« Posts tagged rigging

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.


More connections and a flight

6 hours.

Today was spent tidying some wing attach stuff.   I got my order from ACS, so I was able to finish installing and torquing all the wing attach hardware.   I also did the fuel line on the left tank, remembering this time to put the rubber grommets on before flaring the ends.   There’s a $30 tool that will stretch those rubber grommets out so you can get them over flares and fittings, but I figure it’s good practice just to try to be less stupid.

The most interesting part of the day was the short flight I took in my hangar mate’s Luscombe.


I’m not sure which model this is, but I think it’s an 8C or 8D.   It burns 4 gallons per hour, which is probably about half of what the Pipers I learned on did.   It has no flaps, no lights, and only the minimum equipment of single radio and transponder to get around Southern California’s interesting airspace.


Now, I’ve never been in, much less flown a taildragger, and the oldest airplane I’ve even sat in was an old L-19 Bird Dog in Ft. Leavenworth KS when I was a little kid.    This aircraft was built some time during the early 1940’s, and Ron was kind enough to let me follow him on the pedals to get a feel for the quirks of a taildragger.   This shot is one out the right window, us taxiing to runway 22 at OXR.

20130616-093659.jpgAnd another out the front.


The instrument panel is simplicity itself.   Everything you need for day VFR, nothing you don’t.   The mount for the Garmin 296 GPS looks strangely out of place, over to the side out of frame.   There’s a single vernier cable control for throttle and a small one for carb heat.  I didn’t see one for mixture.  I don’t think there is one.   The fuel gauge is on the bulkhead behind me, between the two seats.


20130616-093736.jpgWe did a landing at Santa Paula, where I was able to get a picture of Steve McQueen’s old hangar.   I love this airport already.   I just wish we’d had the chance to buy McQueen’s old ranch when it popped up on Jalopnik last year and it was dangerously close to something we could afford at its fire-sale price.


20130616-093750.jpgThat adventure only took about 20 minutes to half an hour.   When I got back, I did most of the real work.   Here’s the right flap, on and conneted.  There’s some more rigging to be done,  and some more wiring, but the wings are nearly fully on and connected.   I also got the left rudder pedal connected to the cable, but ran out of time before I could do the right one.   I’ll hit that in a week.  Soon it will be time to mount the prop!

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.

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.

Wandering aimlessly.

4 hours.

I got a call from Don Rivera at Airflow Performance regarding the quandaries of my servo installation. He said I was basically on the right track, but that yes, i’d have to make my own brackets for the throttle and mix cables. Also, there’s no reversing the butterfly. I found about $200 worth of hoses that can go back to Van’s, and I got the temperature probes installed and the extensions run back to the RDAC. I almost got the breather tube done, but I really need to get off the FWF install and go back to wiring and avionics. Basically, I puttered around, unfocused, looking for an easy way into the next step. There isn’t one. I don’t have the cables, hoses, or fittings I need to do more FWF, so screw it, I’m going back to electrical.

This is harder than you might think. Every time I walk past the engine, I find something to distract me. All these little distractions start out as “I wonder if THIS will work.” As a result, I got nothing significant done, other than the installation of a couple of probes and senders. Not that this is a bad thing, but if I had focused on avionics and panel, I could have gotten a lot more done, since I have all the stuff required to get that done.

I’m also looking at the baffles. I suspect I might have some problems where the prop governor sits, and that is going to suck.

More grip stuff

1 hour.

I finished changing out the on-off switches and toggle on the other Infinity stick grip. Now both grips will have the same configuration.

stick grip soldering

And this is what the finished product should look like:
grip on stick

grip on stick
Tested for ergonomics. This works just fine.

