January 20, 2021
All I did tonight was fiberglass over the cut in the top cowling.
I sanded off the bondo that was holding the top cowling together and then I mixed up a batch of SuperFil and filled the crack.
I still hadn't ever gotten around to finishing the brake installation on the main gear. So I spent some time tonight getting all the parts made and putting the rest of the main gear parts together.
Sanded the filler that I put in the cut on the top cowling. Drilled the top cowling to the hinge at the firewall and started fitting the bottom cowling.
Drilled the hinges that attach the bottom half of the cowling to the bottom of the fuselage and started fitting and sanding the bottom cowling half. I put a little bit more filler up front where I had to cut the top cowling.
I trimmed the back of the lower cowling half and drilled the bottom of the cowling to the hinges. I spent a lot of time fitting and sanding.
More sanding on the bottom half of the cowling and I managed to get the hinges on the side drilled.
I think I managed to install and remove the top cowling a hundred times today, but I think they fit pretty well. I drilled one of the hinges along the horizontal seam to the bottom cowling half.
Finished drilling the hinges along the seam between the top and bottom halves.
Started on the engine cooling baffles. I managed to get the four pieces that make up the side walls trimmed and fitted.
Worked on the rear baffles a little bit. The one on the left doesn't fit well at all and I am having a hard time figuring out exactly how it is supposed to go in there.
Finished trimming the left rear bulkhead and started on the right inlet floor.
Smeared some Super-fill on the top cowling to help fix the misalignment.
Drilled holes in the axles for the cotter pins, and installed the brake calipers.
I worked on the right front inlet some more and once I had it all drilled I started working on the right one.
More trimming and tweaking on the baffles.
Still more trimming and tweaking on the baffles. I have most of the forward right part trimmed and I am starting on the left side. I'll have a lot of riveting to do once I get them all to fit right.
I'm pretty much finished fitting the front parts of the baffles. Now all I need to do is get the back parts tweaked and then I can start trimming them to fit the top cowling.
Finished trimming the rear baffle parts so that they would fit just right over the top of the engine. I drilled the hole in the rear baffle sections to the crankcase bracket. I also added a piece of angle to the right rear section instead of the bent flange that comes with the part.
Started trimming the baffles to fit the top cowling.
I just about have the baffles trimmed to fit the cowling now. They still need a little tweaking in the area around the inlets though and I am right at 3/8" all the way around so I may have to carve on them a little bit more.
I discovered that I need to have the inlet ducts epoxied to the cowling before I can finish fitting the baffles so I went ahead and did that so they cure overnight.
Trimmed on the inlet ducts of the top cowling to get them to fit the baffles. I couldn't decide whether to trim the cowling or the baffles so I trimmed the cowling to see how that works out. If not it's easier to add fiberglass than to add aluminum. I also did some more work on those areas of the top cowl that have to be enlarged to fit the bottom. I layed a couple of layers of glass cloth over the filler that I had put on previously.
Spent most of the evening scratching my head. I am having trouble figuring out how to seal the baffles to the inlet ducts. I think I'm gonna do some more fiberglass on the ducts but for now I'm going inside to look at other's websites.
I layed up a couple of fiberglass parts for the top cowling. I am closing off the inlet ducts.
I made the other two parts of the inlet ducts tonight. I also realized that I left my digital camera in Littlefield so I am taking pictures the old fashioned way. I really wanted to show how I am closing off these inlet ducts so I will probably scan them when I get the film developed.
Today I trimmed and epoxied the new inlet duct parts that I made to the top cowling. I am going to need to do a lot of filling and sanding to get them perfect but for now at least I have enough of it done so that I can finish the baffles.
I spent some time fiddling with some firewall forward stuff. I am not happy with where I mounted the capacitor for the SD-8 alternator because the wiring get's in the way of removing the battery. I'll either move the capacitor or change the wiring somehow. I also moved the ground strap to the engine since it also made it impossible to remove the battery. I made a bracket for the purge valve control line that attaches to one of the engine case bolts.
Trimmed the front of the baffles to fit the new inlet ducts that I glassed into the top cowling. I also riveted on most of those little mounting hole doublers and some of the reinforcement angles for the baffles.
