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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

 

 

 

 

Baffle Seals

Baffle Seals

October 16, 2019 – I continued to cut and fit seals for the baffle, and I ran into an issue.

I started cutting the baffle seals. Started with the sides, since they are easy and I can learn the tricks.

The back is pretty straight-forward as well.

I decided to tie the two seals together using the top bolt of the center bracket. Then I trimmed the seals to go around that bracket.

I started the seals around the front baffles that go behind the spinner.

I cut small pieces that will start down the sides on the front baffles.

I took off the lower cowl to do the small seals that seal the lower edges of the inlets to the ramps. I made the retaining strips.

I made the seal strips and started to install them with the retainers per the instructions, using #6 countersunk screws. Well, I pulled a screw right through the fiberglass of the cowl.

So I’ll plan on using small #8 button head screws here.

I went to look at a friend’s inlet seals on his RV-8, and he mentioned a problem he was having getting his upper inlet ramps to seal properly. Ooops. I realized that I hadn’t even installed these ramps on the upper cowl. I somehow thought these might be optional. My DAR told me they were absolutely necessary especially in climb, to smooth the airflow in and over the engine.

I knew I had these ramps, so I took them off the shelf, figured out where and how they fit, and epoxied them into place. I used clecoes to hold them. These holes can easily be filled later.

I’ll go back and trim these ramps to fit, and I’ll have to trim my baffles again to fit the top cowl.

Time: 5:10

Continued Baffles and various Firewall Forward items

Continued Baffles and various Firewall Forward items

October 10, 2019 – Because the baffles can block access to some items, and there’s a lot of items that are dependent on other items being installed, I’m installing several items along with the baffles.

The prop oil line passes through the right front ramp, so I needed to install that. What a pain. The grommet fits, but the ramp stack-up is pretty thick, and the grommet is really hard to get into place.

Here’s the view from above and below.

I also installed the oil dipstick tube.

I wanted to check the routing of the tubes for the oil cooler, so I temp installed the cooler and loosely routed the oil lines in and out. Nothing here is permanently installed yet.

After painting the inlet on the left side, I temp installed it. The way I’ve done this, the snorkel and the baffle are a single assembly. It’s kind of a pain, but it can be installed and removed as a unit. The one issue is that the forward left baffle that goes up behind the spinner needs to be installed separately. So I’m using screws and nuts here.

I just started on the baffle seals, but no picture yet. That’ll be next time.

Time: 15:00

Alternate Air Door

Alternate Air Door

October 10, 2019 – I installed the alternate air door in the snorkel.

Alternate air provides an unfiltered air source for the engine in the event there is a blockage at the air filter. I went with the stock door supplied by Van’s. This door is a one-way door, meaning once it’s opened it can’t be closed in flight.

The snorkel has a flat area that is the location for the door. A hole is cut the for the adapter ring.

The tab on the top gets bent down, then crimped on one side. This provides a stop forthe door when it’s closed.

I riveted the ring in place including the nut plate for the hinge, then faired with resin and flox.

I attached the door. I’m going to wait on the cable until everything else forward of the firewall is going in for good.

Time: 1:10

Baffles Assembly

Baffles Assembly

September 27, 2019 – I am continuing to assemble the baffles.

The pictures I seem to have right now are for the left rear baffle, including the provision for the oil cooler.

Back when I started the baffles, the instructions have you go ahead and cut out the hole for the oil cooler. That’s misleading; you really can’t / shouldn’t do that until everything is fitted with the cowling.

The oil cooler support brace is pre-drilled, and the holes need to line up with the doubler for the cooler. The trick is locating these two pieces together, since they are on opposite sides of the baffle. There are also flanges on the sides of this brace, that are pre-drilled, but shouldn’t be. These holes are useless, since the brace needs to be located up or down depending on where you can fit the cooler, and the top of this brace gets a pretty radical trim to fit the upper cowl. So I ignored those holes and drilled my own where it made sense.

You can see in a couple of these how high this brace is in relation to the top of the trimmed baffle. I based the location of the cooler on the ability to use some of the side flanges in the brace for some support. I wanted the cooler as high as possible. There is no interference here, and I don’t even have to trim the flange of the cooler to clear the engine mount, like some people have had to.

I needed to make sure the rivets and fasteners in this area cleared the cylinder. One place I thought was interesting was the inboard vertical line of fasteners for the doubler. The flush heads of the rivets need to face the cooler, which puts the rivet shop heads against the cylinder. The holes line up perfectly between cooling fins on the cylinder.

I assembled this baffle as needed. I didn’t install any fasteners on the outboard vertical flange, since this may get an additional support angle to help prevent cracking later on.

Here’s the baffle in place.

I also made the cutout for the ignition lead seal, and I drilled a hole for the cooling blast tube for the mag.

I’m just working my way around the engine, polishing cut edges and assembling the baffles as needed. I’m also drilling holes for other items, like the fuel line which comes from the Red Cube up to the flow divider. This fuel line will pass through the right rear baffle. I think I’m going to “permanently” install the baffles before I do the seals.

Time: 8:00

Trimmed baffle tops to fit cowl

Trimmed baffle tops to fit cowl

September 20, 2019 – I got the tops of the baffles trimmed to where the top cowl can be installed, plus gave room for the seals.

I went to the aircraft section of Kroger and bought paper clips. This is a trick I’ve read about in the RV community. In fact, at lunch today I was talking to a guy who was doing baffles on a different type of airplane, and I mentioned the paper clips. He was amazed…  By the way, for the record I bought 120 clips.

I placed them around the baffles, high enough that I knew they would make contact.

I set the upper cowl in place, and removed it again. This gave me the initial clearance.

The one big conflict I had was at the aft left corner above where the oil cooler will be. I ground a radius there, reset the clips, and verified everything by doing it all again.

The instructions for the baffles call for a 3/8″ – 1/2″ gap to allow for the seals. I measured and marked 1/2″ from the top of each clip.

This gave me my cut line all the way around.

After the cuts, I reset all the clips and verified the cuts.

I removed my FOD protection and looked everything over. I just have to clean up and deburr the cut lines. I’ll do that on each baffle individually.

I made and attached the small clips that secure the forward and aft side baffles to each other.

I also made the cutout for the right side plug wires. This cutout is for the top wires that pass through the rear baffle.

That brought me to a good place to stop for the day.

Time: 6:00

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

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…