Connecting Wing Wiring

April 27, 2021 – Now that the wings are on I can connect the wing wiring.

I safetied the tank attach bolts. Not sure why they need to be safetied, since they go into a nutplate that locks, but OK… I drilled the safety wire hole in the steel bracket.

I also installed the fuel lines.

I ran the pitot and AOA tubes into the fuselage and back to the ADAHRS, then connected the heat controller. Put power on the airplane and the heat works. I don’t have a message saying the heta is either on or off yet; I’ll set that up later in Dynon.

I ran and terminated the wires for the roll autopilot servo. The Skyview network portion is connected to the hub in the back.

I plan on connecting the wires for the lighting and the stick grips on a terminal bar under the left seat.

When I tried my lights, I had crossed the wires for the right landing light and the right nav lights. Got that figured out and now the lighting works correctly.

Time: 25:00

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Wing Prep and Reinstall

April 2, 2021 – The wings are installed, hopefully for good!

With the wings off, I prepped the holes for the fairing that wraps around the wing root.

I also added holes for the fuel quantity wiring where it will enter the fuselage. These wires are forward of the wing spar and there was no other entry point except where the fuel feed lines go in. I got very small ID grommets from Spruce for these holes.

I decided it was time, so I gathered my faithful friends and helpers.

After it was all done, we took a breather, and there was the usual hangar talk.

The next day I finished the wing install.

I torqued the mount bolts:

…and I installed the aft spar bolts and the fuel tank attach bolts:

No pictures, but I then routed the wing wires from the wings into the fuselage. That wasn’t a lot of fun because of the limited space between the wing roots and the fuselage skin.

Time: 15:45

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ELT Wiring and some other things

March 21, 2021 – I made the wiring harness for the ELT.

The connector that came with the ELT was a new one for me. The pins are solder cups, so the wires are soldered into the connector. I’d never dealt with this before but it was fairly simple. I ran a shielded 3-wire bundle through the airplane to check for length, then pulled it back out and terminated the ELT end.

I added a nutplate to the ELT mounting bracket, and made a bracket one bulkhead back for a clamp so I could secure the antenna coax.

Then I riveted the antenna doubler and installed the antenna.

On to some other items…

Airport friends came back and we pulled the wings again so I could finish what had to be done before permanently installing the wings next time.

I also installed boots on the battery cables and installed the hold-down bar.

Time: 18:00

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Wing Tasks

February 23, 2021 – With the wings on, I started doing various tasks that need to be done while the wings can still come off.

Fuel Tank Attach

After quick verification that the wings were in the correct position from the previous drilling 5 years ago, I drilled the fuel tank attach brackets. This was a simple matter of using a drill bushing to center the hole in the fuselage bracket slot.

When the wings come back off, I’ll install the nutplates for the attach bolts.

Fuel Lines

The next step is the fuel line connections. These are the vent lines and the main fuel feeds from the tanks. The right tank is routed differently because I have a flop tube installed there. The main fuel connection from the left side is a straight shot into the fuselage.

Wing/Fuselage Fairings

There are fairings all the way around the wing root that enclose the gaps you see in the above pictures.

There is a short section underneath where the fuselage skin is attached to the wing skin on each side. I used a hole-finder to start these holes, then enlarged the holes up to the correct size for the screws.

The next part is the large wrap-around panel that wraps around the leading edges of the wings.

These panels have pre-punched holes that match open holes in the wings. Holes do need to be match-drilled to the skins of the fuel tanks.

Time: 6:00

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Wings On, Take 2…

February 10, 2021 – Back in April of 2016, we set the wings and drilled the aft spar.

Today, we installed them temporarily so I could do some more work. Thanks to Ken, Marvin and Larry for coming out on this COLD day (for Dallas).

I have to drill the fuel tank bracket, drill for the nutplates and screws where the fuselage skin attaches to the wings, and I’ll get my fuel lines set up. After that, the wings will come off; I’ll do the nutplates, then the wings should go back on for good…

Time: 3:00

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No Smoke!!!

February 3, 2021 – Well, I fired up (poor choice of words) the panel using my power supply. No pops, sizzles, smoke or fire.

It also was pretty underwhelming, because only the left screen turned on. I tried the dimmer for a lit rocker switch, and it worked. The glareshield fans also worked. So I call it a win. I know there are several things to do to get everything up and running.