After getting the cowling back on after the whole adding inlet duct seals thing I decided that most of the baffles needed a little more trimming. I also cut the hole for the oil cooler and drilled the oil cooler doubler plate to the back baffle. I made some reinforcements for the oil cooler to (hopefull) keep it from cracking the back baffles.
Don came over tonight and made me a beautiful prop governor oil line. The engine came with a hose that was WAY too long (It looks like was probably for an O-540), and I never liked the hose idea anyway. So since Don is one of the best instrument hands on the planet I traded him some BBQ for his skills. I am very happy with it. It's made out of 316SS 3/8x0.035 seamless tubing.
Drilled the flange for the cabin heat to the baffle and riveted it on with the stainless screen.
Started fitting the rubber baffle seal material to the baffles. I also made the hose for the return fuel line and drilled the hole in the baffle for it to pass through.
Put on some more baffle seal material.
Riveted the baffle seal material on the front left baffle.
Riveted the rear left baffle sections together and started cutting the baffle seal material.
Finished the hose that connects the AFP purge valve to the firewall bulkhead. I also managed to get the oil cooler installed.
Still working on the rubber seal material for the baffles.
Riveted the seal material to the bottom cowling half. I think the baffles are finished but I am going to wait a little before I install them permanently just in case I need to take them off for some reason.
Started finishing up the cowling work. I countersunk all the rivet holes, deburred all the rivet holes and started riveting the hinges on with some epoxy/microballoons slury to help smooth out the rough spots.
I mixed up another batch of microballoons and epoxy and riveted on a couple more hinges to the bottom cowling. One more session and I should have the hinges on the cowling halves.
Finished riveting the hinges to the bottom cowling half and smeared another coat of Superfil on the top cowling half to try and get the front to fit together better.
I got a little carried away with the microballoons on some of the hinges and the cowlings didn't want to fit together very well. So I scrapped a little bit between the hinge eyelets to get them to fit better. It is much better but I should not have put so much on. I did a little sanding and mixed up some more Superfil and put it on the inlet ducts to get them nice and smooth.
Fiddled with the cowling some more. I really made a mess of those hinges with the micro / epoxy mix.
Still messing with the cowling. I managed to get it to the point where it fits together okay. The hinge pins are still a little hard to install but they'll loosen up. Now I am just trying to get the inlets on the front to look just right, and hide all the rivets. So there is some fiberglass and filler in my future.
I never finished up the covers that go over all the AFP fuel system stuff in the floor. I really got it all messed up with the fuel flow transducer, so today I spent some time putting it back together so that I can get it finished. I started making a fiberglass cover for the fuel line and fuel flow transducer. I decided that I could make it look better with fiberglass than I could with aluminum.
More sanding and filling on the front of the cowling. It's coming along slowly but it's getting there.
Fiddled with the fuel flow transducer cover that I made and it turns out that it is too small. Back to the drawing board.
More sanding, more filling on the cowling.
More sanding / filling on the cowling. I also fiddled around with the baffles a little bit.
I need to get the firewall arrangement sorted out so I started installing as much of that stuff as I can. I figure that the wiring will be the easiest to route around stuff so I want the controls and hoses to be installed before I get too carried away with wiring. I spent today installing the fuel servo and the throttle, prop and mixture controls. The throttle control I bought requires a smaller hole than what I had drilled so I had to make another mounting plate, then I ran the prop control to the governor since this was the one that really had me worried since it runs right past the oil cooler hoses and the spark plug wires on the left mag. The prop cable fits like a glove but when I put the throttle and mixture cables in I realized that they were probably too long. I'll play with them later to see if I can make them fit better but I may re-order them.
I made the little bracket to mount the mixture cable to the fuel servo. Rerouted the mixture and throttle controls to try and get them to fit better. Ran the control cable for the AFP purge valve.
Prepred the holes where the cowling hinges and firewall attach to the fuselage for riveting.
Riveted the cowling attach hinges, forward fuselage and firewall flanges together. Also spent some time sanding on the cowling.
I can't believe it took me 3 hours to install a few nutplates but these things are a pain when they are on the firewall. I managed to get the nutplates for the inside cover, the oil pressure line and the crankcase vent line drilled I got most of them installed and I noticed that I had used nuts to install the sender manifold. That will never do, so I put some nutplates there too. I also put the pipe fittings in the sender manifold for the oil pressure and fuel pressure. I almost got it installed again when I realized that I had installed the wrong nutplate on one of them. One day I'll learn to go to bed when I get tired.
