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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

 

 

 

 

Assembled Left Inlet

Assembled Left Inlet

September 13, 2019 – I assembled the left inlet including the air filter and snorkel.

I needed to know if the entire left forward baffles, ramp, and snorkel could be removed and installed as a unit, because of how I built it. Well, here it is:

While it was off, I needed to mod the snorkel down where the lower starter lug just touches it.

I just drilled a 1″ hole, and did a layup over that. Pushed the cloth down a little bit with my thumb to make a nice little divot.

I riveted the parts for this assembly.

Here’s the air filter installed with the retaining ring:

In the last post I mentioned how I bent the front side baffles to wrap under the ramps on both sides. I didn’t have good edge distance for the fasteners incorporating the air filter, so I cut that flange off of the left side baffle.

I temporarily installed this assembly back on the engine, and got ready to have everything in place to start trimming the tops of the baffles.

Here’s a couple of overview shots of the front baffles:

I wanted to protect the engine and accessories from the inevitable metal shavings from trimming the baffles to I did a little bit of FOD protection.

I put the top cowl in place. The baffles are tall and hold the top cowl off, so the tops of the baffles need to be trimmed, also allowing for about 3/8″ – 1/2″ for the baffle seal.

The front baffles appear to be the tallest, so I started with them. With the top cowl resting in place, I reached through and marked the baffles for cutting.

I cut this line and put the cowl back on. It’s getting there. I’ll work my way around the baffles so the cowl just drops into place evenly.

Time: 8:10

Forward Baffles

Forward Baffles

September 5, 2019 – The never-ending chapter of the baffles continues.

I placed the forward baffles in position. I made the clips that attach these at the bottom onto the left and right inlet ramps.

Looking at these pictures, one question comes to mind. I’m not sure if these baffles need to be trimmed where they go just inboard of the cowl inlet lip, where the cleco clamps are placed. I can’t find any pictures that show this area specifically. It kind of makes sense to me to leave that part there, and run the screws through that. It would only serve to seal that area that much more. Oh well, I’ll figure that out…

Anyway, I drilled the three clips.

One thing I don’t appear to have a picture of is the left ramp support bracket. This bracket attaches to the case just above the starter, and supports the inboard forward end of the left inlet ramp. The way I interpret this, the top holes need to be drilled through the ramp.

They would interfere with the CB-702Q bracket which is on the aft side of the left forward baffle. So I figured out where both of these parts intersect above and below the ramp. This picture shows the area where the support bracket lies under the ramp, and the fastener with the cleco is the common fastener.

I riveted these clips to the forward baffles.

Now I had to deal with the side baffles where they meet the inlet ramps on both sides. The bottom edges of these baffles are supposed to be bent.

Here’s the right side:

And the left:

I thought about just cutting the left side off since I had changes the basic structure with the snorkel, but I decided to incorporate that into the structure.

Here’s the right side after the bend. It looks really bad in this photo, but it really does fit nicely.

…and the left side. I bent it then cut it to fit in the channel where the snorkel attaches. It will be attached when I do the fasteners for the snorkel and filter retainer.

The plans call for a conical gusset on each side to smooth airflow into the baffles. Since the left side has the air filter and its associated structure. I don’t need one there. I made a rough one for the right side. It needs to be cleaned up, but I like it. They call for it to be made from .032″, but I wonder if .025″ would be adequate. It fits the contour of the cowl inlet.

This was one of those days where you get a lot done, but nothing looks different…

Time: 6:50

Air Filter Fitted

Air Filter Fitted

August 29, 2019 – I have the air filter fitted to the snorkel.

In the last update, I had fitted and drilled the filter retainer brackets to the snorkel. This time around, I enlarged the square hole in the inlet ramp to allow the filter to drop in.

I riveted the angles to the snorkel as required.

One mistake I made was to trim all four edges of the hole in the ramp, but the intent is for the filter to slide under the forward lip, then have retainers on the inboard and outboard sides. I also didn’t like that stock setup for retaining the filter, since I had a very small margin on the outboard edge, plus I needed to install an angle to connect the ramp and the vertical baffle. So I decided to make a doubler that went all the way around the filter hole, and incorporated the angle for the vertical baffle.

Then I made a retainer that secures the filter on 3 sides, and the filter slides under the doubler on the forward edge.

I drilled rivet holes for the doubler, then drilled screw holes for the top retainer. I bent the edges of the retainer down so they would slightly contact the filter.

I test fit the filter. Looks great. The bent edges even just touch the rubber seal around the filter element.

I made the original retainer out of .025″, but I decided to make another one out of .032″. It’s a bit more sturdy.

I bent the aft retaining angle that is attached to the snorkel, since it rests under the baffle behind the snorkel.

I’m happy with how this fits. I just need to install the nutplates and rivets as required to put this thing together.

One other thing I did was to trim the left inlet ramp support bracket that goes inboard of the snorkel. I trimmed about 5/8″ from the supplied plate. It seems to fit nicely, but I’m going to wait to do any more until I fit the baffles that go up in front behind the spinner and flywheel.

Time: 9:00

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

Another Step to the Dream…

In August 2019 I took another step on this journey. I finally started my PPL. Flying a Sundowner out of Aerocountry (T31).

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…