Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ready for Taxi Tests

I put the Avionics cover back on and removed the final layers of protective coating from the glass. I also wiped down the top of the wing skins and the fuselage to get rid of some dust. Not sure if you can see a difference in the photos.

I still have to install the onboard camera before I can fill her up again and go for a stroll. The cowling has been fully screwed on and is rock solid. After the taxi tests I have to take the lower cowl off and see if the rockers are ok and then check the fuel bowl followed by safety wiring the screws.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Plane Weighed

After a great day at Copperstate Fly-In, for which I had taken a day off from work, I riveted on the piano hinge to the top cowl.

Today then I arrived a bit late at the hangar this morning at 11am. The first task was to check if the freshly finished top cowl would fit on nicely. I knew that there was still some minor sanding to do to allow a bit of clearance.
And with a bit of this sanding I accomplished quite a nice fit.

I finally can say that this repair is now completed. Less some minor filling and sanding to optimize the lateral fit and to smoothen the fit along the edge.

The next task was to complete the installation of the rear window. It took some time but I did not run into any problems.

The it was time check out the ramps I had built the day before as well. I used a circular saw and cut 2x4s to shape, followed by using the band saw to make some more surgical cuts to adjust the height to 2 3/4" for the mains and 1 3/4" for the nose wheel.
With a bit of inertia and persistence I was able to pull the plane onto the ramps and secure it there.

In this position I added all the panels, covers, cushions and fairings to come up with a completely equipped RV-12.
The scales were put in place and leveled up by an 1" for the mains. This turned out to be a perfect in-flight attitude for the plane.

This looked nice but unfortunately the sun heated up the LCD displays of the control panels so much that I could not read anything on two of them. I set up a sun shade and provided for a cooling stream from a fan and then rolled the plane onto the scales.

This sums up to 737.7 lbs with no wheel pants and full priming and interior paint, lighting kit. I think this is a great weight!

It was time to put everything away and get out of the heat of the hangar. Not before one final shot though.

I'm not quite sure what next to do. I definitely finished the last step according to the instructions (rear window) and it might just be time to schedule the inspection now...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ready to Weigh

The plan for Saturday was to see that we get the plane onto some blocks (2" was suggested by Van's) and do the measurements for the Weight & Balance Worksheet once the plane had reached in-flight attitude.

While I was still fresh I put the top cowl on to see if I had reduced the build-up area enough to get a flush fit once the piano hinge would be in place.

The clearance to the lower cowl was good enough but the thickness still needed a bit of reduction in the center area. You can actually see some leftover from the build-up on the original fiberglass if you take a closer look.
So the cowl went off and back into the trunk to come back home.

Now, back to weighing preparations. To get the plane onto blocks without help, was a bit of a challenge which I tackled with some scrap wedges from building the loading ramps (which I never used).

The blocks are 2x4s which are not 2" thick but a tad less than 1.5". This was still too tall to get the canopy decks leveled. I needed to reduce the tire pressure of the main wheels down to 5 psi and increase the nose wheel pressure to 25psi to get it leveled. I will therefore use 1" blocks for the weighing.
Once it was leveled on the blocks the rest was fairly simple.
I dropped the plumb bobs and stretched some thread to mark the line between the points the bobs were indicating.

The rest was measuring and educated guessing (to find the center of the axles).

I used the angle to drop the center of the axle down to the tape measure.

Here are my values (which might differ from yours!):
D1: 24",  D2: 39 7/8",  D3: 23 15/16"

The plane came off the ramps and I made some notes about what ramps I will need to get the plane rolled onto the scales assuming I won't have a helper again.

Sunday morning I sanded down the thickness of the top cowl before heading out to the hangar.
Once out there I threw the top cowl back on and saw that the fit was good enough to now sand the patch down to allow for enough clearance to match drill into the piano hinge.
With the reduced thickness this want fairly quick and I set up the cowl for the drilling session.

Tape was applied to hold the cowl down as good as possible during the drilling.

I put all hinge pins in and also all screws to ensure proper alignment before starting to drill. I was afraid that getting the first hole in would possibly push back the hinge but it stayed in place well.

I took the cowl off and put it back in the trunk with the hinge still clecoed on. I will do the riveting in my shop at home, including the counter sinking.

The next big task was to install the rear window and check the clearance with the canopy. The latter turned out to be almost perfect. The right side of the canopy needed some sanding to be satisfactory and allow the canopy to latch.
Getting the screws through the rear window and into the roll bar turned out to be a rather lengthy task. I wanted to allow for enough clearance to the screw and opened up the holes a bit. Almost all the holes needed some work done and so I was not able to finish the task. Also, because of the fact that the #6 screws would not clear the pre-punched holes in the turtle deck skins. I will have to open them up a bit before I can install the screws with the nuts.

Next steps will be to finish the rear window installation and to check that the top cowl is finally back in operating condition. Then we will do another engine run and a taxi test and take the cowl off to check if the lifters are all happy. If so, that would then trigger me to schedule an appointment for inspection.

Unfortunately, the Copperstate Fly-In is going to interfere with my weekend working plans... We'll see how that works out.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Flaperon Trimmed

First task of today was to trim back the inboard flaperon skin where it interfered with the fuselage. I used a Dremel sander, files and the deburring wheel to clean it all up.

