Buying a farm and can’t do both. As sad as it is, I must depart with the plane.
Hammond, LA (KHDC)
Total Time:175 hrs
First flight date: 04/17/2016
Engine Make/Model: Lycoming IO-390 (Custom by Ly-Con)
– Ignition: Dual E-Mag
– Plane Power 60amp Alternator
– CNC Machined Port Flow & Balance Cylinders
– Alodine Heads, Paint Barrels Black
– Performance Grind Camshaft
– CNC O-Ring Case
– Chrome Rocker Covers
– Vetterman Exhaust system
– 20amp backup alternator (BC410H)
– Hartzell 74” (C/S): C2YR-1BFP
– Prop Balanced 07/2016
Elevator Trim – electric
Aileron Trim – electric
Flaps – Showplanes Flap Positioning System
Strobes Make/Model: AeroLED LN201
Tail Light: AeroLED LN210
Landing/Taxi Lights Make/Model: AeroLED Sunspot 36LX
– Dual G3X 10” Touch
– Garmin GTN 625
– Dual Garmin GTN20 remote Comms
– Garmin GMC305 Autopilot (Pitch & Roll)
– Garmin GMA 240 Audio Panel
– GDL 39R – ADS-B
– GEA 24 Engine Monitor
– GTX 23 Remote Garmin Transponder
– GRT Mini X
– Garmin Heated Pitot
– Intelligent Power Stabilizer
– Cabin Lights, Glare Shield Green/White with dimmers
– Dual USB Charging port
– Jacks for both 2 plug and 6 pin connector for Bose
– Classic Aero Aviator Seats
– Carpet Front and back
– Hooker Harness
– Koger Shade
– Aluminum Vents
– Drink Holders
– Fuel and Braided Brake lines from Aircraft Specialty
– Tail Fork, Rocker Arm and custom tailwheel
– Camlocks on Oil Door – flush fit
– Stainless Steel Tie Down Rings
– Non-Skid Wing Walk
– Avionics Cover
– XM Weather and Radio
– Paint: Custom Paint – Glo Custom
– Exterior Lock for Canopy
Past incidents/repairs/damage repair: None
Date last annual: August 8, 2017
Maintained by: Stoney Ware
Date aircraft last flown: 10/22/2017
– Stoney Ware
– email: [email]email@example.com[/email]
Today a friend flew me to Fort Worth to pick up the plane. Really bad weather kept us from getting there very easily. A normal 3 hour flight was 6 ½, but we did make it there to pick her up. Here are some pics.
Glo Custom sent me this last pic before I go pick it up on the 19th. They still need to paint the last color red, then do some touchups before reassembling the flaps, ailerons, rudder and elevators. He wants me to see the final paint, in person. I was hoping to see a shot a little further out to see how the colors come together, but no dice. While it’s there, I am having another company on the field balance the prop to make sure everything is O.K.
The seats are finally finished and will ship on 08/05/2016. I have them going directly to Glo Custom where the plane is being painted.
I am having Classic Aero do my seats. They have redesigned the seat that they used to use and it is very nice. They are adding the same logo on the tail, on the seatbacks. The first one they received, they thought was a little too big, so they sent it out again and are awaiting the smaller one to come back. Here is the initial size and design:
Today I flew the plane to Grady at Glo Custom in Fort Worth to get painted. The weather was good until I got right outside of DFW airspace. The airport is 52F, the same field that Doug Reeves calls home and it’s on the Northwest side of DFW. So as I needed to descend, I was right in the middle of their airspace. I was using flight following so they were directing me. They ended up sending me north first around DFW, then back around to 52F. Once I was close to DFW, I had to descend to 2,000′ to stay below the clouds and it was very turbulent. All in all, it was a good 2 ½ hour flight.
I had some problems getting the oil door to stay latched, so I ordered another door from Van’s and the Cam-locs so I could still have the flush look. I had to bulk up the fiberglass a little where the Cam-locs were going, but all in all, it was pretty easy.
I removed the Van’s pins and added the custom pin covers. I’m not sure I like them, the pin is hard to get out from behind the cover. The paint shop was supposed to do a little more work on the cowl to clean it up a little, so we’ll see once I get the plane back.
A friend of mine, Shane and I went out for a little formation flying. He was flying a Spitfire replica, which was pretty cool, but slow.
Per Dan Horton’s instructions, I removed the wingtip and all 40 nutplates. Unfortunately I had my finger a little too close to the drill underneath supporting the material and added a hole in my finger.
The next step after all the nutplates were out, was to fiberglass tape the inside of the wingtip, then once that dried, add flox to the holes from the previous nutplates.
Then the flox had to be sanded down and new holes drilled for the new nutplates. Once the wing tip was re-installed and matched up with the aileron, I started drilling holes at the leading edge on top then bottom, alternating. As I started moving toward the back, the darn thing started coming up again. So I got it straight, then drilled a couple at trailing edge to keep it from rising up. That worked, although the wing skin is not perfect. I spoke to the painter and he said once it’s painted, it really won’t show.
Here is the wingtip installed and as even as it is going to get with the aileron.
Somehow when Dennis and I installed the wingtips, the left wing tip was not aligned properly. I had been trying to figure out what was causing the heavy wing and although I’m not sure that is 100% of the problem, remounting the wingtip helped. I went to Alabama to see Dan Horton who offered to help me figure it out.
One of the things we tried was to check if the leg fairings were facing rearward correctly.
So we put a string on the leg fairings and ran it to the back, the same distance from each leg and matched that at the tail, 48″. There seemed to be about ⅛” gap in the back of the fairing and the string, but in the end, we felt it wasn’t affecting the heavy wing. Here was the gap in the aileron and the wing tip.
