Thursday, November 8, 2018

Ram Air Servo

Sometimes it's fun to overly complicate things just to have cool buttons to press!  This was the case with the actuating function of the Ram Air.  The kit comes with a bowden cable you can run to your panel.  I'm sure that works great but I felt I really needed more buttons to push in flight so I pushed forward looking for a solution.

The switch requirements are the same as my cowl flaps as it requires just swapping of polarity to extend and retract the actuator. The actuator itself is a L12 Linear Actuator 30mm 50:1 12v. 30mm is the throw and the lowest it can be.  I did some measuring and it seemed to me that would work fine. 50:1 is the gear ratio that is essentially the force to open and close.  I'm going with this one first and if in flight I find it needs more force for whatever reason I can replace with a 100:1 or more.  wiring that swaps polarity between the two switch positions.  Since I resolved that with the cowl flaps that was the easiest component to this.

My dilemma was trying to figure out how to work the actuator arm on the canister in a somewhat cramped space, which running the arm the full throw of the servo. I tried various things such as replacement arms, changed brackets and even remotely mounting the servo somewhere else.  The only other person I talked to who had done this mounted his servo in the tunnel and ran the bowden cable there.  If I end up with heat issues I may have to go back and do that.  But for now I tried to do a self contained unit.  I won't bore you with my trail and tribulations so here's what I ended up with.

Canister prep was basically attaching a small piece of bowden cable and adel clip.  I expieremented on different holes and in different orientations.  What I found worked the best and didn't interfere with anything was to position the arm for a downward movement, run the bowden cable down and to the side to allow me to mount the servo on the bottom of the unit.  Far from the engine, exhaust and other heat elements.

Then I made a bracket to mount onto the canister that would allow the actuator enough space to move a very small piece of bowden cable.  It's about 3 inches wide and hand formed to the curve of the radius of the canister.  I then drilled 2 holes down the center, with the mounted point to match an existing canister hole.  Then I spaced to additional holes an equal amount apart.  Lastly I put some foil tape on the back to help as much as I could with heat.

 I did a test run and found the actuator pushed up vs pushing the cable.  The actuator came with two little clamps, having no idea what they were used for I just ignored.  Then it occurred to me that these are to mount the actuator so it wouldn't move. Fortunately me I happened to space the two hole out in just the right spot that these could be attached to the bracket screws.

I re-purposed some connecting hardware meant for the carb heat (Which I don't have) as well as safety wired everything up.  I mounted the unit fairly painlessly and used a molex connector for the wiring.  Checked the cowl spacing and gave it a quick test. As you can see in the video it works well.  It doesn't close as much as I would like, however I'm not overly concerned with anything getting through that space.  If it poses a problem I can upgrade the servo to a 100:1 or more to get something with a bit more pull/push strength.  I'm going to wait though to see if heat becomes an issue as well before I do anything like that.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Flaps Position Sensor

Lots of options when it comes to how you want to work your flaps.  The current 10 I'm flying just has a momentary switch on the panel for flap actuation.  My method in landing is I hold it down for 3-4 on each part of the pattern.  I am not a huge fan of this because that means during downwind, base and final I have my hand off the throttle and I'm counting in my head and looking out the window to verify.  I haven't crashed so it works, just not the most optimal.

To alleviate this I put the switch on my sticks which to me is a bit of a no brainier. However I also wanted the flaps to work similar to planes that have 'notches' that work like a Showtime Rotisserie and you can "Set it and forget it!".  Okay maybe not forget it, still need to make a visual check that the flaps are down but in reality you should feel it in the attitude of the plane. To accomplish this I choose to use a combination of a Ray Allen Position Sensor and the VPX.

I will note that PHAviation has taken an off the shelf actuator with a built in sensor which is a great idea.  I'm sure it works great but the stock system I had already installed and the tunnel is a bit cramped with AC lines and the like. I didn't know how the larger actuator would affect that so the path of least resistance was a stand alone sensor.

Even mounting the sensor you have various options.  My buddy Mike was able to install his in the tunnel similar to how the RV-14 is attached.  That's probably a better way but again I had the tunnel all close up and didn't want to try and manage in that area with drills and what not.  Others have mounted it on the tube itself using Adel clamps but to me that doesn't seem as solid of hard points.  It's probably not likely but in theory a clamp could slip over time.

