Miscellaneous Tasks

This weekend I spent some time knocking out a bunch of tasks that I needed to do in preparation to painting the interior. I need to paint the canopy frame and most of the interior parts before bonding the canopy to the frame.

I primed a bunch of parts that will be painted a dark gray. These are most of the interior panels that won’t be covered by carpet.

Some of them will, but I didn’t want to have exposed parts.

I then disassembled the panel and finished drilling it for some of the final components.

These are the holes for the dimmer knobs. One will be used for panel lighting, another for overhead/interior lighting, and the third for the baggage area. I have provisions for a fourth one, but haven’t decided what I could be used for.

I then cut the slots for the usb receptacles. These are for database and software updates, as well as all the chart data that the Dynon EFISs will use.

I then installed the center channel covers. On the pilots side I added provisions for a ram mount so that I can install my iPad. Having an integrated mounting solution is so much nicer than a suction cup or clamp.

Here’s the passenger side cover. Most of this will be covered by the side paneling but some might exposed, which is why I painted it.

Here is the lighting controller for the knobs and the interior lighting. It’s mounted to the Dynon EFIS tray.

Next week I’ll be getting the paint and will be painting a lot of the interior in preparation for the canopy bonding which should happen in the next few weeks!

Miscellaneous Tasks

Control sticks

Tonight I spent some time working on the control sticks. When they come from the factory they are quite long. I ended up cutting off 3.75 inches. I then wired the sticks and adjusted the fit of everything.

The copilot stick is removable so the wires exit just above joint on the right side. There are only two wires for the copilot stick push-to-talk button. The pilot stick has 7 wires for the trim control, radio flip flop, radio push-to-talk, and autopilot disconnect. The wires exit from the bottom of the stick. I’ll wire these to a connector in order to make it removable.

A few years back when moving to the hangar, I somehow lost the center tunnel cover. So I had to make a new one, which took a couple hours.

Here you can see it (in gray) under the center console arm rest.

The center console mounts to the flap cover and sits quite snug over the tunnel cover. This makes it rock solid for leaning on and using it to get in and out of the plane.

The last thing I did was to replace the NyLock nuts on my throttle bracket with all metal nuts.

This has been on my todo list for a long time and I just needed to knock it out.

Next time I’ll wrap up the control stick installation with the wiring and then the sticks are done!

Control sticks

Avionics and Panel Trim

Over the weekend I spent some time working on some of the last canopy frame items. The panel trim is something I ordered from Classic Aero Designs. It was super easy to install using the template provided and mounts directly to the canopy frame skin that covers the panel.

Here you can see the trim mounted to the top of the skin. Its about half an inch thick, is padded and finished with a nice soft leather. It’s held on to the skin by 11 screws from the bottom. What’s nice about it is that it hangs about .25” below the skin, which is perfect for hiding the panel light, which I have held on by tape temporarily.

I turned off my hangar lights and tested it out. The screens do cast a slight shadow over the switches, but it’s not fully obstructed which is nice.

I also received my second avionics tray from Dynon and installed that. I had to modify it slightly to allow for the removal of the radio module.

Now all that’s left to do is finish up the wiring cleanup, bundle all the harnesses and then it’s done! I’ll remove the panel and all the avionics and prep it for paint. The canopy frame is also ready for paint which is the last thing to do before bonding the canopy to the frame.

Avionics and Panel Trim

Avionics Testing

I’ve been doing some component and subsystem testing of the avionics. I hooked up my laptop to the VPX to configure and test all the switches and devices before powering things on for the first time.

Once I powered up the avionics I was able to work through all the setup and testing of the different components.

Today I spent time wiring up the trim servos. They wire up to the autopilot panel so that they can be controlled using the Dynon auto trim functionality. I also wired up the flap position sensor. The flap sensor is wired to the VPX rather than to the Dynon EMS. The reason for this is so the VPX can monitor and control the deflection of the flaps to certain levels.

I don’t have it in the picture, but I also installed the Garmin G5 and powered and tested as well. I also wired up a micro switch to the canopy latch, it displays a digital “light” on the EFIS if the canopy is open.

I’ve really been enjoying wiring up and testing all the avionics. Next up I’ll be working on the canopy frame in preparation for the canopy bonding.

Avionics Testing

Switch Wiring

Today I spent time disassembling the panel and making the wiring harness for all the switches. Since I’m using the VPX for my power distribution, all of the switches are wired directly to the J2 connector and to ground. It simplifies the wiring and allows for a very clean setup.

Once I had the panel out of the plane, I installed the switches so I could measure the wires and begin the assembly.

Once I had the switches in, I began wiring them and bundling the harness to that the wires could route to the VPX without too much trouble.

The resulting installation is quite clean and organized. I then tested each switch to ensure proper grounding and that the VPX pins match my wiring schematics. Next time I’ll test the functionality of each switch on the VPX using my laptop.

Another angle showing the switches. There’s still some cleanup of the panel to do, and then it will be ready for painting.

Switch Wiring


This evening I received an order with my new Bose 6-pin connector cord. I decided to use the Lemo style plugs on my plane rather than the GA plugs. The ship power for the Bose A20s is just so much more convenient.