Replaced that nutplate behind the sender manifold, mounted the manifold and attached the hoses.
Bondo'd the new piece of PVC pipe to a board for the new improved (read larger) cover for the fuel flow transducer.
Today I put the cowling back on so that I could figure out how much room I had for the EGT probes and wires and I while it was there I decided to install the little brass tubes where the hinge pins are going to run to secure the top and bottom half of the cowling together. Mine is going to run back into the cabin through two small brass tubes (bought at the hobby store) to the forward bulkhead. I managed to get both tubes JB Welded to the fuselage side and it seems to work pretty well. It is tight but I expect that it'll loosen up over time.
Layed a couple of layers of fiberglass on the mold for the cover.
I pulled the exhaust and drilled the holes for the EGT probes. I installed the bayonet fittings for the CHT probes and then installed the the exhaust, EGT prbes and CHT probes. I also put the oil temperature sensor in oil filter adapter.
I pulled the cowling off and finished bolting the baffles to the engine.
Pulled the new piece out of the mold for the fuel flow transducer cover, and fit it between the firewall and the AFP pump cover.
I finished the second cover for the fuel lines. It fits pretty good. I also made a template for the armrests. I want padded armrests so I am going to cut some model airplane plywood to fit the armrests so the upholster has something to staple / glue the fabric too.
Started working on the little oir filler access door in the cowling.
Finished working on the oil filler door. I think I will wait to rivet it, at least until I decide how best to paint the thing. After I got that done I went ahead and mixed some thinned microballons / epoxy and smeared it on the top cowling to help fill the pin holes.
Started work on the spinner. The first step was to get the spark plugs out of the engine so I could turn it over safely. Then turning the prop over and over to check that the spinner turns true, with no wobble.
I sanded on the cowling a little bit. Also did some more work on the spinner. Still trying to get it lined up just perfect. I have had to sand a little bit of the inside.
More work on the spinner.
Made the gap covers for the spinner and finished up all the drilling and riveting of the nutplates on the spinner. There are 22 screws holding that thing on. That is a lot of holes. The spinner is finished except for paint.
Removed the prop and stored it away. I will probably wait until the airplane is at the hangar to put it back on. I had to go back and fix something that I missed on the baffle. The rear left part of the baffle needs to have an added piece of angle reinforcement when using the baffle mount oil cooler like I am. This was pointed out to me by a couple of guys through email. BTW thanks guys for the notes and if anybody else sees something in these pictures that could be a problem, please don't think that I will be offended if you point them out to me. That is part of the reason that I have this website.
Cut out the wood for the arm rests. I couldn't find the thickness that I wanted so I cut two pieces of 1/16" model airplane plywood and then sandwiched a piece of fiberglass between them with epoxy resin.
Finished the armrest upholstry backing. I drilled three holes through each of them to the armrests. Then I riveted nutplates to them so that I can attach them after the foam and upholstry are on.
I still needed to safety wire the bottom of the new baffle piece on so I did that.
Shannon took the arm rest backs to the upholstry shop and they were through with the seats. So I reinstalled the seat backs and tried out the new seat cushions.
Worked on mounting the Hall Effect current sensors and re mounted the capacitor for the SD-8 alternator. Replaced my 10 slot main buss fuse block with a 20 slot version. 10 was going to work but it was going to leave me with no spares, so I now have a 20 slot fuse block for both the e-buss and the main buss.
I finished mounting the the current sensors. Cut a hole and installed a snap bushing for the wires to go through the firewall on the right side of the plane. I piddled around with some of the smaller wires on the contactors. I also worked on the control cable brackets.
Still cutting square holes in the panel. I also got the spots laid out for the round holes so that I can borrow that instrument hole punch from Marshall. Drilled the holes for the switches.
Finished and remounted the control cable mounts. Installed the exhaust mounts, and while I was at it I put the cabin heat muff on. I had forgotten about the cabin heat muff and had an interference issue that I had to work out. Those exhaust mounts were far more difficult that I thought they would be and I advise everybody to do it earlier in the process than I did.
