Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Sunday, May 31, 2009

7.5 hrs
Major progess on the firewall.
Fabricate 601Z aux fuel pump attach doubler.
Finish shaping and match drilling all firewall parts.
Machine countersink all parts.

Clean and prime.

Prime aileron push tubes.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


6 hrs
Deburred firewall and firewall parts.
Fabricated 601J angles and 601 P& E spacers.
Clecoed together and started match drilling.

Drove up to Breakaway Park this morning to go a rotary engine fly-in. Jim Darrah's Dad, Bob, is building a Sea Wynd and putting a Mazda into it. He's been building for quite a while. We're all going to Oshkosh together. This was like a very short warm-up.
Here's Tracy Hallock's writeup.

Friday, May 29, 2009

2.2 hrs
spent 1 hour pushing conduit into the right wing, messing with left tank, etc. Tank misbehaving. Only evidence of leak is at BNC (still!), but leaks when BNC closed off. I had previously proved that BNC was the ONLY leak by sealing it with a baloon. Argghhh.

.7 to misc to disassemble the flap/aileron construction table. Glad to have that out of the way. Well, actually, it's really in the way in a different part of the garage. Need to find someone to take it.

1.2 hrs spent storing fuse part bags. That wraps it up. Also spent a little time deburring the firewall. Fuse is started!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

3.7 hrs, 4 rivets
Finally riveted the aileron stops on to the inboard aileron brackets. Those will be the last wing rivets for a while, until I start working on the tips.

Started running Van's conduit into the right wing. Got about a third of it done, and I have serious blisters on my right hand. Tip: Start from the outboard end, or even better, start in the middle and work both ends out. It amounts the same work But starting from the inboard end, the entire conduit has to be run through the wing walk area. And it's not easy to work in there.

The tricky part is measuring how much to leave loose on the inboard end. I haven't figured that out yet. It's more than a foot, but less than ten.

Started storing the fuselage bagged parts. Got all the rivets stored. Had to buy new Stanley storage boxes (from Amazon). Target had stopped carrying them, and I couldn't find them anywhere else out of 6 likely stores in Austin.

The left fuel tank still leaks. The fuel cap was leaking, and I think that's taken care of , but there's still something else. It's slow enough that the tank is sensitive to pressure and temperature.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

1.5 hrs
Remove ailerons.
Drill aileron stops. Remove, deburr and prime.
Torque 3 of 4 right wing tie down bar bolts. Couldn't reach the fourth from the inside. Need the girl to help.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Flaps done!

1.7 hrs, 134 rivets
Riveted the flap trailing edges. They look pretty good. Again used. -3.5 rivets instead of the -3's called for in the drawings.
Bolted one of the flaps to the wing. But there's nothing to hold it in place so it's just hanging there. Definitely not right.
I haven't finished the aileron stops yet, they are being held by one cleco. But that cleco interferes with the flaps, so getting that cleco out of the way is the next task.
After that, prime, paint, and assemble the 917 aileron pushrods.

Monday, May 25, 2009

8.2 hrs, 8 rivets
Worked on aileron attach and bellcrank hardware. It was a lot of work.
Cut both sets of aileron pushrods.
Drill holes for 917 pushrod endcaps.

Cut, prime, and assemble 918 push rods. There are four rivets per pushrod. These are really hard to do right. The first ones I did look like crap. I got better by the second one. No way I'm drilling the ugly ones out. Those pushrods aren't coming apart.

Install both bellcrank sets.

Install ailerons. Clamp ailerons with aileron alignment jig and tune 918 pushrods.

Tighten 918 jam nuts.

All of this work takes few words to describe. But there's a lot of details. Like trimming the bolts where the 918 pushrods connect to the aileron. Not to mention all of the tiny washers to be installed in tiny spaces. After dropping them 10 times, you finally figure out the best way to do it. Pay close attention to the nuts and washers. They are NOT all the same, and there are a couple of places where it matters. So if you used the wrong parts in another of the five AN3 aileron hardware spots, you'll get to go look at all of your to find where you used the thin washer and nut you need on the last place you'll be working.

