Wings On!

Time: 6 Hours

This morning I had breakfast with my buddy Glenn in preparation for helping me put my wings on. Now that the RV is at an airport I can put the wings on permanently so that I can continue to work on stuff while I wait to save up for my propellor. Since we have had my wings on and off two times before the process was pretty easy for us. We used the temporary bolts initially to hold the wings in place while I prepped for the final close tolerance NAS bolts. I had put all the bolts in the hangar freezer in hopes that they would shrink ever so slightly. I also picked up a can of LPS-2 lubricant that Vans recommends. Then I laid out several different tools, hammers and my rivet gun with the flush set in place. I started with the hard to get bottom bolts with the larger ones first. I pulled a bolt from the freezer and sprayed the shank with the LPS. Then I inserted it by hand as far as they would go followed by a few hits with a mallet. Then to drive them all the way I used my rivet gun and flush set with some duct tape on the face to drive the bolt thru. I just used a low PSI setting and it worked really well. I drove the two lower large bolts then the top followed by the two smaller bottom bolts then the top two. This process worked pretty slick and only took an hour.

Now the fun job of putting a washer and nut on all these bolts and torquing them. The large bolts get torqued to 520-630 in/lbs and the smaller ones to 80-100 in/lbs. not much to show on that process other than is was very time consuming and a pain to do. It didn’t help that it was 91° today and a little humid. After I finished I put some orange torque seal on to show that they were torqued.

There are also two AN-4 bolts that screw into nutplates from the aft side of the center section, I torqued those as well.

Fun day and felt good to sweat and swear a little while working on the RV! It’s been a while and I’m glad to be back at it. I have so many projects and tasks to do now that the wings are on and I’m excited to get at it!

Another Update

I wanted to update my blog and let everyone know I’m back to working on the RV-8! It’s been a fun transition back to the airline world from the corporate side of flying. After a few weeks of basic indoctrination training followed by systems/SIM training in the Boeing 737 I finally got to the line. First up is 25 hours of IOE(Initial Operating Experience) with a training captain. Here is where I learn the day to day activities at United. It’s also the time when you make your first landing in the actual aircraft(with passengers!)

So as my professional life starts to calm down I’m back at the real task at hand…finishing my RV-8!

My buddy Glenn is closing his shop up which means my project needed a new home. It’s been a lot of fun building right beside a veteran/award winning builder. So T and I did some searching for a hangar and found one we liked at KARR, Aurora IL. It’s a big T hangar with an extended side off the left wing side. This extra space is great for storage.

So I borrowed a fellow RV builders flatbed trailer and we loaded the fuselage on it. The wings made the trip in the back of Glenn’s truck. After a non-eventful 20 min drive she was in her new home.

I spent the next few days moving all the rest of the shop equipment over to the hangar. We also had a storage unit full of stuff so I set up heavy duty shelving units and moved all that stuff over as well. It feels good to have an airport home now and knowing someday I will do my engine run up and first flight out of this hangar.

Build Update

I just wanted to update my followers of the blog and give a reason why there hasn’t been any posts for a little while. I decided to switch up the career a little and started my training for United Airlines. I finished Indoc training last month and I’m waiting on my Systems/SIM training which will start in May. I’ll be based in SFO to start with and hopefully not to long after I’ll get ORD as base in the Boeing 737. So my building is on hold for a few months until I get trained and settled into my new role. Then I’ll be back at it and into my groove.

Baffles #6

Time: 10 Hours

Now that I have all the fitting done with the forward ramps I could rivet most of the parts except the areas that tie the ramps to the side baffles. I was able to get most of the rivets with the pneumatic squeezer but had to get the rivet gun and bucking bar out to finish the rest.

The next task was to create the tie rods that close up the bottom of the cylinder baffles. These rods are made out of a stainless steel rod and have to be bent/threaded. The plans give you an initial bend angle to start. I measured and cut the length to start for the inboard ones. I made the bends and tweeted them to get spacing I needed. The idea is the bends will give the rod clearance over the other parts that lie at the bottom of the cylinders.

Once I was happy with the bends I grabbed my tap set and threaded the ends for a nut and washer.

I moved on to the outboard rods which are a little longer and need a second bend as these need to clear one of the oil return lines.

This what they look like installed. You can see that the rods pull the curved sections together and making a seal around the cylinder fins.

Before moving on to more baffle work I wanted to put on a layer of epoxy/filler on the snorkel so I can start the work of smoothing the surface. I also set a mixture of epoxy/filler/flox under the alternate air door so it sits flush.

Now back to the baffles and the start of the big top cuts. The idea is that you need to cut the tops of the baffles al the way around so that there is a gap between 3/8″ and 1/2″. This is easier said than done but just takes time. I realized that the support bracket in the left aft baffle was way to high based on how I installed it. So I removed the rivets and will make a new one later once I get the tops cut. With that part removed I put the top cowl on to see the areas that were touching on the aft and aft side baffles. I started with making small 1/4″ cuts off the top until I could get the cowl on with around an inch gap in the back.

