25 March 2018

Modification: Rear window sealing.

On 23-Mar-18 I had occasion to fly through rain for the first time.  I appreciated the free "plane wash" as the smudges on my windscreen faded away into the sky.  Thankfully, back on 16-Jan-17, when I installed the rear window, I sealed the joint between the rear  F-14126 Window and  F-01475 Aft Fuse Top Skin. 

But, twenty minutes following the rain, I had the plane back in the hangar.  I found that water had worked its way in-between the rear window and the roll over structure.  I decided to seal that area with siliconized latex caulking (which dries clear and is paint-friendly).  This is the same material I used to seal my antennas, as recommended by the EAA.
After the water evaporated (a quick process here in Colorado), I masked the area with tape.


Then deposited the caulking.


After smoothing it down with my finger, I pulled the tape then left the canopy open over night.


The next day, it was clear and did not interfere with the canopy when closed.


14 March 2018

Maintenance: Replacing roll servo shear screw and re-rigging.

My GRT roll servo kept slipping in smooth, level flight.  This was even with the (electronic) torque setting at its highest.  Eventually, the servo sheared its own shear screw in flight.  So I took the opportunity to start a conversation with GRT about what the issue might be.  That conversation led me to send in my servo to have it checked out by their technician.  It was returned to me stating that it was functioning properly.

After I received my servo back from GRT, I decided to remove the sheared shear screw.  It's a 6-32 screw, so I drilled it out with a slightly smaller drill bit (left) then used a tap to work out the remaining material (right).


Next, I decided to try attaching the servo control rod to the servo arm in the middle hole.  This affords more torque but less throw, as shown below.  In flight, the roll servo slipped less but slipped none-the-less.  So I finally connected the control rod in the minimum throw/maximum torque location (ensuring that the control rod length was adjusted to provide proper servo shaft angles).  In flight, the servo rarely slips.  I am still trying different gain and damping settings.  I hope to "tune out" the slipping as it seems to slip mainly in turbulence now.


I had to do the same with the pitch servo (below) aft it slipped in flight when trimmed properly (boy did that wake me up!).  Right now I am flying it on the middle hole of the servo arm.


As an aside, I'm not sure why the roll servo slips at all.  It's the high torque version that GRT provides for the RV-10.  That airplane has the same wing as the RV-14 and apparently has heavier roll control.  The few blogs I've been able to find of GRT-equipped RV-10s all show their roll servos with the maximum throw/minimum torque setup.  To my knowledge, I'm the only RV-14A flying behind GRT.

06 February 2018

Maintenance: First oil change.

First oil change today, at 12.6 hours.  I used the Champion CH481110-1 oil filter for my IO-390.  It it suggested to use Dow Corning 4 Electrical Insulating Compound on the o-ring seal, which I dutifully did.  That tube of compound will probably outlive me.


I found it impossible to remove the stock, from-the-factory, oil filter.  I used every methodology I could devise including a strap-wrench.  It seems Lycoming has a resident gorilla functioning as a torque wrench.  I eventually conceded and bought this oil filter wrench from Anti Splat Aero.  It gave me the leverage and access I needed.  The wrench also made it easy to torque the filter to the required 16 ft-lb spec.


Per Lycoming, you need to check the oil suction screen.  It's located under the bottom right engine mount.  It's not easily accessible.  I had to disconnect the SCAT tubing in the area to access the screen.  When you cut the safety wire, you're sadly reminded that you get to attach new safety wire when you reinstall the screen.


My screen did not have any particulate matter strewn about.  Just oil.


Lycoming says to clean it with solvent.  I used avgas.


Reinstalling it is easy.  Putting new safety wire is not.  I used 0.032" wire.  Afterwards, I bought 0.020" to make it easier next time.

06 January 2018

Modification: Oil pan heater.

It gets a bit chilly here in Colorado at times.  So I picked up a Kat's 24100 100 Watt 4"x 5" Universal Hot Pad Heater to adhere to the bottom of the oil pan (on the left side only).  This is not my idea, as others have done the same.  I recognize it's a bit of a risk to 1) fly with it as it could come loose and catch fire and 2) unattended heating when on the ground could also go awry.  However, in the case of point 1, there is a lot of precedent for this method, so I'm not worried.  And in the case of 2) as with all things in my hangar, my rule is that nothing gets operated unattended.

I used RTV to seal around the edges to help keep the adhesive isolated from contaminates.  I was careful to route the electrical cord in such a a way as to minimize vibration.  And I used an additional EA LV-1 Heat Shield to protect the cord from the exhaust pipe.  As of this writing, it's survived 5 hours of flight.

When plugged in, it only takes 10 minutes before the whole oil pain is toasty warm.  On engine start, when the oil circulates, it surely gives up a lot of its heat to the engine case.

Here's an oblique view looking up and back.


Looking straight up.  Forward is the top of the image.  You can see the additional EA LV-1 Heat Shield adjacent to the one protecting the throttle cable.


24 December 2017

My first landing.

First flight was on 10-Dec-17 after obtaining my airworthiness certificate on 9-Nov-17.

Here is my first landing from 24-Dec-17.  I think I got really lucky.


Life in the sky is fun.  Engine break-in and Phase I flight testing slowly continue amidst work and other life needs.


The aircraft continues to function well.


Many followers of the blog have been asking for performance numbers, oil consumption, flight reports, squawks and maintenance descriptions.  That information will be forthcoming in the blog once I get out of Phase I flying.  I anticipate another couple of months until I reach Phase II.