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 Saturday, October 25 2014 @ 04:44 AM EDT

Front Seat

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Finishing Kit

I had planned to finish some wiring under the floor before putting the floors back in, and trying out the seat cushions. Well, I couldn't wait, so last night I slipped the floors in, and put the front seat cushions in. The top of the seat bottom is higher than I had expected, which is a good thing. I slipped the canopy closed, and the top of my head was a few inches from the plexiglas - just right.

After doing some fibreglas work tonight, I wanted to assemble the rear seat back and install it. But, I searched high and low, but I couldn't find two small doublers that I had fabricated many months ago. I remember putting them somewhere "safe", but darned if I can find them now. Tomorrow I'll fabricate them again, which pretty much guarantees that they will show up.


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Fibreglas Frustrations

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I've been fighting with fibreglas this week, and I'm about had my fill of this stuff. The wing tips are looking pretty good - I've just got a few tiny areas that need attention, at least until I shoot a coat of primer on, which will probably highlight a million pin holes.

I attacked the empennage fairing again, after a year or more of procrastination. I had pretty poor fit at the leading edge of the vertical stab - the fairing was hitting against the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer but it was still at least 3/8 inch away from the VS leading edge. So, I cut off the part of the fairing that hit the HS leading edge, so it would slide aft and fit against the VS leading edge. This week I put some electrical tape and wax paper on the aft fuselage and HS leading edges, clecoed the fairing in place, and laid up some fibreglas around the HS leading edges.

In this picture you see that I was using a couple of bucking bars to put some weight on the front corner of the empennage fairing, as it didn't want to sit down quite right. The new fibreglas I added wraps around the HS leading edge, so it holds the front of the fairing nicely in place.



I noted that the fairing was sitting just clear of the aft fuselage, instead of sitting down nice and tight against it. I put some wax paper on the aft fuselage, then mixed up some West Systems fibreglas with microfibres, spread the mix on the underside of the fairing leading edge, then clecoed it in place. A bit of sanding to round off the edge of the fibreglas, and now it looks great. I also noted that it was lifting up a tiny bit between two clecoes on top of one side of the HS. An RV-3 builder reported good success using a heat gun to soften fibreglas to allow it to be reshaped, so I tried that - it worked great. Hopefully it is a permanent fix, and the part won't eventually regain its original shape.

The canopy skirt is really giving me a hard time. I redrilled the holes on the aft end, and I thought it was fitting well, but now I find that there are gaps big enough to slip my fingers under. This is more than just a cosmetic problem, as any gaps will allow cold air to come in in the winter. Bad news. I tried using a heat gun to reshape it a bit, but the skirt seems to be made of some different type of fibreglas than the empennage fairing. It is green in colour, like the S-glass in the cowling. All the heat gun did was cause it to start to delaminate a bit, which isn't good.

The canopy skirt is a problem area because every aircraft is unique, so the part fits different on each plane. The top of the skirt attaches to the welded canopy frame, and each frame has a slightly different shape. And the canopy bubble attaches there two, and the canopy bubble is free-blown, so they are all slightly different. Add in variations in how each builder fits the frame to the fuselage, and you can understand why this is a common problem area.

I've pretty much decided that the only way I will get a good fit is to start from zero and make my own aft end of the skirt. I'll work on that this week.


Update - 18 Aug 03 - This picture shows the gap between the aft end of the metal lower empennage fairing and the front edge of the flat portion of the upper empennage fairing. This issue is discussed in the comment below.


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Most Recent Post: 08/17 07:27PM by Kevin Horton

Seat cushions arrived

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My seat cushions arrived today from Cleaveland Tool (seat cushion info is only on their old web site for now). I ordered them at Oshkosh last year, but asked them not to make them until this year, as I wanted to defer the expenditure. They look absolutely beautiful - I can't find a flaw anywhere.

I came close to putting the floor boards back in so I could install the seat backs and try out the cushions this evening. But I eventually calmed down and realized that it would just be a make work project, as I have some stuff I need to do under the floor, so the floor boards would have to come out again. Maybe this weekend I'll secure the wires under there, and put the floor back in.

A larger version of this photo is in the Construction Photo Gallery.


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Canopy skirt, again

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Not only did the canopy skirt fit poorly, but I later discovered that it extended too far aft, such that it would hit the empennage fairing when it was slid fully open. So, this week I made some measurements to see how far aft of the canopy frame the skirt could extend without hitting the empennage fairing when the canopy was fully open. I also looked at the case of removing the canopy by sliding it aft until the sliding block in the centre rear slipped off the rear track. In this case I assumed that I would remove the empennage fairing to allow more room - the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer then becomes the place the skirt will hit first.

