Chapter 16/19/25 – Aileron control tubes

In preparation for installing the aileron control components in each wing, I am reviewing and assessing how my fellow builders accomplished this task… mainly Dave Berenholtz and Ary Glantz, both very talented builders in their own right.

In reviewing Ary’s excellent write-up on his blog I came across an issue that was hiding in plain sight.  I’ll start by stating emphatically that I love the Cozy Girrrls, Chrissi and Randi, and all they’ve done for this community.  But I have to say in all honesty that I’m disappointed in the info I just unearthed on Ary’s write-up concerning the aileron control system CS128 Belcrank that they sell.  As innocuous as it may seem, their belcrank comes with 1/4″ holes on each arm for attaching the control tube rod-ends.  On the surface no big deal, but it’s definitely causing me headaches in time, money and effort . . . read on.

Without doubt using 1/4″ holes here is in line with the plans changes in CP 102 and CP 103 to increase the size of the rod ends from 3/16″ to 1/4″, at least on the face of it. And maybe using 1/4″ rod ends is a standard in the Cozy world.  However, after this mod hit the streets and Long-EZ builders, fliers, and/or owners were tasked with converting their rod ends, Rick Girard, Ken Miller and others discovered a little gem sold at Wick’s Aircraft: the XM-3.  In Rick’s words:

“First thing is, do not use HM-4’s. Wick’s has a rod end that has a 3/16″ hole in the ball and is in every other way equivalent to the HM-4. This will save having to drill out all the bell cranks. Wick’s part number is XM-3 (I know it doesn’t make sense unless the dash number spec’s the hole in the ball, but it is a 1/4-28 thread).”  Read here, page 22.

I followed suit and bought 8 of the XM-3 rod ends for the aileron control system.

And now I’m following suit after reading Ary’s blog and buying four Heim HM-4 rod ends in a scramble to get the aileron control system installed.  To be fair, the CS128 listed on the CG site does state it uses MM-4 rod ends, but it would have seriously made life way easier for a number of builders if these were produced with 3/16″ holes to then allow HM-4/MM-4 users to simply take a minute to drill them out to 1/4″.

I’ll know and assess more when I get the 1/4″ rod ends in hand, but looking at Ary’s write-up the kicker isn’t really even the requirement or cost to get these new rod ends: it’s the resulting lack of clearance with them installed.  Ary stated that he had to rewicker the configuration of the Belcrank in the CS127 brackets by trimming down the CS131 spacer and adding washers below the Belcrank to reposition it higher simply to add clearance for the bigger AN4 bolt heads.  Now we’re getting into make-work on a supposed off-the-shelf part… which is quite frustrating to a project manager like myself.

I thus fired off an order to Aircraft Spruce for these new rod ends and a few other parts.

Moving on.

I’d say I took my frustration out by sanding the top of the left wing in prep for micro finishing it, but let’s be honest: sanding sucks.  As on the right wing, I spent about 2 hours getting a good dull finish on the top surface of the left wing.  The good news is that I plan to follow Wayne Hick’s lead and peel ply the top strakes when I glass them, which only leaves the winglets as any major area to sand remaining… as far as fiberglass.  Obviously lots of micro-sanding left in my future!

After a bit more research, confirming task sequences, etc. I dove into the initial steps of installing the aileron control system components.  Again, pulling from other builders (a shout out again to both Ary and Dave), my overall plan falls in line with Wayne Hicks specific suggestion to start from the aileron itself and install inward towards the firewall (which is fairly in line with the plans method as well).

I first positioned, drilled and bolted a MS20271 B10 Universal Joint into the A10 tube on each aileron.

Over on the actual wings I mounted the wing root bearings then slid the CS152 tube with the CS132 weldment bolted to it into each bearing.

I then took the CS151 aileron torque tubes and slid them into place over the CS152 tube and pressed up against the internal face of the wing root bearing.

I then made a mark on each CS151 even with the inboard edge of the wing aileron pocket.

With that, I subtracted the distance of the aileron A10 nub and (now) added U-joint, which is 1.9″.  I also needed to remove another 1/4″ for the space identified in the plans that needs to be between the end of the CS151 tube and the wing root bearing face.  With my measurements calculated and marked, I then trimmed both CS151 aileron torque tubes to length.

And then temporarily mounted the CS151 torque tubes to the inboard nub of the Universal Joint using electrical tape.

I then carefully mounted the ailerons onto the wings with the CS151 torque tubes temporarily attached.

I removed the CS152/CS132 setups out of the wing root bearings to allow me to see the end of the CS151 aileron torque tube inside the bearing center hole.