I had to cut the adjustment arm down on the alternator. This is the long arm with the curved slot in it that allows you to adjust the belt tension. It was too long and with the correct belt installed I couldn't get the bolt in, so I drilled another hole in it on the end that mounts to the engine and cut the old hole off. I went ahead and mounted the alternator and then spent some time tidying up some of the wires on the engine. I also started working on the alternator blast tube.
Finished the alternator blast tube.
Finally started working on the panel. I started by building the map box and cutting the hole in the panel.
Spent some time on the map box. The panel hole wasn't quit big enough and needed to be enlarged.
Worked on the structure around the sub panel for the map box and started cutting square holes in the panel for radios.
Marshall called and asked if I wanted to fly to Brenham and have lunch. After we flew all over SE Texas looking at airplanes I got a chance to borrow that instrument hole punch and we knocked out the holes for my Dynon, Tru-Trak and my EI fuel gauge. It's hard to believe that is all the round holes that I have but that's it.
I drilled the screw holes for the round instruments with my trusty instrument hole jig. I also laid out where I wanted to put the AOA indicator. Oh and went sailing too.
Cut the hole for the AOA indicator. I also punched the hole for the 25-pin D-sub connector that I may use on the control stick wiring. The more I think about this the less I like the idea though.
Cut the holes in the panel for the trim indicators
Built another throttle / mixture / prop cable mount for the panel. I also drilled holes in each side of the panel for the parking brake cable (pilot side) and cabin heat cable (wife side).
Cut the holes in the panel for the Matronics trim controls. Also layed out the holes for the intercom.
Finished cutting the last of the holes in the panel and riveted the map box on. I put a coat of primer on it all.
Sanded the panel again and put another coat of primer on it. After that coat set up I wet sanded it and put a coat of black paint on it. I think I'll put one more coat on it and then see how it looks. While paint was drying I mounted the Lightspeed EI module, and started trying to figure out where I am going to run those wires. I also removed the canopy and started taking stuff out of the cabin so that I can get a coat of paint in there.
Removed the canopy rails, the seats, seat backs, air vents, fuel vents, the sticks and all kinds of really small pieces of aluminum from the cabin in anticipation of putting a coat of paint in there. The wife and I decided that the primer grey color just wouldn't do.
Finished assembling the panel. It's really exciting and now if I only had the cabin painted I could install it and start wiring.
Started sanding all the covers and stuff that I removed from the cabin in anticipation of another coat of primer. The grey epoxy primer that I had in there will cure and not accept a topcoat after a few days so I have to sand it and put another coat of primer on then the paint.
Finished sanding and cleaning all of the interior parts. I also managed to get the primer and paint on them all. This is the first that I have seen of the colors that Shannon picked out and I must say I really like them.
Started sanding the inside of the cabin to get it ready for paint.
Finished sanding the cabin.
Vacuumed out the cabin and started masking stuff off.
Finished masking off the airplane and covering up all the things in the shop that I did not want to get painted. I cleaned everything and sprayed the primer and paint on the cabin. It turned out pretty good. I wouldn't be too happy with that kind of finish on the outside of the plane but for the cabin it will be okay.
I took the panel into my mad scientist lab and tried to get everything wired that I could on the bench before taking it outside to mount in the plane.
I decided that I wasn't going to be able to get all the wire bundles to look like I want without having the panel in the airplane, so I moved all the tools and the panel out of the mad scientist lab and into the airplane factory. I mounted the panel in the plane with clecos.
I spent a little time today finishing up a few details that I wanted to get done and couldn't until the panel was in. I made the new throttle and mixture cable brackets. The old ones were made from 062 angle and I wasn't sure they'd stand up to the vibration. I replaced them with 0.125 angle. I also fixed the cabin heat muff. It was loose on the exhaust after tightening the hose clamps all the way. Then I mounted the throttle/prop/mixture/purge controls under the instruent panel and ran the cables through the firewall. I wanted to have those installed before getting too carried away on wiring. Wires are easy to route around control cables but control cables aren't so easy to route around wires.
Finished up the control cable support bracket that attaches the control cables to the sub panel. Started running wires. I had to punch a few holes and I think I spent more time scratching my head trying to figure out where the wires are going to go than I did running wires.
Spent most of the evening soldering really small wires to the back of the intercom.
