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

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

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

Finished (95%) the workshop and Vans Practice Toolbox kit

It’s been a few weeks of cleaning the garage and organizing everything onto some new shelves we got so that I can finally finish setting up the workshop.

I also got my Isham Toolkit delivery last weekend and spent a little while checking out all the tools that come with it. But today I put those tools to good use and finished the Vans RV training Toolkit.

It’s a small toolbox that demonstrates some of the building techniques used in building their planes. It took me about 3 hours to knock it out, I had to take my time with the first few rivets, but once I got the hang of it it went pretty quick.


Using the pneumatic squeezer really helped. I got consistent and straight rivets, both flush and the button head rivets.


Even though it’s just a toolbox, it’s still the first step in building my plane, and I think it was a nice preview into how much work this will really be. I look forward to every minute of it!


Pretty soon there will be a plane in here! (Hopefully)

Next time I post I will be doing the more difficult practice kit for the control surfaces. That will definitely be a fun one.

Finished (95%) the workshop and Vans Practice Toolbox kit