Here we have a view of the CS151 aileron torque tube inside the hot wired inboard wing channel.

I measured the gap between the inboard edge of the CS151 aileron torque tube and outboard face of the wing root bearing on each wing.  On the right side I’m right about at a 1/4″ gap, while on the left it’s a little shy at 0.214″… so I’ll shave just hair more off the left CS151.

I also noted another issue when remounting the ailerons for the first time after having laid down primer and paint on the bottom surface of the wings: my gaps between the inboard aileron edge and wing aileron notch is essentially AWOL on the forward side of the aileron.

On the right wing you can see it needs some cleaning up to regain the nice gap I had… at this point the aileron is pretty much locked into place as far as any movement.

Over on the left wing I removed the aileron and trimmed the inboard edge to allow freedom of movement, although it started out looking pretty much like the right aileron did above. It was getting quite late so with the left good I decided I’ll fix the right aileron tomorrow.

I will note that I’m happy with the initial aileron swing of 3″ each direction, showing that even with the CS151 torque tube installed that the opening of the inboard aileron pocket is plenty large enough to allow for freedom of movement.  How this plays out once all the components are connected up remains to be seen!

And with a long day under my belt I called it good and headed in for a late dinner.

Chapter 21 – Strakes closed out!

Today was a huge milestone for my Long-EZ build in that I got the top strake skins floxed on and the strakes closed out.

My first task of the day was just annoying, to be honest.  I found yet another epoxy bead from a tape seam as the light hit the left GIB strake window just at the right angle as I was looking through it. Ugh!  I wet sanded it with 600, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit before buffing it out with my kit.

Done.  It better be the last time (ok, except for the outside… I know that’s coming!)

Not shown here, but I first taped the GIB windows and fuel site gages back up before sanding down the longerons in prep for layups.  I then vacuumed out the dust (both inside the baggage areas and the fuel tanks) before taping in plastic sheeting to protect the just-painted baggage areas from any epoxy or flox gunk that may ensue from closing out the strakes.

I then took a page out of Dave Berenholtz strake build and covered my open strakes with clear plastic to create a rib/T-hat/LE map for reference later on if I need it.  A 20 minute task that may prove very useful in the future.  Thanks Dave!

I then did a final fitting and prep of the strake top skins.  I also transferred and marked up the T-hat positions actually on the strake skin foam cores themselves.  I wanted to have a quick reference as to where to put the weights once these things were floxed on.

I then removed the strake top skins, vacuumed out the entire fuel tank each side, then removed all the protective tape pieces —fuel vents, drain screens, site gage holes— and then vacuumed again before doing a visual check for any bits of dust or lint.

Unabashedly copying yet another builder, I then took a page from Ary Glantz’s strake build and made up single ply BID tapes that will be laid up on the longerons first, then overlapped onto the inboard underside edge of the strake skins when they’re put into position.  Much easier than the plans method of leaving an inch of glass overhanging down the inboard edge of the strake skin un-wetted-out to then be overlapped upward onto the longeron… as Ary essentially noted on his blog: use gravity as your friend.

I then prepregged these BID tapes.

The smaller ~5″ wide BID tapes in the lower right corner of the pic are the ply of BID that goes from the inboard underside edge of the strake skin and overlaps onto the longeron, only in the very aft where it is sitting on top of the T-hat/flange… so these are separate layups that I used EZ Poxy to layup.  I laid these up on the aft edge of each top strake skin.

I then laid up the forward, longer BID tapes on the longerons using MGS 335 epoxy with a 50/50 mix of fast and slow hardener…. here’s the right longeron with the BID tape in place.

Ahem! I got a little cocky here and should have gone slow hardener all the way because these BID tapes were getting pretty dry by the time I got the actual flox on all the T-hats and strake top skins set in place.  I made it though… just barely.

Here’s the left longeron BID tapes.

I will note that I set the left strake in place first and then moved onto the right side.  At some point I had a bit too much weight in the area above the GIB strake baggage opening. The weight caused this layup to pull back/away a bit as the surface it was attached to moved further down/away.  As I rebalanced the weight on the left strake top a bit later, I wasn’t thinking about that layup.  So once the top skin came back up to its proper position, and with the BID tape well into curing, it simply pulled it upward in its now “elongated” state…. in short, I have a decent bit of bunching right along the longeron bottom/inboard skin seam on the left underside baggage opening.

