January 20, 2021
More trim wiring.
Finished up the trim wiring and finished soldering the connector on my little home grown annunciator.
Tonight I messed with all the dimmer circuits and panel lights in the panel. I am going to set my plane up to simply dim the entire panel to a preset level when the position lights are turned on. I'm having to experiment to find the right voltage for each instrument.
I managed to get the annunciator re-mounted. It was only temporary last time. I got power to it and started hooking up warning circuits. I think it'll work well.
Worked on a little wiring. I connected a few more points to my annunciator panel.
Sanded on the rear canopy skirt a little and then mixed up a litttle filler and smeared it around.
Sanded the filler on the rear canopy skirt from yesterday and mixed up a little more. This is a little bit too much trial an error for me but I'm narrowing down on it. Hopefully I'll be able to put this canopy to bed before too long.
Sanded the canopy skirt some more, and I think I may have put the last batch of filler on it.
Hooked up the wires to the GPS connector. Since I can't install the GPS until the forward top skin is on I put the wires in a Mate-n-lok connector.
Soldered together my little voltage regulator and tested to make sure it would work. This voltage regulator is for the lamp in the autopilot and the comm radio.
Sprayed a coat of surfacing primer on the aft canopy skirt.
Sanded the coat of primer that I put on yesterday and then mixed up a batch of epoxy/micro ballons and filled some of the bigger pin holes and scratches that showed up in the primer. It's hard to see those things in the fiberglass but they show up really well in the primer.
Sanded on the skirt some more. I hope that all the holes and scratches are filled and I can get this thing done with just a couple more coats of primer. We'll see.
Put on another coat of primer on the aft canopy skirt
Sanded the coat of primer off the the aft skirt. I think I have more pinholes this time than I did last time.
Today I worked on a bunch of little details. I installed a little switch for the canopy latch warning light. I worked on the new fuel selector plate (I was never happy with the old one.) I replaced all the nylok nuts that I had in the engine compartment. I also put the washers on each end of the tubes on the oil cooler. It seems that having the raw aluminum tubing against the oil cooler flanges is causing some pre-mature failure. The fix is to shorten the tubes and install some washers between them and the flanges.
Shannon started cutting out templates for the firewall insulation. I finished the fuel selector plate. I filled the pin holes in the aft skirt with Super-fil. The micro balloons seem to be causing more problems than they are solving so I went back to the Super-fil. I had fiberglassed some stiffeners into the oil door and didn't quite get them right. The door didn't fit as well after I did that. After staring at it for a while I decided that I could cut some slits into one of the stiffeners and re-glass it. While I was at it I fiberglassed a hinge pin retainer on the top cowling for the hinge pins that hold the top cowling half to the firewall. I started working on how I am going to retain the hinge pins that are inside the cockpit and the two on the bottom of the cowling.
Borrowed the 9-pin D-sub punch from work and put another 9-pin connector on my map box. It'll be for my Garmin GPSMap 296 that I plan to mount on my panel. I want to be able to get the NMEA information out of it while flying.
Sanded the aft canopy skirt smooth.
Made up some brackets for holding the top spark plug wires. Actually all I did was secure the right side ones to the fuel return hose and the left side I screwed it to the cross brace for the baffles.
Sprayed another coat of surfacing primer on the aft skirt. This was the last one. A little more sanding and it'll be time to rivet the canopy together. I'll be glad to finally get that over with.
Sanded the aft canopy skirt, and there were no pin holes. I guess it's done. I also made a little handle for the side of the canopy to help lift it.
Installed and wired the Low Voltage Monitors. I made these circuits from a schematic that Bob Knuckles sent me. I also wired the small inverter that will eventually power the E.L. light that I plan to put under the glaresheild.
Installed my Garmin GPSMap 296. I bought a marine mount to steal the plastic clip from, and installed it on the panel, right below my Dynon. I intend to mount th antenna that came with it up on the glare shield. I also bought the power / data cable for it so that I could break out the serial port for some data logging.