The next task was one I had tried to push out as far as possible as it was not at all pleasant to do, particularly in the heat. Now that it had cooled off a bit I was willing to crawl into the back of the fuselage and fix this long bolt problem on the left flaperon torque arm.

I just could not tell if the nut was seating on the shaft of the bolt or if the torque pressed onto the parts. I thought it was safer to put two additional washers under the bolt.

While at cleaning up the tunnel, I applied torque seal to all the nuts and bolts that had been torqued and also wrapped some spiral wrap about the cable bundles to stiffen them a bit.

Last time I had promised to take some more pictures of the tool that helped me pull the wings in. Here they are:

The last official task to close the build manual was to close up the seat pan and tension the stabilator cables.

It is really no joy working though those maintenance holes. My hand hardly fits through there only to find a very confined space inside anyway. It took me about 2 hours to get this done and find a good balance between the two stops and an even tension between the two cables.

Getting those locks into the turnbuckles was a part of its own!

Before I left for the day, I took some measurements of the rudder tab and also checked a possible location for installation.

What's left now? Trimming the top cowl patch and reinstalling the piano hinge and then some taxi tests.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wings Are On!

I went to the hangar after work trying to get the right wing to come in a bit deeper so I could get the bolt started. I had brought enough cable ties for the job but I also brought a little eccentric alignment tool Don Schwanke had made for me a while ago after running into trouble with these wing bolts himself, thinking I might need it some time. Boy, was he right
I inserted the tool after applying lots of Boelube to reduce friction. The tool, which is the size of the bolts but with a little eccentric alignment tip of about a 1/4" recess milled in, stopped where the right wing bolts would sense misalignment. Using a screwdriver to turn the tool against the resistance, it pulled the wing in and some taps of the rubber mallet drove the tool all the way in.

Now the way was free to insert the original bolt on the right side. It slid in with only minor hesitation.

Then the tool was removed from the left bolt hole and the original bolt was inserted with ease.

I will take photos of the whole tool when I am at the hangar again. Particularly the nose which does the actual alignment should be of interest to you.

Finally, the spar pin light stays dark when I power up the Master switch!

That's the end result.
Only problem is the left flaperon skin is slightly catching on rivets of the fuselage.

I think the Dremel tool will fix this issue for me without the need to take the wings off. Although that wouldn't be so much of a problem now with Don's tool to put the wings back on!

As a bonus, here's a little walk-around video:

By then it was close to sunset and I opened a drive plan for my ride home to get dinner...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trim Fixed, Wing Seals Installed

Saturday I went out to the hangar and swapped the pins 31 & 32 on the Fuselage harness. Unfortunately, I had to use a not yet broken in pins removal tool and getting these pins out took me about 45 minutes and I nearly broke that removal tool trying to get them out.
When they came out it was a matter of seconds to swap and insert them again and it did fix the problem. The trim motor is now working correctly.

The following pictures were taken with trim full down. With the stick fully forward, the AST measures 3/8" above the Stabilator trailing edge. Exactly as depicted in the PAP.

The next one is with the stick fully aft and the trim all down.

Now the opposite setting with trim all up I forgot to take pictures of. The AST then measures 7/16" or a tad more above the stabilator TE with the stick fully aft. That's a bit less than the nominal value of 9/16" in the PAP but I don't think I need the full range for trim up anyway.

I re-did the trim calibration in the Dynon and re-set the take off position. The 2.94V is the take-off position which is the equivalent of 1 7/8" above the stabilator with the stick fully aft.

That places the take-off position slightly below the middle of the travel range .

I also enabled the COM radio support in the Dynon, so it shows the currently selected frequency (in the right half of the title bar) and also allows for changing the standby frequency from the Dynon (with the additional TX wire installed).

Then I threw on the patched up top cowl and checked if the build up would be sufficient and nicely following the shape of the cowl.

I think that looked promising. I need to sand the edge down for proper fit again and then start the installation of the piano hinge again. With a little TLC and filler, this should eventually look like nothing bad had ever happened.

The final step was to install the wing root seals and trim back the skin enough to allow for enough clearance to install a seal.
With a sawhorse as a rest for the wing, it is actually pretty simple to do this job without a helper. As long as the wing spar stays on the roller and inside the fuselage you can easily handle the wing and pull it out enough to work on the root.

I sanded back the skin in the area of the landing gear reinforcements using a portable HF belt sander (3x21) and a Zirconium belt. That worked very well! I used the 1" SB wheel on a die grinder to deburr the skin before calling it good enough.

I pushed the left wing back in and marked the outline of the root seal with a Sharpie.

That was the last task for Saturday and I left the installation of the seal for the following day.

Sunday, the wing was pulled out again and I installed the seal. This seal is supposed to be temporarily installed before the plane gets painted and when I will install the material I got from Van's.

This 1/4" thick seal (the same as Vans') compresses a bit easier and the grey color blends in nicely with the bare aluminum.

With the help of a rubber mallet, the bolts went in to hold the left wing without restricting the right one.

Out came the right wing, was quickly sanded and deburred and the foam tape was installed.

The wing went back in and it looked good from the outside.

But the bolts would not go in and grab the second spar. Even the mallet did not help in this case.

I did not have enough tie downs at the hangar to try to put some inside pull on the wings but that is what I am going to try next. Maybe with a little bit of inboard tension I can start the bolts and drive them home with the mallet.

That might even be a job I could do during the week.