I clamped the top skin and the longeron to bring the position to the correct height as it fully cured.  I’ll wait to fix this until after I glass the outside tops of the strake so it’s stronger and has support to secure this segment of the top skin edge into place.  Thankfully the right strake is fine.

Since I had just a half of a squeeze bottle left of E-Z Poxy 87B hardener left and a bunch more 84B on hand, I prioritized my hardener usage so that I would ensure the actual perimeter of the fuel tank was secured with E-Z 87B hardener (the best stuff according to Gary Hunter) and then the middle/inside rib tops/T-hats got the E-Z 84B hardener.

Here’s my chicken scratch drawing of my plan:

And here it is in application.  Actually the left strake got pretty much exactly what you see above, while I was able to use the 87B on a few more areas on the right strake since I knew I was in the clear.

Although I do have probably just enough 87B for the initial floxing in of the fuel probes.

I would call the above the “before pic” while this one below is the “after pic”… with the right strake top skin floxed in place and tons of gym weights and other items weighing it down in place . . .

as well as ACS shipping dunnage wood strips taped in place to really get a good compression on the front edge of the foam where it overlaps the leading edge flange.

Here is the front side of the right strake closeout.

The left strake was actually the first side I closed out.  Here’s a shot of that.

You can see I used a lot more standard gym weights on the left side, which is why I had to get more creative on the right side and use other heavy items to weigh it down.

Finally, here’s a shot of the aft side of the left strake top skin closeout.

It was quite late and a VERY long day… time to have a glass of red and celebrate this milestone before jumping back into the fray!

Chapter 21 – Baggage areas painted

I started off this morning by removing the clamps and the spacers to reveal my flox and glass gatekeeper to keep the fuel vents wrangled in the Turtledeck.  While the glass and flox certainly did the job, it’s interesting to note that the pressure I put on the layup squeezed a good bit of epoxy out of the glass layup and made it fairly dry.

I also grabbed shots of the E-Z Poxy floxed fuel vent lines exiting the aft corners of the fuel tanks via the flange.  I peel plied them since there will be more added to these flox bits when the strake tops get floxed into place.

I then gathered up some 600, 1200 and 1500 grit sandpaper and wet sanded the scratch on the aft end of the left GIB strake window.  If you focus on the electrical cord on the ground you can see how it disappears into a haze… that haze is the wet-sanded scratch.

I then buffed out both the right and the left GIB strake windows… and with the windows pretty much scratch free on the inside, it was time to tape them up for paint.

I also taped up a whole bunch of other things as well in prep for paint.

And covered a bunch of areas with plastic to ensure anything that was not supposed to get paint, didn’t.

I then broke out the primer and hit the pilot right baggage opening.

As well as the GIB right baggage opening…

then the left side in the back.

And finally, the left pilot baggage opening.  I have to say, I really like this gray… too bad it doesn’t cover as well as the gray granite paint.

After a good 30 minutes plus, I then painted the inside of the baggage areas and fuselage with the Rustoleum gray granite paint.

I was a bit concerned with how well it would blend with the previous paint, but thankfully it looked like it came out of the same can!  As I always say: better to be lucky than good. Ha!

And the last couple of shots.  All these pics were taken after I shot the second and final coat of paint.

I’m extremely pleased with how the paint looks.  Moreover, I’m glad I took the time to micro up the various spots of the baggage areas to smooth out the rough stuff.

Tomorrow I’ll shoot a couple rounds of clear coat before moving on to the outboard strake storage compartments and preinstall on the fuel probes.

Chapter 21/22 – Target: Cabin Heat!

This morning I started out by popping free the oil heat RAM air scoop cross duct/bridge from the clear packing tape I laid it all up on.  If you remember, I put peel ply down first before laying up the flanges.  I also peel plied both ends for any added plies of glass that will be required.

I then pulled the peel ply and razor trimmed the glass.  Here’s a shot of the outside, which is actually the bottom of the duct/bridge and the sides of course… a shot each end.

I then took a couple of shots of the inside as well.,, again, from each end.

I then got started on the myriad of nitnoy tasks.  First off, I made up the vapor fins that will get attached inside the vapor box, the forward one hanging down from the top of the box, and the aft one attached to the floor.  This will make the air have to do a couple of slalom weaves to get into the air duct… which should significantly help pull the moisture out of the incoming air.

To assist with laying up the back (outboard) wall of the vapor box, I am glassing mini “T-hats” to the outboard edges of the fins to provide some bridge supports for the backside glass.  That’s what all this commotion is in the pic below.

