Friday, November 9, 2018

Section 46A -- Tricylce Gear Leg & Wheel Fairings

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:I gave up

It seems like I blew through the parts inventory of the Finish Kit as the only lingering bits are fiberglass.  Now, it's true that I skipped the wing attach and engine cowling sections for now, which left only the gear and wheel fairings and the empennage fairing.

I started with the empennage fairing.  I had to page back to Section 12 to find the instructions.

The fairing fit relatively well, but the instructions call for filling the inevitable gaps to the skin after match drilling for the screw points.

Overall, I'm fairly pleased with the results, but I'm planning to revisit it as the lower section under the horizontal stabilizer does not extend quite enough to cover the gap between the fiberglass fairing and the lower metal fairing.

Next up, it was time for the main gear wheel fairings.  It's a tedious process of fitting and refitting and re-refitting etc.

With those installed (more or less), then it was time to move on to the nose wheel fairing.

I'm currently working through the gear leg fairings.  Oh joy

Friday, September 21, 2018

Section 61 -- Canopy Harness

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 3.0

There's not much to say here, other than that this simple canopy wire harness is done.

The primary reason for the harness is to connect the canopy micro-switch that indicates whether the canopy is completely latched.

One note worth mentioning is that the instructions assume the canopy is already built, therein requiring one to fish the wires between the canopy frame and plexi.  That sounded tedious.  So I installed the wiring when I built the frame.

I also bought the optional LED light strip that will eventually illuminate the instrument panel.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Section 42 - Miscellanea

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 8.0

As much as I'd like to install the wings to see them in all of their glory, I decided to hold off for the time being to keep easy access and the space open so as to not impede my workflow.

So I moved onto installing the steps and interior cover plates.

Instead of painting them with a matching coat of the Zolatone, I opted to use a contrasting color.  I haven't decided if I like the results, but I'll stick with it for now knowing that much of the covers will be covered by the seats or carpeting.

If I understand the plans going forward, I think this is the last of the major aluminum work, save for a few bits and the wing root fairings.

Monday, September 3, 2018


Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 3.0

Well, part 2 of this section posting is not nearly as tumultuous as part 1.  The brake calipers and lines were a relatively straight forward proposition.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  32.5

For much of the build, I had been anticipating two milestones.  It just so happens that both are part of the finishing kit.  The first was the canopy and the second was the landing gear.  While impressive milestones, each has proven to offer challenges.  The canopy was a long section that incorporated numerous tedious tasks.  On the other hand, the gear was physically challenging.

Muscling each steel leg was a struggle, but that is not what caused me frustration.  Instead, the challenge for me involved the close tolerance bolts that each leg needs to attach to the main spar.

Try as I might, my first attempt at getting the left side bolt through the leg was difficult.  Because of this, I was determined to get the bolt in.  However, I ignored the fact that another bolt needed to be placed through the upper hole of the U-01405-L into the main spar.  By the time I realized this oversight, I had driven the leg bolt too far, thereby blocking the opening.  Oops

I was at a complete lost as to how to back out this bolt.  The clearance was such that I saw no immediate way to place sufficient pressure on the bolt to back it out.  Thankfully, Van's builder support knew what I needed to do.

The solution was to take a crow bar perpendicular to the bolt while simultaneously using the ratchet to turn out the bolt.  My ratchet was not long enough to have sufficient leverage to turn the bolt, so I added a length of PVC pipe to the handle.
The results were amazing!  Whew
It just so happens that the right side bolt was no easier to place, but I eventually got it to where it needed to be.  It just took more time than I had anticipated.
The nosewheel, on the other hand, was no sweat.  As many others have done and recommended, I changed out the nosewheel and axle with Matco's axle and wheel.

Next, it was time to check for toe-in/out.
It turned out that I had both.

The shims did their job and now the airframe is finally resting on its gear (well, almost).

Next up are the brake calipers and brake fluid lines.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fuselage Cradle

Although a full post will come, I'm posting a bit of a milestone.  After several years of supporting the fuselage while I was building, I removed the cradle over the weekend.  It served the build wonderfully, and no doubt could do so for another builder too.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Section 39 -- Seat Frames

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  6.0

After the marathon canopy section, the seat frames were a welcomed simple task.  The sole annoyance was that I was unable to squeeze many rivets and instead needed to buck the rivets.  I'm sure if I worked at each rivet, some of them could have been squeezed, but with most of them just out of reach, I opted to simply drive them all.

There's no doubt the seat frames are sturdy, but light weight.

One note -- I initially installed the seat back support upside down.  No problem, it was a quick adjustment.
Much better!