Interior Skins (Part II)

Time 2.5 hrs

Done today:

  • Installed the left front inside skin
  • Installed outer seat rails on left and right side
  • Test fit rear inside skins

I finished installing the other front interior skin. This one was a little more difficult because it didn’t line up as well as the right side did. I eventually got it installed after some pushing and pulling and had to widen a few holes.

The seat rails went in fairly easily. The hardest part is getting the rivets it at the front of the rail where the flange is. The flange makes it impossible to get a rivet gun straight in so I used a thick piece of metal with a small hole drilled out for the rivet mandrel to pass through. The metal was then clamped in place. It helps hold the rivet flat and firm against the rail which is especially important because they are countersunk rivets so the seat can slide.

A few overhead shots of the interior. Front skins have all been riveted. The rear skins won’t be riveted until the canopy is on and the parachute cables have been bolted to the rear spar.


Interior Skin

Time: 1.5 hrs

It’s been a while since I worked on the plane mainly because I’m out of things to work on. I have been working on the logistics for a few things, but no real physical work on it. I did go down to Torrance TAF a few days ago and purchased the canopy kit. I was hoping I could take the canopy over to the paint place to have them spray the inside a little different color grey, but the kit was up on the top shelf and a fork lift was needed to get the kit down. Hopefully they’ll be able to pull the kit this week and I can get the canopy over to paint next week. I’ve also work on getting details on having some custom upholstery done by TAF. I need to purchase the leather and carpet and ship it over to TAF in South Africa. It will still come out cheaper then having someone here do the work and I’d rather support TAF anyways.

Today though I riveted the front inside skin on the right side. I have a whole row of holes that don’t line up so I had to drill those and debur them. After that was finished the riveting went along pretty well. I’ll have to do the same on the left side and it seems that I may have a few more alignment issues then the right side.

Right side skin riveted

Garage Cleanup

I spent a few days making room in the garage. How envious I am of the people that are building that actually have space to work on their project. Now I’m not complaining because well at least the weather here is good, but it is a bit cramped working on the plane and I’ve had a few minor accidents (dents and scratches) because of the small work space. I ended up having to remove a few cabinets in the back of the garage so that the plane can move back to the wall. It looks like I have about 33″ to the door if the plane is all the way back to the wall. The 914 I believe is around 27″ long so I think it will fit (I suppose I could put the cowling on temporarily to make sure). I also put the semi-assembled HS and Elevator,  Rudder and VS up out of the way.

I’ll be heading to TAF Torrance next week to purchase the canopy kit. There’s also a paint shop at the airport that TAF has been using to paint their planes so I’m going to see if they can paint the inside of the canopy a little lighter grey and also see about having them paint the plane… much later of course. I’m really looking forward to getting the canopy on and having it look more like a plane rather then a large canoe :-). Well at least that’s what the mail lady calls it.

Yes that is organized… well maybe a little more clean up is needed. At least the empennage components are finally up out of the way and the plane can be rolled all the way back to the wall. Anyone need a Cisco 2900XL or a DVD Player?

Firewall Tape

Time: 0.5hrs

Just did some quick fixing of a few cuts in the heat shield. If I waited until I knew exactly what holes I needed then it would of come out near perfect. But there I go trying to save myself some time and messing things up. Oh well this tape seems to work pretty well. It’s rated to like 350 degrees F so it should hold up. It’s also very flexible and blends in very well with the covering on the heat shield.

Fixed the area around the ground lug where I cut out the hole for the GPS antenna that I didn’t use. I also added a little tape above each if the GPS antennas just to clean it up a little.

Firewall Heat Shield

Time: 2.5 hrs

Today I worked on finishing cutting out the necessary holes in the firewall heat shield. I cut the heat shield to size a long time ago and cut out a few holes that I knew weren’t going to change. I did unfortunately cut out the hole for the GPS bracket which I’m not using and I cut slits where the rivet lines were for the overflow bottle and battery box (which I didn’t need to do either). The slits aren’t noticeable but I will probably need to get some of the tape TAF uses to repair the heat shield just to make sure it doesn’t tear in those spots.

