October 27, 2008

Drilled spacer blocks, Finished the F-704! - 2.0 Hrs.

Well, Vans was very good about replacing a defective rod end bearing that came from the factory with seriously messed up threads. I hadn't noticed it when I inventoried my parts six months ago. It only became apparent when I tried to thread it into the control column pushrod and it wouldn't go. But even though it's been much more than 30 days since I picked up my fuse kit, they replaced it right away. Thanks, Vans! So now that it has arrived, the first task tonight was to finish up the contol stick assembly.

Here's the new rod end bearing, after I attached it to the control column pushrod and the left control stick.

I'm not sure if I have a problem here. The right stick won't go all the way into the bottom bracket, even after deburring and smoothing both pieces. You can see the black part of the tubing that sticks out about 3/16" to 1/4". The problem is the weld. When they welded the bracket together, it actually left a bit of a bead on the inside of the tube, and the stick runs into it when you push it together. I'm not sure if this is okay or if I need to find a way to get this stick further down inside. I wrote to Vans and sent them this photo. I'll see what they have to say. Meanwhile, I went ahead and put it all together on the bulkhead.

UPDATE: I heard back from Vans. They referred me to service bulletin SB-07-2-6 on their website that gives the details for drilling a hole through the stick and bracket and installing a bolt, washer and nut to secure the passenger control stick. Apparently an incident was reported where someone flying from the right seat accidently pulled the stick out of the socket right during a landing flare and suffered a hard landing. Yikes! Can you imagine experiencing that? I'll be taking care of this SB, for sure.

You can also see above where I did some deburring on the bracket using my scotchbrite wheel. It removed some of the powdercoating. No problem. I've touched up a lot of little areas like this by dipping a Q-Tip in my can of primer and applying it to the part. It's a good technique, and I keep a box of Q-Tips on hand for just that purpose.

And here it is, with washers, nuts and bolts installed! This was an exciting moment, to see and feel how it will move in all directions. It's so smooth! I was tempted to put it on the floor, sit down and straddle the stick, and make airplane noises. But I guess it's a bit premature for that. It took a little adjusting to get the spacing at the top of the sticks the same as at the bottom, so they are parallel. Now that this is all together, I think I will leave it on for now. I know I will have to remove it soon, but when I do I think I'll remove it as a complete unit, brackets and all. Otherwise, you would have to dismantle it because that's the only way to get the bolts out that hold the control yoke to the brackets. I think the brackets have to come off the spar eventually anyway to have access to rivet the bottom skin to the bottom of the spar. I guess we'll see how it goes.

Finally, I got around to making a stop at the hardware store today to get some cheapo 3/8" bolts, washers and nuts so I can put the wood spacers in the F-704 bulkhead. I don't want to use the close-tolerance bolts for this. So I drilled the holes and bolted the spacers in place and finished up the F-704 bulkhead. The last thing I did today was to deburr the F-704H stiffeners that go on the ends of the bulkhead. I will just clecoed them on for now after deburring them. They will be drilled to the bulkhead along with the fuselage skins later on.

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