Firewall Forward


Paperwork and Preparing for DAR

posted Mar 27, 2014, 12:14 PM by Bill Thomasson

Well, this was an area that I had apprehension about, but not all that scary once you get into it.

90 Days out
Register the aircraft.  This took about 20 days to get back from the FAA.  Make sure to print your name next to your signature, as they will reject if if you don't... guess how I found out....
First you need to call Van's and ask for a Bill of Sale.  They will get you one in about 10 days.  They only do them on one day of the week, so 10 days is the worst case.  Don't do it too early, as this usually triggers the tax man, as the states get notified.  At least in Georgia, that means 6% is Due... Ouch.
At this point it would be good to contact a DAR that you would like to use and start a dialog with him.
  1. AC Form 8050-1 Aircraft Registration Application (Not available online. Contact your local FSDO or request one on-line, only took 2-3 days for it to show up).  Make sure to print your name next to your signature.
  2.  FAA Form 8050-2 Aircraft Bill of Sale
  3.  FAA Form 8050-88 Affidavit of Ownership for Amateur Built Aircraft (Must be notarized)
30 Days Out
  1. FAA Form 8130-6 Application for Airworthiness Certificate
  2. FAA Form 8130-12 Eligibility Statement Amateur-Built Aircraft. Must be noterized
  3. Program Letter EAA sample program letter
  4. Letter to FAA saying you want xxx to be your DAR for the above paperwork.
In my case at least Atlanta FSDO, I e-mailed the paperwork to the FAA (Gil), and the next day he sent an email back saying Vic could inspect it.  I had not done the W&B, or the Condition Inspection that is requested at that time, as the plane was not yet at the airport or together.  They were fine with that.  I also e-mailed all these to Vic (my DAR).

Before Inspection

1. Perform a Condition Inspection.
2. Purchase a Airframe logbook.  Sign your inspection off in it.
3. Make copies (2 + original) of all documents e-mailed or faxed to FAA above.
4. Make sure to have ORIGINAL Registration card. (Not the form requesting it)
5. 3-view drawing to identify aircraft (from Vans website or manual)
6. Weight & Balance document based on your W&B

This may be different depending on the DAR, but Vic was fine with the side panels being on, and the wing tips being on, but wanted the tail fairing, wing root fairings, Tunnel cover and baggage back wall off.  I still had some squawks of some lights not working, and a few other minor non-flight critical items outstanding.  Vic found 2 "Flight Critical" items that needed corrected before he could issue the certificate.  First was the right aileron was hitting the autopilot stop before it was hitting the aileron stop in the up direction (by about 1/8 of an inch).  A quick adjustment of 3 turns on the autopilot servo arm corrected that.  The other was both jam nuts in the tailcone for the elevator trim were not tight, not even finger tight.  The other ends were tightened, so it probably would not have let the trim slowly work its way loose, but good find, and was able to be fixed in about 30 seconds.  Inspection took about 2 hrs or so.  Mainly focused on the engine installation and control system. This make sense as that is what will kill you quickly.

Before Flight
1. Transponder / Pitot/ Static Test if in or near class-B.  This cost me $350 at the local FBO :(
2. Put it all back together.

I had a few more squawks and unfinished items then I thought when I got the inspection, and ran into a few problems that have taken me more time than expected.  I moved to the airport on 3/15/2014, and put in about 50-60 hours in one week to get it ready for inspection, including testing and calibrating fuel guages, first engine run, assembling and adjusting the flight controls, bending the sticks so as to not hit the dash, fixing a landing light that was mis-wired.  I also had several helpers.  Thanks a lot Gordon, Brian Michael, and Daniel that probably put in another 10-20 hours that week.

Since inspection I have put in another 15-20 hours putting things back together and configuring/calibrating the EFIS. Also spending a lot of time trying to correct the wiring of a AeroLed wingtip strobe, that ended up being the strobe went bad.  After calibrating my EFIS I noticed that my alternator is working, that is my last item before first flight.  I expect to have my first flight on Sunday (3/30) 8 days after my inspection.  Would be Friday or Saturday, but the weather is predicted to be bad.

