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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Since I am finished with everything, except redoing the rudder, I am putting all the parts away safely and getting them out of the bedrooms. Here the tailcone is stored safely up above the cabinets.
J helped me wrap up all of the control services with bubble wrap, styrofoam and packing film. I originally got the idea from KC. The ailerons are on the top shelf, the flaps under that. To the right are the elevators. Since the counterbalance is on the outside, I put some weight on the opposite side to make sure they stayed put. Bags of shot used in a diving belt worked good because there is no chance it will damage the skin. I put the vertical stabilizer behind the flap and the flaps won’t move since the brackets come down through the wire shelving. Then I put the wing tips on top of the elevators. The only thing missing is the rudder, which will be built, again, in the next couple of weeks while I am waiting on the fuselage.
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.