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4 hours.

Saturday and Sunday were somewhat unproductive, given the gloom-induced malaise and subsequent need to eat (organic) cheese puffs and watch TV, but I installed the VA-168 sensor manifold, the cabin heat box, and most of the static line. The sensor manifold and the cabin heat box will have to come off and get fire-sealed before I can call them done, but I need to find an acceptible fireproof sealer for the various firewall penetrations first. If everything works out right, I won’t have too much going through the firewall. Right now, I can think of some: For holes in the firewall, I’ve got 3 control cables, the brake line fittings, the fuel line fitting, cabin heat, the RDAC (engine sensor pod) cable, main bus power, brake cylinder fitting, and the various bolts holding things on. Fewer pass-throughs sits well with my universal hate for goop of any kind. But the idea is to keep windblown flames from burning avgas, smoke, and carbon monoxide out of the cabin. Dead pilots make bad landings. The 2″ hole for the cabin heat box was less traumatic than I thought it would be. I used a 2″ hole saw on a cordless drill at the lowest speed and plenty of Boelube. The trick with stainless is to go slowly and keep it as cool as you can. If it heats up, it hardens, and it will kill whatever tool you use on it. But care is needed: stainless steel makes an extremely sharp edge when cut, and it’ll go after you with near-sentient aggression. File down the edges, or pay for it later in blood.

The static line is still unfinished. I fabbed a bracket for the T-fitting that joins the two lines from the static ports on either side of the fuse, and I drilled a hole in the angle where the canopy latch bar attaches so I can run the tubing up under the left side longeron on its way to the EFIS. I got the cable clamps installed along the bulkhead, but I haven’t yet installed the bracket for the T-fitting or cut the tubing to length. I also wound up removing the flap motor because there’s no good way to winkle my big ass into the tailcone without some pretty decent contortions. I’m not a huge guy, but I’m not as limber as I used to be, and I have a somewhat irrational fear of getting stuck in a position that cuts off my air supply or leaves me unable to extricate myself without assistance. Once I’m prone in the tailcone it’s fine, as long as I remembere to bring all my tools and parts with me. The motivation to plan the job ahead of time is amplified hundredfold by the sheer amount of work it takes to climb into that space. Oh, and also to remember to go to the bathroom before you get started. I’ll post some photos tonight or tomorrow.

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