Installing the wings, even with a helper, is a pain. While I can do it alone and it’s not that time consuming it can be frustrating and it’s really easy to damage the wings moving them around. I’ve been wanting to make this process easier since I built my wing carriers long ago and I finally came up with an idea that works!
I’ve basically built a set of sawhorses, on wheels, that transforms into a wing rack while the wing is resting on the sawhorses. Watch the video to see it in action:
Now, time to start building this, your gonna need some materials:
|2||2″ PVC pipe||62-1/2″||Main horizontal support|
|2||2″ PVC Pipe||12″||Main vertical support|
|2||2″ PVC pipe||1-3/4″||Reducer connector|
|2||2″ PVC pipe||3-1/2″||Rotator for base|
|2||1.5″ PVC pipe||25″||Vertical slider|
|2||1.5″ PVC pipe||6″||Arm rotator|
|2||1.5″ PVC pipe||20″||Lower arm|
|2||1.5″ PVC pipe||28″||Upper Arm|
|6||1.5″ PVC pipe||1-3/4″||45° connectors|
|2||1.5″ PVC pipe||3-3/4″||Bungee holder|
|2||3/4″ PVC pipe||3-1/2″||Bungee hook|
|2||3/4″ PVC cap||N/A||Bungee hook|
|2||2″ PVC 4-way||N/A|
|2||2″ PVC Tee||N/A|
|2||2″ to 1-1/2″ PVC reducer||N/A|
|2||3″ sch 30 cap||N/A||Mount to base|
|2||3″ to 2″ sch 30 bushing||N/A||Mount to base rotator|
|8||1-1/2″ PVC 45° elbow||N/A|
|4||1-1/2″ PVC cap||N/A|
|4||1-1/2″ PVC Tee||N/A||Arm rotator assembly|
|6||Wing Nuts||N/A||Replacement wing nuts for lawnmower handles|
|8||3″ casters||N/A||All must be casters, preferably locking too.|
|32||5/16-18X1″ carriage bolts and nuts||N/A||Attach casters|
|??||Various small screws||N/A|
|6||1×4 common board||44″||Base|
|4||1×4 common board||18″||Attach casters|
|2||1×4 common board||56″||Attach casters|
|2||bungee cord||4′||Flat cord bungee|
Note: Do not use “sanitary” fittings, they will not work.
Many of the PVC parts will need modified, a lathe would make most of the modifications easier. A mill would be nice too. I used a Dremel and a drill press.
Let’s start at the bottom and work out way up.
The ends of two 44″ boards need notched to accept the 18″ boards. The notch in the 18″ boards starts 4″ from the end. I glued the there pieces together.
The rear two 44″ boards have a small notch cut in them to clear the 18″ boards. This board was glued and screwed to the back side of the platform.
The front 44″ board also needs notched but it needs to be lower. This board was added as a modification so some pictures might be missing it.
Before gluing this board I pre-tensioned it with some twist to counteract the off-center weight when the wing is in the storage position.
If your wondering why the board is pre-tensioned look at the picture below.
The casters are bolted to corners and the 3″ PVC cap is bolted in the middle.
Grab the two 2″ tees and cut a notch for the wing bolt that goes 90°. It is ok to go more than 90 but if you can make it exactly 90 you will be happier with the end result. Remember to make a right and left version, the tees should be mirrors if one another.
Now grind out the inside of the notched part of the tee until a 2″ pipe can easily rotate within the tee. Now glue the 3-1/2″ long 2″ pipe into the 3″ to 2″ reducer. Once the glue is dry insert it into the tee, ensure it freely rotates when fully inserted. Now mark the center of the notch onto the pipe. Drill a hole, use a small chisel to make the hole square for the carriage bolt.
The carriage bolts for the wing nuts need modified a little bit to better match the contour of the pipe. A vice and a file made this pretty easy.
Grab the 12″ long 2″ pipes. Cut a slot in them, this will be the height adjustment. I used my drill press to drill a line of holes then used a file to produce what you see here.
Grind out the inside of the two 2″ to 1-1/2″ reducers until a 1-1/2″ pipe easily slides through the adapter.
You can now assemble the main part of the base.
Set the PVC base into the caps. Now adjust the base rotation wing nuts. The vertical boards on each caster platform should be facing each other.
Once adjusted to your liking use some small screws to attach the reducer and cap.