Today I finished my Phase I testing and now I am free to fly the plane wherever I want, with whomever I want. Nice to not be so restricted as to where I can go.
While flying off the last few hours to get to the 40, I flew over Tiger Stadium and got some good pics.
Here is how and where I installed the air inlets. The first time I had them a little too high and they were hitting the axle bracket, so I had to fiberglass over that and reinstall them. They work great.
I have mufflers on the exhaust system and they are right by the exit of the bottom of the cowl. That may be keeping the heat from exiting the bottom cowl, so now I am going with straight pipes.
I decided to take the mufflers off and just see what the pressure differential would be. We had one end of the line going through the heat vent on the co-pilot side and up and across the firewall to the back of cylinder 4. The end of the tube was facing the center of the engine to prevent ram air from entering since we were trying to measure pressure. I don’t have a pic of the other end of the tube, but it went under the oil cooler to measure the difference between the top of the cowling and the bottom.
Here is the difference in the two:
The difference ranged from 4-10″ depending on our altitude and speed, but it definitely passed the test.
We landed after the pressure test and Dale did all of the aerobatic testing so we could log it in the airframe book.
Here are a couple of pics of the air caps installed:
The Wheel Pants and Leg Fairings are 95% done and it’s time to put them on the plane and start flying again.
As much as I hated to do it, it was time to fabricate the wheel pants, so the plane had to be grounded. If you like fiberglass, you’ll love this part of the build. So far I have all the parts fitted and added the flox/epoxy mixture to the mating parts. It really looks good, I can’t wait to finish the rest of it.
I received the glare shield strip from Classic Aero and it fits and looks great. Van’s idea was to take a hose, slit it and use that. I didn’t really want to do that, so I found this product from them.
We spent the day flying to several local airports and got some aerial photography in on the way.
Today was first flight. Video to follow as soon as I learn how to edit them. Thanks to my videographer Mitch.
Today I got my Airworthiness Certificate from my local DAR – (Designated Airworthiness Representative). Unfortunately the weather was IFR, so I couldn’t get my first flight in. The rest of the weekend doesn’t look that great either, but I am going to see if a window opens up for first flight!
I have had a problem with the front of the canopy pinching and getting bent when opening the canopy. I had to release the canopy to get to the area to straighten the skin and pop, the two little covers for the hinges came right off. Now they are damaged with those little wings that stick out. I’ll have to fabricate two more and replace them. I really don’t like the engineering of those, but I don’t know a better way. Some people say they are keeping the pull mechanism on the panel, not for ejecting out of the plane, but for maintenance. Well, plan on re-fabricating those two covers. There is no way they will survive the canopy popping up when you release that latch.
Again, no pictures, but got a gas truck to come to the plane and load 2 ½ gallons at a time so I could have a bunch of calibration points for the fuel in both tanks. $251 to fill up 50 gallons. I was also able to get the Garmin magnetometer calibrated, but no such luck on the GRT Mini. I will have to figure out why that one was giving me issues.
Jim brought over his scales and we did the weight and balance. I wish I would have taken some pictures, but I totally zoned out. I was so anxious to see how much it weighed, I didn’t get any pictures. The good news is it is within CG! At first we thought it was nose heavy, but after speaking with Van’s and the way we did the measurements, it is within limits.
I put in the stick boots and installed the carpet so I could get my initial weight & balance. Might as well light up the screens for the picture.
Update: I received the latest strobe from AeroLED and it failed as well with really no difference. I ordered one from Whelen, which is almost twice as much money to see if that resolves my problem. AeroLED said it’s more of a Garmin issue and once I get the magnetometer calibrated to see if turning on the strobe messes up the compass. They don’t seem to think it will.
Update: The manufacturer, AeroLEDs said the strobe I received puts out a lot of RF and they are sending me a new one to replace it. I should be receiving it this week. At this point I am pretty confident all of the wiring is O.K. and a replacement tail strobe will work.
Today I did the first interference test and it failed on the tail strobe. I’ll need to figure out if the strobes are grounded properly or if the wiring needs to be rerouted from the tail. Everything else was O.K.
You had to install the label somewhere where the passenger could see it as they come in the plane. I put it in the most common spot, which is on the baggage panel leading into the tailcone. Another step done.
I received my stick boots, aileron boots, arm rests and carpet from Flightline Interiors. I need to punch holes in the leather, then pop rivet it to the base.
I was the first one to fly N144VA, other than a Van’s employee. It will be a great cross country machine, but not as nimble as the RV-7 I used to own. I am used to wheel landings, but Mike wanted me to learn 3 point landings. It is very unnerving to get the plane right off the runway, then stall it. It goes against my grain, but we worked on it and I made some progress, but certainly am not proficient with it. I can say that Mike Seager is an excellent pilot and along with checking me out in the 14 and getting a sign-off, I learned a bunch of other piloting skills. I wish I would have had some more time with him, but I have to get back to work and back to working on the plane.
I thought it would be a good idea if I flew about 5 hours in the RV-14 before my first flight. I have about 270 hours in my old RV-7, but it has been a few years since I have flown that. I go to Oregon and fly with Mike Seager on March 31st and April 1st.
I received my harnesses from Hooker Harness and there is no way the crotch strap is long enough. Scott told me they are the same for the RV-7, but actually the crotch strap is different. He was very gracious and agreeing to fix it, I just have to guess at the correct measurement and send it back to him to fix. From the center of the attachment buckle to the silver adjustable part with the red strap on it, it should be about 10″, not 5″. That’s going UPS today.
I received my new Data Plate. It’s a little hard to read, but I guess it will do.
Here it is mounted on the plane.