Looking in through the gap on the aft edge looking forward you can see how the baffles look as they touch the inside of the cowl.

Now I had a manageable shape and had some areas touching and others not. To get an accurate scribe of the inside surface of the cowl you can use the “paper clip” method. The idea is that you install the clips along the edge of the baffle. Then install the upper cowl and as you press down on the cowl it pushes the clips down. Then you can measure down from the top of the clips, in my case I started with a 1/4″ measurement, and make a mark. You then connect all the marks to give you a line that matches the underside of the cowl.

I did this around five times slowly removing material. The hard part is after I measure I have to remove each of the baffles so that I can remove the material then put them back in place which takes a lot of time and effort. As the cowl “drops” on the aft end the shape changes slightly so I made smaller cuts to account for this. Here is a line of clips from left to right and how they ended after the cowl was put on. You can see a lot of them are pushed flush and a few have a little space left on them.

With the last cut I have a pretty even gap around 1/8″ all the way around the aft and aft side baffles with the upper cowl in its final place and the SkyBolts secured. So I will do the paper clips one more time and measure down 3/8″ to get the final gap. Before I could do the last cut I needed to figure out what I was going to do for the left side bracing. This creates a straight line across for the baffle seal fabric where the oil cooler bumps out. I had revealed that I riveted it on way too early and it was positioned too high. I decided to fabricate my own and make it fit as I needed it. I wanted to make sure I planned for the heater scat tube as this was the area I would install it since my oil cooler is now on the right side. So I started off with some card stock paper and made a template. After a couple of tweaks and measurements I transferred it to some sheet stock to start the fabrication process. I needed to have several bends as this area needs to be sealed up to keep the positive pressure in the engine area. Once I had the shape built I laid out rivet holes and match drilled it to the baffles. The lower flange was laid out with the scat tube pick up as a drill guide.

I was very happy with how it turned out and it should serve its purpose. With that part made I could use the paper clips across the entire aft baffle to make the final cut. I marked the outline of the scat tube pickup and drilled to make the opening.

In the last photo you can see the upper left corner of the brace I fabricated I now have a notch. That’s because I really carefully laid out the five rivet holes in it prior to getting the final cut done on the top of all the aft baffles. That ended up putting the upper most rivet hole way to close to the edge…dummy! So I just clipped it out and that’s that! It will be covered up by the fabric seal anyways but it’s that kinda of thing that is tough when fabricating parts is the forward thinking and the way forward thinking. From here I moved onto to forward side baffles. The process is the same, measure, mark, trim and repeat. I ended up with a nice 3/8″ gap all the way around.

Next up will be the forward baffles and there complex cuts.

Baffles #4

Time: 5 Hours

The last section is the forward baffles which are comprised of two pieces, the and right. These go right behind the propellor area and seal the area where the crank shaft comes through the cowl. I first clamped them together in place to see how much trimming would be needed. They also have two angles in them that try to match the ramps.

I worked the right side first and trimmed a little at time on the bottom until I had a perfect fit on the bottom and the curved portion of the engine case. Then I started on the left side. It’s hard to see in the above photo but the fit around the engine case is really bad, almost 3/4″ in spots. After looking this over Glenn suggested that I redrill the hole Vans punched for the bolt in the center top over to slide the baffle over and closer to the engine case. This would mean that I would have to tweak the angles of the side a little bit not much. So I did some measuring and came up with a good spot to drill the new hole making sure I would have edge distance for the new hole when I cut the new inboard edge.

Once I had the hole drilled I had to trim the bottom like the other side as well as the lower part of the center where the two halves come together.

This worked great and the gap is much better and will be sealed up with RTV later. So I started working on the bends of the sides to make them fit well. These eventually get tabs made out of angle that will tie the sides to the ramps. I made the clips and match drilled them to the sides and ramps.

On the left side I had to trim the tab a little to get it to sit good with the filter cover I made.

Now that the forward baffles were fit I moved to the right side conical gusset. This is a curved sheet in that ties the ramp to the lower cowl shape. It starts like a cone, small at the top of the ramp and gets wider at the bottom. This was a fun piece to make and took a while to get perfect. I started with a card stock template and transferred it to the sheet of aluminum.

After cutting it out I used the hand seamer and my rivet gun to shape the sheet into the shape I needed.

The shape needed tweaking a little but ended up perfect. I clamped it in place and match drilled the holes I laid out.

The left side can’t have one as the filter is in the way.

Next up will be to rivet some of these parts together, some will wait until final assembly. Then I will work on the bottom ties of the baffles. All this work leading up to the tough job of trimming the tops of the baffles to match the upper cowl.