Chapter 23/24 – Left front ramp install

I started off today by pulling the peel ply and cleaning up the glassed foam #6 platenut tabs for the GIB headrest gap cover.  I then drilled out the glass to expose the embedded platenuts.

I spent well over the next hour aligning the screw holes drilled into the GIB headrest gap cover pieces with the platenut tabs and getting those positioned correctly in the gap between the GIB headrest and the interior D-Deck surface.

Once aligned and the interfacing surfaces sanded and prepped, I then micro’d the foam platenut tabs in place.  After about 30 minutes as the fast hardener micro started setting up, I then set the cover in place and finalized the alignment of the tabs by mounting #6 screws through the cover screw holes.  I then left the micro’d-in tabs to cure overnight.

As I mentioned before, I plan on making up another 3 tabs in the next few days for the next round of securing this cover into place.  I’ll assess after that to see if I’ll stick with 6 screws total or go with 8 to mount the cover in place.  After all the screws are in place, I’ll then apply a final ply of CF on the face of the cover to make it look spiffy and add a little strength to it (it’s fairly flimsy currently).

I then spent about 30 minutes prepping, sanding, trimming and finalizing the position of the left armpit air intake front ramp.  I tried to install it by using a bead of thick micro on the aft edge each side and laying up all the plies on each side thinking they would have enough grip to hold such a light piece in place.

My haste was not rewarded and it kept wanting to slide out of position a bit… the one thing I did right on this front ramp install was use fast hardener, because as I started trimming and positioning the AFT ramp, I simply kept ensuring the front ramp was still in good position.  After about 20-25 minutes of doing this, the epoxy got tacky enough that it held its position without my coaxing it.  I’ll have to be more patient during the install of the other ramps and use a bit of hot or 5-min glue to tack one side in place while I glass the other side . . .

Here’s a shot of the left intake front ramp glassed in place from the front side.

And the same from the aft side.  You can clearly see how much tweaking the aft ramp will need to get fitted into position.

And here’s one more shot of the left intake front ramp in place with the bottom cowling mounted back on the bird.  That slight slant with the front ramp’s inboard side down is intentional in “steering” the air around the forward cold air induction tube and directing it towards the cylinder fins.

Before I mounted the bottom cowling back in place on the plane, I re-installed the left front exhaust pipe (cylinder #3) to check any interference.  Good thing too because with the exhaust pipe in place there is virtually no clearance between it and the aft air inlet ramp.

Remember, the CF piece is just the base part of the ramp and then an angled aluminum tab, or vane, gets attached to the top aft edge of the ramp.  With the ramp in the Melvill template position, I have virtually no room for a good half of my aluminum vane when mounted to the ramp.  Due to this clearance issue with the exhaust pipe, I will be moving the ramp slightly forward and angling it just a hair down to give the future attached aluminum vane some clearance.

Thankfully, with the configuration on the right side of the engine, there is not as much congestion in regards to installing these inlet ramps as there is over on this left side.  Ducking, diving and snaking the air through this virtual obstacle course of air intake and exhaust pipes is quite the challenge and is beginning to be a bit of a PITA!  Now we know why so many homebuilders build tractor airplanes… much easier! (wimps! haha).

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