Renewed Energy

Time: 4 Hours

This last week I traveled to Orlando, Florida to attend the NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) annual convention. This is the largest aviation convention in the world and the 7th largest overall convention.

I attended various classes on several different topics including weather advances and fatigue management. Along with classes, seminars and presentations there is also a very large static display at the airport showing all the latest and greatest business aircraft.

Another thing the week did was to give me some down time away from the RV-8 build and Hangar to regroup and renew my build spirit after the huge mistake I made last week. So I had the new drive and ordered a new firewall and had it shipped for an arrival this weekend. So after running all the errands this morning I got in the Hangar to start the big job of disassembling the firewall.

If you remember all the parts on the firewall were riveted to it first before being riveted and ProSealed to the forward floor. I decided to leave the bottom support of the firewall attached to the forward floor so I don’t have to remove the old ProSeal. I looked at all the rivets and think I can get to them after the firewall is placed back into its position. So that row of rivets was the first up on the drill out schedule.

So now that the firewall was off the forward floor I put it on the workbench and started the drilling. I worked on one side and then the other so I could keep the parts organized. I drilled just deep enough so I could snap off the head and used the auto punch to pop out the shaft. All worked pretty good and I only had a few enlarged holes.

So all I have left to drill out are the 2 horizontal supports along with the various nutplates in them. I have an EAA chapter meeting tonight so that’s where I quit for the day.

Once I have all the parts off I will do some sanding and cleaning of the parts and put a fresh coat of paint on them. Hopefully the new firewall will arrive tomorrow and I can get to work finishing the edges and holes along with dimpling.

Highs and Lows

Time: 4 Hours

Today started out really good with being able to sleep in for a coupe extra hours which was really nice. The first task for the day was to get the Harley prepped for its winter siesta. Some minor task like getting the battery ready for removal so I could keep it trickle charged over the winter. I got my trailer loaded on the truck and loaded it up. An hour later I had it safely tucked away at our work hangar and covered for protection. When I got back home and in the Hangar my goal was to design and build the new workbench for the fuselage. After several drawings and measurements I decided on 24″ high, 36″ wide and 7′ long. So off I went on the build.

I put a 3/4″ plywood top on it along with some cheap carpet I got on clearance at Home Depot. Now how to get the fuselage from the higher table to the lower one. I figured on a way to slide the fuselage forward after lining up the two tables. All went well until the last 5″ of the slide. I had the fuselage on the new bench and all was well except I wanted to slide if forward 5 more inches. That’s where I really screwed up. While pushing from the back the lower two tabs of the firewall caught on the carpet and bent aft as I slid forward. I noticed this after walking around to check if I slid it forward enough. Ugh! I sighed and worked to bend them back to their normal position.

Wow those look bad! No cracks but look bad. I texted my friend and expressed how stupid I was. He said they look bad and the best course of action might be to replace the firewall. I knew that was the answer I would get. I’m so deflated right now. That job will be a big one as all the previous work would have to be undone and new parts ordered. So lots of time and money will be needed to fix this 5″ and 5 second error. I’m hoping that maybe its can just be a cosmetic error and be able to leave it as is. Right now I feel like shelving this build! How could I make a simple stupid mistake so easy? I’m not sure but I did and now I will have to figure a way out. So here it sits until I figure it out.

Back to Work

Time: 4 Hours

I had a nice 6 month training event at Flight Safety which is always a fun challenge. It always amazes me at the scenarios that the instructors can put you through this fun little box.

After training was through I drove up to Las Vegas to meet up with my girl was there on a business trip. We had a lot of fun on this long weekend, we also got to catch the Red Bull air races while we were there.

