You might notice the loose hose on the sandblaster in the previous pics. It was loose like that when I first picked it up, but I was still able to use it. I had to shove the hose into the fitting and hold it with one hand while I worked. Good thing it was a small job. It wouldn’t have been hard to fix, if I was inclined to do so, but I made it work like that. I wish people would take better care of things. I made sure the rental company knew about it so they could fix it.
I got the tail feathers sandblasted and gave them a good coat of epoxy. A friend let me use his big blast cabinet, but I was only able to do the rudder in it, because the other pieces are too long. I went ahead and rented the “small” sandblaster from Ron’s. That made short work of it. The rudder looked like factory paint, and it was in good shape. The horizontal stabilizer and elevator were evidently spray painted with a green zinc primer, and they were not so good, but still usable. I’m sure glad I got to them when I did. I stuck the reinforcing gussets on with the torch. They look good. I always liked gas welding. I used to weld a lot of exhausts with a torch. It’s seldom seen, now that mig welding has become so everyday, but the torch is still a great tool. Not my best work, but nothing to be ashamed of, either.
For clarification, the weldment didn’t really look fine. It looked fine with the fabric over it. It might be cracked. It wasn’t a great weld. I’m glad I pulled the rest of it apart, too. The rudder wasn’t bad. It had a little surface rust where the fabric wrapped around it. The horizontal was kind of rough, and the elevator, too. Not too much wastage, but some considerable pitting. It looks like they were primed after the plywood was glued in, and it rusted more in those spots. If I can get the steel locally, I’ll give it more of a rudder, and a longer elevator. So much for being ready, already. It will be a couple days, this time of year, just to get those cleaned up, primed, covered, and painted. That’s if I don’t make it a bigger project.
I took a different approach to the quarter windows, using .080” clear acrylic, and stuck them to the fabric with PolyTac. It seems to be working good. I sandwiched them in with finishing tape on the inside. We’ll see how it holds up. Of course I smeared a little cement on the back of one, but it’s not bad enough to make me redo it. Needs just a little paint to finish it off.
So.... you know how sometimes you’re ready for that condition inspection, then you decide to take care of those elevator weldment gussets, and find a little rust, so pretty soon, you find yourself stripping the fabric off of the whole elevator, and then the horizontal stabilizer, and the rudder, since you’re already at it? That’s me. Then, I start thinking that maybe I should just stretch them now, since I already have them apart, and probably want them bigger, anyway. So close. I was so close. All I had to do was not touch it. The weldment looked fine. The plywood was funky. Hey, we all like bigger control surfaces, right? I wish I had a sandblaster.
Thanks, Bucky. I got caught up on your posts and saw what you did. That was the same idea I had. The Lexan that I bought locally is a bit thicker than I wanted to use, but I’ll probably go ahead and do it. I did buy some plastic to sew in, but I wanted to do something better if I could. I should put it on a scale and see how it shakes out.
I went ahead and painted the cowling the way I wanted. The bottom half of the lower cowling is a bit rough. I could have sanded it some more, and used some filler to smooth it out, but I’m happy with the results. If you’re standing close enough to see the imperfections, you’re going to get hit by the prop, anyway. My artist friend, Ben Firth, helped out with the design, and I painted it myself, based on the pictures he sent me. It’s just like I wanted it. I got some bleed through on the masking that needs to be touched up. Oh, and I’m still waiting for the registration.
The way I read it, the capacitor created the minimum load necessary for the rectifier to properly regulate the voltage without a battery. With no load, it tests at about 11.6 volts. It burned out my new strobe without a single flash, so something is not right. The capacitor is properly connected. My wing tanks are in transit. I’m excited to get them in, but I’m going to wait and check the weight without them before installing. Still no registration. It has now been nine months, and I’m tired of waiting. They did cash my check. I hope that means something. I have very little left to do. I wanted to do something different with the quarter windows. Maybe plexiglas. In the meantime, my job is getting really busy again, working twelve hours and driving two. The first Copper River opening is tomorrow, and we’ll be buying fish in Cook Inlet next month, which keeps me pretty busy until September. I haven’t gotten a strip cleared out yet. I have a D7 torn apart in the yard, which is where it begins. But... I did get a lot on a grass strip near where I work in Kenai, which will be awesome. Less driving, more flying. And yes, yet another project to keep me busy.
I followed the book, which said not to shrink it all the way to 350. The build manual recommended 250, saying that shrinking it tighter would pull the fabric off the undercamber wing. It wasn’t stitched the first time. Since that had held up, I followed the same procedure. Without stitching the ribs, I wanted to be cautious not to overtighten it and pull it loose. All that aside, I might stitch the ribs and shrink it tighter next time. Anyway, I hear what you’re saying. I have the polyfiber manual, too. I’m satisfied with the overall results, the way it is.
Thanks, Jim. I really appreciate all the help I’ve gotten from this group. I didn’t get a good video, but I got the prop pitch set and jetting set in the safe zone. It’s pulling just 5,900 wide open, so I’m considering going finer on the prop. If you are familiar with Powerfin, I started off with the dowel in the middle of the window, and made three adjustments toward the finer side, a total of .066” from where I started. The first setting pulled 4,500. I settled on the middle clip on the needle for now, after pitching the prop. At 5,900, the prop blast will knock you down. It’s rolling at 3k and lifting the tail at 4,500 if you don’t let it roll, or pull back on the stick. I’m wondering how weight and balance will look with the battery and ELT out. It feels like it could take off vertically.
Testing was fair. The engine was great. The prop is nearly adjusted. The ignition switch failed, which was interesting, since it was brand new. I put the old one back in. It only kills the ignition. I put a capacitor on the regulated 12v dc side, to run without a battery, but I’m not sure it’s good. I might get the better regulator or look at options for consumable power.