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Dealing with the fallout from the heat pump failure killed any chance to work on the aircraft during the week, but I got a fair bit of work done last Sunday, yesterday and today. I hope to get another burst of work done on Monday.

Lesson 1 - Install the rear seat air duct onto the NACA scoop before mounting the wings. It would have been a piece of cake to pull the other end of the duct into the fuselage after mounting the wings. Instead, I spent an hour with one arm jammed through an inspection cover on the bottom of the wing, trying to get the duct over the NACA scoop outlet, then getting the worm clamp installed. It is amazing what you can do with only one hand if you have no other choice. Not fun.

Lesson 2 - Don't put UHMW tape on the bottom of the upper wing skin ahead of the flap. I had done that instead of putting the tape on the flap, as I thought it would look better. But, when I installed the flap I found that the aft edge of that tape was loose in a couple of spots. No big deal, I thought, I'll just remove the tape and put a new piece on. Well, when you pull the tape off, it leaves a whole bunch of adhesive behind, and it is a real pain in the butt to clean it off the bottom of the upper wing skin as the flaps get in the way. I didn't want to remove the flaps as it was a pain in the butt to get the hinge pins in place, and I didn't want to have to do that any more often than necessary. I would have been a lot easier to be removing adhesive from the upper surface of the flap skin, as at least you have good access to that area without removing the flaps. So, once I finally got the adhesive off, I put the replacement UHMW tape on the flap, instead of the wing skin.


I did the final installation of the battery - I used an Odyssey PC680 battery, which was quite a bit smaller than the one that the battery tray was designed for. I made the tray narrower by bolting in two pieces of aluminum angle. Van's design uses a piece of U-shaped channel on top of the battery to hold it into the tray. The channel is supposed to be placed with the flat face against the top of the battery. But, with the narrower PC680, the two terminals would then be very, very close to the channel, creating a large risk of the positive terminal shorting against the channel. I flipped the channel upside down, trimmed the edges at an angle, and put a piece of oak between the channel and the battery. This moved the metal channel well away from the battery terminals, but it had the knock-on effect of making the supplied hold-down bolts too short, so I used red (permanent) Loctite to bond nuts to one end of threaded rod to effectively make longer bolts (I couldn't find sufficiently long 1/4" bolts at any local source.)

The two smaller wires on the battery terminals are for a battery charger. The other end of the battery charger wire will come out in the baggage area, and has a connection with a cover to keep it clean. This will allow me to charge the battery with a trickle charger without having to remove the rear baggage shelf.


After mounting the battery, I installed the aft baggage shelf (which covers the battery), and the cover at the back of the baggage bay. If past experience holds, within the next two weeks I'll discover some reason why I need to remove those items to access that area. But, the project is slowly approaching its end, and I need to close in each area eventually, so I rolled the dice and put those items in place.

You can see the other end of the battery charger wire over to the left side of the picture.

You can also see two of the four removable tie down points that will be used to secure baggage in place (and will also be used to secure ballast during the flight test phase.)


Today I spent quite a bit of time fiddling away inside the left landing gear box, securing the pitot line in place to ensure it doesn't chafe against anything. Then I hit a phase where everything I tried to work on required something that wasn't at the hangar, so I eventually got frustrated and came home to spend some time with Terry.

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  • I also placed a charger plug in the rear baggage compartment. I used a cigarette lighter plug receptacle, ran it through a 15 amp fuse and placed it on my battery buss. This allowed me to put a cig lighter plug on my charger and have an outlet for my wife's plug-in blanket in the back.

  • That is a much better approach than what I came up with. I've got a battery
    bus back there, and I've also been pondering ways to eventually provide
    electrical power to keep my wife warm. I may steal your idea, but not until after
    I get flying. No more mods now :) Must fly first.

    Thanks for the idea.

    ---
    Kevin Horton