Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Work continues on avionics trays, service bulletin SB 18-09-17 done

I've been working on avionics placement: this is challenging in many ways.  I've had to re-configure both drop-down trays as I test fit everything.  Part of the challenge is that the panel delivered from Steinair has the entire wiring harness attached to it - since the panel is not that strong until all the avionics are mounted and it's mounted to the panel frame, it's not practical to move it back and forth to the airplane for fitting.   So I continually test fit everything "remotely" and carefully measure (and use templates of various types) to get to the point where I'm ready to move the panel and harness "en bloc" to the airplane.

My friend Chris came over yesterday to help me with mounting com radio and also to help me complete the service bulletin (link: http://vansaircraft.com/pdf/service_bulletins/sb18-09-17.pdf ).  This required removal of a number of rivets on the bottom of the aft fuselage, crawling inside the airplane to match drill two clips on either side that attach to stiffeners on the bottom skin, deburr these, then rivet them onto the aft ends of stiffeners and the bulkhead.  On the middle stiffener, a doubler is attached on the outside with internal doublers that "sandwich" the aft end of the stiffener with the bulkhead structure and the external doubler.  No photos of this yet.

Fitting tray for standby battery and backup alternator regulator - this fits inside the glovebox opening and attaches the lip of the doubler in this opening and a horizontal brace on the firewall.  I also made a plate to fit inside the glovebox opening above this shelf.  I will mount the bracket that holds the avionics relay and all the power distribution to electronics/avionics on this plate:


Drop down tray on co-pilot side for transponder (in tray on bottom) and engine interface - GEA 24 -  (installed the d-sub connectors will face inboard).  I also will mount the CO detector on the top tray outboard of the GEA 24:

Test fitting the pilot-side drop-down tray:  I had to modify this to clear wiring but basic configuration is the same.   Garmin GAD 27 fits on bottom part of tray and GAD 29 on top: I had to purchase 90-degree adapters for the d-sub connectors on GAD 29 to get the connectors to fit here.

Remote Com 2 (GTR20) test fit on pilot side subpanel (now permanently mounted):

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Working on avionics

Progress is slow right now thanks to work travel interrupting my airplane building.   I've been working on avionics.  Finished the center stack trays and built a couple of drop-down panels to mount avionics on.  The transponder will go on copilot side, but will probably re-do the setup as shown to mount the engine analyzer.   Likewise, may end up changing the arrangement of the panel on pilot side as the wires to various boxes and routing thereof is very tricky. I will probably end up removing the doubler behind the glove box opening and putting a solid panel in place to allow more mounting space for avionics. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Installed Archer VOR/ILS antenna in the right wingtip

I decided to go with Archer antenna for VOR/ILS - installed in the right wingtip.   I had to remove 5 nutplates, match drill antenna to fit these. then used a couple of #6 csk screws to secure to wingtip at the points indicated in the instructions.  I used a method shared by Stein at Steinair using a solder sleeve to connect shielding of a section of RG400, as well as the center element, to the antenna per directions (directions say to twist the shielding into a wire, but this is harder than it sounds, and the solder sleeve method is more secure and more elegant).

I laid up a few strips of fiberglass to secure the longer antenna element in place - this should keep it form moving inside the wingtip.

Monday, October 22, 2018

On the gear - finally

I've been moving slowly lately due to busy family and work life, with associated travel.   Since last post, I've gotten wheels and brakes installed, tweaked fitting of the main wheel pants, nose gear in place, brake lines in place, and started working on fitting avionics. 

The brake lines went through a couple of tweaks to get the best possible fit.  Tom at TS Flightlines has been fantastic about making the adjustments - the last one was switching the fittings at the gear brace to 45 degree type to make the line fit well inside gear leg fairings.  This is trickier than it looks - the banjo fittings on the Beringer calipers have to be "clocked" just right to the 45 degree fittings so there's no twist in the lines.

My friend Chris Kanuit has been helping out from time to time and today we got her on the gear - still tail heavy pending engine hanging but this will actually be helpful when I fit the nose wheel pant which requires getting the wheel off the ground.

Hopefully things will accelerate a bit going forward...

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Panel is here, working on wheels/brakes/wheelpants

Since last post, I've had some work travel and life interruptions.  Doing a lot of small jobs.  I've installed the Beringer wheels/brakes/tires on main gear, and started work on the wheelpants (like most fiberglass work this is not much fun).   I saw where "Carl and Rafael" (RV14A.com) used added glass cloth layup on their wheelpants to support the screws that hold wheelpants to brackets so I'm copying their method.

I decided to shorten the flexible brake lines and run them directly down the aft side of gear legs, after learning that a "wrap" around the leg isn't needed for flexible lines - this is much easier to install and will fit better in the wheelpants/opening.  Tom at TS Flightlines is making the change for me.

I received my panel from Steinair.  This company is so much fun to deal with.  Not cheap (see slogan on t-shirt!) but customer service is simply outstanding.  Even the crate my panel was shipped in had a bunch of nice surprises, starting with the etched panel on the crate lid, and continuing on to a series of goodies like t-shirts and key-chains.    Every time I call them, they are happy to help - Stein himself frequently answers the phone and takes care of my questions.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Landing gear, baggage area light

I installed the left gear leg on Thursday evening.  Chris came over again on Friday and helped me install the right gear leg.  Had a very slight gap on the left - about 0.006" after torquing bolt.  I chatted with Gus at Van's about this - he recommends no shim but check at annual inspection yearly and add shim if it opens up in the future.

I fabricated a fixture for LED lights in the baggage area.  I used some 2.5" diameter (mount hole diameter) LED fixtures I found on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07544JW2F/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1).   I had hoped to make a recessed mount but couldn't fit the fixture with nutplates into the baggage area brace with adequate edge distance.   Rather than use the spring mounts included with the lights, I match drilled the housings to the mount and used countersunk rivets - not perfect but very acceptable - better than the spring mounts for sure.

Pretty pleased with the result - tested with my power supply I purchased for avionics testing and it's only drawing 0.3 amps - lights stay very cool.  With the lights toward the front of baggage area, they project nicely into the forward part of the cabin. I'll replace the SS screws with black ones for a better appearance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Engine mount on, panel on the way

My friend Chris Kanuit came by again - we removed the empennage and move the fuse to a table high enough to allow installation of engine mount/gear/wheels/brakes/wheelpants.   When these are done, N14VB will be on its wheels for the first time and a lot easier to move around.

We got the engine mount on today - it was absurdly easy.  I reamed the existing mounting holes in the firewall/fuselage and had to ream out some residual powder coat material in a couple of holes on the mount:  holes on the mount lined up perfectly.  Torqued the bolts and good to go.

Stein from Steinair sent me a photo of my panel being tested - will be shipped in the next couple of days. 

Next step will be installation of the main gear.

Engine mount in place:

Chris - my new helper.  He's really tall with long arms which is a big advantage.  (Not to mention he's a mechanical engineer, owns a Bonanza, and knows how to work on airplanes).

Final panel test before shipping from Steinair:

Work continues on avionics trays, service bulletin SB 18-09-17 done

I've been working on avionics placement: this is challenging in many ways.  I've had to re-configure both drop-down trays as I test...