Tuesday, December 31, 2013

More Overhead Console Work

OK, one more post before the end of the year.

I had a few consecutive days of work and then production came to a grinding halt for Xmas vacation. This time driving up to St. Louis for a week long visit. Drive? you ask. Why would we do a thing like that? Well, renting a plane for a week is not very practical. Its both difficult to book for an entire week and very...very expensive. Just another motivator to finish the plane.

I've still been working on the overhead console. Lots of fiberglass stuff. I don't mind fiberglass but I am ready to move on to some other part of the plane, whether it's fiberglass work or not.

Dates and Times
Tues 10 -1.5 hrs- sanded and added filler to overhead console edge
Wed 11 -1.5 hrs- sanded and cut one edge flange piece on overhead console
Thurs 12 -1.5 hrs- sanded and shaped more parts on cabin and overhead. Located holes for door bracket
Sat 28 -3.0 hrs- sanded and bonded edge flange
Sun 29 -4.5 hrs- more sanding. Cut and bonded edge flange on other side
Mon 30 -1.5 hrs- cut closeout panel openings and removed initial mold foam support

The initial layup forming the edge flange pieces.

I trimmed out a hole for the door strut bracket. Later I went back and did a lot of filler work including filling in around the cutout.

This is one of the internal pieces creating the shape of the forward part of the overhead. This gets bonded in and smoothed out later.

All the pieces on one side are trimmed and ready for final bonding to the substructure.

Both sides bonded into place along with a lot of filler work completed.

A view of the edge flange running along the side of the overhead. This will house an LED rope light to provide cabin lighting.

So far I'm pleased with how it's turning out. Next I need to make the closeout panels and then finish forming them into place. I also need to finish the forward edge where the support post attaches.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Completed Structure Overview (924.75hrs)

Time for another update!

The Finish Kit is on order. I'm working on the cabin top. I need to finish up the fuel lines and brake lines. The doors will probably be next when the finish kit arrives.

924.75 hrs Total Building Time 
632.75  hrs is a mixture of tail and fuselage (still in work)
    292.0 hrs of the total belong to the Wings (includes times listed below)
       75.25 hrs to the Fuel Tanks
       25.5 hrs to the Ailerons
       26.25 hrs to the Flaps

Blue is complete. Red is in work.

Overhead Console, Brake Lines, and Fuel Lines

My last post was November 20th and since then work in the shop has been sporadic, not the steady pace I usually have. Visiting friends,Thanksgiving, travel, and all the holiday events create chaos in the shop schedule. We flew to visit Brian and Brandi over in Atlanta. It's a little over an hour flight for us, so not too bad. They usually fly over to visit us but their RV-10 is getting painted and we owed them a visit anyway. Departure was delayed due to nasty cross winds cutting our visit a little shorter than I hoped, but we had fun seeing them regardless. On the flight back home I lost the right vacuum pump, not a big deal since we were VFR. But I can't wait to finish the RV-10, it won't even have vacuum pumps!

We then flew up to St. Louis later that week for turkey and pumpkin pie in the rented Cessna. The trip up was with a 35kt headwind.....ouch. Of course, the winds died down for the return flight so we only had a 10kt tailwind. Baby Ayla slept both trips there and back the entire flight! I had to pick up an IFR clearance on the return trip and, when reaching our destination, leave the beautiful sunshine behind to descend through about 3000 ft of overcast. I was excited about possibly having to shoot an approach, but we dropped out of the clouds around 5000ft. So no luck.

My brake line and fuel line order from Bonaco arrived. The hoses look really nice. The brake line is the standard kit Bonaco supplies for the RV-10 and the fuel lines are custom sized per my order. All of my fuel lines are going to be flexible stainless steel to replace the aluminum tubing that are per plans. This makes the installation easier and should keep the fuel cooler as it travels to the engine. I didn't take any pictures of the brake lines yet...I'll try and remember to do that.

