« Posts tagged cabin systems

Idle fixed.

5.5 hours.


I don’t have time for a lot of jibber-jabber, so I’ll make this short and sweet:

I installed the new idle linkage bearing and spent a bit of time dialing in the idle.   I got it to idle smoothly at 750 RPM with a solid transition to power on throttle advance.   CHT’s sitting there uncowled don’t get past 245, which is good.   We had a really strong wind today, so it was a good day for engine testing, but a crap day for flying.  Nobody was out there, so I was left to my own devices.  The idle fix took about two hours, so then I went for a drive.   I taxied down to the west end of the runway, then came back.   20+ knot winds variable from 070 to 085 make for some fast footwork on the pedals.

After that was done, I set about making the fire extinguisher mount.   I ended up putting it on the fuel pump cover, in easy reach of both pilot and copilot.  Of course, if the fuel pump’s on fire, getting the the extinguisher is going to be interesting.   I had to reinforce the fuel pump cover with some .032 so the bracket could be safely bolted on, but it seems to work.


Zero Sum

6 hours.

I spent a whole lot of yesterday doing various things, which is the surest way to feel like I got nothing done.   I had two goals: Fix the idle stumble and run down that AP engage joystick wire issue.

The first part was almost easy.   I set the mag timing to 25 degrees per the engine data plate.  I’m getting to be an old hand at setting mag timing.  I got them both firing in sync, then made the idle richer by a couple of flats of the adjustment linkage, per the AFP manual.  Sure enough, that cured the off-idle stumble and my CHT’s and EGTs dropped noticeably.  But there was still a rough idle, so more adjustment needed to happen.

The manual says that adjusting the idle is done with the engine running.  The problem with that is twofold: One, working near a spinning prop scares the crap out of me.  I haven’t had the training to do so safely.  Two, because of the orientation of the throttle body, the idle linkage is on top, between the throttle body and the engine case, and the only way to get at it is by reaching past hot exhaust pipes.  Even if I did have the stones to crawl under there with the prop spinning, I can just see burning my forearm on the #1 pipe and yanking it back into the arc of the prop.  No thanks.  I did my idle adjustments with the engine off.

With Mike as the casual observer, it appeared that my idle was too rich, because there was a bit of smoke coming from the pipes when I was idling and the idle was definitely a bit rough.   This is caused by multiple symptoms, but a too-rich mixture is the first and most obvious culprit.

The manual also says that the best way to adjust the idle is to leave one of the jam nuts “just snug” and turn the block one flat at a time.   Well, yours truly interpreted “just snug” as “don’t touch” and after a couple of turns of the block, the left-hand rod end bearing snapped off at the jam nut.


So now I have to find/buy a LH thread #3 rod end bearing and I can get back to business.

As for the other stuff, I did chase down the AP engage wire.   Turns out I have to figure out a way to do some kind of voltage differential and use the MGL script editor in order to remote-control the EFIS to engage the autopilot.   A simple “Hey, I’m Grounded” won’t work.   This will take a minute to work out the logic, but I’ll email Matt at MGL and see what he says.

Also, Owen and Ron got the racing scales, so I can do weight and balance.    This gets done first thing today, because I need to return the scales ASAP.   It’s   I’m just hoping the W/B comes in as expected.

I also fiddled about with the wheel pants, but that’s not high on the priority list right now.

Still more connections.

6.5 hours.

A bit of a late start.   Since I took this week off, yesterday was my first weekday commute to OXR.   I went via PCH, which is nice enough, but it took a little longer, especially during rush hour.

I finished installing the rudder cable linkages to the pedals, so that’s another thing done.   I also got the pitch trim servo wired in.  I’ll need to adjust the throw on the trim servo, but that’s essentially done.

Then I went back to wing wiring.   I got the strobe and lights connected for the right wing, plus the autopilot servo.  It was lots of tedious, fiddly stripping and crimping in small, awkward places, which has an extra coating of suck because I did something to my right elbow and now operating hand tools like crimpers is fairly painful.

