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 (   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:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Update - close to starting on gear and engine mount

Since last post I've been taking care of a lot of small details.  Also have been receiving some of the final assembly parts, ordering others.  I ordered the FWF kit which should be shipped around the end of this week (waiting on exhaust system parts).

I received the carpet and seats from Classic Aero Designs:  Beautiful.  I've test fitted the seats and they look great.

I've tidied up and completed the canopy wiring.  Also deburred, scuffed, primed, painted and assembled all the final covers for baggage area, seat pans, spar and forward seat ribs, etc. 

Today I got some help from a friend, Chris Kanuit.  We assembled the empennage and completed the installation of the yaw servo:  I had to wait until empennage was mounted again to get the rudder cables fixed in position so I could mount the clamps that hold the yaw servo arm cables onto the rudder cables.   We found a "tight" rudder cable during this process - turns out I had to move that cable's connection to the rudder pedal (right rudder pedal) out 1 hole.

Also installed the aft elevator pushrod and checked angle at the bellcrank: it was dead on.  Elevator travel was 25 degrees down, 27 up.  I filed a bit of material away where the elevator arms were limiting down travel, added one degree of travel.   I'm happy with this: Van's letter on this subject ( gives the limits as 20 -25 down, 25-30 up, so all good here (also discussed this with Vic Syracuse who agrees).

Next step will be to disassemble empennage again, then move the fuse onto a table that allows access to mount the gear and engine mount.  Will then install wheels/brakes and wheel pants (particularly want to fit main gear pants in the "flight" position - i.e no weight on wheels. After that will put her up on the gear and move forward with engine....

Monday, September 3, 2018

Wrapping up canopy

Got the seals installed and wiring harness done.  I was worried about routing wires down the side of canopy rail to the microswitch - turned out to be a non-event.   It was fun splicing (with butt splices) the wires from the microswitch (ground wire), fans, and the Van's red/white LED strip light into the canopy harness.   Seals were also quite pleasant.  Almost anything is pleasant compared to fiberglass dust!  I spent most of yesterday cleaning up the shop of fiberglass dust and mess.  I'm going to try to do as much future fiberglass work as possible outdoors.

I had to add a wire to the harness for the "third" wire on the Vans strip light (harness only accounts for a single color - my version has red/white with separate wires for each).  It was quite simple to add a wire/pin to the Molex connector and splice this to the extra (white) wire on the Van's strip. 

Tested everything with a 9 volt battery and meter for connectivity - all good.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Canopy fairing more or less done

I finally got to a "stopping" point on the canopy fairing.  I did a few rounds of final filling of pinholes and successive layers (sanded in between) of filler primer (Ekofill).   My eyes and fingers said "you're done", so I masked off the general area (beyond where i feathered the fairing edges) and put on a few coats of my usual SEM primer.  Of course now I can see some tiny pinholes and surface defects, but I'm going to hand that off to the painter when the time comes.  I just had to stop at some point.

Overall pretty happy with the shape and the quality of the finish.  With the primer on theres a slight difference in texture between fairing and metal, but I'm hoping this will become less noticeable when the aircraft is painted.  I'm probably being way too hard on myself!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Fun with fiberglass (not...)

Sanding, filling, sanding, filling, sanding etc...   

Pretty happy at this point with the fairing.  I spent a LOT of time shaping it and fussing over little voids/pinholes.   I put a "final" coat of resin on surface today.  Hopefully this will sand out smoothly tomorrow and then get a couple of coats of filler primer.   I thought today would be that day of course but I needed to do more work.  Spent quite a bit of time making sure the edge along the top is perfectly level with the tape, and an equal amount of time feathering out the edges forward.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Initial sanding of canopy fairing

Coming along - initial sanding down to tape (I removed the first of three layers of tape after initial sanding).

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 s...