I decided that I didn't want to have to run the autopilot wires from the wings all the way to the autopilot once the wings were on, so I ran all the wires necessary from the back of the autopilot to floor under the passenger seat, and I'll put a splice there for the autopilot. This will let me get the fuel pump installed and all the covers over the center floor panel without having to worry about how to run those wires all the way up to the panel.
Installed the little slider brace mount for my SIRS compass. Then I spent the rest of the day fitting and cutting out pieces of neoprene for the firewall. It's supposed to be a pretty good heat/noise barrier.
Finished gluing the neoprene to the firewall. It turned out okay. I couldn't get to every little spot, but it should make a pretty big dent in the noise.
I managed to find a way to retain the hinge pins that hold the two cowling halves together. I drilled a hole in the forward bulkhead and put a really convoluted bend in the hinge pin. I spent the rest of the evening tie wrapping wires while they are still easy to get to. It is only a matter of days before the last skin goes on.
Drilled a small hole in the roll bar brace for the compass light wire. Mostly I worked on the retainers for the hinge pins on the bottom of the cowling.
Dimpled the top forward skin and peeled the blue plastic off of it. That plastic is hard to get off after all these years.
Scuffed, primed and painted the top fuse skin. Riveted the oil door to the hinges on the top cowling. Filled some spots on the cowling with Super-fil. I also removed the roll bar brace in anticipation of putting the top skin on.
Riveted the small pieces that have the nutplates for the panel to the top fuselage skin. It really beat up the paint. I was kinda hoping this would look good but it doesn't. I guess I'll probably wind up putting some kind of upholstry on top of that thing. I also spent some time setting up the EIS engine monitor with ranges and setpoints, and customizing my aux inputs. I also tested the thermocouples with a heat gun to make sure that the proper cylinders read out in the proper place on the EIS.
Coated the inside of the lower cowling with epoxy / acetone mix (50/50). Prepared the roll bar brace for installation. I had to pull a string through it for the canopy latch switch and I had to feed the compass light wires through it.
Shannon came out and helped me rivet most of the top fuselage skin on. We didn't finish before she had to leave but we got enough of it done so that I could install the roll bar brace and wire up the compass light and canopy latch switch.
Installed the foil heat sheild material on the inside of the bottom cowling.
I kinda messed up on the wiring that runs down the center of the firewall and back across the floor. The radius of the bundle was too tight so I had to do a little more fiberglass work on my little cover to get it looking decent. We'll see how it turns out.
I cut out the upholstry for the top of the glare sheild, sanded the area where I was going to spray glue. I had to mask off a bunch of the plane to put this down. Ironically I had decided to put down cloth to keep from having to mask everything off. I glued the cloth down and I think it will look fine.
I used a soldering iron to cotterize the edges of the upholstry on top of the glare sheild. I also used the soldering iron to poke the holes up through the skin where the GPS antennas will mount, and mounted the GPS antennas. I put the windscreen on and screwed it down along the roll bar and permanently installed the little clips that hold the front and sides down.
Shannon helped me finish the top fuselage skin. That's the last big piece of aluminum. It was a real pain. I'm glad that I made a point of leaving plenty of room to reach up from under the panel to get to those rivets. The map box really got in the way and I wound up having to put in one blind rivet.
Figured out the line for the fiberglass on the windscreen, and put some electrical tape on it. I also made up some microballons and put some filler between the windscreen and the fuse skin to smooth out the transition for the fiberglass that is coming soon.
Finished riveting up the canopy. WHOOOPPP!! I really didn't think I'd ever get that thing finished but it's done, it didn't crack and it fits pretty well. Vern came over and helped me get the windscreen ready to fiberglass. We sanded the filler, the plexi and the fuse skin. I wound up moving the tape a little bit because I had gotten some filler up next to it and couldn't clean it up without hurting the tape edge. No sense in getting this far and not doing it right. We decided that I didn't have the right epoxy (I have the fast West Systems and we need the slower 207 stuff) so we postponed doing the layup. The canopy rails moved a little when I had them off for painting the cockpit last year so I piddled with that a little bit and I also added some more filler to a few low spots on the windscreen transition and also on the blind rivets holding the aft canopy skirt. I cut a bunch of strips of fiberglass cloth in anticipation of "The Layup".
Finished wiring up the GPS antennas.
