I’ve been working on the baggage area and rear seat floors, and associated systems including wiring conduits, extra inspection covers and A/C hose routing. This work has spanned a number of sections in the build manual, there are a lot of inter-dependencies and I spent weeks hopping around while seeming to make little progress.
In the end I wound up with a large pile of parts to prime, and once that happened a lot of assembly to do. I’m near the end of all the assembly work and must have made some progress here because non-flying people who look at it now recognize it as an aircraft!
Here in no particular order are some notes on some of the non standard items:
Added inspection covers for the steps, as is commonly done.
Added access covers for the antenna positions, so that I can install or uninstall the COM antennas that are mounted under the rear seats.
Made a lot of 3D printed parts to support conduits. Some out of Nylon, some out of ABS. These worked out great.
Ran the required A/C hoses to the positions in the tunnel where the connections to the A/C condenser are made.
Ran a bevy of electrical conduits, overkill probably but at least I’ll have plenty of capacity for wiring front <=> back.
Ran the static line
Added a small hinge piece for a POS-12 based flap position sensor
Added some extra nutplates for Adel clamps to support wiring through the flap torque tube area.
Added conduits from the flap torque tube area down to the rear of the baggage area
Overall a lot of work to get to this point. A slow build RV-10 is a big project.
One other work item – we assembled the Aerosport seats and couldn’t resist putting one in on its slides to see how it looks. Picture below.
The tailcone attachment is done. I wound up spending a very large amount of time preparing items that needed to be dealt with prior to attachment, including battery mount modifications, avionics shelf supports, a yaw damper servo bracket (modified Van’s RV-14 bracket), but most notably the A/C evaporator shelf, inlet air and bulkhead outlet air (into the overhead). Many hours of design for the 3D printed parts involved in the A/C system, which will be the subject of a separate post.
In the meantime, I fitted doublers for the ADS-B antenna and A/C drain pipe, and finally fixed a dent in the side of the empennage where, a long time ago, I dropped a bucking bar. I used the “packing tape and spoon” method to work the dent back in, and then drilled a #40 hole right on the peak of what was left in order to de-stress the area. I then dimpled the hole and back riveted an AD3 rivet into it. Once painted, an astute observer might notice a rivet in an odd place, but otherwise the panel is fine now.
I fay sealed the attachment skin overlap with some Sikaflex Pro. This makes for a few nerves because it means once the assemblies are slid together they really need to be riveted in one long session. We did this with no real dramas and only one drill out. At this point in a slow build project, “Rosie” and I really have our act together and riveting goes quite quickly.
With the tailcone attached, the next step is to fit and match drill various floor panels.
Another long building delay is over. I went to Osh Kosh, traveled a lot, looked after ill friends and family, and did some consulting work. Now the weather is improving I’m determined to get the project back on track.
I finally finished the empennage fairings. Spent way too much time fiddling around with the horizontal stabilizer tip fairings. That’s now all behind me, except for some fill priming. I’ll probably put a layer of glass tape across the HS tips to metal transition, just to ensure there will be no cracking in that area.
With that all done, it’s now time to attach the empennage to the fuselage. We lifted it into place, and everything fitted really well. After a match drilling session, it is now time time to take it off, debur, prime a few parts, and then attach it permanently.
It’s time to dig out the empennage and start some preparation for attaching it to the fuselage. I have to take the tail feathers off, but before doing that it’s best to deal with the empennage fairings – can’t put off fibreglass work any longer. As supplied the fairings require some trimming, and in general fit reasonably well but far from perfect. Here’s what I did to each part:
The elevator fairings – I didn’t like the uneven gap around them, and the front side had a gap in the centre of about 2mm. I used good quality 3M electrical tape as a release agent, scuffed the sides and front of the fairing, and applied a mixture of West Systems epoxy and micro-balloons around the exterior with the fairing cleco’d in place. Once this set, I sanded off the excess micro down to the tape, removed the fairing and then removed the tape. I had to repeat this operation in a few sections. I also epoxy’d a narrow strip of 0.025″ Alclad around the interior along each rivet line. I decided to use nutplates to attached the elevator fairings, so they can be detached if I need to adjust the elevator counterweights, so I used #6 nutplates held in place with NAS1097 rivets. I dimpled the elevators with #6 die, and used countersink #6 screws to complete the assembly.
