Return to Home Page
01 Jun 09 4 Hours Total: 3085
Cooked the plenum in the oven for several hours and then started working on grinding the air intakes to shape. The resin really gets hard when it's heated, so the grinding/sanding is slow and tedious.
Started making the arm rest hinges.
2 Jun 09 6 Hours Total: 3091
Did lots of sanding and grinding on the plenum. Then mixed up a slurry and applied it inside to fill holes, let it setup, and cooked it for 3 hours at 220.
Nelson pointed out that the nose gear skid plate would rub on the large washer at the bottom of the nose strut. I had forgotten that we'd planned to shim the skid plate. But, shimming wouldn't have worked because it would cause the skid plate to be too far forward which would keep the nose cap from fitting. So, I filed off a flat spot on the leading edge of the washer. Now the skid plate fits good. I'll monitor the washer to make sure it's not jamming against the skid plate.
Made the hinge bracket for the right arm rest and it fits well. I'll have to put some velcro on the bottom to secure the rest. I also will remove it for priming and painting. Tomorrow I'll do one for the left side to match.
|Filing the large washer just a bit was all that was needed.||The washer clears the skid plate with no problem. I'll have to check it occasionally to make sure it doesn't rotate and jam.||The skid plate fits flush.|
|We had to grind off one of the Skybolt fasteners (not this one) so it wouldn't touch the engine rocker cover. Well, it broke so I ordered a new one and it has a shorter insert so no grinding is necessary.||Here is the new right arm rest installed.||And raised to show the CBs.|
3 Jun 09 8 Hours Total: 3100
Whew, still lots of things to do. Got the console covers installed along with the RCP throttle and all the arm rests.
Just getting the cotter pin in the RCP throttle linkage took an hour. It's very difficult to reach and I had to work using a mirror, so slow clumsy work.
|Left - the left front arm rest is mounted on
a hinge just like the right, but only to make them look the same.
There's nothing under it needing access. However, later I may add a
drop in container under it to hold maps.
Right - the RCP arm rests fit very nice although they were a bear to install. There'll be a cover over the upper flap arm.
Gotta get after the plenum tomorrow. I need to find some engine block paint to paint it with.
6 Jun 09
It's officially registered.
9 Jun 09 6 Hours Total: 3106
More grinding and sanding on the plenum. I painted the outside with high temp engine paint and I've decided to leave the inside unpainted for now. I'll decide later whether or not to paint it.
Ordered a new Skybolt fastener because the one they sent was rigid instead of floating.
Got the RCP vent cover fitted - that took a long time.
10 Jun 09 6 Hours Total: 3112
Added a thin layer of resin inside the plenum and got a nice smooth finish.
The folks at Skybolt are fast! The fastener I talked to them about yesterday arrived today. I took it apart and ground off as much of the fastener as possible without compromising its strength. Got it riveted on and installed the new fastener. The cowling fits well, but the inboard edge of the fastener is still touching the rocker cover. Can't have that, so I'll remove the cowling and do some more grinding.
I put everything on/in the airplane today. Not all of it is fastened in, but it is all in its proper place for doing the weighing tomorrow. The local EAA 288 chapter has electronic scales for rent so I'll use them in the morning to weigh the airplane. Then I'll do the weight and balance calculations.
Mike Kelly is a local EAA Tech Advisor and he's going to do an inspection for me next Wednesday. Then I hope to have Charlie Kohler, a local DAR, do the final inspection on the 24th. If it passes I should fly it on the weekend after.
11 Jun 09 6 Hours Total: 3118
Got the Weight and Balance done today and she's a fat one! Weighed in at 1172. I did all the CG calculations and everything is in range from zero fuel and baggage all the way up to full fuel and baggage.
|All the interior went in for the weighing.||This was the first attempt at rolling the plane up on the scales. Because it has to be weighed in the level flight attitude, the main tires must be raised about 4 inches higher than the nose tire. The short ramps were too steep an incline to roll the plane up so high.||So, I reverted to 12' long ramps and braced under them to support the weight. With this setup, I was able to roll the plane up on the scales by myself.|
|The fuselage had to be level for the weighing, so level was checked along the top of the canopy rail.||The scales during the first weighing.||The readings after I rolled the plane off the scales. I didn't like how the ramps resting on the scales was affecting the readings and I didn't have confidence in the total weight.|
16 Jun 09 2 Hours Total: 3120
I wasn't comfortable with the total weight. As I weighed the plane, the ramps were resting on the scales and I wasn't sure the readings were correct even though I'd allowed for the ramp weight, so I rolled the plane on the scales again today without the ramps touching the scales and got a higher number - 1180 pounds. So, I'm going to use that as the correct weight and redo the weight and balance numbers.
