Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Panel Lights Up

This past week, with some nervous apprehension, I fired up the nervous system of the airplane for the first time.  The good news is that it passed the most important test -- no smoke!

Since I'm still a ways out from the firewall forward, I opted to buy a power supply rather than powering from a battery.  That seemed to work well since it powers at 13.8 volts and has up to 30 amps of continuous power.  With just about everything turned on, I saw only a draw of 22 amps.  That's probably the same amperage as one GE par 46 lamp used on my previous 172.

This was the first time anything had been powered up -- including the landing lights.  Lots of items had been installed years ago, so it was nice to know that they worked out of the box.

Even so, there's a small punch list of items that I need to work through.  I think many of them have to do with the control stick connections.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Avionics -- The Panel Work Continues

Followers of this blog will know that I've been working to install the wiring and systems in anticipation of the panel.  While I waited for the main panel to be built by the good folks at Advanced Flight Systems, I acquired many of the ancillary components in advance of the main panel.

I placed my panel order in mid-July 2019 and took delivery about two months later in mid-September.

There's a bevy of wires and connectors -- it's downright maddening!

I still have a tremendous amount of work to do to button up the panel installation.  In particular, I need to figure out a way to better organize and stabilize the wire and cable runs, figure out how to wire the push button start and mag switches, and verify the wiring connections at the wing root.  On that last front, I'm currently scratching my head looking at the pitot heat wiring.

For the moment, I placed the full panel in place for that glamour shot!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Avionics Continued and a Frustrating Oops Corrected

There are moments in any big project where one hits a wall and questions why they undertook such an endeavor.  There is no doubt that I've felt this on several occasions with this project and perhaps it will happen again before it's finished.  Of course, like all other similar situations up until this point, there's a happy ending.

Although the mistake occurred waaaayyy back at the end of 2013, it took me this long to discover it.  There's a chance I would have figured out this mistake had the control surface deflections been published at the time.

So what was the problem?  In the simplest explanation, the problem was that I could not get the aileron deflections Van's published in early 2018.  That notice states that the proper aileron deflections are as follows:
As you can see, the target deflections are approximately twice as much up as down.  However, after attaching the wings and working through the connections, I just couldn't get there.  I re-rigged everything using the provided templates, but still no joy.  The closest I could get was about 22 degrees up and 14 degrees down.  If I applied direct pressure, I could get about 25 degrees up and 15 degrees down, but that wouldn't work in the air.  So I started to examine all of the connection points in an effort to figure out what the heck was going on.  Then, last weekend, it hit me.

The problem was at the aileron torque tubes.  Anyone that has built an RV-14 will know that one builds these tubes with a slight offset between the two arms that attach to the wing pushrod and the control stick push rod.  In other words, when the arm that attaches to the wing pushrod  is perpendicular to the wing root, the arm that attaches to the control stick pushrod is angled inboard slightly.

I won't begin to speculate what I was thinking when it came to completing this task six years ago, but the result was that I did it backwards.  This meant that the wing pushrod was not able to travel fully, which translated into a lack of full deflection up and down.

This wouldn't be so bad if the wings were no installed.  But since they were, they needed to come off.  This was the huge blow to my spirits!

Thankfully, there's often good help around the airport.  So after removing the connections, ailerons, flaps, and fittings, I had help pulling the wings and placing them back in the wing cradle I had sitting idle.

Below, a keen eye may spot the problem.  The lower torque tube arm that connects to the control stick pushrod is perpendicular to the wing root while the upper arm connecting to the wing pushrod is angled slightly towards to camera (it should be the opposite!).

With the wings in this configuration, it was a relatively simple matter of unbolting the torque tubes and swapping them from wing-to-wing.  Once I did that, I also realized that I had cut the wing pushrods too long (to account for the reversed angles).  So, I needed to cut them down (to the proper size spec'ed in the manual, of course).  After re-installing everything, surprise surprise, I got the deflections I needed.  I was then able to put the wings back on and reconnect everything to confirm it worked -- thankfully!  Let me tell you, it was a true emotional roller-coaster.

Moving on, I'm pleased to report that Advanced Flight Systems completed my Quick Panel and I took delivery last week.  I stopped by their Canby, Oregon shop and picked up the most expensive cardboard box of my life.

Leading up to that milestone, I had been busy getting the wiring and other components I picked up early placed.  Because I'm not done with those items just yet, I don't have a glamour shot to share just yet.

Here's a shot of the engine monitor system mounted to the radio stack rib.

Here's the ADSB unit mounted to the sub panel face along with the backup battery, Com unit, and intercom tray mounted in the former map box area.  AFS provided mounting ribs for that area.  It took me about three hours to get the map box items mounted -- that area is tight!

