Panel & Cockpit Planning

Panel & Cockpit Planning

20 October 2016 — I’m essentially reverting back to the very first week of this project and slowly cutting all the pieces for a front seat, instrument panel & avionics bay mockup, or simulator, of my Long-EZ (See my Initial Project Planning page for an idea).  This will allow to test locations of instruments on the panel, for both actual spacing & location preference, and also will allow me to work through the manuals with the instruments powered up in front of me so I can input all the settings in the actual cockpit environment.  Serendipitously, I now have both an Infinity stick and a spare throttle quadrant to use in “the Sim.”

Since I have most of the pieces cut already, the main parts that were missing were the armrests.  Since I reconfigured my outside shed, I know have access to my router table and it still has the round-over bit that I used on the real armrests… and still set at the exact same position!  So I cut these pieces, rounded them over along the top edge pieces and then notched the right side armrest for the control stick.  This will be a project for when it gets super cold this winter, or snowed in, etc.

Fuselage SIM mockup armrests

10 March 2017 — 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!

[Note: I didn’t end up really using this a lot since when it came time to make a panel mock-up, I opted to do it in a simpler “panel-only” version somewhat like Marco had done for his panel upgrade.  It was much easier to get in and around the panel components for wiring, etc.  Not to say that this mockup above didn’t provide some really good data.]



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Chapter 23 – Armpit intake ramps

After getting back from Nick’s I was a bit tired from an active weekend and a good bit of traveling.  Sadly I have to report that Nick’s plane was being a bit finicky engine-wise and he was having it checked over to make sure all was ship-shape before he sells it.  Thus, no flying.

I of course still got my back-up Silver Bullet prop, in the original crate which is exactly what I want in case I ever need it shipped out to me post haste somewhere.  I also bought the 1/2″ prop bolts from Nick at RR for less than half the price of new ones.  Yes, the one downside since my primary prop has 3/8″ bolts… but remember, my prop extension has two sets of holes on the prop-mounting end: 1/2″ & 3/8″.  Still, for a backup prop that’s in excellent shape (freshly painted and balanced), the same size and pitch as mine (66×75), for less than half the price new, I’m still calling it a good deal.

Nick also gave me his prop balancer shown in the pic above, as well as he’s sending me his wing leading edge light jigs and forms which I will use to create my wing leading edge landing/WigWag lights just prior to final painting of the wings.

Moreover, Jess and I had a great time visiting Nick and enjoying Charleston, so clearly the trip wasn’t a total bust.

Back in the shop I wanted to get some glass/CF curing, but didn’t want to take on any major layups.

At RR I talked with James Redmon and a Defiant guy who both used glass/CF for the base (bottom) of the armpit scoop baffles, or what I call “ramps,” and then both attached aluminum to the tops of these bases to allow for bending the top angled part of the ramp to modify the airflow.  This will allow me to dial in the airflow to the cylinders without having to cut out the glass/CF only ramp, remake the ramp, and then install it again.  The only different approach between these guys was James said use thicker aluminum, the Defiant guy used thinner.

On my spare set of paper armpit inlet ramp templates in the shop, I cut out bottom portion of each of the 4 respective airflow ramps (2 per side) and then set them on top of a 8.5 x 11″ piece of printer paper.  I then spaced them as tightly as possible to get the required dimension down to 8.5 x 9.75″ for all of them to fit.

I then used my trimmed printer paper as a template to cut out 3 plies of CF and 2 pieces of peel ply, one for each side.

I wet out the first ply of peel ply and then wet out/laid up the 3 plies of CF on top of the peel ply (all on top of a piece of plastic to keep the layup surface clean).

I then finished the layup with the top/second piece of peel ply.

I covered the peel plied layup with a piece of plastic Saran wrap and squeegeed out all the bubbles and wrinkles.

I then placed a piece of flat aluminum sheet, and then two heavier steel sheets over top of the 3-ply CF layup to ensure it cured very flat.  I then left it to cure overnight as I used Pro-Set epoxy.

I then blatantly copied my buddy Dave Berenholtz in how he created a template for cutting the propeller notches into the prop spinner.  Except while he used mold release and laid up the template in one shot around his prop spinner, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of prying off a singular fiberglass template, so I’m doing mine in 2 halves and then securing them together.

I started by taping up just over half of my spinner with gray duct tape.

I then gathered up all my smaller scraps of UNI and laid up around 2 plies over the gray duct tape.

I then left it to cure overnight.

And with those bit of layups “in the oven” I called it a night.  Tomorrow I plan to glass the other side and get busy on the aft intersecting edges of the top & bottom cowlings.

  1. Chapter 23 – Top cowl reinforcement Leave a reply
  2. Chapter 23 – Bottom Cowl TDC Leave a reply
  3. Chapter 23 – Top cowl aft corner Leave a reply
  4. Chapter 23 – Oil check door “latch” Leave a reply
  5. Chapter 23 – Oil cooler lines in! Leave a reply
  6. Chapter 18 – Cowl Phase II complete Leave a reply
  7. Chapter 23 – Bottom cowl baffles Leave a reply
  8. Chapter 23 – Bottom cowl phase II Leave a reply
  9. Chapter 23 – Cowl Phase I, ditto right Leave a reply