Builders Break

Its been a while since I have posted. Between battling a three week long cold that just won’t let go and trying to stay rested for work, I haven’t gotten a lot of time to work on the project. Mentally I needed a bit of a builders break too. I wasn’t able to turn a complete blind eye on the project, so rest assured that I have done little things here and there since the last post. I didn’t blog about them because I felt foolish doing so little on my time off, and wasn’t admitting to it here. But today we got back to it in earnest. So lets catch you up.

In the last few weeks we finished the cooling inlet fairings. Last post we had one side of them laid up and they required a close out layup on the top aft side. Greg and I were able to do that during one of our short work sessions in between doses of DayQuill. These fairings turned out well, and expand the cooling air to twice inlet area before dumping it into the cowl. Exactly as planned.


Another exciting thing that happened in the last few weeks was I got the engine mount back from Dick. Better than new, still fits very well, and most importantly, its ready for flight. Can’t wait to get the engine back on the airframe.


The GPS antenna shelf that Jon made during our last official work session turned out not to work. When we were designing it, we failed to take into account the nose gear actuator cover. If we used Jon’s shelf, we wouldn’t have been able to get the cover off to service the nose gear. So I decided to split the location of the three antennas. I made a cardboard mold for the GTN650 antenna shelf. Laid up the shelf, added nut plates, drilled a relief hole for the TNC connector and bonded it into the inside of the nose.


Today, Eric was able to terminate the ends of the RG400 wire to connect antenna to GPS. I think the installation looks nice. It is out of the way, the antenna run for the GPS is short, and the antenna has a clear view of the sky.


Then it was time for some fun. Since the GTN650 now has its antenna hooked up, might as well power it on and see if the GPS can find itself. I am happy to report it can, even inside the Garaggio. Here you can see the GPS has a 3D position and is seeing 6 satellites.


I have also spent some time continuing on the baffle work. I have moved on to the inter-cylinder baffles. These are a pretty complex shape, and again I am doing them out of fiberglass. This involves first using tape to protect the engine and prevent the epoxy from bonding to the engine. It is a complex shape and the tape job takes a while.


Today I Was able to do the layups on this side as well as tape the other side and do the layup. Just as with taping, doing the layups themselves was a chore. It was a lot of small pieces of cloth bonded together and overlapped. I also used some UNI to make tight corners. I am not sure how the parts are going to turn out. I am hoping that I will be able to use them after some more work to them, but I am just not sure. After I get a bit further I will know more.


Baffles are a terrible job and I am not enjoying this task. The parts really don’t look nice, I am just hoping that they work. Maybe if I put some hammered texture spray paint on them they will look better. As Weasel says, we can fly ugly as long as they work.

Today, in addition to the 650 antenna, Eric wired a switch for the Integrated Back Up Battery System (IBBS). He also worked a little bit on cleaning up the existing wiring. He mounted the relays to the avionics shelf which will help us to route wires. He also mounted the forward stick panel connector. I think the wiring is going to clean up and secure well. I can’t wait.


Greg was also here today. He spent most of his day working on making a template for the stainless steel cover for the firewall. The original builder of the airplane had made an aluminum one already. Due to my many changes to the airplane, it was too small and needed significant modification. We are taking this opportunity and making ours out of stainless.

Greg started by using the old aluminum firewall and making changes as needed to fit the existing structure. This included adding holes for the aileron bearing, rudder pulley mounts, and enlarging the clearance around the engine mount extrusions. We will obviously have to add cardboard around the perimeter of this piece to make it an accurate template for the shape of the firewall. But we have a great start and eventually will end up with something we can use to trace out our stainless one.


I think that brings us mostly up to speed on the progress. I may not have to travel for work a few days this week and have quite a bit of time off next week. We are going to keep working on the firewall and engine baffles and installation. It would be nice to get the engine hung, hopefully for the last time, sooner than later.

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