Today I needed to get ready for Vern to come over and finish the fiberglass on the windscreen. I sanded on the filler that I put on the windscreen last time and finished masking everything off. I swapped out the hardener pump on the West System epoxy and did a couple of layups on the empennage tips to make sure that I had all the fast hardener out of the pump. I figured while I was messing with the tips I'd keep it up so I spent the rest of the day doing that.
Fiberglassed the windscreen today. It's off to a real good start. Vern did a fantastic job so I don't think that we'll have to spend much time sanding it.
Spent the day working on the empennage tips. I mounted the Vertical Stabilizer on the plane temporarily so that it would be easier to work on. I discovered that the rudder bottom that Van's sent with the kit doesn't fit. It interferes with the tailwheel spring. I cut a chunk off the bottom of it and fiberglassed what amounts to a flat spot in the bottom of it to clear. It turned out okay, I guess.
I been struggling with exactly how I wanted to support the spark plug wires leading back to the Mag. I decided to use some of that nylon corrugated tubing that is split down the side to put the plug wires in and then support that.
Still working on the emp tips. I think I have them all in generally right shape now they just need a little filling and sanding to get them just right. I did a little bit of the filling today but the sanding will have to wait until I get home from offshore.
Vern came over and we worked on the fairing for the windsheild. He spent a bunch of time sanding on the fiberglass and then we mixed up a big ol' batch of epoxy / microballons and smeared it all over the thing.
I managed to get the fiberglass tips riveted to the rudder.
Sprayed some surfacing primer on both halves of the cowling.
Sanded on the cowling.
Tonight I was getting ready for doing the fiberglass layup around the windsheid where it meets the canopy. I got a long piece of cardboard and layed it out on the table and then cut three pieces of 8oz BID cloth for the layup.
Vern finished sanding the fiberglass transition from the windshield to the fuse and we got the glass layed up between the windshield and the canopy. I got a call from West Houston Airport today and I am getting a T-hangar the first of the month.
Riveted the fire extinguisher bracket down to the floor right behind the passenger seat. It'll be hard to get to but I think I'll be able to push the seat forward and reach it.
I installed all the nutplates on the wings for the inspection covers and the fuselage fairing.
Put the nutplates on the tanks where the fuselage fairing connects.
Filled and attempted to bleed the brakes. I have them pretty well bled but there is a little air in them that still needs to come out. My problem was the silly little pump that I used to fill the system. The idea is to use some kind of pump to fill the brakes from the bottom up but I think the one that I used was putting air in the line. I'll try again with a better pump.
Finished riveting the last of the fiberglass empennage tips. It feels good to be finished with that chore.
I started fixing the filtered air inlet. I installed the split ring on the AFP fuel controller upside down and that moved the whole thing down a half inch. Now it's right so I have to cut the inlet duct off and re-fiberglass it.
I glassed the new inlet duct for the FAB.
Sanded on the fiberglass roll bar fairing.
I put another couple of layers of glass on the inlet duct. I sanded off the foam and then put two more layers around the two layers that I put on yesterday.
Cut the roll bar fairing back to the proper width. I sanded and shaped the fairing as best I could and then mixed up a batch of Epoxy / Microballons and smeared it all over the thing, to try and make the transitions smooth.
Sanded the filler off of the roll bar fairing and then put some more filler on it. How do people build plastic airplanes?
Sanded and sanded on the roll bar fairing. I think I just about have it. It needed just a touch up of filler so I put some of that on it and hopefully I can call it good tomorrow.
Trimmed and sanded the new induction air inlet on the cowling. I added some filler to get it all nice and smooth. There is still some sanding in my future.
I decided that I didn't like the cork gaskets, so I took the access covers off and pro-sealed them in place instead.
I've been meaning to put a spring on the parking brake valve since I installed it. I finally figured out how to do it. I wanted to drill a hole in the arm of the valve but I couldn't get the drill in there without removing the valve or the rudder pedals. So I took a piece of stainless and made sortof an elongated washer with an extra hole and put it behind the control cable end nut, then put the spring through the little hole.