Below, the remote intercom is placed temporarily to check the fitting.

I also worked on the fire wall forward electrical connections.

Below you'll see the manifold pressure sensor (upper left) and the main power cables read for the battery.

Here's a firewall frontal shot.

Below is a close up of the main power relay (above) and starter solenoid (below).

If we're lucky, my next post will give you an overview of the panel installation!  Stay tuned . . .

Friday, August 9, 2019

Avionics -- ADAHRS etc.

While waiting for Advanced Flight Systems to build my Quick Panel, I picked up some items that I could install in the meantime.

Primary ADAHRS 200
Dynon GPS 2020 Module
Aircraft Front Wiring Assembly
Engine Monitor Module 220
ADSB 472 Dual Band Receiver

So far, I've installed the GPS antenna and mounted the ADSB and Engine Monitor to the sub-panel.

I also installed the ADAHRS in the left wing where Vans kindly included a handy bracket during the build.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Section 41 -- Wing Attach Follow-up & Avionics

For anyone that follows this blog, my apologies for the slow updates.  The fact is that much of my build time lately has been dedicated to cleaning up odds and ends while I've been tire kicking avionics.

For example, I finally finished installing the wings by inserting and final torquing the attaching bolts.  This was a none-event, other than the modest amount of time.

I've also installed the fuel lines that run between the tanks to the fuselage as well as the tank vent lines.  Admittedly, while I was able to bend the vent lines with little effort, I gave up quickly on the fuel lines.  I simply ordered pre-bent lines from Aircraft Specialty LLC.  As expected, these lines went on with only a modest amount of effort, but much less than trying to make the bends myself!

Additionally, I have finished torquing nuts for most of the control surfaces as well as finishing up the rigging.  Nothing here is sexy, but it is necessary!

I also took a field trip to the headquarters of Advanced Flight Systems in Canby, OR.  I had been leaning towards a Dynon panel, but after looking over Advanced's products and talking to folks that have their equipment, I changed direction.  Of course, I appreciate that Dynon owns and backs AFS.

I toured their facilities and sat down to sketch out a Quick Panel.  At this point, I am not IFR rated and I don't intend to do that type of flying when I finish my project (at least not right away).  So rather than spending $15k to have an IFR navigator and VORs, I opted to have dual 10.4" 5600T EFIS panels.

Here's a few gratuitous shots from AFS' workshop.

The system I decided upon will have:
  • Dual 5600T AFS touch panels
  • Dynon GPS 2020 Module
  • Engine Monitor Module 220
  • ADSB 472 Dual Band Receiver
  • Autopilot Panel
  • PS Engineering PDA360EX-R Remote Audio Panel w/Bluetooth
  • Class 1 Mode-S FAA 2020 ADS-B Out Compliant; Remote Transponder 261
  • USB Intelligent Power Jack
  • Dynon Com Radio
  • AFS-Control Module (Electronic Circuit Breakers) 
I've also opted to include Flight Data Systems' GD-40 CO Detector along with mag switches and a push-to-start rather than the traditional keyed ignition system.

I'm excited to have a highly capable VFR system!  Soon, this blank panel will be complete.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Section 41 -- Wing Attach

While I contemplate ordering the avionics, I decided it was time to attach the wings.  The wings have been idling away in their cradle for years and although there are plenty of reasons to keep them off as long as possible, putting them on allows me the opportunity to keep forward progress.  So, I conscripted a friend to assist me.  With a bit of trepidation by the prospect of a mishap, all went well.

With one of us at the wingtip and the other calling out the bolt hole alignment, we were able to affix both wings in less than an hour.  One thing that we figured out during the first wing placement was to shine a light forward through the aft side of the bolt holes to better see where the alignment was.  At this moment, I haven't installed the bolts, and the wings are held in place using the drift pins (I opted for 3 each wing).  There's always the chance that the wings will need to be removed again, so I'll wait to install the final bolts.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Section 36 -- A Revist

My last post before my hiatus mentioned that I skipped Section 36 (Aileron and Elevator Systems) in favor of constructing the rollover structure per Section 37.  At that time, due to an anticipated cross-country move, it was more important to me to finish Section 37 than it was to set the proper elevator deflections.

Now seemed like a great time to finish up Section 36.

While I had previously constructed and installed the pushrods as well as installing the bellcrank, control stick bases, and control sticks, I had not adjusted the elevator horn stops in the tailcone.  I had, however, already adjusted the control stick stops in the forward fuselage as illustrated below.

 So, it was a relatively simple matter of adjusting the elevator horn clearance in the tailcone.

One of the final tasks included securing the elevators in the neutral position and checking the bellcrank angle against an included template.  Shockingly, no adjustment was needed!