May 2011 Archives

I spent most of the day working, but I had a little time so I snuck out to the garage for a bit. I cleaned up some of the wire runs and installed the wire from the starter contactor to the VP-X so that I'll get a "starter engaged" annunciation on the EFIS.



I put a 1kΩ resistor inline with the wire.  I unfortunately didn't see the note that this was to protect the wire and should me close to the contactor, so I'll have to replace this wire.



I replaced the wire from the starter contactor to the VP-X so that I can add protection for the wire close to the contactor.

I also got an order from Aircraft Spruce with a replacement cabin/baggage light.  The one I had had both red and white lights, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm using all white and green interior lights, so I ordered this unit.  I wish this was offered in a natural aluminum anodized finish since this will be the only black anodized aluminum in the cockpit, but it's not that big of a deal.



Afterward, I decided to get started on the aileron trim.  First up is to fit the bushing block into the bracket.



I radiused the corner so that it nestles tight into the bracket.



Next, I used the sanding drum on my dremel to notch the bushing so that a cotter pin can be inserted through the shaft.



I drilled various holes in the bracket on the right so that it can be installed between the seat ribs.  I also cut down the shaft of the bracket so that it sits below the surface of the bushing.  This is because the open end of the shaft shown here sits up against the bottom of the bracket on the right.



I drilled the bracket shaft with a #53 bit and installed the cotter pin.  This is a snug fit, so there is zero slop in the bracket.



Here's the whole mechanism assembled.  The servo pushes on the bracket and will turn it around the shaft.  Spring linkages will connect the other bracket arm to the control sticks to bias the neutral point.



Here's a closeup of the linkage between the servo and the bracket.



The bushing block is bolted to the mounting flange with one #10 screw and one AN3 bolt through the holes I drilled yesterday.



The hole for the #10 screw was dimpled in the mounting flange and the bushing was countersunk since the seat pan gets installed right above this and there wouldn't be clearance for a bolt head.  The other hole can just use a normal bolt since there are no space considerations.



Finally, I mounted the bracket between the seat ribs.  I had to remove the elevator pushrod to get the angle drill in here to drill the servo to the skin.



I got an order from Avery Tools today with some cable clamps that can be attached with screws or pop rivets.  I'm using these in lieu of the adhesive cable clamps in areas where the detachment of the clamp could interfere with the controls.  I'll likely end up installing these in any spot where it's fine to drill a hole through the structure.  I really wish I knew about these back when I installed the conduit under the seats and baggage floors instead of the adhesive cable clamps.



I installed several of these along the forward center tunnel to keep the flap motor and flap position sensor wires away from the elevator pushrod.  Jeez, do I need to vacuum in here or what?



I also installed a set of these up the center baggage wall support to secure the network cable to the ADAHRS.



Finally, I slipped some sleeving over the wires to the aileron trim servo and installed a five position molex connector I picked up at Fry's this morning.



I started fabricating one of the brackets that will be used to mount the air vents.  These are fabricated out of 0.063" stock which is the same as the instrument panel.



Here's how it fits in the plane.  You can see how it nestles nicely up against the instrument panel and the flange of the vent overlaps both.  I'll cut off the lower right of the bracket at the small horizontal black line and let the bracket follow the curve of the vent around to the bottom.  I left the bracket a little tall on the left side for now since I had Classic Aero Designs fabricate the side panels to the original height of the vent brackets.  I don't know if they've cut these parts yet, so I'll see if they can still change them.  If so, I'll cut this off straight.



I reinstalled the cowl so that I can continue the fitting.  I had previously put this on hold while Van's evaluated whether the flanges on the cowl sides were cut too short but haven't gotten back to it until now.



I had previously cut the aft edge of the bottom cowl to length, so I carefully lined up the cowl all around and drilled a couple of holes on each side to the stainless steel hinge to lock the bottom in position.



I put a work light inside the cowl and marked the approximate cut line on the sides.  It's too late to run the cutoff wheel tonight, so this is a good place to stop.



