062514002“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale





Inlet snorkel and ramp

Inlet snorkel and ramp

August 12, 2019 – Didn’t do all of this work in one day. Had a trip to a little town in Wisconsin somewhere in there…

The drama with the inlet ramp continues…

First I made sure the snorkel is located where it’s going to be. I ended up using a hole duplicator to drill the holes in the snorkel at the fuel servo. A #10 hole finder fits perfectly on the threads of the servo. Then I used the blanking plate that was on the servo to take the holes up to 1/4″.

Here’s the snorkel in place. I have read about a lot of interference with other items, especially the lugs on the starter. I have one lug that just touches. When everything else here is done I think I’ll just cut away a little bit of the snorkel and glass a flat piece right there. I don’t really want to grind part of the starter case.

Now I have my second inlet ramp. I trimmed the side like the first on, and left a lot of material on the front, just so it fits in the cowl.

Now the snorkel is just to the outboard edge of the ramp…

I have the vertical section of the baffle in line with the edge of the cowl lip per the instructions.

It makes sense to me that if I move that piece outboard into the middle of the cowl lip, it shouldn’t matter. As long as that gap is sealed later on…

So I ordered inlet ramp #3…

When it arrived I trimmed it less than I did ramp #2. Much better.

I moved on and marked and trimmed the hole for the air filter.

I started fitting the filter support brackets and drilled them to the snorkel and structure as needed. Here’s the aft one. It fits nicely under the baffle behind the snorkel.

I had to trim each piece even from the original dimensions given in the instructions. But I like where this is going.

The next step is to enlarge the hole in the ramp so the filter fits down inside the retainers and flush with the ramp.

Time: 10:10

Cockpit fuel system

Cockpit fuel system

July 9, 2019 – I worked on assembling some of the fuel lines in the cockpit.

I needed to make the straight fuel line that goes from the fuel pump/filter assembly to the firewall. pretty simple; it’s just a bend and a straight run. I’m pretty pleased I got the measurement right the first time. I did have to slide the pump and filter in their clamps a little bit, but that worked.

The plans call for securing the line underneath the bracket with a piece of foam, but there’s no more information than that.

Here’s a shot of the tube under the bracket:

I think I might put an adel clamp on the forward end of the bracket and around the tube underneath. It’s pretty solid but I don’t want it to just hang there and vibrate.

I also installed the line from the selector valve to the filter. Kind of tight, but it does fit.

Time: 1:10

More baffles and inlet snorkel

More baffles and inlet snorkel

July 9, 2019 – I continued with the inlet ramps for the baffles.

Per the instructions, I continued trimming the inlet ramps to fit the lower cowl.

The forward edges of each ramp are trimmed to cleanly meet the edge of the cowl inlets. But you can see that the angle is different between the ramps and the cowl inlet. So they call for a diagonal bend across the ramps to align the forward edge with the cowl inlets.

I was concerned about this bend on the left side, because the air filter and snorkel for the air inlet will be there. After some research, I decided to go ahead and fit the ramp, then essentially modify it for the air filter.

OK, big note here… if you are installing the snorkel inlet, DON’T trim the forward edge of the ramp. The instructions for the baffles don’t allow for this possibility, but the instructions for the snorkel do. Maybe I should have read ahead.

Here are pictures of the diagonal bends. You can see how nicely they line up with the cowl edges now.

I decided to go ahead and fit the snorkel before continuing with the rest of the baffles.

I temporarily installed the alternator because I’d read about conflicts between the snorkel and other parts of the engine.

No issues with the alternator. There is slight interference between a lower mounting lug on the starter and the snorkel. I’ve seen where people totally removed this or both of these lower lugs. I may not have to do that.

My bigger issue right now is that the forward face of the snorkel is even with the cut edge of the inlet ramp.

Hence my note above about not trimming this edge of the ramp quite so far.

So I ordered another inlet ramp from Van’s.

Time: 5:10

Replaced fuel mixture arm

Replaced fuel mixture arm

July 9, 2019 – I needed to replace the mixture arm on the fuel servo.

When installed, the bolt in the arm that came with my engine just barely touched the starter. The Precision part number was 2521196.

I called Precision’s Product Support. I got the somewhat reasonable suggestion to remove the starter and hand-prop. Ha ha. Then he said that if I sent this arm in, he would swap it out with a shorter one. The other alternative was to pay $200.00 for another one.

I got the replacement arm a few days later. Put it on today and it’s a thing of beauty. This part number is 2521287.

On to other things…

Time: 1:00

Replaced prop oil line

Replaced prop oil line

June 25, 2019 – I decided to replace the prop oil line with a steel tube.

I didn’t like the mess that the right inlet ramp was becoming, so I took a step backwards.

I decided to order the steel tube for the prop oil line that is recommended. I found the Lycoming parts manual for the IO-360-M1B and ordered the tube and associated parts from Air Power in Arlington. Had to call them with a question and they were very helpful. The tube part number is 75167 and it works with the Superior cold air sump. I also ordered the replacement baffle parts from Van’s.

With parts in hand I tried to thread the oil tube into place. Kind of a puzzle, but I held my tongue just right and it went into place. I had to turn the fittings on each end just a bit, but here it is:

BTW, I never was able to find a good picture online, so you’re welcome… I still have to secure it in place permanently, but this will work for the baffle work.

I worked on the replacement baffle pieces and got to where I needed to be last week.

With the 1″ hole for the oil line, things are looking much better.

Now I’m ready to start fitting the cowls with the baffling.

Time: 1:30

Continued Baffles

Continued Baffles

June 13, 2019 – More baffling work…

I retrieved my firewall sealant from the house, and sealed and installed the scat tube connection. Here’s the baffle for #3 in place, and a close up of the bracket that secures it to the case.

I secured the #4 baffle in place as well, since these two will tie together.

#4 is also secured to the case with a bolt and a spacer.

I put together #2. It was pretty straightforward.

Guess I didn’t get a picture of the side baffle for #1. But it does get a special doubler made. made general cuts per the drawing, but it’s easiest just to cleco it to the baffle plate and sand to fit from there.

There is a bracket that mounts on top of the engine for the rear baffles. The fuel line for #4 was in the way. I just disconnected it from the manifold, turned the clamp around and adjusted a bend or two. It works great.

There is also a bracket that mounts at the front.

Here’s everything so far:

Then I started on the inlet ramp for #1. There are several pieces for this.

The oil line for the prop will pass through this baffle. You are supposed to drill a hole for it. Here’s the first real issue I’ve had with the baffles so far. The kit includes a grommet for a steel oil line to the prop, so the hole needs to be 1″. I have a flexible tube for the oil line, and the part that will pass through the baffle is 1″ in diameter. OK. We’ll see what happens. I drilled a 1″ hole to start with.

I had to enlarge the hole outboard because the oil line comes up through the baffle at an angle.

The oil line will not allow the baffle to lie in position to secure the bracket.

So I decided to remove material so that the oil line will pass through, connect without cross-threading, and the baffle will lie in the correct position. It’s pretty ugly, and I’ve lost two rivet locations, but I think I can relocate them. I just have very little edge distance on the top angle forward of that hole. I’m going to consult some people smarter than I, and see what develops here.

The ramp also interferes with the flywheel, but I believe that will not be a factor after the ramp is fit to the lower cowl.

I did the left side inlet ramp. No issues that compare to the right side.

So here’s where we stand. The next step is fitting the ramps to the lower cowl.

Time: 7:30

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.


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…