Sunday, July 29, 2007

2.7 hours: local flight then circuit of the test area

Did some trimming on the lower cowl to increase exhaust clearance. I think the exhaust may have been hitting the low cowl on startup, causing the hinge breakage.

I flew the entire outer boundary of my test box today -- in about 50 minutes. Not too much going on.

Marine layer over Watsonville

New Dynon firmware images

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fairing wrap-up, debugging lightspeed

I drove down to the airport in the early morning several times throughout the week to debug the lightspeed ignition, no luck so far. I also laid up some fiberglass over the intersection fairings to keep them from falling off.

Today I sanded down those intersection they're at least airworthy, but lots of touch-up, filling and painting remains.
I also repaired the hinge at the bottom of the cowl -- it had lost 3 eyelets (possibly from the exhaust pipe rubbing on it, or maybe just from vibration. The repair was actually not too bad. I excised the broken hinge section with the dremel then it pried right off after the rivets were drilled out.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Flying again!

The fairings make quite a difference in flight. I gained more than 20 knots in cruise at the same power settings, and climbout now feels less like an airplane and more like a rocket. RPMs have changed a lot -- I was worried this airplane was overpropped as I couldn't really get the RPM above 2400. Now 2600 is no problem (limited by prop placard).

Landing is quite a bit trickier as well, it just keeps on floating. Need to reduce approach speeds and idle RPM (again).

Unfortunately, my "half-RPM" indication from the Lightspeed ignition happened in flight for the first time, so I really need to get that fixed. It has been happening usually only the first 60 seconds after engine start. I have done much debugging of this but it looks like there's more in store.

Virga south of Hollister

Just stayed around the home patch (lower left) today -- looking north up toward San Jose.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fairings done, finally!

What a cruelly huge amount of work for Van's to leave you to do after you get your airplane flying. I must have spent at least 60 hours on these guys, and I even bought pre-made intersection fairings from fairings-etc.

Well, they're finally done, and I can get back to the important business of getting that 40 hour test period flown off.

The only advice I've got for the fairings: don't be afraid to use your heat gun -- liberally. There are lots of places where things won't line up right, and thankfully this non-structural fiberglass can be abused with heat without too much worry.

Here's an alternative to drilling a big hole to fill up the nosewheel: this is two air valve extenders from the auto-parts store epoxied together. It fits through a 1/4" hole in the fairing. If you can find some that are threaded on both sides then you can skip the epoxy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Intersection fairings

The intersection fairings from Fairings-Etc fit pretty well -- installing the bottom intersections only took a few hours. It's the gear and leg fairings that take forever.
I spent a full 8 hours at the hangar today and still not done...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dynon update, getting close on the fairings

Looks pretty much the same, I know, but they're getting closer -- honest!

Dynon released a new firmware with a whole bunch of new features, including more modern tape-style readouts on the sides. Looks good!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Still working on fairings

I've got the leg fairings mostly done, working on the wheel fairings now. Maybe flying by next weekend? I've been trying to take bits and pieces home to get a little bit of work done during the week.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Airplane down for final construction

I found a minor problem with my exhaust hangars the other day, meaning I need to de-cowl the airplane yet again. While I'm at it, it's time to bite the bullet and actually finish this airplane, gear fairings and all.

Leg fairing construction under way

The worst part about the fairings is that you need to get the airplane completely off the gear, and levelled at the same time. I'm going to try lifting by the engine mount while propping up the tail.