

I kicked around a lot of ideas for moving the plane, particularly the fuselage.  I have one friend that was able to get his RV-6A (with the gear on) into a 26' U Haul.  The gear on a -9 must be wider, because I'd have had to have pulled my legs in 3 or 4 inches to have a hope of getting it into the door. Scratch one option.

I have another friend that has a 26' farm equipment trailer, but the more I thought about that the less comfortable I was.

I finally decided to get someone that did hauling for a living and called a local hauling company with a  Roll Back wrecker.  I talked to the owner and he was so intrigued (plus concerned about being able to do it without damaging it) that he decided to come himself. :)  My kind of guy.

They did a great job.  After 6 years of work nearly to the day, this ended up being pretty surreal to me.  I never dreamed I'd have my own plane at an airport.  Pretty cool.


Moved the fuse over to the door so I could just roll it out when they got there.

Yes Virginia, it does fit through the door.  About an inch to spare on each side.

I don't have any pictures of the gawkers, but we had a lot of strange stares.  I think someone called the police because a cruiser came by in the middle of the proceedings, then did a U turn at the corner and left.  :)

Driving through town on the way to the airport.  Man did they slow up some traffic.  One girl jogging nearly fell of the curb - she looked back 4 or 5 times.  Pretty funny.

Clear of town on the way to CPK.  We did hit a pretty good shower on the way but it only lasted a minute or two.  Washed off all the dust from working in the garage the last few months.

Getting ready to unload.  Strapping worked great on the way.  Didn't move an inch.  We had it secured fore and aft with webbing, and had cross straps looped over the steps.

We had to roll it down very slowly so we could keep the nose wheel from castering sideways.  I grabbed the tail and helped keep it straight that way.  Once it was on the ramp it was easy to just pull it into the hangar.

In her new home.  Time to start the final push to completion.

Pretty barren at this point.  This is our chapter hangar, which is available for builders when they are close to completion.  Pretty great to have this as an option.

This is a bit later in the week as I'm starting to move stuff out (and put the empennage on just because I could).  I rented a 17' U Haul later in the week and took out all the major parts - wings, benches, roll around tool box, etc.  Took a couple of loads to do all that.

This is the beginning of the time we all look forward to: putting stuff on for the final time.