I needed to get into the VPX and get it set up. The interface external to the VPX is ethernet. Well, my laptop has no ethernet port, so I used an alternate method suggested by Vertical Power. I used a wireless router.

Once that was complete, I looked over at the panel and saw this:

The right screen came up!

I downloaded the latest software from Dynon (as of January 27) and installed it on both screens.

I then went in to system setup and set up the serial ports and scanned for devices on the Skyview Network.

The issue I then had was that the screens weren’t talking to each other. You can “daisy-chain” the devices on the network, which I had. But it seemed evident that maybe I needed to directly connect the screens to each other. So I ordered a 3-foot Skyview Network cable. When I got it, I rearranged the cables between devices. It worked!

I decided to prepare the wings for installation, so I could get ALL the wiring connected and do all the panel setup maybe at one time.

Pitot Tube and Heater

I started on the pitot tube. I was given a brand-new Dynon heated tube. I had seen online where people mounted the heat controller to the wing access panel.

I took the tube out and realized I didn’t have any of the AN hardware I needed to connect the tube to the pitot and AOA lines. I visited a local avionics shop and got most of what I needed from there. In the meantime, I drilled the holes to attach the tube into the mast. I already had holes in the mast from a long time ago, so I transferred these hole locations to the new tube. Drilled with a #36 bit and tapped for a #6 screw.

I made a bracket to support the plastic pitot and AOA lines and keep them away from the aileron bellcrank.

I’m on hold for the parts I’m still missing, so I moved on to the autopilot roll servo in the right wing.

Autopilot Roll Servo

Here’s the right wing aileron bellcrank without the servo:

The servo bracket replaces the small mounting angle there in the center of the picture. You have to take the bellcrank partly apart, because it has to be drilled. This is where the servo control rod attaches.

I installed the new bracket, and then bolted the servo in place.

The control rod is supposed to be 5 inches long.

Here’s everything installed.

Now it’s time for wiring. I installed the DB9 connectors on the servo and the harness, then ran the harness through to the wing root. I had to do this twice because I had to avoid contact with the aileron bellcrank travel.

For right now, I secured the connection using the threaded bolt holes in the servo itself. This will place the connection on the aft side of the servo when it is on the airplane. The harness runs between the arms of the bellcrank and out through the wing ribs.

Time: 11:45

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Drilled wing aft spars

April 29, 2016 – What a day this was! Myself and a helpful crew got the wing drilling done.

This had to be the warmest day of Spring so far this year, and I was feeling it by the time we were done.

I moved the fuselage and the wing cradle out into the driveway. We removed the flaps to help give access to the aft spar for drilling. We then slid the wings into position. It kinda looked sad with the wings there but without the wing bolts installed.

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We ground the threads off four hardware store bolts, and put them into place.


Looks much better with some dihedral…


We did have to trim the ends of the aft spars, and the forward strap of the center section “forks” to get the wings straight.

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We leveled the fuselage laterally and longitudinally, then hung four plumb bobs on the leading edges, then snapped a chalk line on the driveway. We lined up the inboard plumb bobs on the chalk line, then started working on getting the outboard ends perpendicular. Both wings had a very slight forward sweep.

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We measured from the outboard aft corner of each wing back to the upper corner of the side skin at the aft-most bulkhead. Got 173 5/8″ on each side.

We then used a level and a 3″ block to measure level on each wing. Some minor adjustments were needed, but we got it dialed in.

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I then got down into position at the aft spar to drill. I had made a nice wood block with a drill bushing in order to get a straight perpendicular hole. We realized that we couldn’t keep the spar clamped AND have the block in place. I decided to do it by hand. I started with a #30, then stepped up to #21, then used reamers to .191″, .250″, and finally .312″. And a lot of Boelube… The bolts slipped in great and were nice and straight. Those of you who know will think that the bolt is in backwards in the photo below. I just slipped the bolt in to test fit. I had to take everything back apart because I’m still in the garage.

Here’s the before and after at the aft spar:

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And here’s the proud daddy:

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Time: 24:00 (total man-hours)

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Right wingtip complete

October 23, 2013 – With the right wing on the table, I wanted to arrange the wiring so that the wingtip would be removable and the wiring would be reasonably secured.

I cut the 4-strand cable for the strobe to length and terminated the wires for the wingtip. I clamped the wires to the rib I installed in the tip. Here’s a before and after:

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Here’s close-ups of the wiring inside the tip, and of the terminal connection on the wing itself.

