My RV-6 just had it’s 15th birthday and I was honored when Ken Scott chose it as Miss February for the Van’s 2016 calendar.
Rosie’s post about the 30th Anniversary of the RV-6 event at OSH struck a nerve and I knew it was time to tuck my 6 back in the hangar for a few OSH improvements. I fly a fair amount of IFR and rain is like sand paper at 200 mph. A new coat of paint was in order. This also provided me a chance to make a few improvements. Although I liked my original paint scheme I wanted to spice it up a bit. Some type of checker board was the answer. Steve Melton’s posts on his paint project encouraged me to take on the painting project myself. Although I had repainted the wheel pants and cowling over the years this was my first attempt to paint the entire plane unassisted. Using a PPG base coat / clear coat system made the process longer but much easier in my mind. It also made more complicated designs possible with my skill level. Unfortunately I could not fit the entire plane in the booth.
Masking the tail’s new checker board pattern
After the clear coat was applied
After clearing the first wing
Although I was an early member of the Team RV formation team I never added smoke to my -6. This was the perfect opportunity. There are several nice smoke kits listed in VAF but I didn’t want to risk getting smoke oil in the cockpit. I decided to work with Marvin Homsley (http://www.smoke-system-helper.com/
) to modify his very clean “hidden RV6 tank”. Marvin kindly removed the filler neck and provided 3 threaded ports (Flop tube exit, refill port, and vent). In an effort to keep the installation as clean as possible I designed a “one button” refill solution that would allow me to use the diaphragm pump to generate smoke as well as refill the tank. The pump and 2 solenoid valves were installed under the passenger seat.
pump / solenoid plumbing and electronic controls
I also added a small recess in the belly to mount a spill proof disconnect (“oil stinger”) for easy refill. I simply connect the female disconnect hose and drop it in my smoke oil container. A hidden switch actives the pump and solenoid valves to pump oil from the smoke oil container into the on board tank. If I happen to pump too much oil it simply drains out the vent line near the refill “stinger”.
Photo of the recessed oil refill quick connect port (stinger)
Initial testing worked well. I hope to be flight testing this weekend.