I temporarily powered my Efis, radio and intercom to check all the wiring with the headphones.

Successful transmit and receive functionality

I was able to tune the AWOS to verify reception. Crystal clear. I then checked on the local traffic frequency with my handheld radio and everything functioned normally. A helicopter pilot happened to pass through and was able to verify my transmitting capabilities. The antenna is on the underside of the plane, and being inside the hangar I didn’t expect good quality but it seemed work okay, no static or anything.

Radio functions

I’ve been making a lot of progress on all the avionics wiring and power circuitry as well. I plugged my laptop into the VPX and configured it with my specific setup. I also verified the PPS with the master switch on I was detecting 12V on the Main output.

Updating the databases and software

All the major systems have been installed and individually component tested. I’m now beginning to do the subsystem testing and slowly adding additional components. Once I finish manually verifying the power pins on the VPX, I’ll plug all the connectors in and have the VPX supply power directly allowing me to test the switches and full circuits.

Checking the radio functions

I also finished installing the latch fingers on the canopy frame and verified the appropriate clearances around the fuselage and roll bar.

Now that the frame is fully riveted it’s time to prime and paint the interior, and then mask the frame where the canopy will go and paint the dashboard a flat black. Now that we’ve gotten through some of the biggest rain storms California has seen in a while, I’m hoping to get that knocked out soon.


Riveted Subpanel

This weekend I spent a few hours working on finishing up the canopy frame and sub panel riveting. I focused on riveting the subpanel completely to the fuselage to make sure that when I do final fittings of the canopy frame, everything is rock solid.

Here’s the left side attach of the sub panel to the fuselage. There are six more revets below this also attaching the sub panel to the fuse.

Here’s the forward part of the subpanel attached to the supporting rib. This is mirrored on the right side.

Here is the backside of the subpanel. Opposite of the first image. You can see some of the lower rivets near the fuel vent line on the bottom part of the image.

The sensor manifold on the firewall is now permanently attached as it is bolted to the supporting rib on the other side of the firewall. Now that it’s riveted in place this can remain attached.

Riveted Subpanel

Canopy Bracing & Panel Lighting

Tonight I spent a few hours finishing the canopy bracing.

Here are the rivets on the underside of the canopy skin. The bottom are pulled rivets and the top ones are solid rivets.

The center brace.

Here’s the right side brace. One rivet will need to be redone as the bucking bar slipped.

The entire frame will get painted with my interior paint, a dark gunmetal gray.

I wrapped up the night by testing out my panel lights.

I’m using a high density led strip that has a silicone diffuser. They are very bright, but will be wired to a dimmer switch on the panel for fine adjustment. I may switch to a more blue light for better night vision. I’ll be adding these strips to other parts of the interior to aid in visibility during night operations, the baggage area in particular.

Canopy Bracing & Panel Lighting

Canopy Frame & Engine Controls

This weekend I spent almost 20 hours working on the plane.

I started by rigging the mixture, throttle, and prop cables to the engine.

Here’s the mixture bell crank. The mixture cable is attached to the right side. I got it all adjusted so that the knob reaches the stops as the servo side hits the mixture stops.

I then spent a couple hours test fitting and adjusting the prop cable. Similarly, I needed to adjust it several times so that the stops were reached without any issues.

Here is a top down view looking at the cable attached to the prop arm. The bolt will need to be adjusted, it fully clears the mechanism, but it’s still too close for comfort. I’ll add another washer under the bolt head to increase the clearance.

The throttle cable was a lot easier, the alignment was almost spot on. I’ll need to do some slight adjustments on the servo arm.

Final adjustments to all this will be after the first engine start. But for now, everything is set from the factory.

Here’s the panel test fit and the cable bracket clamped to the panel temporary.

I then spent about 5 hours riveting the canopy frame and skin together.

Here’s the top of the canopy skin. The missing rivets are for the frame bracing. I will rivet the sub panel and lock-in the forward section of the fuselage before final riveting the braces, just to make sure it’s all perfectly aligned.

Here’s the bracing from the inside, the bottom rivets are riveted, but the top ones will be later.

Here’s the panel installed so that I can test fit the frame. I might need to make a slight adjustment where the G5 is installed on the far left. It might slightly interfere with the craniotomy frame tube that runs the length from left to right along the top of the panel.

Canopy Frame & Engine Controls

Garmin G5 Pitot/Static Tubes

Today I spent a few hours working on getting the pitot and static lines up to the panel for the Garmin G5. The G5 will act as a backup EFIS to the Dynon.

I had to route the static line from the aft static ports to the front of the plane.

The tube here runs parallel to the rudder cable along the side of the fuselage.

It’s secured with a zip tie and this will be behind a panel that also covers the flap actuator tube.

I had to drill two holes through the bulkheads. This is blind riveted and I didn’t want to drill it off. The alignment took some trial and error.

Here is the routing just next to the pilots seat, this will be behind the side panel.

The final two holes put through the center channel bulkheads. From here, the static tube is routed up and to the panel and to the G5. Also on the panel will be a toggle switch an alternate static source in case of a static port failure.

Garmin G5 Pitot/Static Tubes