Another milestone was achieved. On Saturday a friend helped me install the front skin. It wasn’t too bad, but some of the rivets in the center by the canopy latch were a pain to get to. We had to remove the canopy latch mechanism to get to them. The next step was prosealing all of the holes between the subpanel and the skin. That all had to be done from underneath. Van’s has you put masking tape on top to keep the proseal from seeping through, but when I pulled the tape off the next day, some of the proseal came out of the holes. So I had to go back and reseal all those holes. I decided to try and do it from the top instead of from underneath. We’ll see how well that worked out the next time I go to the airport.
Update: it worked O.K., hopefully there will be no leaks.
Today I attached all of the cockpit, baggage and inspection covers and the tail fairing. I had all of them off waiting to schedule the DAR once I am finished, but it has to be weighed first, so I spent the better part of ½ day attaching all of them, only to take them off in a couple of weeks.
I decided to get the new sticks to fit my Tosten grips, so I replaced the original sticks with the new ones and Voila, everything worked. Thanks to Kevin with Tosten for a great replacement. All of the holes were predrilled on the sticks. The pilot stick has aileron and elevator trim, push-to-talk, AP disconnect, Go Around switch and an Ident button. It looks like they are a little off where the powder coat ends, but they are exactly the same height.
Here is a picture of the sticks installed and the completed panel.
I installed the Taxi Light on the Pilot Side and the Landing Light on the Co-Pilot side.
Since I wasn’t using Van’s exhaust system and Vetterman’s hadn’t done a RV-14, I had to figure out the routing of the heating system myself. I think this will work well.
Here is the spinner on it’s final installation.
I borrowed my old jacks to lift the wheels off the ground to fit the wheel pants. Good thing I thought about the tail because once you get the front wheels off the ground, the tail will come off the ground by itself.
I mounted the fire extinguisher behind the flap motor and it worked great. Well within reach, but out of the way.
I didn’t like the fit of the two fiberglass pieces that fill the gap in the spinner, so I fabricated two pieces out of .063 aluminum. They came out really nice and fit well.
Van’s found an issue with the canopy pushing out during accelerated flight, so their solution was to add a pin to an existing canopy so it wouldn’t push out. I thought it was going to be a real pain, but it wasn’t bad at all. Took about 2 hours total time. Here is the top of the pin in the canopy.
This is the bottom of the pin on the canopy.
Here is where it comes down and sits on the side of the fuselage. Originally I thought that part sitting up was going to be a pain, but it’s really no big deal.
Today is the first engine start. While it didn’t start the first time, it did start and ran beautifully. I even taxied it down the ramp about 200 feet to wear in the brakes a little. Pretty big RV grin now, I can’t wait to first flight.
Once all the feathers were on, including ailerons and flaps, it was time to get a good pic from above. I started the project with the wings, as did most everyone else and in the beginning thought I was supposed to prime along the rivet line, so the tops of the wings have primer on them. The painter assures me it is no big deal as everything gets scratched up before final paint.
I’ve done as much as I can with the parts I have, so time to move her to the hangar and attach the wings and tail.
Here she is leaving the comforts of my garage for the last time.
Going down the road:
Unloading at the hangar in Hammond.
In it’s new hangar next to a RV-8 QB being built. An uneventful trip, total time 1 hour with a ½ hour drive. Great job to my helpers!
I painted the upper and lower cowl today with a Engine paint which can withstand temperatures to 500º. Then I added the foil to the bottom cowl and they are finished until the next step with the baffles.
Today I received the bracket back from Aerotronics with the carbon fiber finish and labeling.
These are the brake lines from TS Flightlines.
I am not sure if I am going to use the Alt Air and I don’t want to put it on the bracket. So if I do use it, I will put it below the air vent on the pilot side, well within reach if needed. This gives me plenty of room between the controls and I made sure the Throttle is close to the flap switch so I can do both with one hand.
Now I need prime the part and send it off to Aerotronics to put the carbon finish on it and label it.
Here is a picture of all of the white boots installed on the starter and master solenoids.
I had to cut out a little of the bottom cowl where the mufflers come out. I am going to glass in a couple of fairings so it won’t have those two holes there.
I decided to use Vetterman’s Exhaust with the mufflers. Today I finished hanging the supports, so it is now permanently attached.
I connected the ground from the engine to the motor mount per Van’s instructions. I located it a little different place, but I like where it is. First I had to get the blue paint off of the area where the terminal attaches.
I got the ground from the firewall to the back of the panel. I used a bolt through the firewall, put a nut on it, then the terminal, then another nut and it worked great. So today, I turned on the panel for the first time with it’s own battery.
Here it is on the engine side.
Here it is on the panel side.
We wired all of the CHT’s, EGT’s and all engine monitors, alternators & starter. I still have to wire the red cube, but I have to wait until I get the plans for the FWF and the hoses to install it. I had to use a 60amp fuse for the alternator and a 40amp fuse for the backup alternator, so they are wired here by the master and starter solenoids. I still have to add the smaller boots to some of the terminals, but I have to order them.
I am using the hidden hinge and the push button for the oil door instead of the two cam locks that stick up. I have to wait to find another push button lock, I ordered one off of EBay, but I need to find another one cause I want to use two, just to make sure it stays down.
Dennis helped me fit the air openings on the top cowl. Now I have to sand and then reapply epoxy filler. Then sand down the inside and apply epoxy, sand again and apply primer filler.
The wires were all mixed up, so I had to straighten them out.
You really can’t see from the above picture what a mess it was, but here it is all cleaned up.
Today I installed the EGT’s and CHT’s. Once we start to wire the engine next week, everything will be connected. This is the left side.
Here is the right side.
