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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fuselage - 13

August 23, 2015
65 hours, 735 hours total
Wow, how time fly's when you're busy. My last post was at the end of May and there have been many weekends where I've said it's time to update the blog- just never got around to it! I do continue to make progress, but it's summer in the desert and it's hard to work much past 11:00, even with a swamp cooler. Average hanger temperature is probably 104.

Highlights since I last posted.
The Finish kit has arrived and has been inventoried.
The seats and interior have not yet arrived, but I'm probably a year out from actually needing them.
I've started the wire harness routing. Recommendation from former RV-12 builders not to attach the tail section to fuselage prior to installing the wire harnesses. So I'm a little out of sequence. It's working out alright, just a tedious task.
I've painted the instrument panel pieces, but not sold on the results. 

Progress in pictures:

Instrument panel lower deck ready for installation.
 Side canopy support, left.
 Battery and oil cooler holder, attached to the upper firewall

 Fuselage, upper, instrument cover

 Temporary left-side instrument panel installed.
 Initial coaxial cables routed.
 ????? right side instrument panel paint job. I've sanded, added additional coats, sanded and waxed since this photo was taken.........just not sure of the results at this point!!

 Final, what do you think
 Avionics cooling fans installed!
More to post, I'll add some detail.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


56 hours, Total 669
Note: The hours tally is only an estimate, but it's probably within 50 hours either way.
Once again it's been about two months since my last update. Each time I go out to the hanger I'm amazed that my project is beginning to look more and more like an airplane. The majority of the structure is complete and the past two months have been associated with the installation of aircraft systems. Things like the seats, rudder and brake and fuel systems. I spent the last two days assembling the forward upper fuselage.

Seat structure with photograph at attach point. In this photo the seat back still requires priming and riveting.
 This is the rudder and brake assembly prior to installation into the aircraft.
 Not yet installed but nearly slid into it's proper location.
 Seat backs are primed and assemblied/
 The seat back attaches at the base with hinges and hinge pins.

 Rudder and brake assembly installed with fittings installed on actuators. Regarding fittings- I'm amazed at the force required to install. I have not leak checked any of the lines and fittings, but there is a voice in my head telling me to do this before I go much further. Maybe I should listen to that voice.
 Fuel line, 3/8 inch, from the fuel tank to the fuel pump to the shut-off valve and then onto the gascolator. You can see the lines and the shut-off valve.
 View looking forward in the aircraft. Brake and fuel lines.
 View from aft portion of the fuselage- fuel line from the fuel tank, fuel pump, and then line forward to the shut-off valve.
 All brake lines are now installed....still no leak check.

 View of the fuel pump showing both the fuel and return lines. The return line is the 1/4 inch line in the picture. It's not as pretty as I'd like....

 Picture of the assembled forward upper fuselage assembly with antenna shelf installed.
 Lots of nutplates to install.
 Antenna shelf

 Forward upper fuselage assembly installed. The instructions direct you to use engine sealant around the parameter of the forward assembly. I'm waiting to complete that portion of the process to make sure all openings are sealed. Cleco's are holding the left and right fuselage stiffeners in place prior to riveting.

P.S. I've ordered the Finish Kit! Scheduled to arrive 6/15/2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015


April 5, 2015

Happy Easter
15 hours- 613 hours total-
Since the last post I've made quite a bit of progress. It will be difficult to tell from the photographs, but progress none the less.

Over the past two weekends I've attached the vertical stabilizer, the stabilator, the AST and the pitch trim assembly. Each had their separate challenges. I'll start with the vertical. I found that it was best to follow assembly directions. Surprise! Don't tighten the mounting screws until you're got all screws started. It makes it much easier to line everything up. I had problems with one nutplate assembly. The forward lower left. I tried and tried to get the bolt started, but no. Final had to remove the assembly. Removed the offending nutplate, slightly enlarged the bolt hole and then reattached the nutplate. Easy, but time consuming. After that everything fit and I torqued the assembly.

Then it was on to the stabilator! This is really a two person job. Unfortunately I didn't have two people to help. I did have two jackstands, loned by a friend and fellow RV-12 builder. These stands, one on each side, hold the stabilator in place while mounting. Earlier in the instructions for the stabilator build you're instructed to temporarily glue wishers to the inboard and outboard attach points on each side of the stabilator. The reason you do this is to align the stabilator so that when it's mounted there is equal space on each side of the tailcone. For some reason I didn't do this- guess I thought I'd do it later. Had I followed the instructions I don't know if it would have made a difference! Warning- there is very little room to work. The mounting hinges are in close proxcimity to the aft tailcone bulkhead. I used two nails bent at 90 degrees to temporarily attach the stabilator. I inserted the nail from the opposite side of the bolt entry. I slowly backed out the nail as I inserted the bolt and associated washers. It took three or four attempts to get it right, center the stabilator and switch out washer sizes. AN960-10 and 10L. Took me two days to install. Sometimes you just have to walk away.

It was at this point that I decided to move to something a little easier. My first aircraft service bulliten. 14-12-06, F-1206F Bearing Bracket Cracks. Cracks were discovered on Van's demonstraor model after years and many hours of flying. I was at a point in the assembly that made installation of this service bulletin a no-brainer. I have pictures of the replacement assembly prior to installation and then once installed. Pretty simple compared to the vertical and stabilator install. 

The best was yet to come- installation of the pitch trim assembly. Actually that part was pretty easy. The tough part was installing the ES-00047 minature connector pins into the connector body. Crimping the pins onto the 26 gage wire was okay. But trying to lock the pins in the connector body was pure madness!! They only fit one way. Van's doesn't tell you. Just says, if it won't snap in place romove and rotate 90 degrees, I finally got them installed a few broken lines later.

Pictures don't really do the install justice. I've got to do something with the wire bundle. One wire is about an inch shorter that the rest, so when you twist the wires it looks a little crappy.
 Picture of the pitch tirm linkage prior to installation of the electric pitch tirm.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fuselage 10

March 22, 2015

33 hours - 598 hours total
Over the past two weekends I've spent a lot of time working on the airplane. The wife has been out of town, so I've spent nearly all my free time at the hanger. So I'll walk you through the progress to date.

Following completion of the lower fuselage section it was time to assembly the rollbar. Looks pretty simple, and it was, just a lot of work. The roll bar is made of two forward, two aft curved pieces of material. The forward and aft curved pieces are held together with two plates containing 24 rivets each. The forward and aft curved assemblies are then held together with one inner-diameter metal strip and one outer diameter metal strip. Again the metal strips hold the forward and aft pieces together. Everything needs to be cleco'd in place. final drilled, disassembled, deburred, reassemblied with clecos and then finally riveted together.

 Example - metal plate joining two curved elements of the rollbar,
 Finished assembly- approximately 88 rivets on the inner diameter, LP- 4-3's and approximately the same number of rivets on the OD, except CS 4-4 countersink rivets.
 The rollbar is attached to the lower fuselage via two mounting blocks.

 Rollbar temporarily installed to the lower fuselage. There is a significant amount of match drilling to the rollbar mount brackets,
A couple of pictures of the completed installation.

Next part of the assembly was to install the baggage compartment bulkhead and rollbar support. The baggage bulkhead is currently attached to the baggage floor structure. When the aft cone is attached the bulkhead will be riveted/attached to the fuselage skins.

 As you can see, I've gone back to sections 10 nd 11 of the build to install the vertical stabilizer and rudder and the stabilator. More to come- decided final assembly would require another day, one where me brain was functioning a little clearer.