17 Jun 09 3 Hours Total: 3123
The weight and balance is all still within parameters at the extremes of loading. I'm going to use three categories for flying.
At 2000# gross weight, I'll restrict the aircraft to Normal Category G limits of +3.8 and -1.5
At 1800# gross weight, I use Utility Category G Limits of +4.4 and -2.0
At 1600# gross weight, I'll use Acrobatic Category G Limits of +6 and -3
In normal category, I can carry two 220# pilots, full fuel, and maximum baggage and still be within gross and CG.
Today, I polished the fuel tank lids and took them to John Wilson for engraving. He's also making interior placards and the exterior data plate for me. Got the data plate installed.
Mike Kelly did an EAA Tech Advisor inspection for me today and said the plane looks great. He found a jam nut on one of the elevator rod end bearings not tightened and torque sealed, so I got that corrected today.
|Left is the jam nut found during the
inspection. There was also a duct in the engine compartment that was
touching the engine mount, so I'll correct that.
Right shows the data plate attached.
18 Jun 09 2 Hours Total: 3125
Put the cowling on and took it to the compass rose to make a compass card. The brakes are groaning loudly. I guess they're not broken in yet.
I had an issue when I checked the P Mag operation. The RPM dropped excessively when I turned off the right P Lead. EGT readings indicate cylinders 2 and 3 were not firing. I'm going to have to investigate.
|The canopy appears much darker from the outside than I expected.|
Notes from the engine run and compass swing.
- Found that with fuel selector in both and one tank empty, the fuel system draws air from the empty tank. File that info away for future use.
- Had very slight backfiring
- Brakes had loud groaning - assumption is they are not broken in. Will plan a 50 Kt taxi and hard braking to try and breakin the pads plus check that the ASI is indicating.
- Cowling was rubbing in four spots - one serious - all addressed
- Prop Governor cable binding. I had installed a grommet around the cable at the cooling ramp pass-through and it was too tight. Problem addressed.
- Excessive RPM drop on L Mag - two cylinders not firing
- Mag correction card completed
- The plenum got very hot, so use of high temp fiberglass resin was wise.
- #3 cylinder is still running the hottest. Need to check again after lower baffle is tightened. Also may look into modifying plenum to improve airflow to #3 and #4.
- Engine didn't want to shut down using mixture. May need to adjust.
22 Jun 09 8 Hours Total: 3133
|Made a standoff to hold the cowling away from the #4 cylinder rocker cover. It looks like this will solve the problem. I'll know more after the first flight.|
Did another calibration of the right fuel tank. It's still not indicating correctly, but it's within 2 gallons (under reading).
Got a guy coming tomorrow to do a transponder test and pitot-static check.
Found all of the logbooks and got the entries made in prep for the inspection on the 24th.
I still need the harness from Hooker Harness. They promised it by today. I'll call in the morning.
Got started with installing the safety wire to hold together the baffles under the cylinders, but got frustrated and stopped for today. Gotta get that done tomorrow.
Went down to Laser Logic (John Wilson) to check on the placards and he had the fuel caps finished and will have all of the placards done by tomorrow. I want to get them installed as soon as I get them.
I need to do another engine run. I checked the P Mags today to make sure they are wired correctly and they are. The wiring seems to be okay and I checked everything secure. I reviewed an engine run video from April and noticed that the number 4 cylinder would quit running when I turned off one of the mags. The same thing happened on the last engine run with cylinders 2 and 3. I'm not sure what's going on, but I need to make sure the mags are running right before the first flight.
|Rod Bower (www.ramairforhomebuilts.com) called and said he has a new larger intake adapter for me and it arrived today. I'm going to fly with the original one first and fly it against another RV-8A and take notes on MP then change to the new adapter and take the readings again. It'll be interesting to see the results.|
23 Jun 09 18 Hours Total: 3151
Eighteen hours straight - until 0330 - getting ready for the inspection. I had a few things to tidy up before the inspector arrived. One of them was to pull together the lower portions of the cooling baffles. It was to be a difficult chore. It took 4 hours to get the first lower baffle done. The other three took 2 hours. I didn't know exactly how I was going to fasten the baffles together, so I picked up some threaded rod just in case. That seemed like the best choice since my skill with safety wire sucks. However, after 2 hours trying to get a rod into position, I gave up and started trying to get safety wire to cooperate and neatly ties the baffle together. HA - not even close. So, back to the threaded rods. Then it occurred to me that I could put a lock nut and washer on one end of the rod and then I'd only have to work on one end in the tight confines around the engine. Also, by using a regular nut I could bring the baffles together and add on the locking nut afterward. Anyway, I finished the last baffle at 0330 and the inspector was arriving at 0900.