Clint from Vetterman’s is sending me replacement mufflers. The first ones were 2″ and the replacement will be 1 ½”. He feels the fit will be better, so I installed the exhaust on the cylinders and I can mate up the mufflers once I receive them.
I thought it would be a good idea to use some shrink tube on the bus bar to help eliminate anything hitting it and shorting something out. I used the ⅛” bus bar between the starter and master solenoids and 1/16″ on the other two. I wouldn’t have been able to bend the ⅛” in that short area. I’ll have to remove the ones on the shunt to be able to get to the two small screws to attach the other wires, but this way everything can stay in one place for now.
I got the bottoms of the wheel pants all cut out and matched up. Now I need to trim around where the front and back mate together.
I received my exhaust from Vetterman and installed it. One of the mufflers had a couple of dents in it and Clint is not sure this is the final design. It is different from Van’s, it has two pipes verse the one that Van’s has going down the center tunnel. I will have to cut a couple of holes in the bottom cowl to allow for them to come out the bottom.
Before I could install the prop governor, I had to replace the studs because they are not long enough to install the governor and get a good grip on the nuts. Ly-Con sent me 4 new ones.
In about an hour, another builder Mitch, who is building a RV-8 right now, came by to help me mount the engine. Wow! Finally got it off the floor.
Now that I received the rest of the finishing kit, I was able to get it on its own wheels.
Here is the motor mount before it was installed and then on the plane. It was hard to get the fuselage high enough to slide the legs in, but was able to get it done. I’ve been waiting since April to get it on it’s own legs, very exciting.
My finishing kit shipped and the freight company had a truck break down and they were not going to be able to deliver it until Monday. Ah, no. I went out to New Orleans East and picked it up in a friend’s pickup truck. As you can see, it was a tight fit. Unfortunately Van’s backordered the bolts to attach the motor mount, so I couldn’t get the wheels on today. I made do and did some other tasks until I could get the parts.
I installed the seat backs, but I may take them out again just to make it easier to finish up the wiring under the panel in case I have to get on my back. It doesn’t sound like I will be able to order my seats before year end. I am planning on getting them from Classic Aero, but they are swamped with other orders and haven’t even tried to measure for the seats yet.
I had finished crawling into the back cone of the airplane, except I still have to connect the elevator push tube to the empennage once it’s installed, so I closed off the back and installed the back window. I don’t like the way the black proseal shows through, but that’s how Van’s said to do it. I wish I would have used some sort of clear silicone instead of the proseal.
I decided to use the bus bar to connect the starter relay to the master relay. I used a ⅛” thick bar on that one. Then I created another bar 1/16″ thick from the master to the shunt and another one to the ANL Limiter which holds the 60AMP fuse for the alternator. That bottom post will have a 8 AWG wire attached to it leading to the alternator. I’ll go back and add some sort of shrink tube over the area that is exposed so nothing hits it and throws off sparks. There will be a couple of other wires attached as well, a 2 AWG coming off the battery to the Master, a 20ga going from the panel to the Master and another 20ga from the panel to the starter. There is also a 8 AWG going from the master by the yellow diode to the panel. I’ll remove the stickers on them once I have everything wired. It helps to remind me which one is which.
Here’s where it will sit below the manifold. I haven’t drilled holes in the firewall to mount it yet, I want to make sure there is nothing else going in that area, but I think that will be a good position.
Since I am using a manual Hobbs meter to back up the EFIS, I need to have an Oil Pressure switch on top of the manifold. Problem is, it’s too fat to fit, so I had to fabricate a couple of spacers and move it to the center for a better fit.
Here is a picture of the firewall with the fittings I currently have on it. I am trying to plan any additional penetrations now before I receive the engine mount and actually mount the engine. With the help from Matt, who’s building a RV-14a for Van’s, I was able to determine what the existing nutplates will be used for.
I am working on all of the wiring that goes to P-1 plug. All of the wiring for the lights, starter, battery master, fuel pump, P-Mags, accessory power plug, map & cabin lights, flaps and Alt Field. Some I can’t do yet until the engine is mounted, because I don’t know exactly how long to make them, but whatever I can wire, I am doing so.
These are the wires for the lights and the fuel sender.
The wires in the center are from the nav lights and all need to be hooked together. I was going to solder them, but I think it may be easier if I use a splicer.
These are where all the wires go up the center channel. Once I have them all pulled up from the wings, I will group these together and tidy them up some.
Here is the back where all the plugs come together. It’s a mess now, but it will get cleaned up.
I received the panel front from Aerotronics and installed it back in the plane. Good news about the CO2 detector, the company checked it and no problems, plus they replaced the cover with a new one, so just like new. I’m waiting on that return to install it, then I will be finished working with the panel for now.
Here is the finished left side of the panel with the CO2 part installed.
Once I got the GPS antenna installed, J helped me push the plane outside to test it and voilà, it worked!
Once the panel was installed, I put the canopy back on to test everything. The one thing we didn’t account for was the tunnel of the canopy and the length of the CO2 detector. It was too high up and stuck out too far, so when you bring the canopy down, it hits. So I had to pull out the unit and send it back to be checked for damage and rearrange the panel to put the smaller items, the ELT and Hobbs above it.
Now that I think I am finished with the aft fuselage and bringing the wires forward, I went ahead and installed the transponder right behind the baggage cover. That way it will be easy access when it needs maintenance. Then I ran all those wires up to the panel. Here you can see the location of the transponder and the shelf in the back with the magnetometers on it and how neat the wires are.
I only have those two white wires on the left from the elevator trim that I have to deal with. I think I will bring them up the right side of this picture and insert them into the molex connector on the pilot side.
