One Rivet At A Time

Welcome to Kevin Horton's RV-8 Project
Friday, January 30 2015 @ 02:50 AM EST

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IFR Practice Flight + Annual Inspection Progress

General News

I was scheduled to be on standby all day Saturday, which meant I would need to stick close to home. The weather was quite nice on Friday, so I took that day off to do the things I wouldnít be able to do while on standby, such as go to the airport.

I had a great IFR practice flight in the RVĖ8 in the morning, then made more progress on the annual inspection. I found a couple of loose fasteners, and the tail navigation light is unserviceable. I only require that light if Iím night flying, which I avoid like the plague, given the difficulty of executing a successful forced landing at night, so Iíll defer sorting out that nav light until the weather is warmer. Hopefully it is just a burned out light bulb.

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Flying Again, Finally

General News

Iím owed several days of compensatory leave to make up for overtime Iíve worked in the past year, and yesterday was forecast to be unseasonably warm, so I used one of those days. I got the repaired plenum chamber mounting flange reinstalled. I had hoped at one point to also get a flight off yesterday, but it snowed off and on all day, so that was not possible.

Today was forecast to be clear and cold, with very light winds, so I took another day off. The runway is almost 100% ice covered, from the freezing rain we got a couple of weeks ago, so I only dare fly when there is minimal crosswind. They were still clearing yesterdayís snow off the runway when I arrived, so I had to wait until after lunch. The first trick was getting the Mooney that was by the door of the hangar out of the way, which means pulling it out onto the taxiway.

The Mooney is too heavy for me to push it around by hand, so I used the gas powered PowerTow tug that connects to the nose wheel. It usually works very well, but the combination of a bit of crown on the taxiway plus the ice was more than it could handle. All it would do was spin its wheel. James are Floyd spotted my struggle from the club house, and graciously drove down to lend a hand. The three of us pushing were just enough to get the Mooney in and out, so the RVĖ8 could escape the hangar. Thanks guys!

The delay while the runway was cleared and I fought with the ice meant that the engine had been preheated a lot longer than I anticipated. I failed to appreciate the implications as I attempted a start, and I primed the engine as if it was quite cold. I didnít fire, so I primed it some more. I realize now that I had almost certainly overprimed it and flooded it, but I didnít figure this out until I had ran the battery down. Back in the hangar for two hours on the battery charger, then it started right up (with a lot less priming). It was great to finally get flying.

The wind stayed down while I was flying, which was a relief. It slid around a bit during the landing roll, but a quick touch of rudder got the nose pointed back in the right direction again, and I was very happy when it finally rolled to a stop, still on the runway.

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Yet Another Web Site Host

General News

The web site has moved to yet another web host, Arvixe. I had been on the same host since the web site was created in 1997, but that host had become unreliable. In retrospect, I didn’t do as much research as I should have before moving to the second host, and that host quickly proved unsuitable. Arvixe seems to be the best host yet - hopefully they’ll stand the test of time.

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Winter Has Arrived

General News

Winter definitely arrived last week, with several days of snow, with roughly 20 cm of total snow fall. I headed out to the hangar Saturday AM to get the snow blower going and clear the snow. I had started it about three weeks ago, to make sure that it had survived its summer of hibernation - that first start was a definite struggle, so I wasn’t sure what to expect this time. I got lucky - it started right up. It took about an hour to blow the snow off the entry to the hangar, chip a few big ice ridges from where the airport snow plow had turned around, and clean up with a shovel.

The ceiling was low when I arrived at the airport, but it had cleared out nicely by the time I was done clearing snow, so I rewarded myself by going flying.

Many of the lakes have frozen over, but the ice is still way too thin for any intrepid ice fishermen to set up camp.

Some other lakes have quite a bit of water flowing through them, as they are part of the Rideau River system, so they haven’t frozen over yet.

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General News

I got the Geeklog downloads plugin installed and working, and have begun to add the downloads from the other host. I’ll add the remaining files over the next few days. You’ll find them in the Downloads section. New files added will be visible in the What’s New block over on the right.