|It's easy to see how I used threaded rod to
pull the baffles together. The rods had to be extra long so I ended
up with lots of threads sticking out. I had to add high temp RTV in
a couple of places where things were touching, but everything was mostly
I used spin on nut and washer to bring the baffles together and then added a metal lock nut. Now I'll see if cylinder temps change.
Oh yes, and Hooker Harness "lost" my order. They failed to call back yesterday so I called again and Scott said the order was lost. When I explained that I needed the harness for my inspection and initial flights planned for the weekend, he said they would overnight me a loaner set and send my set as soon as they could. I'd heard about Hooker's poor customer service - now I get to experience it. If their product weren't so good I'd go elsewhere. At least they overnighted a temporary set.
The avionics guy had come by earlier in the day to check the pitot-static and transponder. He has a mobile unit in a van so it's very convenient to do the checks with him. When he connected his equipment to the Blue Mountain EFIS One, he detected a huge leak. So, he pulled everything back off and checked all of his lines from the equipment - it was holding pressure fine. So, connected to the EFIS One again and a huge leak. So, I called Greg Richter at BMA and he said an internal leak is very rare. He said to pull of the back cover, slide out the circuit board and check the pitot and static sensors inside. Sure enough, the airspeed sensor fittings were loose. So, he said to ship it back to him and he'll repair and return. But, I wanted to fly this weekend, so the avionics guy said he would check the EFIS Lite and if it worked properly then he'd certify for VFR for the flight. Then after the EFIS One is repaired he can do the IFR certification. Fortunately, the EFIS Lite was very tight and all pressure tests on it were excellent. And the aircraft pitot-static check was also great. The guy said it is the best he's seen - it didn't lose any pressure at all! So, I'm happy that the aircraft plumbing is good.
The transponder initially would not transmit a signal and the Becker indicated an error 10. It had to do with the antenna, so I removed a 90 degree coax adapter that attached the coax to the antenna and the transponder worked fine. A bad adapter.
24 Jun 09 5 Hours Total: 3156
The inspection was today and it went well. Charlie Kohler was the DAR and he got a "checkride" from the FAA while inspecting my airplane. So, his inspection was thorough. I had a DAR and the FAA snooping around the hangar. The FAA guy even checked my licenses and medical. Don't know what that was all about.
The prop governor and fuel purge valve were not quite touching one of the stops at full control cable movement, so I had to adjust the rod end and clevis on them. That was it. So, I got the coveted pink slip with blue stamp and now I have to start putting the plane back together in preparation for the flight.
I called Nation Air and activated the AIG coverage for flying.
|The plane is stripped and ready for inspection||The paperwork was lined up and ready||Placards and graphics all in place.|
|Left - I got numbers and the experimental
graphics from Vince at Flyboy. I'll fly for a year or so and then
have it painted.
Right - the long awaited pink slip with (rare) blue stamp.
25 Jun 09 8 Hours Total: 3164
Putting it back together sure is time consuming. Worked all day on getting the floor panels in and the front seat installed. But, several issues slowed me down. Screw holes weren't aligned with nutplates in several spots so those had to be corrected. And after taking an hour to install one floor panel, the last screw to hold it in wouldn't tighten. I tried and tried and finally had no choice but to pull the panel off again (30 screws) to find out the problem because the nutplate wasn't accessible without pulling the panel. After I got it off I found that the one lug nutplate had bent! Nelson told me I should avoid one lugger whenever possible and this is the reason why. Got it replaced and went through the routine of putting all the screws in again - many using a tiny ratcheting driver. As I put in floor panels I noticed several things were rubbing when I moved the control stick. So, I had to pull panels again and trim stiffeners and put on spiral wrap to protect everything. I'll need to pull all of the floor panels as soon as I complete Phase I testing to see if anything has evidence of rubbing or interference.
So, today some of the interior panels went on, empennage fairing installed, some inspection panels are on, the lower engine cowling is on, and other fairings are on.
I installed the temporary loaner Hooker Harnesses and put the front seat in, hopped in and checked the fit with my butt. The sitting height was far too low for me, so in went the booster cushion. That was just barely enough for me (I like to sit high). So, I may have to order a new seat cushion from Classic Aero.
