Heat Muff, Exhaust, and Fuel Tubes

Today I spent a few hours working on the exhaust hangars, heater and the fuel lines.

It’s been on my to-do list for a long long time, but I finally marked and drilled the hole in the firewall for the fuel line.

I then test fitted the fuel line between the pump and firewall fitting. I had to fabricate a new tube in order to fit the position I drilled the hole. In hindsight I should have drilled it about one inch to the left of this, in order to provide more room for the heater scat tubing on the other side, however it should be fine.

The forward tunnel cover will go over this portion of the tubing as well as the wiring harness.

I then worked on the hangars for the exhaust as well as heat muff.

Here you can see the hangars before I installed the heat muff. The left hangar here will need to be modified to account for it.

I didn’t get any pictures during the install, but here is the heater installed with the tubing. I will need to add some support to prevent chaffing of the tubes on the engine mount.

I will also need to add some support for the fuel tubing here to prevent rubbing on the tube. It shouldn’t be too difficult to keep these two separated.

I will need to fabricate a support bar to extend the exhaust mount a bit wider in order to attach the hangar in order to avoid the scat tube.

Heat Muff, Exhaust, and Fuel Tubes

Finished closing out first wing

This weekend my buddy Norio and I spent about three hours closing out the final wing skin. It was a lot of shuffling and checking rivets after bucking them.

Final wing skin partially riveted

Once we got the hang of the pattern, it went quicker. Still required maneuvering my arm through tight spaces and rib lightening holes.

Interior of the wing

Here you can see the shop heads in the rib after riveting. The spar (gold on the left) has the rivets in place but not set yet.

Me checking out the rivets after finishing

The shiny panel here is the skin we completed. I was looking over the rivets to make sure there wasn’t anything obviously out of place or missing. I only have the flap hinge left to rivet, which can be done solo using the squeezer.

Next I will prep the final skin for the left wing, and prepare it by marking the sequence for riveting. It will save a bunch of time trying to remember which set of rivets to go next.

Finished closing out first wing

Wing skins

Tonight my buddy Norio and I spent a couple hours prepping and riveting the final lower wing skin.

Here I was checking the alignment of the ribs

After testing the fit, we bag prepping to river the inboard rivets. We started with the lower corner of the rear spar and worked our way across towards the wingtip.

Inboard corner rivet on the rear spar

After riveting the first rivet we checked the shop head with the rivet gauge to calibrate the rivet fun as well as my hand on the bucking bar. We made some adjustments and then we dialed it in.

Rear spar inboard section riveted

Once the rear spar was riveted, we worked our way up the inboard section towards the main spar.

Inboard rib rivets

Some rivets needed to be driven a touch more, but all of these were perfectly set.

We called it a night after finishing these rivets and now that we’re calibrated the rest of the wing should go much faster.

Wing skins

Lots of work – Canopy and Empenage

It’s been a while since I’ve made an update…work and life have taken a priority over the last few months, but I’ve made some progress here and there.

Yesterday and today I spent some time working on the elevator and the autopilot servo pushrod installation. These three pushrods are kind of hard to reach and require washers in between the rod end bearings and the bell cranks, my washer wrench helped a lot.

I also installed my ELT antenna in the aft the airplane. It will sit under the vertical stabilizer faring. I like this much better than mounting it on top of the fuselage.

This is looking down onto the horizontal stabilizer. It will be secured under the faring with a clamp so as to not let the antenna rub on the fiberglass.

I also spent some time a few weeks ago working on the canopy frame and springs. I spent a few hours fabricating the attach points.

Here you can see both the canopy frame side and the fuselage side of the attachments. I originally fabricated a backing plate out of some 1/16th aluminum and two nut plates, however after some research online, I came across a CNCd version of this that is a single piece and has a back plate this is awesome. I installed those and I highly recommend them! Buller Enterprises makes a few experimental parts. I purchased the ball stud mounts and the canopy guides. Easy to install and much stronger than the ones I made.

I also finished riveting and test fitting the canopy frame stiffeners.

I still need to fabricate some spacers and then prime/prep all the surfaces. But the canopy frame is getting closer to completion!

