Back to Work

Time: 4 hrs

Wow I haven’t worked on the plane for a while. I’ve been busy with lots of family events and traveling. Fortunately I have a bit of a break and was able to work on the plane for a bit today. I tried to finish up lots of little things and am hoping that Jean (from Torrance TAF) can come up and give everything a once over before I put the top skins on the rear fuselage and the side skins on the front fuselage.

Things done today:

  • Tested the static port lines for leaks
  • Installed bracket for the break lines
  • Put bent edge on top right rear fuselage skin
  • Wired the flap actuator into connector

Testing the static lines to the two static ports for leaks. I just put some electrical tape over the holes in the ports, connected the vacuum pump up to the static line and started to test. I first tested to around 5 inHg which is about 5000ft (depending on temperature) it held this for a few hours with no change. Then I went up to around 10 inHG and let it sit for a few hours….no noticeable change. I think the lines are good. Obviously if we were really testing for accuracy we’d want to to use maybe a manometer (here’s how to build one).

I’m using stainless steel lines for my brake lines which is different then what comes with the kit. The manual didn’t show any kind of bracket for the brake lines. It looked like they just kind of hang down from where the line goes through the firewall. This may work fine for the plastic lines (the the kits typically uses), but the stainless lines are a bit heavier  and they can scratch things up a bit if they move around so I wanted to see if I could hold them in place. I ended up using the bracket that originally was for attaching the parking brake lever assembly to the center console. I didn’t use that bracket because I’m using the toe brakes with a different parking brake assembly. I used a 3/8″ ID, 1/2″ OD rubber grommet so the base part of the “Y” would fit tight into the bracket. It seems to work well.

Now on to edging the top right rear fuselage skin. I tried to get a photo of it, but my phone just wasn’t up to the task. I’ll see if I can use a better camera. In any case you end up with just a slight bend to the edge of the skin. This helps the skin sit tight against the other skin at the overlap. It also helps prevent the humps between rivets that sometimes happens. I’m thinking maybe I should do this on the edges that meet the lower skins as well…. Hmmm.

Sorry, bad photo. You can kind of see the slight bend in the edge.

Here’s the tool I used. It’s very easy to use. Clamp it about an inch or so from the end of the skin (on the side you want to edge) then adjust the grip to fit tight on the skin and then roll it away from you keeping the flange of the tool on the edge of the skin. Then you come back and finish the small bit that you didn’t do (where you had started) to the end (closest to you). I purchased this from Cleveland Aircraft Tools, I think they have a video there on how to use it.

Lastly I put the connector on the flap actuator wiring to connect to the 22AWG-2 and 22AWG-3 wiring that I ran to the instrument panel. I could have also used 22AWG-5, but the flap motor wires go to a different connector on the VPX so I figured it would be cleaner to run the two separate cables. Also you really don’t need to use shielded cable, but you can’t really find multi conductor TefZel wiring without shielding. I just cut the shield and put heat shrink over the end (connector on right side) rather then using a solder sleeve and a drain wire (which I will on the instrument panel end of the wire). Having been an audio engineer I’m well aware of ground loops so I’m trying to only ground shields at one end (like we do in the audio biz).

Static Port Lines and Flap Motor

Time: 1.75hrs

Things done today:

  • Installed static lines
  • Installed Pitch and roll AP push rods
  • Installed flap motor

Flap motor installed. I had to use a 12V power supply and hook it up the red and black wires to extend the flap actuator a bit so I could put in the bolts. I pretty much followed the manual, but ended up putting in all thin washer on the end that connects to the flap tube. The bolt was a tad bit short and using the thin washers allowed me to slowly tighten the bolt until there was just a tiny bit of play in the mount. At this point I was able to put the cotter pin in. With the thick washers in the center it was a bit too tight in the bracket and I couldn’t get the hole in the bolt exposed enough to put in the pin.

I mounted the T to the longeron with a single long 3.2mm rivet. This made for easy routing of the line to the firewall and the right static port.

7/11/2017 Note: I changed the way this was routed to reduce the chance of water getting into the lines. See this post on how it was changed.

Here’s the run over to the left static port. Lots of holes to drill. I’m really happy with this static line. I purchased it from Cleaveland Tool Supply along with the static ports. It’s very easy to work with and seems very durable.