Monday, June 23, 2014


Filling - sanding - filling - sanding - when will it stop!? You know what at some point you just's good enough. I finally reached a satisfactory point in that process and was able to prime the cabin top and it's interface with the fuselage. Yay! It won't be long now and I can move on to something new!

I also installed my ADAHRS but then that came to a stop when I realized the data cable I ordered from Dynon was WAY too long. So I sent it back for a shorter one. I'll finish that install when it arrives and will post about it then.

Dates and Times
Mon 16th -1.0hrs- ADAHRS install
Tues 17th -1.25hrs- Sanded and filled fiberglass
Wed 18th -1.0hrs- Sanded and filled
Sat 21st -6.25hrs- sanded, filled, sanded, masked, prepped and sprayed primer
Sun 22nd -2.5hrs- sanded primer

I prepped the plane by wiping it down with some acetone...very lightly so nothing soaked in. Then I lightly etched and alodined the aluminum and wiped it clean. I also prepped the shop for painting.


Tail number painted on!

I used a high build primer from Sherwin Williams. The normal automotive stuff. easy application and easy sanding. Here is a picture after the sanding. First I sanded with a block and 120grit. Then I switched to 180 in some of the low areas. Then 400 grit everywhere by hand. It gave it a nice smooth finish.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Last Skin

The last skin was installed over the weekend! A friend of mine stopped by to crawl into the tailcone and hold a bucking bar while I finished riveting. After we were done I sat and tried to think of any other skins that needed to be riveted. I couldn't think of any. The occasion is a bit of a milestone but went by without celebration after a long day of working on the plane. OK, I had a beer that night, but it was more for myself after the long day than a celebration, but we'll count it anyway. 

I spent most of the day working on the ultra high level double top secret handles. I got the prototypes fully working and will be writing up installation instructions soon for all you future installers. Stay tuned on this.

Dates and Times
Fri 13th -9.5hrs- Prototype handles installed and operating, installed ADAHRS tray, installed doors, riveted last skin
Sun 15th -4.75hrs- Worked on door fitment, finished blind rivets in skin, sanded and prepped for body filler around cabin top

Here is the ADAHRS tray installed with the splitter cable and static tubing in place.

This is a closeup of how I fixed the splitter cable in place. You can't use anything steel around the ADAHRS so Adel clamps are out. So I made a small hat shaped bracket and lined it with friction tape. It's screwed in place with brass screws and nuts.

A grainy picture of inside the's dark so this is the best I got. It really doesn't do it justice to show just how cool it is to sit in the plane with everything closed up.

I sanded the doors down just a bit around the edges, but for the most part everything lined up really well. The gaps between the door and cabin top turned out better than I thought they would....very happy with the results.

Last skin is fully riveted in place!

After prepping I smeared the fairing compound, died black for around the window edges, around the entire perimeter of the windows and cabin top. I smoothed it out as best I could, but the sanding is what will really do the job.   ...then soon it will be time to prime!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Doors, Doublers, and More

Lots of work getting done at the Twilbeck Airplane Factory. Which is good because for a while it felt like I was inching along at a snails pace just sanding my life away and not really progressing. Then, another weekend and several nights of work were taken up by a ultra high level double top secret door handle design I have been working on. Don't worry the public will know about it soon and you can have a set of your own if you like. But until then keep the news of the ultra high level double top secret handle project to yourself.

After what felt like the doldrums of progress finally subsided the day of enlightenment was finally upon me. I took a Friday off and just worked all day on the plane. Getting a lot of things crossed off the list. Nothing major or any kind of groundbreaking milestone but it felt really good to complete so many tasks. 

Dates and Times
Mon 19th -1.25hrs- Test fit ADAHRS, removed doors and hinges
Tues 20th -1.0hr- Made and drilled antenna doublers 
Sat 31st -5.0hrs- ultra high level double top secret handle project test fitting
Sun 1st -6.0hrs- more ultra high level double top secret handle project work
Mon 2nd -1.0hr- ultra high level double top secret handle project stuff
Tues 3rd -1.0hr- ultra high level double top secret handle project things to do
Wed 4th -1.5hr-ultra high level double top secret handle project test install
Fri 6th -8.0hrs- The big day of work - created covers for the door hinge pockets, filled in the guide blocks for the door, body work around the edge of the door frame on the cabin top, glued the NACA vents in place with Lord Adhesive, primed and painted the door hinges, other misc tasks
Sat 7th  -4.75hrs- Sanded the door interiors and some other misc work
Sun 8th  -4.75hrs- Sanded the door frames and started riveting tailcone skin! 
Tues 10th  -1.5hrs- Planned routing for tailcone

Sorry no pics of the ultra high level double top secret handle project.....yet.

I cut out the shapes I needed from the scrap door skin to build the hinge covers. Mixed some flox and kinda glued them in place then did a wet layup over the top for extra rigidity.

Once everything was sanded and filled and sanded again it looked really nice. It was actually pretty easy work. I also sanded around the perimeter of the window to remove some excess Lord Adhesive that was smeared around.

I used the Lord Adhesive to glue tabs inside the overhead that will be used for cable and wire routing. Worked really well.

This is a view looking forward at the windscreen. I taped up a scrap piece of aluminum to protect the windscreen before making the cut in the glareshield. See the half moon shape in the middle of the picture. That will allow clearance for the cables and wire to travel from the back of the airplane through the overhead then down the center post of the windscreen and into the subpanel. After making the cut I lined the edge with the plastic grommet to protect the cables.

I used Lord Adhesive to install the NACA big deal here.

Here is a shot of the square door frame edging. Some areas needed a lot of buildup to line up correctly with the doors. There are actually some flat spots on the cabin top and the doors curve very nicely. So you need to build all that up to make the curves match up. The square edge will be given a slight radius during the final fitment of the doors. I finished the entire perimeter of the door frame and am very pleased with how it turned out. If you remember in my previous post where I did the window edging and body work that I filled around the doors edges. That created the base of where the edges needed to be. Now I went back and had to "back fill" inside the door frame to meet the edge that was created before. (This will all make sense if your actually doing this) I then sanded it all down with a small block of wood and sandpaper to make a miniature sanding block that created a perfect flush finish to the edge.

I also back riveted my GPS antenna doublers to the tailcone skin and then started installing skin.