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 I originally made the harness a few years ago, and forgot to write down the wire designations.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

Fuselage Wiring

Today I did a lot of wire organizing in the forward section of the fuselage, under the panel. All of the cables routed from the aft fuselage and under the seats funnels into the center section and routes on the floor up to the panel.

Once I organized the rats nest of wires I ended up with two nice bundles. These include the two trim motors, flap motor, ADSB, transponder, ELT, and ADHARS unit. These will be wired to the different serial and power connectors under the panel.

On the right side of the fuse I’ve separated out the radio antenna wire so that I reduce interference as much as possible. This will be behind there side panel from my interior, so it won’t be seen. The RG400 coax wire has a minimum bend radius of 1in, which I am well above in all these bends.

On the left side of the fuse I’ve bundled my two autopilot harnesses. These are separated out from the power wires and autopilot disconnect which will route directly to the pilots stick. The Dynon autopilot harnesses are the standard SkyView Net 9 conductor harnesses except for power. So the only wires needed are the paired data wires.

Here are the Dsub15 connectors for the GPS, ADSB, and Transponder. The red wire for the ADSB and Transponder are left off the connector in order to connect to the VPX. The GPS is powered by the SkyView screens, so it’s fully pinned into the connector.

There are 5 components that use serial connections. In order to connect all the serial to both the PFD and MFD screens, I made a serial bus board that has 7 connections. These are all hooked up in parallel on each pin. When I connect all the connections to the board, each screen will be hooked up to each component properly. I’ve done the pins so that each Rx and Tx from the screens are assigned properly.

Fuselage Wiring

Fuselage gussets

Today I spent a couple hours putting the forward fuselage gussets in place. They are unique to the -7 vs the -7A. The tri-gear plane rear landing gear are mounted just forward of the center section. Since the -7 is a tail trager, there is a gap here that need to be reinforced using these gussets. They are attached to the sides of the fuselage with 5 bolts that need to be match drilled. The gussets also line up with the bottom wing attach bolts.

I lined everything up and then drilled the holes to #40 and then enlarged for the AN3 bolts. I prepped and primed these and then attached them to the fuselage. The whole interior will be painted with my interior paint, but it’s good to prime all the parts especially mating surfaces.

I also sent a bit of time working on the panel attachment brackets. Since I’m using twin Skyview HDC screens, I need to move the Vans panel supports inboard. This requires making some custom brackets to attach the panel to the sub panel. I received a shipment of L stock from vans that worked perfectly for this.

I decided to wrap up the center section bolts that are used for the tricycle gear. In the tail dragged version the bolts need to be put into the center section.

The bottom bolts were difficult to reach but everything is now in place and torqued.

I also placed the remaining two cover supports on the sides of the fuselage, forward of the center section.

Next up is to wrap up the exhaust hangar modification. And to drill the wing fuel attachment bracket to the sides of the fuselage.

Fuselage gussets

Plane Has a New Home

After three and a half years in the garage. I finally moved the plane to its new home in my hangar!

There was probably a lot more work I could have done before moving it, but there were some circumstances that dictated I needed to move to the airport.

It started by first getting a giant truck with a lift gate. Once I got that to the house I had my friend Mike over to help me out. We removed the canopy and rear window (which I just had sitting on the plane temporarily…need to finish this) and then rolled the plane out into the driveway.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but seeing the plane in the driveway is one of the coolest things.

After doing some measurements and planning over the last couple months, I realized that the wheels were too wide for the lift gate. Luckily Mike had a 4×8 sheet of plywood that we laid on top of the lift gate.

We rolled the plane forward and lined it up. If it wasn’t for the plywood, this would have been a very precarious balancing issue (Thanks Mike!).

We chocked the wheels once we made sure the engine wouldn’t hit the floor of the truck when lifting, and then raised the plane up and pushed it into the truck. My girlfriend Britney did an awesome job holding the whole airplane in the air!

Once the plane was in. we loaded up the rest of the few remaining items and secured everything down. It felt a little nerve wracking having all this in the back of a truck, but it all went off without a hitch.

I managed to drive the truck (slowly) down to the airport in San Martin and we basically did the reverse, and there were no issues. Luckily the rain held off the whole time we were moving.

We rolled the plane in and it felt like a huge accomplishment. I immediately wanted to start mounting the tail and wings and everything on the plane, but the wings will have to wait for another time.

I loosely fit the horizontal and vertical stabilizers using some clamps. This is probably the coolest thing ever (so far)!

All in all, it was a very successful and satisfying day. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Mike and Britney and of course my mom, who brought us all some lunch and helped with the moving of everything! (Garage can now be used for her car again)!

Plane Has a New Home

Engine work

Today I spent a few hours cleaning the shop and installing some fittings on the engine. My goal is to hang the engine next weekend. 

I started by rotating the prop governor and installed the cable bracket. 

I cut the safety wire on the six screws holding the governor so that I could rotate the lever arm. I then installed the cable bracket in white and reinstalled the screws and re-safety wired them. 

I needed to install the oil cooler fittings, but that requires removing the right p-mag. Once off I could easily screw the fitting in. 

This is the fitting installed and with tape over it to keep moisture out. You can see how tight it is to get a wrench on there. 

The other oil fitting is much easier. 

The fitting (with tape over it) is right above the left p-mag and just under the oil breather tube (with the red cap). 

I also installed the fuel pump outlet and fitting for the fuel pressure. 

Fuel will come out the bottom port and go to the fuel servo near the front of the engine. 

I also installed the oil pressure fitting


And the manifold pressure fitting from the number 3 cylinder. 

You can see it here wrapped in tape just above the oil return line. 

I finally installed the fuel overflow fitting to the fuel pump. 

There are a few more things to install, but that can be done after the engine is hung. There are a few more holes I need to drill in the firewall for cables and wires, but that’s no more than an hour of work, and I’m hoping to get it done some time this week. 

Engine work