Also, at the very top you can see a spare, previously-glassed piece of 3/8″ PVC foam that I’m using as a pedestal/spacer for the Vapor-box mounting tab Clickbond (see next pic)

. . . the Clickbond to go through this tab which will be attached to the upper aft corner of the Vapor Box with flox & glass.  Note that the tab itself is G10 phenolic.

I then mixed up some epoxy, laid up the T-hat glass on the Vapor Box fins and also floxed the Clickbond to its foam/fiberglass pedestal.

Here’s a shot from the other side.

And here we have the Vapor Box mounting tab floxed and glassed into place with 2 plies of BID.  I peel plied this layup as I did the T-hats above.

Quite a few hours later I significantly decreased the width/depth of the Clickbond base and then micro’d (since I removed the backside glass) it to the BL23 rib… with just a dab of 5-minute glue in the middle to help secure it quickly.

My last task of the evening was actually a REAL build task, as per plans (and CP). I ran the fuel tanks’ vent line tubing from each tank, through/up/over/down the Turtledeck to then pop out the other side.  This is how Chris Randall did his fuel vents and it seemed the easiest of all solutions, so I followed suit.

Here we have the right fuel tank vent lines in place.

And here’s the forward vent line in the left fuel tank in the top pic, and the aft vent in the bottom pic. I’ll note that with all the extra bending and machinations that I went through to get these vent tubes in place, they are not the straightest or prettiest vent lines you’ll see… but they work.  And once the tops are on these strakes hopefully none of us will ever see these ugly things again… ha!

The fuel vent lines coming out from around the GIB headrest reminded me of some sea creature on the ocean floor, tentacles at the ready in search of food… but I digress!

Here’s a shot of the vent lines going through the flange I created to flox the upper strake skin to… note that since I have Mike Melvill’s cowlings that there are shoulder bumps that come forward of the cowling in the corners between the strake and Turtledeck.  Thus, to keep the vent lines out of the cockpit, and put the transition holes out of the tank on the top vs the side of the tank, I ran the fuel vent tubes along the aft longeron to then upwards into the Turtledeck.

Another shot of the fuel vent line tubing, both on the side of the longeron and entering the Turtledeck.  Ok, and the weird stuff coming out of the middle!

It took a fair bit of finagling to get the lines around the top of the GIB headrest and out the other side, but I eventually got them all.  Thank God I gave myself extra length on these tubes, because I tore the ends to hell getting them out of the interior Turtledeck.

After I layup all the extra glass on the Turtledeck for the top cowling mounting flanges and then micro finish it in prep for paint I’ll trim the fuel vent lines flush with the surface of the Turtledeck.  Again, this is how Chris Randall did his and he has a ton of years of trouble free flying with his fuel vent tubes configured this way.

I’m not overly pleased with how these vent lines look inside the Turtedeck and I am honestly pondering how best to hide them.  Regardless, there they are in their current state.

BTW, here’s how those Vapor Box fin T-hats turned out… not bad for a ply of BID each side.

After I did my minor/myriad tasks above, I took a bit of time to make up prepregged 2-ply BID tapes for the duct/bridge when it comes time to glass that in place.  I also prepregged 2 plies of BID for the aft/outboard wall of the Vapor Box to close that out.

And with that… I definitely called it a night!


Chapter 22 – XM Weather

Last night I had finished making both a long list of notes –including questions to ask different vendors– regarding my in-cockpit XM weather capability using my WxWorx receiver.  Overnight I had an epiphany on two fronts.  The first was that I resigned myself that I was only going to pipe XM satellite weather into my cockpit on one device: my Bendix/King AV8OR portable GPS.

The second was that instead of messing about with trying to figure out how to purchase a nearly-impossible to find (original optional component) RS232 cable for a hard-wire setup between my XM Wx receiver and display (AV8OR), that I would instead look seriously at using Bluetooth betwixt the two.

You may be wondering why I’m not pushing to have my HXr EFIS display XM Wx data, and at first I was very much intent on doing just that.  However, having dug into the XM Wx display capabilities of GRT’s HXr EFIS, it honestly just doesn’t match up nearly as well in displaying various XM weather products as the AV8OR does.  Yes, although a bit older platform, the AV8OR simply beats out the HXr in XM Wx display at just about every turn (except display size).

The bottom line is that in my realization of the amazing & difficult number of technical/logistical hoops I’d have to jump through to get the XM Wx to display on both the HXr (fewer XM Wx products) and the AV8OR GPS (nearly all XM Wx products), I was driven to an undesired —but EZ— decision to go with just the AV8OR to display my in-cockpit XM Wx data.  To be clear, I will still display NexRad Wx data on my HXr EFIS, but just via ADS-B.