My fuel line measurements are:
QTY 1 - Straight to 45deg - 14.0in Total Length (Fuel pump to firewall)            
QTY 1 - Straight to Straight - 7.0in Total Length (Fuel selector to fuel pump)               
QTY 2 - Straight to Straight - 9.5in Total Length (Each side of fuel selector to Fwd Fuse Rib fittings)
QTY 2 - Straight to 45deg - 28.5in Total Length (Fwd Fuse Rib fittings to wings)
I think these measurements are going to work out really well, but I haven't attached the wings yet for a final fit so don't blame me if you order the same thing and it doesn't work out....: )

Dates and Times
Sat 23 -4.7hrs- Overhead fiberglass work. Curved fwd edge molded. Started Bonaco brake line install.
Mon 25 -1.25hrs- Worked on overhead console edge flange
Tues 26 -1.0hrs- same as yesterday, but the opposite side 
Tues 3 -1.5hrs- worked on brake line install
Wed 4 -1.5hrs- worked on brake lines and fuel lines
Sun 8 -4.5hrs- Riveted fuel pump mount, worked on fuel lines, cut insulation, laid fiberglass for lip on overhead. A buddy stopped by to help me rivet the fuel pump mount to the lower skin inside the tunnel. We also got some of the fuel lines torqued. Thanks Aaron!
Mon 9 -1.0hrs- sanded and applied layer of build up on one side of overhead

I wouldn't expect much more from me this year. Ayla is going to be ONE YEAR OLD in about a week! Wow already, I know. So were having a party of course and then Xmas, more traveling, food, holiday events, visiting, cold weather.....

Creating molding for where the overhead will flare out at the front.

I'm creating a lip running down the side where an LED light can be tucked inside and the headlines can tuck under.

I cut a piece of foam at an angle using the table saw and taped it into place. A small piece of the angled foam can be seen above. This forms the mold for the fiberglass lay up.

Beginning to lay the fiberglass.

Fiberglass and filler applied. More sanding and filling coming soon.

Torquing what I can on the work bench. I think the stainless steel flex lines are going to work out really well.

Working hard in the shop.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Overhead Console Work

This is only the first step to making the overhead console. There will be multiple steps and parts that need to be made before this thing starts really looking like a finished product. So far it's been a lot of fun. I have some cool ideas for this overhead which is what finally drove me to making my own instead of ordering one. I often have a very specific thing I want something to do or have and when I can't find it on the market I make one. The "I'll just build it myself" decision is usually a very quick one for me to make and I make it often. Most of the time it's furniture..."they want how much for that?!! Wow I could make that for a fraction of the cost and it will last a lot longer! OK I'll just build it" Yep the decision happens that fast and I'm off sketching plans and buying hardwood. Well, the plane isn't any different. If a product is fairly priced and it would be laborious for me to make on my own I'll buy it and not think twice. The overhead though, I had something in mind, some exact details I wanted. Details I would see on the jets I used to work with. So the decision quickly became "I'll just build it" and, so far, it's been a lot of fun!

Dates and Times
Wed 13 -1.5 hrs- removed cabin cover, drilled backup strips
Sat 16th -5.0 hrs- prepped cabin, cab-o-sil gaps, made foam mold and taped to cabin, spray foam filler
Sun 17th -5.0 hrs- started fiberglass for overhead console, two layers
(The times for Sat and Sun are estimates as I wasn't watching the clock. They also include a lot of planning and trial/error time that is normally not done in the shop.)

First I roughed up and cleaned the cabin cover and then filled in voids in the cover with West Systems Epoxy Resin with 205 Hardener and Cab-O-Sil Filler to thicken it up. After filling in voids in the cabin cover I made my mold for the console. The "mold" is made from foam insulation from Lowe's. It's tacked together with glue and then wrapped in tape so the fiberglass doesn't adhere to it. I also filled in the empty space of the forward door frame with spray foam. After the foam dried I cut it to the height of the rest of the structure and then cut out the area needed to install the visor mounts.

