Continued the final inspection and high power engine run

September 16, 2012

So today I finished the final inspection. After words I did some more taxi tests to make sure everything was rigged right and the tail wheel responds the way I wanted it to do. This was also to double check the brakes were working well. I decided I wanted to make sure the engine ran well even up in the higher RPM area but the brakes barely hold the plane at 1800 RPM so I decided to tie the tail spring to a tie down ring and do a high power run up. After the engine had time to warm up about 10 min I did some leaning and mag checks (50 RPM mag drops!) I ran the engine at full power for about 5 min straight. At full throttle I was able to get 2450 RPM steady. So she has a lot of pull. I also checked to make sure the fuel valve, if turned off during the run, adaquately killed the engine, the answer is yes it does. I also did some acceleration testing on the engine to make sure if I poured on the throttle it would respond quickly with out any hessitation and it does this well too.

Time spent today 5 hours
Total Time spent 1635 hours.

Taking the plane back apart for final inspection

September 12, 2012

Today and yesterday I spent most of the day running through the appendix D of the FAR 43 checking and double checking my plane for airworthiness. I also had an A&P IA come by and take a look for a few hours to see if I missed anything. I had a few issues mostly with wire routings and but he didn’t see any major things. He had me put a large washer on the outside of my throttle and mixture rod ends (good catch). And I also had a slightly loose upper wing Istrut bolt (you could spin the washer but the bolt was snug) So I went back and checked all those bolts. I went down the route of torque striping all the controls and he mentioned that I had gone down a slippery slope so basically everything needed to be torque striped. I also had to take the belly pan off so that I could safety wire the gascolator.

Time spent 10 hours
Total time spent 1630 hours

Putting the airplane together for the weighing and weighing the plane

September 9, 2012

This is a numerous day roll up. The last several days I have been prepping for the aircraft weighing. Simply installing the panels is several hour ordeal. Between friday evening, saturday morning and all sunday I was able to get all the panels, fairings, cowling, and canopy on to the plane and fitting correctly. With the aircraft level I drained all I could from the fuel from the level attitude from the gascolator so that I would get the unusable fuel. I also installed the wheel pants. With the aircraft level I used a plumb bob to get the arm location of the main wheel and tail wheel. Using the forward leading edge as 65.05″ datum my main gear was at 52.55″ and my tail wheel was at 193.63″. After I was completely satisfied I pulled out my aircraft scales and pushed the aircraft up on to the scales and checked the level. The total empty weight of the aircraft was 830 lb. This is much heavier than I had hoped but If I install the Aerovoltz battery that will bring me down to 819 Which is pretty good.

Monday through Wednesday I spend several evenings getting the Pitot Static system leak checked. Originally I had pretty good sized leak on both the pitot and static lines. Monday brought several hours of chasing a leak in the Pitot line. I used the FAA suggested technique of attaching a surgical tube to the pitot tube and rolling it up to bring the airspeed up to cruise speed. So i brought it up to 160 MPH. Originally It pretty much flopped right back to 0 MPH. After I sealed the threads on the Pitot tube it has a very small leak of 2.5 MPH per minute. There is no FAA regulation so the acceptable leak but from best practices I see that 10% of the cruise speed per min is typically adopted that would be 16.0 MPH/Min so I am more then within that. Next Is the altimeter. I had to Tee into the the Static line and used the FAA technique of rolling up a tube then attaching it and letting it out till I got 1000 ft above field then timed the leak down. At first it leaked pretty bad but after I sealed the threads at the Pitot tube it held the altitude to 125 ft/min. Which at this point I am calling acceptable since this aircraft is VFR-Day only. If I was flying IFR I would think differently.

I also ran the engine again for about 15 minutes with the cowling on. After that I will remove all the cowlings for the final inspection.

Time spent 30 hours
Total time spent 1620 hours

Ground Running the Engine

August 31, 2012

Several day round up here.  I finished up the fuel system by re-installing the gascolator bowl.  I added about 4 gallons of fuel to the tank and checked around for leaks and found none.  I then opened fuel valve and started pumping the wobble pump which took apart and installed a new gasket and windings (so that could be a source of fuel leak to) and it took about 40 or 50 pumps to get the fuel down in to the fuel lines and into the fuel pump but it eventually got there and worked well no leaks.  I then installed the battery and checked to make sure the master switch worked and did some final checks and pulled the plane out of the hangar for the ground run.  I got in and primed it hit the starter and it couldn’t pull the prop through.  My battery is kinda old so this wasn’t completely unexpected but I have some suspicions that my starter solenoid was going bad.  It was getting late so just pulled the plane back in and called it a night.

Fast forward to Wed 8/29 I had a long weekend mini vacation so I got back to it on wednesday this time I brought out another battery that I new would work and tried that.  It didn’t even turn over the prop.  So then borrowed a buddies deep cycle gel cell batter and and turn the starter over and it did turn over with more authority but it wasn’t great.  It was however good enough to get the engine started.

I ran the engine for about 10 minutes and got the oil up to about 150 deg. The mag checks, oil pressure and oil temperature were also good. I had my buddy to a leak check while the engine was running, no leaks were noted. The idle RPM was a tiny bit low so that will need an adjustment.

Friday 8/31 I decided to change out the starter solenoid so I went down and got one installed it and tried my old batter again. It actually started it this time so that may have been part of the problem. I also checked the fuel screen again to make sure nothing was in it and everything was nice and clean.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1582 hours.

