Project Update

Hi Folks,

Well, Rough River 2017 is in the history books.  A great Rough River all the way around!  Marco’s new GRT Mini & GNRS480 avionics install went off without a hitch, providing an awesome proof of concept for my upcoming panel.  In addition, the myriad of builder tips that I got from Buly, Rick Hall, James Redmon, Terry Schubert, Mike Beasley, Bruce Sinclair, Bill James and countless others were gold in the bank for so many upcoming component decisions and configurations I need to make.

As I mentioned before, I’ve had to adjust my schedule a bit over the past 6 weeks, which of course impacts my goals.  Yes, I will continue to fight in my hope that this will be the final push to get the main assembly of the aircraft completed.   I do plan on having the main structure of the aircraft finished by year’s end.  An aggressive timeline to be sure, but I think it’s very doable.

I’m still working out the finer details of making everything fit inside the cockpit.  Since the vast majority of what I’m doing are all mods, these usually require a lot of in-house R&D, and then trial & error when finally at the install phase.  However, the curve is exponential in that as each component is designed and installed, it accelerates the build because besides just being in the “done” column, it is one less thing to design and build.  Moreover, it’s a variable that has been changed into a constant.

All this is just to say that even though things seem to be going slowly, there really is a momentum building for this project.  These pesky mini-tasks burn time, but as they are finished and systems are integrated, then when the final airframe components builds are finished, this plane will seriously be close to being done. Again, these mini-tasks are definitely time-consuming and a lot more slow going then planned.  But finishing them now allows me to work all this stuff while I can stand right next to the fuselage without having to deal with strakes, or nose, being in the way!  

I have to say that it’s much easier and more fun to build the big stuff that makes this project look like a plane, and I often feel my discipline waining to go build something “cool”.  So, although obviously not as sexy as seeing major aircraft components (i.e. nose, strakes, canopy) being completed, these mini-tasks are oh so necessary for quality of flying later on!  Moreover, these immediate tasks, in turn, will allow me to finalize the configuration of the nose components. At which point I will focus on the building the nose and the canopy.  . . while concurrently finalizing the wheel pants install (nope, haven’t forgot about those!).



Chapter 22/24 – ELT bracket installed

I started out today pulling the peel ply from the ELT mounting bracket base layup.  I then cleaned up the layup and drilled access holes for my 4 embedded K1000-6 nutplate assemblies.  Finally, I pulled the plastic wrap out of the mounting holes to reveal nice, ready to go screw mount holes.

I then did a test install of the ELT mounting bracket.  All was good except at the front, where the existing floor of the fuselage slanting forward up to, and including, the bottom panel bulkhead lip (the stuff that I cut out to make the ELT sit flat) was physically too close to the mounting bracket and was keeping the mounting clip from getting inserted onto the latch hook.

It took me 3 rounds of cutting, grinding and sanding to finally get it dialed in just enough where I could get the upper latch ring down over the lower latch hook.  With that action, my ELT mounting base is officially installed!

I took a quick shot showing the clearance to the left of the ELT mounting base with the left armrest console sidewall.

I then grabbed my digital level and tested the angle of the ELT mounting base: only 2.9° nose high… I’ll take it!

With ELT mounting bracket “sideline project” out of the way, I started on the final task #3 of my 1-2-3 task list that I ginned up early last week for getting the pilot seat thigh support finished.  In my mind this 3 item list was going to take 2 days . . . and here we are almost a week later!

Anyway, task item #3 is getting a CAMLOC installed in each forward corner of the thigh support top/cover plate (or “floor” as it’s called in the plans).  I rounded up a 3/8″ thick piece of foam that was glassed both sides to mimic my thigh support cover.  I also rounded up the 7-ply glass bracket stock I had made up this past weekend.

I marked the bracket stock to cut out a bracket for the CAMLOC receptacle, which I only have one for testing purposes at this point [NOTE: All my other “CAMLOC” receptacles for the engine cowlings are the SkyBolt variable adjustable type].

I then trimmed the bracket stock and lopped me off a nice bracket from it.

A bit later, here’s my 2 CAMLOC brackets for the pilot seat thigh support, with holes drilled for the receptacles.  As you can see I also grabbed another stud and grommet, which I’m also testing to determine my preference.