I saw a few people made templates out of paper of where everything went on the firewall and then transferred that to the heat shield. I was able to poke holes through the rivnuts from the inside and then fit the particular item to the firewall (like the GPS antenna brackets or heater box) using screws. This gave me the exact location I needed to cut out by just cutting around the item. I think it worked out pretty well. I also noticed when installing the heat shield that if something was a little off you could stretch or push it to fit closer. You can’t be really far off, but 1/8″ to 1/4″ off you can make up for and get a really close fit.

Once I had all the major holes cut I removed everything and peeled back the backing on the left corner and stuck that down to the firewall. I proceeded to just keep pulling off the backing and working my way down to the bottom doing this on the left half of the firewall first. The process was then repeated for the right half of the firewall. The heat shield installed fairly easily the main issue I had was that the backing didn’t want to come off of the heat shield material. Maybe mine was old and the glue started to bond more with the backing or maybe it was from heat (I’ve had the heat shield exposed to the sun for a long periods of time). In any case it was pretty frustrating having to remove small strips of backing as I worked in a very small area between the firewall and the back of the heat shield.

Photo of the heat shield all stuck down. Starting to install some of the items onto the firewall. I need to fix the area around the ground lug (upper right). This is where TAF puts the GPS antenna and I had cut that out thinking I was going to put the antenna there.

Most of the items installed on the firewall. The GPS brackets are just in temporarily. I will need to remove the left one to get the battery in so I won’t really install that until much later. The oil tank bracket was riveted in with 4mm rivets. I made sure to use medium strength loctite on all the screws as well. I will need to cut out holes for the fuel pumps as well as the start relay and in my case master relay. I didn’t cut these because with the relays I’m not sure if I will be using the Vertical Power PPS or not. I don’t think it will be too difficult to cut these out and remove the heat shield material for these couple of items. For the fuel pumps I believe they come with the engine and I’m not sure if they are the same as what TAF supplies. It looks like the TAF ones have a cover that mounts to the firewall while the ones I’ve seen that come with the engine the cover mounts to the bracket that holds the fuel pumps.

Photo of the heater box installed with 6 M3 screws. There’s a silicon gasket behind it that you can’t see. Note: I put both the clamps on there so I don’t lose them 🙂

Photo of the fuel and push/pull cable bulk head fittings.

Here’s the idea I had for mounting the overflow bottle. TAF uses cable ties which look a little cheesy I think. I cut an 8″ hose clamp and did a hard bend on the ends, which could also be riveted. I then bent the clamp around the bottle to give it a bit of a squared off shape. It seems to hold the bottle well, maybe a little more bending to get it to fit better. I don’t want to tighten it too much or it will crush the bottle.

Misc Work

Time: 2.25 hrs

Did some miscellaneous tasks today:

  • Finished wiring the GMU11 CAN wiring at the pitch servo
  • Retorqued the gear bolts to 18ft lbs (24Nm)
  • Ran wire for Stratus USB charger and wired connector

Originally I had spoken to the tech at TAF about torquing the 4 main gear bolts. He had told me that they were Grade 8.8 bolts so torque them to the specified value (which was around 50Nm for a 10mm bolt). The bolts I had were actually Grade 12.9 with an even higher torque required. So I torqued them to the standard Grade 12.9 torque value and went on my way. A little while later I had noticed the Peter C. had mounted his main gear and stated that he torqued his gear bolts to 24Nm. That seemed very low to me so I emailed him and he had said that TAF told him to use this value. Well he has since verified with multiple sources at TAF SA and they confirmed that the bolts are torqued to 25Nm. With that I just backed off on the torquing of my bolts to 24Nm (18 ft lbs). Thanks Peter for verifying and letting me know.


Tied the CAN bus wiring into the pitch servo so it could continue on to the GMU. The GMU is the end of the CAN bus now so I also ha dot remove a jumper on the DB15 connector for the pitch servo.

I’m going to install the Stratus USB charger in the back of the center console. The kids are always using the USB charger when we drive on trips so I figured it would be convenient to have one in the back for them. It can also function as another USB port for me or the co-pilot as well. I will also bring the USB port on the GMA245R up onto the instrument panel. That will be the main one that I use for charging my iPad or phone.