Wheel Pants, cowling and aileron bracket problem

I finished assembling the main gear wheel pants. It took quite a bit of trimming the fiberglass to get them to fit correctly. My newest favorite tool is my dremel 🙂

I also started work on the cowling, trimming the back edge to get the correct spacing between my the cowling and my soon to arrive prop spinner. I’ll post pictures soon of the finished product, here are a few images of the work in progress.

I also constructed the flaps and ailerons and installed the wing tips. It worked well to use a ratchet strap to pull the wing tips into place, otherwise there was a large gap at the leading edge. I had to trim quite a bit off of the trailing edge of the wing tip in order for the aluminum wing end rib skin to fit. I have some micro and flox coming that I’ll mix with epoxy to smooth it out and make the fiberglass mate up with the aluminum.

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A bit of bad news. When trial fitting the ailerons I discovered 2 problems: 1) the wing brackets were about 1/2″ out of alignment with the aileron brackets and 2) the ailerons would bind up when I tried to move them. After much analysis I determined that Midwest had put the right aileron hinge bracket (hinge subassembly 9) on the left wing and the left aileron hinge bracket on the right wing. There is a slight bend to the bracket as shown on page 6 of the wing construction manual. The bend is so the hinge is perpendicular to the rear spar of the wing. Here is what it looks like wrong.

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The solution that Henry received from the factory was to carefully bend the bracket to square it up with the rear spar. With the help of one of my employees, Craig,  a heavy duty C-clamp, a huge crescent wrench and some misc steel, we were able to bend them correctly. All is now good.

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Seats, Firewall, Nose Gear & Engine

Since last time I built the 2 seats.

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I also purchased some grommet material from Aircraft Spruce and installed it in holes that wires and/or tubing go through. I want to make sure that I don’t have any chaffing of wires in the future.

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I finish installing the firewall items and also attached the front wheel.

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And then today I attached the engine. It was much easier than I anticipated and only took about 1/2 hour to do. It made it easy that I have a electric hoist in my shop.

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Back to Building

For most of September and October not much work was done since I was still waiting for my quick build fuselage and wings to be delivered. Henry from Midwest Sky Sports delivered the mostly assembled fuselage and wings on 10/20. Most of the behind the panel electronics have been installed and Adam plans on coming over with the panel and finish the installation.

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Since delivery I have assembled and mounted the main wheels.

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I also painted the luggage area behind the seats.

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Lately I’ve been mounting engine parts to the firewall. I’m almost done so hope to hang the engine before the end of  the month.

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I also have most of the rivet holes filled with epoxy and just need to sand them smooth.

Attach Main Canopy to Frame

I didn’t do much building in September since I’m still waiting for my quick build wings and fuselage to show up (hopefully soon). I’ve had plenty of time to do work so jumped ahead in the plans and started to work on my canopy. I did research into the sikaflex that is used to attach the canopy to the composite frame and it says that it is cured by the moisture in the air so I waited until this last week for the humidity to drop.

Talking to Henry at Midwest Sky Sports he recommended that I build a jig to hold the composite frame exactly square. So I screwed 4 wood brackets to my work table and then screwed the frame to the brackets making sure everything was level and square corner to corner. I elevated it so I could clamp the bottom of the frame while the sikaflex was curing.

IMG_0916I carefully taped the frame and plexiglass to keep the cleaner, primer and sikaflex off of the area not to be glued.

Here are some images of the plexiglass being dry fitted to the frame.

After I cleaned, primed and put sikaflex on the frame I lowered the canopy in place. I used some rubber tile spacers to maintain the correct thickness of sikaflex. Because of the expansion and contraction of plexiglass when it heats and cools you need to make sure that you have a thick enough layer of sikaflex between the composite frame and the plexiglass in order to handle the movement between them.

Per some recommendations from RV builders I didn’t use so much sikaflex to ooze out, but went back 24 hours later, took the tape and clamps off and then filled in any missing areas and used my finger to get a nice looking edge. I still have it clamped into place since it takes up to 3 days to fully cure.

Rudder Finished

Time: 7.5 hours

The rudder was a little more challenging. The top of the trailing edge wasn’t straight initially with the clecos installed (see 1st picture). I took the clecos out and reformed the top rib a little to get it  better.

Then the top fiberglass fairing had the wrong angle on the trailing edge. I trimmed it correctly with my angle grinder to get it to fit. I also used nut plates instead of rivnuts to mount the rudder strobe.

Turned out well in the end, but I’ll still need to use some superfill to fix the edge transition between the rudder skin and the top fiberglass fairing.