Empanage Fairing Mod

Time: 4 Hours

Glenn had a great idea for his fairing to prevent it from scratching the paint when being removed as well as making it easier to remove. Here you can see the aft “wings” of the fairing descending below the level of the stabilizer. 

Since I made the fairing one piece I had the grab and flex up these wings so they cleared the stabilizer as your slid the fairing forward. Glenn had an idea to extend the aluminum inspection panel cover up and aft and cut off the part of the fairing in this area. So I grabbed some 0.025″ sheet and marked out the area using the original piece as a template. 

Using the fairing as a template unmarked out the areas that needed to be removed and the area of the fairing I wanted to cut off. 

After cutting the extra off I drilled two holes through the fairing and the underlying aluminum that will allow screws to go through into nutplates. 

Another cool idea Glenn had was to cut a 2″ hole in one side and glue a piece of clear plexiglass inside so that you have a window into this area so that inspecting the bolt on the flight controls will be very easy. 

Cool mod and makes taking the fairing off real easy. I forget how much work there is doing things like this but it sure is fun! 

Empennage Fairing

Time: 4 Hours

While I was waiting for fiberglass to dry on the canopy skirts I worked on the empanada sharing over a few days. Basically just consisted of filling with epoxy and micro and sanding filling and sanding filling and sanding too I got to the perfect shape that I wanted. I used a filler primer to find all the pinholes, the voids left by air bubbles in the fiberglass epoxy, so that I could fill those which seems like a never ending process.


After filling 90% of the pinholes I primed and put into place. I will do some more finish work on this later down the road prior to painting.

As you can see it has a nice tight gaps all the way around and only a few screws to hold it in place which prevents the faring from puckering. I’m very happy with how this turned out and I can’t wait to see how it looks once painted!

ADHARS and GPS Antanae Shelf

Time: 8 Hours

My last post had some fairing work and it turned out so-so, I’m not an artist by any shot and this will have a lot of work needed. 


I moved on to getting my ADAHRS mounted in the tray I made for them. I just needed to get them lined up with the axis of the airplane and attach them with non-ferous screws, I went with nylon screws and nuts with a little vibra-tite thread locker. 

I then connected the three lines between the two ADHARS. White is for static air pressure, blue is for pitot or ram air pressure and green is for AOA (angle of attack). I had already ran the Skyview network cables to the shelf area but needed to run the OAT (Outside Air Temperature) probes, one for each ADHARS. These will allow the units to give accurate readings with respect to airspeed. You need to keep the probes out of direct sunlight and away from any exhaust so I decided to put them under each wing. I placed them close to the access panels and in the same spot on both wings. 


With all the wires run I climbed into the tunnel to put the shelf back in place and make all the connections. I forgot how tight that space is and what a pain it is to work back there. So I powered up the Skyview and all worked perfect and crossed checked the two ADHARS units with no errors. I decided that I wanted to put my two GPS antanaes under the engine cowling and out of sight after talking with several builders this year at Oshkosh. I took some photos of a really nice setup and decided to replicate it. I started with a cardboard template. After I was happy with the shape and layout I transferred the dimensions to some .032 sheet and cut it out. I drilled all the holes for the mounting hardware as well as some lighting holes. I grabbed the two antanaes and mocked them up so I could drill the attach holes. I also drilled all the holes for the nutplates and dimpled them.I cleaned up all the edges and scuffed all the surfaces to be primed and painted. 


In between the priming and painting I worked on the firewall pass thru. I came up with the perfect spot on the right side of the firewall so that wires that needed to go to the engine area would run nicely.  I drilled a 3/8″ hole for a punch bolt to go through, I bought this tool just for this task. It is two peices that get pulled together and cut thru the sheet. It made a clean and perfect hole and was a lot easier than drilling the stainless steal. I used the pass thru as a guide and drilled the attach holes. After they were drilled and deburred I put the screws in and slid the fire sleeve on. I will run my wires thru this and seal it up at a later date when all the wiring is done. 