What I ultimately ended up doing was mounting it outside of the fuselage, directly connected to the flap horn itself.  This is extremely easy to get to and solid enough that it's not going to slip around.  There seems to be a concern of water getting in there but I mitigated that a bit with the bracket I made and the way it's positioned.

The bracket I made used a scrap piece of carbon fiber from some of my interior pieces.  I had tried a few things with bending some metal into various shapes. I wasn't happy with any of those options then remember some of this scrap I had.  It's light, strong and had the clearance where I was able to mount the sensor outboard enough to attach on the outside of the flap horn.  I did want to strengthen it a bit so I used some adhesive and attached some skin aluminium to the mounting points.

Attaching everything together took a bit more work.  Using RC Plane parts (Thanks Mike and Julie!) I worked a bit to determine the best location to place this thing.  I found that if I mounted it off center on the horn then at the beginning of the horn movement it didn't register.  The connecting rod would just rotate down.  I also wasn't comfortable going between the root and first lighting hole.  It may be fine, but as I'm not an engineer I don't know the kind of load this thing takes.  Following another builders lead I decided to make a aluminium bracket and secure it onto the horn.  I chose to put it inside the horn and stagger the rivets where there was more material.  Took some time to shape it but then it was a matter of putting some adhesive onto the rivets and popping them in.  I added some adhesive just to ensure these don't move over time.

The rest is just drilling holes, and attaching things together.  I tried to get as close to a full 1.2 stroke of the position sensor as possible.  I probably could of moved the rod up just a bit, but figured the middle of my aluminium piece had the most strength so that's where it went.  Here is everything clecod for testing.

Placement of the bracket is fairly important.  In short it perpendicular to the arm being at it's halfway point.  The horn position in these pictures is with the flaps retracted or in the up position.  Therefore I wanted the sensor to be all the way in.  Then I rotated the bracket to that perpendicular angle did some testing with duct tape and the VPX and was happy with the movement and sensing which I'll talk about in a second.  When I was happy with the position it was just match drilling and riveting.

Back to water protection.  The only entry points into the sensor are on the bottom and where the actuator arm goes in and out.  Placing it upside down protects the bottom from any moisture and having it slanted a bit should protect the arm.  I suppose if you leave it on the ramp, with the flaps down in a heavy rain storm then water could get on the arm and then retracted into the unit.... I guess that's the chance I'm willing to take.  Back up plan is manual extension of the flaps through the EFIS.

Talking about the EFIS and flap position I found the setup within the VPX extremely easy.  You seem to be able to chose about 4 positions.  Full up, and full down take up two of those positions.  There's also a reflex option but I'm not sure what that does and haven't messed with it.  The range of sensor movement for mine seems to be 0 - 227.  So 0 is all the way up, so right now I have it stop at 1, then all the way down I have it stop at 226.  I then just made the middle two increments of 75 for now.  The way it works is I push down on the stick switch it goes one 'notch', down again the 2nd 'notch', 3rd time it's all the way down.  Hit it once up and the flaps will fully retract.  That's one thing I'm not a huge fan of, but there may be some way to change it.  For now I selected the 'slow retract' option so if I'm on final and I inadvertently hit retract hopefully it gives me enough time to correct. Because I don't have the wings on as of yet I can't finalize any of these settings.  My goal will most likely be 0, 10, 20, 30 degrees of flaps at each setting.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Brake Charging

About the middle of last week it occurred to me that for the last year I could have gone ahead and charged up my brakes.  I wish I would have done this prior to installing some panels and interior pieces.  Having some of these in place complicated the process a bit.  I didn't think about it at the time but there's a was a good chance, being my first plane and all that I didn't have all the connections as tight as I should have.  More about that in a bit.

Apparently there are several methods of filling the system with hydraulic fluid and bleeding the air out.  My previous experience was on motorcycles which was basically put the fluid in the reservoir and hammer on the brakes until they work.  I decided to watch several videos on the subject and the one from EAA I found the most informative.

I reviewed the Matco documentation for the type of fluid needed and went ahead and ordered everything.  Essentially it was $14 for a quart of Royco 782 Hydraulic fluid and another $10 for a pistol oiler off Amazon.  So for roughly $25 I was ready to go!