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I temporarily installed the wingtip to the wing, mainly just for storage. The phillips head 4-40 screws I have will not work later on. I’ve already stripped a few of them, so I’ll be getting torx fasteners later on.

Of course I had to try my lights with everything installed.


I’m calling the right wingtip complete.

A friend from work came over and helped me put the right wing back in the stand and the left wing on the table.

Time: 2:30

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Continuing wing tip lighting assembly

October 10, 2013 – It feels like forever since I’ve done anything on the airplane. Money issues and just life in general have gotten in the way, but things may be looking up.

I continued with the right wingtip lens. They’re trimmed about as well as I can get them, and then I transferred the holes for the attach screws. LJ helped clean up the cut edges and the screw countersinks.

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I also had to repair the foam rib I installed in the right wingtip. Part of it had pulled away from the tip.

101013004Before I installed the lenses, I needed to finalize the installation of the lights. I had made some spacers for the mirrored plexi, but I didn’t like them because they were hand cut and not very straight. A good friend of mine at work helped me out by cutting spacers on his lathe at home. They came out beautifully; all the same size and nice and smooth.

I assembled the lights and installed the lens.

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The next thing I’m working on is securing the wiring in the wingtip so that when the wingtip is installed, the wiring will be safe.

I put the right wing on the table so it will be in an as-installed position. I realize that some people will say that this is over-engineered, but coming from a maintenance background, I want it…well…maintainable.


Time: 5:00

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Started wingtip lenses

March 21, 2013 – I started cutting and fitting the wingtip lenses.

Van’s provides you with a formed bubble of plexiglass that you cut to make the two wingtip light lenses. I didn’t get a picture of it before I cut it in half, but here is a lens half before trimming:


I set it in place over the wingtip cutout and started trimming. I was able to use snips until I was down to fine adjustment, when I used files and sandpaper.


When I was happy with the fit, I taped it in place, and drilled the screw holes at #40, and clecoed the lens in place. Now on to the other one…


Time: 2:00

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Wingtip lighting almost done

March 5, 2013 – I’ve come a long way since my last update.

Since I did the green LEDs last time, I got the red ones done:


Here’s a guide to how I wired the LEDs:


I installed the strobes on the wingtip cutout backing plates I made. As I wrote before, I didn’t want to attach the strobes to the wingtip fiberglass.

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These are the outside and inside views of the strobes. The strobes are Whelen Vertex Hide-a-way Super LED strobes that I got from Strobes N’ More. If they turn out to be not what I need, the cutouts are the standard 1″ hole, so I can drop in a regular strobe if required.

030513005The next thing I needed to do was to make spacers for the screws for the mirrored plexiglass since it sits on top of the LEDs. I needed 1/4″ OD and ID to fit a #6 screw. I found longer spacers and cut them to fit. Unfortunately, the height I need is only 1/8″, so these were kind of a pain to make. They aren’t pristine parts, so I’ll be replacing them with better spacers at some point. For now, they do the job.

Here you see the spacer between the rivets for a nutplate:


…and placed over a screw for the plexiglass:


Here are side views of the plexiglass installed with the spacers:

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I hooked up both wingtips to power, and…


…everything works!

Not the best quality, but you get the idea…


I started installing the wiring on the outboard wing ribs. I made brackets for the LED drivers. I used thermal epoxy to attach the driver pucks to the brackets, then screwed the brackets to the ribs. I plan on using the terminal bars to connect the lighting to the wiring, so I installed terminals on the driver puck wires.

Time: 6:40

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Continued wingtip lighting

February 11, 2013 – I continued work on the wingtip lighting by drilling screw holes for the plexi for the strobes, then drilled the strobe holes.

I drilled the holes in the plexi to 1″ to fit the strobe itself.


I took the corresponding holes in the fiberglass underneath to 1 1/2″ to fit the body of the strobe. This will allow the strobe to sit higher in the opening. I will attach the strobe to the plexi and the aluminum underneath, instead of also going through the fiberglass.

I then cut out the face of the wingtip cutout where the nav lights will be. This will allow for a bit of cooling. Some people have installed heatsinks onside the wingtip. I’m going to wait to see how hot the LED assembly will get before I go through that work. It will save a little bit of weight.