Now get two of the 1-1/2″ tees and notch them for the wing nut. Again remember to make a right and left. The length of the slot is not too important, I made mine much more than 90° but depending on how much rotation you need you might want to do something different.
Now grind out the inside of the tee until a 1-1/2″ pipe easily rotate inside the tee. Go ahead and glue the 25″ 1-1/2″ pipes to the tees. You might be tempted to cut square hole for the adjuster, but wait till later when you can better align everything first.
Now take the remaining PVC parts and build two candy canes, again be sure to make a right and left.
The 1-1/2″ long PVC pipe needs a notch cut in it so the bungee cord can exit the pipe. The “cap” will slide over the end and is secured with two small screws.
A board was cut to create a flat platform for the bottom of the wing. I used a 2.5″ hike saw to notch the end and a 45° bevel wad added with the router.
The board was drilled and counter sunk then attached with some drywall screws I had laying around. Then it was covered with some self adhesive pipe insulation.
To adjust the tension on the bungee, wrap the cord around the hook before inserting it into the pipe. I did need to bend the hook a little too make it narrow enough to fit into the pipe.
Now you can assemble everything and mark the locations for the adjusting bolts.
ADS-B ( Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast ) provides much needed information to pilots and air traffic controllers. ATC can see the location, speed and direction of any aircraft equipped with ADS-B out. Pilots can see other aircraft with ADS-B out and get updated information such as weather and temporary flight restrictions. Historically getting access to this data required expensive avionics but recently a few low cost solutions have appeared.
With some specialized software European USB TV tuners can pickup the ADS-B signals and thanks to mass production such devices can be purchased for under $20. I purchased a tuner that comes with an external antenna from Amazon.
Using a USB OTG cable I connected the tuner to my tablet.
If you need more detailed directions to get this setup head over to the site that made this possible: http://hiz.ch/index.php/home/adsb-receiver
The FAA has mandated that aircraft flying in nearly all controlled airspace must be equipped with ADS-B out by Jan 1st 2020. I hope this mandate helps drive some competition in the market and bring down prices of ADS-B out transponders. In the meantime at least I can pickup ADS-B in with little investment.
Running all of the electrical wiring is a larger task than I anticipated. Figuring out what needs connected to where is easy enough, doing so in a nice tidy, serviceable and long lasting way is what’s hard.
I secured the battery with a battery hold down strap. I had to shorten it significantly and heat weld part of it since I don’t have a sewing machine. A piece of foam is placed under the battery to keep it from sliding around.
I added a ground controlled relay for the master power. When the matter switch is off no power enters the cockpit and nothing electrical is energized. For those unfamiliar with airplanes, the engine ignition system is independent from the electrical system so the master switch will not turn off the engine nor prevent it from starting. The ignition is controlled with the keyed switch, more on that later.
Installed a diode across the starter solenoid. This reduces arcing across the starter switch contacts. Also, ACS service bulletin sb92-01 applies to my ignition switch and requires the installation of the diode. To protect the diode I put it in a small tube and covered it with black heat shrink.
The regulator was mounted to the other side of the fuselage and it’s wire run through wire clamps on the engine just like the EGT and CHT probes.
All of the circuit breakers are on the dashboard so most of the power distribution happens there.
A small ground buss provides a convenient place to connect ground wires.
The keyed switch serves a few functions. When the key is removed the engine magnetos are disabled so the engine will not start, without this simply bumping the propeller could start the engine. The key also has a momentary start position to activate the electric starter, just like a car. It has a run position wherever both magnetos are allowed to operate and a left & right position where you can select the right or left magneto to ensure both are working before taking off.
Still have some other items that need wired, strobe, fuel pump, USB chargers and the radio. I’ll discuss that in a future post.
The stock exhaust on my airplane was about as attractive as Muppet Gonzo’s nose. The stock exhaust provided by Hirth looks fine on most aircraft with the muffler hanging dead center of the airplane. But the steering bar for my nose wheel would run right through the muffler so that’s not an option. I managed to make it fit but it was ugly.
My engine was purchased from Recreational Power Engineering so I contacted them to find out the proper way to go about this modification. Matt said the total length from engine to muffler needs to be 21″ and the pipe diameter should stay the same size throughout but could be slightly larger just never smaller. Bends are the tricky part, a regular pipe bender will slightly crush the pipe so that’s not an option. RPE sells pre-bent pieces that you can use to build your custom exhaust or you they can build it for you. I managed to make things work without needing any additional bends
The first problem I had was the 90° pipe coming off the engine does not match the angle of the fuselage bringing it too close to the fiberglass and wood. I cut the straight part at the rear of the 90° off and then cut a little off of the bend, you can see the little notch in the left picture below to see the small section I removed. The result is a 65° degree bend. The straight part was also rotated so the springs will be top/bottom instead of side to side. Again this was effort to get more clearance between the fuselage.