Left to do is connecting the VOR antenna wire (This may become an ADSB antenna wire if they phase out VOR) in the left wing and putting in a couple of pieces of UHMW tape here and there.  If I can have lights, strobes and VOR by the weekend, I’ll count myself lucky.


The Thing Has Wings!

3 hours.

This morning, Dave and Peg picked me up from home and we met Derek at the airport to fly up to OXR in his 177RG Cardinal.  It took a while to get out of SMO because somebody’s bizjet blew a tire and was stuck on the runway for half an hour, but we finally got off the ground and got to Oxnard.   There, we put the wings on the RV, which involved a lot of shuffling things around in the hangar space and trying not to bash the other occupants, the structure, or each other, with ungainly airplane parts.

The wings did go on, after a fashion.   Our time here was abbreviated because of earlier runway delays, so the wings are currently held on with the sacrificial hardware store 5/16 bolts I used during the initial alignment and the proper AN5 aft spar bolts.  My hangar mate Ron and a friend of his helped us get the overlap sorted out on the right wing, and all totaled it didn’t really take more than an hour once we arranged everything in the shop and actually began putting the wings on.

It truly was a 4-person job.   Derek, Dave and I wiggled the wing into place, Peg kept the wires from getting fouled, and then I bashed the 5/16 bolts through with the rest of the crew doing precision wiggling where needed.





One thing I should have done is left the flaps off.   We tried getting the left wing on with the flap on and that didn’t go so well, especially when it came time to line up the aft spar holes.   I wound up taking the flap off the left wing, then took the flap off the right wing before we tried to put that on.   So what you see here is the current state, which is the big flat bits that make the plane stay up in the air, stuck to the bit that holds the meatbags off the ground.

As an aside, I’m hoping that when I connect the control push tubes, the sticks are a little more limited in their side to side travel, because currently, my hand just barely grazes the quadrant.

Cabin heat done.

6 hours.

I spent a little bit of time installing a little air conditioner in the window, the one we’d previously taken out of the guest house bedroom and put in the dining room window while Shelley makes a wedding dress for a friend of ours.

Putting it in the shop window was brilliant… Nice and cool and comfy, in what passes for a heat wave here near the L.A. beaches.

Once that was done I worked on the alternate air for the snorkel. They have you glopping up the interface between the galvanized steel opening hardware and the fiberglass snorkel with a mix of flox and resin. I guess this makes sense, but it seems kind of half-assed. Once that cures, I can sand it smooth and call it done. The snorkel won’t be done-done until I get the air filter opening pro-sealed in, but then it’s another thing I don’t have to worry about again.

With the goop on the snorkel setting up, I wanted an easy win, so I worked on the cabin heat cable. The plans for this thing aren’t real clear about how you’re supposed to route the cable through the cabin, but I worked it out. The knob sits to the right of the throttle quadrant, so the passenger can easily get at it. I also wanted to do this so I’d have an inkling of what I’d be looking at when installing the alt air cable, which is another Bowden-type cable like the cabin heat. This type of cable is similar to a bicycle brake cable, or if you’re old enough to remember, a choke cable.

Mostly a non-issue. Cabin heat door opens and closes with push-pull. Sounds done to me.


Here are some pics from the last couple of weeks.  I’ve recovered my server-side image processing script, so I promise more photos in the future.

This is the mess before I cleaned it all up.

Flap actuator and servo reinstalled (Yay!)

Fuel pump reinstalled, lines secured.

This is me working on the endless process of dressing cables and zip-tying everything.

It’s on again.

12 hours.