[edit] Aileron travel looks good as far as I can tell. In the up direction, it has way more travel than required. Like 40 degrees or so when it hits the stop. There's a little interference from the push tube rivets against the spar right at the stop. But the table on 15-2 of the manual sez that the max travel is 32 degrees, so this should get limited a bit more (by fabbing new stops?) I guess up travel gets limited somehow so the stop never gets used in practice. The stop is there to prevent the bellcrank from flipping over, but other things have to go wrong before the aileron can ever get to that point.

In the down direction, the travel is close to the limits required by 15-2. I did a crude measurement of 15 to 17 degrees, which are the min and max travel limits. It appears to be limited by the short push tube rubbing against the cutout in the rear spar. As the aileron is pushed down, the bell crank is rotating outboard, and the push tube is also trending outward. At the limits of the travel, it starts hitting the spar. But there's no point worrying about it until the whole system is put together. Then the real behaviour will be be determined.

Also setup the left tank for leak testing. Tied on the balloon and tried to inflate it. The fuel cap appears to leak a lot! Taped off the fuel cap and blew the balloon up. So far, so good. I think the BNC leak is resolved.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

4 hrs
Proseal flap trailing edges and cleco to table.

Applied more proseal to BNC connector on left tank. Hopefully this does the job.
Installed tank cover with the screws.

Started on aileron bell cranks.
Fabricated needed spacers. This took a while, since I kept cutting them too short. And it's really hard to get the 3/8" spacer good and square.

Also reamed the left bellcrank brass pivot to 1/4". The way that worked was clamping the pivot in the drill press jaws, and then holding a 1/4" drill bit with vise grips. Then turned the drill bit by hand very slowly. Once it's seated properly, it makes a nice ribbon of brass as it works on through.

Discovered that the top aileron bracket has to be removed in order to get the pivot bolt into it. But I can't quite reach, since the holes in the ribs and spars are too small. Never mind, there are nutplates on the other side. Duh!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

2.3 hrs
Spent today preparing for the proseal tasks. First up was the left tank. Got all the old proseal cleaned off the tank and cover. Those are ready to go.

Trimed the right flap trailing edge wedge, and dressed on the scothbrite wheel.
Scuffed both trailing edge wedges, and then cleaned up with MEK.
Cleaned both flap trailing edge areas prior to prosealing.

Also charged 1.5 to misc for demolishing the fuselage shipping box. There's a bunch of staples in those things. Stored as much of the wood as I could, which was most of it. The staples ripped it up a bit, but there's still a lot of usable material. Also cleaned up the shop real good to get ready for fuse work.

It'll be nice to be done with the flaps.
Tomorrow is proseal madness.

Friday, May 22, 2009

2.3 hrs, 114 rivets
Finished riveting right flap bottom skin/LE skin/spar.
Riveted bottom skin to spars.

Now it's time for the trailing edges. Need to get the left fuel tank cleaned and ready to go for resealing. After that, I'll mix up a batch of proseal, and get all three projects in progress (both flap trailing edges, and the left tank.

Got to fly yesterday. 1 hr, and 1 landing in a Piper Dakota. It's a difficult transition, the Dakota is faster and heavier than anything I've flown, and it takes a while to adjust the traffic pattern to account for it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2.0 hrs, 83 rivets
Finished riveting the right flap top leading edge/top skin/spar rivets. Then drove all the top skin to main rib rivets. I think I'm finally getting better at those skin rivets. These look pretty good. Just in time to be done with the wings.

Clecoed the bottom skin to the spar/leading edge skin and started setting those rivets.
The flaps are loosing their charm. They're taking a LOT of time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2.1 hrs, 128 rivets
Finished the bottom skin/spar riveting for the left flap, and then set all of the bottom skin pop rivets. With the wedge clecoed in, it's nice and straight. There's a few riveting hiccoughs, but the flap is going to work just fine.

With just the trailing edge to finish on the left, picked back up on the right. Started riveting the top skin, leading edge, spar joint. Got most of that done before I decided enough was enough.

