Tuesday, June 17, 2014

29A-04 small parts prep

OK, this page was one of those ridiculously easy pages that you can’t screw up.  

Whenever you see something like that, you know that I screwed up, right?  I countersunk the wrong side of the battery mount angle.  To add insult to injury, I promptly made the same mistake on the canopy attach doubler.  That was enough for me to pack it up and stop work for a while.  (I was emotionally upset about an unrelated issue and that probably interfered with my focus.) Replacements for both of those are currently on order.  \

I won’t be back for a week or so.  My granddaughter, Morgan, is bringing her mom & dad up from Louisiana to visit.  Right after that, my brother will be here from Canada and he will join me & my family on a brief visit to my Dad’s place in Missouri.  When I get back, I have 6 consecutive nights at work.  All in all, it might be a while before you read any more progress.


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29A-03 Upper Firewall installation

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Firewall Upper installed



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Forward Skin Stiffeners

Monday, June 16, 2014

29A-02 Upper Firewall Assembly

The cowl hinges were just a touch too short when manufactured by the book.  It called out for 25.5” length, but that left a solitary rivet hole on the upper firewall that didn’t connect anything.  I re-did the long hinge at 26” and the last half inch fit under the previously empty rivet hole very nicely.  You’ll see a close up of that area on the 2nd photo.

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 Upper Firewall Assembly (upside down)


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Firewall Fuselage Doubler, w/ Nutplates & Hinges

I tend to be the kind of guy who makes several forward steps and then a good backwards step to keep away from being too efficient.  I drilled out all 25 nut plates in order to dimple the firewall fuselage doubler and then re-riveted the nut plates.   In the photo above, the piano hinge that is to the right of the vertically oriented nut plate is the one that is 26” vice the 25.5” called out by the book.  You can see the rivet that would otherwise be pointless helping to secure the piano hinge.

Friday, June 13, 2014

24-06 Fuel Tank Attach Angle

This was a 10 min page.  Nicest thing about it is that I finished off a chapter.  Now, on to the final chapter (except for tail cone attachment) in the fuselage: the Forward Upper Fuselage!

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Fuel Cell Attach Angle

24-05 F-1207 Bulkhead

Well, it was fun to finally get back to “real work” and be done with the fuselage cradle.  This page was notable for the comic relief of watching me attempt to fit the Left 1207C bulkhead onto the Right side of the plane.  After getting most of the holes to cleco (reluctantly) I finally remembered the dictum of “if something doesn’t go together right, you’re not doing it right.”  I let myself get that far because I was a bit distracted by the instructions comment to flute the pieces so they fit, thus I expected them not to fit when I started.  Turns out the fluting was quite minimal (or, it was not minimal but I am educated enough to have made a good estimate on my first pass.)

On the other hand, not everything goes according to plans...  Take a look at the bottom of the Left Bulkhead Channel.  How many holes do you see?  I see two.  Note the excerpt from The Book:

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bottom of Baggage Channel

excerpt 24-06

Excerpt of page 24-05

Note how the instructions call out 3x SB375-4.  I installed 1 SB375-4 and 1 SB750-10.   There are a couple of threads on VAF regarding this, but no definitive answer from Van’s (e.g., Scott, the Van’s employee who appears to have adopted the -12 as his personal responsibility.)  I’m going with the prevailing view that the design was changed but the drawings did not.  Watch this space...

Back to the good news.  Everything else went together as drawn, I got some practice doing squeeze rivets, countersunk rivets, regular rivets and ended up with a nice bit of visual progress.

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F-1207 Bulhead

Here’s the aft end of the fuselage.  The longerons are still dangerous, so they still get their little orange safety balls.  I didn’t capture the roll bar and roll bar attach bar which stabilizes the top of the 1207, but you’ll probably see that detail in future posts.

Fuselage cradle


This isn’t part of the kit per se, but like its predecessors the tail cone cradle and the wings cradle, it gets its own honorable mention.  Don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself (especially since I had the predecessors as inspiration) but Bob L made an idle reference to something like this during his 2nd technical visit.  I really like building according to plans, but i have discovered that I hate designing things.  I must have made umpteen dozen designs in my head, a dozen or so sketches on paper, and I still ended up making changes until the very end.  Oh, well.


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Fuselage Cradle

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Fuselage Cradle

The cradle is asymmetric so that I can rotate the fuselage onto its side in order to have easier access to the center section for running wiring, etc.  There are high posts in the background that I’ll use to rest the belly onto.  The cradle is on wheels for easier manipulation.  I anticipate I’ll get a lot of use out of that when I hang the engine


Incidental finding:  While I was vacuuming out the project, I noted that two rivets hadn’t pulled properly.  I have a vague recollection that some rivets didn’t sound right when I was working that section, but I didn’t investigate them at that time.  Glad I noticed this now.

