They say some like building, and some like flying. I like both. Thus far, it's worked pretty well to alternate building for a year then flying for a year to keep me out of trouble. In March, I sold my 6a, and knew right away that the next project would be an 8. I want to learn tailwheel, and just love the piston-fighter look. After searching for an affordable project that could be finished in about a year, I was able to snag a pretty complete airframe which included a potentially useable engine and prop.
Flying out of KPHL Wednesday morning at 6am, I arrived in Phoenix, AZ at 8am local time, and picked up a 26' Penske truck and went to load up. By 1pm, kit and I were on the road for two and a half days, or 36 hours of driving! Fortunately, I was able to pick up a travelling companion for the last 12 hours. The promise of spending a week with her grandchildren was enough to persuade her to endure a day in the truck :)
As for the truck ride, it went splendidly. I chose the Penske for several reasons: price, newness of the trucks, and the fact that they had wood floors into which we could screw tie down brackets. The truck I was given was nearly brand new with less than 7k miles on it when I got it and nearly 10 when it was turned back into a local depot here in Delaware. The extra space of the 26' truck allowed for a little more versatility in where we tied things down. The result was a remarkably uneventful journey.
I wish I could say that were the end of the story, however. Upon arriving at home, we began to unload. Everything was going great and soon all that was left was the fuselage. We placed two ramps made of 2x10's behind the main tires and walked the tail down the center ramp. I had my wife stand on the bottom of one ramp and my son on the other so that they wouldn't slide backwards when the tires hit them. As I gave the required rock and heave to get the tires up on the ramp. As I did, the left ramp gave away, and the whole fuselage came crashing down on the central ramp. Talk about a kick to the stomach. A valuable lesson on waiting for more help. (ironically, a bystander had just offered some assistance... "No thanks. I've got it...." ) The center ramp left two huge wrinkles in the firewall and lower floor panels. Fortunately, while it caused significant additional labor, the cost to repair was relatively minimal. The lower panels are merely cosmetic and they, along with the firewall, saved anything structural from being damaged. I don't have a pic of the damage, but here is the firewall removed and the new lower panels being installed.
The new firewall went in pretty easily, and now after two weeks, we're back to where we started from.
The several days of waiting for parts left time for inventory, and evaluation of the kit condition. Like most used kits, there are some pleasant surprises, and some things I'd do differently. Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased with the quality of workmanship.
Anyway, That's the first installment. Lots of progress has been made in the past two months. I'll do some back-posting to get the thread up to date as I'm able.
While waiting on replacement parts, I began shopping for avionics. I'm familiar with GRT but, while happy with the capability of the Sport SX I had in my 6a, I've been really impressed with the integration available from some of the other vendors. Eventually, I settled on the Dynon Skyview system based on cost, availability used, and features... especially with Dynon's comm radio. I've cobbled together a very nice system from new and used parts, occasionally coming up with surplus components which have hopefully gone to help others through the classifieds here.
Most of the month of May was spent setting up the electrical system, installing avionics and wiring, mounting accessories such as the ADAHRS and running associated pitot static lines.
The airframe kit came with a VP-X Sport. I probably would not have gone this route if it hadn't come with it. Fuses are cheaper and work just as well. However, there were some intriguing features such as flap and trim control that the VPX performs and, as I said, it didn't really cost me anything so it looks like an opportunity to learn a new system.
The control sticks were cut for tosten grips which I've used in the past and like quite a lot. However, the 8 "needs" an infinity grip which meant that I needed a longer front control stick. I toyed with the idea of welding an extension back onto this one, but eventually decided to just order a new one.
I combined all of the grounds into one in order to reduce the bundle size, then brought them all into a 9 pin dsub connector. The trim, flaps, flip-flop, ap disconnect and PTT are all controlled on the stick. I still have one on/off button left with no designated purpose. I was going to put the starter on the stick since the VP-X will disable it when the engine is running which means accidentally hitting it isn't as much of a worry. However, I decided to put it on the throttle instead.
[ed. FYI I can't see the pics - plain vanilla Mac. 1926Z 6/7. v/r,dr]
Thanks for posting this about your new project! I'm a long time RV-8 builder ( take that to mean....slooooooooow builder! #81303), and I'm just now starting on my QB fuse, after two moves and a retirement in the last year!
I too just used a Penske 26' truck to move my whole project from Virginia to Florida, and am well familiar with the precarious loading and unloading using that center ramp. My fuse is not on the gear yet, so I was able to get it onto the truck with two other strong helpers by carrying the forward part of the fuse up to the ledge of the truck while a helper carried the tail end up the ramp. Then repositioning the two helpers up onto the truck, then carry the fuse on up inside. My fuse was secured very similarly to the floor and sides of the truck as you did, and wings in their cradle in a similar manner! Total success in transporting it to Florida! Now have to move it once more from my garage to a hangar in SRQ in early August, but probably with a much lower trailer of some sort... I just knew what you were going to say when you talked about the journey in that truck...so far! I could totally picture your situation!! AAaarrgghhh!! I'm glad you were able to repair the damage without too much fuss and $$$!
One thing I am curious about with your project is the status of wiring for various things like tail lights, intercoms in the back seat, flap motor installation wiring, etc... prior to installation of floor boards.
Ha. I’m so anxious to get the floor boards in and sit in there pretending to fly, you wouldn’t believe! Every time I think about it, though, there’s always something else I think of that needs to be done first. My hunch is that they’ll finally get reinstalled the day before the DAR comes to visit!
Ha!! That's what I thought! The other option is to put nutplates in and screw them dowm so that they could be removed for "other things"!
