Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Engine Install

A friend of mine stopped by to help me rivet the oil cooler mount in place on Friday...thanks Kris! I was a little worried it wouldn't be dry before he showed up but no problems. I etched, alodined, and painted the oil cooler mount with some high temp paint. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do this on all of the parts in the engine compartment.

Then, on Saturday morning, the 19th of July, one week after my 31st Birthday, we installed the engine on the airplane!!! A couple of friends/coworkers stopped by to help me out. They made it easy work and that was without an engine leveler. Thanks Chris and Mike!

Dates and Times
Fri 18th -5.75hrs- Worked on prepping for engine install. Built, painted, and installed oil cooler mount.
Sat 19th -1.0hr- Installed engine
Sun 20th -3.5hrs- Sanded and filled window edges

Here is the painted oil cooler mount riveted to the firewall. We just back riveted it on just like you do on the wing skins. Pretty easy job. I still need to finish sealing it in though with the 3M fire sealant.

I then wanted to get the push pull cables in place for the heater vents. Pretty easy with the engine off.

This is the nut you use to attach the Dynafocal mounts onto the engine. I first thought I didn't have the hardware to install the mounts. But then found that they came packaged inside the fuel injector box. But I wanted to note that the nut has a flat "washer" side, note the small boss on the nut. This is the side that should rest against the lock washer. Not a big deal either way, but why not pay attention to the hardware.    

You're supposed to torque the nuts to 360inlbs in accordance with SSP1776 Textron Lycoming Service Table of Limits and Torque Value Recommendtations Table 1 pg 1-37. Not a problem on the front nuts but the back nuts are impossible. So, I used a "calibrated" hand and torqued them as best I could to match the front.

Now it's time to hang the engine!

All done with the engine hanging on the plane. Only took about an hour or so.

Another huge milestone in the build!

Intersection Fairings

The Fairing Fun continues. This is where things get a little tricky. You need to make the leg fairings parallel to the airplane while in flight. So you use a string wrapped around the fairing and attached to the step. You then make the string parallel to the aircraft on both the pitch and roll axis. Then you center the trailing edge of the leg fairing between the strings. Done! I'll admit it took a little head scratching at first, but nothing I couldn't figure out...eventually.

Dates and Times
Sun 13th -3.5hrs- Started Intersection Fairings
Mon 14th -1.25hrs- Glued tabs onto fairings with epoxy
Tues 15th -1.0hrs- Re-glued tabs onto fairings with Lord Adhesive
Wed 16th -0.75hrs- Sanded and test fitted fairing
Fri 18th -2.25hrs- Body work on fairings
Sat 19th -4.0hrs- Countersinking, sanding fairings, filling holes
Sun 20th -1.0hr- Final sanding and finished the fairings.

Total Time on Landing Gear Fairings

Here is a picture of the strings lined up for positioning the leg fairing. (Note the engine sitting in the back ground!)

Once I had everything positioned correctly and clecoed in place I bisected the intersection fairing. This doesn't follow the plans. Instead I'm going to be bonding the intersection fairings to the wheel fairings. This not only looks a little better but it should make maintenance a little easier.

Here are the tabs I made. I first tried to epoxy them in place and they popped right back off. Lord Adhesive, on the other hand, worked great!

This is how the tabs will work. The small tab tucks under the back fairing skin and holds it down flush. The large tab on back fairing rests under the front fairing to prevent any wind catching under the fairing and separating it from the aircraft during flight.

I got the whole area all smoothed out and finished up. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the whole plane with the fairings on.....I know, I'm disappointed too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Leg Fairings

The leg fairings were very easy, nothing much to say. I did make a small change in how the pin installs as shown in the pictures below. I cut the bottoms of the wheel fairings to clear the tires at about 7/8 to 1in clearance. This is more than the plans call for but will give me a bit more clearance on unimproved landing surfaces or in case of a flat or low tire. I just used a small block of wood and ran it along the tire while holding a marker on its edge. This made a perfect parallel line all the way around the tire.

Dates and Times
Wed 9th -1.0hr- Cut bottom of wheel fairings to clear the tires.
Fri 11th -7.75hrs- Fairing work, including: cutting the nose wheel leg fairing, riveting nutplates, countersinking holes, and other invariable tasks that go along with building an airplane.
Sat 12th -3.25hrs- Cut leg fairings and riveted hinges.

Riveted the hinges to the leg fairings with care to ensure I don't induce a twist in the fairing.

Used the template provided to mark the cuts.

I cut the legs a bit shorter than the plans because I wanted to be able to remove the pin from the top of the fairing and not the bottom. The upper intersection faring covers the entire area so it won't look any different than normal. But I like having the bend in the pin at the top so I know it can't vibrate down and out of the hinge and it's just enough room to remove the pin; and therefore the fairing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Started Wheel Fairings

I officially started the wheel fairings. In my opinion the instructions are kind of out of order and have you doing a lot of "extra" steps that can be avoided with a little bit of planning ahead. So I redlined the instructions and rewrote a few things and got to work.

Dates and Times
Sat 28th -4.0hrs- Started wheel fairings.
Sun 29th -5.75hrs- Worked on fairings.
Mon 30th -1.75hrs- Fairings
Tues 1st -1.5hrs- Fairings
Wed 2nd -0.75hrs- Fairings
Fri 4th -3.0hrs- NOT FAIRINGS - There was a break in the heat so I took the doors outside and started sanding the primer I sprayed a while back.
Sun 6th - 4.0hrs- Moved the engine to the shop! (not included in the time) - Worked on fairings.