To provide somewhat of a full scope report, I will say that I discovered a device —Mobile Link— now offered by Baron (AKA “WxWorx”) that translates the XM Wx data across a WiFi signal to be used on up to 4 portable devices such as iPads, iPhones, and Android phones/tablets.  Upon a closer look however, I unfortunately discovered that Mobile Link provides an either-or solution, not an either-and solution in that I could either go the Mobile Link route for JUST a WiFi solution (mobile), or with my current XM Wx receiver to panel device solution (EFIS, GPS unit, etc)…. but not both.  Since it would cost much extra for Mobile Link, I decided not to go this route and will continue looking for more viable solutions to get XM Wx on my mobile devices…. specifically on my iPad for Foreflight.

In narrowing my target focus, I again decided to shoot for getting my XM Wx data solution implemented with the most elegant solution possible.  Although I currently have a USB cable connection on my XM Wx receiver, I still had a nagging question on just how exactly that would interface with my AV8OR GPS unit.  What I did know however, is that it would require an optional cable which I do not currently have on hand. Note, that “cable” here is also a significant, operative word.  The bottom line is the location and fit of my AV8OR on my panel is very tight, and introducing a new cable would add to its complexity of getting it situated on a tightly packed panel and its use (removing during non-use and during fly-ins, etc).

Although an unexpected expense, by purchasing the XM Wx receiver Bluetooth module from Aircraft Spruce, it knocks out the proverbial 2 birds with 1 stone: 1) It solves all questions about connecting device A (AV8OR) to device B (XM Wx receiver, and 2) it makes the install overwhelmingly much cleaner and easier.  So, I pulled the trigger on the Bluetooth module.

Fellow builders that know me know that I often use a term, half in jest, that it’s “better to be lucky than good.”  And as I’ve shared with you before, an old boss of mine used to so wisely say, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”  Well, I think both of those came into play today since I was able buy literally the last Bluetooth module that Aircraft Spruce had in stock for a 2nd generation XM Wx receiver.

On top of that, since the Bluetooth module replaces the USB cord module it then goes to reason that another power source is required (since the USB cord provided it in the wired configuration).  Well, due to a note on the Aircraft item page for the Bluetooth module that some of these peripheral items may be available, after a short hold while the very helpful Aircraft Spruce sales rep called the company that makes the power cords, I was happy to hear that I would be allowed to purchase one of just a few power cords they had left… Woo-hoo!

With my initial XM Wx data solution seemingly resolved, I then pressed on to creating a wiring diagram for the Trig TT22 Mode-S transponder.  I have depictions of its install in a few other diagrams, but since I decided to place it in the outboard pocket of the right strake, I figured I had better expound a bit on the particulars of its wiring and installation. Thus, here is the resulting transponder wiring and installation diagram.

The transponder wiring diagram above is actually a significant milestone in my build, since it caps a near 5-year effort to document my entire electrical system and components into individual diagrams.  So, for those of you that are interested, here’s the latest updated list showing all my Electrical System Wiring Diagrams:

0. Index Page
Z.  Z-13/8 Electrical System
A.  Switches, Circuit Breakers & LEDs
.99 Grounding Busses
1.  Panel Components
2.  Radio & audio system
3.  Panel Power
4.  Electrical System Components Location Diagram
5.  Aircraft Wire Labeling Sectors Diagram
6.  Nose Gear/AEX System
7.  Pitch & Roll Trim Systems
8.  Lights: LDG, TAXI, NAV, STROBE
9.  Engine Info Management
10. Fuel System
11. Cockpit Lighting
12. Landing Brake
13. Throttle Handle Switches
14. Control Stick Switches
15. Integrated Backup Battery System & X-Bus
16. Gear & Canopy Warning
17. Charging System
18. AG6 Warning Annunciators
19. Electronic Ignition
20. P-Mag Ignition
21. Oil Heater System & Seat Warmers
22. Starting System
23. ELT
24. Heated Pitot Tube
25. Trio Autopilot
26. Video Camera System

27. Heads-Up Display (HUD)
28. Transponder
29. XM Weather
30. Long Wire Runs



Chapter 22 – New Wiring Diagrams

Yeah, not a lot going on as far as actual building, but I am getting some of the low hanging fruit –which does take a good bit of time– out of the way.

To start off, I did get my 15 amp mini-ANL fuse delivered.  Just for sake of closure here’s a shot of it installed in the fuse holder.

