January 12, 2010

The Flap Actuator - finished! - 3.5 hrs.

Today I was able to wrap up all the work on the flap actuator assembly.

With the bottom brackets trimmed, a little touch-up paint was applied to them along with the top end attach plate, and this part is finished. Time to install it.

Next, I installed the flap motor and prepared to safety wire the bottom end, as shown in the plans. I don't know how long I studied drawing #33 trying to figure out the safety wire installation. It's not explained very well at all, and all that's shown is one cross-section drawing. I looked all over the place online, and watched a video from the EAA on safety wiring trying to learn all I can about it. I ended up doing as shown above, but I don't feel right about this at all. I just don't get it. I even switched to a thin washer to make the end of the bolt a little longer, but I don't see how this wire is going to stay on for very long. It seems to me they should have called for a bolt that has a hole in the end. I put the wire on as tight as I could. I ran the motor both directions several times, though, and it stayed on okay. But I'm going to check into this some more.

UPDATE: I wrote to my friend Stephen Christopher, and asked him how he did his. He was doing this not long ago and I was hoping he would have a picture. I also sent an email to Vans with this picture and asked them if this is okay. They both told me the same thing. No!

Stephen was nice enough to make these notes on my picture. Thanks, Stephen! It seems so obvious now that I think about it. Duh! There's no way that loop will stay on for very long the way I had it. I think my brain just locked up the other day and I couldn't get it.

With that little detail taken care of, I can call the flap actuator assembly finished! This is how it looks all put together. I'm not going to put the final screws into the seatback channel yet. The center cover on the baggage floor goes on first, and I'm not nearly ready to put it on.

Moving right along, the next step in the plans actually calls for mating the wings to the fuselage. Wow! I'm giddy at the thought of putting it all together. I can't wait to see what it looks like. But I don't have room in my shop. It's going to have to be done outside. And it's the middle of January. There's no way I'm going to put my plane out in the weather this time of year. My thinking all along has been that I will find a good time with a good weather forecast for a few days, and set it all up out in my driveway. With some good planning and some good help, I hope to get all the tasks done in one day and then move it all back safely inside. But even if it took a whole weekend or maybe a bit longer, I can handle that if the weather is good for a few days. So it will just have to wait for now. Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do to keep me busy for a while.

So the next thing I'm going to tackle is the cabin frame, or roll bar assembly. I pulled all the parts and studied drawing #39 for a while. Then I began cutting the angles and fabricating all the small parts. This is fun. I've been looking at these parts on my shelf for a long time, and I can't wait to get them installed.

I also located the two joint plates. Van's supplies these as seen, cut to just the right size. All you have to do is deburr them, and lay out and drill the holes. That will be next.

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