I have to leave to go offshore later today so I decided to piddle around with the plane some. I mounted the GRT manifold pressure transducer to the sub-panel and finally got around to installing the bulkhead fitting and the hose to the manifold pressure port on the engine. I tubed up the line to both the manifold pressure sensor and the Lightspeed electronic ignition. I cut some more holes in the firewall for the electronic ignition cables as well as some other wires.
Connected the Mixture, Governor and Purge control cables to the AFP and prop governor. Reinstalled the fuel tank vents (hopefully this will be the last time). I also started scratching my head trying to figure out the best way to get the cabin heat control cable through the firewall without interfering with too much stuff. The jury is still out.
Started working on mounting the magnetic sensor for the Dynon D-10.
Finished mounting the Mag sensor and pulled all the wire to wire it up. Also finished all the power wiring to the Dynon. Finished wiring up the Lightspeed Electronic ignition and the strobe power supply stuff as well.
Mounted the brain box for the Proprietary Software Systems AOA indicator. Glued some more of those little stick on wire holders to different places on the panel.
Wired up the master contactor to the switch and turned it on. After checking that all the right voltages were going to all the right busses I checked the pins on the connector for the Dynon and then put a fuse in and turned it on.
Wired up the Aux feed to the essential buss. This is the switch that feeds the e-buss if the master buss is down. I also piddleed around with that cabin heat cable again.
Today I built a bracket and hooked up the parking brake cable. I started wiring the AOA indicator. I also hooked up the static an pitot lines to the AOA and the Dynon. While I was in the back of the plane I pulled the rudder cables back through the cabin again.
Finished enough of the AOA wiring to power it up and see if it works. I still have to hook up the annunciator, flap switch and audio. I uploaded the latest firmware into the Dynon EFIS-D10. It worked flawlessly. I played around with the checklists a little bit. I still have some configuration to do to get it perfect but I think I'll be really happy with this box. I started wiring up the GRT EIS-4000 Engine monitor. I managed to get all of the EGT / CHT's wired as well as power and the manifold pressure sensor.
Mounted the fuel pressure and oil pressure senders. Pulled the wires through the firewall for these senders and hooked up all but the grounds. I also hooked up the P-lead wires and pulled them through the firewall.
Hooked the P-lead up to the switch in the cockpit. Wired the tach input to this same switch. I also put the OAT sensor for the EIS into the NACA duct on the passenger side and wired it up.
Finished all the wiring on the EIS engine monitor (except the annunciator output) and powered it up. It showed a few temperatures that seemed about right but without any calibrations I really couldn't test much. It does work though. I hooked the power up to the MP3/CD player and I also installed my cargo lights, which are nothing more than those cold cathode tubes that people put inside glass cased computers to fancy them up. I mounted them under the seat-back bulkhead.
Built a bracket under the co-pilot seat for the two relays that I will use for the flaps.
I thought that I could get the flap wiring finished up tonight but it turned out to be a bigger job than I thought.
Finally finished the flap wiring, and actually moved the flaps. It's fun to see stuff move.
Finished wiring the Landing / Taxi lights. I also wired up the postition lights. I rigged up a way to test the Wig Wag flashre on the L/T lights and I don't think that I am going to be happy with it. I will probably redo it.
Finished the last of the Lightspeed Electronic Ignition wiring by hooking the coax up to the coils. I then started scratching my head about where to put the headset jacks.
I think I may use a couple of little platic boxes from Radio Shack to put my headset jacks in. This will give the cables some support and eliminate the need to have the little isolation washers. I plan to mount them to the bottom of the sub panel.
I drilled the holes in the sub panel for my little headset jack boxes and I finished soldering the wires to the DRE intercom connector.
Still soldering on the intercom wiring. I managed to get the relay done that I put in for switching com 1 to com 2. (I don't have a com 2 but I think I may expand so I put the relay in just in case.) It is a passive mixing circuit that I got from Garth at DRE. I also started soldering the wires to the headset jacks. When I screwed one up I decided that I had breathed enough lead vapor.
Finished soldering the headset jacks in the little boxes and put the intercom wiring harness into the panel. I started hooking up power running the wires around to where they need to be.
Finished mounting the headset jack boxes under the panel, connected the CD/MP3 player to the intercom and hooked up the PTT wiring to the pilot side stick grip (co-pilot grip is in the mail). I plugged my headset in and gave them to Shannon to put on, then turned on the MP3 player. When her head started bobbing I knew it was working. Once all that was working well I hooked up the audio output of the AOA to the passive mixer circuit and it worked.
