Random tasks…

Finally getting a lot of little cleanup tasks done while the avionics harness is percolating at Approach FastStack.

First, I installed this…

Mystery device

First person to guess what it is gets a ThermosWorks sticker or a free beer at Oshkosh 2019.

Second, I dug out the cockpit lights from Oplite and fabricated a small bracket to mount them on the roll bar support.

Oplite 6sOplite wires

These lights are extremely well-made by my friend and fellow RV builder Rich Mileika. In addition to Oplite, Rich owns and operates Machine, Inc, a precision machining company in the greater Boston area. If you need quality cockpit lighting, try Oplite…you’ll like ’em.

And lastly, I replaced the stock Van’s flap motor with an upgraded version made by Pat Hatch at PH Aviation Services.

This motor has several advantages over the stock unit. The motor and jackscrew are separate so grease can’t migrate into the motor windings, a common problem with the Vans motor. It also has limit switches to stop the motor at full extension on either end, and also has a position sensor to report flap position to whatever device needs it.

The only downside is that the flap support bracket must be modified to accommodate the new motor. Rather than trying to rework the existing bracket, I bought new parts from Vans and started from scratch…only took a couple of hours, and Pat’s motor will save some wiring work later on.

Panel population progress

I think it’s time to start mounting stuff in the panel. Being an electronics/avionics geek, I’ve waited for this for a long, long time.

Panel population progressThe white labels are mockups of the panel labels I’m having engraved by Aircraft Engravers in Granby, CT.

The G3x GSU 25 ADAHRS is mounted on the subpanel behind the PFD/MFD – makes plumbing the pitot-static lines to the GSU and G5 a little easier. It was hard to get in there with a ruler to lay out hole positions so I made a drill template out of thin Al.

One minor hiccup…the ignition switch locking tab isn’t clocked correctly, causing interference between the switch body and panel support rib. I’ll probably have to grind off the tab and rivet on a new one at the right orientation. The switch label will cover the rivets nicely.

Switch interference

The light at the end of the tunnel…

…is getting brighter – it’s time to start installing and wiring avionics. I’ve been plotting and planning how to mount the Garmin G3x Touch system, radios and transponders and I’ve settled on building a tray which will hold all the remote-mounted LRUs, Comm 2 and transponder.

Here’s a cardboard mockup.

Avionics tray mockup…and the tray with avionics temporarily attached.

Avionics tray fitting 1The GAD 27 and GAD 29 are on the right side. Most of the airframe power interfaces will be through the right firewall passthrough so having these boxes on the right should make wiring a little more straightforward.

GAD 27 and GAD 29The GEA 24 engine interface is on the left side as most of the engine sensor wires will come through the left firewall passthrough. Guess where the AoA CPU is going?

GEA 24More pics? Sure, I’m glad you asked.

The avionics tray from overhead

Almost finished with the cowl

We don’t plan on painting the RV for awhile, so I called Jonathan McCormick at Evoke Aviation – our painter of choice – and asked for his recommendation about how to protect the cowl ’til time for paint. His recommendation was K36 high-build epoxy primer…so that’s what we used.

The K36'd cowl

The oil filler door looks good, although I’ll likely end up sanding down the sides a little to increase the gap for painting later on.

The oil filler doorAnd the cowl pin covers look great…couldn’t be happier with how they came out. They were worth all the work!

The jeweled cowl pinI disassembled the cowl and laid down some heat-reflective adhesive aluminum to help protect against hot spots from the engine.  Sorry, no pictures of that!

Sanding, sanding and more sanding

Following the instructions for UV SmoothPrime, I’ve laid down several coats and each one means a lot of sanding. Fortunately, it sands pretty easily and seems to do a good job filling any voids or pinholes left after the coats of micro and epoxy I applied.

The cowl after SmoothPrime

It’s a little splotchy in some spots, but it’s good enough for the high-build epoxy that’ll cover everything until paint.

SmoothPrime splotches

Bits and pieces, and the end of the pink cowl

There are a lot of gaps in the blog since February because any spare time I have has gone to building and not to blogging. So in the spirit of documenting this build in an efficient manner, I’m gonna “micro-blog” and just cover a single day’s work…so there.

The pink cowl is no more. I put on the first three coats of UV Smooth Prime with a roller and after drying for a day or so I’ll sand it down and put on the final coats.

The pink cowl…

The last of the pink cowlAnd the the white cowl…

The white cowl

 

I’m not dead yet

For anyone who’s following this website, I’m still alive and very much focused on the RV.  It’s just that any spare time I have (which isn’t much) is going toward working on the airplane and not toward website updates.  But just so I have something to prove to the FAA that I really am building this airplane, I’m diverting some precious building time to some updates.

Stay tuned…