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Abnormal Cherry Rivets

As you can see, the lower two Cherry rivets are clearly abnormal.  They didn’t contract and make a shop head, and the stem is still visible.  I took a punch to the factory head side and was able to completely eject 1 stem.  They drilled out easily and were replaced with good results. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

24-04 drill shear clips

This page is hardly worth an entry.  It called for splitting the F-1207C bulkhead (actually, that’s called on the previous page, and I didn’t even have to do that since the bulkhead was in two pieces when I unpacked it) and using it to match drill two holes in the shear clips in the tail cone.  I haven’t touched the tail cone in months, so it was kind of fun to see how the ‘big pieces’ were fitting together. 

The background of the picture shows the pre-purchased fuel tank sitting in the tail pending its installation.  Also visible are miscellaneous clecos, the static line and the trim wiring cable.

I’m installing the 1207 bulkhead since that is required for the aforementioned fuel tank. I’m planning on installing the tank and short circuiting the fuel flow line to the fuel return line, putting in a gallon of gas and running the pump in order to ferret out the leaks.  I really want to do that before installing the wiring harness and the control linkages, since removing/replacing the fuel lines will undoubtably be *much* harder with those installed.

Today’s project is to build up a cradle that will take the fuselage in both horizontal position and turned up on its side.  Reading ahead, I realize that I can’t reach the top of the roll bar in order to complete 24-05, so now’s the time to actually build the cradle. 

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Drilled Shear Clip

24-03 roll bar installation

Recall that I built up the roll bar last month when I was avoiding the fuel system plumbing.   I’m trying to get back ‘on track’ for the most part and follow the chapters in order in The Book since I’m afraid that I will overlook a dependency and build myself into a spot that I’ll have to undo.

Installing the roll bar was another straightforward procedure.  Bolt down the bases to the attach plates, match drill, remove, deburr, prime, re-assemble and rivet.  It took a little bit of percussive persuasion with a rubber mallet to get the roll bar seated over its braces, but nothing terribly difficult.

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Roll Bar installed on fuselage

23-08 lower cowl hinges

Pretty basic assembly: just trim up some hinge material and a matching shim, clamp, match drill, deburr, rivet in place.

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Lower Cowl Hinge

First Flight in an RV!

This whole endeavor has been a giant act of faith—I had never even been in an RV before.  My only “hands on” experience was during the hand-wringing phase last year when I went to a local builder, Dave Gamble, and looked over his recently completed ’12.  Yesterday I repeated the visit and had the tremendous opportunity to actually fly with Dave.   Wonderful!  The ’12 is what I had hoped and I’m even more enthusiastic about getting mine done.


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My first RV flight!

Dave’s plane was recently highlighted in EAA Experimenter and I’ll let you peruse that for more information about him and N284DG.

He was very complementary about my fast transition from a Cessna to an RV, so hopefully I won’t have too many teething issues flying N76012.   On the other hand, I will have to come up with another name for the plane.  I had been kicking around “Harvey the RV”, but the female voice in the avionics makes that a poor choice for my brain.  Looking for a woman’s name that rhymes with “RV”...  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

23-07 side vents

Fairly easy page with the assembly of some small parts, mixture of squeezed & pulled rivets and a couple of basic nuts & bolts.  Funny how this is the only environmental control for the plane, and it went together in only an hour or so.

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 Left Side Vent (Closed)

Note the ugly worm track on the skin :(  I’ve pretty much developed a habit of using a #30 reamer on every hole that gets an LP4-3 because most of them are too small to take the rivet with much work and occasional denting of a skin.  I slipped and didn’t get the reamer tip inside the hole and the worm track is the result.  Thank god I’m going to paint this bird!


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Right Side Vent (Open) 


27-06 brake lines

This was an annoying delay.  I ended up being short 2 fittings for the ends of the brake lines off of the copilot’s side that go forward to the reservoir.   I know I didn’t loose any, but I’ll be darned if I could figure out what happened to the count.  I also had a brass fitting that was just too small to go over a brake line so I ended up having to order them one at a time...  frustrating in a minor way.  Oh, well.  They’re done and that completes a chapter :)


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Final Brake Lines

23-06 side skins

Hey, I’m back!   Several days at work and several days doing a busy page with lots & lots of rivets.  Not too many ‘gotchas’.  I overlooked the notation for LP4-5’s and needed to drill out 5 LP4-3’s, but that was easy.  I double & triple checked where the Do Not Rivet holes were and came up with the same pattern on both sides.  I also got to use the Cherry Max rivets (which I presume are higher strength) for the first time.  All in all, a very satisfying page to mark off.


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Starboard Skin


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Port Skin


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Close up of port spar opening

Note the regular LP4-3s on the left of the opening and the Cherry Max rivets on the right.