Monday, August 21, 2017

9,10,13 AUG 17: Flox door sills/gutters: 4.45 hours
Continued to flox the door gutter for the McMaster-Carr door seals.  This method worked much better than I expected.  Just fill up the seal with flox/epoxy and press onto the gutter.  Seal on the gutter curing:
Once cured, the edges were very nice and made a lip exactly the size needed to mount the McMaster-Carr seal:
The new lip creates a nice even fit for the seal:

16 AUG 17: Flox door sills/gutters, Pg. 44-2 step 2, Pg. 44-8 step 2: 4.75 hours
Finished floxing the door seals/gutters.  While the epoxy cured, I found some busy work that needed to be done.  First, I fluted the vertical flanges of the F-1009E/F/G/H wing root fairing supports:
Next, I riveted the F-1099D wing root fairing stiffeners to the F-1099A upper wing root fairings.  It’s been a LONG time since I used the C-frame!
One fairing complete:

17 AUG 17: Pg. 44-8 step 2, removed cabin top: 4.75 hours
Finished riveting the stiffeners onto the wing root fairing.  I then disassembled the plane – removed the engine mount and the cabin top.  1 step forward, 2 steps back ha, ha:

18, 21 AUG 17: Micro/sand cabin top: 5.75 hours
Began to fill the cabin pillars with micro.  This is quite a bit of work, but I really wanted to close out the pillars to have a more finished look of the cabin top.  Eventually I will flox the overhead console to the top and blend it into the top/pillars.  The rough flox waiting to hours of sanding:
Again, this will be quite a bit of work, but it already looks much nicer that stock.  I will sand the micro even with the door seal for a nice, finished look:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

30 JUN 17: Pg 24-2 step 1 (L): 2.25 hours
I don’t have 220 running to the garage in the new house, so I’m unable to continue on the cabin top/doors because I need to use my air tools – die grinder to trim/sand, etc – so I decided to work on the wing tips.  First was to trim the flanges and fit the tips to the wings.  The left tip trimmed and fit:

1 JUL 17: Pg 24-2 step 1 (R) and hinges: 6.5 hours
Fit the second tip and began to match drill the tips to the wings. 
The alignment was pretty good on the first tip – in line with the aileron/flap.  I’ll have to trim the trailing edge, so it’s flush with the aileron trailing edge, but I’ll do that later down the road.
Unfortunately, while drilling the second tip, it shifted ever so slightly.  That slight shift became a very noticeable misalignment with the aileron trailing edge.  So, a little bit of flox to the rescue:
The wingtip with the cured flox waiting to be drilled again:
After some deliberation, I decided to use the hinge method to install the tips.  It’s a bit of extra work, but I believe it is worth it to have the tips removable, but still have a very nice, finished appearance.  I never cared for the look of all the screws Vans uses for the wing tips.  Drilling the wingtips for the additional rivet holes:
One hinge piece drilled:

2 JUL 17: Hinges (L&R): 6.5 hours
Continuing with the hinges in the wingtips.  Drilling the hinges into the tip:
One tip clecoed in place:

9 JUL 17: Hinges: 3.5 hours
Match drilled hinges to both wing tips:

10 JUL 17: Countersunk L/R hinge holes in wingtips: 2 hours
Countersunk all the hinge holes in the wingtips – this took a while!

15 JUL 17: Pg 24-2 step 1 (R) and hinges: 4 hours
Riveted the hinges to the left wingtip:
Test fit the wingtip to the wing with the wing hinges clecoed in place.  Looks pretty nice!

16 JUL 17: Finished wingtip hinges: 4.75 hours
Finished up the wingtips.  I really like the finished look!
Both wingtips installed:

8 AUG 17: Sanded door sills for McMaster-Carr seals: 3 hours

Finally ran 220 from the house out to my garage, so I can begin using my 60-gallon compressor once again.  With the ability to use my die grinder, I finished sanding the door sills to a consistent ¼” gap between the sill and the door.  This will allow for consistent compression of the door seal bulb and, hopefully, result in no pressure points around the door allowing for easier door latching.  Now that the gap is consistent, the next step is to build up the lip for the seal.  I will use the method used by others, which is using some sacrificial door seal as a female mold.  Filled with flox, I will attach the seal to the lip, let it cure, and then remove the seal.  This should create a nice lip for the seal to mount to.  I then plan to build up the cabin top next to the seal, so the seal is essentially flush with the cabin top.  This will require quite a bit of work, but I believe the finished look will be well worth the effort – no pics.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