The video laid out how to fill it from bottom up, having someone watch the reservoir for when it overflows.  Seemed easy enough and I had some extra static line tubing which worked well to connect to the Matco fittings.  Attached it, loosened the nut and got to pumping.  I immediately noticed some fluid coming from one of the fittings so promptly tighten that up.  Should note that I had torqued this previously but apparently either I did it wrong or it wasn't enough.  I got back to pumping, after about a 1/3 of the quart was used I got a bit concerned and removed the seat panel.  Well there was the fluid, all over my foam insulation and starting to go all over the place.

Found the leak, tightened the fitting and went around and tightened a few more fittings and starting pumping again.  As I was pumping I was looking for leaks and found another one on the parking brake fitting.  Luckily I had the forethought to remove the forward carpeting so it was an easy fix and clean up.  I then double checked that I had the parking brake open, and pressed on.  After a bit there was more fluid coming out of the reservoir, down my firewall and all over the garage floor.  More clean up....

After that I got to the right one and went through the same steps.  It seemed to have taken a lot of fluid, so I spent a lot of time trying to look inside my tunnel through the side access panel so I didn't have to take off my throttle quadrant.  It's doable, just didn't want to do it if it wasn't needed.  Hence why if I did this when it was all open, it would have been easier.  Anyhow after awhile it started coming out the reservoir as well.

I made the decision at this point to go ahead and remove the foam insulation I had put under the seat.  It's a bit hard to find leaks with this stuff, it also probably absorbs liquids and I foresee going through a similar process once I connect the wings and fuel lines.  To be honest the RV-10 I'm flying now has zero insulation, just leather interior and I don't find it particularly noisy or anything.  Or at least nothing the ANR headset can't block out.  Anyhow it was a mess to get the foam out, there's still some sticky tape pieces I'll have to pick out later, but I was at least able to get a majority of the liquid out.

Testing is pretty simple.  I climbed in, had someone watch the reservoir and pumped the brakes on both sides.  Not having them rigged makes them push back a bit too far and expect some extra fluid to come out and you actuate them.  I did this several times to ensure later when I close these up that I'm not going to end up with hydraulic fluid all over my firewall.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Checklist Updates & Control Stick Wiring

Checklist Updates

Over the last month and a half I've made some solid progress on my pre-move checklist. Some of the items I've made specific posts on and some I've just worked through and didn't feel they needed their own build log entry.  Here's a list of these activities with some overall comments.

  • Wire ACS Starter switch - This wasn't all that bad at first, I just followed the instructions.  However after reading about Mag wiring I decided to remove the ground from the ACS and instead utilize the grounding of the actual magnetos themselves.
  • Wire Magnetos - Something so simple I actually struggled a bit with.  I ended up doing quite a bit of research and ordered some shielded cable making essentially my own p-lead.  Was strange I couldn't find any Bendix 1200 install pictures but  the Aeroelectric book had this diagram that I went with.
  • Wire Cowl Flaps - Initially wasn't all that bad, I used Molex connectors and then shielded the wire runs on the inside of the cowl.  The pain point was with the switch.  Having worked on electrical the last 3 months I realized my original SPST switch was not going to cut it.  For these servos to work there has to be a polarity switch.  I ended up getting a DPDT switch and figured out the cross wiring to get it to work.  The lights don't work as I wanted to but it still lights up enough that I can see it and it functions as I need it to, so not overly worried.
  • Wire Door Sensors - Greg Hale  had shot me a suggestion this spring on door sensor wiring.  Instead of using the relays and sensors that Vans sends with the kit, you can eliminate all that by using 'normally open' sensors instead.  This fit my set up perfectly since for the door alarms I'm using the discrete input on the EFIS vs lights on the panel.  So I ordered 540-MP201702 proximity sensors and wired them similar to the plans, however I just grounded one end to the bolt.  Then I ran and chained all four wires to a single input which I installed into my GEA 24.  How it works is if the doors are open the discrete input is constantly grounded therefore alerting me of that on the EFIS.  As I close the doors and latch them the magnets in the rod ends break that connection and in turn removes the ground.  If all 4 grounds are removed then there's no alert and that only happens if the doors are shut and latched.  Very simple.
  • Wire Headset Jacks - As I was typing this out, it got very long so I decided to take a few pictures instead.  This jist is all connections are located in the center console which made wiring easy and hard all at the same time.  I had to watch several videos on wiring these up and then took the time to test each set of plugs and Lemos connections to ensure they all work.

