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    Kevin Horton's RV-8 Project One Rivet At A Time    
 Welcome to Kevin Horton's RV-8 Project
 Wednesday, September 17 2014 @ 05:29 AM EDT

Mounted Infinity Stick Grip

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Finishing Kit

I shortened the front control stick so it would clear the instrument panel. Then I fitted the Infinity stick grip. I came ever so close to drilling the mounting hole 90 from the correct angle, but discovered the error just in time. You have to split the grip open to fit it over the stick, and it was a bit of a trick getting it back together again without having one of the switches fall out, but a few blue words scared everything into place. The various switches on the stick will operate the pitch and roll trim, trim and wing leveler disconnect, radio transmit, boost pump and starter. The last switch will be reserved for the smoke system, which may be installed during the mid-life update.


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Wing Intersection Fairings, Fuel Lines, etc

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The last four weeks have been very busy, so I have made much less progress on the project than I hoped. I spent two weeks on a refresher course at the National Test Pilot School. There was a fair bit of classroom stuff, but the highlight of the course was the flying - seven flights, all in interesting aircraft. Then we had some relatives visiting for the last few days of the Tulip Festival, so I spent all my time touring, eating, drinking, etc. It was great to see Donna and Mary again though.

Since the last update, I've fitted the intersection fairings between the wing and fuselage, and fabricated the fuel tank vent lines, and almost finished the fuel feed lines from the fuel tanks. I've got held up twice because I discovered I needed extra fittings. The basic kit includes all the fittings if you build the aircraft as Van intended, but I used an Andair fuel selector instead of the one that Van supplied, and I modified one of my fuel tanks for inverted flight. These mods meant I needed additional fittings, but I hadn't figured that out ahead of time. Fortunately the head maintenance guy at a local flying club was very cooperative, and he ordered the parts from his supplier. They cost me a bit more than they would have if I used my normal supplier (Wicks), but he got them for me in two days instead of two weeks (I could get things quickly from Wicks too, but the courier charges would be ten times the value of the parts). So, I hope to pull the wings off later this week and start the engine installation.


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On the Gear!

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Two big milestones today - my engine arrived, and I got the aircraft sitting on its gear for the first time. The engine is a 200 hp Lycoming IO-360-A1B6 overhauled by Aero Sport Power. I wasn't expecting it for another couple of days, but the trucking company called today to say it had arrived. It is sealed in plastic, with several large bags of desiccant inside. I'll leave it in the plastic up for awhile until I am ready to hang it on the firewall.

I had finished fitting the wheel pants last night, so I asked the guys who had come buy to help unload the engine to help me lift the aircraft off the stands and put it on its gear for the first time. Thanks Jim, Bruce and Rob. This thing is looking more like an aircraft all the time. Wow!


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Wheel Pant Update

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I finished fitting the wheel pants today, and got all the holes pilot drilled. I just have to drill them out to the final size, enlarge the hole at the bottom to provide more clearance to the tire, and install the anchor nuts, etc. But, all that stuff can happen with the aircraft on its gear, so I can take it down off the stands as soon as I install the tail wheel.


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Wheel Pant Update

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I was on the road for three days last week, so progress was slow again. I got the gear leg fairings trimmed and drilled and riveted the piece of hinge that closes the trailing edge. The shims I was waiting for arrived, so I permanently installed the axles and rechecked the alignment. One side is perfect, and the other is toed out 1/4 degree. Good enough.

Fitting the wheel pants is a bit tedious. You've got six degrees of freedom to work with (three positional axis, and three rotational axis), so it takes a lot of messing around. Van provides a bunch of measurements, and location cues, but it still takes longer than you would expect. I got both wheel pants drilled to the mount on the outboard side on the weekend, which leaves you with just three degrees of freedom left to worry about. The inboard side will be the real trick, because that will fix the alignment in all six axis.

