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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

 

 

 

 

Oil Door

Oil Door

December 4, 2019 – I started on the oil door: partly because it took me away from other frustrating things I was working on, and partly because I needed the access to see inside the cowl behind the baffle seals.

The cowl has the oil door location molded into it.

I cut the access hole to fit the door that Van’s supplies.

I laid up a couple of layers of cloth tape to serve as the landing for the door, then cut it back to about 3/8″.

I’m using the invisible hinge that originally came from Avery but is now sold by Spruce. I located it as best as I could.

I bought the Hartwell latch for the oil door. I just like the look and the utility of it.

As it turns out, I misjudged the locations of the hinge and the latch. Thank goodness you can repair fiberglass…

The latch is very hard to snap closed. I have a “landing” reinforcement of thin titanium that will help to save the latching surface. A friend suggested slightly bending the latch to fit the curve of the door. That helps. I’m also going to shim the latching end to lower it just a bit to make it easier to latch.

This has taken way longer than I thought it would…

Time: 5:00

Mounted Oil Cooler

Mounted Oil Cooler

December 4, 2019 – I reinforced the baffle and mounted the oil cooler.

I originally had a piece of aluminum angle that I was going to use to reinforce the baffle where the oil cooler mounts. I never really liked it and didn’t think it would last very long. I happened on a nice piece of thin titanium. Easy to bend and work with. Drilling is the hard part, but if you take your time and use Boelube, it’s easy.

Here’s the angle installed:

I reinstalled the baffle and started working on the cooler itself.

I had previously clocked the fittings for the oil lines in and out. I marked them and installed them permanently.

I then installed the cooler.

I secured the oil lines at both ends. I’ll have to clamp everything later on, but for now they are in.

Time: 5:30

Continued Baffles and Seals

Continued Baffles and Seals

December 4, 2019 – After I installed the ramps in the top cowl, I git myself caught up with where I should have been. This is in no particular order…

I needed to close the ends of the ramps so air would not escape to the area outside of the baffles. I carved insulation foam to fit the inboard ends of the ramps, then taped them with packing tape and laid up a couple of layers of cloth over those.

I clecoed them and glued (resined?) them in place. They’re not the finest example of fiberglass work, but they are invisible on the airplane.

I cut the left and right side baffles to fit the ramps, then used the paper clip trick again to find the correct final dimension to allow for the seals.

I used manila paper to make templates for the seals around the ramps. These seals fit surprisingly well here…

I installed the inlet seals on the lower cowl. Since the #6 screws blew right through the fiberglass, I used #8 screws instead.

 

In taking the cowlings on and off, I found another problem. Due to my design of the left inlet ramp and the air filter, the cowl interferes with the ramp. The screws for the inlet seals that attach to the cowl hit the very leading edge of the ramp. A side result of this interference is that I got my first baffle crack even without running the engine…  🙁

I just cut off the corner of that ramp using the crack as one of the edges of the cut. I also notched the inlet ramp to fit the attaching nuts for the seal on the lower cowl.

Here’s the end result (hard to get the camera in there):

I was having a hard time trying to figure out the baffle seals around the front (behind the prop spinner). I looked at a friend’s airplane, and because of the closed ends of the upper cowl ramps, he had minimal sealage there. So I just placed short flat pieces of seal that guide the air past the inlet.

Once all of this was done, I decided it was time to permanently install the seals. After all the hassle of fitting everything, this was mindless. In order to keep each baffle separate and removable, I used screws on the side baffles between the forward and aft sections. The seals overlap at that one point. So this way if I have to remove just one baffle, I don’t have to drill out any rivets.

So now I’ll call the baffle seals complete, except for filling any gaps with RTV.

Time 19:21

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

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…