Something hit me today. The other day when the avionics guy was testing the transponder, he couldn't get a signal and the Becker transponder was showing an error (most transponders don't show an error if something is wrong). I turned out that by removing a 90 degree adapter and running the coax directly into the transponder antenna, it worked fine and the error code went away. So, it was obvious the problem was with the 90 degree adapter. I had also put one on the comm antenna. I turned on the radio and tried transmitting - nothing. Removed the 90 degree adapter and it transmitted perfectly. I tossed the damn things in the trash.
I should be able to do an engine run and 50 Kt taxi tomorrow then more examination and/or problem corrections and then prep for first flight on Sunday morning.
|Above is the aggravating nutplate that bent -
and it even had reinforcing stiffeners stamped into it.
Top right shows where the stick grip wiring was touching a stiffener under the floor panel. I cut back the stiffener to clear.
L & R the FCP floor panels are all in,
|I hadn't shown them before so here are the
HIGH dollar reverse engraved 1/8" thick overlay placards I had made
by a guy here in the Creek. There are several things I don't like
about them so I'll have him recut them.
Below the lower cowling on and nose strut upper fairing. It doesn't fit quite tight enough at the leading edge, so later on I'll add a couple of fasteners. And to right is the loaner set of Hooker Harnesses.
|The aft baggage with placard is almost done.||The empennage fairing is in place for final attachment tomorrow.||The cockpit is almost finished.|
26 Jun 09 8 Hours Total: 3172
Today's portion of the project was undoubtedly the most frustrating and least satisfying - installing the rubber seal at the wing root. Surely Van's could come up with another solution. That rubber strip is the most frustrating thing!! The metal wing root fairings are flexible and each time you get the rubber in place the metal flexes and it is out of place and you have to start over. I finally got it installed, but it is NOT pretty. I'm going to start looking at a fiberglass solution for the problem. There must be another answer.
Got the cabin covers installed also - and those were frustrating as well - mainly because they are low in the cockpit and hard to reach. They had to be trimmed some more to fit but I finally got them in.
The under-wing inspection panels went on as did the empennage fairings and upper gear leg fairings.
I had planned to do an engine run and high speed taxi today, but when the sun set and I was still installing parts, it became obvious that wasn't going to happen. I did pull the plane out on to the taxiway to check the aiming of the lights and they were much better than I expected. Most were fine - only the right taxi light needs adjusting.
|This job was absolutely frustrating. I'd like to know how other guys have installed the damn thing.||The fuel selector was a challenge to install. the handle fits so tightly that it the aluminum inside was galling and required careful filing.||The right cabin cover was difficult because I couldn't get the screws to start. I got a bigger hammer and finally got them all in.|
|Overviews of the airplane as it's ready for a
taxi test. Should be able to taxi tomorrow and fly Sunday morning -
after I clean up all the bugs from the taxi test.
I'll leave the wheel pants of for the taxi for better brake cooling and put them on for the first flight.
27 Jun 09 8 Hours Total: 3180
Did a medium speed taxi test on the runway up to about 35 Kts to check the ASI and elevator authority. It was s good test and gave me an opportunity to clean out the engine with a short burst to full power. The previous problem with the left mag not firing is cleared up - it just needed some high revs to clear things out.
Then got in another taxi test up to 52 Knots and the nose came up so now I know where to expect full pitch authority. Originally I hadn't planned on taxi tests, however, they turned out to be a wise move. They allowed me to better break-in the brakes, check out engine and prop performance, get familiar with switchology and the radios and followup with examination of the hoses and connections.
Afterward, I installed all of the wheel pants and rear seat.
Video of Taxi Test.
28 Jun 09 Finished!
Thanks to my wife, Pat, for enduring while I followed my dream to build a unique airplane - Eight For Papa.
My heartfelt thanks to my brother Nelson who worked tirelessly for several years with me to complete this airplane. His camaraderie and expert advice were vital to the safe operation of the airplane.
Today it flew.
