Saturday, August 11, 2018

Section 38, Part IV -- Canopy and Window

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  28.0

Today was when it all came together for the canopy.  With the fiberglass layup done, it was a matter of affixing seals, installing the hinge covers, and the final install of the rear window.  You know, the detail work!

Unfortunately, given the amount of messy work, I didn't snap any pictures in-process.

Here's the canopy after prep for the layup.

The fiberglass layup was not terribly difficult, but the process was tedious and messy.  The results were not perfect -- I could still do some final sanding to fine tune it -- but it was a great feeling to get the canopy installed.

Up next, it's the seat backs and then the gear.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Section 38, Part III -- Canopy and Window

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  28.0

The canopy continues.  I knew this section would be challenging given the length of the instructions, but I must admit that I thought it would be coming together a little faster.  As I write this, I'm at the point where I need to mark and scuff the forward area of the canopy and frame in anticipation of the fiberglass work.  After that's done, I'll need to remove the canopy from the frame and then finish the dimpling and countersinking (all holes should be match and final drilled at this point).

The bottom line is that this section requires a tremendous amount of match and final drilling, which eats time without much evidence of progress!


Additionally, I took the opportunity to have the steps powder-coated.  I'm not sure why they wouldn't come that way from Vans.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Section 38, Part II -- Canopy and Window

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  27.0

I knew going into this section that it was going to be tedious, intense, and challenging.  All of that is to say, time consuming.

After getting the rear window placed, I solicited the assistance of a friend to help me drill the match holes.  There's been only a few times in the build when I truly needed help and this was one of those times.  Unfortunately, I think it was rather boring for him to sit in the baggage area while I switched between drilling the roll bar and the skins -- as well as continuously switching drill bits.  He passed the time by pointing out spots I missed in painting the interior.

But, I was pleased with the results.

After finishing out drilling and counter-sinking the rear window, I masked off and painted the overlap where the fuel tank sealant will be used to seal the window to the airframe.  It's now safely sucked away while I wait to install it permanently.

Next, I started on the latching mechanism.  It was a tedious process with the cotter pins, screws, and tight spaces!

Then it was time to start on the canopy frame.

Fluting required here
I came close to exhausting my cleco supply!

The side rails (pictured above), where another tedious task (and I'm not yet done with them!).  I'm sure the time spent lining everything up will pay off in the end.

Next, I started fabricating the canopy lift handles.  I won't apologize when I see the word "fabricate" in the instructions.  As much as I enjoy building this plane, I know that word means it will take time!

And that's where I had to leave it.  I'll pick it back up in a few days.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Finishing Kit Delivery and Section 38 -- Canopy and Window

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  8.0 (6 hours unpacking and inventory; 2 hours window)

I'll be the first to admit that it took some time to get to this point, but delivery day of the finishing kit finally arrived.  It was a nice feeling to have the project back in production and a series of raw parts ready at hand.

Based on what I had read from other folks' sites, I was prepared for the size of the crate; even so, in person, it is impressive.  Although I live about 100 miles from the factory, it just didn't make sense to take a day off work and rent a truck to haul the crate myself.  The crating charge and freight fees were less than $250.  There's no doubt that it was the largest FedEx package I've ever received.

The box looked to be in great shape, with no visible signs of rough handling.  In fact, the delivery was supposed to happen at 5pm, but the driver arrived at 11am.  He said, "I just wanted to get this off my truck as soon as possible."  Thankfully, the good folks at TakeWING Aviation were around to take delivery in my absence.

As always, Van's packing skills are top notch.

It took two full hours to unpack everything and all of the packing paper filled my car and my recycling bin at home.

Don't worry, after unpacking it all, I organized it and stored it more properly.
Inventory took another four hours!

Once inventory was complete, I dove right in and started the rear window.

I only had enough time to fit the window and cut the notches to fit around the canopy brace.  I can already tell that the canopy and windows are going to be tedious.

After the long day, it was time to Reach for a Buoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Section OP-38 -- Aileron Trim

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  4.0

While I wait for the finishing kit to arrive, it's a wonderful opportunity to tackle some of the small one-off items.  In my previous post, I detailed the installation of the flap sensor.  Now, I'm moving on with the installation of the aileron trim.

It starts with building the servo structure and fitting it to the right wing's access panel.

There wasn't much to this.  It's a simple matter of separating the parts, de-burring, final drilling, priming and riveting.

While the instructions say that one could drill the holes in the aileron push-rod for the spring connection pieces without removing the push-rods, that didn't seem practical to me.  So I decided it would be easier to remove the push-rods.  A wise decision to avoid frustration.

Here's a shot of the final installation.

It was a bit of an exercise in frustration to connect the springs to the push-rods.  I was surprised at the tension strength of the springs.  For anyone doing this, I'd suggest connecting the springs to the push-rods prior to re-installing the push-rod back into the wing.  Even so, I did it.  The nice thing is that the wiring was previously installed with the main wing wiring.  Thanks Vans!