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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lighting and Emp Work

I have been continuing to work on the empennage and am getting close to being finished with the entire tail apart from the fairing, which will need to wait till the weather warms up due to the associated fiberglass work.   But for now I put on the lower fairing and installed Pulsar SunTail LED position and strobe light.   I am really surprised at how hard it was to get the screws and nuts in to hold that little light, but after about 40 minutes of fiddling with it I finally got it done.

Also, I wired up the glare shield lights which needed to wait until the canopy was on for the last time.  These turned out great and really add light to the cockpit when turned on high and the canopy is opened.  Also, I wired up the defrost fan, but for some reason the circuit trips shortly after it gets turned on.  Will need to look into that one..

I finished the day by wiring up the elevator trim tab and safety tying the hinge pin.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A New Look

I installed the rudder got in the cockpit and worked the pedals.  Everything was great, the rudder swung from stop to stop and all was good.  Then I got ambitious and started hooking up the tail wheel chains and cut them too short, so will need to make another order from Vans.  After that I took a look at the blue protective cover, knowing that with the plane at the airport it will have to come off pretty soon.  So I test pulled a piece off the rudder and underneath there was a bunch of residue on the metal..  I kind of freaked out and started yanking blue off the entire fuse.  Lucky for me the only real place where residue existed was on the rudder, so I cleaned it up good with acetone and a microfiber cloth, then gave the whole plane a onceover.   Now the plane has a very shiney new look.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Empennage goes back on

Now that I am at the hangar and have been able to get it somewhat set up, I started working on the plane again.   I installed the Vertical and Horizontal stabilizer for the last time !   Since I had already fit them previously, all I had to do was torque the bolts down and make sure everything went into place.   I haven’t completely finished the empennage tips, but am assuming I can do them after the fact..  Will do a little research on that before I go too far down the road.

I also swapped my flag because I had it backwards.   Who would have known there is a specific way to hang a flag on a vertical wall, but I definitely want to make sure its hanging correctly.

Don’t mind the clutter in the hangar, I haven’t got it fully fitted out yet.  ;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Moved the plane to the Hangar

This weekend was a big weekend on the project and I couldn't have done it without the help of guys from my EAA chapter.  I was able to borrow the perfect trailer for the job and also a great truck to make the move.  I did have to prep the trailer and get everything ready so the trailer sat in my driveway overnight.  Saturday morning started early and it ended up being soo easy to load the plane in the trailer.  It fit perfectly and tie downs were in the perfect spots.  I had built some blocks for the spar slot, but ended up not needing to use them.  We hooked up the trailer and off to the airport stressing about every imperfection in the road on the way up.

Once we got to the airport, the trailer is so low that we were able to roll the plane right out and right into the hangar.  It wasn't the best weather rain, snow, wind..   but no worries with the enclosed trailer the RV was safe.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Canopy fitting complete - Ready for the Move

I spent the last couple nights working on final fitting the canopy and the rear window.  The canopy lugs went in without much issue, but the passenger side did hit the longeron cover that it has to transition through to get captured by the retaining mechanism.  To correct, had to grind of a small amount of the rear flange on the lug.  No problem, looks good, in fact I did the same on the right just so it looks the same.   Other than that I have them positioned pretty much perfectly. 
Then it was onto getting the final fit of the rear window to Canopy.  During construction I left both about 1/32 too long so that I could really nail the final fit after I riveted the front skin, which effects canopy forward aft location.  Now that I am reasonably sure the canopy won’t move much, or at least that I can control its movement (with my forward stop mod I built in about a year ago) it was time to final fit this thing.   Lots of sanding and the rear window was in and out about 6 times, but I finally zeroed in on it and got the canopy to close.   I used a long straight sanding bar and am really surprised how accurate I got the fit between the canopy  and window.   Looking at it, the seam is extremely straight and uniform.  I am a little shy of 1/16 inch gap so I might open it up a small bit more to allow for expansion etc..    Right now,  I don’t even think water would drip through due to surface tension.

At this point with the lugs done and canopy/rear window fit,  the plane is ready to head to the airport !


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Canopy Final Fit

A friend came over yesterday and helped me put the canopy on for what might be the last time ?  ?   It will definitely be the last time before I head to the airport that is for certain.  It went on well and looks good.  It’s weird to think it has been over a year since I had it on the plane.  Anyway, the leading edge had to be filed down a bit as it kept wanting to catch when I opened the canopy.  Also, the passenger side is about 1/16th inch wide (overhang) which I will need to work on somehow, but other than that it fits great.  These canopies are so difficult to fit because of so many moving parts during construction that builders often don’t end up with perfect fits.  But with a few tweaks mine will be just great.  Next step is to work on the canopy lugs and fit the rear windscreen.  That will require quite a bit of plexi sanding which shouldn't be a problem.   I’ll be finished before Friday which is a good thing…..  BIG MOVE THIS WEEKEND !

