Total time: 3030 hours.
Misc: 20.0

Got our special airworthiness certificate! This marks the official end of the build. There is still work to do, but since in the eyes of the state, I have an airplane I can legally fly, I will no longer be tracking my time.

Now just have to sort out a few squawks and we’re ready to fly.

  • Prop Governor issue (was bad cal in tach)
  • replace overhead air servo
  • fuel flow test
  • arm and test ELT
  • clean fouled plugs
  • plug unused nutplate in firewall
  • verify GPS getting to ELT
  • fix fuel leak in tunnel
  • FAA inspection
  • Recheck flap/aileron rigging
  • Adjust oil line to avoid rubbing on air box
  • add some “cushion” to the forward stops in the engine controls.

… Update … Service Bulletin 632 was just released by Lycoming. Looks like our first flight will be delayed for a little bit longer.



Wing & Tail Feathers

total: 2918.5
Wing attach: 42.0
Tail feathers: 30.0

Wing attached. Tail feathers attached. Fairings fitted. Wing root fairings still need a little trimming in order to fit some rubber trim. But other than that, done.

Had to replace right torque tube because of interference. Had to increase a spacer because of interference in right aileron where it attaches to wing.

Leading Edge/Tanks on Spars

Total time: 694.1 hours
Since Last Time: 33.0 hours
Leading Edges: 75.0 hours

This time we’ve got a two month span since the last post. The leading edges are now complete with leading edge landing/taxi lights in place. The leading edges and tanks are now on the spars. Lot’s of pictures with little to talk about.

The best thing was the birth of Amelia in early September:




Hours: 1.5
Assembly 24.5

Finished the modification to allow the lower rudder fairing to be removable.  The plans call for pop rivets but I decided to follow what some other builders did and install nut-plates in this fairing so that it can be easily removed.  I don’t think I’ll do the same thing with the other fairings in the tail, but this one needs to have a light installed in it later.  Now it can be removed easily and reinstalled which will allow the light to installed and maintained more easily.

I had some help in this from both Daniel and Zachary.  One helped me trim the fairing to fit and the other helped with riveting the nut-plates in place.
I’ve now done all I’m going to do on the tail section before we get into a hangar (several years from now).


Hours: 9.5
Assembly: 23.0

Several little things here.  First, the wiring for the electric trim-tab servo is now complete and waiting for a cable to be plugged into it.  This of course will happen a very long time from now when the airplane is almost complete.  But I took some time to make it easy on myself later.  I bought some nice locking connectors, soldered the wires in place and mounted the connector in a spot which will make it “easy” to reach when the trim tab servo is mounted.  One thing I learned is that in the future, I’m going to get a wire crimper and connectors that take crimped pins rather than the solder cups.  Once the wires are soldered to the cups, it’s not possible to get the heat-shrink tubing around it.  This wasn’t a problem here since I slid the heat-shrink tubing on before soldering, but in the end, I could have used longer tubing for a better look and then another, larger diameter heat shrink tube over that whole thing to give it some more strain-relief.  This one is fine, but in the future, I’ll be crimping instead of soldering.

Also included the pin-out right here in this blog so that I’ll always be able to find it when I need it.  I do have the sheet I took the picture of in my airplane folder, but just in case I lose it, it’ll be here too.

Then Scott and I got the elevators fully attached to the horizontal stabilizer.  This was described in a previous post.  It was more of the same.  But now the job is finished.  Both elevators are aligned and had holes drilled into the control horns, etc.  They’re ready to go when we’re ready to go.  One thing I had to do was figure out how many turns the bearings could be backed out and still be safe.  I found out that they need to be fully engaged to the nut-plate that they screw into.  That means that all the threads have to be in play, so to speak.  I found this position by counting threads.  There are 6 full revolutions of threads in the nut plate.  This means that after 6 full revolutions of the bearing, all threads are in play.  This is the point at which the bearing can’t be backed out any further.  I then turned them in and counted the turns until the starting spot as indicated by the plans were reached.  I counted 1.5 turns.  To get the elevator to swing freely over the full range prescribed in the plans (30 degrees up and 25 degrees down) we pretty much had to back all but one of the bearings out that 1.5 turns.  When I checked up on this, I discovered that many of the other builders had the same experience.