Finishing up and DAR inspection

posted Mar 24, 2014, 9:00 AM by Bill Thomasson

The week after the plane was moved to the airport I took 1/2 days from work so that I could keep up with the critical items at work, but still put in a lot of hours, since my project is now 30 to 45 min away.  I put in 7-10 hour days for 6 days and got the control surfaces all on and adjusted to have the correct movement.  Weighted the plane, tested and calibrated the fuel gauges, had first engine start, debugged a few problems, and then on the 7th day had my DAR inspection.  What a whorl-wind of a week.
Plane being wieghed.  Came in at 1692 lbs.  
662 Right
668 Left
362 Front
Seems to be a little more tail heavy than some others I have seen, I was hoping on coming in under 1700, so at least that is good.  I have a plush interior, and sound insulation everywhere, so I knew I would be above Van's published numbers of 1630.  Paint may be on heavy since it was my first paint job.

Vic did my DAR inspection.  Vic was great and gave some good advice.  2 flight critical things he found (neither of which would have PROBABLY cause a problem, but definitely needed fixed.) were the right aileron was hitting the Auto Pilot pitch stop instead of the aileron stop.  This caused it's travel to be 2 degrees less.  The other item was 2 jam nuts on the elevator trim had not been tightened.  Over time this could have allowed the trim system to unscrew itself, possibly resulting in a loss of trim. (Although the other end jam nut was properly tightened).

Overall a great day.  I have a couple of lighting issues to deal with and have to put the cowl and all the access panels back on.  Expect first flight to be next week sometime.

Moving to the Airport

posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:48 AM by Bill Thomasson

I have done just about everything that I can do without the wings permanently attached, so it must be time to move to the airport.

I called out to the Atlanta builder for some help, got a 17' U-Haul for the wings and tools, and a car carrier for the fuselage.  It took calling 7 tow companies before I could find one that would move it.  The mom-and-pop ones did not want to deal with anything out of the ordinary, or were worried about liability/damage.  Finally I found one that would.

The motly crew showed up and we loaded up the wings, and all the tools.  I did not take any work benches, but just some sawhorses and plywood for a table.  There was plenty of room in the 17' truck.

After the truck was loaded we moved the plane out.  you can see how tight of a fit it was coming diagonally out of the single garage door.

An hour later (and an hour late) the tow company showed up.
He had to take the rails off the bed as it was only 1" wider than the wheels.  Once that was off it only took a few minutes to get it on the truck and tied down.  The tail did come within just a couple inches of the ground as it was put on the truck.
I put bolts in the spars to be tied down to.  Some builders had tied it down with the steps, and ended up with loose steps.  Also, I was missing a tiedown ring. (Sure I will find it when I clean out my basement), but found identical (but chrome plated) tiedown rings at Lowes Aviation for $8 for 2 rings.

2 hours later we not only were at the airport but had the wings  and tail on.

What a great day.


Exhaust System

posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:31 AM by Bill Thomasson

I received 2 different sets of exhaust bolts.  One with the engine, one with the exhaust.  I decided to put the ones that came with the engine on, as they were all metal lock nuts, vs nuts with metal lock washers.
When I had my DAR inspection he stated I should use the nuts with lock washers instead, that the all metal ones will freeze up and be very difficult if not impossible to remove after time.

This is the INCORRECT Nut.

Other than that, the exhaust goes together straight forward except maybe the hangers that go out of the firewall.

Lightspeed Plasma Electronic Ignition

posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:23 AM by Bill Thomasson

Well this was a very scary part of the build.  The first thing I had to do was to drill and tap 2 holes to mount the mini-sensor.  You do this by drilling through the bolt holes in the propeller flange into the case and then tap the holes for #8 screws.  The instructions in the lightspeed manual call for 3/8" bolts, but the new Lycoming cases have a much smaller flange, so #10 is all that you have edge distance to do.
You can see the bracket going behind the prop flange, and just barley the top of one of the screws that had to be drilled and tapped.  At this point I also drained the preservative oil out of the engine so that I could turn the crank to position the bolt holes to drill the holes.  I then lock-tited the screws in.

Then I had to figure how to route the sensor wire.  I was planning on taking it down and under the cylenders, but there were really not any good mount points for an adel clamp to hold the wire.  I ended up taking it up and over the top of the engine.
Please don't critique the RTV, I was never good as a kid with finger paint.
White wire going back it the sensor wire.  