I trimmed the sides of the lower cowl and then sanded them so that they tuck in against the hinge (which I also drilled but didn't get a picture of).  I drilled one hole through the top of each side into the hinge to lock the position of the lower cowl in place.



I then marked and trimmed the aft end of the top cowl.  This will need a little sanding, but it is enough to let it drop down against the hinge.



Unfortunately, there is still a gap along the sides.  The plans (and other builder's websites) say these should overlap along the sides so that you can trim them both to get a perfectly straight joint.



The left side is even worse with a roughly 1/8" gap down the entire side.



The fit at the front still looks great.  Here's the lineup at the top.



And the lower point on the cowl lines up nicely with the spinner.  Clearly the front of the cowl is in the right spot and the back is pulled in as tight as it can go.  Time to chat with Van's again about this.



My tech counselor, Brian Dal Porto, stopped by tonight to check out my progress.  The last time he stopped by was near the end of the wing construction which was about 19 months ago (holy crap, has it really been that long?).  He checked out my fuselage construction, as well as engine installation and wiring.  He said everything looks good and there wasn't anything I needed to change which is great.

After he left, I took care of a couple of small tasks before heading in to get some work done for my day job.  First up, I ran a cable for the elevator trim.  This is a 5-conductor cable from Ray Allen that is specifically meant for wiring their trim systems.  It contains five 26AWG wires that match the colors of the wires coming out of the trim and position sensor boxes.  I was hoping that one 25' cable would be enough to do both the aileron and elevator trim wiring, but it was quite a bit short.  I'm going to replace my flap position sensor wires with another piece of this, so another 20' should be plenty for the aileron trim and flap position.  Here's the wire where it comes out of the J1 connector on the VP-X (the five small wires that come out of the connector and go into the larger white cable.  You can't see it, but there is a heat shrink label on the cable.



The cable runs down the forward center tunnel and under the copilot's seat and through the right conduit and comes out here behind the baggage bulkhead.  There will be an adel clamp here securing this to the bulkhead as it runs up to the tail conduit (along with the tail position/strobe wires).



There's a few extra feet of wire back here.  I'll cut it to length when I mount the tail.



I also received a couple more 4" exhaust heat shields.  I mounted one on the #4 pipe to protect the wires running through this area.



I also mounted two on the #1 pipe.  The first is just above the heat muff to protect the throttle cable.



The second is a little farther up the pipe to provide some protection for the alternator wires and fuel flow sensor.



I installed the sniffle valve in the aft port in the intake manifold (the upper brass fitting).  This is a check valve that opens when on the ground to allow excess fuel or water that leaks into the engine manual to drain out of the bottom of the engine and onto the ground.  I also drained the preservative oil out of the engine and installed the quick drain plug into the sump and safety wired it.



I then mixed up some proseal and attached the air vents to the side of the fuselage.  I drilled a couple of holes for alignment purposes.  I'll fill these in later with some filler.  A lot of builders pop rivet these on, but proseal is tenacious stuff and will hold these quite well.  This is the left side.



...and this is the right.



I've been toying with various install locations for the oil cooler.  I would prefer not to mount it on the baffles for a couple of reasons.  First, it's really tight there because of the size of the 10559R oil cooler.  Second, people already have problems with the baffles cracking due to the weight of the oil cooler.  Since this oil cooler is larger than typical, it will contain more oil and will therefore weigh even more than normal.  I would have to reinforce the baffles even more than builders normally need to to carry the extra weight.

I tried various positions on the firewall, but things are really tight there.  There is one spot that could work, but it would require building a custom bracket and significantly reinforcing the firewall.  After playing with various mounting locations, I stumbled on the possibility of mounting it between two of the engine mount tubes.  I mounted it temporarily using a few adel clamps to see if it would work.  There's a little bit of flex, but this is surprisingly strong.  I can move the entire plane by pushing and pulling on this.  If I go with this location, I'll move it down a little bit and fabricate a bracket that lets me use two adel clamps on the top flange to prevent twisting.  This will give me a little more clearance for the control cables as well as make the upper engine mount tube be a little move out of the way.