Hooked up the flap switch to the AOA and that completes the AOA wiring. I made a plate for the comm antenna mount and Daryl came by and helped me rivet it to the plane. He also brought another headset so we could test out the intercom some more (I only have one headset). That DRE-244e works as advertised. If it works that well with all the airplane noise I'll be thrilled with it. Once I got the antenna mounted I finished all the rest of the wiring to the ICOM A-200 com radio and turned it on. Nothing :-(. Look at the drawings again, and see the text "jumpers MUST be installed" DOH!! Okay install the jumpers and try again. WHOO HOOO!! I dialed in the CTAF for West Houston and actually heard somebody in the pattern. I pushed the PTT and the TX light came on. It's all very exciting.
Tonight I worked on the Electronics International Dual Fuel Level guage. I got the power and the backlight hooked up but I am still debating on where to punch a hole in the side of the airplane for the probe wires to pass through. They can't go through the other holes because the fuel probes are forward of the spar and I ain't drillin' no holes in the spar to pass wires through.
I replaced the Push-on/Push-off switches in my stick grip with momentary switches. I wired up the com flip-flop and memory buttons to the stick grip and started assembling the co-pilot stick grip that I bought from Ray Allen Company.
I messed around with the little solid state flasher that I have been toying with for the last few weeks. I make a little circuit board with a microcontroller on it to drive a couple of solid state relays to flash the landing / taxi lights. I'm not real happy with the solid state flasher that I bought from B & C that clicks. Where I come from solid state stuff shouldn't click. So I made my own. It's a little bit of overkill to have a microcontroller on it but it gave me some more programming experience and it keeps the part count low on the board.
Finished installing the little solid state lamp flasher that I made. It works pretty well. It's ugly as it can be but it works. I also managed to get power run to my autopilot and turned it on to see if it would work. It did.
I couldn't bring myself to do any wiring today so I piddled around 'under the hood' I reset my mixture cable according to info that I got from AFP. I don't quite have enough travel to move the mixture arm. I am talking just a little bit too short like 1/32". I had it where I got ICO but not full rich. AFP said do the opposite since I'll be killing the engine with the purge valve. I also installed the fuel pump drain line.
I spent most of the day installing the transponder. The Encoder wires were already installed but I put the antenna in and hooked it up and wired power and dimmer control wires to it as well as tightening up the mounting screws. It's good to see it work. I am also trying to share the GPS signal from the GPS-35 that the Tru-Trak autopilot uses so that I can get the automatic ALT / STBY functionality from the GTX-327. We'll see if that works. I had to take the panel trim switches apart and re-wire them so that they would work with my trim set-up and I installed the rear mounting screws for the comm radio. I had left them off because they were a pain and I didn't know whether I would need to take that tray out while messing with the transponder.
Didn't feel like doing much on the project tonight, but I did remember to borrow the little 4-40 tap from work so I went ahead and put the stick grip on the right stick.
Hooked up the starter circuit and Main alternator circuit.
Today I decided to change gears a little bit and go back to work on the canopy. I had decided that I was going to do the aft skirts in fiberglass but I didn't feel like getting the epoxy out today so I put the first skirts that I made on and I've about decided that I may be able to make them work. It seems that I had the canopy too far back when I did the initial fitting so I may be able to trim them down and get them to fit. I'll work on it for a few nights and if it doesn't go my way then I'll go back to the fiberglass idea.
Trimmed on the aft skirt of the canopy. I think it may work out.
Still more trimming on the aft canopy skirts. It's looking like it will fit okay but I sure am taking a lot of material off of those skirts. I think it'll look okay when it's all said and done.
Decided that the aft skirts weren't going to work after all. I simply have them too tight and the canopy isn't going to close until I trim the completely away. So today I started laying up fiberglass skirts. We'll see how that turns out.
I smeared some Super-Fil on the canopy skirs to help fill the low spot caused by the gap betweent the canopy and the fuselage.
Ran the cabin heat cable through the firewall and hooked it up. I also started putting those stainless firewall penetration sheilds around the grommets where the cabin heat cable and the purge valve cable come through the firewall.
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