Today was the last day of reserve, and I actually got some flying this time around. I flew back from Mexico City this morning, and it was the clearest I have ever seen it over Mexico. We got to see a lot of the desolate Mexico country side including a expansive tour of the “Barranca del Cobre” (Copper Canyon). It is an expanse of 6 main canyons in Chihuahua, Mexico, many of which are deeper and larger than the Grand canyon. It was quite a site, the best part is I got done early and home to the Garaggio by 3 PM.
I couldn’t wait, as I knew that there were homecoming gifts waiting for me. While I was in Phoenix I got the delivery confirmation for a few things. Bet you can’t tell what the odd shaped box contains!
Thats right, my Catto prop was delivered. The smaller package is the second revision of a plastic instrument panel from Laser Logic. Not pictured is a couple of boxes from Aircraft Spruce with bulk metal angle to be able to continue working on engine and electrical tasks. Fun things to come home to.
As any builder would have to, I started in on my gifts as if I were Ralphie, from, “A Christmas Story.” Though when I tore through the packaging, I was quite happy it wasn’t a Red Ryder Bee-Bee Gun! Once you have the prop, you simply have to bolt it up and see what the airplane looks like with its thrust club mated to the business end of the engine! Catto makes a sexy prop, and if the Garaggio Ez looked like a 10 before hand, its easily a 12 now!
After admiring the prop in its proper location for a while, even though it wasn’t adequate time, it was time to then check fit of the new instrument panel. While the first plastic proof of the panel didn’t fit, proof number two fit perfectly and had the changes I asked for. The blue color was a coincidence. It is the protective covering on the plexiglass panel. I had been thinking about what color we are going to paint it and thought a blue matching the upholstery, and now prop :), and seeing the panel in blue is confirming my thoughts. I think it will look really good. (Please disregard the wrinkles in the upholstery, the seat covers are not glued or fastened down as they are still undergoing tweaking.)
Admittedly, I didn’t fasten the panel into the airplane since we had already proofed the mounting screw holes. I will do this before we go forward to the final panel. But I was too excited to get started on the next steps.
This past week, I received a phone call and a few emails from SteinAir, who is wiring up my avionics. They have started the process and need final harness measurements from me as well as this panel. It is certainly exciting to think that sooner than later, I will be able to see the panel all wired up and even lit up. In order to get them all the things and data they need, I have to do a few things.
First, I added a stiffener to the forward side of the instrument panel. This 1″x1″ aluminum angle will give some rigidity to the panel as well as serve as the mounting location for an avionics shelf that will sit forward of the panel. So I match drilled it to the existing holes in the panel and clecoed it in position.
Then I had to fabricate angles to mount the GTN650 tray. This is just a couple of 3/4″x3/4″ angles that will get riveted to the panel and have nutplates in them to fasten the tray. I will work up a way of supporting the forward (connector) end of the tray soon enough. I didn’t get the mounting angles done in the time I had, but we are almost there. Here you can see the panel ‘business’ side and the forward side of the panel with everything clecoed in place.
Tomorrow I should get this completed and have at least a mock-up of the avionics shelf. With those pieces done, and some measurements of wiring paths, I should have all the things SteinAir needs to finish their part of the wiring. I have a meeting with them at their shop on Monday. I can’t wait to sit down with them to see what they have done, and ensure that all our plans are going to work.