This weekend I redrilled the holes in the aft part of the canopy skirt, where it mounted to the canopy frame. I've still got some trimming to do at the rear where it fits around the canopy track, but the fit along the aft portion is much, much better than it was before. I now think there is some hope to get an acceptable fit. I'll finish the trimming, then figure out how I am going to splice the two halves of the skirt back together - I had to cut it in two at the rear in order to get a decent fit. Van originally shipped the canopy skirt in one piece. But so many builders couldn't get it to fit correctly without having to split it into two pieces that he started shipping them that way.


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Canopy skirt

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I wasn't happy with the fit of the canopy skirt back when I last worked on it (early 2001 - hard to believe how time flies). Yesterday I started messing around with it again, and concluded that I could have gotten the skirt to fit better at the back if I had drilled the holes a bit differently.

So, I pulled the skirt off, and filled in the holes with a mix of fibreglas resin and microfibres. Later this week I'll try drilling the holes again.


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Most Recent Post: 07/04 09:33AM by Anonymous

Back to fibreglas :(

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Finishing Kit

Well, warm temperatures are here, so it is time to start working on fibreglas again - yuck! I hate working with that stuff. You seem to spend all your time sanding, and you always find you need to put another coat of filler somewhere and then sand some more. Horrible, horrible stuff, unless you don't care how it looks, in which case you can skip all the sanding.

I haven't made nearly as much progress as I would have liked over the last week. First the cat we've had for almost 15 years had to be put down due to cancer. That cat spent most of here life sleep either on my wife's lap it seems, so it was a real big deal when she was gone. And now my father-in-law is very ill. So Terry needed me more than the airplane project did the last week. She is back in Green Bay now, so I can get some work done again, at least until I have to head down there.

Today I did an inventory of all the fibreglas work I need to do, then did some sanding and then spread batch of resin on a bunch of parts. I also secured the GPS antenna coax cable to keep it from flopping around in the rear baggage compartment. I also got the ELT tests done.


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RV-8 Fairings from Fairings-Etc.

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Upper gear leg and wheel pant fairings are now available for the RV-8 from Fairings-Etc.


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Rudder Pedal Mod - Fix for Uncommanded Brake Application

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The rudder pedals are designed so that the ball of the foot rests on a flat part of metal, which is above where the pedals pivot to apply the brakes. Thus any pressure on the rudder pedal will necessarily put pressure on the brakes, even if the pilot is careful to rest his foot on the bottom part of the flat area.

RV-8 builder Jeff Jasinsky designed extensions to allow the heel of the foot to apply rudder pressure, which is below where the brake portion pivots. This allows rudder to be applied without applying any brake pressure. Randy Lervold has pictures and a description on his web site.

I plan to mod my brake pedals like this.


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Fighting Friction in the Control Sticks

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Last night I got the sticks back in place, but I was troubled by too much friction in the roll axis once I tightened down all the bolts that hold the whole thing in place. This was something that I had noted quite awhile ago, and it was on my list of things to fix.

I took an adjustable wrench and slipped it over the bracket that holds the front end of the stick assembly. If I pulled up on it slightly, which moved the rod end forward, I noted that the friction disappeared, and the motion in roll became smooth as silk. So, that meant that the bracket needed to be a bit further forward. I made a shim out of the thinest aluminum I had, but the friction was still there, and now I needed to push down on the adjustable wrench to get rid of the friction, so I had obviously overshoot the mark.

I looked for some brass shim stock today, but I couldn't find a place to buy it in small quantities, and the local scrap yard didn't have any. Another builder suggested I try an aluminum discardable pie pan, so I headed down to the aviation aisle of the grocery store. I found a package of little pans, and it turns out that the aluminum is only 0.003 inch thick. Tonight I made a stack of shims, put three of them in, tightened down the bolts and bingo - smooth as silk in roll.

I've still got a bit of friction in the pitch axis to fight with. I had thought I had beat that one a few months ago, but it came back when I tightened down the bolt that secures the brass bushing that the rear stick pivots on. Hopefully I can sort this one out tomorrow.


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Seat belts arrived

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Finishing Kit

My seat belts arrived today from Hooker Harness. They look great! Their basic model has a buckle with a lever. I decided to upgrade to a rotary latch, as I plan to do aerobatics, and I didn't want to chance snagging the lever and undoing the buckle. Yes, I know that many competition aerobatic pilots use buckles with lever latches, but they all use two lap belts too, so if one comes undone they have a back-up. I've only got one lap belt. If it comes undone I'll be floating around the cockpit.


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