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New User Registration Working

General NewsI found and fixed the problem with new user registration. †It should be working now.
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New User Registration Broken

General NewsNew user registration seems to be broken at the moment. †I'm looking into it.
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New Site Host

General News

If you are reading this, the move to the new web host worked. I made the move a couple of days ago, but had a few hiccups to sort out. †It seemed to work OK during my testing before switching the domain from the old host to the new one, but changing the site from an IP address to a domain two days ago somehow fouled up the fragile balance in the forces of the web, and the site stopped working correctly. †I finally found the Rescue function in Geeklog, and it immediately pointed out the problem - it was an easy fix once I knew what was screwed up.

There is a risk of issues with user log in, especially with the Safari browser. It was screwed up earlier, but it looks to be working now. †However, I'm far from certain that I've seen the last of this problem. I did a clean up of the user list, as the old site had collected many tens of thousands of users who had registered in the hope of creating comment spam. †There is a chance that I may have deleted a few valid accounts in that clean up. †If anyone finds that they cannot log in, please inform me - I have a backup copy of the old user info, and I should be able to manually copy it back.

The file downloads that were on the old site aren't up and runnign on the new one yet. †That will be be coming soon. †Same thing with the image galleries.

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Van's Visit

General News

I had a quick business trip to the Portland, OR area this week. Flew down on Wednesday, one day of meetings, and flew back home on Friday. After the trip came to light, I took a look at the map, and saw that the meeting site was only about 15 minutes drive from Van’s Aircraft.

I grabbed a 6 AM flight out of Ottawa on Wednesday, so I would arrive in Portland by mid-day. I drove down to Van’s after lunch, and did a factory tour.

The operation is smaller than you would expect, given how many kits are sold each year. Van does an excellent job of using components on multiple aircraft models, which helps reduce the number of different parts that must be kept in inventory. The efficient use of space helps them keep down the cost of the kits.

The manufacturing area is busy, as they make the vast majority of the aluminum parts that go in kits, or to the QuickBuild factory in the Philippines. Here we see RV–7, –8 and –10 QuickBuild fuselages waiting for an order.

RV–10 cabin tops and RV–8 QuickBuild wings.

This WW-II vintage electric rivet squeezer is used to assemble RV–12 wing spars.

Two Trumatic computer controlled punches quickly trim sheet metal parts to shape and punch rivet holes. The repeatable accuracy from these punches is what has allowed Van’s to move to matched hole construction on newer models. My early series RV–8 was the previous generation, with prepunched holes only in the skins - the builder had to carefully align the holes in the skins on the centre of the flanges on the bulkheads and ribs, then drill holes through the skin into the structure. With matched hole construction, the bulkheads and ribs arrive with holes in them. This saves a huge amount of time, and obviates the requirement for jigs.

The prototype RV–14A, RV–6A and RV–10 aircraft, parked outside the Van’s Aircraft hangar. I’m pondering building an RV–10, as we’d like the option of carrying friends and family with us, so I did an RV–10 demo flight with Ken Scott. The RV–10 has a wide, tall and long cabin, with much room than most four seat aircraft. The visibility from the cockpit is expansive, the stick forces are relatively light, and the performance is excellent. I’d like to find a partner for the RV–10 though, as I don’t want to sell the RV–8, and it makes no sense to own two aircraft.

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Web Site Move Coming

General News

The website was down for a few days this week, and I have no idea why. I hadnít changed anything since the last time I know it was working, and tech support wouldnít admit to making any changes on their end. After two days of complaints from me, it suddenly started working again.

By the time they got it working again, Iíd already signed up for hosting services at SiteGround. SiteGround gets much better reviews than my current site host, and itíll be a bit cheaper. Iíve got the site mostly working on the new host, but I plan to update to the latest Geeklog software before I switch the site over. If I started over today, Iíd probably choose a different solution than Geeklog, but it is easier to stick with it than move all the content to a new platform.

There may be some turbulence during this changeover, so keep your seat belt fastened.

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