I then drilled the stud/grommet thru-holes both left & right in the forward corners of the thigh support cover plate.

Here’s a shot with both stud/grommets in place on the thigh support cover.

I then did some multi-faceted layups.  I started by slathering flocro in the thigh support corner stud/grommet thru-holes (after I prepped the holes by digging out the foam around each hole).  I worked the flocro in nice and good so that it was set inside & past the edges of each hole.

A few hours later I redrilled the thigh support corner stud/grommet thru-holes for nice strong holes with very clean edges.

I needed some more surface area for my thigh support CAMLOC receptacle brackets to mount to, so as part of my multi-faceted layups I used some flocro to mount a couple ~5/16″ thick foam pieces (that I previously shaped) into the upper outboard corners of each of the panel bulkhead’s “map pockets”.  I then glassed patches of BID –2 plies front, 1 ply aft– over these newly inserted corner pieces.

I then peel plied the layups and left them to cure.

A number of hours later I pulled the peel ply and razor trimmed the freshly glassed CAMLOC receptacle brackets’ backplate mounting extensions.

The last bit of glassing I did on the days’ big layup-palooza was to added 2 plies of BID to the top of each thigh support CAMLOC receptacle bracket.  I noted when the CAMLOCs where in the closed/fastened/locked position, that the stud was just slightly proud of the grommet.  I figured 2 plies would get me acceptably closer to a flush stud inside the grommet.  Plus I’ll have paint on the thigh support cover, so I should be able to dial in the depth of the stud to match the grommet on each side.

With my shop work complete for this evening, I then spent over 2 hours working on my mockup/test instrument panel.  I drilled out & jig sawed the 8 holes above the HXr EFIS (PFD) for the Korry status lights, and then another 6 holes above the GNS480 GPS unit for the external GPS annunciator lights (also Korry).

I then spent a good amount of time figuring out where the remaining panel components, mainly switches, will go.

Tomorrow I hope to finish up the pilot seat thigh support CAMLOC install and the instrument panel mockup configuration.  For the panel I’ll probably construct a behind-the-panel cross bracket to mimic the F28 bulkhead so that I can install the Triparagon on the panel mounting base.


Chapter 22/24 – ELT mounting base

As I was getting started in the shop I heard the UPS guy drop off my VAN’s O-320 engine baffle kit.  It was another hour before I could collect it up and inventory all the parts.  I know I will have to make both the standard mods to the baffling kit (i.e. trim for EZ cowling), but I’ll specifically have a significant mod in the forward right hand corner where RVs have their oil cooler located.

Still, I’m extremely happy I got this kit since it gets me about 80% there on getting the baffles finished and installed.  (I’d like to recognize and thank Buly again for his tip to go this direction!)

As for the build, I dug out the foam a hair over 0.25″ deep in the area at the bottom left fuselage bulkhead that I had previously “flattened” to allow for the ELT mounting bracket to be installed.

I then traced out the shape, grabbed a piece of H250 foam (to add more strength back into this somewhat critical area) and then trimmed the foam to fit.  The foam piece I grabbed wasn’t big enough so I back filled the corner with a crescent shaped piece.  For all the OCD’ers out there grabbing their inhalers, out of curiosity I just checked the price of H250 on ACS: $175 for a 2’x2′ piece!  The first piece I bought was just under $100 back in 2011, and the second piece less than $120 back in 2013.  So, it’s NOT cheap and I’m not wasting any to make something that’s getting buried in glass look perfect!

Note that you can see the 2 dots I marked up that show the front bolt positions for the ELT mounting bracket.

I then used some spare G10 Garolite pieces I had lying around to make up these 2 forward nutplates for the ELT mounting bracket.  These nutplates will get buried under the uber expensive foam above.

I then marked and cut depressions into the bottom of the H250 foam to allow the nutplates to sit flush.  I then 5 min. glued the nutplates into the H250 foam.  As the 5 min. glue was curing, I then made up a another, narrow 2-nutplate mounting plate out of G10 Garolite.

I then test fitted all my pieces/parts in prep for glassing in the H250 foam into the foam divot I started out making this AM.