I borrowed a regulator and a gauge from work this weeked to check my Oil and Fuel pressure senders. I assembled a small test right with it and used shop air to test them. They both worked perfectly. I also boiled some water and checked my oil temperature transducer.
Installed the ELT behind the baggage compartment on the lower rib that the elevator bellcrank is mounted on. I put the antenna under the emp fairing.
It took entirely too long for me to run that wire for the ELT but I finally got the little remote installed on the right side of the panel.
Installed the rest of the little #8 screws and nuts that hold the canopy rails down.
Installed the fuel pump / filter assembly, and fuel selector valve for what I hope is the last time.
Put the nutplates around the bottom of the Vertical Stabilizer for the emp fairing attach points. Cleaned up and started getting ready to move airplane parts out of the garage. Tomorrow it starts heading to the hangar.
Loaded a bunch of small airplane parts into the car and took them to the hangar. Mostly just covers and fiberglass stuff. I'll really get starting moving stuff tomorrow.
Loaded up all the control surfaces, a bunch of tools, and the wings and took them to the airport.
I tested the fuel tanks and found a couple of leaks. The leaks weren't associated with the covers that I just re-did either. That doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I found one tiny leak in each tank so I did the ProSeal thinned with MEK trick, and pulled a small vacuum on the tanks and let this stuff wick into to the leak for a couple of hours and then put some unthinned ProSeal around that just for good measure.
Moved the fuselage to the hangar. I guess that makes it official. The bird has left the nest. Now all I have to do is bolt all these parts together and go fly. I also managed to get my toolbox loaded up and out there.
Loaded up a bunch more stuff to take to the hangar. It's gonna take forevever to get all the little tools and pieces-parts that I'll need to the hangar. I also took the plans and started putting the tail together. I got a call from a customer that is having trouble and that put a damper on the tail assembly. Oh well I also got to go sailing and watched the fireworks from a boat anchored in Upper Galveston Bay. Life is good.
I finished bolting the Vertical and Horizontal Stabilizers to the fuselage. I had forgotten to put the nutplates on the Horizontal Stab. for the empennage fairing so I had to stop and do that too. It's really fun to be putting these things on permanently.
Installed the Rudder.
Put the elevators on the plane and started installing the trim servo. I'm gonna have to do some more trimming on the elevator to get the trim servo linkage to clear.
Had a hangar warming party today to let people take a look at the plane and help find squaks. I got some good suggestions and a few squaks. Also managed to get the wings on the plane with the NAS bolts and we put the prop on too.
Finished installing the trim servo in the left elevator and I managed to get the elevators balanced.
Got the bolts in and torqued for the elevators except for the center bolt that goes through the horns. My hole was a little close to the welds so I may have to put a socket head screw in there instead. I also managed to get the right aileron on.
Finished the elevator attach. I wound up putting a washer underneath the bolt head and grinding a little relief on the back side of the washer to clear the weld. I had to use a longer bolt. Installed the big elevator push tube and torqued that all up. Installed the left aileron. Torqued the rear spar attach bolt on the left wing and installed the cotter pin but I couldn't get the nut to line up on the right side and at the correct torque. I need to order some more bolts and nuts so that I can try some different combinations.
Torqued up the 20 bolts that attach the main wing spars to the center section. Now all I lack having the wings on permanent is that rascally little bolt on the right rear spar.
Fixed the spinner backplate. Torqued the bolts on the starter. Tightened up the little fuse gusset bolts. Put the little elevator pushtube in and started to install the control sticks.
Installed a small heat sheild on the exhaust where to keep some heat off the fuel line. Ran the two little air tubes for the AOA up to the AOA CPU. I also started connecting the autopilot wires that I had stubbed out under the floor pan of the passenger side. I had a couple of wires that had lost their labels along the way so I had to remove the servo from the wing to get to the little D-sub connector so that I could identify those wires. It wasn't as bad as I thought and I'm glad I did it because I'd forgotten to put any loctite on the bolts holding the servo.