I then added a fillet of the filler mixture along the edge of the foam and coated and filled the empty/cut open cells of the foam. I then laid my first piece of fiberglass while everything was still tacky.

I put two layers on the overhead mold and one layer on the sprayed in foam.

Fiberglass laid in place and drying.....step 1 complete.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ordered the Finishing Kit

Finally the day has come to order the last kit of the RV-10. Of course I still need an engine, prop, hoses and such forward of the firewall, an interior, avionics....but this is the last part of the kit! So last week I emailed my request form into Van's and made it official. The kit should ship out in January.

I requested a kit packing list from Van's that contains a list of all the parts and pieces that come with the finishing kit. I needed this because I knew there were some parts I wanted to replace with nicer stuff. For instance I've heard the wheels and tires aren't the best and should be replaced among a few other things. I started digging into what I wanted to remove from the shipment when I thought I'd ask Ed what he was planning on removing from his shipment. I've mentioned Ed a few times in the blog. He's the guy up north that is at the same point in the build as I am and we tend to share notes. Anyway, he already generated a pretty comprehensive list of what to remove from the shipment and what to replace it with and I am shamelessly going to copy.

What I removed from my Finish Kit:
2 U 15X6.0-6 MAIN TIRE 6 PLY RV-10  (Replace with Desser Retreads)
2 U 15X6.0-6IT INNER TUBE MAIN RV-10  (Replace with Aero Classic Leakguards from Desser) 
1 U 5:00X5-6 6 PLY TIRE MAIN GEAR  (Replace with Desser Retreads)
1 U CLEVELAND 199-104A 6" RV-10 WHEELS SETS  (Replace with Matco Wheel & Brake Kit)
1 U 5:00X5-6IT TUBE FOR 5:005-6  (Replace with Aero Classic Leakguards from Desser)
1 U NW501.25 NOSE WHEEL W/BEARINGS  (Replace with Matco Wheel)
1 RUBBER DOOR SEALX25' VA-198  DOOR SEAL  (Replace with McMaster Seal)
2 C-1016 DOOR STRUT GAS STRUT FOR RV-10  (Replace with heavy duty strut)
1 U-1009 AXLE  (Replace with Matco Nose Wheel Axle)
2 WD-1023-PC GAS STRUT BRACKET  (Replace with PlaneAround bracket to clear McMaster seal)
1 U-1019-L LWR.INTERSECT.FAIRING  (Replace intersection fairings with RVBits)
1 U-1019-R LWR.INTERSECT.FAIRING  (Replace intersection fairings with RVBits)
1 U-1020-L UPR.INTERSECT.FAIRING  (Replace intersection fairings with RVBits)
1 U-1020-R UPR.INTERSECT.FAIRING  (Replace intersection fairings with RVBits)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Starting the Cabin Cover

Fiberglass! I am actually excited to start fiberglass work. I was productive last weekend. I cut out the cabin top and then had the first test fit. I found a lot of places that needed additional trimming with the test fit. With the top back off I trimmed up the noted places of interference and then tried to fit the cabin again. This time it slid right into place, success. On Monday (holiday off from work) I started all the match drilling and countersinking into the fuselage. All in all, the whole process went a lot faster than what I thought and was much easier than what I expected. Actually, it was a lot like wood working but without worrying about wood grain.

I also did a lot of brain storming about my overhead console and how to do fiberglass work. I got a lot of good pointers from a buddy of mine that stopped by Sunday and Brandi pointed me in the right direction to the West System's Website and their products. Most of their products can be bought from Aircraft Spruce and you can do a lot of research and learning on their very informative website. Instead of forking over $1000 for the Aerosport console, which isn't exactly what I want anyway, I want to build my own overhead console. With an order of fiberglass and epoxy from Aircraft Spruce on it's way I hope to start this coming weekend. In addition to the overhead console the cabin cover is going to take a lot of work filling voids and shaping the structure to actually look decent, but I'm ready to get started.    