When I got home I had a lot of errands and stuff to do since I was gone for 8 days. However I did manage to get 4 hours in the Hangar. I decided to wait on the fuselage aft bulkheads and work on the panel bulkhead that I had messed up and reordered the part for. If you remember the lower bulkhead had a 2″ passthrough that I added to help clean up the look. When I measured for the placement I didn’t take into account the parts for the mod I did on the baggage floor. The placement put the pipe, and it’s 90° elbow, hitting the edge of one of the CamLo’s in the baggage floor. So I did some new measurements and got to work on it. Not a lot to show as it was just as I did before. Here you can see the placement of the error and the new one.

I replaced the passthrough along with new nutplates and primed/painted the parts. I will reinstall it after it cures for a few day.

My goal for this weekend is to winterize my Harley and get it put in storage. That will give me room to build a new stationary workbench that will be 2′ off the ground. This will hold the fuselage at a better working height as it grows. It will also free up the rolling workbench for work space.

More Deburring

Time: 4 Hours

I got home from my trip this afternoon and took care of some errands before getting back in the Hangar. The first items up were to match drill all the bulkheads, arm rests and gussets. I was then able to combine the forward floor section, center section and mid fuselage.

I then grabbed the two forward skins and removed the blue film from the inside for eventual priming and painting. I then grabbed the soldering iron and removed the blue film over the rivet lines.

I then got to the deburring of all the edges and punched holes. With all the edges nice I put them in their place on the fuselage. The plans call for a lot of clecko’s to hold everything in proper place.

I have run out of 1/8″ clecko’s and need to order more this week while I’m in flight training. The last thing I did today was to add several side support angles on the side skins. Next up the aft tail cone and all its bulkheads.

Mid Fuselage Work

Time: 6 Hours

Today I started with debuting all the edges and large holes of the two mid fuselage side skins. Not too much to show with that process so there are no photos of it. When I finished that work up I ran to Home Depot to grab a 4′ section of 3/4″ x 3/4″ aluminum angle for the bending of those skins. The plans give you several measurements that you use to make some lines for reference as you bend. The first is a line 1/4″ below the rivet line that lies at an angle. The other is a line that is 5/8″ up from the bottom of the skin.

The plans then tell you to bevel the two edges of a 2″x4″x24″ board at 45° angles. I then cut two 24″ pieces out of the angle I just bought.

I then clamped the skin between the workbench and the beveled 2″x4″ board on the line I drew below the rivet line. With the skin in place I clamped one of the 3/4″ angles to the underside of the skin lined up with the 5/8″ line I drew.

I matched drilled to two outside holes of the skin to the angle so they matched. I removed the angle from the skin and clamped it to the other angle and match drilled the two holes so that the two angles now match the skin. I also had to cut the web on one end of the top angle so that as the skin/angles are rolled that it wouldn’t interfere with the wood.

I replaced the two angles to the skin, checked them and added 3 clamps to hold it all together. I then grabbed my large vise-grips and placed them at the aft end of the angles. I used the vise-grips to rotate the skin slowly. I made this process in several steps rechecking the bend. The goal is to have a conical shape starting with an 1/8″ forward to a larger come aft.

The plans say it’s better to under do the bend than over do it. I stopped short of 90° and was very pleased with how it looked. I removed all the parts and repeated the whole process on the other skin making sure that I did the bend in the proper direction so I ended up with a left and right skin. Before I could put these skins on the seat structure I needed to drill a 2 5/8″ hole in the right outboard seat rib and the right side skin. This will allow a tube for fresh air to run from the NACA vent in the right wing thru to the eyeball vent for the passenger. Van’s punched a hole in both pieces so all I had to do was break out the fly cutter and make the cuts.

With that done I checko’ed the forward and aft outboard ribs in place as well at the edge floor support that runs along the top of those ribs. Now that they were in place I could add the side skins. I was very pleased at how the bend looked when installed.

I then added all the substructure to the side walls including the arm rests, side bulkheads, aft bulkhead, floor side support and gussets.

Another fun day in the Hangar and things really taking shape. Here is a view of the hole fuselage with some skins on. I have to fly the next couple days and have training next week so the build will be on hold for a week and a half but I will hit it hard when I’m back.