21 July 2018

Operational: Rudder gust lock.

I fashioned a quick and inexpensive rudder gust lock.  It's slightly different than other similar designs I've seen:  Rather than using an extension that secures the gust lock in place, mine is lodged into place between the F-01435 Cover Base and F-01483 Forward Bottom Skin.

The gust lock stays in place, even when manipulating the rudder rather authoritatively.  The aft tee is the key to keeping the whole contraption lodged in place.  There is some flex when the rudder is providing a lot of force.  If that becomes a problem, a thick dowel inserted into the pipe(s) would help alleviate that issue. 

It's important to place the aft tee where a F-01438 Cover Rib is located to provide something rigid for the gust lock to be pushed into when the rudder is moving.  Otherwise the Cover Base is at risk of being bent.

I use one on each side, in case either dislodges or fails.

Parts list from Lowe's for one gust lock:
My total cost for a pair:  $15.40.

18 July 2018

Modification: Canopy lock.

When I bought my ignition switch, I got the one with the lock set.  My plan was to drill through the F-01470-L Fuselage Side Skin similar to what other folks do.  But, I eventually balked at that that as there is a definite...finality...to that approach that I couldn't stomach.

Instead, I thought I could fit a padlock through the C-609 Canopy Latch and C-607 Latch Handle.  Below gives an idea of the available dimensions for the purpose.

Center-to-center, at the outboard edges of the Canopy Latch and Latch Handle, the two parts are 3/4" apart.  So I needed a lock with the same center-to-center shackle width.  The Master 4130 fit the bill.  Dimensions are A:3/16", B:9/16", C:9/16" with a width of 9/8", which gives that 3/4" center-to-center spacing I needed.  Although the shackle diameter is larger than I wanted, it will work.

A #11 (0.191") hole was drilled into the C-106 part and a 7/32" (0.219") hole was drilled into the C-107 part.  One hole has to be larger to accommodate the curvature of the shackle during insertion.

The lock then fits in very snug.  It cannot move even on a windy day.

23 June 2018

Maintenance: My inflight toolbox.

The nice thing (if there is one) about building your own plane and having the repairman's certificate for it too, is that you know how, and are able, to fix nearly anything, anywhere, anyplace.  So I carry a set of tools in the baggage area.  I use little padded lunchboxes since, if they bounce around, they won't cause too much grief back there banging things.

The complete list of what I carry is at the bottom of this post.  Here are the pictures.

First box's contents are shown below.

Second box's contents are shown below (not shown, spark plug socket).

Not shown, in a separate lunch box, are several quarts of oil.

These items ride freely, without a box:  Light canopy cover from Bruce's Custom Covers, cowl and NACA plugs and my cheaply fashioned, lightweight and low-profile wheel chocks.

Interior, between the seats, are my sunglasses, USB charging cables, headlamp, FM radio, Wet Ones for cleaning hands after fueling and a little pick. 

Those items above are kept here in this little red case from Hango.  "Insert before flight" keychain available from eBay and Amazon.

The full list below.
  • Hardware
    • Exteriorly exposed hardware
      • Flaps
        • AN4-8
        • NAS1149F0432P
        • NAS1149F0463P
        • MS24665-151
      • Rudder cables    
        • AN23-11
        • NAS1149F0332P
        • AN310-3
        • MS24665-132
      • Elevator trim
        • Inside
          • MS20392-1C11
          • NAS1149FN432P
          • MS24665-132
        • Outside
          • MS20392-1C9
          • NAS1149FN432P
          • MS24665-132
    • Elastic stop nuts
      • AN365-632A
      • AN365-832A
    • Pinch-nuts
      • MS21042-3
      • MS21042-4
    • Spark plug and oil screen crush washers
      • AN900-10/MS35769-11
      • AN900-16/MS35769-21

07 June 2018

Operational: Super light wheel chocks.

The first time I got fuel away from my home drome, when I parked the plane in front of the pump, I walked over to grab a set of the available chocks.  All of them were way too high to fit under the wheel fairings.  It was clear I needed to provision and carry my own.  Here's what I came up with.

There are lots of low-profile chocks options available.  All of them are rather expensive, in my view.  I sought to find a cheaper alternative.  Alas, I found one.  It's made from ISOFR (isopthaloic polyester fire retardant resin) Fiberglas 1/8" thick, 1"x1" angle.  A 5' section cost me $10.75 and let me make 3 pairs of 10" chocks which works out to $3.58 each pair.  The material is rated for a temperature range of -100°F to 150°F with a tensile strength of 30,000 psi.

After cutting up the 5' section into three pairs, I drilled holes to accommodate some string to hold a pair together.  The chocks, with string, weigh 4.6 oz.  And since it's not metal, it won't scratch any paint in the baggage area or on the fairings.

03 June 2018

Avionics: New capacitive senders.

The Dynon capacitive senders I originally installed for my capacitive plates didn't work.  In fact, they didn't do anything other than output about 1.5 Volts no matter what the fuel level was.  I'll put those $100 in the "loss" column.

Princeton Electronics makes a nicer sender.  It has a PIC that employs a digital filter to linearize the output and smooth out immediate variations in fuel level due to sloshing.  I purchased the 5-point version (empty, ¼, ½, ¾ and full).  It's actually slightly cheaper to purchase it pre-wired.

The boxes that house the sensors are a bit large.  I didn't want to place them inside the airplane because it would have been excruciating to route the cable and wires.  So I decided that a good place was at the T-00006-L/R Tank Attach Brackets.  I could drill holes on the inboard sides of the brackets without violating edge distances, then use a piece of aluminum to mount the senders.  So that's what I did. 

I wanted the senders to be easily replaced if that ever came up.  So I outfitted the wires with micro Molex connectors.  For that, I needed to replace the thicker 20 gauge wires that the boxes came with with smaller 22 gauge wires.  That necessitated some quick solder work.

Here's the fuel gauge on my panel.  Left and right readings are pretty close.  Guess I'm balancing fuel load pretty well!