Finishing the fabrication and fitting of the wing root and horizontal tail root fairings

August 20, 2012

Tonight I spent the evening finishing up the fabrication and fitting of the lower wing root and horizontal tail root fairings. I borrowed the 90 deg adaptor for the drill and finished drilling the lower side of the horiztonal tail fairings (both sides). The lower wing root fairings I pre-drilled the holes in the metal the fitted the top side fairing up to the wing and drill those holes as well. Then I fitted and drill the holes for the leading edge fairings. And finally I made the bottom and top fairings come together nicely at the trailing edge.

Time spent today 4 hours
Total time spent 1574 hours

Fabricating the lower wing nose fairings and drilling and attaching the horizontal tail fairings.

August 19, 2012

Today I again feel like I didn’t get much done but everyday I get something done is a good day. I decided to tackle the nose fiairngs so I needed to install the lower forward belly panel/exhaust channel and side kick panels to get the profile correct. I again used the poster board technique to scribe a line in pencil on to the poster board then cut that out with scissors. This worked really well and required almost no tweeking afterwards it just fit the first time. (sorry no pictures forgot I’ll get them when I go out next time)

After that was done I moved on to attaching the horizontal tail fairings. I needed to do some more trimming on the lower side fo the horzontal tail fiairngs so I did that and temp attached the rubber channel. I then marked the out side of the fairing using masking tape then measured back in to wher I wanted screws to go into the inboard rib and then marked my screw holes and drilled and clecoed them in place. This worked really well and was very accurate. I did this for both the upper side and most of the lower sides but I was unable to drill the rear screw holes because my drill didn’t fit. I will borrow a 90 deg adaptor from my buddy to get those completed tomorrow. I also marked out the lower wing upper fairing for the screw holes but didn’t drill them yet.

Time spent 6 hours
Total time spent 1570 hours

Fabricating the lower wing lower fairings and lower horizontal tail fairings

August 18, 2012

I spent most of the day working on the lower fairings for both the lower wing and the lower side of the horiztonal tail. However it should be noted that I did spend an hour installing the silcone baffle seal on the engine baffles not much to talk about there simply measured cut then drill the hole and install a screw and nut.

I then moved on to the lower fairings. The lower side of the lower wing fairings looked like they should be fairly straight forward so I simply followed the exact dimensions on the drawings and cut a 3 1/2 piece of 0.032 and made the 5/8 10 deg folds on both sides (opposite directions) then the 10 deg diagonal fold for the aft end and viola they fit right up perfectly. I then drilled some holes for the screws and mounted them up to the wings. Both sides were pretty easy.

The cutting and fitting of the lower horiztonal tail fairings were a bit more difficult. I used my pencil “scribe” all it is is a pend zip tied perpindicular to a pencil and the I attach a piece of poster board to the sabilizer and use the capped pen as a “standoff” to trace the profile on to the the poster board. I then cut that out with scissors and trace it on to alumnium. It’s never perfect so I need to proabably an hour of trimming and fitting to get them to fit right. After those were completed I called it a night.

Time spent 6 hours
Total time spent 1564 hours

Installing the Matco wheel and Brakes finishing the brake lines and bleeding the brakes

August 15, 2012

Again, Another two day roll up. Tuesday and Wednesday night brought all sorts of fun with the wheels and brakes. The matco wheels have a slightly different bearing than the cleveland wheels in that it has a slight radius at the inner race that requires a oversized washer to make sure the inner race seats firmly against the bearing stop on the axle. In this case of the RV wheel brake plate and bearing seat is made from 1-3/8 0.058 thick 4130 that has a flange welded on to it. Vans calls out a 1/4″ aluminum washer U-405 on each side of the axle.

I had decided to go with matco WE-51L which are the light weight version of the WE-51 (straight replacement for the Clevelands). The difference is that they are slightly slimmer than the WE-51 so you need to make up for the 3/8 gap with a spacer. So I made a spacer out of 4130 and slide it on along with the aluminum washer and tighten the nut down. Since these bearings have a integrated grease seal not the washer and felt seal like the clevelands they have a 18-26 lb of drag on the wheel when installed properly. I’m not going into detail in this since the explanation is on their website ( The seal does look like it will keep much more dirt and water out so after much head scratching and installations I have now ok with this set up. I did notice some pretty noticable corrosion in the hub of my cleveland wheel where the felt seal used to be so I guess Matco is correct.

Anyway I installed the brake plate and wheel fairing bracket. Split the wheels install the tubes and tires, packed the bearings and installed the wheels and tightened the nut. I installed the caliper and caliper plate measured marked and cut the brake line and flared a coupling and nut onto the tube and attached it to the caliper. Rinse and repeat for the other side. I then secured the brake lines with nylon tubing as anti-chafe protection and installed the newly painted gearleg fairings. After that I back bled the brakes and they are now nice and tight. I now need to drill a cotter pin hole for the axle nut and that area will be all set.

A side note about bearing drag. I know it sounds bacwards to have have wheel drag while the wheel is off the ground but once you get the airplane on the ground and roll it around it is actually very smoth and not noticable.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1548 hours

Fabricating the upper horizontal tail fairings

August 12, 2012

Today I took some time to work on the horizontal tail upper fairings. I started by creating the fairings out of poster board then I transferring them over to 0.025 6061-T6 sheet and cut them out with snips an the straight side on the sheet metal shear.

Time spent today 3 hours
Total time spent 1540 hours

Finishing and topcoating the forward belly pan and gear leg fairings

August 11, 2012

Again another two day roll up. I sanded the belly pan smooth and shot the blue onto it. While that was drying I sanded the gear leg fairings after the body putty dried I used the 80 grit to smooth the putty then followed it with 220 and then finally 320 to get it nice and smooth once that was compelete I could see that it successfully filled the pin holes. The next day I shot an other coat of primer on to them and once that was dry I was able to shoot the blue on to them and they came out great.

Time spent 5 hours
Total time spent 1537 hours