Sanded Gear Leg Fairings

I sanded down the glass I applied to the gear leg fairings so that the transition is smooth.  I’ll apply a couple of skim coats of epoxy, then the outside of these is ready for priming.  I still need to do a little work on the inside for mounting before that though.

Padded Fuel Line Under Forward Cover

The plans specify that the fuel lines are wrapped in foam where they pass under the forward center cover.  I used some adhesive weatherstripping under a couple of spots between the fuel line and the floor.

I also put some foam on the underside of the cover in the same spots to sandwich the fuel line when the cover is installed.  I also put a small piece where the aft angle is relieved just in case vibration would allow it to contact the fuel line.

New Fuel Pump, Wingtip Lights and Canopy Fairing

I got my replacement fuel pump from Andair, so I ran down to the hangar tonight to install it.  I pulled the old pump out and removed the fuel filter.  Since I’ve pulled fuel from both tanks, I wanted to clean the filter to remove any debris that might have made its way into the tank or fuel lines during construction.

Despite my best efforts to keep the tanks clean and sealed and clean the fuel lines before installation, there was a surprising amount of junk in the fuel filter.  I rinsed everything in a few ounces of gasoline.  It looked like mostly dust and small sandy particles, but there were a couple of small metal particles mixed in.  It’s good to get all of this out of the fuel filter before the first flight.

I lubricated the o-ring, safety wired the filter and reinstalled it on the pump.

Here’s the completed pump assembly with wires cut to length and a molex connector installed.

Finally, I reinstalled it in the plane and re-torqued all of the fittings.

Next, I installed the wingtip so I could get an idea how the light was aimed.  It looks pretty high, but I’ll need to level the plane to be sure.  I’m pretty happy with how bright this is.  Here’s the hangar across the way with the light on.

And here it is with the light off.

To get a better idea how the light is aimed, I pulled the plane out into the taxiway and put the tail up on my chair to get the fuselage level and then turned the light on.

I adjusted the light until the beam was roughly level.  You can see it does a pretty good job of lighting up the taxiway.

I walked to the far end of the taxiway to get an idea how much light was making it down there.  The picture doesn’t really capture it well, but it was uncomfortable to look directly at the light, even from this far away.

This picture of the shadows cast by my legs gives a pretty good idea how well the far end of the taxiway is lit up.

Finally, I resumed work on the canopy fairing.  I started with sanding the fairing down to be flush with the two layers of electrical tape and got the overall shape where I wanted it.  Next, I removed the upper layer of tape and sanded the fairing down again to be flush with the remaining tape.

After taping over the exposed parts of the canopy bubble, I mixed up some epoxy with black pigment and applied a sealer coat on the fairing.  After this cures, I’ll sand it down and apply a coat of primer.

Installed Rudder Pedal Links

I finished fabricating the rudder pedal links and then powder coated them matte black.  Here they are in my small toaster oven curing.

Finally, I installed these for good and cotter-pinned them.  I didn’t get a picture of it, but I also reinstalled the cotter pins in the top mounting bolts of the brake master cylinders and tightened the jam nuts.

Here’s the right side.  I tightened the rear bolt tight enough that the links won’t pivot relative to the cable fitting, so the only pivot point is at the rudder pedals.  Otherwise, the weight of the links and bolt would cause the aft joint to sag which would make it more likely to catch on something.  This way, it’s essentially just an extension of the cable fitting.

Before wrapping up for the evening, I installed the adel clamps that anchor the fuel tank vent lines to the bracket that ties the firewall angle to the longerons.  You can see the adel clamp in the lower left corner of this picture.  Getting these on was more of a pain than I expected.  I had to remove almost all of the padding on the footwell floor and lay across the spar on my back with my head pressed into the rudder pedals.  It took me nearly 30 minutes to install these two screws!

Riveted Final Skin and Adjusted Rudder Pedal Geometry

My buddy Andre stopped by this morning and helped me finish riveting the final skin on the aircraft.  I had left the edge of this skin unriveted so that I could easily get the canopy pins in and out during the final canopy fitting, but that’s done now.

I adjusted the brake master cylinders as far as they will go, but it wasn’t enough to prevent inadvertent brake activation.  I had another problem too that I didn’t realize last night.  With either of the rudder pedals all the way forward, the inner pedals hit the center heat box.  They don’t hit it square but instead rub along the side.  That’s clearly unacceptable, so I decided to fabricate shorter links.

I took 1 3/8″ out of each link which pulls the pedals back just far enough that they don’t contact the heat box.  This helped with the brake geometry as well since the rudder pedals are more tipped back (relative to my feet) with the shorter links.  I spent some time in the plane after making this change and I think this will work well.  Ignore the fact that there is only one link here.  There will be one on each side of the weldment flange and cable fitting to avoid introducing twisting forces into either one, but I just fabricated on per side for the trial fitting.

4 Hours for 4 Ounces

I’ve tried to take every opportunity to shed weight out of the airplane.  The canopy latch was a solid bar of aluminum that is 5/8″ thick, so it was fairly heavy (nearly 10oz).  I stopped by the TechShop to try to lighten the part a bit.  You can see here that I machined out most of the structure. It’s now under 6 oz, so I saved about 1/4 lb. This is the bottom side, so the top looks untouched.

I was having a hard time keeping the latch handle clamped down since it’s such an awkward shape.  While machining the inside edge, the part shifted and I almost cut through one of the most visible faces.  It took nearly 4 hours to do this, almost half of which was spent trying various methods to clamp the parts down to keep them from moving.  1 oz per hour is easily the most time I’ve spent trying to save weight on any part of the airplane.

I also masked off around part of the floor that needs to be painted to match the carpet since parts of it is visible around the seats.  I’ll paint this first thing in the morning…

Started Riveting Final Fuselage Skin

With the brake leak wrapped up, there’s no reason not to rivet the remaining fuselage skin.  I managed to get most of it done solo, but I’ll need a riveting partner to do the remaining rivets.  I’m not in any rush though since the open ends will make the final canopy fitting easier.

Fixed Brake Leak and Replaced Upper Oil Cooler Line

I’ve been absolutely swamped at work, so I’ve had very little time for the project.  Unfortunately, this is not going to improve anytime soon.  I did get a few new hoses from Brett at Bonaco, so I wanted to install them and see if this fixed my brake leak.  I installed the new brake lines and bled the system using the new brake bleeding system I picked up from Aircraft Tool Supply.  I pressurized the system and applied the parking brake.  As far as I can tell, the brake leak is fixed.

I also replaced the upper oil cooler hose.  The previous one I received from Bonaco had a problem that caused the hose to get twisted when I tightened it down.  Brett sent me a new hose for free, so I put that on and torqued everything down.

Installed Canopy Guide Blocks

I installed some canopy guide blocks I purchased from Buller Enterprises.  These will guide the canopy latches into the holes to help the canopy close squarely.

I also took the hard lines back off and added some caps.  I applied the parking brake and re-pressurized it.  This should tell me whether the leak is inside the parking brake or at the flare fitting.

Tried to Fix Brake Leak

I’ve had a tiny brake fluid leak on the output side of the parking brake valve.  It’s not much, but it has to be fixed.  I removed the hard lines from the parking brake down to the fittings that pass through the firewall, drained the excess fluid, and cleaned up the flares to see if I could make them seal properly.  I reassembled everything, filled and bled the brakes and unfortunately, the leak persisted.