I climbed in to the back of the plane and worked my way forward tidying up all the wires since I am pretty sure we have all the wires that are coming from the tail section. The only two wires I need to address are coming from the elevator trim and tail light up to the bulkhead, then the wires coming from the bulkhead up to the instrument panel. I also received the wire harness coming from the Garmin magnetometer and I ran that up to the panel.
Wired the new aileron trim relay and terminated in P-7 and P-15. Installed empennage to verify elevator fits correctly, drilled elevator horns. Tested elevator trim. Empennage is complete. Wired white and green glare shield map light. Installed Garmin 625 antenna behind the back window a little off-center on the pilot side due to the support going down the middle of the top skin. Installed Garmin EFIS antenna in canopy on the glareshield.
Finished wiring GRT mini magnetometer.
We finished riveting the right wing after installing the AutoPilot and figuring out what to do about the aileron trim. Aileron pushbuttons were installed. Also installed the Garmin and GRT OAT fittings in the wings, one in the left, one in the right. Ran wires from the ELT to the panel. Both wings are finished and being sent to the warehouse to give us more room to work.
Instead of waiting for UPS to deliver the panel, we had them hold it and we went and picked it up. It came well packed in a huge container.
Once we got the crate unpacked and all inventory done, it was time to start installing it in the panel. Because some of the items were pre-wired, it was quite tricky, but once we had a chance to think about it, we got it in there.
Once we got it in and hooked up, it was time to apply power to it to see if it would smoke!
Well it didn’t smoke, which is a good thing.
Another milestone achieved. Now it’s time to wire up all of the radios, etc. To see the panel up close and the quality of work that Jason at Aerotronics did, I could not be happier. Those with much more experience that me, were very impressed with the workmanship. Thanks Jason!
Today we fabricated the shelf for the two magnetometers and installed it.
Also did some work on the canopy with the seals, but again no pics. Too busy to take pictures.
Well, my expert helper is back in town, so it’s time to take off of work and get some work done on the plane. I’m amazed at his breath of knowledge and don’t know how I could complete this build without his expert help and advice.
First he attached the rudder cable fairings that I fabricated from another builders plans.
Then we closed up the left wing. Once the riveting was done, we installed the aileron pushrod, etc.
We also painted the interior and built up the seat backs. No pictures for that.
Here is the panel all powered up and being configured. Should be shipping in another week. Can’t wait to get it in the plane.
Everything has been added into the panel, now Aerotronics is setting it all up and testing everything. I should be getting it the 3rd week of August or so.
This is the backside. I’m glad and so is my wife that I didn’t take on the task of trying to wire all of these together.
With some help from a friend, Kevin, we got the roll bar and brace painted.
Now the canopy is attached. There are a few odds and ends before I can start the fiberglass fairing process. I need to put in on the plane and check the fitting of the canopy, then attach the clips to hold it down while it is being fiberglassed. At least the pool table is getting some use, other than for folding clothes.
We painted the roll bar and the back support for the canopy the Fighter Blue. So now the canopy frame is all finished and time to start attaching the canopy.
Tomorrow we will be painting the canopy frame and the roll bar, so I got it all protected and ready to go.
Time to pucker up and drill some holes in the canopy. It actually was not bad at all. Once I got the good fit to everything and drilled the initial holes, then you had to go back and widen them with a #27 to fit a #6 screw. That was nerve racking because the drill bit kept wanting to twist as it entered the plexiglass. I didn’t get any pictures of the process, I guess I was too focused on getting the holes right and not damaging the canopy.
Here is a pic of the canopy in place with the back window. The back window is finished and will be installed in the end. That will allow for easier access to the back of the plane until I finish all the wiring.
I am waiting on some assistance on painting the inside of the canopy frame, because the back roll bar has to be the same color as the roll bar, which is Fighter Blue. I can spray the primer, but I don’t have the correct gun or talent to paint the roll bar. Once I get the canopy frame painted, then I can attach it all and start working on the fiberglass fairing on the front of the canopy and the frame. Once that is finished, I will be waiting again for the rest of the finishing kit to be delivered.
Now for the scary part, the canopy. I put the plexiglass on the frame and measured everything and the back part needed a little trimming, so I used my dremel tool, then my perma-grit sanding block, then 400 grit sandpaper to get a good finish on the end.
One I put the canopy on the frame, I outlined where it was going to lay on the front part. Then I used the epoxy slurry to fill any holes, then I painted it flat black like Van’s recommends to cut down on the glare.
It was time to start assembling the canopy frame. Van’s was very adamant about checking for squareness with a digital level as you work on the canopy. Although they didn’t mention what was within tolerance, I finished within 1/10 of a degree.
Here is the canopy assembled and connected to the hinges.
It’s amazing how well the window fit without any modifications. I did need to make the two notches in the back and a little on the sides by the roll bar, but other than that, it’s a very nice fit. I had to wait on the #36 bit that Bob from Avery had made for the 14 builders, but once I got that, I was able to drill the holes in the canopy, then tap for a #6 screw into the canopy and the roll bar. I had one of the taps break off, but luckily enough of it was sticking out that I could get a pair of pliers on it and get it back out.
I went ahead and installed the pitch Autopilot. Garmin sent a solid aluminum rod and it first had to be cut to size. Then it needed a hole in the middle of it and then it had to be tapped to accept the fitting. At first I couldn’t figure out how to drill the hole centered in the rod and Van’s suggestion was to use a lathe. Perfect! But that’s probably the only tool I don’t own, so I put the rod in a wooden block, clamped it on the drill press and carefully drilled the hole. It worked perfectly. Oddly enough the roll install kit comes with a rod that is already threaded. If this didn’t work, I was going to order an additional rod and use it on the pitch, but it worked great. Another skill learned!