Dates and Times
Sat 9th -4.0hrs- Cut cabin top
Sun 10th -3.75hrs- Cut and shape cabin top
Mon 11th -6.0hrs- Brain storming overhead ideas, drilling holes with helper Kris, countersinking etc

Marking the places to cut. The existing scribe lines are hard to see and usually not straight.

    Going into battle with fiberglass gear on.

The cabin top trimmed and ready for test fit.

The tools I used: Cut off wheel, Angle grinder with cut off disk, hand held belt sander with 80grit paper, drill gun with sanding drum and 80 grit paper. I mostly used the angle grinder with the cut off disk and the belt sander. The disks I used were standard metal cut off disks from Harbor Freight and it cut right through the fiberglass without a problem.

The leftover trimmings.

I used a pulley attached to the ceiling to hoist the cabin top above the fuselage. Then I would move the fuselage under the cabin and slower lower the cabin top into position.

The cabin top trimmed and in place.....looking even more like an airplane! 

Match drilling to the fuselage and countersinking holes. I used all the normal tools here, nothing special.

I drilled the attach holes for the center post.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Finished Upper Forward Fuselage

I have a lot of things going on right now so working on the plane has moved to the back burner. Building slowed to a near halt and I haven't gotten much completed. And if I don't complete much there isn't anything to write about, and this leads to a lack of posts. I did round up several consecutive hours last Sunday and finished the Upper Forward Fuselage Assembly. I had postponed building this part until I finalized my plan for the instrument panel and all the avionics installing behind it. Once I had the plan I felt comfortable finishing up this section. I hope to get back into the swing of things soon. I have another long weekend coming up, so hopefully I can make some good headway then.

Dates and Times
Sat 19 -1.75hrs- finished rudder pedal install except the brake lines. Installed more access covers and floor panels
Sun 20 -4.0hrs- Prep tunnel close out panels
Install fuel selector valve
Locate fuel pump install location
Make brackets for fuel pump install Measure for fuel lines
Note brake line requirements
Prep order for Bonaco
Tues 22 -1.0hr- worked on side panels
Wed 23  -1.0hr- worked on side panels
Sat 26  -3.0hrs- worked on upper fwd fuselage
Sat 2 -1.25hrs- worked on upper fwd fuselage
Sun 3 -5.25hrs- finished upper fwd fuselage

I borrowed this tool from one of our mechanics at work. I would say something like this is a requirement when installing the nutplates for the rear seat closeout panels.

Upper Forward Fuselage clecoed in place ready to drill out the holes.

All riveted together...section complete.

My helper reading the plans.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Panel Plan Rev 3

I rearranged the GTN and mini EFIS. I included a close out panel to lay over the instrument panel, this will hide all the screws and how the instrument panel lays over the lower rail. I also added a little design for fun. I think it's gonna look really nice.

Panel Plan Rev 2

I updated the plan. Rearranged the avionics behind the panel, added an independent mini efis, and changed to the Garmin 650.
I swapped the location of the MFD and Garmin box, which has now changed to the GTN 650 to include ILS and VOR capabilities. I also added the AvMap mini efis/adahrs, it's a standalone system completely independent of the Dynon Skyview and has it's own Pitot/Static input for airspeed and altitude readouts. I also added a second iPad mini for passenger (wife) entertainment. Behind the panel mounted iPad will be a small "glove box" storage compartment. The iPad mounted to the center console will be running Foreflight.

This is a diagram showing all the avionics, instruments, and antennas required for the aircraft. This does not include: switches, probes, lights, or sensors. Note changes: Garmin 650 instead of 635 and added the Mini Efis.

