Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Transitioning into Phase 1 - flying for real

Since last post I've spend quite a bit of time fixing and tweaking issues found on first flight and re-checking a whole lot of stuff.  This includes fixing the trim issue by replacing the micro-molex connector in the empennage for trim with a much better Deutsch DTM connector.  This will make it a bit harder to remove elevator  but I'll figure that out when the time comes (most likely will add another connector where trim wires are currently secured with dsub pins/shrink wrap).

I also fixed issue with ADAHRS alignment (my bad - configured it wrong), re-calibrated the ADAHRS and magnetometer, and spent a lot of time checking MAP connections and possible leak sites.  Also pulled and cleaned spark plugs and checked fuel/oil fittings, wiring, etc.  Looking for any leaks, loose fittings, etc.  All look good.

I've flown twice (total 3.1 hours) since first flight, focusing mostly on getting the feel for the airplane, running the engine hard, and testing various systems in flight.  One issue that will require a future fix is the standby alternator - it correctly detects when primary is offline but voltage doesn't come up so for some reason it's not producing voltage.   I'll call B&C when I have some time to help with troubleshooting.

I noticed the right wing is heavy, also I need pretty much constant right rudder to keep the ball centered.  I noticed in level light that the right aileron is a bit higher than my original setting - I had set it using wingtip and the alignment jig, and noticed that it sat about 1/4" higher than the inboard flap.  I thought this indicated a twist in the flap but now I think the aileron was adjusted a bit too high, so I adjusted the control rod to bring it closer to the flap.  We'll see how that feels next flight.  Once I get the heavy wing issue resolved, I'll reassess the rudder and add some trim as needed (trim tab or similar).  These are normal, expected issues.

I've been using/testing autopilot - I set it up with recommended values for the -14A and it's working perfectly.   Makes it easier to evaluate issues in flight.  Will activate auto trim for the next flight.

The airplane flies very nicely and I'm surprised how fast it is with no fairings in place.  I'm seeing about 150 knots at lower altitudes so with fairings and higher up won't be surprised to see 170 knots plus - I hope.

Improved connector for trim in empennage:

Screenshot from today's flight. Autopilot doing the hard work!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The "End" of a long journey: The big day finally arrives!

Today Vic Syracuse came down and conducted the airworthiness inspection, we completed the paperwork, and he flew the first flight with me.  It was a bit briefer than planned, due to a trim issue (#*#_** micro molex connectors!!) but otherwise uneventful.  Weather was perfect, and the airplane flew as expected.   Very gratifying day, but not without a few frustrations.   In addition to the trim issue (which I already fixed by replacing the micro molex with a much better Deutsch DTM connector and new wires between the harness and trim motor), a few other issues cropped up (ADAHRS resets, induction leak, issues with standby alternator etc) that will need to be addressed.  The good news is that, with the trim fixed, none of these are show stoppers that will affect flyability.

Many thanks to all my friends who helped along the way, including my hangar mate Chris Kaniut (who was today's videographer/photographer), Andy Grimm, Galin Hernandez, Doug Geib, and many others who have been invaluable sources of help, knowledge, and support.

Vic and me:

Chris and me (I'm not that short, Chris is 6'7")

First flight video:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

First Engine Run

Today was the first engine run.  Had a few items to take care of before this could happen.  A couple of small fuel leaks and one oil leak.  All a result of "not tight enough" connections, resolved with a bit of "righty tighty" action.   Also continuing to tweak/ program the G3X system, updated databases on GTN and G3X, and added V-speeds (will use published speeds until flight testing establishes any differences on my airplane).

Had some trouble on first attempt to run engine - after fixing some related issues (including PMAG wiring), and resolving a flooded engine with help from Vic Syracuse, the engine ran smoothly.

Many thanks to my friend and hangar-mate Chris Kaniut for helping me troubleshoot.

Preparing to run engine (objects on ground moved out of way before running):

Engine run:

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Getting ready for Airworthiness Inspection and first flight

Since last post, I've been installing all the various parts like wing tips and testing functionality of the avionics and lighting.  Correcting some errors along the way (one broken wire to trim on stick, wiring error in landing light, etc).   Also have pre-oiled the engine, performed weight and balance (nicely "forward" CG but a little heavy at 1285 lbs).  Yesterday, completed fuel flow tests (excellent results at 34/35 gallons per hour).

I'm continuing to program all settings like V-speeds into the G3X touch and configure the system in general (like autopilot settings).

Scheduled for inspection and first flight next week.  Should be doing first engine run today or tomorrow.

Paint Shop Visit / Update

I visited the paint shop today.  First contrast color which will cover the entire bottom of the airplane and parts of the HS/VS/Rudder and ...