The canopy arrived today and it’s time to get started again!
Inventory done since it is only the canopy and not the rest of the finishing kit.
Pretty sure this will be the paint scheme.
After several hours of trying every tool to get the lower left nut installed, I finally came up with a solution that required sacrificing a brand new wrench. I used a magnet extension to initially put the washer, lock washer and nut on the stud.
Here I installed the oil temperature probe. Originally I had it installed where that plug is above it, but a very observant expert suggested I move it to this one. Thanks Dan.
I ordered all of the antennas. I got the ADS-B and Transponder Antenna from Delta Pop Aviation and the two Comm antennas from Aerotronics. Here I installed the ADS-B Antenna in the back. First I had to shave off some of the front of the antenna because of the interference with the bottom skin. Don from Delta Pop was nice enough to send me this drawing so I could see how much I could remove for a good fit.
Then I fabricated a doubler to add a little strength in case the antenna gets bumped.
I also installed the bracket for the ELT to put that in place.
Today they brought the engine. I went ahead and had Ly-Con ship it, so I would have it when necessary.
While waiting on the finishing kit and word is, it may be a while before we receive the wheels and motor mount, I went ahead and put on a set of wheels so I can do some of the antenna work and also be able to roll it around for better utilization.
The chair on the tail is adjustable up and down, so that will allow me to level out the plane. Here is the tail section mated up to a chair.
I have been working on the layout of the panel and received some trays to fit into the radio stack. We found out you can’t put the Garmin 625 on the bottom, unless you want to cut out part of the back of the subpanel because it is higher in the back by about 1 ½”. This means I will have to put the AutoPilot on the bottom, then the Audio Panel, then the 625. Not my ideal configuration, but I think it will work.
Here is the back of the subpanel
Here you can see the rudder pedals, brake lines and subpanel. Now we sit and wait for the finishing kit to be released. In the meantime, I will be working on the panel and other odds and ends. The blue tape is there to protect the aluminum as I am not going to paint that piece.
Here are a few pics of the engine while it is being painted and reassembled.
Here is the plane with the tail attached. It is too big for the garage, so I had to take it apart and re-store all the tail parts.
Finally, with the help of my friend Dale we got the interior of the fuselage painted. The first pics are before it was painted.
I picked up a engine stand at Harbor Freight to use to hold the plane. It worked out well because I was able to turn the fuselage to a point where it was easy to work on, without having to bend over all the time.
While waiting to paint the interior of the cockpit, I worked on the rudder petals and the brakes. I installed the pedals for the brakes, the master cylinders and installed the brake fluid reservoir. It was a good time to install the battery box as well, so that has been added at this time.
Now it is time to put some of the baggage skins and other parts in. These are for the flaps.
Once I put the two halves together, it was time to work on the fuel system. I tried to bend the aluminum fuel line, but found that it was difficult to get really good bends, so I installed the fuel components and am waiting on the fuel lines. Here is the fuel pump and filter.
Then I added the fittings for the firewall and the wings.
Here is where the seat backs rest.
After months of separation, the fore and aft sections of the fuselage become one on Christmas Day. Once we got the orientation correct, it really was not that difficult.
This is the view looking from the back of the plane through the tailcone.
One of the more difficult tasks was getting the washers in between this tight area on the control column. You had to do it on both sides of the bolt. I created my “tool” out of scrap aluminum and used double tape to keep it on the tool until I had it in place for the bolt, then yanked the tool loose from the washer. Worked well, just took a while to get the right size washers in that area so there was no left to right slack in the stick. Perfect, no left to right movement at all.
You have to prime the forward bottom skins where they go under the Center Bottom Skin. It was also primed in the middle where there were a couple of scratches. So I used some Scotchbrite and sanded out the scratches, then painted that.
Van’s said they were going to change the steps of setting this rivet. Of course, that doesn’t help me, so I ended up replacing that with a CherryMax Rivet and it worked fine, on both sides.
I was backriveting the skin on a 12″ x 12″ steel plate in the middle of a board and didn’t get good results, so I flipped the skin on the bulkhead and clamped it down. I think this method is going to work a lot better, but I am going to have to get my wife to hold the bucking bar.
I wish I would have thought of doing it this way the first time. I will have to remove some of the rivets that did not sit well on the backriveting plate.
It’s time to dimple the bottom skin. The instructions can be a little confusing here because, they are for both the tri-gear and the taildragger. So you dimple or not in certain areas, depending on what you are building. I am building the taildragger, so I have to make sure I don’t dimple in the wrong spot or otherwise mess up what would be a very expensive part to replace and ship.
Then I had to put two of the outboard ribs on the bottom skin and flute them in a curve. Since the bottom skin is big, I needed a big area to work on it. I’m glad the pool table is finally getting some use for something other than a laundry table.
Finally after 4 months of waiting, the fuselage has arrived. Time to unpack and start inventorying.
I used the crate as a storage place. Cut the top into shelf size pieces, so once I’m finished, it can be pitched out.
This isn’t the final, but it is a start. I am probably going with breakers instead of the VP-X system. So many decisions!!!
Here’s our brand new Lycoming IO-390 about to get reworked. They are going to Port Flow and Balance Cylinders, alodine heads and paint the barrels black, exchange camshaft for performance grind, O-Ring case and precision re-balance. They are also adding the dual P-Mag instead of the magnetos. Once done, it will be painted this blue. Once all of that is done, test it.
Here are the first pics of the engine before they do any customization to it. It’s big! This is from the front side.
This is from the back side. It still has the magnetos on it.
Added the wing tip lights. When I first laid out the template for the navigation lights, it didn’t line up with the “Y” bracket. Had I used the template, the screws would not match. So I put the template down, then placed the “Y” on the template and marked the holes through the holes in the “Y”.