Finished hooking up those wires to the autopilot and reinstalled the servo into the wing. There are two wires that can be interchanged on the servo that determine the direction that it works. I wanted to make sure that I had these right before I buttoned it all up so I turned on the autopilot and wiggled the wings and tail to make sure that it would try to move the aileron in the right direction. It did! That was way too much fun! Then I finished all the wiring on the lights. I did both wingtips and the tail, dug out the right fuses and started flipping switches. I had one small problem with the left position light. The factory connector had been put on too tight and pinched the ground wire. Fixed that right fast. I turned on the position lights and they worked then I flashed the landing/taki lights and they worked and then I tried the strobes. That was a lot of fun too. So while I had all the wiring tools out I decided to finish up any wiring that I could find and the only thing around was the capacative fuel sender adapters for the EI Fuel Gauge. So I put those on. Unless I'm forgetting something that should be the last of the wiring.
I got a new bolt for the right rear spar today so I installed that one. It still took a couple of iterations to get it torqued and lined up but I had plenty of washers, bolts and nuts to play with. I installed the flaps and hooked up the control rods to them. I also managed to get the tailwheel springs on but I'm not sure that I like them very much.
I put the tanks on and hooked up the tubing. It's gonna take longer than I thought to get all those bolts and screws tight. I need a smaller ratchet.
Fiddled with the tanks some more. I managed to get one on and the other one started.
Managed to get the left tank on. There were a few bolts that were trying to be difficult but I managed to get them in. I tightened up the tail wheel chains and that made the rudder interference problem worse. I think I'll have to try that Rocket Steering Link. I also started rigging the ailerons.
Started rigging the ailerons and installing all the control stick stuff. I discovered a little interference with the bellcrank and the short aileron push tube. I rechecked everything, from finding the neutral position with the aileron jig. I decided that the way to fix it was with the "optional" aileron stops. This pretty much took the rest of the day. Oh and I put a little adel clamp on the ELT antenna so that it wouldn't be flopping around back there tearing up something important.
Jeff loaned me his torque wrench and crows foot wrench that will fit the prop so I managed to get those torqued and safetied. I bought a better angle finder today so I spent some more time making sure that the ailerons are rigged correctly before I rivet those stops on permanent.
Finished up on the ailerons. Torqued all the rod end bearings for all the aileron controls and the sticks.
Re-safetied a couple of things that I decided weren't safety wired correctly. I also fixed the fuel gauge. Apparently the polarity of the little converters for my E.I. FL-2CA dual fuel level gauge matters. The black wire is the ground and the white wire is the plates. I also riveted on the center section side covers.
Jeff came by the hangar today and helped me calibrate the fuel tanks. We filled each tank up measuring the fuel as we put it in and calibrated the pre-flight stick. Then we lifted the tail into flying position and took the fuel out and calibrated the gauge on the way down. Then we managed to get the preservative oil out and the mineral oil in. Jeff put the air fliter on permanent. This is all in preparation for running the engine tomorrow.
Jon and Marshall came by in morning and we spent time putting the spark plugs in, tying up loose ends. We spun the engine with the starter to pre-oil the engine. We pulled the plane out to start it up and found a fuel leak right where the fuel line comes through the firewall. After making one hose up we turned the bulkhead fitting around. I guess the fitting is just a little out of shape and the softer aluminum tubing formed to it better than the hose end. We took the plane out again and then I ran the battery down. Marshall brought his truck over and we hooked up the jumber cables and managed to get the thing to start. It ran great once we burned the gook out of it. The idle is a little high and it seems the front spinner bulkhead is wobbling a little bit. Other than that it ran real smooth. The runup went okay, the prop cycled fine but the mag was a little rough but I suspect the plugs are pretty well fouled from the preservative oil. The electronic ignition is smooth as it can be. After shutdown we rolled it back into the hangar and looked it over and I couldn't find any leaks or stuff coming loose. It might actually fly some day.
I decided to try and make sure that the spinner was lined up okay. I checked the front bulkhead and it did have a lot of wobble in it but I was sure that the spinner was true. I put the spinner on and tried to check it but every time I moved the prop the whole airplane would shake around and it was impossible to tell. So since the airport bums were there I rolled it out again and started it up with the spinner on. They both said that it ran true. I had also turned the idle adjustment a half a turn and it seemed bring the idle speed down to about 850 RPM. It had been at 1050 and I'm chasing 750. It ran pretty rough on the mag this time. Worse than it did on Sunday but it has been idling so I probably just need to run it up and burn the plugs off.