You can see two pieces of paper taped to the floor, one under each end of the left wheel pant. I dropped plumb bobs from the centre of the firewall, and the tailwheel mount to establish a centreline on the floor. I measured over 3 ft laterally, and marked a line under each end of each wheel pant. Then I dropped plumb bobs from each end of the wheel pant and made sure they fell an equal distance from my line to check the alignment with the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. They came out really close, and I'll be happy as long as I never measure it again ;-)


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Shimming the Axles

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I was on the road for a few days this week, so progress was slow. After getting the landing gear legs installed, I bolted on the axles, but then found that one is slightly toed in, and the other slightly toed out. I ordered two shims from Vans to sort that out. I also installed the tires on the wheels, got the wheel pants trimmed, drilled and clecoed together, and and a slot cut so they'll fit around the landing gear legs. I can't do the final fitting until I get those shims, and get the axles correctly aligned. I also started fitting the gear leg fairings.


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Installing the landing gear legs

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I worked on installing the main landing gear legs over the last week. This was one of those jobs that would have been done in an hour if everything went right, but it took me a week of spare time. I got bit by a "small" design change that I had made to the landing gear boxes to solve a "problem" earlier last year. The "improvement" I made then I swapped a rivet and screw location in the landing gear boxes created an interference problem between a screw and the big bolts that attach the outboard end of the landing gear legs. It took me a few days to figure out what combination of fastener types and orientation would work fit yet still give the same strength.

Today I turned the fuselage back upright and put it up on some stands so I could start fitting the axles, wheels, brakes and wheel pants.


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More Canopy Skirt

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This week, I got all the holes drilled in the canopy skirt where it attaches to the canopy frame. I've got a bunch of fibreglas work to do on the skirt next, but I'm going to put that off a bit until it gets warmer, and I have done the fibreglas work on the tail surface tips. They are a better place to learn about fibreglas because they are smaller, cheaper, and not as visible.


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More Canopy Skirt

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I was on the road all week, so I made limited progress on the canopy.

It has turned quite cold again, with overnight lows around -18°C (0°F). I want the plexiglas nicely warmed up if I'm doing anything that could cause it distress, as it is much more brittle when it is cold, and more likely to crack. Yesterday we ended up running errands most of the day, and I don't like leaving the heater on in the garage when no one is home, so I wasn't able to get it warmed up enough before it was time to go to bed. I left the heater on overnight, and it was nice and toasty in there today (24°C or 75°F).

Today I finished drilled all the holes in the top edge of the fibreglas skirt that attach it to the canopy frame. This is a tricky exercise, because you are trying to match holes that are already in the plexiglas and canopy frame, but the canopy skirt covers those holes up, so you are sort of drilling blind. Before taping the canopy skirt in place, I ran a strip of wide masking tape along the bottom edge of the canopy. I drew a long vertical line centered on each hole, and put a mark exactly two inches above every hole. Once the canopy skirt was in place, I simply extended that line down onto the canopy skirt, and measured down two inches from my mark. This worked out very well - all but three holes that I drilled matched up perfectly with the existing ones, and the three errant holes aren't out by much.

I wanted the garage warm for today's work, just in case the drill nicked the plexiglas as it came through the fibreglas skirt. Now that this part is done I don't have to worry about the temperature so much.

Tomorrow, I'll attack the holes along the bottom of the skirt.

The skirt seems to fit well along the sides, but I'm not happy with the back third. There are several areas where there is a gap between the skirt and fuselage. This gap is generally less than 3/8 inch, but it is up to 5/8 inch in one spot. It looks like I will need to cut some thin wedges out of the skirt to shorten the bottom edge. Oh well - it'll be a lot of fibreglas work, but I'm confident that it'll look fine in the end.


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Canopy Skirt Tribulations

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I didn't make too much progress on the canopy this week, as I got sidetracked sorting out some computer issues.

The front of the canopy frame was sitting a bit high with respect to the canopy bow, so I had to trim about 1/8 inch from the bottom of the canopy frame. Today I drilled the holes that attach it to the rollers at the bottom.

The canopy skirt as delivered has quite a bit of extra material around the edges. Van's provides a scribed trim line that shows where they think the edge of the average canopy skirt will be. I had to get my head at just the right angle to the light to find the trim line, then I marked it and made my first cuts well outside it.

Once I put it in place, I discovered that it fit very poorly at the back, and there was no way to make it go to the right shape. Many builders have reported that the skirt is much easier to fit if you cut it at the back and splice it back together later - the current kits have it in separate left and right halves. It still looks like I will have to do quite a bit of cutting and fitting to get this thing to sit tight to the fuselage at the rear. Oh well :-(

I'm going to be on the road all week, and most of the next three weeks, so things are going back into slow mode.


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