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





Installed CHT and EGT probes

Installed CHT and EGT probes

September 7, 2018 – Today I installed the CHT and EGT probes. I’ve ordered a lot of small items from Spruce, and I’m kind of on hold with a lot of things. This I could do today.

Pretty straight-forward; I used some anti-seize to install the CHT probes. These probes from Dynon have a quick-disconnect feature.

The EGT probes use a hose clamp setup to hold the probes. I drilled  1/8″ holes in each exhaust pipe 3″ down from the flange on the cylinders. Insert the probe, tighten the clamp, that’s it.

Time: :50

Worked on firewall pass-throughs

Worked on firewall pass-throughs

September 6, 2018 – I installed a couple of items on the firewall; the wiring pass-throughs and the fuel line connection.

I found the Avery pass-throughs at Aircraft Spruce, so I bought two of them. These will be for the wiring. As is usually the case, I’ll be running engine monitoring and sensing wiring through one, and heavy electrical through the other.

I put one pass-through in each upper corner of the firewall. I bought a set of punches at Harbor Freight. I drilled a 3/4″ hole using a Unibit to accommodate the punch.

Put the bolt part of the punch through, then crawled inside and put the die in place and tightened it down by hand. Went back outside and tightened the bolt until the hole was cut.

I used the flange to drill the screw holes, and deburred everything. Used firewall sealant on both sides, and clecoed the flanges into place. I’ll need help to install the screws, but that part is done.

I also installed the fuel fitting that goes through the firewall. I opted to use the doubler that they have you install on the firewall at the very beginning of firewall construction.  This doubler is for the optional Facet fuel pump, which I’m not using. This made more sense than installing another doubler just a few inches away when this one is not being used.

Time: 2:00

Installed Prop governor

Installed Prop governor

September 6, 2018 – I installed the prop governor.

I wasn’t sure about the orientation of the governor on the engine. So I did some online research, and found the orientation that seems to be correct. I definitely had to reclock the control head. With the governor in the correct position on the engine, the control arm faced down, when it’s supposed to be up. The instructions tell you how to reclock it.

You just break the safety wire on the top screws, loosen them, and rotate the head to the desired position. I went 180 degrees out from the original position. I also had to install the bracket for the cable, so I had to loosen those screws anyway.

I installed the governor on the engine. The nuts are pretty hard to get on to torque. I’m pretty sure this whole project is going to be that way, and get worse all the time.

Time: 2:15

Installed heat muff

Installed heat muff

September 6, 2018 – I assembled and installed the heat muff.

The heat muff takes air heated by the exhaust and routes it to the cabin for some semblance of heat. I installed it on the only stretch of pipe that was long and straight enough to accept it: on the pipe from #1 cylinder. Wasn’t sure about this spot, but I’ve seen it on other airplanes, so…

I needed 5 1/2 hands to put this together, but I figured it out.

Time: 1:10

Installed exhaust

Installed exhaust

August 29, 2018 – Well, that was pretty easy. I got the exhaust installed today.

I got the crossover tubes installed and torqued the pipes to 180 in/lb.

The hangers were pretty simple as well. Vetterman gives you clamps and everything you need to support the pipes at the exit.

I installed the lower cowl to check the space at the exit. Have lots of room there.

The pictures look like the pipes turn outwards, but that’s just the camera angle. They both point straight back.

I attached two angles at the aft corner bolts on the sump, then used the supplied hardware and rubber tube to connect to the clamps on the pipes. The clamps are supposed to be as far aft as possible to provide good support.

Once I got the vertical hangers in, I supported the pipes horizontally to each other. I had to cut the provided tubes because of the short distance between the pipes.

Time: 2:20

Started exhaust

Started exhaust

August 29, 2018 – It was time to start with all of the engine hookups.

I took the box from Vetterman out of my bedroom into the garage, and did a quick inventory. I had to run out and get some high-temp anti-seize, then I attached the pipes to the cylinders. Their instructions say to start with 3 and 4, then install 1 and 2.

The pipes are in place, but not yet torqued. I still have to install the crossover tailpipes.

Time: 1:00

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.


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…