The shop is a little messy, but the plane is looking good!

I’m hoping to get more time to work on the plane in the new year. Until then, I hope that everyone has a great holiday season!

Lots of work – Canopy and Empenage

Vertical Stabilizer

I spent a few hours in the hangar to finish up the vertical stabilizer mounting to the fuselage.

I started by fabricating the shims that go between the front spar of the vertical stab and the horizontal stab mounting bracket. I then drilled them using the prepunched holes.

After measuring everything was straight and the leading edge of the vertical stab was 1/4 inch to the left of the fuselage centerline, I drilled the bracket o the horizontal stab and bolted it in place.

Then I measured and drilled the three bolts that hold the vertical stab to the rear bulkhead and tail spring mount. These bolts go through 4 or 5 layers of metal, and need to be precisely placed.

I got everything properly lined up and was able to keep the minimum edge distances on everything

I bolted everything into place to make sure the vertical stab was still straight. I also decided to check the tail fairing, just to see how it looks.

This is really starting to look cool. The last thing I did was verify the rudder still swung freely and to measuring the rudder throw.

I I staled the elevators and the rudder and everything was as smooth as silk. There was no binding of any of the control surfaces. The rudder has the required 35deg of throw, but I need to adjust the rudder stops, as the rudder exceeds the 35deg of throw before hitting the stops.

Vertical Stabilizer

Vertical Stabilizer

Tonight after work I spent a couple hours working on the vertical stab. Before mounting it to the fuselage, the forward spar had to have 5/8th of an inch trimmed off.

Here is the spar after trimming and filing the edges smooth.

I then mounted the stab to the fuselage and clamped it in place.

The height relative to the fuselage is important. I taped an Allan wrench to the rudder hinge to use as my reference line and to ensure everything was aligned.

After measuring the verticality of the stab by measuring from the tip to each end of the horizontal stab, I confirmed it was aligned, And then used my angle drill to drill the rear spar to the elevator stop, then inserted the bolt temporarily.

Here is the aft of the rear spar. I then did the same thing for the second bolt through the elevator stop. I then bolted both sides to hold the stab in place.

Before finalizing the forward spar bracket, the hinges have to be kept perfectly straight. I decided to use the rudder as my straight edge, because it will tell me if there is any change in the play on the rudder.

It worked great, and after ensuring it swung freely, I determined I need to fabricate a shim to go between the front spar and the bracket.

Next step is to fabricate the shim, and drill the front spar for the bracket.

Vertical Stabilizer

Drilled Horizontal Stab

This weekend I spent time getting the elevator horns drilled for the pushrod and the horizontal stab drilled and mounted to the fuselage.

Britney was in town visiting me this weekend so, of course, I asked her to help me work on the plane. She has been very encouraging and really wants to help on the project. So we got started by mounting the elevators to the horizontal stab on the bench.

Once we got the elevators lined up and clamped, we measured which horn was aft, and then removed the left elevator.

I measured and then drilled the hole for the pushrod, and then I fabricated a block to span the gap between the horns, remounted the left elevator and placed the block between the horns. This ensured that the #30 pilot hole was drilled perfectly perpendicular.

Once the pilot hole was drilled, I enlarged it for the AN3 bolt that will eventually hold the pushrod.

The resulting holes are perfectly lined up and perpendicular.

Once this was done, we removed the elevators and then positioned the horizontal stab on the fuselage.

We measured, and then measured, and then measured again. I clamped everything into place and measured one last time.

I then drilled my #30 pilot hole through the stab and then remeasured. After ensuring nothing moved, I final drilled it for the AN3 bolt and then inserted the bolt to prevent anything from shifting.

This is the underside of the outer holes after drilling the pilot holes. Edge distances for the longeron were right on the money.

I then proceeded to drill the remaining two holes, and fabricated the F-798 shims. Everything lined up and I did one final measurement, and it all remained perfectly aligned.

I bolted the forward bolts, used a 3/16th spacer to raise the rear spar to the right height, and then drilled and bolted the four holes to mount the rear spar to the fuselage.

Next up is the vertical stab!

Drilled Horizontal Stab