Below is the sequence for these cutouts:

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I drilled the nutplate holes, countersunk them, and installed the required nutplates.

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Then I started in on the soldering. I have to do some research, but I had a heck of a time soldering to the contact points on the LEDs, plus I know now some have to be redone because the wires run where the plexi will sit down on top of the LED assemblies.

Here’s my initial wire arrangement:


Hooked up the driver and power…and…WooHoo! It worked.


This puppy is BRIGHT!!! Some of the trial and error work is done, no smoke leaked out, so I can clean up the wiring a little bit, learn from my mistakes, and move on.

Time: 5:30

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Started wingtip lighting

February 4, 2013 – I’ve been looking forward to this; I started work on the scratch-built LED nav lights.

I have seen this lighting on several other builders’ websites, and I really liked the clean updated look. It will also be cheaper than standard lighting, and I’m not too concerned that they won’t be bright enough.


I had previously made templates of the cutout in the wingtips to form the backing plate, so  I cut out .020″ aluminum to fit. After it was shaped, I drilled for the attach screws in each corner. The clecos in the center were to hold the metal in place so I could shape the edges.

I used the bandsaw at work to cut the plexiglass. I am going with mirrored plexiglass for now.

I made a template for the LED holes, and transferred the holes to the plexi with a #40 drill. I measured the LED lens housing at .270″, so I had some room to make up. I slowly stepped up the holes through a range of drill sizes. As the holes got bigger, I used core drills where I could. These make cleaner holes and can go through plexi with no damage. 

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The last picture above shows the core drill I used for the final hole size, which was .278″.

I gently deburred the holes, and used a 5/16″ countersink to countersink the holes to act as reflectors for the LEDs. This went a lot easier than I thought it would.

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I also needed to drill screw holes in the plexi to mount them to the backing plates. I piloted them with a #40, then took them up to a #27 to accommodate the screws.


I had to order screws and nutplates from Spruce. I am using 6-32 stainless screws to mount all of this.

Now it was time to install the LEDs.

020413011I am using the Cree Rhea LEDs from LED Supply. I have 6 red and 6 green. I used Arctic Silver thermal adhesive to mount the LEDs to the backing plate. I marked the location of the LEDs on the plate, cleaned it well, then mixed the adhesive. I applied the adhesive quickly (this stuff has a short working time) to each LED and placed them in position. When all 6 were roughly in place, I set the plexi over them to position them correctly, then let it set up.


You can see the LEDs in place in the above picture.


Next, it’s time to wire the LEDs.

Time: 4:25

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Installed nut plate strips on left wingtip

Lenora helping to cleco left wingtip nutplate stripJanuary 24, 2013 – I’ve finished installing the nutplate strips on the left wingtip, with help from my bride…

I drilled the nutplate rivet holes, countersunk, deburred, painted, sealed and installed the strips and the nutplates.

One thing I did differently on this one is to enlarge the final screw holes to #27. I did this because I found the holes a little tight on the right wingtip for alignment. I’ll go back and enlarge the holes on the right wingtip later.


Time: 3:55

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Installed nutplates in right wingtip

December 5, 2012 – After deburring and painting the nutplate strips, I installed them in the right wingtip. The kit I got from Cleveland had -6 length rivets for the nutplates, which turned out to be WAY too long. I used 3.5s. Anyway, this was pretty straightforward, except for when I clecoed one in place, installed one nutplate, then realized some of the holes weren’t lining up. I had installed the strip upside down. Since I was using sealant to help secure the strips, it got a little messy, but oh well… Used a squeezer for all of these, so it was easy and quiet.

Time: 2:20

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Drilled nutplate strip for right wingtip

November 19, 2012 – I started prepping for the installation of the nutplate strips by dimpling the holes in the wing skins. I’m using the Cleveland Tools 4-40 screw kit to attach my wingtips, so the wing skin holes stay at #40.

I started by drawing a line down the center of the reinforcement strips provided by Van’s. This will ensure safe edge distance for the screws.

When the strips are clamped in place for drilling, I look for the drawn line through the hole.

I drilled the holes to #40, then countersunk them to accommodate the dimples in the wing skins.


I then took the screw holes up to #30. The correct drill size for the shank of a 4-40 screw is #31, but I’m doing #30. I also used a nutplate jig to drill the holes for the nutplate rivets.

Time: 3:15

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