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

 

 

 

 

Avionics and Wiring

Avionics and Wiring

August 29, 2020 – The wiring continues…

Still figuring out how the wires will be routed from elsewhere in the airplane to behind the panel. Looks like I’ll use the center tunnel forward past the fuel pump to the firewall, then up the right side and back to the sub-panel. I drilled a couple of holes for clamps on the firewall angle on the right, then started running wires that way…

I installed the base plate for the transponder on the beam that runs aft from the baggage compartment bulkhead, then ran the harness wires forward through the tunnel.

I then populated the two main power connectors for the VPX.

I knew that I had to have three power outputs for each com system, that would come off the one power source. So I used solder sleeves to achieve this.

I moved on to the pitch servo for the autopilot. I terminated the wires from the servo into a DB9 connector. I made both sides of that connection. Then I installed the servo onto the bracket.

I then tried my hand at terminating a coax cable. I made the cable for the transponder. YouTube is my friend.

Time: 13:00

Avionics and Wiring

Avionics and Wiring

August 10, 2020 – Just slogging through the avionics.

Engine CHT and EGT

I knocked out the EGT and CHT wiring so I could have some visual progress. Dynon provides spade terminals to match the harness wires which are already terminated. I allowed for service loops with each wire, and I tried to offset each one to reduce the bundle size when it’s all done.

I covered each connection with heat shrink. These are pretty solid.

Then I gathered the wires into bundles, one on each side of the engine.

Other Engine Indications

I connected the Red Cube fuel flow transmitter and the oil temp.

Power to VPX

I connected the wire from the ANL fuse that provides power to the VPX and therefore the rest of the avionics.

ADAHRS Mount

I’m using the Van’s Adahrs mount. This mounts the Adahrs just forward of the next bulkhead aft of the baggage compartment wall. I made sure it was level to the canopy rails before I drilled it.

I put the 3 fittings in the Adahrs and thought it would be easier to install the unit in the bracket before it went up in the tailcone.

Ummmm, no.

The bracket is pop-riveted into place, and I couldn’t get my riveter to some of the fasteners. So I laid there and removed the Adahrs so I could get to the rivets, then reinstalled it. I’m actually pretty sure I’m going to have to remove it again so I can get the Skyview network connector attached.

GPS Antenna

I made a bracket for the GPS antenna that attaches to the engine mount aft of the baffle. I didn’t want the antenna on the glareshield, and with the Adahrs in the back, there was no really ideal place to mount the GPS externally. If I figure something different, this bracket is not a huge commitment.

Com Radio Trays

I decided to mount the Com radios front and center on the sub-panel bulkhead.

Time: 23:15

A Little Vitamin D…

A Little Vitamin D…

July 15, 2020 – I took advantage of the hangar being relatively empty and got the airplane some sun…

Some Firewall Forward Work

Some Firewall Forward Work

July 15, 2020 – I did a few housekeeping items up front.

Per a comment from an EAA friend, I separated the plug wires where they clamp. I may refine this later.

I also added a heat shield for one of the cabin heat ducts.

Time: 2:00

Panel continues

Panel continues

July 15, 2020 – Work continues on the panel and avionics.

I started the connection for power to the VPX. This wire will run from the ANL fuse to the power lug on the VPX.

I located and installed the EMS module for engine management. I decided to drill a hole in the sub-panel for a length of conduit so all the EMS wiring can run straight from the firewall back and come in right next to the EMS module.

Here’s the wires coming through the firewall.

I decided to label all the wires in this bundle, so I can just grab the wires I need for a particular component and finish the wiring. I found the pinout and wire list for the engine sensor connector and rang out each wire. This confirms that the pinout is correct, and leaves out the guesswork.

I relocated the manifold pressure sensor from inside the cockpit to the outside, so I don’t have air hoses running through the firewall, only wiring. Then I found the appropriate wires for the sensor, and terminated and installed them.

Time: 9:20

Started Panel Work!

Started Panel Work!

July 10, 2020 – I finally got the first package from Stein for my panel. I ordered all Dynon parts and got a discount from Stein. To save money right now, I got everything except what physically goes in the panel.

I jumped right in and started to install the VPX-Sport.

They recommend putting it between the firewall and the bulkhead, which I also refer to as the subpanel. I made new attach angles to mount the VPX to two of the ribs. Here’s a shot looking straight up:

After I put paper templates on the subpanel, I realized I would have room for the VPX there as well, and it would be a lot more user-friendly and accessible.

It actually fits perfectly just to the right of center. The VPX comes with two attach angles. I oriented the lower one to where the attach screws (to the subpanel) are behind the VPX.

A friend from my EAA chapter was visiting, so I took advantage of his help and we installed the pitch autopilot servo bracket.

I realized I forgot to order my transponder, so that will be on its way from Stein. I’m actually heading up north next week on my Great Oshkosh Memorial Road Trip, so we’re going to visit Stein and look around. I’m also going to see if I can glean some wisdom about installing all this stuff. This is not my strong point, but I have a renewed energy to finally maybe finish this project!

Another Step to the Dream…

In August 2019 I took another step on this journey. I finally started my PPL. Flying a Sundowner and a Sport out of Aerocountry (T31). UPDATE: I soloed on March 20, 2020!

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…