After prepping the nutplates by stuffing them with plastic wrap to protect them from nasties, I then flocro’d the H250 foam –with nutplates attached– into place.  I then glassed 1 ply of UNI with the threads running in a nose-to-tail fashion, and then covered that with 1 ply of BID.  I then of course peel plied the layup.

A few hours later I pulled the peel ply, cleaned up and did some judicious sanding on the freshly cured layup.

I then shaped a piece of urethane foam for the aft 2/3rds of the ELT mounting bracket base.  At the very tail end of this aft foam piece will sit the longer, narrow 2-nutplate mounting plate.  I taped up the bottom of the nutplates in this plate, set it in place in the urethane foam and then checked the front bolt marks through the front bolt holes on the ELT mounting bracket.

When the configuration looked good, I then micro’d the urethane foam base in place to the fuselage floor with the ELT mounting bracket set in place on top (to ensure the bolt holes were aligned).  I then slid a 2×4 piece down the center of the ELT mounting bracket, ensuring that none of the bolt holes were covered up (ensuring alignment).  I then placed weights on top of the 2×4.

Here’s another shot.

After a couple of hours, I removed the weights and cleaned up a bit of excess micro that had oozed out.  I then sanded the top of the urethane foam base to match the top angle and elevation of the forward embedded foam base.

After getting a good prep in, I then glassed the aft ELT mounting bracket urethane foam base into place with 1 ply of BID.

During the evening I was able to add a bit to mockup instrument panel.  If you notice, I redrilled the 2″ hole for the heating vent so that now it is located just above the left armrest intersect point.   I then drilled the holes for 3 switches right above the newly relocated heating vent.  I also drilled and mounted my 2 dimmers (center of center post).

Tomorrow I’ll continue on my quest to get the pilot seat area knocked out.  Now that the lion’s share of effort is out of the way on the ELT mounting bracket base, I can get back to the pilot thigh support seat and get the corner CAMLOCs installed.



Chapter 22/24 – If it pleases the panel

I started off today by pulling the peel ply off of the 7-ply bracket stock, and in turned pulled the bracket stock off of the taped-up 4130 1×1″ square tubing form.  As you can see, it came out just fine.  I just need to sand the inside, trim it up and cut it into individual brackets.

Here’s an end view shot of the 7-ply bracket stock.  Note the CAMLOC that I’ll be using the bracket stock to install.

I had to run some errands, including returning a motorcycle trailer I borrowed from a friend of mine… that took quite a few hours.  When I returned, I essentially spent the rest of the evening figuring out tweaking the component locations on the mockup instrument panel.  I think I’m really getting this panel dialed into where I want it!

I did have to make one major change so far: you can see in the lower left hand side where I filled the 2″ diameter heat vent hole back in by sanding down one of the 2-1/4″ instrument hole plugs that came out when I drilled the upper holes.  I then glued the new 2″ round plug back into place (I wanted to get this done so it would cure overnight).  The reason for doing this is that I decided the switches below the vent need to be higher for easier access, especially since the throttle handle will hinder easier access to that lower area just above the left armrest.

Tomorrow I’ll start back on the ELT mounting bracket and then probably do a lot more on this panel.  I want to get the panel to the point where I can get some serious wiring done in order to power up and check out all the instruments that I have on hand.



Chapter 22/24 – Prepping ELT install

Today I started off with the main task of installing a CAMLOC in each corner of the pilot thigh support plate, with an associated mounting tab underneath glassed to the lower instrument panel bulkhead.  Well, I quickly realized that to know exactly where the left side CAMLOC mounting was going to reside, I needed to the details of the ELT install.  For example: If the ELT couldn’t be set in low enough under the thigh support, then the CAMLOC assembly might sit too low to allow clearance for the ELT and have to be mounted farther inboard.  Also, if I did install the CAMLOC mounting tab, that’s just one extra extrusion to bloody my knuckles on as I worked on installing the ELT mounting bracket . . . see where I’m going with this?  It’s all sequencing, right?!

