« Posts under Wings

EFIS returned to service and wing root fairings on

8 hours.

Today and yesterday.  I got the EFIS back before Friday’s taildragger lesson and got it back in the plane on Saturday.   My only gripe is that the voice alerts don’t make any sound.  I”m not sure if that’s because of the EFIS or the wiring, maybe both, but it worked before I pulled it out, and now it doesn’t.   More testing is needed there.

I did get the wing root fairings on, and hoo boy, are they a pain.  They’ll have to come off again for the DAR inspection, but I don’t need to access anything between the wings and fuselage, so they can go on the plane and not be hanging off the handle of my tool box.   It took some time, because the fairings and the seals are kind of awkward and I had to do a couple of passes with the deburring wheel to gain enough clearance for the u-channel of the rubber seal, but I think they’ll work OK.

I think we’re going to start the engine next week.   Time to quit procrastinating.   Need to torque the alternator bolts down, but other than that, it’s ready to go.   I’ll pre-oil it again, then we’ll fire it up.   With a gallon in each wing tank though, It’s not going to run for long.


This Game Is Rigged.

6 hours.

Would have been 7, but I went for lunch with the Marks in their hangar down on the west end.   Split pea soup, garlic bread, and a video on the history of the F-14.   Mark S used to fly them in the Navy, he’s now building a Rocket.

My biggest intention was to fix the interference between the control sticks and the throttle quadrant, as well as the alt-air and cabin heat controls.   I was fully prepared to move the quadrant back, but as it turns out, I don’t have to.

I reset the rigging on the ailerons to neutral, and also tuned the sticks so that they’re just a hair outward of center.   This clears the quadrant, but just barely grazes the alt-air and cabin heat controls, so they’ll have to be moved.   This is less of a big deal than moving the quadrant, and now I know the wings are rigged as well as they can be.  The purge valve control interferes with the stick, but that should never be open in flight, ever, so that doesn’t bother me.  What does concern me is that while the wings and flaps align at neutral/flaps up, the trailing edges of the wingtips are slightly off.   I don’t know if this will result in a heavy wing condition or not, but I’m guessing it might.  The remedy for that is to split the trailing edge of the wingtips and fasten them back together aligned to the aileron.

You might be wondering why this single, simple operation took 6 hours.   Once the wings are installed, access to various things is far less convenient.   There are access panels, but these are now on the underside of the wing, in the dark.  In addition to that, the bolts on the control stick require washers that are extremely difficult to install, especially with large fingers, and with the nose-up angle of the aircraft on the gear, a dropped washer tends to roll back under the seat floor, requiring numerous fishing expeditions with a telescoping magnet.

Next time, I’ll have to address the fact that there is no jam nut on the forward elevator pushrod, which will require some crawling, but on the whole is more accessible and should be easier.

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!

Connection Machine

12 hours.

Yesterday and today, because I didn’t have a chance to update last night.   Last week the wings went on, with temp bolts, but yesterday was all about installing the close-tolerance bolts in the main spar.   These big bastards hold the wings on.  The forces on them are shear forces, but they don’t want there to be any slop whatsoever, so you use eight close-tolerance bolts each side.   Lube up the shanks, but don’t get any lube on the treads or the torque values will be off and that’s, um, bad.


The secret to these things is to tap them in with a rivet gun on very low pressure.   The trick is remembering to get the washers on under the bolt heads.   I got all of them in, both right and left wings, but somehow I lost one of the AN365-720-A nuts that go on the big bolts.   ACS to the rescue.   That was about all I had time for yesterday.. I got out there around 10 then had to head back at 3, so I came back out this morning.  Got there at 9:15 and powered through the whole day.


As an added bonus, my next-door neighbors did first engine start on their helicopter this afternoon.   They brought this thing over from New Zealand, and last week it was just a box of helicopter parts.   This week they had it running.   Apparently it’s so light they had to add fuel to make it a little more stable for ground run tests.  Oh, and it’s really freaking loud.


I decided it would probably be best to finish one of the wings, so I concentrated on the left one.   I connected the flap pushrod and hooked up all wires except the VOR antenna, which will have to wait for a couple of BNC connectors.   I also fabricatied and installed the fuel line and connected the vent lines, so now if you put gas in that tank, it will feed the engine and make it run!



I replaced the puny 16ga wire I had going to the landing light with a beefier 10ga section, so that left me with a spare wire.  I left it there, in case there’s anything I need to put in the wingtip later.   Tested pitot heat, that works, 12v to everything at the end of the wing.   Also ran pitot and AOA lines from the wing up to the area behind the EFIS.   I’ll trim and connect those next time.

Speaking of which, while I was tracing a wire, I managed to jar loose the little resistor on the RDAC for the RPM counter, which is damned frustrating.   You guys couldn’t have built that resistor into the RDAC itself?

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.

Wings done! Really.

2 hours.

Wings are ready for move to the hangar. Cleaned up/fastened some wiring, perma-mounted the flaps, switched the shop back into fuselage mode.


Tape gunk.

Don’t leave tape on aluminum for multiple years. The glue becomes permanent.


Wings Closed, part 2

4 hours.

Wing skins are done! I reinstalled the flaps and got a strip of UHMW tape along the back of one, and I’ll do the other tomorrow. The other thing I have to do is find or refabricate the flap hinge pin fasteners. After that, I just have some minor wire tidying to do and the wings are done, done, done.

Almost done with wing skins

2 hours.

3 more rows to go and the wings are closed up. Other than stopping to drill out the occasional bad rivet, it’s going well.

My helper for today has the right idea, but he’s not much help.