Monday, May 18, 2009

1.5 hrs, 46 rivets
Started riveting the left flap leading edge skin and bottom skin to the spar. This is some of the most difficult riveting to date. The problem is getting good alignment on a bucking bar, blind (of course), in a confined space, with no good way to hold the bucking bar. In spite of that, the bottom looks better than the top. I think dialing the pressure down a bit is working better. I was using just a bit less than 40 PSI, but now it's down around 30. It takes a bit longer, but it seems to be more gentle on the surface.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

5.3 hrs, 204 rivets
Cleco LE skins and tops skins to assemblies. Realized I forgot to strip the plastic from the inside, so disassembled it, stripped the plastic, and reassembled.

Rivet leading edge skins to nose ribs.
Rivet left top skin/LE skin to spar.

Rivet top skin to main ribs. This requires creative bucking bar techniques. Usually, that involves a grinder and tape!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

20 years

6 hrs, 85 rivets
Busy day. Started a bike ride to beat an approaching cold front, but only got about a mile down the road before the rain started. That's OK, spent the rest of the day with the kit. Worked on the flap skeletons and alternated with unpacking the fuse kit. 83 of the rivets were -4's . Got a serious forearm workout. Had a take a break after a bunch of them, and used that time to work on the fuse kit.

Finished riveting left flap main ribs to spar.
Dimpled right flap skins.
Riveted nose rib assemblies to right flap spar.
Riveted main ribs to right flap spar.
Riveted nutplates to both inboard ribs.
Riveted flap bracket to both inboard ribs and angles.
Finished unpacking fuse kit.
Inventoried all major parts, and bags. All subkits present and accounted for.

Stored major parts. Now just need to inventory and store the bags. This will take a while, and will require a couple more Stanley organizers. There's enough rivets already to build two more airplanes.

Clecoed top skins to flap ribs.

And the most important event today?
We have a 20 year old daughter!

The beer cart chic turns 20!

Friday, May 15, 2009

4.3 hrs 23 rivets
Finish riveting nose rib assemblies to left flap spar.
Cleco and start riveting main ribs to left spar. Need to keep up the pace on the flaps so I can get them into storage.

Continued unpacking fuselage. The shipping crate is now empty. The cat will be upset when I tear it down. She spent the past two days in that crate, waiting for me to come home and play with the packing paper.

Started checking the inventory. Got about half of the loose subkits checked and stored. Some of larger pieces will have to live inside until needed, nothing like airplane skins scattered around the house. And I wanted to keep the steel gear legs inside to minimize moisture exposure, yeah, that's it!

So far nothing missing. All the big items seem appear to be there. It's a marvel how they pack all those subkits into one box. Haven't even opened the sub-box that has all the small subkits. That's going to take a couple of days.

Thursday, 5/14/09
.7 hrs 20 rivets
Did a little bit before going to work. Finished riveting right nose rib assemblies.

Cleco nose rib assemblies to left spar and start riveting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fuselage kit arrived!

3 hrs, 17 rivets
Countersink left trailing edge wedge. All the drilling is now done for the flaps. Still need to countersink the left skins.
Rivet right leading edge rib/bracket assemblies. Decided to leave the nose ribs with just alodine as a primer. If it's good enough for the main spar....

Started unpacking the fuselage. Got a lot of help from the FAA inspector!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

1.4 hrs.
Washed, MEK'd, and primed the flap spars and main ribs.

T-minus 1 on the fuselage kit. Still have flap final assembly to go.

Monday, May 11, 2009

1.3 hrs
Countersunk the left flap trailing edge wedge.
Dimpled left main skins.

Wanted to clean and prime the main ribs and spars, but had to get the pool back in operation. Tore down the filter yesterday, and new filter parts arrived today. But that's done, and shouldn't interfere with building again for a while.

T-minus 2 days to fuselage!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

4.7 hrs, 7 rivets.
Dimple flap leading edge skins.
Countersink flap spars.
Cleco one nose rib assembly and rivet.
Dimple ribs.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

4 hrs
Finish deburring flap main ribs.
Deburr nose ribs, brackets, and spacers, 906 parts.
Dimple nose ribs.
Alumaprep, alodine, and prime nose ribs, brackets, spacers, 906 parts.

Friday, May 8, 2009

1.5 hrs
Finished deburring the flap skins. Started and finished deburring the leading edge skins. Had already done the edges, so it was just a matter of cleaning up the holes. Should finish deburring tomorrow, and then start on dimpling.