Current Status as of 6/21/18
[ed. I can't see the pics. v/r,dr]
Have spent what seems like an eternity working on the canopy skirt and wheel pants and I know that I've only just begun. This is, without a doubt, the least enjoyable part of any build for me.
As of the beginning of June, the wiring was almost entirely complete. Dynon system is up and running and the only wires left to run are for engine systems and monitoring.
While waiting on engine parts to be overhauled, I decided to finish all of the fuselage projects that could be completed prior to hanging the engine. The sliding canopy was one of those major projects.
When i purchased the kit, the canopy had been cut and sika'd to the steel frame (a little sloppy, but it looks like the excess can be trimmed off and made to look nicer with some effort). The frame had all of the holes drilled in it for the side skirts, and that's about where the previous builder left off.
I attempted to locate the holes in the skirts using the "intersecting lines" method, but this resulted in many egged out or double drilled holes in the fiberglass. Eventually, I decided to make aluminum templates with a simple homemade strap duplicator. These worked perfectly. Notice there are no cleco's connecting the skirt to the canopy itself. The plan was to use Sika to attach the two.
Aside from a slight gap at the front, the right side fit perfectly all the way down. The left side... not so much. I ended up cutting a slit the entire length of the fairing and folding down the lower portion. Once it was taped in place, the slit was filled and glassed. The same technique was used on the front 6" on the other side, and now both sides hug the fuselage neatly when closed.
The difference in fit between the two sides also made the rear connection difficult. One skirt fit fine and was held in place by simply taping it down. The other had to be pulled tightly up and to the rear, cleco'd to the steel frame which required a couple of holes in the windscreen (something I was hoping to avoid altogether), and strapped down with tape. Eventually the best way to join the two of them was with an aluminum "strap" cleco'd to both while fiberglass "straps" were done above and below it. These temporary straps then held it in place while it was removed and the inside glassed together. It was then returned to its home on the windscreen and several layups done on the outside. After much sanding, blending, and shaping, the final step was to cover the rear deck with tape and make up a batch of thickened epoxy to fill in the space between the fairing and the slider track.... followed by more sanding shaping, etc... I didn't take pics of everything, but here is one at some point in the progress:
After several more days of fitting, it was time to sika the skirt to the canopy itself. The inside of the skirt was rolled a couple of times with straight epoxy as a sealer/filler, then sanded and primed. The canopy itself was taped off, roughed up with 120# sandpaper, and prepped. Sika has a special cleaner and primer for this, and both were used on the canopy as well as the fairing. An extra layer of tape was added to the canopy so that any excess sikaflex glue could be pulled off cleanly. This really worked out pretty well.
Finally, after the sikaflex was dry for several days, the cleco's were removed and each hole countersunk for a rivet. That's pretty much where I left off before moving on to the wheel pants. The rivets will need to be filled, and I'll be finishing the exterior of the skirt with UV Smoothprime along with all of the other fiberglass components, which is the reason I stopped here. Figured it might be easier to do it all at once...
The wheelpants have not actually been as difficult as I expected. They've been time consuming, but only in short "spurts" as I will explain.
The procedure was to lift the tail and level the top longeron, then snap a center line on the floor from the front to the back of the aircraft. I used a sliding T-Bevel square to match the angle of the center seam on the tire front and back, then measured using a framing square from the center line on the floor to the place where the angle of the center of the tire intersected the floor. That distance was used to basically snap a straight line on the floor which would be right through the center of where the tire contacts the floor. This line was then used to make sure the wheel pant was aligned perfectly with the aircraft's direction of flight.
Sunlight backlit the holes in the brackets, making it easy to match drill them in the translucent fairing once the fairing was centered horizontally, and the angle matched vertically with the angle of the tire (again, that sliding T-bevel was a huge help). After each was held in place with cleco's, the gap around the tire could be opened up as necessary (supposed to be 1/2" all the way around). Finally, a thickened epoxy paste was injected into the gap between each bracket-to-fairing contact point and left to set. This took several iterations, doing one joint at a time while the others were cleco'd to hold everything in place.
Dropped the tail to check clearance... YES! It's perfect and even on both sides! Next steps include filling the gap between the front and rear pieces of each fairing, then installing nutplates in the fairings themselves. Finally, they'll be filled, sanded, primed and painted... but probably not until after some period of test flying.
[ed. I can't see the pic . v/r,dr]
I see several notes regarding pics. They're hosted on halie.com and I can see them regardless of which computer I'm using. They are larger files and take a moment to load. Any ideas as to why I can see them and others can't?
I’m way behind on posting. July was pretty much a wash between work taking kids to camp and family vacation. This week I’m building the engine and will take a few photos for the records and share them, but here’s what happened in July...
More fiberglass! I’ve contjnued to spend inordinate amounts of time with the wheel pants. The gear leg fairings were assembled with their hinges and the transition fairings, which I bought from rvbits, we’re bonded to the wheel fairings, split, and a little overlap formed to cover the split. Lots of filling and sanding with no end in sight!
More sanding and shaping of the rear skirt joint and I’m finally pleased with that area too.
Carbon fiber wrapped the panel and got it installed. Everything works as expected. Radio checks on the ground seem to confirm good transmission and reception although we all know the real test is with the engine running....
Finally had a chance to get my engine built and hung. This is the second lycoming i've assembled and it was definitely much less intimidating this time. Just follow the overhaul manual carefully and check off each step as it is accomplished.
The engine assembly isn't completely finished, but done enough to get it out of the church gym so that VBS can commence next week!
List of things to do include:
Next major job: the cowl!
Had my son take a few obligatory pics for the FAA :)
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