7.8.1 Build wing crate trolley

I’ve got a pile of timber left over from dismantling the wing stand so I decided to use that to build the wing crate. I’ll be adding castors to my crate so from here on in I’ll call it a wing trolley.

Nothing particularly challenging tonight just follow the plans that Van’s give you…

First I made a cardboard template of the wing leading edge profile. Then I cut that out of the plywood using a jigsaw.

Then I cut several lengths of 2×4 to size using the chopsaw.

Once that was done I started assembling everything together as instructed. Finally I deviated from the drawings and tipped the trolley onto its size and fitted some 2×6 boards as base plates. I fitted 4″ castors to the base plates so I can transport the wings more easily.

Next I cut a carpet tile into 18mm strips and glued it to the surfaces that will contact the wings. I also used some duck tape to hold the carpet in place.

It’s done! It sure makes a nice change from all that metal work. I’ll have to wait for an unsuspecting visitor to pop over before I can put the wings in the trolley as I can’t (and won’t) lift the wings on my own. 😋

7.8.1 Dismantled the wing stand

My Dad happened to be over this evening and even cooked us all a lovely (chicken and rice) dinner. So what to do when someone has been so kind? Take advantage and ask for help with the airplane build of course!

I’m planning on building a wing trolley as per the plans to store the wings long term but I need the timber from the wing stand to do so. As the opportunity presented itself I asked Dad to help me unload the wings from the stands onto the benches and the floor temporarily until I build the trolley. Together we had the wings off in no time and Dad immediately started dismantling the frame too…

FYI, the wings are surprisingly light, I’d guess at around 20 to 30Kg as they are. Literally minutes later the frame that had served me so well for nearly two years was flattened…

Wow, the workshop looks big without that massive frame in there!

I’ll tidy up the left over bits and build the trolley later in the week! I thought about roping Dad in to it tonight but I didn’t want to overdo my cheekiness in one night!

Thanks Dad. Love ya! 😋

7.8.17 Finish autopilot wiring loom

I hate unfinished jobs so I was determined to finish this wiring loom today. The first job was to drill a hole in the wing rib for a nutplate to be fitted to act as local ground point.

Next I had to clean away some of the primer to make sure I got a very good ground contact. I did this by putting a bit of rolled up sandpaper in the cordless drill and running it for a few seconds. Then I dimpled the rib and nutplate and riveted it on.

I then fitted mate-n-lok pins to the ends of the wires and labelled all the circuits using the label machine and clear heat sink tubing. The open barrel crimp tool I’m using is rubbish so I ordered a better one from eBay.

Next I fitted grommets to each of the holes in the wing ribs where the wires would pass and then threaded the new wiring loom through. Finally I fitted the mate-n-lok connector.

At the other end I fitted the plug into the autopilot servo and screwed the ground wire to the rib.

Sadly there is no way to test my wiring until the main system has been fitted so fingers crossed that my first attempt was halfway decent.

Finally, I scribbled all the differences on my wiring diagram so I can print an updated sheet for the aircraft owners manual.

I actually really enjoyed the wiring. It made for a nice break from metalwork.

7.8.17 Autopilot wiring loom

The primed parts are still drying so I can’t do anything that creates dust or debris. For that reason I decided to make a start on the wiring loom for the Garmin GSA 26 autopilot servo. I’d already planned the wiring loom and the circuits needed. I’m going with a manual Aileron trim so I won’t be wiring the Autotrim feature into this servo.

I will also make this servo the end of the CANBUS circuit so that is less work too. In the end I only need the following circuits…

  • GMC307 Autopilot control panel – Shielded twisted pair
  • CANBUS network – Sheilded twisted pair
  • 14 volt power supply – Red 22 AWG
  • Ground – Locally grounded at airframe using Black 22 AWG
  • Autopilot disconnect – White 22 AWG

See, all pretty simple so I had a go. After a few hours I had the starts of my first wiring loom.

The instructions say that the green wires should be screwed to the casing of the plug but there are no screws supplied in the kit. Reading the tiny print says ‘builder supplied’!!! Aaargh, another tiny order from LAS then I guess.

7.8.18 – 21 Prime aileron brackets and fairings

The weather was good today so I had to make the most of that by diving into the workshop.

I quickly washed the parts for the right wing and then hung them up to dry. I then mixed some PR30B wash primer and let that sit for 45 minutes as per the instructions. Meanwhile, I setup the spray booth lighting, power and air. I also set up the gun. I then took the parts two by two into the booth, primed them and brought them back in to the workshop where it was warmer and they would dry faster.

Once the parts were primed with PR30B I left them to dry for an hour while I had a spot of lunch.

After lunch, I got back at it and primed the parts with the PR143 sealing primer.

That’s all I can do today. The workshop is warm enough to dry the parts in a couple of days so I guess I need to find something else to do for a while.

7.8.2 Scarf inboard right skin, drill flap brace & clean left parts for priming

My sister popped over this afternoon and wanted to check on progress of the build. As I was giving her a tour of the workshop I accidentally found tools leaping into my hand.

First, quick task was to scarf the right inboard skin where it overlaps with the outboard skin. This needs to be done the same way the top skins were done to help airflow in that area.

I fitted the skins to the frame several times to check fit and adjust. In the end, it looked good.

After that I drilled the flap brace to the skins and then dismantled everything.

