Tonight I spent some time working on the control sticks. When they come from the factory they are quite long. I ended up cutting off 3.75 inches. I then wired the sticks and adjusted the fit of everything.
The copilot stick is removable so the wires exit just above joint on the right side. There are only two wires for the copilot stick push-to-talk button. The pilot stick has 7 wires for the trim control, radio flip flop, radio push-to-talk, and autopilot disconnect. The wires exit from the bottom of the stick. I’ll wire these to a connector in order to make it removable.
A few years back when moving to the hangar, I somehow lost the center tunnel cover. So I had to make a new one, which took a couple hours.
Here you can see it (in gray) under the center console arm rest.
The center console mounts to the flap cover and sits quite snug over the tunnel cover. This makes it rock solid for leaning on and using it to get in and out of the plane.
The last thing I did was to replace the NyLock nuts on my throttle bracket with all metal nuts.
This has been on my todo list for a long time and I just needed to knock it out.
Next time I’ll wrap up the control stick installation with the wiring and then the sticks are done!
Over the weekend I spent some time working on some of the last canopy frame items. The panel trim is something I ordered from Classic Aero Designs. It was super easy to install using the template provided and mounts directly to the canopy frame skin that covers the panel.
Here you can see the trim mounted to the top of the skin. Its about half an inch thick, is padded and finished with a nice soft leather. It’s held on to the skin by 11 screws from the bottom. What’s nice about it is that it hangs about .25” below the skin, which is perfect for hiding the panel light, which I have held on by tape temporarily.
I turned off my hangar lights and tested it out. The screens do cast a slight shadow over the switches, but it’s not fully obstructed which is nice.
I also received my second avionics tray from Dynon and installed that. I had to modify it slightly to allow for the removal of the radio module.
Now all that’s left to do is finish up the wiring cleanup, bundle all the harnesses and then it’s done! I’ll remove the panel and all the avionics and prep it for paint. The canopy frame is also ready for paint which is the last thing to do before bonding the canopy to the frame.
I’ve been doing some component and subsystem testing of the avionics. I hooked up my laptop to the VPX to configure and test all the switches and devices before powering things on for the first time.
Once I powered up the avionics I was able to work through all the setup and testing of the different components.
Today I spent time wiring up the trim servos. They wire up to the autopilot panel so that they can be controlled using the Dynon auto trim functionality. I also wired up the flap position sensor. The flap sensor is wired to the VPX rather than to the Dynon EMS. The reason for this is so the VPX can monitor and control the deflection of the flaps to certain levels.
I don’t have it in the picture, but I also installed the Garmin G5 and powered and tested as well. I also wired up a micro switch to the canopy latch, it displays a digital “light” on the EFIS if the canopy is open.
I’ve really been enjoying wiring up and testing all the avionics. Next up I’ll be working on the canopy frame in preparation for the canopy bonding.
Today I spent time disassembling the panel and making the wiring harness for all the switches. Since I’m using the VPX for my power distribution, all of the switches are wired directly to the J2 connector and to ground. It simplifies the wiring and allows for a very clean setup.
Once I had the panel out of the plane, I installed the switches so I could measure the wires and begin the assembly.
Once I had the switches in, I began wiring them and bundling the harness to that the wires could route to the VPX without too much trouble.
The resulting installation is quite clean and organized. I then tested each switch to ensure proper grounding and that the VPX pins match my wiring schematics. Next time I’ll test the functionality of each switch on the VPX using my laptop.
Another angle showing the switches. There’s still some cleanup of the panel to do, and then it will be ready for painting.
This evening I received an order with my new Bose 6-pin connector cord. I decided to use the Lemo style plugs on my plane rather than the GA plugs. The ship power for the Bose A20s is just so much more convenient.
I temporarily powered my Efis, radio and intercom to check all the wiring with the headphones.
I was able to tune the AWOS to verify reception. Crystal clear. I then checked on the local traffic frequency with my handheld radio and everything functioned normally. A helicopter pilot happened to pass through and was able to verify my transmitting capabilities. The antenna is on the underside of the plane, and being inside the hangar I didn’t expect good quality but it seemed work okay, no static or anything.
I’ve been making a lot of progress on all the avionics wiring and power circuitry as well. I plugged my laptop into the VPX and configured it with my specific setup. I also verified the PPS with the master switch on I was detecting 12V on the Main output.
All the major systems have been installed and individually component tested. I’m now beginning to do the subsystem testing and slowly adding additional components. Once I finish manually verifying the power pins on the VPX, I’ll plug all the connectors in and have the VPX supply power directly allowing me to test the switches and full circuits.
I also finished installing the latch fingers on the canopy frame and verified the appropriate clearances around the fuselage and roll bar.
Now that the frame is fully riveted it’s time to prime and paint the interior, and then mask the frame where the canopy will go and paint the dashboard a flat black. Now that we’ve gotten through some of the biggest rain storms California has seen in a while, I’m hoping to get that knocked out soon.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.