In addition, over the last couple of days I’ve created wiring diagrams for the ACK E-04 ELT:

the Trio Pro Pilot Autopilot:

And the GRT HUD system:

I do have a bit of final cleanup stuff and crosschecking to do on each of these diagrams, but for the most part they are complete.

Finally, in the next few days I plan on knocking out the Trig TT22 Transponder wiring diagram, which at this point is the last wiring diagram left to complete.  Moreover, I’ve made updates and tweaked about 10 other wiring diagrams so my electrical system documentation is pretty up to snuff currently.

I’ll continue to update you all on any minor bits of progress or massive decisions that I make on the build as they occur!


Chapter 22 – E-Bus Feed Fuse

From my research this was the best Mini ANL (MIDI) fuse holder that I could find to serve as my new E-Bus feed fuse holder…. and I quite like it too.  It’s lightweight (1.4 oz) yet quite sturdy and simple in design.  As you can see, it has two #10 screw posts which each serve double duty to both retain each end of the Mini ANL fuse/current limiter and secure the respective wires’ terminals to the fuse holder.

The actual nomenclature for this component is the EATON Bussmann LMI1-E-2-0 Fuse Holder with Cover.

The attached red rubber protective cap simple pushes into place –with slots on the underside of the cap– onto the center vertical posts that are situated above and below the center fuse area in the pic above.

Below are pics with the red protective cap in place.

And here is a representative shot of the Mini ANL (MIDI) type fuse, which of course is just a smaller version of the more robust 40-60A current limiters often seen in many experimental airplanes on the alternator’s B-lead circuit.

I looked around at a couple of auto parts stores in hopes that they would have these Mini ANL (MIDI) fuses in stock, but alas, I ended up having to order them online.

So I now have all the components identified/on-hand/on order to make the modification in my conversion to Bob Nuckoll’s new Z-36 E-Bus feed circuit, which IMO is much better than the previous circuit design I was using.


Chapter 22 – GRT HUD

Well, as I was looking up some info on the GRT Avionics site yesterday I ran across their home page banner on their integration and use of a Heads Up Display (HUD).  I remember quite a while back my buddy Brian Ashton up in Alaska discussing how he had picked up a HUD unit for his GRT avionics suite.  We had a few brief discussions on GRT’s HUD system (the backbone component is actually from Hudly) and I really never gave it much thought after that.

Still being in my self-enforced downtime due to my back and hip (which are getting better at a snail’s pace), I took the time to really dive into this unknown world of GRT HUD technology.  Well, as you can see from the pics below, the integrated HUD along with the GRT avionics does a really good job of displaying a ton of key flight data.

These pics were taken by GRT’s Greg Toman in his RV6 during a bright day.  During Greg’s subsequent discussion on this HUD system he noted that after takeoff on his first flight with the HUD installed, he realized after landing that he had not looked inside the cockpit for primary flight data once during the entire flight.  In short, it was just way too EZ to reference the HUD for this flight data info, which then allowed him to concurrently keep his eyes looking outside for traffic.

Moreover, GRT’s integrated HUD provides a ton more information than just basic flight data.  In the depiction below, in addition to airspeed, altitude, heading, attitude, altimeter, turn coordinator and wind speed/direction, it also provides

  • HSI (lower left)
  • Waypoint info (upper left): WPT, distance, ETA
  • GRT’s Highway-In-The-Sky (HITS) boxes
  • Armed GRT Synthetic Approach (SAP) [4.5° descent angle, also shown during ILS]
  • Runway depiction (near center of inner HITS box)
  • Flight Director & Flight Path Marker (magenta circle & target symbol above ALT box)
  • Vertical & lateral approach “needles” (yellow hash marks)
  • Runway info/data (upper right): KLDM, Rwy 01, currently 976 feet above runway
  • Selected altitude (upper right) “SA-700”

Call me impressed (or a sucker… ha!) but after a 45 minute phone call with Greg at GRT, I was convinced enough to at least give this HUD technology a try.  I ordered a small Android Compute Stick [a mini computer somewhat like the Raspberry Pi, but quite often used for processing video signals] that serves as the BlueTooth interface between the GRT EFIS components and the HUD system.

Fast forward to today, where I received the Android Compute Stick and immediately started to get the GRT Remote App loaded onto it (which required an HDMI-cabled monitor, thus allowing me to use my recent space-saving purchase of a Smart TV!). In the end, I was able to cobble together just enough bits n’ pieces to make this happen.  As you can see below, for the pic of the Android Compute Stick I added the ubiquitous decimal tape measure into the shot for size determination.