  • Wire USB Chargers - I had some issues with some cheap plug in USB charges in my old bird.  To ensure I had no issues I waited until the radios were up and going and then messed with the USB chargers.  Happy to say no issues even with four devices plugged in.  I mounted one on the panel and one on the back of the console for read seat passengers.  This is something you only get in first class on United, available on N10JW to all passengers!
  • Refinish all plastic panels Interior - I have all my plastic interior panels painted and all nutplates installed for installation.  There are several things I need to do though prior to installing these.  I did however install some of the carpet, rear seats and such.  I'll do a larger write-up with lost of pictures of the interior once it's done.
  • Air-condition - I'm working with Bill at AirFlow systems on a new installation method for the over-sized evaporator.  The idea is to have the return are on the top baggage bulkhead piece and having that flow directly into the unit, thus improving flow capacity.  Then we're working on the delivery air to have the least possible turns for both cabin flood and overhead delivery of air.  He sent me some templates to get some dimensions and with a few tweaks they should allow someone to easily mount the evaporator in the correct place and have top notch airflow.  The delivery air is going to require some new tooling but all I did was turn one of his same pieces up side down and used some tape to see how it would fit.  Maybe that's confusing to read so I tossed a picture of it below.

The Air Conditioning at this point is driving the critical path.  I don't want to lose the accessibility by closing out the empennage until Bill finishes the return air design. It's just easier to size and position things looking in from the side rather then being inside the baggage area and looking up.  In the meantime I'll keep knocking out stuff as I can.

Control Stick Wiring

The RV-10 I've been flying has about as basic of a control stick as you can get.  It has push to talk and pitch trim.  Works great and I'm sure was simple to wire but I just wanted a bit more out of a control setup.  I went with a set of INFINITY Aerospace grips, because they look great and are completely customization allowing you set up in accordance with your button philosophy.

My preferences are pretty straight forward.  If it's something I use during critical flight phases (take offs and landings) or if it's something I use all the time (Push to talk) I wanted it on the stick.  I also took this a step forward into some nerd territory and programmed my home flight sim joystick with various things and determined what I liked the best.  Here's a run down of my choices-

  • Trigger - Push-to-talk, because I don't have weapons.
  • Coolie Hat - Pitch and Roll trim is fairly standard on these.
  • Top Left button - This is the TO/GA switch.  I debated a few different things but ultimately I didn't want to take my hand off the stick or the throttle if I find myself 500 AGL in some clouds and needed to go around.
  • Top Right switch - I have a momentary two way switch in this location to control flaps up and down. This is out of the way enough that accidental hitting isn't going to be an issue but allows me to have my hand on the stick until I'm on the ground.
  • Thumb Button - This is where I put Autopilot disconnect and Control Wheel Steering (CWS), seems the most natural place to have this function.
  • Pinkie button - Very strange button that most people seem to use as a push to start function.  I didn't want something I would use once a flight, but to be honest I was running out of functions, thought about maybe radio fliping, but I have two radios and I'm somewhat used to doing this on the panel.  So because I needed a place for it, this is my Airhorn switch.
Knowing how you want everything is one thing, figuring out how to wire it all is totally something else.  It took me a bit to conceptualize my wiring plan for the control sticks.  In the end I ran a set of wires to the Pilot side and then behind the panel I solder sleeved additional runs for the Co-Pilot side.  The only item not shared is the PTT as there's a Pilot PTT and Co-Pilot PTT.  I also didn't want a mess of wires all over the place so I choice to encase the wires for each stick inside some sleeving with heat shrink on the ends.  This gave it a clean look and all the runs together. Here's a picture of where it all splits out.

There was some additional construction to the sticks as well that had to be done.  First off there's a bit of a clearance issue and what some have done is cut the back part of the control stick to bring it in tighter.  I did this, taking about an inch off the back and had to redrill the bolt holes.

Next I decided to go with Stick Grip Pivoting Spacer so I had to figure that out.  Now I almost didn't go with this option but when going over my order with JD he upsold me on it.  He had some very valid points and assured me that my fear of this thing wobbling around on landings was unfounded.  I should note that actually did a test on the RV-10 I'm flying. I made the universal okay symbol and flew around rotating my hand around the stick.  I did this on a landing and found I apparently can fly the plane regardless of my wrist position.

Once I had the spacers installed the grips went on easy enough.  In full disclosure through I actually had to install it twice.  My first go through I didn't want the spacer hanging out the bottom of the stick.  However that made the stick a bit too high.  Knowing there's a bit of a clearance issue I took it apparent and came down to about as far down as you could. The finishing touch was installing my Aerosport stick covers which conveniently just zip on, hiding both the cable and the bottom of the pivot spacer.

