Chapter 22 – Fake it ’til you make it!

With the weather still not up to par for flying on the days I’ve been available, I’ve been working to get more stuff in the coffers for the eventual final push on this build.  I received an order from Mouser with everything but the Laser Altimeter that I’ll need to implement Marc Zeitlin’s new nose gear system AEX mod, combined with Jack Wilhelmson’s original emergency backup battery feature.  After sorting through a myriad of revisions on the melded, morphed version that falls between Marc’s new system with Jack’s old system, I think the new AEX with battery backup and emergency extend is about the best version it can be.

There are some tradeoffs of course with this new system, and some of that will be in weight.  Although I guesstimate it’s not huge, I’m thinking this new system will be a bit heavier with the required laser altimeter and beefy relays in the mix.  To offset some of the added weight effect, I’m mounting these new monster relays in an enclosed box on the left, aft side of the Napster bulkhead.  That should help a tad with moving the CG ever so slightly forward.

Speaking of weight, I also received two new brass fittings for the oil pump from Buly.  We actually talked a couple of weeks ago and he said he was going to ship them out, but understandably got sidetracked with the sale of his Cozy.  Sad to see him sell it… yet another one of the Ol’ Guard out of the game.

Obviously these fittings are somewhat unique, thus the reason Buly sent them to me rather than just have me order some off of ACS.  Nick Ugolini did recommend that I acquire fittings for 5/8″ tubing, but Buly had these 1/2″ fittings at the ready, and I figured 1/2″ will do just fine.   Maybe these will save a bit on weight with a little less oil coursing through the heating system lines.  Below you can see that I test fitted these new fittings on the oil pump.  Since these brutes are brass, they of course are significantly heavier than if they were aluminum.  But hey, they fit, are in hand and will allow me to have heat in my airplane!

Since I also got a rather sizable ACS order in as well, I decided it was time to take a break from my logistical duties and knock out something that I had started quite a number of months ago.  I had already spent quite a few hours at the beginning of the week logging a bunch of purchases in my tracking spreadsheet . . . and I’m talking stuff from last August, so I wanted to get a bit organized.  My goal before the weather gets warmer, when I can start back on doing some low cost (read: sans high heater settings) layups is to get my recent flurry of research, documentation and instruction manuals put away in my build HQ area (my living room!).  I also spent a good half-hour today doing a cursory cleanup of the shop, but another hour is in order before it will be ready for production again.

Ok, so my latest mini project was to assemble a bunch of pieces of wood that I cut late last summer to create a cockpit mockup & simulator to allow me test the ergonomics, placement, switchology and operation of my avionics and instruments.  This harks back to my original fuselage mock-up to check for how the plane would feel in its stock dimensions (remember, I widened the cockpit 1.4″).  Now, this version will enable me to mount all my current avionics, plan for new ones, and give me a really close estimate on final wiring requirements for all my panel components.  This latter reason is why I made this cockpit simulator to allow for the installation of the Triparagon.

When the Triparagon is installed I’ll wire up the panel and fire up the components not only to do a good ops check on them, but also to configure them in the panel.  Also, this cockpit mockup will also allow me to finalize any wiring required on the Triparagon.

You may note looking at the pics above that the wood looks a little ratty and non-uniform, and you’d be right!  So far, this entire mockup has been made of completely scrap wood.

Below you can see the right side armrest.  Since I won’t be mounting my second Infinity control stick into the actual airplane, it will get mounted here (although I probably won’t wire it up) into the right side armrest.

On the left side I’ll use the cockpit mockup to figure out exactly where the throttle will get mounted, and how everything else will be configured on the armrest.  You may note the different gray colors of the two armrests, which is me using these as paint color swatches to help me decide the color (or colors!) of my interior cockpit paint.

I’m accomplishing this cockpit simulator mockup construction in 6 phases, and right now I just finished Phase IV.  Phase V will be cutting and installing the avionics in the instrument panel, and Phase VI will be configuring the two separate armrests with the control stick and throttle.

As you can see, once I get this guy up and running, I’ll be able to test out different component and switch locations no matter what’s going on with the actual cockpit.  In addition, this mockup will really come in handy while I’m sanding away on my Long-EZ in prepping it for paint, all the while ensuring that my eletro-whizzies remain dust free!

As you can see, I’m slowly moving towards getting back onto the build.  I do need to really try to knock out this Instrument rating though, although the pace of instruction is very much glacial at the moment!


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