Alas, it was time to work on prepping the lower instrument panel and fuselage floor for the ELT mounting bracket.  The ELT is 7.75″ long, so it will extend out from under the seat just a tad, but not enough to get in the way while ingressing and egressing the plane.  I also confirmed with the ACK ELT techs that a “few degrees” up or down is not going to affect proper ELT operation. And to be clear: the manual states that left & right should be no more than 10° off centerline, so for up & down I consider anything less than 10° to be ok (the tech didn’t provide an actual value).

I started the process by marking a channel for the ELT mounting bracket.

I then cut the very bottom of the instrument panel bulkhead, that makes up the bottom cross piece of the “map pocket,”  which I removed right after I snapped this pic.

Then, over a few cycles, I trimmed the glass a little and then sanded the channel in the floor down.  I kept doing this until I constantly got the angle of the ELT mounting bracket to about 3.5° nose high.  I’m definitely going to call that a win.

I have a 3″ x 3″ x 7.75″ cardboard mockup that I made of the ELT.  I tried that out a number of times during the floor channel excavation.  Not one time did I have any clearance issues at the aft end of the thigh support channel.  Actually, if you look in these pics the only issue I had was when I was re-leveling the fuselage at the longerons.  My electronic level fell into the cockpit and put a nice divot in my front seat, then it slammed into the wedge duct top corner and dinged it up pretty good too.

I need to ponder a little more and assess just how I’m going to install the ELT mounting bracket.  I have some ideas, but I wanted to let them germinate a bit before glassing this all up.

Today I also cut 2 small side pieces and the center strut for the mockup instrument panel. I then glued them in place at the bottom of each panel area (L, C, R) with wood glue. An hour or so later I did a quick mock up in the fuselage to see how the mockup test panel compares to the real one.  Looking pretty good!

I also did a number of things with the panel mockup, such as mount it to its base (sorry, no pics… yet).  I also installed the GNS480 mounting tube and test fitted the 480… which installed nicely.

I’ll need some mounting brackets for the CAMLOCs to hold the thigh support cover plate in place, so I took my 1″x1″ piece of 4130 steel and taped it to a glassing board.  I then covered the top and outer edge with a piece of clear packing tape.

Then I laid up 7 plies of glass: 6 BID and 1 UNI, to make up a 1x1x8″ angled composite mounting bracket… which will of course get cut into 8 little mounting brackets.  Once I laid up the glass plies, I of course peel plied the layup.

Tomorrow I have to run some errands and visit some people, so I won’t be back in the shop until the afternoon.  But I do plan on setting the nutplates and glassing in the base for the ELT, and possibly getting a couple of 90° mounting brackets made up and ready for installing the CAMLOCs.



Chapter 22/24 – Ribs are done!

Today I started by . . . yep, adding the last bit of dry micro to the last 2-3″ middle area of each micro cap on the pilot thigh support ribs.  These things looked like twins with their shiny micro midsection glaring away, untouched and unspoiled by the thigh support top plate.  So, after sanding the middle micro areas on each each rib top dull, I then whipped up another round of dry micro and applied it.  All in all, I seriously only needed 1/8″ to 3/16″ more micro here, but man this is one of those things in the build that wants to be stubborn!

As the dry micro cured atop my ribs, I got to work finalizing the instrument cutouts for the mockup instrument panel that I’m constructing.  This panel will not only allow me to test instrument, avionic & component placement –and FIT!– but also put them all in their near-final position to allow me to wire them up.

After a few hours I finally saw what I’ve been looking for the last couple of days: no flat or untouched micro atop both my thigh support ribs… yeah!  I started cleaning them up by literally shaving the sides of the overhanging micro like you would a big block of cheese.

Once I got the sides close, I then switched to a sanding block to finalize the sanding of the added micro top.  I may add one more ply of BID just in the center areas for strength, but primarily to keep these from getting chipped away over the years.  Regardless, this part is DONE!

I then tested out the ELT location using the mounting bracket that was included in the ACK E-04 Retrofit kit (read: “starter” kit, IMO) that I just received today [perfect timing!]. The kit also included the panel mounted control head, so I’ll be mounting that in the mockup panel as well.