For the most part these sticks are going to be permanently installed in the plane.  However there may be some times I need to remove them for maintenance or convenience. In those cases I don't want to have to cut and re-splice wires so I went with the installation of DB15 connectors.  I ended up with 12 actual pins.  All the switch functions just use grounds, so I could have made it 11 but decided to merge all grounds from the stick to 2 DB pins, which then go to a single wire to the grounding tree. My reasoning is more from a troubleshooting rather than a redundancy perspective.  For example if a function isn't working on one stick, but works on the other then it's probably a ground issue.  If it doesn't work on either then it's probably a VPX or other issue.

I secured the connections to the gear weldment using silicone wrapped cable ties. Nothing too fancy about it, you just don't want it unplugging in flight or otherwise bouncing around in there.

Here's a picture I took prior to connecting the grounds, or the Co-Pilot stick for that matter.  Should also note it's important to test the connections when you can.  I tested all the Control Stick buttons/switches to the DB15 connection to ensure those work, then I tested up to the VPX on both sticks.  I'll have to wait until I can power the plane back up to ensure PTT, AP Disc, TO/GA, Airhorn and such work.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Control Cables

The control cables are a basic function of any engine really.  With a constant speed prop I have essentially three cables similar to whats depicted in the plans; throttle, prop, mixture.  What varies on my set up is the routing, mounting and lengths.  The main culprits are my tunnel mounted throttle quadrant, forward facing fuel servo and the air conditioning system. Each of these changes the cable lengths and in the case of the mixture the mounting bracket.

For the cables I went with California Push-Pull based on a number of referrals.  Here are some basic things I learned about control cables.  The point where the cable is hard mounted to a structure is called the 'bulkhead'.  Then there is the 'throw' which is the distance the threaded ends will move.  In my case and most other builders I picked a 2.25" throw.  Meaning the two working ends will essentially shift back and forth that much once connected to whatever you're connecting it to.  That throw will give you another measurement between the bulkhead and the swivel support tube to include the threaded end at mid-travel.... All clear??  Wasn't for me even after reviewing the measuring guide.

Some items I had to mentally digest was that whatever your cabin side bulkhead to mid-travel threaded end measurement was should be somewhat similar on the working side. So on a 2.25" throw cable you couldn't have the cabin side be 6" and the throttle side be 10".  Unless maybe if you start threading extensions on at one end.  Also not every item has the same move distance on the working end.  For me the throttle matched my lever movement, but prop and mixture were about half. From a working perspective pushing full forward on all three levers results in full throttle, full props and full rich on the mixture.  If I pulled everything back the throttle comes all the way back but the prop and mixture level stop just over halfway but they're at their limits.

Full Throttle, Props, Mixture

All Back
The last item deals with the measurements, after all my conversations with David at Push-Pull I thought the measurement for length was bulkhead to bulkhead, but it's from threaded tip to threaded tip.  I spend A LOT of time doing the measurements, double and triple checking so I was surprised that my cables were about 10" too short when trying to install them. Realizing the mistake I talked to David and ordered a new set.  The good news is I talked to my buddy Mike who's building an RV-10 and he's going to be able to use them, but they'll have to be shortened first.  My final 'new' cable lengths are-

176-vtt-2.25 93"
176-vtt-2.25 72"
176-vtt-2.25 74"

With my new cables they were able to be installed and were spot on for length. It takes some tweaking but I was able to get the new ones installed and routed fairly easy.  Given these are thicker diameter than stock Vans ones I had to do some drilling out on my pass-throughs, brackets and used bigger adel clips.

Speaking of brackets I did have to make a new bracket to mount the Mixture cable.  The stock would have had it something like 14" back and adding a bunch of threaded extensions doesn't sound like a good idea.  I had previously worked up a bracket that mounted on the bottom of the sump but that really didn't work out.  This bracket made the bulkhead within 2" of the rod end, which was an issue after learning the above.  I decided to wait until I got my new cables and then retroactively work through a bracket. Now if you're really good at steel work then you should try and do something like Larry did on his fantastic build shown here.  He came up with a steel bracket that replaces the stock bracket that mounts on the bottom of the sump and ends up moving throttle and mixture to a single side.  Given I had an issue with even understanding how these cables work I decided to utilize the stock bracket and fabricate something just for the mixture.