That’s today and yesterday.   Shelley helped me rivet on the cover plates to patch the holes in the hull I drilled in search of better antenna locations.  There were 3, total.  One down in the tail, one under the baggage floor, and the original one just forward of the spar under the EFIS.   Since I had her in the plane, i was able to reinstall the transponder antenna properly; I’d taken it out to see if that hole might be a suitable location for the COMM antenna.   It wasn’t.   When we got that done, I went to work on putting the pax side floor back together.  Since I had access, I was able to wrap and secure all the cables going aft under the floor, and I can still access the antenna connection under the seat floor.  After that, I spent a lot of time with cable wrap, securing all the loose wiring running down the tailcone.  I took the advice of someone on VAF, who said something along the lines of “start at the tail and work your way forward, finishing everything you can possibly finish.”   Practical matters preclude me from absolutely finishing the tail section right now, but everything else got done and done.   I torqued down the autopilot pushrod bolts (been driving me crazy for a while), and secured all the wiring of the ELT and strobe pack.  The ELT wiring got secured with a length of shrink tube around the idiot DIN connection (phone cables and stereo connectors?  WTF, ACK Technologies?)  providing NMEA GPS info to the ELT.

Alphabet soup, I know.   We airplane people love our acronyms and abbreviations.

I still have one or two loose ends: I need a special platenut to completely finish the baggage floor, but that should be here tomorrow.

Today I started seeing the end of all the disassembling necessitated by having to wire the aircraft.  I got the flap actuator and flap motor put back in, but this time wired in properly with wires secured in the tunnel.  Lo and behold, I was also able to install the flap arm covers in the baggage compartment, something that hasn’t happened since the interior was painted.    I also cable-wrapped the cables running forward of the spar past the fuel lines and locked those down with cable stays, so nothing’s rubbing on anything.

I also began work on reintegrating the control system on the sticks.   A while back, before I knew what I was doing, I overstretched my trim springs and had to get new ones.   I’ve since gotten them, and was working on getting the sticks all back in order.   I had to paint the steel connectors for the springs, so that stopped while the paint is drying.  I started futzing around with the hard fuel lines on the floor, but didn’t really get anywhere.

Tomorrow I should be able to finish the sticks and see if I can’t get the fuel lines secured (they need a couple of Adel clamps to keep them from vibrating too much) and install the fuel pump permanently.

Get a grip.

1 hour.

I felt fat, stupid, and guilty for watching a hulu’d Sons of Anarchy episode with a big bowl of mac and cheese, so I went out to the shop to get something, anything done. I wound up replacing the microswitches in one of the Infinity Aerospace stick grips. The military style grip is really cool, it’s like an old F4 Phantom grip, with a trigger PTT, a four way toggle (‘china hat’ is not the preferred nomenclature, Dude), and 3 pushbuttons, one momentary, the rest on-off. I had to replace the toggle, because it sticks on in the up position and is momentary down. I want that to be my flap controller, so it needs to be momentary in both directions. I replaced it with one I bought from ACS a few weeks ago. I also got momentary pushbuttons to replace the on-off ones. I imagine those will become AP disengage, transponder ident, frequency flip-flop on the 430, and something else TBD. Maybe flip flop on my spare comm, whatever that winds up being. I might change one back to on-off and run the fuel boost pump with it, we’ll see. I can probably do the other grip tomorrow morning before work if I don’t dawdle on the internet for too long.

A piece from here, a piece from there…

1 hours.

Last night was one of those “what’s there to do in an hour” nights. Enough time to get something done, not enough time to make a big ol’ mess.

I got some 2″ hose clamps a couple of days ago, so I decided to finalize the cabin vent tubing. OK, as final as anything is on this project. The 2″ black tubing connects the NACA vents on the side to the SteinAir eyeballs at the panel. You twist them one way, air blows out. Twist them the other way, nothing. Just like the ones in airliners. I tested them, they both work and they dont’ seem to leak, but I need to check that. Cold drafts (draughts?) at altitude are bad, because they’re an annoyance that can make a flight suck for a non-rugged-individualist passenger.

After that, I trimmed and drilled the fiberglass tip for the vertical stabilizer. These need to be closed at the back end with some kind of filler, but I didn’t want to make a fiberglass/epoxy mess at 9pm on a weeknight. The crap part is, the filler needs to be put in place while the tip is in place, because there’s no other way to ensure the proper shape due to the tip’s flexing when not pinned down. The VS might have to come off for this, but before it does, I’ll drill the hole necessary for the tail and strobe wires.