Here is the “Y” piece installed.
Here are the navigation lights installed in the wingtips.
The rudder is all finished with the exception of re-attaching the fairing to the bottom of the rudder. I will attach it after I run the wires for the taillight.
Since I had the time and was not happy with the rudder, I redid it. The trailing edge came out perfect. I used clecos and clamps to make sure the edge was straight. After I let the Proseal cure for 24 hours, I cleaned it up and reclamped it, then let it cure for another 24 hours.
There was some talk of the screws on the rudder that hold the lead counterweight in place, coming loose. Once the fairing is attached, there is no way to get in and hold the nut to tighten the screw. So I did what some people suggested on VAF and used Proseal on the bottom of the counterweight, then once the screws were tightened down, I lathered the nuts up with Proseal.
We lost our old friend today, she was a great companion and we will miss her. Lexy RIP
So when it was time to get another co-pilot we opted for a smaller version. This is Lily.
I am planning on going with the G3X by Garmin. Here was a nice layout at Oshkosh.
Decided to purchase the Lycoming IO-390 from Ly-Con. They are going to add dual P-Mags, Port Flow and Balance Cylinders, Alodine heads and paint barrels black, disassemble engine, exchange camshaft for performance grind, O-Ring case, precision re-balance, then, test cell run.
This is a paint scheme I saw at Oshkosh, which I like. Switch the maroon for blue.
I decided to redo the rudder because I was not happy with the trailing edge. I got all new parts except for the spar. The advice I had was to fly with it and if it gave me issues, replace after the plane is flying. However, since the fuselage kit won’t ship for at least another month, I went ahead and ordered the parts to fix it now. Also if I did that, it would cost me a lot more because of the repainting, etc. Besides, it gives me something to do besides yard work!
There were 2 places that rivets were not called for in the plans. The first one is at the top of the tailcone on F-01407 and F-14131, which I checked with Van’s and they said I could go ahead and rivet the two pieces together. Then the bell crank ribs, F01429R&L where they attach to F-01407. I was able to squeeze the top two, but the bottom one is impossible to get to with the squeezer. I have a call into Van’s to see if I can use a LP4-3 in it’s place.
Today I received a replacement order of pop rivets so I was able to finish redoing the skins on the rudder. Since I didn’t originally bend the left skin, it was a little wavey. I made the bend and redid all of the rivets and now it looks better, not perfect, but better.
Well of course it wasn’t a Van’s problem. I had changed the nutplate from the K1000-06 to the K1100-06 and those nutplates stuck out more, which created the bend in the flange. I removed the dimpled nutplates and added the correct ones, so I am confident the vertical stabilizer will fit better now.
When putting on the vertical stabilizer for pictures, the nutplates on either side – above the access panel were hitting up against the rear spar assembly. It was causing a slight bend in the flange. I reported this to Van’s today and they are checking on it.
When I initially did the overlap on the rudder skins, I did not make the bend in the leading edge of the R-00901-L-1. The finish did not look good, so I drilled out all of the pop rivets, which was easy and creased the leading edge with my tool from Cleaveland and it came out much better.
I ran out of the AD-41-ABS, so as soon as Van’s gets them to me, I will finish this repair.
While I have some time, I am going over some things that are bothering me on the plane. The rudder had 4 rivets that were sticking up too much. Not sure how that happened, but it had to be fixed. First I removed the fairing, then all of the rivets holding on the R-903 Top rib and removed that. Then I removed the Counterweight to get to those problem 4 rivets.
Then I riveted everything back together and am very happy with the result.
The tail is supporting our colors. Happy 4th to everyone.
We went ahead and attached the elevators, horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer and rudder just to get a picture. It was definitely a “wow” moment and pause for celebration. Now while we wait for the fuselage to be released, it’s time to catch up on some chores around the house.
We put the tailcone together to get some pics while we wait for the fuselage kit to be released. I wish I could permanently attach everything, but getting it out of the garage and transporting it would be a problem. That’s O.K. though because putting the tail together is very simple.
Today J and I spent a good amount of time, getting the top/side skins perfect. I got an idea from another builder, CJ to use the round bucking bar and back rivet these skins. Came out beautiful and worked great. Thanks CJ!
Almost finished adding the side skins. Just have to rivet the bottom J-Channel.
Kelsey dropped by to help the old man out.
Finished lining up the J-Channels and Longerons for the side skins. Bottom skin is attached.
I started to like working with the fiberglass on the smaller parts. I was happy with the fit on this one. Originally I thought the bend in the fiberglass was going to be a big deal, but it turned out to not be an issue.
I found out that you can’t use the red cups to mix up the fiberglass filler. It gets very warm and melted the cup.
Dennis was helping me with the plane and while he was here, I took advantage of his fiberglass skills. We fit the wing tips on and they lined up perfectly.
Van’s put this in the 14, I don’t think it will be part of the fuselage kit, but I definitely will add it.
I went to Oregon for a Long Range Shooting School and had to stop by the plant. Unfortunately it was a Friday and no production was going on, but Ken was nice enough to give me a ride in the -14. Even though the weather was drizzly, we had a great flight. Having owned a -7, the -14 seems to be much more stable. Can’t wait to finish!
I bent the tab too far back. I tried to straighten it out and redo, but was not happy with the finish. Sooo… Van’s, Option 2. Time to spend some more money on replacement parts.
The HS was one of the easier pieces to work with.
It is better if you move your fingers out of the way before you drill a hole. In the end, I decided since I was building this plane, I would leave some of my DNA in the plane. It’s all closed up in the horizontal stabilizer.
The tail kit arrived just in time. I immediately started on the vertical stabilizer and here is another finished airplane part.