I then set-up the various HUD parameters for what will be my specific HUD configuration.

One nice feature of the GRT Remote App is that it lets you check how the HUD display will look as you change out the various configuration settings in the app menu.

Finally, I do plan on having a small Android screen on a RAM ball mount for GIB situational awareness, so just as an FYI this PFD below is how flight data info will be presented to the GIB.

I don’t plan on actually purchasing the HUD equipment until next year some time, but I did want to get a jump on things for planning purposes HUD-wise.  Thus, I’ve already designated the HUD’s power connection points in my current electrical system configuration.


Chapter 22 – Electrical System Tweaks

My current back ailment puts me in a bit of an irony at the moment: since I want to take it EZ for a good bit to let my back and hip heal up, I am now actually able to do some much needed administrivia and cleanup tasks on the electrical system.  Kind of a catch-22 scenario at the moment in that the longer I delay on getting my house sold, the longer it will take to get back on the build… but in my current state, I’m actually able to focus on a number of aspects of the build.  Life can be weird sometimes!

To start off, Bob Nuckolls must be bored (or something!) as he’s been ginning up some new Z diagrams to tweak some of his older stuff.  Well, over a year ago he reviewed my basic electrical system architecture and signed off on it, but in the process told me that I didn’t need a relay that I had in place to control isolating (powering) the E-Bus to SD-8 b/u alternator power when/if I had a main alternator failure.  I removed the relay to simplify and lighten my system, but never had a 100% warm fuzzy on doing so. I also wasn’t keen on my entire E-Bus being powered via a 15A ATC blade fuse off the Battery Bus.  ATC blade fuses tend to be a bit more on the fast-blow side so they are more likely to nuisance trip, so the sizing is a bit more touchy on critical components than say a slower-blow CB.

Well, Bob has since remedied both those issues with a new Z-36 design (see below), which I quickly scarfed up and implemented into my system architecture.  Not only does the new Z-36 put the relay back into play, but it feeds the whole E-Bus circuit from a much more robust ANL fuse.  Since I wanted to go with a lower amp rating than 30 amps (depicted on Bob’s diagram), I actually downsized to a MINI ANL fuse and will be using either a 15A or 20A mini ANL fuse. During my research, I was also able to find a good fuse holder mount for it and pulled the trigger on it.

I updated my master electrical system diagram to show this modification, which significantly changed my wiring circuitry to/from the Battery Bus & E-Bus for the b/u alternator power feed, and also the switch circuitry that drives the switching from main to b/u alternator/E-bus power.  Luckily, I hadn’t really wired any of that up so I won’t have to do any major rewiring work. Now, while the logic of my configuration matches Bob’s Z-36, my mechanical implementation is just a tad different than his, as I show here (focus on top center of diagrams):

In addition, I spent a bit of time reworking the AEX switch on Marc Zeitlin’s new gear architecture to add an “OFF” position [which, BTW, Marc had in his original design and I am now putting back in based off the advice from Joe Coraggio in his recounting his off-field landing].

My new switch’s wiring is not exactly how I would design it if I were starting from scratch, but it will definitely work and –moreover– will keep the aviation standard of the bottom switch position being “OFF.”  It also eliminates any extensive re-wiring other than lopping off the wires from the current switch and re-soldering them to the new OFF-ON-(ON) switch.  So, on the new 3-position switch, the bottom position is OFF, the middle position is AEX AUTO, and the top momentary position is Emergency Gear Extend, as shown here.

If you’re wondering what switch I’m talking about and it’s location in regards to the panel, I’ve circled it in white and have an arrow pointing to it.  Yes, it’s the one in the black and yellow striped switch guard.

I also took a bit of time while adding the new Z-36 design into my system to do an inventory of all my relays and inline fuses.  I found a couple of discrepancies in the component ID numbers due to repeated additions, changes and swap outs during system design.  I’ve cleaned up the IDs and the lists so I’m up to snuff with both of those electrical system component categories.

My final task related to the wiring was that due to a variety of reasons (from limited behind-panel space to near-max antenna cable run) I decided to place my Trig TT22 transponder out in the right strake pocket and worked up the new wiring scheme for that.  I’m actually running the power wires via the CS spar conduit from the hell hole, so that only leaves 4 x 22AWG signal wires that I’ll need to run through a nylaflow conduit imbedded into the lower front LE of the strake.  While working the wiring for moving the Trig TT22 out from behind the panel to the end of the right strake, I also finalized the configuration for another (2 of 2) consolidated 22AWG 6-wire cable that will start behind the panel and end in the hell hole.

