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

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

Propeller

Today I installed my beautiful MT propeller! It’s a huge milestone!

I received it last Thursday, and I had to finish a couple other things that needed to be installed behind the starter ring, namely the alternator mounting bracket. I also took this opportunity to pull the starter and grind off the mounting boss that was interfering with the intake snorkel.

Here you can see it after I ground it down. Now the snorkel can fit without and modification.

I then took my time installing the prop. The mounting bolts can only turn a couple turns at a time before having to wiggle the prop and tighten another one.

Once I got them all tighten I torqued it by hand for now, but MT calls for 65ft-lbs if torque on the bolts and then safety wiring them in pairs. I will do that later just in case (I really really hope not) I have to take the prop off again.

It’s just so cool to look at.

I just had to test fit the top cowl, it’s still high by about 3/4 of an inch, it’s sitting on the baffles, which I have yet to modify. Now that the prop is on I can start with the cowl fitting and then continue working on the baffles.

And of course…Happy Mothers Day!

Propeller

Received my prop!

Today it was Christmas in May! I got my prop delivered by American Propeller out of Redding, CA. I ordered a three blade MT Prop. It’s a composite, constant speed propeller.

Tracy from American Propeller did a great job unloading it from the truck and placing it in the shop.

I had to make some room (still have to clean up a bit) to put the prop on the table. I will install it for the first time this weekend. here’s my hand on the widest part of the blade for comparison. It’s a 72″ diameter prop.

I took the spinner off and man is that some gorgeous machining and fabrication.

I’m thoroughly impressed with MT prop and I’m sure the performance will match.

Received my prop!

Baffle and pushrods

This weekend I spent a few hours continuing the work on the baffle. This primarily was focused on the baffle fit around the valve cover gaskets. I had the parts on and off several times to remove more material and then check the fit.

I then spent time on the inlet ramps.

Here you can see the left and right inlet ramps. The left ramp (cylinder 2) will also have the intake filter. This piece will get modified to accept the filter as well as the snorkel that routes air down and to the air intake on the engine.

Just to give myself a change of pace, I spent some time making the remaining two pushrods. The elevator pushrods consist of a smaller rod that attaches the control sticks to the elevator bellcrank, and then from the bellcrank back to the elevators.

On a side note, my interior from Classic Aero Desings arrived! I’m going with a full custom interior using the Sportsman2 side panels and Aviator seats. They are absolutely perfect and look SO good!

I’m not quite ready to install them just yet, but here’s a sneak peak at one of the seats.

Baffle and pushrods

Engine baffle

Today I spent about five hours working on the engine baffle. It’s a very complex set of parts that connect and wrap around the engine.

I started by using the oil cooler doubler (fat right) to cut a hole in the aft baffle. You can see the part with the hole and the rivet holes match-drilled. I then clecoed the parts together to ensure everything was aligned.

I also installed the mounting screw doublers and the reinforcing rib.

Here’s the back of the baffle. The oil cooler doubler and oil cooler mount here. I then test fit the baffle section to the engine. Everything lines up nicely. I also mounted the oil cooler to ensure everything can fit. The two oil hoses will attach to the inside of the oil cooler.

Here’s the inside of the baffle where air will pass through the oil cooler. I mounted the cooler high enough to ensure the most air flow. If I need to restrict it because it’s running cool, I can also cover part of the cooler.

Here’s the oil cooler mounted to the baffle. The oil hoses are then attached to 90deg fittings into the cooler.

Engine baffle

Baffle and rudder pedals

Tonight I finished deburring all the baffle parts. It’s tedious because of all the unusual shapes and bends. I will go over it once more with a scotchbrite pad before final assembly.

I’m ordering my interior from Classic Aero Design and I needed to provide the distance from the firewall to the approximate location of my heels will be. This required installing the rudder pedals (which nothing is preventing me from installing permanently) and then sitting in the plane and measuring to my heels.

With the pedals installed, placed some cushions that were the correct thickness, and then sat in the plane. The distance from the firewall to my heels was approximately 10″. I hope this is the correct measurement. The seating position felt pretty natural, except I might need to boost myself up with some extra cushions.

Baffle and rudder pedals