I ended up not fabricating anything but rather re-purposing an already powder coated steel hinge.  It's original intent was to be installed in the wing, which I had done, however replaced it with the servo bracket so had it just laying around. I went through several ideas but decided to just keep it as simple as possible and make some bigger holes in it and hang it off one of the elbow screws off the bottom of the sump. Hard to really see it in the picture but I had to slightly bend it to accommodate an upward angle.  The back of the piece also prevents any serious movement as well.  Maybe I'll do some safety wire just in case.

Here are several other pictures showing the Prop and Throttle runs and how I have them aligned.  Because of the AC the prop run has to go over the engine and with the forward mounted fuel servo had to reclock the throttle a bit.  All seems to work out though.

Last picture might be a hard to see, but the lines follow a fairly solid path to the per plans firewall breaks.  Like with all these firewall penetrations I used some 3M fire barrier to fill in the gaps.

Friday, September 14, 2018


Installations of the antennas was bumped to the top of my punch list after I was told that I shouldn't power up the avionics without them. I was going to push this off until I had the wings on and what not but instead I decided to go ahead and do it.  This will allow me to test out things in my driveway, so maybe it's best that way.

I'm not sure I realized just how many antennas I was going to need to mount all over the plane.  It's very much dependent on what you're throwing in there and since I'm doing a full glass panel with several redundant components I knew I was going to need to do some placement planning. For my set up I needed the following antennas; 2 for radios, 1 for ADSB, 3 GPS pucks, NAV, a magnetometer and then of course on for the ELT.  That's 9 antennas that I had to figure out where and how to mount.  There's certain spacing and installation parameters you need to consider.  I originally wanted to shove most everything in the tail minus the NAV antenna that's out in the right wingtip. I have to wait until the wings are on to install the NAV and I'm still debating on how and where to install the ELT antenna, so I'll do those later.


Obviously when you install antennas you end up cutting up to 3/4 inch holes into the airplane skins.  Doublers are typically suggested but not required.  My 172 had GPS pucks with no doublers and never had an issue.  But since I tend to overbuild so I wanted to go ahead with doublers for all antennas.  Making them wasn't an issue, for the GPS pucks I actually had a factory made one that I was able to replicate, and then using some ideas online make them for the rest.

Attaching them is a different story.  I've seen some elaborate rivet patterns which frankly look like drilling, dimpling and two person rivet driving.  I read that the rivets actually help with the strength, but that guy was using metal the same thickness of the skins (thin).  I decided to go thicker metal and use 3M aviation two part epoxy to secure in place. I also went ahead and primed the exposed side.  In the end these things aren't going anywhere, the skin is thicker and it adds to the rigidity.

Here's a picture showing my GPS puck doublers.  The one on the left is from Garmin, the other two I made.

Comm antennas

Not surprisingly there are a number of strong options on how and where to place your comm antennas.  The two schools of thought is you should put one on top of your tailcone and the other on the bottom.  This would prevent any shadowing or possibility of dropped comms.  Then you have the other group that prefers to mount both antennas on the bottom, either the front or read seats.  The idea is shorter runs, a bit out of the way and suitable.  I've read plenty from both sides and my conclusion is people have been successful installing either way so I needed to pick what will work best for me.  My tailcone is pretty cramped so I decided under the back seats was the way to go.

First I needed some way to access these.  I had seen people use the Vans wing access panels but those are pretty big.  All I needed was enough space to get my hand in to do the initial installation and any future maintenance.  Luckily I have baby hands so it will fit between the ribs fairly easy.  However you don't want a gaping hole beneath your seats and still need a way to cover it.  I just went head and essentially made a door on some hinges.

For this doubler I didn't want it over the rib piece.  So decided to go ahead and epoxy the piece in there first and then drill the mounting holes.  This saved me the trouble of trying to match holes, just slap it on and let it cure.

Once it was cured I drilled out the holes based on the gasket I received and used drawn lines to center.  Then it's just a matter of bolting on the CI 122 VHF comm antennas, one each side.  Two person job to tighten and to torque I had to do about 8 inches of extensions to reach the nuts.


Hmm, I didn't take any pictures but I went with the CI-105 and I mounted it under the copilot seat, basically centered and making sure it's not hitting any brake or fuel lines.  I also made a doubler specific for this antenna.