Finally, I got back to the trim-tab anchors.  The plans call for these to be riveted to the cover plate.  But long ago, I decided to buy better anchors (it is agreed by most everyone that the anchors supplied in the kit are pitiful – just a nut welded to a flat piece of metal).  And apparently with these anchors, it’s very difficult to install the trim tab cables.  So others have done similar things to what I did.  I bought some self-locking pem-nuts (actually, I got them as samples from the manufacturer) and made little nut-plates to fit over the holes in the anchors.  I wanted to press the pem-nuts right to the anchor, but the hole required would have been too close to the edge of the anchor, so I made nut-plates with scrap aluminum and the pems.  Then I riveted these nut-plates to the anchors and voila, I have removable anchors.

Then I’m about to put the lower fairing on the rudder.  Because I want to put some navigation lights back here, I don’t want to permanently install the fairing with pop-rivets.  I found some people on-line who used nut-plates installed on the fairing in order to make it removable.   I have all the parts and will be doing that probably over the weekend.  Then it’s just build a cradle for the wings and wait for the wing kit to arrive.


Hours: 13.5
Assembly 13.5

Because I still have a month before the wings arrived, I decided to go through the remainder of the plans and do whatever I can of the assembly.  I wish I could simply assemble the entire tailcone with the HS and VS, etc.  But if I do, I’ll have a real problem getting it out of the garage, so I’m just going to do whatever I can.
The first step was to store the tailcone.  It’s an inch too wide to get in through any door in the house so storing it in the airplane room just isn’t an option (not a surprise, by the way).  One option was to build a loft in the garage to store it, another was to hang it from the ceiling.  In the end, I asked my father-in-law to build a nice little platform which he did, and we stood the tailcone up on the platform with its front side down and pushed it into a quiet corner of the garage.  The platform is necessary because part of the skin extends forward (and therefore down off the side of the platform).  Without the platform, this wedge of skin would have to bend from the weight.

Next, I fabricated some parts that will be used in the final assembly of the tailcone and the HS.  I also had to fabricate a couple of brackets for the trim servo brackets.  The annoying thing about this job was that I bought the brackets pre-made from several months ago for $12.00 and they not only had holes in the wrong position, but were also made from cheap aluminum angle!  I didn’t realize this until they were riveted in place.  As a result, I had to remove the brackets and fabricate my own from the angle provided in the kit to do the job.  Thankfully, I had no issues in the end.  My version of the brackets turned out just shy of perfect.  I’ll definitely think twice before buying anything from that company again.  I even wrote an email about it and big surprise, I got no answer.

As mentioned, I also put together the bracket and mounting structure for the electric trim tab servo.  This will be wired to equipment in the cockpit for controlling the position of the trim tabs.  This part was a lot of fun because I was able to attach it to a battery to test the motion and do some preliminary adjustments on the cables.   I’ve finally seen something move!
Next was getting the elevators mounted to the horizontal stabilizer.  At the moment, the left elevator is almost finished being connected.  Not an easy job, as it turns out.  Scott came out and was a very big help on that.  It goes on and comes off for adjustment and then back on and off for adjustment and then back on and off for adjustment many times.  I expect over the next several days he’ll be helping me finish the job on the left elevator and then get the right side on there as well.  In the process, we needed to buy some new tool from Sears and some of the kids (Zach and Scott to be specific) decided to play a little “Three Stooges.”  The stooges are actually one of their favorite things to watch on TV these days.  As I was looking at something I heard behind me something that sounded a whole lot like Curly saying, “oh, oh, oh, oh, oh” and turned to find the last picture in this series.  Building an airplane is fun!