Got a call from FedEx today. The fuselage kit is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

1.6 hrs
Finished edge deburring flap skins. Started deburring holes next. Got 3 skins done.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

1.5 hrs
Sanded the edge of all of the flap skins, got three polished up on the scotch brite wheel. Also stripped plastic. It wasn't working very well, so I had to get out the soldering iron and recut some of the lines.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finished match drilling the left flap, including the 906B bracket and 906A angle.
Drilled the inboard rib for the 1/4 hole and nutplate.

Disassembled the flap. Started stripping plastic from the left skins. Next step is deburring everything.

Monday, May 4, 2009

2.4 hrs
Remove cover from left tank. That was difficult, but avoided wrecking the cover plate and the inboard rib. Did bend the fuel pickup just a little. I think I'll make a new one and that entails removing the anti rotation bracket and its rivets.

Started cleaning proseal off the parts. This is gonna take a while, and will involve scotchbrite pads and lacquer thinner.

Then commence with left flap preassembly. Need to get as much done as possible, because life will be interfering with build time this week. And a fuselage should be arriving sometime (but still haven't heard from Partain Transport).

Cleco top skin on and weight it down.

Insert trailing edge wedge. Fretted about keeping the other wedge in the right place so that it correctly acts as a spacer. But it seems to just work. Put the spacer wedge in first. Then start the wedge to be used in assembly (working wedge) with the spacer wedge fit as per the drawings. Slide the working wedge in slowly, making sure it stays lined up with the trailing edge as you go. This seems to guarantee the spacer wedge will stay centered in the back V of the working wedge. When you have it all the way in, the spacer wedge should be right were it's supposed to. It it's not, I guess there would be kinks in the trailing edge and the working wedge would have to stick out somewhere along the trailing edge.

Cleco nose skins on. Dropped one of the small punches. Of course it landed just wrong, snapping the tip off. So I ground a point on one of the 3/32 punches. Getting much better at putting those nose skins on. Just in time to not have to do any more.

Match drill trailing edge and cleco to table. That's the last time I have to use that drilling angle guide.Final drill top ribs/skin, spar, nose skin,nose ribs.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Right flap construction

5.4 hours

Started today by gluing and screwing the two set of poplar 1x3's together. This was to make a nice flat board for holding the flaps down. .5 charged to misc..

Cleco upper skin to right flap assembly and weight down.
Edge deburr all flap nose skins.
Cleco nose skins to right flap assembly.

Insert both trailing edge wedges into right flap to establish proper spacing.
Match drill trailing edge to table.

Final drill upper skin to ribs.
Final drill nose skins and main skins to spar and nose ribs.
Cleco 906B plate to inboard rib.
Match drill to rib and 906A angle.
Disassemble right flap.
Drill 1/4 hole in inboard rib for 906B attach.
Drill holes for platenut attach.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

4.1 hrs
Started flap construction in earnest.

Drill and cleco bottom skins to table.

Drill 5/8 holes in table for cleco drop through. Through blind luck, managed to get the long 2x4's in the construction table in almost the perfect place. They could be right along the edge, and they wouldn't interfere with anything there. But the jig weighs alot, and I wanted to inset the 2x4's a bit to provide a good way to grab the assembly for moving it. As you can see from the picture, the right inset is just between the two 5/8 holes that have to be drilled. I was a bit close to one, but it worked well enough.

Clamp and drill 906A angles and 906C spacers to spars. Now these parts make sense.

Cleco bottom skins to flap spars. Cleco ribs to bottom skins and final drill. Flipped the assembly over and the clecoes fit perfectly on the table. The flaps seem to be a bit easier and more forgiving than the ailerons.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Flaps started.

2.5 hrs
Reinstalled the right tank. Just attached with half the screws and bolts.
Removed the left tank so that the BNC leak can be resolved.
Start removing access cover from the left tank. Used proseal on it, and it's a pain to remove.

Started the flaps in earnest.
Clecoed and final drilled flap nose rib/bracket assemblies.

The clecoed nose ribs and 8 outboard most ribs to flap spars and final drilled.