I also received the Eberhard latch that I’ll be using for the nose hatch.  This is close to the one I saw on Rick Hall’s Cozy IV at Rough River.  I added the wire clamp nut assembly making it pretty much ready for install [Note: I might take the drill to it and drill a few lightening holes since this thing is a bit heavy for its size].  Below the latch is in the hatch closed & locked position.

Here’s the Eberhard nose hatch latch in the hatch open position.

I also cut some uprights for the base of the mockup instrument panel.  I’m making this panel mounting stand a bit taller than just the main instrument panel area to allow for mounting the Triparagon behind the panel, since it plays such a key role in the panel instruments’ wire cross connections.  I went to dinner with my buddy Rob tonight, so before I left I spent about 15 min. painting this base with some white primer to hide all the unsightly water marks and wear on these “trash” pieces of wood that I used.

Tomorrow I plan on continuing with the seemingly unending saga of getting the pilot thigh support top plate installed.  My main task is to get some tabs glassed onto the lower aft side of the instrument panel to allow mounting 2 CAMLOC fasteners that will secure the front side of the seat support plate in place.  I’ll be working on the base for the ELT mounting bracket as well, shaping the fuselage floor to permanently install nutplates to secure the ELT bracket.


Chapter 22/24 – Pile the weight on!

I started out today spending well over an hour doing some research, answering questions, and providing info to Bob Nuckolls, et al. in response to a question I asked on the Aeroelectric Connection forum.  The question I asked was on how to create or modify a 4-into-1 video splitter to channel the micro cameras I’ll have on ship for viewing the back seat left & right fuel site gages, top side looking aft (at engine/prop), and bottom side looking aft (at engine/prop).  This device will then feed a GRT-integrated USB video module that will allow me view the video feeds in a small sub-window on my EFIS either auto- cycling through (that was one of my questions how) or by manual select.

I then got to work on round 2 of the pilot seat thigh support rib tops.  I took the profile of the bottom of the thigh support cover’s underside contour and then cut a cardboard template out so I had a good 1″ wide rib top edge profile to then cut the 1-ply prepregged BID tapes for each side of each rib.

Below you can see I’ve got the 1-ply layups + peel ply on the left rib (bottom) and on the side of the right rib, with the plastic still yet to be pulled.  I know I’ll have to add around 3/16″ -1/4″ more dry micro on top of the existing micro, so I laid up these edge plies of BID so they stuck up above the existing micro a bit.

Once the layups cured for about an hour, I then trimmed them a bit, cleaned them up and then added another round of micro.  I then of course had to add massive amounts of weight to the thigh support cover plate . . . Why?  Because I could …. (grin)

During my shop shenanigans I heard a delivery truck stop by.  A little while later I did in fact find a couple packages on my doorstep.  The first one was from Airflow Performance and had the 90° and 85° air intake elbows that I ordered, with the associated gaskets.

These elbows make up the physical mount and air intake for the air coming out the of Silver Hawk fuel injection servo into the Superior cold air plenum.  In the pic below, the nose of the aircraft would be to the left, prop to the right.  Since all the cold air induction plenums are built for forward facing engines, to incorporate one I had to get my air turned around.

To be clear, this isn’t something I did willy-nilly, although I know a number of Cozy builder/ drivers have done it with reportedly good success.  I conferred with Kevin Murray at Sky Dynamics, my IOX-340S engine builder, Tom Schweitz, and just within the last week I had a good discussion regarding getting this air turned around with Pete at Precision Airmotive, the maker of the Silver Hawk fuel injection system.

I’ve also been discussing this quite a bit with Chris Seats, a fellow Long-EZ builder.  While Chris is not using the Silver Hawk FI (he’s using the EFII system) he is using the Superior cold air induction plenum, so he has to turn the air around as well.  Chris is constructing his own air intake duct out of Carbon Fiber, but was curious about the weight of these combined elbows… which is 1.7 lbs. total.

The other package contained the 2″ high “EXPERIMENTAL” vinyl label that will eventually go on the inside bottom frame of the canopy rail.  It’s kind of hard to tell, but the lettering is simple black letters with a white shadow.  If you’re wondering why I bought this now, remember I had 2 weeks to do nothing but research and figure some of the smaller issues out… so while I had the opportunity I played around with my vinyl decal styles and pulled the trigger on a couple orders.

