Home

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

 

 

 

 

Panel Prep and Wiring

Panel Prep and Wiring

May 31, 2021 – I covered the panel and finished securing wires.

I cut out the ELT hole and did some cleaning up on the panel before covering it.

I also finished securing the wiring down through the center tunnel. Ugghhh! What back-breaking work. I also figured out that I probably did the damage to the armrest that I posted last time. I found my self leaning against it while I was working in the cockpit area and the baggage compartment. I added quick connectors for the fuel pump and the flap actuator. I anticipate that these components will need to be replaced at some point. I like the Amp 48 Series Wire Splice Connectors.

One mod I had to make. Where the wire bundle goes up the firewall, I had to cut access on the far right forward corner in the panel that forms the cabin heat box .

I was ready to install the panel. I got nice black 8-32 screws that are brass. Well, the third screw into the process broke. So I had to take the panel back out and replace that nutplate. I decided to order steel screws to install the panel. I have nothing in the panel that will be affected by the steel. I didn’t order steel screws for the instruments themselves, so I need to be careful when I install those.

Time: 21:20

Panel and Final(?) Wiring Prep

Panel and Final(?) Wiring Prep

May 6, 2021 – I removed the panel to get some last wiring prep done and get the panel ready to install for good.

To get my bearings with the Tosten stick grips, I put the pilot’s grip in place. I decided to go ahead and cut the stick down. In my hangar there’s an RV-7A just in front of me with Infinity grips. I measured them and the stick and the grips are nearly identical to mine. So I used those measurements. Worst case…I’ll need to replace my stick. I don’t think that’ll be a problem, though.

While I was working there in the cockpit, I took a look around, and my stomach sank…

My left armrest is torn nearly through, and the right one is starting to crack. This is frustrating because I KNOW I don’t lean on the armrests. At least they aren’t hard to replace. So they’re on order from Van’s. I’m thinking about putting a stainless doubler on the aft end of each armrest.

After coming back the next day, I decided to go ahead and pull the panel back out. I have to do some last wire routing, and change some pins on the VPX.

I had to trim a hole for a USB connection, and I had to cut the hole for the ELT remote panel.

Time: 9:15

Connecting Wing Wiring

Connecting Wing Wiring

April 27, 2021 – Now that the wings are on I can connect the wing wiring.

I safetied the tank attach bolts. Not sure why they need to be safetied, since they go into a nutplate that locks, but OK… I drilled the safety wire hole in the steel bracket.

I also installed the fuel lines.

I ran the pitot and AOA tubes into the fuselage and back to the ADAHRS, then connected the heat controller. Put power on the airplane and the heat works. I don’t have a message saying the heta is either on or off yet; I’ll set that up later in Dynon.

I ran and terminated the wires for the roll autopilot servo. The Skyview network portion is connected to the hub in the back.

I plan on connecting the wires for the lighting and the stick grips on a terminal bar under the left seat.

When I tried my lights, I had crossed the wires for the right landing light and the right nav lights. Got that figured out and now the lighting works correctly.

Time: 25:00

Wing Prep and Reinstall

Wing Prep and Reinstall

April 2, 2021 – The wings are installed, hopefully for good!

With the wings off, I prepped the holes for the fairing that wraps around the wing root.

I also added holes for the fuel quantity wiring where it will enter the fuselage. These wires are forward of the wing spar and there was no other entry point except where the fuel feed lines go in. I got very small ID grommets from Spruce for these holes.

I decided it was time, so I gathered my faithful friends and helpers.

After it was all done, we took a breather, and there was the usual hangar talk.

The next day I finished the wing install.

I torqued the mount bolts:

…and I installed the aft spar bolts and the fuel tank attach bolts:

No pictures, but I then routed the wing wires from the wings into the fuselage. That wasn’t a lot of fun because of the limited space between the wing roots and the fuselage skin.

Time: 15:45

ELT Wiring and some other things

ELT Wiring and some other things

March 21, 2021 – I made the wiring harness for the ELT.

The connector that came with the ELT was a new one for me. The pins are solder cups, so the wires are soldered into the connector. I’d never dealt with this before but it was fairly simple. I ran a shielded 3-wire bundle through the airplane to check for length, then pulled it back out and terminated the ELT end.

I added a nutplate to the ELT mounting bracket, and made a bracket one bulkhead back for a clamp so I could secure the antenna coax.

Then I riveted the antenna doubler and installed the antenna.

On to some other items…

Airport friends came back and we pulled the wings again so I could finish what had to be done before permanently installing the wings next time.

I also installed boots on the battery cables and installed the hold-down bar.