29 JUN 17: Move to PA complete.  Removed interior panels: 2.5 hours

After a two month delay, I finally had the first day of work on the plane today!  The last two months were very hectic – moving the plane and moving homes, I started flying for a new airline, and my wife started a new job.  All I did was remove all the interior panels that I had installed for the move.  Not much work, but it felt great to put my hands back on the project.  Back to the skeleton:
I’m much happier in the new workshop – more room than before.  Eventually we will be renovating the house that we just moved into, but I don’t believe that will add much delay to the build.  There is a small house already on the property that we will move into during the renovation and then we will demo it once the renovation is complete.  The garage will be renovated at a later date, so I should be able to finish the plane up until it is time to move to a hangar with no issues.  The back end opened back up awaiting pitot-static plumbing and wiring:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

10 APR 17: FF 1-2, steps 4-5: 2 hours
Riveted together the oil cooler:

22 APR 17: Installed interior panels for move to PA: 5 hours
Came home from a few weeks of simulator training for my airline and am getting ready to move the project up to PA.  Not really looking forward to the move, but after 20 years of moving around with the military, I’m excited that this will be the last move, and that I can finally put down roots.  I’m moving the project myself in a 26’ Uhaul, so I decided to put all the interior panels in the plane to transport them.  I figured it would offer some rigidity to the fuselage and also lessen the chance of damaging the parts by transporting them loosely.  No pics.

23 APR 17: 46-2 step 1 (initial), getting ready for move to PA: 5 hours
I wanted to get the engine mount installed, so I could use it to secure the fuselage to the inside of the U-haul during the move.  I read some horror stories about drilling the engine mount, but it was easier than I expected.  Go slow, use plenty of cutting fluid, and it is one of the easier tasks. Reaming one of the holes:

This will have to come off when I get started on the project again, but wanted it installed for the move:
I expect to have a delay of a few months during our move.  We are moving from Georgia to Pennsylvania, where my wife and I are originally from.  It will be a pretty large undertaking moving everything up there, but I’m excited to get moved and get back into the project.  After a career in the military, and moving every few years for 20 years, I’m excited that this will be our last move, and that I can really ‘move in’ to my new workspace knowing that I can set up for good and it won’t be temporary like all the moves before this one.  It’s pretty cool seeing all the panels installed, but just like the engine mount, these will all come back out once the move is complete for finishing, wiring, etc.:
Ready for the move!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

20 MAR 17: Sanding cabin top – no pics: 2 hours

21 MAR 17: Cabin top: 7 hours
Began by making some clips that I will epoxy to the cabin top inside of the overhead console in order to attach adel clamps for wire runs.  I’ll attach 3 on each side of the overhead console:
I then fit some left over parabeam into the b-pillars.  There is a joggle in the pillar that I want to fill in and smooth over with micro:

Next was fitting the conduit in the a-pillars for wire runs – took a while to sand the pillars so the conduit would sit in the pillars.  It still sits proud in a few areas, but it is much better than when I first fit the conduit.  I then used some 5-minute epoxy to secure the conduit and used some expanding foam to fill in the dead space.  Once the foam is cured, I will shave it down and glass in the conduit:
Doesn’t seem like that should have taken 7 hours, but I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to do certain things and less time actually doing them!

22 MAR 17: Cabin top: 6 hours
This is what the parabeam looks like epoxied to the top with some micro around the edges to hold it down.  Pretty rough!

I then began to glass in the conduits into the a-pillars.  All glassed in with peal ply attached:
At the end of the work session, I removed the peal ply.  Looking fairly good.  It will take quite a bit of filling/sanding to make the two sides symmetrical, but I believe the final, finished look will be well worth the work:
Finally, I epoxied parabeam to the other b-pillar, and sanded and spread a thick coat of micro to the pillar that had already cured.  Once this is cured, I will sand to a nice even shape.  Just like frosting a cake!

23 MAR 17: Drilled instrument panel: 5 hours
Began by drilling the panel inserts for the Aerosport panel.  I will then install nutplates into the panel flanges allowing the inserts to be screwed to the panel:
I installed the cabin top back on the fuselage one more time to double check my gap between the gutter and the doors for the McMaster-Carr seals.  I wanted to ensure this gap was consistent before I continued finishing the interior of the top and attached the overhead console.  While it was installed, I test fit one of the Rosen visors to ensure I would have no interference with the way I am planning on closing out the pillars:
A shot from the inside.  It’s pretty awesome seeing these little things come together.  I can begin to see little snapshots of the plane that it will become – pretty exciting!
I have to go away for a couple weeks to do simulator training for my airline, so this is how she will remain.  Beginning to come together!