While my second round of micro on the thigh support ribs cured, I then spent a good amount of time determining the exact location of my GRT HXr EFIS on my panel mock-up blank.  I then cut the PFD mounting hole in the panel and test fit the HXr.

After a gazillion tweaks on the dimensions, trying to ensure every component gets a spot at the (panel) table, I then cut out the mounting hole for the Garmin GNS480 GPS unit that you see “installed” here.

Here’s a shot of the GRT HXr EFIS and GNS480 mounting tube behind the panel.

And another shot of the GNS480 mounting tube.  I’ll have to play around with getting the tube mounted in this panel mock-up blank, since it is a different configuration than how it will actually get mounted in the real panel.

I then spent another couple of hours dialing in the remaining panel avionics, instruments and components.  Since it was too late to do another inevitable round of micro, I left the weights in place on the thigh support cover and hit the rack.  Tomorrow I’ll continue with my primary push to get the pilot’s seat and fuel valve cover completed so I can move on to the left armrest (which, in turn, when finished will allow me to do a final mount of the GIB heating & air ducts).


Chapter 22/24 – Heat & Seat

Today I started out by doing a fair amount of research on my ELT placement, which was why I didn’t want to glass in the outboard thigh support tabs last night.  I’ve planned out my ELT location under the left side of the thigh support, but of course that can change if it doesn’t go in as planned.  I’m installing an ACK E-04 ELT, so I called them today and confirmed the mounting parameters.  I also learned that ACS sells a retrofit kit for this ELT, which is also a “starter” kit with just about everything but the actual ELT module.  I went ahead and ordered the retrofit kit so that I could get my hands on the mounting bracket to install that as early on as possible.

With my ELT info in hand, I then prepregged out another 2 setups of 4 plies of BID + a ply of CF.  I then glassed in the outboard thigh support tabs, placed the cover back on and weighed it down.

Here’s the results a few hours later.

While the outboard thigh support tab layups were curing, I grabbed my 1.25″ thin walled (0.035″) 6061 tubing and cut it in order to make a “T” duct for my heating system.  This “T” duct piece will sit upside down just in front of the left side instrument panel.  The air will flow straight to get to my left foot, and up to get to my upper body (via a vent).

I then entered my data on the online metal calculator, printed off a template, and then taped it to the shorter piece of tubing.

I then used my Dremel Tool to shape the end of the tube.

I then used the shaped tube to mark the longer tube.

I then Dremelled a hole in the longer tube.

My “T” duct fitting is ready to be joined.

With some excess micro, I joined the two pieces of tubing together.  I didn’t glass or rivet it, because these are such light pieces I think micro will do fine to hold them together. Plus, this is also not a critical flight component so I’m more concerned with weight than I am if it happens to break at some point in the future (again, which I highly doubt it will).

I then prepped the tops of both the left & right pilot thigh support ribs.  The task here will be to pile up dry micro and then press it down to the correct height using the thigh support top as a form.  I dug out the foam edges and then vacuumed them, plus all the foam bits scattered all about.

Here’s the whole shebang ready for some micro!

I whipped up a bunch of dry micro –after micro-slurrying the foam edges– and piled it on the top of each thigh support rib.  I then placed the top back on (see a trend here?!) and weighed it down.

A couple of hours later I pulled the pilot seat thigh support top/floor off and was quite surprised at what I found.  The micro was barely touched!  That means A) my ribs are WAY too short! and B) my thigh support top/floor plate is way sturdier than I ever imagined!

So I cleaned up the sides of the micro piles, made them even with the rib sides, and knocked off some rough spots.

I also noted that the epoxy that I had applied to the protective duct tape on the lid wasn’t even touched… I’m still surprised at how low & off these ribs are!

I was wondering a bit on just how to glass the rib sides over the new micro, but now that I have a sense of just how high the ribs need to be (there were a scant few spots of micro that were flattened), I’ll prep the micro first, then glass the sides, then add more micro… tomorrow!  From there, I’ll call it a day on the ribs because I think they’ll be in actual contact and nice and strong.

Another task I did tonight was to cut out an instrument panel blank from a piece of 1/4″ plywood.  I’ll use this as my initial test base for panel instrument placement and wiring.