Both wings now have the fuel tanks and Outboard leading edges attached. I need to do the wing tips, lights and add any additional wires, then attach the bottom skins. Since I had to start on the wings and this is my first experience, I misunderstood the priming issue. I thought other builders were saying to prime on the rivet line and they were, but on the inside, not the outside. Oh well, it is getting painted anyway.
Here is one of the wings with the fuel tank, leak free and the Outboard Leading Edge attached. Progress!!
There are several builders that have built these wing cradles. Prior to building these, I had my wings sitting on the garage floor on carpet. Not the best place for your wings. They worked great and I was able to move them against the wall once I finished working on them. Out of the way, safe and sound.
The tail kit arrived today with some damage to the bottom skin. However, it wasn’t bad and was able to work out the bend.
The first tank tested perfect. The second tank leaked from one of the fittings.
Here Dennis is making the hole for the Garmin pitot tube mast. It came out perfect.
Did I ever mention how much I hate proseal? Some people say it’s no big deal, they lie. It’s a pain and extremely messy. It gets on everything and only sticks to what you don’t want it to. Don’t forget the days you are going to work with it and wear something you want to wear again. Here are a couple of pics of the fuel tanks. The biggest pain is taking a 3.5 rivet and dipping it in proseal, then trying to put it in a small hole with a sticky glove on. Now repeat 500 times.
Luckily I had my expert helper, Dennis helping me get through it.
Here Dennis is checking the flap trailing edge. We used this table with a piece of angle iron to hold the edge perfectly straight. It worked flawlessly. All trailing edges are perfect.
Here is one of the aileron skins on a table that a friend let me borrow. It’s great because the metal plate is big and the board gives a good flat surface to work on.
Starting to put the ailerons together. I don’t think aluminum makes a good drill guide for steel. While trying to “match” drill the holes in the steel bar used as a counter balance, the bit wandered. I was able to use some steel putty to fill the gap and it repaired nicely. That part won’t be seen anyway. Once painted, you won’t even know it had to be repaired.
Trying to get a good fit on the landing light lens. Had to replace one because I scratched it with a file while trying to smooth out the edges.
The flaps are finished, except for the trailing edges. I am going to wait and do all of the trailing edges, flaps & ailerons when I do the fuel tanks since I will be using proseal. You can see one of the fuel tanks on the wing stand all clecoed up.
Once you get the jig set up on the drill press, the countersink holes on the trailing edges came out perfect. You do need to be careful on the ones on the end and somehow support the CS cage, otherwise you will get a lopsided hole if the cage is not flush against the material at all times.
I dropped a tungsten bucking bar into the bottom of the Outboard Leading Edge and boom, an ugly dent. I was able to get most of this out later.
Here are all the stiffeners and Tank Attach Zee’s for the Fuel tanks all prepped.
I decided to paint the inside of the landing light holes, black.
What else would you be doing on Christmas Day besides building an airplane? Duh! My son, Stoney helping out with the top wing skins.
Using the DRDT-2 with the pneumatic head, worked great on dimpling the skins. With the foot petal, it allowed me to balance and keep both hands on the skin.
In reading through the primer wars, I thought people were saying to prime along the rivet lines, so I scuffed them up and primed them before I riveted. Then I found out they were talking about the inside, so the rest of my skins are clean on the outside and primed on the inside.
Getting this rib trimmed correctly was a pain in the ***! I trimmed the first one too close, the second one I tried using snips and it ended up putting a nice crack in it, so Van’s got some more money out of me and yes, 3 times is a charm. Finally.
Now it’s really starting to look like an airplane part.
I always thought it was a cool pic looking through the lightning holes on other sites, so here you go.
Both wings are finished with attaching the ribs to the spars.
Attaching the ribs to the spar was relatively easy and finally something starting to look like an airplane part.
Another great idea from another builder, Nick. This worked great to paint the ribs, until a little bit of a wind picked up and it sounded like I was painting chimes. Fortunately, no damage done to the ribs or the paint job.
These rivets are no good. I actually made the holes too big and don’t like any of the repairs, so I made my first call to Van’s for part replacement.
I decided to do both wings at the same time, so I didn’t have to go back and set up all over again. I think it worked out the best since I had the room to work. Dimpling was one of my favorite tasks, compared to countersinking, which I hate.
I got this tool off of VAF and it worked perfectly to get the flanges 90 degrees to the webbing. The angle is 11 degrees to get a little more bend to keep it at 90.
10/12/2013 – Made jig for CS Nutplates. Drilled and CS holes in spar for nutplates. Installed Nutplates for Fuel tanks and Wing access panels.
10/08/2013 – I match drilled the other pieces of the J-Channel that were supposed to be for the right wing while I wait until the other parts come in. Dale came over and went over the CS and attaching the nutplates.
10/08/2013 – I match drilled the upper side and deburred some of the spar. I rotated the J-Channel and drilled the remaining holes. Then I found out the J-Channel needed to be 1/16” above the spar flange, so I ordered two new long and short J-Channels.
I used different color dots to pre-mark all of the different types of nut plates I would be using to make sure I would drill the correct holes.
10/07/2013 – Received Wing Kit. Started inventory process, but left all of the subkits wrapped up. I was missing a few bags of hardware and Van’s said I had to open all the subkits and inventory each piece.
Wow, that’s a lot of hardware!
The shop is finished waiting on the wings to arrive tomorrow!
The wings have been shipped and are due to arrive on 10/07/2013.
Today I built the extension tables for the DRDT-2. I need to add the carpet and see what the height is because I went by the plans they sent which did not take into account the feet that you can bolt down, so my sides are approximately 1/4″ too low.