Chapter 23 – Prop Selection, etc.

When I got back from Marco’s place in Virginia Beach last night, I pretty much just decompressed from a very busy past couple of weeks.

Today was mainly about getting organized for the upcoming build.  I had a myriad of items on my list from RR that I wanted to capture (read: not lose!) & filed away in the right spots so that I could find them again.

I started out today like I do many build days by going down and grabbing breakfast just down the street from me.  While there, I wrote out my task list focusing on the myriad of the “little things” that need to get done.  I want to spend a few days to a week getting some of these ‘minnows’ knocked out before heading on to the big fish.

After I got back to the house, I spent a good hour updating my parts tracking spreadsheet, and tweaking my upcoming ACS order.  I did a good 45 min more of research on CAMLOCs and CLOCs (Skybolt) to figure out what specific parts I need and also refine my 1/4-turn fastener requirements for the entire airplane.

I mentioned in my project update that while at RR, between polling builders & fliers on their prop choice, flying in front of the Silver Bullet first hand in Marco’s Long-EZ, and having a quick discussion with Gary Hertzler, I made a final decision to go with the Silver Bullet prop over the Catto 3-bladed prop.  I will admit that with so many folks happy with their Silver Bullet props, that I can’t see (or justify) spending almost $2,000 more for a Catto prop when the Silver Bullet gets such rave reviews.  And to be clear, this in no way diminishes my opinion of Catto props.

So, while out to take my truck to a service station for its annual safety inspection, I stopped at Lowe’s and picked up a Grade-8 7/16″ x 6″ bolt to use as a good estimate for comparing the weight of my current on-hand 1/2″ x 6.5″ prop bolts to the weight if I were to drop down to 7/16″ diameter prop bolts –which is what I hypothesized would be used for the Silver Bullet.  After some extrapolation to account for the 1/2″ shorter bolt, and weighing all the extraneous washers, etc., I concluded that using 7/16″ prop bolts vs 1/2″ bolts would save me 0.87 lb. … at the very aft end of my airplane.  That’s fairly significant considering weight & balance on these lighter birds.

Weighing 7/16" vs 1/2" prop bolts

Now, I did all this due to the fact that I had decided to go the 3-bladed Catto prop route a long time ago.  In fact, in a discussion with Craig Catto back in early 2013, he stated that with an IOX-340S engine I should be using 1/2″ bolts to mount one of his props. Thus, when I had Sam at Saber Manufacturing make my 8″ prop extension I had him configure it for 1/2″ prop bolts.

Jumping ahead to present day, with weight data in hand, I called Gary Hertzler to discuss using 1/2″ prop bolts with the Silver Bullet.  He said it could be done, but that the optimum size prop bolt would be 3/8″!  Wow, even smaller than I had estimated from my layman’s research.  Gary said to check with Sam since there was a good chance that Sam could merely redrill the smaller holes for 3/8″ bolts in-between the larger 1/2″ holes on the aft flange of my prop extension.  Well, sure enough Gary was right and Sam is wiling & very able to do exactly that.  And since I opened up the prop extension box for the first time since 2013 –with all the components new & unused– Sam will simply swap out all the 1/2″ bolts & components for the 3/8″ versions, including the crush plate.  With that, this completes all the prerequisite planning & coordination and means that I will pull the trigger here soon to become an official Silver Bullet slinging Canardian!

Moving on . . .

While at the RR Saturday evening Central States Association (CSA) meeting hosted by Terry Schubert and Nick Ugolini, I won the auction for one of Buly’s Oil Heat Pumps that I’ve been trying to get my hands on since I learned about them a year or two ago.  Luckily, I was able to get this thing WAY cheap and saved well over $100.  Just another plus for such an awesome RR!

Oil Pump for oil heat system

Last night I took the plunge and spent about 3 hours building my electrical diagram for the Oil Heat System in my bird.  I still have some more research to do since specifics on this system are vague at best.  After a good discussion with Greg Norman at RR, I’ve reached out to him to get some specifics on his install since he also has this oil pump.  Here in the near future I’ll discuss with Buly as well to finalize the architecture.  Of course, I’ll be performing a fair number of tests as well to ensure the circuitry is good before this system actually gets installed.

One final important point to note from RR.  I had a good discussion with Mike Toomey on wheel pants.  He gave me a number of tips on how I could continue with my install now, but by minimizing the actual tire cutouts on the bottom of the wheel pants I could then do a final configure on the pants after my 40 hours are flown off and simply widen the pant holes for the wheels in relation to the wheels after I do any mods.  With the advice I got from Mike in my back pocket, I’ll be moving forward with a near-total install of the wheel pants after I get the low-hanging fruit task list knocked out and the canard & elevator install finished.

Ok, back to work!


4 thoughts on “Chapter 23 – Prop Selection, etc.

  1. Where can I find more info on the oil heat system you won at RR? I’ve spent a good 10 min googling and the only thing that comes back up is your post.

    • Jay,

      To be honest, I don’t know. I have a general idea of how it works. It draws oil from the oil sump through a standpipe, then through the pump when it’s on, to the cabin-mounted oil cooler where a fan blow air through to heat the cabin, then back to the oil sump. I’ve been trying to get in touch with Greg Norman since he installed one of these things, but I haven’t heard back from him. In the near future I’ll reach out to Buly or Nick Ugolini and pick there brains.

      Whatever I do find out about the oil pump, I’ll post.


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