This is a diagram showing the location of each component along with other view orientations.
- All of the components have been moved onto or aft of the subpanel.
- The VP-X will be mounted on a plate that spans the instrument panel lower angle and sub panel lip. This allows easy access to the component for the large quantity of wiring that will be going to it.
- The ribs do not need to be modified. Only the subpanel will need to be modified to allow the GTN 650 installation.
- The Transceiver and Transponder are mounted directly to the existing tunnel cover side by side.
- The new center console will be made from fiberglass and can be relatively thin since the only thing that is installing to it is the iPad mini.

This is the plan for now...and is still subsequent to change at any time : )

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rudder Pedals and Sound Panels

Dates and Times
Sun 13 -4.0hrs- made template for close out panels, made attach tabs, worked on rudder pedal install
Mon 14 -7.25hrs- Day off work, thank you Columbus
Deburr, dimple, rivet tabs in place using blind rivets
Cut sound panels out
Match drilled panels
Pick up holes in firewall...drill using unibit backed with wood
Paint panels black
Mask and paint fitting in airplane
While drying. Run rudder cables.
Glue foam to back of panels using 3m Fire Sealant
Install close out panels
Tues 15 -1.5hrs- installed sound panels, insulation, rudder pedals
After a little hiccup in building the rudder pedals they are now complete and painted...yay! I just left the doubler plate a brushed aluminum and they turned out really nice.

Installed the rudder cables.

I am installing soundproofing throughout the airplane and one of the noisiest areas, of course, is the firewall. Although I did not want the soundproofing touching the firewall directly, due to heat issues (also if you can have a dead air space between the aircraft and soundproofing it works just that much better), so I created some mounting clips that sound deadening panels will attach to . If you look really close at the picture below there are four clips on each side, highlighted with torque stripe orange to assist in my match drilling, that are attached to the firewall stiffening angles. These clips hold the sound panels off the firewall about 1.0in. I should mention that I am also installing a fire barrier on the forward side of the firewall to reduce heat exposure during normal operation and engine fire. So the total stack up starting from the front will be: stainless steel foil, 0.25" fiberfrax batting, firewall, dead air space, soundproofing foam, 0.020" aluminum sheet.

Everything installed! Just imagine the instrument panel, center console, carpet, and side panels in place....

A close up of the panel shows the cut out for the brake lines and how the sound panel is made of the 0.020" aluminum and 0.5" thick soundproofing foam all held off the firewall by the attach clips. Note one of the screws located adjacent to the brake lines.

Now that the rudder cables are installed I was able to install a few floor close out panels.

Instrument Panel Plan

I found myself constantly wondering what to do about the instrument panel and all the avionics. The question constantly popped into my head and it was followed with more questions. Do I just build the upper forward fuselage section and worry about all the avionics later? Will it all fit? Do I want to buy or build a center console? Stock panel or expensive aftermarket panel? Layout? Shape? Size? Install now or wait? etc...etc... So I decided to model the entire system to allow me to formulate a plan and resolve a lot of the questions and concerns I had.
So here is my plan...

This is the 3D model I created to show the aircraft structure and how I want to integrate my avionics; a Dynon Skyview system with a Vertical Power ECB and a Garmin GTN 635. I will be using Van's instrument panel and new fuel selector. I will be making the center console, side console closeout panel, and fuel valve enclosure. The center console mounts an iPad mini that is removable, and when removed reveals a small storage compartment for sunglasses etc. The instruments and avionics are shown below.

This is a diagram showing all the avionics, instruments, and antennas required for the aircraft. This does not include: switches, probes, lights, or sensors.

This is a diagram showing the location of each component along with other view orientations.
- There are mount angles attached to the ribs directly aft of the firewall. These angles are there to install the panels shown. The panels stand off the firewall 1.0in (no new holes in the firewall) and will be lined on the forward side with sound proofing. The other advantage to having the removable panels in this area is the avionics can be mounted to the panel, outside the aircraft, and then the panel screwed into place.
- The VP-X will be mounted on a plate that spans the instrument panel lower angle and sub panel lip. This allows easy access to the component for the large quantity of wiring that will be going to it.
- The ribs do not need to be modified. Only the subpanel will need to be modified to allow the GTN 635 installation.
- The Transceiver and Transponder are mounted directly to the existing tunnel cover side by side.
- The new center console will be made from fiberglass and can be relatively thin since the only thing that is installing to it is the iPad mini.

