Front deck

This weekend I spent nearly 20 hours working on the project. It was extremely satisfying to get quality time on it. 

I spent the time working on the panel, subpanel and forward ribs and forward top skin. Here’s the center sub panel with the forward channel. 

Here’s the subpanel installed with the top skin fitted. I spent some time with the alignment to ensure he structure was straight. 

I then drilled the top skin to the firewall flange. You can see it clecoed here across the top. 

I then made the seal support flanges for the subpanel and prepped and riveted the subpanel components together. The center subpanel is separate from the two outboard panels in order to install it in the fuselage. 

Front deck

Installed landing gear

Today I spent a few hours installing the landing gear and wheels. It was an extremely tight fit, but by design. 

Here’s the right landing gear bolted in place and torqued. This will be painted over. Same as the left. 

It looks so cool. 

The plane is much taller now that it’s on its gear. Still a few things to do before mounting the engine. But it’s getting close. 

Installed landing gear

Installed engine mount

Tonight I wanted to mount the engine mount in preparation for hanging the engine in a few weeks. It took some force, but I managed to install it tonight. 

I only have the 4 outside bolts installed. The remain two on the bottom I didn’t install yet because I need to fabricate some shims. Here you can the see the gap between the engine mount and the firewall. I’ll fabricate a small shim and then I’ll install the remaining two bolts. 

Next up is to install the landing gear! 

Installed engine mount

Received Engine! 

Today I received my engine! Its AWESOME! I ordered mine from Superior Air Parts. The engine is an XP-IO360-B1HD2. It’s 185hp with a cold air induction system and duel P-Mag electronic ignitions. It’s going to be incredible! 

Here’s a shot from the back of the engine, you can see the two P-Mags on the back (gold and black) on either side of the oil filter. The oil filler neck is on the right side behind cylinder 3. 

I’m setting up a large order from Vans that include a lot of the firewall forward kit components, but I need to delete several things because of the custom configuration of my engine. 

Received Engine! 

Firewall Prep

Yesterday I spent several hours installing a bunch of firewall components. I started by drilling a 2″ hole for the stainless steel heater box. I then positioned it and drilled the two holes for mounting. 

It came with a tube of firewall sealant, I lined the underside and then bolted it in place. 

A tube will attach to this end and a heat muff surrounding the exhaust on the other. 

I then began measuring and lining up the battery tray. I’m going with an EarthX lithium battery. 

This is mounted using three bolts from the inside of the firewall. I also installed my vent line ports. These are some fancy aerodynamic covers that I got from JD Air. They require a 5/8th hole and mount from the inside. 

Here are the two vents installed. 

I then installed the brake reservoir. It’s mounted on the passenger side in case I want to add copilot brakes later on. 

The hydraulic low pressure line attaches to the inside of this reservoir. 

Lastly I installed the master relay and starter relay. This took some work mainly due to the slightly different battery case. I had to drop the pair down a bit lower than the standard installation spot. 

Here’s everything installled on the firewall. You can see the relays just below the battery. 

Next up, firewalls recess, then the engine mount. 

Firewall Prep

Ordered Engine

I placed the order for my engine today! It’s a big step and will force me to work super hard over the next 6 weeks in order to be ready for it. 

I’m going with a Superior Air Parts XP-360. It’s an IO-360 fuel injected engine with dual P-mag electronic ignition, also got the optional Superior Cold air induction, and it is configured for a constant speed prop. Total comes out to $30,350. 

I am very excited about it and can’t wait to install it on the plane! 

Ordered Engine


Yesterday I spent a few hours working on the panel support angle. 

This angle was drilled and then notched with the bandsaw so that it can follow the contour of the panel. 

Here’s how it looks as it takes form. I then drilled this to the panel with a #30 bit for the -4 rivets. 

This is the angle clecoed to the panel. 

I also mocked up the panel layout and drew switch location and other peripherals. 

I then decided to hook up the ADAHRS and GPS to the display. I was able to get a fix on position and also noticed that my mounting of the ADAHRS was off just a tiny tiny bit. I will have to shim it with something very thin.