After getting the sensor mounted and wired (14 hrs), mounting the coils, testing the coils to determine firing order and installing the cables only took 3-4 more.  Much of the 14 hrs was hemming and hawing trying to decide how to do things.

To test the firing order I found top-dead-center of cylender 1 by removing the spark plug and watching the piston come up, and opening the valve cover and watching the valves as I turned the engine.  The crank did not have any markings that I could tell for TDC #1.   With the spark plugs out it was easy to rotate the engine by the flywheel, and the lightspeed ignition coils would arc between the coils at 25 deg before.  That then allowed you to know which of the RG-400 cables to hook to which coils.

Oil System

posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:01 AM by Bill Thomasson

Oil system was straight forward and only took 2.5 hr.  Entire firewall forward moves along nicely.

The only thing that took any time (sorry no pictures) is I mounted a nutplate on the side of the oil cooler shrowd to screw an adel clamp holding the oil cooler butterfly valve cable.  This would have taken about 5 min to do BEFORE the shrowd was riveted to the firewall, or before the engine mount was put on.  Took significantly longer because there was little access.

Fuel System

posted Mar 24, 2014, 7:56 AM by Bill Thomasson   [ updated Mar 24, 2014, 8:04 AM ]

Very straight forward, only took 3 hrs for everything.  Much of this was because I had a straight fitting coming out of the firewall, and to not be rubbing on the engine mount, you must have a 45 deg one.  I had replaced the one that came in the kit with a steel one, and had missed the 45 deg.

Also my kit came with a 90 deg fitting into the engine fuel pump.  The fuel line worked with this fitting with a slightly different routing than the kit called for.  Kit called for a straight fitting into the fuel pump.  It did take the line downward closer to the exhaust than a straight fitting would take it.  So I ordered a straight fitting like the manual called for, and am happier with the routing and distance from the exhaust.
Fuel line referenced above is the one going from firewall to fuel pump.  This has the straight fitting on it.

The fuel line supplied that goes from the fuel pump to the firewall manifold for the fuel pressure sensor was in my opinion about 3 inches too long, and not fire sleaved.  I ordered a new one from Bonico that was firesleaved and 12" from seat to seat ($30).  Looks much better.

Engine Controls

posted Mar 24, 2014, 7:49 AM by Bill Thomasson

I ordered custom length controls from ACS that were a couple of inches longer then the standard ones.
Prop - Blue Vernier - 74.5 inches, 2.5 inch stroke
Mixture - Red Vernier- 53.5 inches, 2.5 inch stroke
Prop - Black Friction Lock - 50.5, 2.5 inch stroke

They all fit perfectly.  Would not change anything on the length.

Black cables coming out of firewall are control cables, at this point the throttle had not been installed.  Cables in upper right are for butterfly valve in oil-cooler air tube and alternate air door on FAB.


Cable install only took a couple hours, and most of that was fighting with the couple of Adel clamps.  After fighting with one for 1 hr, I purchased the Adel clamp pliers, I would not do an engine install without them.  They are well worth the $20-30 in time and frustration savings.


Starter / Alternator Wiring / Baffle wires

posted Feb 5, 2014, 8:39 AM by Bill Thomasson

Shows the Starter/Alternator wire and up top the bent wire that pulls the baffling tight.
I added a 2" section of 1/8" aluminum to spread the load of the wire as there are many reports of the washer wearing through the baffeling.
Other End bend.
Baffle wire is still touching the oil tubes.  Ended up doing additional bends.  
Will try to take some more pictures.

Fresh Air Box (FAB)

posted Feb 5, 2014, 8:25 AM by Bill Thomasson

FAB instructions are old style and not as nice as the rest of the RV10 instructions.
This is the amount I cut off the end to be able to clear the cowl.

Showing interference with the cowl.

I have finished the FAB, but don't appear to have any other pictures.
I added a .032 layer of aluminum in the bottom to protect the filter from wearing through the fiberglass (a common problem. and fabricated a different sliding alternate air door.  One that is open and closeable in-flight.

I also made a pro-seal gasket (waxed the top plate and then bolted it on with proseal under it.  this makes a tighter fit over the air seal.

I will try to find some pictures of the alternate air door.

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