Total hours: 1052.5
Pitot tube repair: 1.0 hours (time applied to “wing wiring”).
When I mounted the pitot tube (see here) I had an issue where I needed to re-tap two holes in the pitot to a bigger size. I always hated this – it’s just not elegant. So I decided to try a product called JB Weld (see here) which is a steel reinforced epoxy. I mixed a small amount and filled in the holes in the pitot I had messed up. After the epoxy cured I sanded and re-tapped the holes correctly. Seems to be working nicely.
Total time: 904.1 hours
Since last on bottom skins: 20.8 hours
Bottom skins total: 50.2 hours
We’ve got the left bottom skin complete now. Wow. What a job! It’s very difficult to reach most of the rivets. And some things I did with the wiring did not make it any easier. But it’s done now. One tip for a builder researching the wiring phase is be careful what you mount near the lightening holes. You NEED these holes to reach many rivets when you’re closing up your wings.
There are a good 10 rivets I know are not ideal but I dared not even attempt to drill them out. In most of the cases the bucking bar was off and half the rivet was hit. In these cases I just hit it again to get as smooth a shop head as possible (all by feel mostly). In no case was there a rivet I felt was under-set. If I have to choose I choose a slightly over-set rivet. And there are a few places where the bottom skin was dented from the inside when a bucking bar slipped. Not happy about this happening. But it is what it is and I can live with it – at least it’s on the bottom of the wing.
So far the inboard skins are in place on both wings and the outboard skin is in place on the left wing. My kids worked with me all day today and yesterday (I took two days off from work) and we got a lot done. I could never have gotten so much accomplished without their help. Scott was with me non-stop for about 18 hours over two days. The others were in and out taking turns. Scott and I did the driving/bucking and the others managed clecos and rivet insertion and holding back skins and getting this or that for me whenever I asked. It was a lot of fun to work so much with them. And we’re all very excited that we still have one skin left to do (not).
Total hours: 883.3
Time on actuation since last time: 1.0 hours
Time on aileron actuation: 34.7 hours
Now that the flaps are done, we temporarily installed them and used them to adjust the aileron-to-bellcrank push-rods in order to neutralize the position of the ailerons. With this done we could also set the center state of the autopilot roll servo.
Total Hours: 862.2 hours
Since last time: 48.9 hours
Wing wiring and plumbing: 48.9 hours
Diverted from the flaps to do the wing wiring while the primer was shipped and just continued until the wiring and pitot plumbing was complete. More than 75% of my time was spent on the pitot plumbing. I positioned the pitot where the plans has it. However the plans also calls for a simple VFR pitot and running fixed aluminum lines to the pitot tube. I elected to use the Dynon heated pitot/AOA. And in addition I wanted to easily be able to remove the pitot and reinstall for maintenance. This became a real problem because the pitot position in the plans is inboard of the aileron bell-crank. This means the plumbing has to be routed away from the aileron push tube or else it will interfere. I tried many different ideas (and considered even more). I am happy with the solution I settled on. However, I am not happy with the job I did mounting the pitot tube in the Gretz mast. I had trouble aligning and tapping the holes in the pitot to the holes in the mount. The holes in the mount were already enlarged to #18 or #19 and the holes to be tapped in the pitot are #36. (for a #6 screw). Two lined up fine. But two I had to drill out and re-tap for a #8 screw. Then I made the mistake of trying to countersink the holes in the mount and completely messed them up. I ordered a new mount and will not be countersinking the new one. I don’t care if it doesn’t look as good as it could. It’s expensive and I don’t want to order a third.
The aileron trim wires were connected to the wing wiring with D-Sub pins and sockets without any housings. I heat-shrinked strain relief on each connection, then heat shrunk over each connector and then heat-shrunk over the entire thing and secured it.
The wing tips and roll servo are set up with 9-pin CPC connectors.
The antenna lines are fixed at the wing-tip with a female panel mount BNC connector as seen in the pictures.
Total time: 813.3 hours
Since last time: 22.3 hours
Flaps 22.3 hours so far.
All the prep is done for the most part. But I ran out of primer with only a few pieces left to do. So I moved on temporarily to wiring. … Had one issue where I damaged a hole in the left top skin. It’s a hole that is sandwiched between the spar and the leading edge skin so I’m not worried about looks. And to repair I essentially notched out the hole and put two new holes on either side which will rivet the main flap skin to the spar. Then the top skin will cover this area as normal and rivet through the original hole like nothing ever happened. … I may put a piece of aluminum in as a spacer where the damaged hole was notched. May not be necessary. I’ll decide when it’s time to assemble the flaps. … And that will be after the primer arrives.
Total time: 791.0 hours
Since last time: 21.7 hours
Aileron Actuation: 33.7 hours
Finished with the aileron actuation. This includes the Dynon Autopilot roll servo and the aileron trim servo. Nothing of any great interest to report. One error was creating two left torque tube assemblies. Not a big problem to fix. In one of the assemblies I simply drilled holes through the tube at 90 degrees from their original position and recreated the right torque tube assembly.
Then I was a little uncomfortable about the slightly short push-tube – the one discussed here (click here) because it seemed that too much of the rod end bearing was exposed after the bellcrank was set to its neutral position along with the torque tube assembly. So I ordered longer rod-end bearings and all is well.
Nothing exciting aside from that. We’re really making some good progress now. While waiting for some primer to dry we ran the conduit – which was not fun, by the way. But it’s done now. Technically, we still have one task left. We have to set the aileron to its neutral position, but this can’t be done until the flaps are complete. Not a big deal. We’ll mention it later when we install the flaps.
*Note that the Aileron servo linkage has not yet been torqued because I am waiting to get the ailerons neutralized first. Once that is done, the servo linkage will be torqued and torque seal applied.
Total time: 769.3 hours
Since last time: 33.8 hours
Ailerons: 33.8 hours
While waiting for some supplies I decided to jump back and actually work on the ailerons. Now that the fuse kit has been ordered we need to work fast and get this wing kit finished. So now the ailerons are done and the work will continue to finish the aileron actuation. I’ll then be able to route the tubing and wires and know it won’t interfere with the ailerons.
We also had an outing to the airport to help Ralph Hoover (Tech. counselor) do an annual on his RV-7a. I asked the kids who wanted to go. They all did. Then I said we’d be there for a very long time and they weren’t allowed to complain. They all changed their minds. Then I added that we’d be going out for lunch and I got two takers.
I also had a short inspection. Before going to the airport to help Ralph with his annual, he dropped by the house to see the work. The only comment he made was about using wire ties to hold the “black box” to the ballast in the Duckworks landing/taxi light installation. I showed him the Duckworks instructions which I followed exactly but he still had some questions and doesn’t like wire-ties. I called Duckworks and based on the weight of what’s being held they convinced me the wire-ties were adequate. So my plan is to add these wire-ties as an inspection item and keep my eye on them as the airplane begins flying and then at annual inspections, of course.
I’m really pleased with the trailing edges. Unlike how I did the elevators and rudder, I inserted the rivets all from the top and did the same back-rivet set followed by flat-set technique I did back then with the rudder and elevators. The shop heads fill the space so well they almost look like manufactured heads. And the edge is very straight.
And the one annoying / funny thing I did was accidentally drop my bucking bar into the guts of the right aileron. Took a few minutes to figure out how, but I got it out. Just annoying.