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

Switches

Today I worked on the switches for the panel. I have 6 switches dedicated to the primary power and engine ignition.

Here the top left is the master switch, and below is the L PMag ignition power and test switches. The PMag ignitions have a built-in generator that kicks in above 800 RPM. The test switch allows you to ensure the ignition will continue running when power is removed.

I installed the remaining ignition switches, along with the Alternator enable switch next to the master switch. Then I installed the two switches below the display to ensure they are easy to use and are not inhibited by the angled part of the HDX screen. These are the Avionics and Auto Pilot switches.

Here are all the remaining switches installed. There are five switches under the display for the aircraft lights. This includes landing, taxi, strobe and nav lights, along with interior lighting. The three far right switch are the fuel pump, flaps, and engine start.

The boost pump switch is right up against the flap bracket. I may not use this given the proximity to the switch. It’s all removable, so we’ll see.

I also installed the Dynon dimmer knob, and the dedicated IDENT button. The ident function is useful to have a dedicated button for so I don’t have to navigate the display menus. Similarly with the dimmer. Even though the system has light detection and auto adjusts the brightness, I like to have finer control.

The engine start button is a very high quality push button. It’s extremely satisfying to press. Can’t wait to fire up the engine with this!

Switches

Panel work

Yesterday I spent a few hours working on the panel. I received an order of some 6-32 nut plates for mounting the sub modules onto the panel.

I started by doublechecking the measurements for the through-holes, and then drilled the panel. I didn’t get individual photos, but here is the back once the nut plates were riveted on.

After double checking the alignment of everything individually I test fit all the components.

I then decided to mount the primary display tray to the back of the panel.

The panel then screws into this from the front of the panel. This will allow for some additional components to be mounted easily behind the panel.

I checked the fit by temporarily installing the panel in the plane. Plenty of room all around.

Starting to look almost like a real plane!

Next I’ll begin marking and drilling the switches and some additional components including the Hobbs meter, ELT tester, the Dynon Ident button and dimmer knobs.

Panel work

Panel Layout

I finished the detailed layout of the panel for the major components. I wanted to get these laid out first since they are symmetrical about the centerline.

Here you can see the cutouts marked for the two main EFISs and the four sub panels in the center. I have left room for an Avidyne (either 540 or 440) in the center, as well as a Garmin G5 on the left of the pilots screen. Given the additional cost of the Avidine however, I will be waiting a little while to purchase that.

Next is to begin cutting the panel!

Panel Layout

More Avionics Wiring

Today I spent a solid chunk of time routing wires. Making wiring harnesses has been one of my the more satisfying parts of the project so far.

Firewall forward

I started by organizing the firewall forward sensor wires. This bundle contains everything from engine temps, to oil and fuel pressure and the ignition harnesses. These are now secured to the engine mount and won’t be able to move.

On the other side of the firewall I’ve secured everything and routed a portion of the harness down the left side of the fuselage in order to route the wires to proper area.

Center tunnel main harness bundle

This is the center section between the pilot and passenger seats. The main harness here is routed up to the vertical power above for all the power distribution. Other parts of this include all the serial connections, and the electric pitch and roll trim motors.

Here’s another look at all the wires and how they’re routed (Ignore the tie wraps and scraps). The harness splits to allow for the left and right lighting wires to route to the correct wing. I’ve isolated all power wires from my radio wires so that there will be no interference.

Serial Hub

This is my serial hub, it had ports for the primary and multifunction flight displays (empty slots) and the five serial avionics. The ADSB, transponder, Vertical Power, GPS and ELT (black box) all communicate via serial. This hub allows all the components to connect to the two main flight displays in parallel for each of the five serial ports. Once I’m down with all the routing of the wires this will be mounted to the sub-panel permanently.

Fuel pump and selector valve

Once I finished with the wiring I wanted to test fit my fuel pump and selector valve. I have custom fuel hoses from TS Flightlines, so I had to modify the brackets to allow the hoses to fit (you can see the cut bracket on the left below the wires). Once I mount the wings, the two fuel hoses will attach to the fuel tanks.

More Avionics Wiring

Engine Controls Bracket

Yesterday I spent a few hours making the engine controls bracket. The bracket that comes in the kit is flimsy 0.032 aluminum sheet that is bent so it can attach to the bottom of the panel. I knew I wanted to use something different than the stock bracket, so I made one.

Here you can see the completed bracket. It’s made from 1/4” aluminum angle. It’s very hefty. The three holes are for the throttle, prop and mixture control. The two larger holes have relief cuts made on the back of the angle to allow for the nuts to hold the controls onto the bracket.

I then lined the bracket up with the control panel, and drilled matching mounting holes. I then added some nut plates to the panel so that this can easily be mounted flush to the bottom of the panel. Now it just needs some priming and painting and the bracket is done.

Engine Controls Bracket

VPX Wiring #2

Today I continued with my wiring extravaganza. I didn’t get any new pictures, but I started by beeping out the ELT DIN connector. I originally made the harness a few years ago, and forgot to write down the wire designations. I tested the connector and verified with the specs provided with the ELT and then made the DSub15 connector for the serial bus. The ELT just has serial Rx, power and ground.

Here’s the DIN connector that plugs into the ELT. The tail sticking out is to test the Rx signal. It will eventually be tucked away.

VPX J10 & J12

Here are two of the main power connectors from the VPX. I connected these and began to separate out the bundles by where the wires needed to route.

VPX J1, J2, J8

On the other side of the VPX are the two D25 connectors J1 and J2. These are for some lower power items, like flap position sensor and interior lights, as well as the VPX serial connection. The J2 connector is for all the switches. These will go directly to the panel switches, which will be connected to ground on the other side.

Bundled by function and aircraft location

These bundles are such that each group will go to the same general area of the plane. The lighting harness for example is split into two half way down in order to go to the left and right, for each wingtip. Others are for powering the aft components such as the ADSB, transponder, and autopilot servos.

Switch bundle and serial bundle

This side contains the switch bundle, which heads off to the right side of the image from my hand, and the other bundles are for the flap position sensor, and the serial connection.

EMS and other wires

Here’s a wider shot showing the EMS in it’s mounting location. Once the plane is built this area will only be accessible by laying under the panel and accessing it from below.

The last thing I did was to drill the copilot’s control stick for the quick release pin.

This pin allows the copilots stick to be removed in case the passenger wants a more comfortable ride. There will be two wires coming out of here for the copilots PTT for the radio. It will be fitted with a connector in order to make the system removable.

VPX Wiring #2