For the bottom rudder fairing, I used the same method. I also added a metal backplate into which I can screw the tail-light.
For the top rudder fairing, I added the interior Alclad strip as well, even though I riveted it to the rudder. I didn’t like the idea of the rivets cracking the fibreglass as they were set. The front side of the top rudder fairing had a significant gap, which I built up with a layer of glass and flox, and finished with micro. I continued a thin micro application right across the front surface of the rudder balance arm, since this is a permanent attachment.
For the horizontal stabilizer fairings – I trimmed them, and using a balsa-wood insert covered in packing tape, applied a layer of glass and then two internal layups. After trimming I used some micro to build the edges back up a bit for the nominal 1/8″ clearance, with a concave inner surface that the elevator counterbalance arms can swing across.
The empennage fairing – I covered the tailcone, HS and VS surfaces with packing tape, layered flox along the surfaces where the fairing rests on metal, and cleco’d the fairing in place. I did this in two parts – the horizontal sections first, then after release and cleanup, the vertical stabilizer. The flox released OK, and to clean the packing tape residue off the metal surfaces I used Eucalyptus oil followed by Acetone. I then trimmed the fairing down to the trim lines, first with a Permagrit dremel cutting wheel, and finishing off with a sanding disk in the die grinder. I also trimmed and sanded any excess flox that had run down across the interior of the fairing. The end result was a fairing which fitted tightly against all surfaces. I’m going to fill some of the screw holes, with the fairing properly fitted like this it is not necessary to have as many screws along each edge.
Now I have a lot of pinholes to fill. I plan to do these with the epoxy / squeegee method, then will apply a coat of epoxy primer followed by a fill primer to complete the surface work. Overall the fairings have been quite a bit of work, spread out over several weeks. Weather is cold at present, and even using the “fast” hardener I’ve sometimes had to leave a heater on in the workshop overnight to get proper curing of the epoxy.
Due to other commitments, I’ve had to take a few months off from building, from April through June, but as of July I’m back at it again. Apart from doing the MPC course there was one notable event during this time, with the arrival of the finish kit, propeller and spinner from Van’s, the cowling from Showplanes, and the engine from Barrett Precision Engines. Finish kit inventory didn’t take long. Now I’ve really got to get on with it…
In order to maintain an experimental aircraft, a builder has to complete the SAAA’s Maintenance Procedures Course. I attended the MPC course, held in Gawler SA, on May 20/21 and subsequently completed the take-home exam in June. If I pass the exam (80% required), I will get issued with a certificate, which gives me authority under CASA Instrument 15/16 to maintain this aircraft and issue new maintenance releases. The course was well run and it was good to get away and hang out with other people building their own aircraft.
In Australia, you need at least 3 SAAA Technical Counselor (TC) visits during construction in order to check off a box with the insurance company. In my case I have to fly a TC down from the mainland, so we did a combined visit between myself and an RV-9A builder in my local area. We all had a good day going over the two projects, it was good to spend some workshop time just chatting about the build(s). My TC is a wealth of information and we were able to spend some time at the end of the day going over the paperwork requirements for having a C of A issued in Australia.
Step installation was straightforward. I started by thinking about whether I needed a drill guide (yes) and how to make one, then realized the easiest way by far would be to 3D print it. The design took 20 minutes and one print iteration. I made up guides for #30 and #12 drills. I also made up a 1/4″ guide but didn’t use it, when I decided to use the AN-3 bolt per the plans rather than the larger AN-4 bolt. The drill guides worked a treat.
Step “wobbling” has been a common problem in RV-10’s. To combat this I installed a doubler plate to provide extra support for the step support block, and I used TCW Tech’s step bushings as well as carefully reaming the final hole in the step and support.
I installed the front floor pans and gear mounts, and have now finally completed the infamous and tediously long Section 29 of the RV-10 manual. It was a relief to have both gear mounts bolt in without any drama, there have been some horror stories about this step in the plans. The tapered shims I made up for the gear mounts worked a treat and I all bolts were snug in their holes with no need to ream anything.
The empennage has been shoved in a back corner for the past year. I wanted to work out a few things prior to attaching the tailcone to the fuselage, so I swapped the empennage and spray booth around. There isn’t much priming left to do, so the spray booth (which is on wheels) can stay in the corner for the time being, before I retire it completely. This move has opened up the workshop a bit.