9 APR 17: Prekote / Prime: 3 hours

Made it home for a few days – have to go back for another couple weeks of simulator training – and had such a nice afternoon, I decided to finish up some priming.  This is really the last of the metal in the airplane.  Primed the panel inserts, oil cooler mount, tail light adapter, door strut brackets, and some brackets that I made for wire runs throughout the fuselage:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

17 MAR 17: FF 1-2 step 1 and deburring: 1 hour
I spent the past two weeks up in Charlotte doing some training for the airline I fly for, so I had a bit of a gap in building.  Today was a short session – cut, final-drilled, and deburred the oiler cooler mount – no pics.

18 MAR 17: Sanded cabin door frames, added flox: 3.5 hours
With the doors pretty much complete, it is time to start all the finish work – sanding, filling, sanding, and filling…  Started by ensuring I had a consistent 1/4” gap between the gutter and the inside door shell for the McMaster-Carr door seals.  Had to sand in a few places and add flox to build up the gutter in others – no pics.

19 MAR 17: Removed doors/cabin top and began sanding inside of cabin top: 5.75 hours
As depressing as it is to rip everything apart, it is part of the forward progress.  Time to begin finishing the inside of the cabin top.  Back to where I was months ago – ha ha:
I took the time while the cabin top was off to make a template of the glare shield.  I’m going to make a fiberglass lay up to overlay on top of the glare shield – will probably cover it with ultra-suede.  The reason I’m making a cover is so I can remove it to clean out all the dirt and bugs that will eventually find its way into the far reaches of the glare shield/windshield junction.  This way I’ll be able to remove it and vacuum it off.  Sheet of plastic to make a template:

Finished template:
Sanding the inside of the cover flat, so the seal lays flat:
Looking pretty good.  I’m not making it perfect, just level enough for the inside portion of the seal to lay flat.  I’ll then fill in the portion between the overhead console flange and the seal.  This will leave a flush edge on the cabin top for the seal to butt up against – should look nice.  I’m also going to lay up a few layers of fiberglass over the strut hinges to make small covers to cover up the cutouts in the overhead console.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

20-21 FEB 17: 45-5 (R) 10-12: 6.75 hours
Trimmed the right door to a pretty good rough fit – off, on, off, on….

 23 FEB 17: Installed repaired fuel tank, more sanding of right door: 5 hours
Well, I’ve been dreading reinstalling the fuel tank that I had to remove to repair the damage from it falling off the cradle while taking it out to my hangar.  My motivation to do it was 1) I had the day off, and 2) hot weather will be here before long.  I was pretty sweaty as it was – can’t imagine doing this in the hangar in the middle of summer!  Wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, but still sucks to spend a couple hours like this:
In the end, I was very glad to have it back on, and it really wasn’t too terrible bad.  Definitely easier to do it in the cradle vs. if it was mounted on the plane.  Nice for the wing to be back together!

Went home and spent a couple more hours sanding the right door. 

24 FEB 17: Sanding door, 45-6 (R) step 3, 45-7 1-5: 3.5 hours
Did some more sanding of the right door and fit the hinges onto the cabin top and door.  Installing the hinges on the cabin top:
Nice to have the second door attached!

25 FEB 17: Riveted corner nutplates onto overhead console: 1 hour – no pics

28 FEB 17: Drilled/cut holes for door handle, epoxied door: 2 hours

1 MAR 17: Fit PlaneAround latch into door: 3.25 hours
You know, even though this went WAY quicker the second time around, it is still a PIA to get everything in place and working correctly.  Bottom slot cut into door for gear assembly:

2 MAR 17: 45-12 (R) 1-5: 6.5 hours
Cut and fit the PlaneAround door pin blocks for their angled pin guides.  Neat to see both doors on the plane!

3 MAR 17: 45-15 (R) 1-3: 6.5 hours
Drilled the holes for and mounted the cabin pin blocks.  Last thing for the night was to mix up a bit of flox to bed in the hinge bracket, so it has a nice mounting surface against the cabin top.  Fun, fun!

4 MAR 17: 45-16 (R) 1-4: 3.25 hours
Fit the strut to the right door.  Locating bar attached to the strut bracket in order to get the correct location for mounting the door attach brackets:
I still have TONS of work to do on the doors – fine tuning of the McMaster-Carr seal, final edge/gap constructions, final sanding painting, etc. – but the rough work is done!  I read so many horror stories about the doors, and, even up to this point, it was A LOT of work, so it feels really good to see both doors on the plane – if only temporarily!

5 MAR 17: Firewall planning: 1 hour

Temporarily hung the engine mount (with a bungee cord!) to get an idea where to place firewall pass throughs.  I have 4, 3/4” pass throughs, but doubt I’ll use all 4.  I am going to try to separate engine sensor wires from power wires, so perhaps I may use all 4…