Engine start and other stuff

Total time: 3010
Firewall Forward: 95.6
Misc: 65.5

Too much stuff to mention in detail. And not too many pictures. Most notable, as of this date (6/30/2017) the engine has been run for 0.4 hours. No issues.

Here’s a general list of things done.

  • trim on window interiors
  • configuring skyview
  • EarthX battery connect and battery fault testing
  • Interior scat vent tubes
  • Interior front panels
  • Interior center console
  • Wing tip wiring
  • Pitot install
  • Fix short circuit in left nav light (was just a bit of aluminum shaving that got caught in a connector.
  • Secure wiring in wing root
  • VOR antenna in left wing tip
  • EFIS setup
  • Flap position calibration.
  • Reposition engine controls (big job here to fix interference with original engine control layout)
  • Had an EAA inspection.
  • Fixed binding in right aileron
  • Painted elevator counerweights
  • Calibrated trim positions
  • Wing root fairings
  • Calibrate fuel tanks
  • Had avionics shop inspect Pitot/static system and VOR and got an IFR instrument checkout

Air box & FWF

Total time: 2846.5
Filtered Air Box: 41.0
Firewall forward this time: 32.5
Total Firewall Forward:  69.6

Did the filtered air box and the air channel from the lower cowl to the air box. Had to do the air channel twice but that was the only real issue with the FAB.

For the FWF the prop was torqued and safety wired. FWF wiring has been completed, throttle body complete. Cabled complete. Fuel lines and oil lines complete. Several issues with the control cables documented in the pictures but all is well now.


Total: 2773.0 hours
Baffles: 73.0 hours

These baffles took a lot longer than I expected based on the reported times from other builders – about twice as long. I’m not sure why. I had no particular problems or serious time consuming errors. I did put things on and off a great number of times making very small cuts and adjustments each time. That might explain some of it. Or maybe I just work a lot slower than most.

As mentioned, no serious problems. More details in the pictures.

A note about the rubber baffle material. There is no guidance in the plans about how much to overlap or how much should stick up above the top baffle edges so I asked Van’s. They indicated with a consistent 1/2 inch gap between the top baffle edge and the top cowl (as I have), the material should go 3/4 inches down, 1/2 inch overlap from section to section and 2 inches above the top. They said this “usually works pretty well.” I went 1″ down, 1″ overlap and 2″ above the top edge. … Just gave a little more tolerance I felt, in case of an error somewhere.


Propeller install

Total: 2548.1
Firewall forward — 37.1
Propeller install 6.5

Another task that should not have taken quite so long. First problem. Find straps suitable for hoisting the prop with Big Red. Had one and thought I had another but couldn’t find it. So then spent an hour looking up how to tie a bowline knot (something I used to know back in my deck-hand days) and a bowline-on-a-bite (something I never heard of before) so that I could use some rope for the task. That done, next step extract the front oil seal for from the crank-case so that that we can use this constant speed prop. The oil is regulated by the prop-governor to pressurize the innards of the prop in order to adjust the pitch of the blades in order to maintain the RPM of my choosing. I had looked up how to do this and though it would take about 10 minutes. Nope. It took more than an hour. The thing just did not want to come out. Eventually it did (and I forgot to take a picture of it in my frustration). Then with Scott’s help we hoisted the prop and maneuvered it over to the engine. Took a long time. Went on part way then I took it off because one bolt seemed to be running tighter than the others. It was fine. Just a little tighter than the others. …. Maneuvered the prop back into position and fastened it down. I did not torque the bolts or safety wire yet because it may have to come back off during the cowl and engine work. I hope not, but I’ll wait to torque and safety wire until I’m sure.

And that’s all for this one. Next will be the cowl. … More fiberglass work. … Really getting tired of fiberglass work.

…. Update (the next day) …..

Prop had to come back off again. It’s impossible to put the alternator belt on with the prop installed. When I realized this I decided to just do it now while the process is fresh on my mind. Prop off, alternator installed with belt. Prop back on. Still not torquing or safety wiring the prop in case it has to come off yet again. Good news is it was a quick process this time. 20 minutes getting it off, 60 minutes figuring out how to install the alternator and getting all its bolts torqued and safety wired, and maybe 40 minutes getting the prop back on (with Scott’s help).

Engine installed

Total: 2541.6
Firewall forward: 30.6
FWF since last time: 24.5

Got engine installed and spinner fit to prop. The only issue was four nuts on the back side of the engine mounts. Had RH over to help hang the engine. It took about 8 hours over two days to get those four nuts torqued. Two hours per nut. Ralph even tried modifying wrenches to fit. No way. In the end it took a simple swivel socket to do the job which we borrowed from someone at the airport. Not a swivel adapter and a regular socket. That won’t fit. It took an actual 9/16 swivel socket. Once we had the right socket, it took 5 minutes to torque those nuts.

If you ignore the wasted time torquing those nuts, the engine install took about 1 hour. The actual hanging with two people and a load leveler was almost trivial. We got the bottom mounting bolts in first then used the leveler and hoist to align and get the top bolts in. It was surprising how easy it actually was.

Then did all the metal-work and match drilling to fir the spinner to the prop. No issues with this.


Panel complete and other stuff

Total: 2367.1
wiring: 117
Panel: 2.5
Total wiring & panel: 263.5
Plumbing: 4.5
Total plumbing: 39.5
Firewall forward: 3.0
Total firewall forward: 6.1
Misc: 4.0
Total Misc: 9.7

So many wires. Little wires. Big wires. long wires. short wires. pins and sockets. So many pins and sockets. … The panel wiring is complete. The two main Dynon screens, the GTN650, and the audio panel (PMA-450A) are not yet installed because I don’t yet own them. But I did purchase the connector kits for those screens and have those installed with the trays. So when I do eventually buy these avionics I’ll just slide them in and be done. This was the part of the build I had been looking forward to from the start. It’s the only part so far where there was no learning curve to scale. The reason being that by profession I’m an EE and have plenty of experience with wires and circuits and pins and sockets. This was the easiest part of the build for me. … Now we’ll be back to the tough stuff – like the engine and installing windows and plenty more fiber-glass and body work.

Because of a misunderstanding on how the GD-40 (CO detector) interfaces with the other equipment I decided to drill a couple more holes in the panel and install the button and LED for this sensor. I had thought it just talked directly to the Dynon equipment but it doesn’t. So I added the button and light and the associated labels.

There was this annoying gap in the front fresh-air vents where they came in contact (or rather didn’t come in contact) with the sides of the airplane. I fixed this. The fresh-air vents look pretty good now, if I do say so myself.

All the pitot and static and AOA lines run fore-aft. This is done. The three lines run from their respective points in the tail and wings to the ADAHRS units in the back as well as the D6 in the front. There’s also a static air switch to open the static line to the cabin right on the panel.

I decided to install the remote magnetic compass for the backup instrument (Dynon D6). This is done and sits right under the ADAHRS units in the back.

Firewall forward: got the pass-throughs and a bunch of other stuff in place (almost ready to hang the engine).

Just lots of little things too numerous to mention.