But there’s a problem. Remember that big fat blue cable in the first pic? There’s no good way to get it out the bottom of the stick, and on the right side, it’s pretty much impossible. I may have bitten off a fair bit of work for myself here, but I need to find a solution. One thing is for certain, and even though a lot of guys have done it, Van’s says “Thou shalt not drill holes in thy control stick, especially near the holy pivot.” The reason for this is that with a hole drilled in the stick, the yield strength of the tubing has just gone down the crapper. You can argue all you want about the likelihood of someone putting enough force on that stick to break it off at the hole, but I’d hate to be doing a high -g (for me anyway) maneuver and have the stick fold up.

So what to do about that fat blue cable? I have two issues, one is the exit out the bottom of the left stick. The cable chafes on the rod bearings connected to the ailerons, so that’s no good. The other is that on the right side, the stick is designed to be detachable, and it’s going to be, because the missus likes to knit and read books, and she’s not going to have a good time doing that if there’s a control stick waggling where she’s holding a book or a big-ass pair of needles.

In that blue cable are sixteen 20AWG wires, six of which are ground wires (earths, for my Commonwealth readers). I have read of several builders who have stripped off the blue outer cover and the shield, then connected all the grounds together in the upper cavity of the grip, which thins out the wire bundle considerably. This will allow the wires to exit the bottom of the control stick on the pilot’s side. On the passenger’s side, there’s no getting around it, there’s going to be a hole drilled in the stick for wires to exit, but not the honking 5/8″ monster required for the full cable, blue covering and all. That will also require some kind of multi-pin connector, such as a CPC circular connector or a DB-15, so I can detach the stick easily. It’s already sounding like a lot of work, but fortunately it’s not a messy job, and I can start/stop it at leisure.

More odds and ends.

2 hours.

I’m waiting for parts from the Mothership, so it’s all about what I can find to do while I’m waiting. Mostly I sat out there puzzling out wiring runs. The floor panels are in already, so I might have a nice game of Go Fish to look forward to when it comes to running wires for 2 GPS antennae (yes, 2, in case I get hold of a GNS 430W), trim servo, strobe unit power, tail light, then strobe wires forward for the wingtip strobes. What I did actually get done was finally rivet the reinforcing angle that the tank brackets attach to just forward of the main spar. I can’t believe I forgot to do that during wing mating, but I think I probably had other things on my mind at that point. So that’s done, and there are little blobs of torque seal on the accompanying thru-bolts to tell me I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Oh.. remember this thing? F-697?

It’s the canopy jettison bracket. I put it on the subpanel because I was just following the directions. Then I realized I’m not going to install the canopy jettison system (weight, complexity, etc). Now I realize that thing might get in the way if I have to chop holes in the subpanel for some deep avionics, like a GNS 430W or some other surprisingly large piece of gear I think I need. So I took it out. You can never have too much practice drilling out rivets.

After that, I fiddled around with the fiberglass rudder tip, and worked on the mounting system for the tail position/strobe. This is genius. At some point, I bought a length of 1/4″ aluminum dowel from the hardware store. What I did was cut 2 half-inch lengths of it, which I’ll drill and tap to 4-40, the same thread as the tail light mounting screws. I’ll put some dimples in the sides of them, then sink them into blobs of flox in the rudder bottom. At that point, they’ll be permanently affixed and I’ll still be able to unscrew them to change bulbs. OH, thumbs down on the build quality of the rudder botttom. The two halves of the rudder bottom don’t exactly line up along the seam, so I’m going to have to clean it up with micro and sandpaper. If I was exceptionally skilled with sheet metal, I’d make my own out of aluminum, but I’m not, so I’ll deal.

Finally, I messed around with the tailwheel springs. I’m going to need to order new chain. I should have looked at the plans. I remember them going together completely differently, and it took me some time to figure out that getting the chain directly on to the spring is no big deal. But the puzzle fooled this monkey, and I missed ‘Castle’ for nothing.

I’m going to pester Tim again this week and see what the deal is with my cylinders.

More wing rigging

As promised, a wider angle. All the bits flap like they’re supposed to.

Video of moving control surfaces.

First one, from Dave’s iPhone4. Shelley has a wider shot that’s higher res.