Time: 18:00

ELT and Fuselage Work

ELT and Fuselage Work

March 5, 2021 – I installed the bracket for the ELT in the tailcone.

The dreaded Van’s ELT/strobe power supply bracket… at least for me, anyway. I didn’t have a good time doing the bracket on the right side for the ADSB, and this one was no different. I learned lessons the first time, so I guess there’s that…

These brackets fit between the stringers just aft of the baggage compartment wall.

I also made the doubler for the ELT antenna. This will go just forward of the vertical stabilizer.

Another project I decided to do was to install a conduit under the left seat and baggage compartment floor for the pitot and AOA tubing from the left wing. It was a drag to have to drill up these panels, but it will be worth it. Once again, I wish I had known back then how things were going to go late in the game.

Time: 6:45

Another Step to the Dream…

On June 3, 2021, after almost two years in the making, I received my PPL. Slow projects seem to be my thing…

 

Life Gets in the Way…

I lost my best riveter. My bride Lenora had been struggling with dementia since 2011.  On October 8, 2017, she passed away. She helped rivet most of my fuel tanks. One day, I just needed to shoot two rows to finish one tank. She quickly learned how to use the gun. After we finished those 12 or so rivets, I said that we were done, and she replied “You sure? There’s nothing else we can do?” So I gathered the parts for the other tank and we shot most of it over the next couple of days. I’ll just say she was “cautiously supportive” of the project, but she came out and helped when I needed an extra hand, and towards the end she just sat out in the garage with me.

 

UPDATE— Life continues… I met an amazing woman named Julie and married her on March 30, 2019. She is excited about this project; in fact her dad restored an airplane in his garage, and there’s a lot of aviation history in her family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made Google Earth!

April 29, 2016 was the day we drilled the wings in the driveway, and we were spied upon!

The Birth of an Airplane

November 26, 2009 – I’ve dreamed for a long time about building an airplane, and the RV family of airplanes has been at the top of my list. I got an opportunity to buy a tail kit from a friend at work. The deal was too good to pass up. Along with the kit I got some tooling: a c-frame dimpler, hand dimplers, clecos, that kind of thing.

I brought the tail kit home from work on Thanksgiving morning, 2009.

Some of the work was done on the tail kit. I found that pretty much all of the drilling and dimpling was done, so for the tail, it was a case of dry-assembling the sections, making sure everything was right, and then painting and riveting.

 

 

What’s an RV?

An RV-7 is a two-seat, all metal homebuilt aircraft. The kit is manufactured by Van’s Aircraft in Aurora, OR.

The airplane is available with either conventional (tailwheel) or tricycle (nosewheel) landing gear. That is a decision I will have to make later.

Depending on the engine that is installed, the RV-7 will economically cruise at 165+ mph, or will approach a top speed of roughly 200 mph, with a range of between 750-1000 miles.

You’re building this thing?

Sure. With a little training and familiarity with the required building techniques, anybody can build this airplane.

I’ll be building in the garage at home. Most of the airplane can be completed there, until the wings are ready to be attached. At that point, the airplane will need to be transported to an airport, since the wingspan is about 25 feet.

The airplane is a kit that is available in portions. You can buy the kit a portion at a time, or you can buy the whole thing all at once. Most people start with the tail kit, since the tail is easier, and the building process gets a little more complex as you move on through the wings and the fuselage. You also learn the basics for the RV kits when doing the tail.

N Number

Dec. 30, 2009 – Well, I found an N number that could work for me. I reserved it today, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.

Jan. 8, 2010 – N174PM! I looked again on the FAA site for reserving N numbers, and it’s there and reserved! I have the N Number N174PM!


What’s an N Number?

An N number is basically the registration number for the airplane that’s on file with the FAA. It’s pretty much like the license plate on your car. You can take what the FAA assigns you, or you can try to get a specific number. The N number is painted on the airplane in a prominent location and large enough so that it can be easily read.

N174PM

My N number is one I searched for. If you looked at it closely, you might figure it out.

1 (one) 7 (RV-7) 4 (for) PM (Pete Miller)

Get it?

My first RV ride!

March 11, 2010 – Well, I finally got a ride in an RV. RV-7A N156DE is owned by Stewart Cole out of Eagle’s Nest (2TS6) in Midlothian. We flew to Stephenville (KSEP) for lunch. I believe my first words after takeoff were “Holy Crap”, or something like that. This RV is the same model that I’m building, and it’s a beautiful airplane.

We had a little headwind going west, so we were indicating 147Kts on the GPS. At 5500′ coming home, we were showing 180Kts! That’s 207 mph!

Here’s a couple of pictures of the airplane without the fat guy in front with the stupid RV grin on his face…