I also spent a good 45 min working on the placement of my panel components.  Here you can see where I placed the instruments on the back side of the panel.  Also note that I quickly mounted the Triparagon back into place to verify how the instrument panel instruments align with it.

With the Triparagon mounted, I did a quick test fit on the GRT HXr EFIS GADAHRS.  It looks like it will fit in its planned spot nicely.

I then double checked the elevation of the GADARHS unit… also good.

Tomorrow will be more of the same!



Chapter 24 – I’m back! :)

After I got home yesterday from my running around the mid-Atlantic region for the past 2 weeks, I of course had a number of chores to take care of.  I then decided to update some of the build pages on this site, and got prepared for today.  I also caught up with some other builders, read the latest CSA, and did a quick bit of research.

Tonight I wanted to get a quick layup in as a foundation for tomorrow’s build endeavors.  I had originally planned to glass in 3 tabs along the top edge of the front side of the thigh support wedge duct.  However, I decided to wait on the onboard tabs and focus on the middle one.

Why am I putting tabs along the front edge of the wedge duct?  Well, if you think about the original plans pilot thigh support, first of all it’s actually glassed into place. Next, the most common configuration is to either have the thigh support floor/plate/top hinged on the aft side so that it swings up & aft, or at a minimum at least removable and not glassed in . . . so what do these all have in common?  The aft edge of the thigh support floor/plate/top is supported along its entire length.

Mine is not.

So I just want to give a little extra support to the top plate so that it doesn’t balk at me or my pax stepping on it during ingress/egress ops!

Thus, I prepregged two sets of 2 plies of BID and decided to throw another “trash” piece of carbon fiber in the middle for added rigidity, making 5 plies total.  I then wet out the glass, combined my sets into one set with the plies as follows: 2 BID/1 CF/2 BID.  I set it in place, making sure it was high enough on the wedge duct, and then added a little flocro in the corner where it bent back (actually forward) away from the wedge duct.

I then placed the pilot thigh support floor/plate/top in place (with tape on the bottom where it interfaced with the glassed tab). I then weighed down the thigh support floor.

Since I used fast hardener, after a few hours it was cured.  I pulled the weights and then the thigh support floor off the layup and it looked great.  I had peel plied both the face and the front of the support tab, so I pulled the peel ply.

Here’s the center thigh support center support tab in it’s raw form.  I should note that when I laid up the tab in place, the 5-ply glass pad measured 2″ x 2″.

I then did a quick trim on the support tab while the glass was still in its “green” state.

Tomorrow I’ll continue to finalize the installation of the pilot thigh support to then allow me to get on with installing the left pilot armrest & components.



Rough River 2017 – Bits ‘n Pieces!

My first interest poking around the various birds at RR17 was how other builders had configured their nose hatch release latch.  I took special note of Rick Hall’s freshly built Cozy IV setup.

Here’s Rick’s homemade latch catch:

I then noted James Redmon’s nose hatch release.  His is from McMaster-Carr.

As is the other Berkut that was there that James helped build extensively.

Simple latch catch on the Berkuts.

Again, here’s the other Berkut:

The Berkut’s also had this spring loaded button that provided the small force necessary to pop the hatch open.

Here’s another nose hatch release.  I also noted a myriad of folks placing their GPS pucks on top of their batteries… hmmm, interesting use of space.

Speaking of space utilization, Terry Sherman followed Davenport’s design and added some baggage space flooring in the nose to keep the baggage from gumming up the rudder pedals.

I then had a number of discussions on aileron fences.  Seems like everyone who has them, including James Redmon, really tout the positive impact they have on the flight controls.

Here’s some more.  Again, seems like these might be a good trick to try.

While discussing engine baffles with Buly (more on this in upcoming posts), he noted that I should ensure to place a steel cross brace between the alternator and starter.

I then noted some differences between many styles of baffles used in canards.  Buly recommended that instead of making my own baffles, I order a kit from VANs.  One advantage to the VANs baffle kit is that it exposes the alternator & starter so that they’re easily inspectable during preflight.