This is the plan for now...subsequent to change at any time : )

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


When you're building an airplane you get to come in contact, and sometimes meet, really cool people that are into the same things you are. Through this journey of building a plane I have come in contact with Ed Kranz, a guy that's about my age, building at about my pace, and at about the same point in construction of the RV-10 that I am. (Oh and he's about to have a baby....so it seems we have a lot in common.) One thing Ed has done for the aviation community is develop a website called SkySwapper. It's a place to trade and buy airplane stuff. I figured the least I can do is mention his site to help build up a user base. The more users the more stuff to buy. Here is his Press Release to explain it all.


Experimental Aviation Community Has New Online Classifieds at SkySwapper.com

Hastings, Minn. (October 1, 2013) – SkySwapper.com is excited to announce the launch of their new website, an online classifieds dedicated purely to the needs of the experimental aviation community.

"Over the past few years I've noticed that many homebuilders communicate via their own separate online groups. Also, when people are looking to buy or sell parts (or planes), that experience is also quite fragmented. They post on individual email lists, dedicated builder forums, and the big general aviation classifieds sites, but often these listings would be of interest to everyone regardless of which type of plane they are building or flying," comments Ed Kranz, creator of SkySwapper.com. "As I’ve been building my own Vans RV-10, I found myself spending a lot of time searching many forums and big general aviation sites looking for parts and tools that any homebuilder could be selling. What I really needed was a place that builders could easily connect with other builders, regardless of what type of plane they had. SkySwapper.com fills that need."
SkySwapper.com is currently in its beta release which means users are encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions on usability. "Posting ads with one photo will always be free, but during the beta you can sign up using the promo code: LAUNCH and be able to post ads with up to 4 pictures for free plus a few perks as a thank you for using the site."

SkySwapper.com includes classified ad sections for buying and selling in progress and completed aircraft, aircraft parts and tools, pilot accessories, airplane partnerships, and a community area where users can list events and volunteer opportunities. In addition, homebuilders could be featured as the SkySwapper Homebuilder Spotlight which includes pictures of their aircraft and interview highlighted on the site.

To learn more, go to www.SkySwapper.com.

Flap System is Finished

Sorry for the big delay in posting. I don't know what happened. The days just flew by. A quick update and then I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. I finished the flap actuation section. I had to open up the holes in the UHMW plastic bearings before they even slid onto the rods. I then installed the entire system and found everything to be very tight. There was a lot of resistance when trying to rotate the tubes. So I took it all apart and applied grease, didn't really fix the problem, so I took it all apart again and cleaned up the general purpose grease I applied and replace it with white lithium grease in the plastic bearings...now that worked. Everything rotates very smoothly now. I also added provisions for my flap position sensor to be installed later. And then I tested the motor with a 9-volt battery just to be sure everything moved like it should.

Dates and Times
Sat 5 -4.75hrs- Stripped and painted rudder pedals, started flap actuation section
Sun 6 -3.75hrs- Worked on flap actuation, bolted tubes in place, cut bushings, riveted and bolted rudder pedals
Tues 8 -1.0hrs- finished rudder pedal assembly
Wed 9 -1.25hrs 
Sat 12 -3.0hrs- finished flap actuation section

Used the jig to set the angles of the flap horns.

I created two angles. The upper picture is the angle that attaches to the flap crank and has a series of holes down the side to allow for fine tuning the distance the position sensor is pulled in and out as the crank rotates. The lower picture is the angle that will be used to install the actual sensor.

View looking forward showing the flap motor installed and the location of the flap position sensor.

View showing the flap crank attaching to the motor arm and safety wiring. Also the angle that will be used for the flap position sensor.