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:
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.