Monday, December 5, 2022

Busy Busy Busy

 It’s been quite some time since I have worked on the Plane. Our lease on the office was coming up for renewal at the end of September and given the declining state of the downtown core, as well as the declining state of our office building the writing was on the wall for our need to move to a new office.

So…I’ve been hard at work searching for new office space, and then designing all of the architectural and electrical for the new space. The designing, drafting and attending to the new construction has taken a considerable amount of time and I’ve not been able to spend any time on the plane. Add to that we need to move the office and get it all set up and running has been quite an amount of work as well. 

That said…Hard work has paid off in dividends because I think our new offices are fantastic. I will get back into the swing of things with the plane now with the Christmas break. Lots to do to finish the cockpit panel off and then I can dive into the canopy. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Fitting the vent mounts behind the instrument panel

 I need to trim the bottom flange of the instrument panel to allow the vent mount to sit flush behind.


Friday, June 10, 2022

Cutting air vent mounts -

 Using the paper template that I have test fitted, I cut the vent mounts out from scrap 0.063" aluminum sheet. Now comes the incredibly difficult and tricky part. I have purchased the standard SteinAir vents that are of similar size to the stock Van's vents. Well...they are actually a bit larger than stock.  Drilling the very large 2 3/4" holes required for the vents is not easy. There are various tools that can be used....A fly cutter, a large diameter "wood" hole saw, but these are not precision tools. How do I know....well I wrecked a couple vent mounts. Good thing I have a lot of 0.063" scrap sheet (Thanks aircraft spruce). 

The best scenario in my opinion in the absence of a proper one piece 2 3/4" metal cutting hole saw is to attempt to cut the hole using many drill holes, or a unibit.

  There is no question that this results in considerably more work as the hole has to be shaped using files...but the hole is fairly precise but best of all, incredibly clean.

With both vent holes cut, I am now ready to begin fitting to the instrument panel. As you can see the vents interfere slightly with the instrument panel. I will need to trim a very small amount of material from the panel to allow the vents to sit flush.

The vents now sit perfectly within the vent mounts....Now I need to begin work on placing the mounts so they fit behind the instrument panel. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Made new F-7103C attach angles - 3 hours

 Well. Since I am sidelined on mounting the canopy frame until new parts arrive. I moved back onto fixing the F-7103C instrument panel attach angles. A while ago I followed the “instructions” a little too closely and fluted the angle, rather than cutting relief holes. Well…Lesson learned, This time I cut relief holes instead. 

Didn’t take too long and I had these sent into place in the correct location. I was able to mark out the correct locations of the panel mounting holes and determine the proper location for the flutes that I will now cut! 

I used the firewall reliefs as a template on how to cut these. Initial cuts were made using aviation snips. Then some work with the files and some 3M scotchbrite on the dremel and we were done. 

As you can see the pieces fit very well and the bend is smooth. I then fit the top deck skin on, checked fitment and marked the top mounting holes, as well as drilled the instrument canopy mounting holes. 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Installing the slider support rod and slider guide - 4 hours

 It’s painful to drill into a perfectly good piece of painted material. I opened the existing hole in the luggage bulkhead to accept the slider support threaded rod. That’s the easy part.

On to the fairly tricky part. Setting up for, and drilling the the slider canopy guide. There is dimensions for the plastic spacer, that’s easy enough, however getting those holes set up correctly for the slider canopy frame is a bit tricky. Drilling the bolt hole in the space itself starts by a #40 drill. Then I have to basically use a palm drill to carefully transfer those holes into the steel frame. Not all the way through….but enough to give a guide. After many checks and little bit of creative drill work, I was happy with the placement of #40 pilot holes in the steel frame.


Slowly I opened up the holes to 3/16” with reamers. A little bit of primer on the bare metal and we are good to go. Fit is looking pretty decent. 

So, back to the spacer…I purchased the Flyboys supertracks mod a while back. Flyboys notes that the slider spacer can be made from a long piece of spacer from an RV8. Well….A while back I had ordered these pieces. Since I sort of messed up drilling the original spacer I decided I will tackle modifying the long spacer. 

This basically means cutting off the factory curved end and rebinding it to the new template. Well good lord that ended up being a pain. I used a piece of MDF and cut a arc bend in it. Clamped the spacer on and used a mallet to put a new bend in the spacer. Well…. That didn’t work well. Think it might be the rather thin MDF template, but the spacer has a slight angled bend off to the side. Doesn’t sit flat on the table. Well forget trying to get it straightened out. I just need to re-do things with the factor spacer, allow an extension piece. The saving grace is I have a long piece of 0.64” of aluminum fir the guide. So I can splice the spacer, but make the top guide one piece. 


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Initial positioning of the Canopy slide Rail - 2 hours

 I want to mark out the positioning of the fuselage rivets on the C-762 Canopy slide rail. This will help ensure that I can properly locate the bolt mounting holes between the rivet holes. 

I began to mark and drill the bolt mounting holes to #40…..once I had them all drilled. I realized I made a mistake. The spacer and guide will need to move a bit back and forth to allow the canopy slider frame to sit in the right position. I should have waited to locate and drill the bolt holes once I have the spacer positioned correctly. 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Started the installation of the engine mount and slider canopy frame - 2 hours

Two big pieces taking up a large amount of space in my basement bedroom is the engine mount and the slider canopy. I am motivated to get these set into place so they are “out of the way”. Also installing the engine mount is fairly important as I need it in place so I can install the Grove Brake Reservoir. The reservoir is slightly larger than the Vans stock unit so I will need to make some adjustments. Only way to sort that is to get the engine mount on.

The engine mount went on (initially) a tad easier than I thought it would. I though long and heard about how I was going to hold the engine frame onto the fuselage. I thought of clamps, or using an elaborate setup with threaded rods through the firewall recess. At the end of the day, none of this is needed. 

With some help..I found that the top two mounting holes lined up extremely well with the factory pre-drilled holes in the bulkhead/engine mounts. Only one hole (along the top) needs to be drilled as a pilot hole. This is easily done without the engine mount on the plane.

Now I can temporarily install the engine mount sliding it into the correct location. With some help from another person securely holding the frame. I was able to accurately locate the next top hole.

So I slowly started to open those two holes to #19 to allow the installation of a couple small #8 bolts that I have. Next I upsized them to AN3. I will hold off doing any more until I can finish drilling the rest of the bolts along the bottom. 

Next I want to start in on the slider guide and spacer. The plans have you bend the tab at the top of the fuselage to allow the slider guide to sit properly. Gezzz its painful to bend a perfectly nice piece of the shiny fuse. 

I began to mark out the guide and spacer positioning. This allows me to then note rivet positions on the canopy slider spacer. I want to ensure that the mounting holes are going to be centered