The muffler having a 90° elbow welded to it is not going to work so I cut it off.
I don’t have a welder here at my house so I made a template of the of the fuselage shape, marked some key locations and took this to my brothers automotive shop to weld the parts.
He tack welded all the parts so I could take them home and verify fit, if anything needs tweaked the tack welds can be easily cut.
Back home I checked the fit and was satisfied so I created a bracket to hold the muffler onto the fuselage. The bracket was made from some 3/4″ wide steel that I shaped to match the curve of the muffler.
I used a couple large zip ties to hold the bracket in place so I could check the fit. Once satisfied I marked the locations where the new spring hooks need to be welded. Back to the shop for the final weld.
The result is a much better look than the stock system that came from Hirth. The only downside is when it comes time to replace it, all this customization will need recreated again.
I also checked that it flexes properly when the engine moves.
I’m undecided on how I want to paint the exhaust. Black is obvious, maybe I could use red and white to match the fuselage color scheme. Maybe I’ll decide to wrap it. Need some time to think about this.
The EIS monitors the cylinder head temp, exhaust gas temp, RPM, battery voltage and air temperature. Each item can have limits set so if something is out of the ordinary the warning light on the dash will illuminate.
The cylinder head temperature probes sit between the sparkplugs and head. I ran the wires through the fins and up the side of the engine where they are held in place with a clamp. The exhaust gas temperature probe wire is also held by this same clip.
The probe wire then run to the front of the engine where another wire clamp was added.
The EIS harness terminates in from of the battery where the probes are connected. I kept the pair of wires for the second exhaust gas probe in the harness even tho I’m not using them. Maybe some day this airplane is updated to two cylinder and then they are needed.
The grey tachometer wire goes to the other side of the engine and connects to the lighting coil. I spliced an extra connector into the voltage regulator wires to connect the tach input. Still need to put an end on the grey tach wire.
The EIS uses a single DB-25 connector for all the wires. I took the connector apart and removed all of the unused wires by pushing the pins out with needle nose pliers. A few of the wires exit the EIS harness just behind the connector such as power, ground, fuel sender and warning light.
The violet wire runs through the harness to the warning light with the other side of the warning light is connected to power. I made sure that the dash is easily removed by disconnecting wires as opposed to having to cut wires to remove it.
The last item to connect is the green wire to the fuel level sending units from the gas tanks. When it gets a little warmer I’ll roll her outside, mount the wings and tanks and then work on routing the fuel sensor wires. I’m not exactly sure where everything ends up so not much I can do with that for now.
The manual for my Hirth F-33 engine says that if it is mounted inverted the spark plug wires need to be secured so they cannot fall off from vibration and gravity. After inquiring on the lonesomebuzzards.com forums George and Dick gave me what I thought was the best idea.
Purchased two s-clips and a 1/4″ diameter by 6″ long spring from the hardware store. Added a scrap piece of fuel tubing to prevent the spring from chafing the ignition wires. Drilled a couple of holes in the cylinder head fins and voila, problem solved.
Awhile back I ordered some black plastic clips from AliExpress.com to hold the bridles for the parachute in place. This weekend I decided to put them to use. When I got started I also decided to tackle the brake cables since it looked like I could route those with the bridle clips too.
The brake cables exit the fuselage near the front of the landing gear on each side, I added a small grommet to this hole to reduce chafing.
To keep the cables from flapping in the breeze I added a couple of rubber lined cable clamps to the landing gear bolts. The cable routed through the clamps then down the landing gear leg along the bridle that is secured with the plastic clips.
The grade cable the runs around the from of the gear into the caliper.
I also used the bridles clips inside the fusealge so they don’t get tangled up with other things. These clips are a little too tall so they don’t clamp the bridle. I put a small piece of foam on the top on in the picture below. Next time I’m at the hardware store I plan to get some self adhesive black foam weather striping to use in the few places where this matters.
I plan to add maybe one or two more clips inside the fusealge but I need to climb in and make sure I don’t place them in a position that my elbow might hit. Right now the seat is covered with parts for electrical wiring so I’ll do that some other time. If the 3M sticky tape does not hold up I plan to secure the clips using a couple of tiny wood screws but so far the 3M tape seems adequate.