My sister also helped me clean all the parts in the Alkaline cleaner and hung them on the washing line in the workshop to dry ready for priming.

Overall a good session, even more so as it was unexpected.

7.8.2 Debur right outboard skin and dimple both left & right skins

I had the most fabulous morning going for a walk with Karma while the kids were at School. I treated her to a birthday lunch in a wonderful canal side restaurant. Lovely.

After lunch Karma sat reading in the workshop while I worked in the workshop. It’s real nice having company in the ‘shop.

I removed the blue vinyl from the outboard skin using my tried and tested rolling method.

After that it was another round of deburing the holes, edges and scuffing the priming side. Nothing interesting but all necessary.

After Karma left my brother popped round for a chat so, as is the rule, I put him straight to work helping me dimple both the left and right outboard skins. Very lucky he popped over as these skins are definitely too big for me to handle solo. Thanks bro!

7.8.2 Debur left outboard skin & fabricate pitot bracket

It’s new years day and everyone is recovering, chilling and preparing for what this year might hold. So what better way to start the year than by spending a few hours in the workshop.

Not a lot to report, I debured the left outboard skin which takes forever! It’s a tedious job but its got to be done. Nothing new here, just the same ol’ debur holes, edges and scuff for primer.

After that I decided to create a support bracket for the pitot mast out of scrap aluminium I had left over. I cut a piece on the band saw then finished it on the 3M wheel. I really wanted a neat fit on the bracket so I spent a bunch of time thinking about the best order to drill it. I settled on clamping it to the rib, fitting the pitot and wing skin then drilling the bracket. I cleco’d it in place then used the very long drill bit to drill the rib to bracket hole.

I was very pleased with the outcome. The SafeAir and Garmin instructions don’t require this but the Dynon instructions do. It seems to make sense to have it to take some of the stress off the skin.

7.8.2 & 19 Prep bottom skins and flap brace

The instructions are starting to get very brief now and it takes more thinking ahead on my part than simply trusting the plans. A good example of this is the parts that are to be fitted to the rear spar. The instructions simply say “match drill, debur, dimple and rivet x part to the rear spar”. There are three steps where it says the same thing for the Aileron fairing, Aileron hinge brackets and flap brace.

Once I started fitting the parts to the spar it immediately becomes obvious that I shouldn’t blindly follow the instructions.

For example, the flap brace needs to be trimmed to fit. Not only is there no mention of that task in the instructions but the trim marks on the flap brace itself are wrong too. Van’s provide trim marks but if I’d have used those as a guide the end rivet hole would have been way too close to the edge. Instead I offered the part up, marked the trim line and cut. Then repeated until it was just right.

I fitted all the remaining parts and match drilled them. Then I dimpled the Aileron fairings.

That was easy enough but it was clear that I will have to rivet the parts in a very specific order or I could easily catch myself out. I think the final fitting order will be outboard Aileron hinge, Aileron fairing and then inboard hinge bracket and, finally, the flap fairing.

While prepping the flap brace I realised the instructions are simply wrong here. They say to dimple this part but I could see that wasn’t right because the flap hinge fits to it later on so it can’t be dimpled. To check I did some research on the internet and I was right to doubt the instructions. The fairing needs to be countersunk, not dimpled, so that means it needs to be match drilled to the bottom skin now. That also means I need to prep the bottom skins now and then match drill.

So after I removed the blue vinyl I deburred the holes and edges of the right inboard skin. Then I scuffed and dimpled the skin. I dimpled the skin to make sure it was a perfect fit. Then I clecod on the skin to the frame and flap brace.

Bah! The right inboard skin doesn’t cover the entire flap brace which means I’ll have to do the outboard skin as well! Grrr!

I made a start on the left inboard skin but only got half way through prepping it before it was time for dinner so I will finish it next time.

Overall a good few sessions in the shop and an important lesson learned. The instructions are more of a rough guide now. It’s up to me to think ahead and plan properly. I like that.

Fitted pitot controller and Autopilot servo

I’ve had all this bits for the pitot and autopilot servo out on the workbench for a few weeks now. We finished work a bit earlier today so I found myself with a few spare hours and I couldn’t resist fitting the parts to the wing.

The wing has a series of bays. Some of those bays have inspection panels for inspecting the aircraft each year. One of those bays has the Aileron Bellcrank in and some people put their AoA/pitot controller there too. I decided to put mine in the next bay along. However, there is no access panel in that bay so it would be impossible to get a screwdriver in there in the future. So I decided to fit some nut plates to the pitot/AoA controller so that I could screw the controller from the access bay and remove it in future if need be. Nothing complicated, drilled nutplates, riveted nutplates and fitted to the rib.

Next I fitted the Garmin GSA 28 autopilot servo to the right wing. This was like a classic mechano set, lots of metal parts, some nuts, bolts and washers. After a bit of head scratching I got it all fitted.

I had quite a lot of difficulty fitting the brass bushing inside the white bellcrank. The first thing I noticed is that one of the bolts was bowed. Luckily, I had a spare so I replace that. Then I noticed that the brass bushing was fouling inside the bellcrank. A bit of sandpaper wrapped around a brill bit fixed that too!

I know I will need to dismantle the main arm between the autopilot servo and the bellcrank but at least all the parts are off the workbench and safe for the time being.

Not many pictures today’s but that was still nearly 3 hours (fun) work!

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