40 hours of phase 1 flight testing complete.
Rusty’s Towing Service of Culpeper county moved the airplane for me. Pricey, but well worth it, The driver (Chris) was professional and knew how to be careful during the whole process. Before hooking up or doing anything, really, he checked with me. He even understood we’d want to secure the prop to prevent any possibility of it windmilling. Got it on the truck, drove to the airport, got it off the truck. Easy. Took less than an hour including a 30 minute travel time.
We moved the wings in a U-Haul a few weeks earlier.
Very nice to have it finally at the airport.
Total: 2236.1 hours
Aft top skin: 9.0 hours
Nothing special here. Rivited on the aft top skin. The fuse is now entirely closed up. This signifies the end to major airframe construction. There’s still a lot more to go. But this feels like a milestone.
Also had some fun at the airport while arranging for our hangar. The girls had a great time for over an hour flying the little airplane in the pictures. Also made a trip to Green Wood Hills Bible camp ground in PA where the girls played on a rocket ship. Also had a fun trip in a rental to Chapel Hill, NC (KIGX) to pick up a friend.
Total: 2144.3 hours
Wiring since last time: 53.5 hours
Plumbing since last time: 35.0 hours
Total wiring so far: 114.0 hours
Total plumbing: 35.0 hours
Wiring is everything having to do with the panel and getting electricity from the panel to where it needs to be. Plumbing is everything having to do with pitot/static lines and fresh air vents.
Much done. See the pictures (including building a deck for the in-laws which is not airplane related but it helps the kids build up some important skills which we all use for the airplane build).
Of note: Engine and propeller are here.
Issues. Serious issue with the front fresh air vents. The panel which is not stock seriously interferes with the position of the front NACA vents. And it’s impossible to use any standard fitting over both the vent and the NACA inlet. At least 20 of the “plumbing” hours were spent devising a way to get the air to the eye-ball vents and mounting those vents. I am still in the process of making it all pretty but am so far very pleased with the solution which is going to look great. In short, I made some boxes in which to mount the vents. And then had to fabricate a duct from fiberglass to direct the air from the NACA inlets to the vents. In the end because of the very tight space and my self-imposed requirement that the duct and hose must be able to come off and on without removing the panel, in the end I glassed the hose directly into the duct. This was a largely trial and error process so these ducts are quite ugly (ugly indeed). But they’ll do the job (and never be seen) and if I ever have to remake them (or I ever just decide to remake them to avoid that annoying feeling that a monkey could have done better) I’ll be able to make them look nice since I’ll know the final dimensions ahead of time. This was a bear of a job and it’s just time to move on.
The age old airplane builder question: What do you do with the crates?
We’ve come up with some solutions. After a year of my daughter proving she is responsible enough to care for chickens, we got her chickens. The chickens, however, not being children, are not allowed to live in the house. So we used the wood from the crates to build a nice chicken coop. Then with more of the wood from the crates Zach built a tree fort. We did need to buy some lumber to complete these projects, but all the wood from the crates was used in one way or another.
Pictures below – including some random pics of the family doing stuff.
Total: 1376.8 hours
Baggage Compartment: 85.6 hours
The baggage compartment took a LOT longer to accomplish than I expected. This is mostly because I decided to run all the fore/aft wiring now before the baggage floors were in place. In addition to the wiring there is an empty 3/4 conduit on each side for any future wiring that may be required. Running the wire required making several home-made adel-like clamps and two antenna doublers for antennas positioned under the rear passenger seats. In place is the following:
- power and ground cables from the battery area to the firewall.
- wire-pair for the main contactor
- multi-conductor wire for rear nav-lights/beacon
- empty conduit for pitot and AOA lines.
- RG-400 to area under left rear seat for belly comm antenna.
- RG-400 to area under right seat for (extra) belly comm antenna for portable radio
- 3 RG-400 lines to rear for ADS-B (in), top comm antenna, and Marker beacon
- Dynon network cable for ADAHRS units and A/P pitch servo (through hub)
- multi-conductor wire for Elevator trim servo
- multi-conductor wire for ELT
- A static pressure line to run aft/fore for an alternate static source
- Empty conduit for future wiring
A few re-dos in the mix, but no serious issues. Most of the time was spent figuring out how to run the wires and then running them and securing them with homemade clamps. In two areas where the wire routes were along side the right side skin, I used some wire-tie mounts. But I didn’t use them as is. I first removed entirely the sticky stuff on the back of the mounts. Behind the right baggage panel I secured these mounts to the side skin with pro-seal. “Conveniently” I have no picture of the result. No matter how much I use pro-seal, I never fail to make a mess. In the area just forward of this I also used the same idea but this time I used a two-part epoxy to secure the mounts to the side skin. I then used some wire-ties to secure the wire bundle to the mount. This part looks very neat, I’m happy to say. Also, a lot of time was spend making the antenna doublers for the belly antennas.
I also decided to use the stall warning access panel (which was not used in the wing since I’m using AOA instead of the standard stall warning vane) in the rear left baggage floor as an access to the step bolt. I felt the left side was important because the bolt is installed at an angle and if the step needs to be removed there would be no other way to get at the bolts. I thought no need for the right side. Then while riveting the left floor I had to remove a rivet and had to use the access panel to get the tail end of the rivet. Sadly, while riveting a panel on the right side I had the same rivet problem. I drilled out a rivet and tried in vain to reach the tail end under the floor with magnets and mirrors through the lightening holes. Reluctantly I realized the only way to get the tail out of there would be through an access panel. So I ordered the same access panel and doubler I used on the left side and will carefully install it in the right side baggage floor. No way I can leave that bit of loose metal under there. … And then I’ll be really done with the baggage area.
And also had a nice flight with Ralph Hoover in his RV-7a in and around the Warrenton, VA area.
We spent the summer building a storage shed in the yard in order to have more room in the garage to work on the airplane. The project was well over budget and well behind schedule, but after an entire summer it’s finished. We’ve also finally purchased a real tool chest for the garage, which means I can now call the garage my shop. Next step is to mate the tail cone to the fuse. Stay tuned.