You can see that there is plenty of room between the back of the engine and the oil cooler.  I will mount a flange on the back of the baffles (either 3" or 4") and run some scat tube down to a custom plenum that I will fabricate to direct the air through the oil cooler.  I want to sleep on it and run it by the folks on vansairforce.net to make sure there aren't any issues with this plan.



The fuel pressure line runs right by the back side of the oil cooler.  I'll install an adel clamp here to space the line a little bit away from the oil cooler flange.



After a handful of lessons in a Citabria at Aerodynamic Aviation, I got my tailwheel endorsement this morning!  I'm hoping to rack up 20-30 tailwheel flight hours before doing my RV transition training later this fall.

Drilled Cap Strips

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I edge finished the cap strips and drilled them to the center section.  Afterward, I deburred all of the holes inside and out.  Here's the left side.



And here's the right.



Worked on Armrests

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The armrests are pretty flimsy as designed.  I'm using some 0.063" angle to reinforce them.  I used a router to radius the outside corner so that it can tuck into the angle on the armrest.  I drilled them to the flange and will eventually also drill them to the top surface of the armrests.



I also fabricated four of these little supports that will rivet into the bulkheads at each end of the armrests to transfer the load directly into the bulkheads instead of through the wimpy flanges on the armrests.



Here's how these will mount.  Any load on the armrests will be transferred into the 0.063" angle.  The angles will sit directly on top of the supports to transfer the load into the bulkhead.  Without these, that little flange just above the angle would have to carry the load.



I riveted the right cap strip in place.  Doing this many pop rivets in a row with a hand pop-riveter is a killer on the hands and forearms.  I really wish I had purchased a pneumatic pop-riveter near the beginning of the project.  There are probably not enough remaining pop rivets left on the plane to justify purchasing one now though.



Here's a closeup of the forward armrest support.



And here's the aft armrest support for the right side.  I installed this with solid rivets since I had access to the back side.



No pictures tonight, but I worked on the left cap strip tonight and got all the parts deburred and primed.
I finished drilling and deburring the reinforcement angles to the armrests.  Rivets will be spaced on roughly 1" intervals on the top and side of the angles.



Here's the angle that will tuck up under the armrest.  I just need to countersink these holes and dimple the armrests and these will be ready to rivet.



I countersunk the reinforcement angles and dimpled the armrests.  After edge finishing the armrests, I primed and riveted the parts together.



Here's a closeup of how tightly the angle fits against the radius of the armrest flange.  I was a little worried that the 0.063" angle wouldn't be stiff enough since there was quite a bit of flex when these were just clecoed on.  After riveting these, these are very stiff.  I'm really glad I didn't go with the 0.125" angle since that would have added a fair amount of weight.



One of my old college buddies Matt was in town this weekend to visit.  I was hoping we'd have more time to work on the plane, but at least we had a little.

I received this brass restrictor fitting from Wick's Aircraft today.  It has a 0.040 hole drilled in the middle to dampen out the pressure changes so that the manifold pressure sensor reading doesn't fluctuate wildly.  Wick's has a $15 minimum order, so I had to pay an extra $5 fee since this is all I ordered.  I was going to add a couple of other parts onto the order that I need so that I didn't need to pay the fee, but their prices are substantially higher.  Companies with minimum order sizes piss me off anyway, so this will be the last time ordering from Wick's if I can help it.



I also got an order from Aircraft Spruce with some more Ray Allen servo cable for the aileron trim.  Matt helped install the connectors on the ends and I wired it to the VP-X alongside the pitch trim cable.



Under the seats, I installed a 5 position molex connector to attach the cable to the aileron trim servo.



Since I had some extra trim servo cable, I replaced the three wires from the VP-X to the flap position sensor.  I'm trying to keep all wires color coded where possible and these were three wires that didn't match up with the colors on the sensor.



Now the only wires that need to go up into the flap housing are the two flap motor power wires and the trim cable.



I also worked a bit on the air vent brackets.  I ended up just cutting these off straight across instead of stepping down.  I had Classic Aero Designs ship me the side panels so that I can cut them to fit snugly around these brackets since they'll be shorter than stock.



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