I have two GA 56's for the G3X and G5 and a much larger GA 35 for the GTN 650.  Using the doublers pictured above I installed one behind the firewall but in front of the windscreen.  For that one I used the stock Garmin backing plate and didn't epoxy.  Mainly out of laziness, I didn't want to try to mess with that stuff crawled under the panel.  Interesting note I used a antenna I got off Ebay for my 172 that I never ended up using.  It's dirty looking but only cost maybe $40.

The last two I installed behind the cabin on the top of the tailcone.  I had to wait to talk to Bill at Airflow Systems to ensure this position wasn't going to interfere with the AC system I haven't fully installed yet.   It was easy to work with since the top skin isn't riveted down, just had to mark it and then match drill the holes, epoxy up and after cured clean the holes and bolt them on.


I can't even pronounce what this is.  It's basically an electronic compass that needs to be clear of all sorts of things while limiting what's called the CAN bus down to 40 feet.  Stein did the harness and really the only place to put this is in the tailcone.  Also it needs to be level, within a few degrees of the plane heading and away from all sorts of things.  I saw all sorts of elaborate things hanging off the top of the tailcone but given that would be fairly close to my AC and lots of spinning metal I decided to make some type of shelve to span across the longerons.  That would ensure it's level in flight and hopefully give enough space to not run into interference.   I haven't tested this so the jury is still out.

What I did was make a tiny shelve across two aluminium angles to mount behind between the 2nd and 3rd compartments in the tail.  I do this I had to make part of it removable that I can rivet post testing.  I'll also epoxy it down to the longerons vs drilling holes to hold it in place.  Again going to do this after all the testing is done.

Short post for the amount of work that went into all this.  When it cools off a bit I'm going to go ahead and pull the plane to the driveway and start doing some testing and calibration... actually I'll probably get impatient and start messing with it.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Happy 3rd Birthday! Hangar move punch list

Happy 3rd Birthday!

3 years and 1,115 hours into this project as of today! I hope to have the plane moved out of my garage and into the hangar within the next 6 months.  And then if all goes well, flying by this summer.  As exciting as that all is there is still quite a bit of heavy lifting before I get to that point.  I want to ensure I have as much done on the plane as possible before making the move.  I started to split my punch list into two categories; pre-hanger move and final assembly.

Hangar move punch list 

When it comes to the punch list there are some obvious items that can't be complete prior to the move.  For example I can't do the control rigging or wire up the landing lights until the wings are on.  I've used lists throughout the process to keep things straight, especially when working on items that don't have specific plans.  Here are all the current items I plan to have complete prior to moving.  Some are small few hour tasks, some are more in-depth and will require a bit more then a day or two to complete. In those cases I split them out into even more subtasks.   Here's what I'm looking at-

  • Wire ACS Starter switch
  • Wire Mag ½
  • Wire Cowl Flaps
  • Wire Door Sensors
  • 44-2- Bevel lower corners
    • 44-4 Install K1100-08 nutplates
  • Mount flaps Position sensor & run wire
  • Wire Headset Jacks
  • Wire USB Chargers
  • Control sticks
    • Install leather wrapping
    • Mount sticks
    • Wire Pilot/CoPilot – DB connectors
  • Mount Antennas
    • Comm #1 Comm #2
    • Nav #1 – Bob Archer Wingtip (Run cable)
    • G3X GPS – GA56 Tail
    • GTN 650 GPS – GA 35 Tail
    • G5 GPS – GA 56 Front
    • Transponder
  • Magnometer install
  • Engine Control Cables
  • Fabricate new Mix bracket.
  • Install Interior Nutplates
  • Refinish all plastic panels Interior
  • Air-condition
    • Mount evaporator to shelf
    • Crimp hose to fittings
    • Install return airflow
    • Install cabin flood and overhead duct
    • Wiring rotary switch
    • Wire Panel to Evaporator
  • Secure Aft FWD Skin and backing strip
  • Review and collect parts for final assembly
Posts without pictures aren't as fun so I decided to include a picture of my panel all powered up.  I took this a few days ago, however nothing is really going to function until I add the antennas and magnetometer.  I am slightly concerns though because when talking to Stein prior to ordering my antennas he mentioned that he's had problems with the transponders blowing a fuse or something when they're powered up without an antenna.  I really hope this isn't the case but to be safe moving forward I disabled all the avionic breakers in the VPX.