First Test Flight Plan
Insure AROW documents on board
Check flight control function and aircraft characteristics
Operate flaps throughout full range
Check elevator trim operation
Remain in engine limits
Use high power for engine breakin
Validate QRH normal checklists
Operate fuel selector on right for T/O and Both for rest of flight
Check transponder operation
Slow to final approach airspeed in the pattern and check handling
Make normal 20 degree flap landing
Download and evaluate engine readings
The engine runup was normal at 1700 RPM. At 2000 RPM, I check the ram air vs alternate air MP difference and it was only 0.2" so the alternate air doesn't adversely affect MP too much. The airplane accelerated very quickly - takeoff roll was short - don't know exactly - probably 400 feet and 5 seconds and climbed briskly at 95-100 KIAS. I was expecting a heavy wing on one side, but the airplane was very well balanced in both lateral and pitch stability. The ball was centered. My original plan was to run the engine at 75% power or more during the first flight, but as I thought about it last night, I decided that would not be wise on the first flight. I decided to stay away from the fringes of the envelope. But, that required a relatively low power setting. The highest IAS was 152, but most of the time the IAS was about 130. After four laps around the RW 23 pattern and a moderate speed pass (142 KIAS) I slowed it on downwind to 75 KIAS with half flaps to get a feel for the low speed characteristics. That was the first time I used the pitch trim - it wasn't needed before. It easily trimmed to hands off with flaps and retrimmed easily as I sped up again. I could not detect the trim speed change at 100 KIAS by the Safety Trim module. The flight characteristics are quick and easy - comparable to a military fighter. Then one more moderate speed pass at 152 KIAS followed by a normal pattern to a low approach and then the full stop landing. Touchdown was smooth. The nosewheel began oscillating when it touched and video showed it swinging as much as 60 degrees left and right. I braked hard to stop the nosewheel oscillation. I'll do some web research to see if anyone has found a solution to the nosewheel problem. During taxi back, I had some engine surging, so I'll remove the fuel filter to examine it. I also need to clean the oil filter.
The checklists flowed smoothly during flight operations. I'll continue to refine them.
Unaccomplished plan items - transponder check and 20 degree flap landing - I did a full flap landing by mistake. Also could not run engine at 75% power during most of flight.
So, another RV Grin is born.
|Last minute preparation included a thorough preflight, checking the engine connections, installing the upper engine cowling and towing it to the runway. Pat ran the golf cart to tow the plane out.||Just after landing and clearing the runway.||Thumbs up to the first flight.
Now - to infinity and beyond!
Not great, but here's a short inflight video of the first flight - click here.
Engine Readings from First Flight
Takeoff at 0841 Landing at 0858 Tach 0.54 Hobbs 2.0 Todays Hobbs 0.7
Location: Spruce Creek Flyin, Port Orange, FL 7FL6 Runway 23 OAT - 80 degrees DP - 75
Bus Volts - 13.5
Amperage load on alternator - 20A with landing light, recog lights, strobes, avionics, and EFISes on. Increased to 24A with fuel pump on, so the 60A alternator is loafing.
Max RPM - 2560 Avg RPM - 2480 Max allowable is 2700 so prop governor needs a little tweaking
Max MP - 28.5 Avg MP - 19.0 Ram air appears to be good as SL pressure was 29.94
Fuel Press - 32 Within range of 14 - 45
Oil Press - 81 Within range of 55 - 95
Oil Temp Peak - 187 Oil Temp Avg = 180 Within range of 165-200. Lycoming says 180 is ideal. It looks like the remote oil cooler with 4.5" air supply and 11 row Stewart-Warner cooler is correct.
EGT1 1350 1250
EGT2 1285 1250 Aft two cylinders EGT is cooler but CHT is higher
EGT3 1277 1237
EGT4 1290 1199
CHT1 288 267
CHT2 319 301 Max CHT is 450
CHT3 351 329 For best service - 400
CHT4 323 309
A very successful first flight. I am quite happy with all of the engine readings and with the aircraft handling characteristics. I have a number of issues to work on - the most bothersome of which is the nose wheel oscillation. I couldn't do the transponder check because the EFIS One froze. I will pull it and ship it to Greg Richter at Blue Mountain for repair of the airspeed sensor and examination of the freezing problem. It later worked okay after rebooting, but I don't want to have to reboot during IMC. I also had a burn spot inside the lower cowling that must be addressed. The #2 exhaust pipe is too close to the cowling and burned the fiberglass inside. It didn't burn through to the outside, so I'll grind away the burned and bubbled portion and repair it with high temp resin and add on some stainless steel or thermo sleeve tape to protect the area.
|Got too much heat on the lower cowling so I'll address the problem before the next flight||The exhaust burned through the inside layer of fiberglass and cause the resin to bubble up around the burn. I'll grind it all away and repair with high temp resin and find a way to protect it||I also had a couple of small spots that are rubbing in the upper cowling so I'll address that as well. The standoff I made to keep the Skybolt fastener from touching the rocker cover needs refining also.|
Next Update on 2 Jul 09