The MicroAvionics MM005 powered radio interface required a little extra effort to get working good with my tablet and phone. My Note 5 did not like the phone adapter, apparently the 1k Ohm resister across the microphone was insufficient to make the Note think a microphone was connected. This was not a huge problem since I planned on making my own cable anyway.
My Nexus 7 ( 2nd gen 2013) microphone input did not like the high level output by the MM005 from the phone or the AUX OUT port. The level was so high that it caused lots of clipping resulting in some horrible sounding recordings. My Note 5 did not seem to care and recorded well from both ports. The cable I made for the Nexus 7 included an additional resister to convert the line level output of the MM005 to microphone level. Maybe not the best way to deal with this but was certainly the easiest. The resisters fit inside the audio connector ends resulting in a nice clean looking cable.
The other end of the cable goes to a dash mounted 3.5mm TRRS / USB port.
A short audio cable connects the tablet.
To power the phone and tablet I used a ZeroLemon USB charger. I picked this particular model because it did not cause RF interference with the radio. Every other charger I tried caused tons of RF noise when tuned to around 132Mhz, the closest airport to me is CMH on 132.7 so it was only by chance that I even noticed this problem. I did take the charger apart so I could hard wire the power, I did not want to rely on it staying plugged into a cigarette lighter.
Not decided how our where I will mount this adapter but I’m thinking of just drilling a couple holes and using a zip tie.
The engine is bolted to a mounting plate and some lord mounts attach the plate to the fuselage. I cut some aluminum spacers to insert into engine mounting plate to prevent crushing the wood. The spacers are epoxied into the mounting plate.
I drilled the heads of the engine bolts so they can be safety wired.
I put a washer on both sides of the plate, thread locker on the bolts and torqued them to 19 ft lbs as specified in the engine manual
Lastly the bolts were safety wired to ensure they can’t come loose.
Now the engine is ready to be mounted onto the fuselage.
Started working on the electrical wiring and discovered that the EIS 2000 I have only supports a single fuel level input. They sell the EIS 2000 as a two or four stroke model when in reality it does not matter if you have a two or four stroke the difference between the two models is features not engine type. When I build the next airplane I think I will build my own EIS or use the flybox.
So the Grand Rapids folks suggested using a switch so I can select what tank level I want to monitor. After thinking about this for some time I decided this is the best option but that it needs to be implemented carefully. Imagine monitoring the full tank but running the engine from the empty tank. That could result in a bad day.
In designing this I decided the goals should be as follows:
- The position of the tank selector valve dictates what fuel tank is monitored by the EIS
- If the fuel selector valve is in the off position then the EIS should see an empty tank triggering the warning
The typical inexpensive fuel selector valve is not suitable for triggering some electrical switches. I ended up purchasing a WSM 006-600 jet ski fuel valve on Amazon.com and a couple of 2750017 micro switches from the local RadioShack.
Using a file I put a flat spot on the knob that was parallel to the flat side of the D hole in the knob. The location of the flat spot is important so if you have a different valve you might need to change the location.
When the knob is installed on the valve the flat spot should line up with a micro switch roller only when the valve is turned to the left or right tank. This will require the switches to be mounted 180° from one another. I used OnShape.com to make a drawing that I printed out in reverse on toner transfer paper. This will provide accurate centers for the holes and the labels for the valve.
Putting the switches to their marked locations on the toner transfer paper you can get an idea of how this will work.
I varnished a piece of plywood, sanded it smooth and applied the toner transfer. Then the parts were cut out and drilled. A smaller valve support plate needs to be 5/8″ away from the panel so the notch in the knob is just below the plywood.
On the outside, for asthetics I used 1/4″ X 3/4″ pine. A 1/8″ notch was cut into the outside piece and the valve support set into the notch. The inboard side used a small piece of 1/4″ X 5/8″ pine. Alignment is important so I glued this together with the valve and knob installed to keep everything indexed.
Once the epoxy cured the switches were mounted using #3 screws and the valve installed.
The electrical wiring did take a little bit of planning. I wanted to make sure that should there ever be a malfunction that only a single fuel level sensor would be connected to the EIS. Here is the wiring diagram that does this:
Before takeoff simply turning the valve to all three positions will confirm if the system is functioning properly.
I think this turned out well, looks pretty good mounted on the fuselage side.