In addition to working my plane’s electrical system taskers, I’ve also been getting back into the books on flying, IFR and avionics.  I’m hoping to get back in the cockpit for another 1-3 months during my transition down to NC to get my flying “sea legs” back underneath me!

Hurricane Florence Extraction Operation

Well, what seems to be the norm in my build —and anyone else’s build admittedly— I had to engage in the proverbial “two steps forward, one step back” as Hurricane Florence loomed towards the coast of North Carolina.

Since I had already turned off my cable service to my house in Northern Virginia in prep for the upcoming move (and to save money) I was blissfully ignorant of Florence’s maniacal intentions until my buddy Greg texted me and asked me what I thought about “Florence.” I thought I must have forgotten some discussion we had on his vacationing in Florence (Italy?).  Upon Googling it I then became one of the watchers-n-waiters to see what would happen.

And it just so happened that on Monday evening I had plans to head up to Old Town Alexandria for happy hour and dinner with some real estate agent friends of mine.  I got a text about an hour before heading out that we couldn’t go to our usual haunt since it was under siege by a couple feet of flood water, along with the rest of the Old Town waterfront a couple blocks in from the Potomac River.  (“Uh-oh” I thought, “if this thing is already impacting us this far north, I need to take heed!”)

I immediately called Sunbelt Rentals to see if they had my trailer available for rent, which they did. [BTW, this location happens to be one of the very few out of all their locations that has a trailer wide enough to accommodate the width of the main landing gear].  Since it was right before their closing time, and I still didn’t have an exact update on what Florence was doing, I decided to hold on off on reserving the trailer.  In addition, they open at 6 AM so I could grab it right at opening time if need be.

After dinner I got a Florence update and heard of the non-mandatory evacuation by noon Tuesday, I decided my mission was most likely a go.  I set my alarm for 5:30 AM (Tuesday) and headed off to bed.

By the next morning it looked very likely that Hurricane Florence was going to hit the North Carolina coast very near my storage unit.  Thus, my fuselage rescue and evac mission was a go.  I got to the rental location just after 6 AM and rented the trailer, did the paperwork, and got it hooked up.  I was then on the road just a bit after 6:30 AM, and arrived my storage unit just before 1 pm.  It took me about 5 hours to load up my motorcycle, fuselage, wing, and miscellaneous expensive stuff (including the baggage pods, wheel pants and my main avionics box!) before heading out of there about 6 pm.

As you can see a bit in the pic below, the weather was beautiful on Tuesday and hard to believe that a hurricane was bearing down on that location.

I then scooted over towards the west side of NC and went to Greensboro for a couple of days, offloading a few things at Stacey’s house before taking off at 3:30 AM Friday (14 Sep) to head north towards home.  For the most part, I had been able to keep the unpainted airplane components out of direct sunlight, so wanting to drive while dark and avoid traffic was my main reasons for leaving so early.  As it turned out, it was a perfect time to depart Greensboro.  I hit 10-15 min of heavy rain just west of Raleigh and maybe a half hour on each end of very light rain, but for the most part it was a dry trip and the fuselage was fairly water free upon my arrival home around 8:30 am.

My friends from the Cherry Point, NC area had also traveled over towards Greensboro and stayed in a hotel, and then followed behind me a couple of hours heading up to my place in Northern Virginia.  It was great having them for the week and a half that we waited out Florence’s shenanigans and ascertained what damage she had wrought.  They then departed on Saturday, 22 Sep.  Needless to say, their visit slowed me down considerably on my house updating efforts in order to prep it to sell.  Moreover, Marco was in town the following Monday (24 Sep) for training and stopped by for quite a few hours to talk shop and have dinner at a Peruvian chicken place that I turned him on to.

During Marco’s visit we discussed Rough River with the underlying assumption that I wasn’t going.  Marco’s Long-EZ is down for engine repairs and he was making plans to fly over to RR with an EAA chapter buddy in his Velocity.  However, after a few “check” flights it turned out that the Velocity was having some avionics issues and needed some tweaking before flying any instrument approaches.  Thus, I got the call just a couple of days later (Wednesday) that Marco was driving to Rough River and really wanted a wing man to come with during the 12+ hour drive there . . . so, not wanting to leave a buddy high and dry, I decided it was acceptable to take a few days off for RR.  Details of the RR trip are covered in the next blog post . . .

[BTW, I learned from both my friends returning back to NC and the owner of the storage unit that miraculously there was no flooding at the storage unit and all my other stuff made it through the hurricane unscathed!]