First I drew a line around the edge with a pencil lying flat on the workbench. This makes a good straight edge to start from. I found that cutting the fiberglass with snips worked the best.

I then found the center line, level plane, and the point where the outboard attach hole will be located. This will help a great deal in lining everything up.

Repeat for the forward fairing.

Then I built a small stand to hold the fairing level. The hole for the outboard screw was already drilled and the clearance above the wheel was verified. I also had to position the fairing in the roll orientation by placing spacers along the wheel against the edge of the fairing. Then, with a centerline of the aircraft drawn on the floor I was able to position the fairing straight in the yaw orientation. I had the hole positions marked on the internal support bracket before positioning the fairing. So once it was in the proper attitude I drilled through the faring into one of the bracket location to fully secure the fairing.

Here is a close up of the markings on the floor and the stand.

You have to cut a clearance hole for the landing gear. No big deal as the hole will be covered up later by another fairing.

Here are all the fairings properly positioned.

I outlined the position of the brackets on the fairing itself to help me know where to drill the screw holes in the next couple steps. First I drilled several small holes inside the outlines and squirted epoxy into the holes and against the brackets inside, a liquid shim. Note: be sure to tape up the internal brackets before applying the epoxy. The next step is where the outlines help out. With the dried epoxy filling the gap between the fairing and the bracket you can't see the bracket. The squares help identify a good location to drill screw hole.

After the epoxy dried I pulled off the fairings to clean up the mess the "liquid shim" left behind.

The master craftsman at work!

Help from my apprentice installing the nutplates on the fairing brackets.

Aircraft Jack Stands

I started working on the wheel fairings and I needed a way to lift the airplane as if it was in a straight and level flying attitude. So I built some Jack Stands. The hydraulic cylinders are actually designed for a shop crane but they were the length I needed. I then made the stand that supports them.

Dates and Times
Tues 24th -1.25hrs- Started sanding around windows to reduce the thick edge left from the PVC tape
Fri 27th -6.75hrs- Built stands and leveled the airplane.

This is a picture of the finished product. The steel tubes hold the cylinder straight. The cylinder holds all the weight and just transfers it straight to the floor. The top support is to pieces of angle iron bolted to a 2x6 with padding and then bolted to the top of the piston.

I cut the tube to length from steel conduit and then hammered out the flats on the ends. Then stuck the ends in a vice and bent them to the angle I needed.

I bent the tips of the tubing to help retain the clamp and prevent it from sliding off.

Drilling a large hole in the angle iron for the main attach bolt.

Here are the stands in action. They work great!

They passed my very rigorous testing.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Flying Magazine Article

The shop I built was featured in the July issue of Flying magazine! I'm pretty excited to have made it into the article about cool hangars. The author of the article really liked the idea of featuring a building that was designed and built with the airplane in mind.

Thanks to Pia and Flying Magazine for making my building experience even cooler!


Here is the article on their website!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My New Door Handle Design!!

If you've been following my blog this is the ultra high level double top secret project I've been working on!

The standard exterior door handle from Van's Aircraft is very simple, which is what Van's Aircraft was probably going for. And the interior workings are very clever in the way they complete a complex task using a very small amount of machined parts. It's simple enough for an amateur to assemble. But the design left me with a bit to be desired.
Van's Exterior Handle

They designed a beautiful airplane and the handle just doesn't do the aircraft justice. I was left wanting more. So I started brainstorming. I originally started researching the flush handles, but found the install to be pretty complicated and labor intensive. Plus they didn't include a lock, you had to come up with something on your own. The other downside was the safety release pin is not included the handle either. You had to have a "button" or pin hole on the outside of the door to push while turning the handles to open the doors. Requiring two hands to open a door seemed ridiculous to me. I also wanted something that would work with the Planearound Third Door Latch. The latch from Planearound is a must in my mind for rigidity and safety reasons alike. 

So I wanted a handle that:
1. Was easy to install.
2. Still used the safety pin from the original design.
3. Incorporated a lock.
4. Could be used with Planearound 180 degree third door latch.
5. Could be used with one hand.
6. Was aerodynamic.
7. Looked great and complemented this beautiful airplane.

So I hit the drawing board - a.k.a. Solidworks - and got to work. And after many months of work, trial fits, and prototype installs I developed this:

The Low Profile Handle is made from aluminum alloy and a high strength and corrosion resistant stainless steel inner ring. The handle replaces the standard RV-10 Van’s aircraft exterior handle that is supplied in the finishing kit. The handle has an aerodynamic design while maintaining the safety lock feature of the original design. The design also includes a location to install a lock flush with the handle giving the door a finished and well crafted look. Existing, installs can be retrofitted with the new handle.

The handle operates in a similar manner as the original Van’s handle; with the exception of the safety latch release button which is replaced with a lever action integrated into the handle design. The center of the circle is pushed lightly with the thumb releasing the safety latch mechanism and causing the back end to pull away from the door allowing access to grip the handle. The handle is then twisted to open the doors. The degrees of rotation are not limited allowing use of the 180° Planearound Third Latch if desired.

The handle is approximately 1/3rd the height of the stock Van’s handle reducing drag and improving the aesthetic appearance of the aircraft. The professional fit and sleek design are right at home on the modern and aerodynamic RV-10.

I owe many thanks to Geoff and Zac at Aerosport Products. Without them this would not have become a reality. We have been working on this design for many months now and are excited to say, that after some prototype installs, we plan on bringing this design to market! A price has not been decided yet. But I can tell you the work these guys produce is top notch!

Here are some pictures of the first prototype installed on my airplane...