February 28, 2010

Vent Plumbing Begins - 2.0 hrs.

Well, now that the cabin frame is finished, it's time to open a new chapter and start something new. The aircraft plumbing. The forward part of the fuselage needs to have a number of lines installed at this point, beginning with the vent lines. What are the vent lines? Simply put, they are the air intake lines for the fuel tanks. It's fascinating how Vans designed this system. It only makes sense that as fuel is drawn out of the fuel tanks in the wings, air must enter the tanks to replace the fuel, or a vacuum would be created. You can only suck so much fuel out of a tank without putting air in its place before the engine would quit. Not a good idea. So an elaborate pair of vent lines is installed to safely provide an air supply to the fuel tanks. It's funny... this isn't something you think about every day. How often have you contemplated how air gets into the gas tank of your car?

It begins with a pair of screened fittings installed on the bottom of the forward fuselage.

The fitting on the right is how they come in the kit. I did as my friend Mike Bullock has done with these fittings. Before cutting the end at a 45° angle, wrap it in masking tape and gently chuck it in the drill press. Then take a file to it and remove the threads. Sand smooth and buff on the scotchbrite wheel. It will be primed after I finish cutting it.

March 10, 2010 - 2.0 hours

Over the last week, I managed a trip to several stores looking for an elusive little piece of fine mesh screen to cover these fittings with. Hard to find! I finally found success in a garden section with a hose screen/washer combination. I cut the screen out of the washer and trimmed it to fit the fitting.

Here are the fittings, all finished. Not as pretty as I had hoped, but they turned out just as I wanted them to. They'll be on the bottom of the plane and never seen. Below is another closeup shot. The screens are a safety feature, to keep bugs and critters out of the vent system.

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