Vans had prepunched 3/4″ holes, one on each side, that I was originaly going to use but they are just to close to the edge of the firewall and I think they would be in the way of the Skybolt fasteners I’m planning on using. That was the main reason for switching to these firewall pass through from Cleaveland Tools. So what to do with the holes that Vans punched? Well after a little research I decided on using two large washers and a bolt/nut to sandwich the firewall between them. Once the paint on the GPS shelf was dry I bolted it in place. 

I’m real happy with how it turned out and have Bob M. to thank for the inspiration. One last task for the day was to clean up the wiring in the battery compartment since I’m done running grounds and wires through the firewall, at least on the right side. I have a little more work straighten out the ground wires, but I’m happy without turned out!

Battery Cover

Time: 4 Hours

Since I decided to put the battery in the lower section of the forward baggage section I need to make a cover for this area. Normally this area, to the right of the pilots right leg is open for bags and such. I took advantage of this area to place my battery, battery contractor and grounding block. This allows for short wire runs between these items and makes for a clean firewall on the engine side. But with these items in place and open at the top any baggage or items in the forward Baghdad could fall down there. So I need a cover and I fabricated it out of some extra wing skin sheet I had. I transferred all the measurements to the sheet trying to utilize the rivet holes already punched in the skin.  

   It took several tries to get the fit just right as the perimeter isn’t square and there are several notches needed. Once I had the fit just right I laid out three angles to give it some support and match drilled them to the skin. 
 I also drilled up through the Cam-Loc holes for the inboard edge and drilled new Cam-Loc holes in the outboard edge down through the support angle on the right side forward skin. I did not rivet this angle a awile ago just for this reason. That way I could remove the angle to rivet the receptacles to it.  

   There are two rivet holes in the skin that over lapped the inboard floor that I needed to fill so I mixed up some super-fill and added it to them and will sand them flush after they dry.   

 Since I had a little time left before I needed to head out for our New Years Eve plans I took care of a couple other tasks. First was to install my new Odessey PC-680 battery and I cut and installed the smoke system pump ground on the grounding block.  

 I bought the battery so that I could test some the functions, the ones I can without the Vertical Power VP-X, and I will plan on replacing it when I’m ready to fly. The other task I got finished was to install the vertical stabilizer. The bolts are pretty hard to get to now that the other parts are in place and the tool I made a long time ago to hold AN-3 bolts really helped.  

          So that’s where I stopped in 2015, I think 2016 will be an even better year with lots to look forward too. Happy New Years Eve!!
  
 

Tail Top Skin

Time: 4 Hours

I gathered up all my tools and prepped the tail for riveting. Climbing in and out of the tail wasn’t an easy task and I wanted to minimize that as much as possible. I grabbed several bucking bars, the ones I thought I might use and my hearing protection. I placed a work light down in the tail to help see all the areas. Glenn volunteered to run the gun while I was squeezed into the tail. We worked from the center at the top and riveted the support ribs working outboard on each side. As we did those we worked aft along the seam on both sides.  

   It took around 4 hours as we took a couple of breaks since the bell crank was right in my lower back. I placed a couple of movers blankets to soften it out a bit but it was still uncomfortable! I could have removed the bell crank but all those washers are a real pain in the butt so I opted for discomfort. No drill outs needed and they all looked great!  
   The aft most support I could do from outside as will as the forward most.  
   One reason I hate skipping ahead in the plans is that no matter how hard I try to mark and remember items I always seam to forget them. The aft deck, where the horizontal stab lies is just one case. I put off riveting it to make it easier to shape the up and down stops of the elevators. Fast forward to now and I just finished riveting the top skin on and the deck wasn’t finished! What this caused was for me to get a little creative on how to rivet it on but it got done. After that task was done I was able to place the HS into its final position and bolt it down. This meant climbing back into the tail so that I could torque the bolts.  
     

  

  

  

 After climbing out I got to climb right back in to put the ELT antanae back in place. Good thing is I’m getting pretty good a sliding in and out of the tail although that’s not a task I wanted to be good at!  Big step finished and it’s starting to resemble an airplane again!