I have coordinated help with Trucks and Trailers to make the big move this weekend !   Taking the RV up to her permanent home at Paine Field !   Then it’s a lot of cold weather work to get her ready for the summer.  ;-)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Canopy Fairing Continued, Continued, Complete !

One more round of epoxy and micro balloons followed by lots of sanding.  Then a coat of high build primer also sanded smooth.  No low spots, looks good, so I shot on a coat of two part epoxy primer.   Looks great and is now sealed and will fly that way until final paint.

Time to call it good.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Canopy Fairing Continued, Continued

Another day of work on the canopy fairing.  I sanded again for an hour and things are looking really good.  Some minor low spots so it needs one or two more sessions before I can put some primer on it and call it good.  Here is a shot of it after the sanding session, then another pic with another coating of dyed epoxy with Microballoons.  I probably don't need to be using black dye anymore, but it looks good and I think it makes it easier to see low spots.   Also, with the microbaloons I don't need to use the peel ply which also makes it easier to see low spots since they stay shiney.  Each coat I am completely recoating the entire surface, as it seems to work better.  Finallly I was really nervous about getting close to the tape, but its stronger than you think and I peal off the yellow each time leaving on the PVC tape which is underneath the yellow (the PVC tape is extreamly tough).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Canopy Fairing Continued

After the 7 layers cured from the first session, I took some #40 grit sandpaper on the backside of a rubber sanding block and started shaping the sloped curve in the front.   About an hour of sanding and it started looking pretty good.  There was a lower spot through the length of the curve, which will be filled with additional coats of epoxy.   I also made sure at this point to scuff up the entire forward metal surface.  Then after cleaning the entire forward canopy fairing and skin, I mixed some additional dyed epoxy with micro-balloons to coat the entire area with a thick layer.  This process will be replicated several times.   Once this dries its back to sanding but it should be easier with the micro-balloons in the epoxy.  Covering the entire front section will hide all the rivets and make it look very smooth when complete.  I also buried the exposed screw heads that hold the strut block on the inside.   Hope I don’t ever need to get to those in the future.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Canopy windscreen fairing

Tonight I dug deep into the canopy fairing.  I started by sanding down the filet until it was smooth and ready for the layers of fiberglass to come.  Then I cut 7 pieces of glass fiber every 1/4 inch from ¾ all the way to 2 ¼.  I made each one progressively longer starting from about 38 inches all the way up to 52, since on the outside edges you don’t need as much curve in the fairing.   Basically these got layered with the thinnest one first gradually thickening up to make a smooth transition for the curve of the windscreen.  I started by mixing some epoxy with flox and black dye and painted the full surface so I had a smooth black surface from the inside.  Then as you can see I started with the first layer which was followed by 6 more all with black dye.   When finished to where I had a fairly smooth transition I removed the yellow electric tape (but still had my PVC Pipe tape in place) to make clean edge and then applied peel ply to help stop runs and give a better finish once dried.   This was pretty stressful part of the project and I will only see tomorrow what I came up with.  From what I can tell it looks pretty good. 

From this point forward I have days and days of sanding/filling/sanding/filling/sanding/filling..  Until it looks amazing.  ;-)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Continued Progress - Started Canopy Fairing

I am starting to plan my move to the hangar now..  It won’t be long, but at the same time I am trying to get every little thing done I can before making the move.  Working from the cold hangar doesn't sound too appealing in December…   So I was able to fit some seals up on the lower inlets of the lower cow.  Using a .040 backing plate and some #6 screws, I cut the baffle material so that it would slide into place and block the air from escaping forward around the lower baffle ramps.   It turned out pretty good on both sides and doesn't make it any more difficult to mount the cowl.

 After that I did some research and decided it was time to start building out the Canopy Fairing.   Here I am venturing again into unknown territory.  So I looked at a few other sites, read the directions that came with the kit and am just jumping in.   The leading edge of my canopy fit across the lower skin very well, so I don’t need to use any rivets or pins to “lock it down”.   Also, some people don’t do this without the canopy on the airplane, I am using a level surface, so am confident I won’t have any warp built into the canopy, but we’ll see.

I started by using some pipe tape (20mls thick) to draw the line where the canopy fairing will come up to..  Then with 40 grit sand paper, I scuffed the plexi and aluminum as much as possible, even under the lip where the fillet will go.  Using standard west system epoxy I mixed in micro balloons to get it super thick and some black pigment since this will be visible from inside the cabin, I got it nice and black.   I used a Popsicle stick and some finesse made the filet to fill the gap under the lip.   This will be sanded down quite a bit before I got to the next steps of applying the fiberglass layups, but it shouldn't be difficult to stand since it has filler in it.

Then I wrapped the thing with peel ply sheets which is supposed to set the epoxy up to be easily sanded, or ready for the next coat of epoxy without sanding.  This was mainly a test, I will be using the peel ply much more when it comes to the actual fiberglass lay ups.

Places we have been in our RV-7 ! (Blue 2013, Yellow 2014, Green 2015, Purple 2016, Red 2017)