Time: 6 Hours
Today I worked on installing, at least temporarily, the pilot and passengers control stick grips. I purchased the grips from Tosten Manufacturing after looking at them at AirVenture 2015. First task was to come up with a rough height for the pilots control stick as the original part is too long. After coming up with the link I took the stick out of the aircraft and cut it with a hacksaw. With the stick cut I marked a spot at the lower section to drill a hole for the wires to exit.
To make it easier to fish the wires down through I put some shrink tube on the end of the wires
once I had the hole drilled in the bottom of the control stick I was able to slide the wires through and do some measurements to see how the grip fit. It took me several tries to get the length just perfect so that it cleared the bottom of the instrument panel and crossmember.
A nice feature of these grips is the collar that the grip slides into. This gets held in place with a drilled hole and cap head screw which also holds the grip into position. This collar also allow for the grip to be twisted and raise up around 3/8″ as required to get a perfect fit to your hand position. I drilled a 3/16″ hole 1/2″ from the top and inserted the screw and jam but to hold it for now.
I basically repeated these steps for the passenger grip with an addition to putting the pilot seat back in place which is the limiting factor to the height as you don’t want the grip to hit the back of the seat when pushed full forward.
The grips turned out awesome and I love the feel. The pilot grip has a trigger that will be the push to talk button. The left lower thumb button will be for smoke. The hat in the center is for trim and the toggle to the left for flaps and to the right will be for COM 1/2 switching. There is a pinky button below the trigger for autopilot touch steering. The passenger will just have trim and the push to talk. From there I moved to another modification that I’m follow my buddy on. The oil tank obviously needs to be filled with oil at some point. The first way is to reach in and pour oil in via a cap on the tank. The next and better way is to use an external full kit that I bought from smokingairplanes.com. It allow you to open a cap like a fuel cap and pour oil in and not mess with the possibility of making a mess inside you airplane. Glenn showed me a photo of a P-51 Mustang and their center fuel tank fill port on the left side just under the canopy.
So we are gonna put ours just like that! Glenn had a side canopy fiberglass skirt from his last project so I used it to mark the location that it will lie on the fuselage.
From there I made the mark for the location of the 2″ hole. Glenn helped me hold the skin on the drill press to make the cut with the fly cutter. I used the support ring to mark all six holes for the screws.
I drilled the center of the holes with a #40 drill bit followed by a #11 for the #10 screw.
After all six holes were drilled I screwed the fill cap into position.
I will eventually paint the cap red to give that P-51 look. I’m really done with the items in the back except for a couple of wiring harnesses and those will arrive on Monday. So I started cleaning up a few items that I had on hold. First was to trim the cabin heat cable to its final size. I wanted to drill the tee for the smoke tank system that goes through the firewall. This tee will direct oil to both exhaust pipes. I drilled the 9/16″ hole and put the tee in place.
With the fitting in place I could cut the cabin heat cable to the correct length so it doesn’t interfere with the tee or my rudder pedals.
One last item was to cut the fuel boost pump wired and crimp some ring terminals on the ends. I then screwed them to a two place terminal block. This will allow me to unscrew them in the future for easy replacement as needed.
Thats where I called it a weekend and will get back at it tomorrow when my parts arrive.