Finished putting the tail number on and installed the dataplate. I lowered the exhaust a little bit.
Today was a details kinda day. I sealed the baffles with RTV and sealed the firewall penetrations. I re-safetied the dipstick tube because it was a little loose. I bled the brakes and loosened a couple of the brake pedals that were sticking. I put the screws in the wingtips. I took that hose off that we made to fix the fuel leak last Sunday and put firesleeve on it. When I put it back on the fuel leak was back. I'm gonna replace that bulkhead fitting, and I may redo the fuel line inside.
I built a stand to prop the tail of the airplane up. This get's it into flying attitude for weighing and oil changes and stuff.
I put a coat of paint on the little tailwheel control arm that came with my new Rocket Steering Link. I think this thing will fix the rudder bottom interference issue that I have. I also had to cut 1-1/2" off of the co-pilot stick. I had never realized that it would get tangled up in the mixture control when the mixture was all the way back. Not that I'll ever be able to fly like that but it still needs to be clear. You may be asking how I can get the stick tangled up with the mixture control. My throttle/prop/mixture/purge controls are located about 6-8" to starboard because I thought that was more comfortable for me. It is but I didn't realize that it would interfere with the 'other' stick. No big deal.
Shannon helped me replace the bulkhead fitting where the fuel goes through the firewall. It seems that is cause of my fuel leak. So far it seems to be holding. I also remade the tubing that goes from the FloScan turbine meter to this bulkhead. Just in case.
Installed the Rocket Steering link on my tailwheel. I did this to try and solve the interference issue that I was having with the chains. It works. Once I got the tailwheel sorted out I decided to taxi it around a little bit so today was the first day it moved under it's own power. I did a run up and found a really fouled plug on the number 4 cylinder. If I ever doubted my decision to buy an istrument that shows EGT's on all four cylinders I won't doubt anymore. I knew which cylinder it was in a few seconds. Once that was over, Daryl Helped me get the fuel drained out and then we weighed it. 1068lbs!! Whooop!! Nice and light. Now I really have to buckle down and get that paperwork done and get an inspection scheduled.
I put the fuel back in the plane and took all the bottom spark plugs out and cleaned them. I had cleaned #4 but decided to clean them all before I ran the engine again. Jeff came over with his compression gauge and we checked the compressions after I ran the engine a little bit. It is still not running quite right. It stumbles a little bit. I also mangaged to get the new firmware and airspeed limitations uploaded to the Dynon.
I took the fuel injectors out and checked to make sure that they were all flowing the same amount. I put each one into a different Dixie cup and ran the boost pump with the throttle at full and then at idle and checked how much fuel came out of each one. I also cleaned each of the spark plugs.
I put a shop vac in the inlet filter box to pressurize the induction system and then checked for leaks with some soap and water. I couldn't find any. Then Vern came by and helped me get the idle mixture set and we also checked the timing. To check the Lightspeed electronic ignition a normal automotive timing light is used. The timing was WAAYY off. Apparently the people at the build shop can't read the manual. I reset it according to the book and now the engine seems to be running much better.
Today I finished up countersinking and dimpling all the access ccovers and fairings that I just hadn't gotten done until today. I also crawled up under the panel and secured all those panels that cover up the wiring and fuel lines. While I was down there I tightened up the fittings on the pitot system. Afterwards I retested the pitot system for leaks and it seems to be sealing fine now. I guess my leak was one of those fittings behind the panel.
Today N727WB became a real airplane. It passed inspection by the DAR! It's a huge relief to have that done. (The hours for the inspection are not included in the log.) I used up the battery in my electric screwdriver installing access covers and fairings. I got all the exterior panels and fairings installed.
I took the fuel filter out and took it apart to see how dirty it was. There were a few tiny little flakes of what appeared to be pro-seal. Other than that it was clean. I also managed to get the covers over the fuel pump assembly and the seat covers installed.
Finished installing all the covers. I put on the flap mechansim covers and the baggage bulkhead.
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