Terry Sherman has a cord plug to easily hook up and warm his engine.  Good thinking…

Terry also has a one-way suction valve much like race cars do to vent his crankcase right into the exhaust pipe.  I’m interested in this and will assess it much further.

I noted on Rick Hall’s Cozy that he had a cork plug in the center of his Silver Bullet prop hub: Nice simple idea for keeping moisture out of the prop’s wood core.

With the help of a world-renowned hand model (Bruce Sinclair…ha!), I was able to accentuate this pic of James Redmon’s removable nose avionics area cover [attached to the canard on the Berkut].

Steve Beert pointed out that the Cozy IV’s have a removable nose avionics area cover just aft of, and NOT included as part of the canard cover (as the Berkut’s is).

The Cozy IVs use a hinge pin system as seen on many standard tractor aircraft cowlings.  The pics below show both the left and right side hinge pin assemblies.

Back to James’ Berkut 13, I really appreciate the simple way he uses his outboard wing-to-winglet fairing to pin his rudder gust lock into place.  Very nice.

I then took note of some winglet configurations and N-number styles.

This looks like a robust way to secure the right side canopy if need be:

And a very cheap, lightweight, and simple solution for a canopy push/pull handle.

Here’s a cheap mirror that James Redmon attached to his canopy to see what’s going on behind him.  He has one on the other side as well (I guess you could say it’s “a mirror image!”  . . .  yuk, yuk!)

And a nice cheap & movable method to keep sunlight at bay.

I also grabbed a shot of how James used a RAM mount for the GIB headrest.  I like this since it would easily collapse if need be.

The Berkut has some nice features in its design such as these water runoffs that actually vent through a hole out onto the strake surface.

Since I’ve been working on my heating & fresh air ventilation system, I was interested in James’ pilot fresh air vent, which many other builders have copied of course.  James painted his cover black…

Where the other Berkut owner just used the interior paint to cover up the plate.  Both look great so I wanted to capture a shot of each.

I had a nice discussion with James on his pilot fresh air intake scoop since he changed it from the original tear drop shaped inlet on the bottom side of the strake, just aft of where the new style (seen below) is now.  James states the new style produces so much volume of fresh air that he had to make a restrictor for the inside of it, whereas the old teardrop style produced almost no fresh air and he could barely feel any flow with his hand pressed against the vent.

I took this shot for the paint colors, winglet configuration and N-number style.

Not surprisingly, I see a lot of canard aircraft with some rather unseemly ways to tell exactly how much fuel is showing in their fuel site gages (read: ugly!).  I really appreciate how clean and simple James depicts the amount of fuel in his fuel site gages (could very well be white on black labels from a label-maker, but still very clean and legible).

As before, I really liked the simplicity and style of this paint job.

Also, the wheel paints were blended in nicely with the gear leg.

As were the gear legs to the fuselage…. nice work both on finishing and paint on this Long-EZ!

I also grabbed a few shots of James Redmon’s RAM air belly scoop since I’ll be doing very close to the same thing for my RAM air scoop.

Alas, then it was time to go home.  But nothing beats FLYING back home in a LONG-EZ!  Thanks Marco!

When Marco & I returned back to Chesapeake Airport, we had some time to kill waiting for Gina to come pick us up. So we meandered over to some other builders’ hangars to stop them from working for a while! <grin>

One of Marco’s EAA buddies, Dale, is working on an RV-9.  He showed me his VANs baffling kit and highly recommended using it.  He also showed me how he routed his SS lines for the manifold pressure and oil pressure sensors.

I also took note of how he ran his upper ignition wires through a hard grommet in the baffle wall.

One of my biggest surprises was Dale’s instrument panel.  It looked awesome and was the charcoal gray color I was looking for (vs matte black).  He said it was simply a 3M vinyl product that he discovered other folks using and he got it off of Amazon.  I’ve already pulled the trigger on some and can’t wait to test it out!

Before I left, as I was helping Marco work some stuff on his bird, I quickly took some measurements to use as a reference in the upcoming months when I construct the top of my nose.

Out of curiosity, I also measured the distance between his NG30 and interior nose sidewall.

So that’s the last of what I have as far as our Rough River 2017 trip… hopefully these visual notes helped you in figuring out a thing or two as they did me!