Thursday, February 19, 2015

Section 31 - Fuel Lines

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  5.5

Section 31 ushers in a diversion from the build process to date; i.e., with the main structure built (albeit,  some additional structure is yet to come), the build moves into the systems installations.  Case in point, the fuselage's fuel lines.

The fuel system for the IO-390 is a single line system with no returns.  That means that each tank has one fuel line running from the respective wing's fuel tank to the fuselage where they connect to a selector valve.  Simple enough.  The fuselage kit comes complete with the aluminum hard lines, connectors, selector valve, fuel filter, and boost pump.  It's the builders job to take an eight foot coil of aluminum tubing and bend selected lengths into the fuel lines.  Easy enough, right?

I thought so.  So, I bought the tubing bender from Cleaveland Aircraft Tool and set to work.  Well, my first attempt was not so good and it meant that I would need to order new tubing if I wanted to get it right.  Instead, I contacted Steve at Aircraft Specialty to secure a set of fuel lines prefabbed in his shop.  The bonus here is that he saw fit to use flexible line between the boost pump and firewall; thus, removing the possibility of a line break from a hard landing or other "incident."

I received the lines in short order and within about 30 minutes, I had them all installed.  Not only did it save a tremendous amount of frustration, but it also means that these precious lines were not "amateur" fabricated by me!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Aft Fuselage Attach -- Section 30

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 22.5

What a difference a section makes!  For the first time since commencing the build nearly two years ago, two sub-kits met.  The tail cone / empennage finally met the forward fuselage.  I'd like to say that it came together like that scene in 2001:  A Space Odyssey when the two spaceships doc.  In the movie, it's a slow and delicate scene.  While it was not all that difficult to join the two ends of the RV-14, it was no where near the ballet-like dance of the spaceships.

As directed, I lined the two ends up, tilted the tail cone upward, and pushed it forward until it was more or less positioned.  At that point, it was a matter of cleco-ing a few holes in the bottoms.

It's looking good!

Once I had the bottom positioned and fixed, I was able to continue the rest of the joining.

I used every 3/32 cleco in my arsenal.

After that, it was a simple matter of riveting the two ends.  It took a little contortionist maneuvering at times, but with the help of my good neighbor, it was together in no time!

In the down time while waiting to get to the riveting, I put my time to some good use and prepared a few parts used in future sections for a special project.  I will reveal all in due time.

With my new tube bender (never thought I'd own one of those), I'm already to install those fuel lines!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 77.5

If you follow my blog, you'll know that I try to update as soon as I finish a section.  Well, if the time between posts is any indication, Section 29 was a monster section to complete.  I know, I know.  I previously stated that Section 26 was a behemoth.  Well, it was.  But, Section 29 was even more so.  After all, it took nearly twice as much time as Section 26 to complete.  But, wow, the plane is really revealing itself now!

The idea of Section 29 was to bring all of the components built up until this point together.  Here was my task:

I started by pulling out all of the parts and components needed to complete this section.  By the time I was finished, there were more parts stacked up for this section then what remained in for the remaining sections!  It's amazing how fast the kit's parts have depeleted.

Match drilling the upper drag fittings:

After cleco-ing the forward and aft sections of the forward fuselage together and match drilling the upper drag fittings, the instructions direct the builder to fabricate a wood block designed to slide between the spar sections.  The purpose is to allow the builder to turn the forward fuselage on its side so that the bottom riveting points can be accessed.  No problem!

For most of the build, I have worked solo.  I prefer the focus it provides along with the fact that I can work on my schedule.  Plus, any mistake is mine alone!  However, there are the few times in the build where it is just not possible to do it alone.  This was one of those points.  Thankfully, my neighbor graciously helped me buck the bottom rivets.  In spite of the number of different rivet call-outs, it went together quickly.

After I rotated the fuselage to its natural position, I noticed that I made a mistake from the previous section.  I had placed the shim on the firewall on top of the nutplate support.  Oops!  No problem, it was a simple matter of drilling out the rivets and re-doing it.

Now it's correct.

Here's the elevator control system in place.

The longeron twisting went well.  I expected it to be more tedious, but it turned out to be no problem.  Here it is, resting in place.

Top view of the upper longeron.

Next, it was time to fabricate the cowling hinges.

Now it was time to begin riveting the side skins.  It starts with the structural upper drag fittings.

Here are the wing fairing attach points.  It's easy to see the wing placement relative to the fuselage now!

With the sides completed, it was time to work on the seat back brace.  I was happy with how this came together.  It turned out looking great!

Section 29 finishes up by having the builder construct the side vents.  However, the instructions say to hold off on the final assembly until the end of Section 35.  The parts, nevertheless, are ready to be mounted when needed.

Section 30 will be where the front meets the back.  I can't wait to see the structure come together, finally!