Chasing Skirts! (Ah, to be young again!)

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Well, we finally got to the canopy skirts and I feel we did  a pretty good job!  We talked about using fiberglass for perfection, but I deceided to go with the aluminum skirts that came with the kit. I must say I’m pretty happy.



The sides did require a little forming, but nothing like the back skirts!  After about 9 hours over two week-ends, we are pretty happy with the resaults.

rear skirt on RV-9A slider

rear skirt on RV-9A slider

All in all, they came out pretty nice.  The secret? Get a 3 foot piece of 4″ PVC and screw it to the table top. Install the part on the plane, and make location and direction of the required bend. Remove, bend, and replace.  Repeat about a zillion times.  Be real careful with clecos because they will be going on and off a bunch of times.

Bender with scrap

Bender with test scrap.


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Wow. What a journey!  Here is what we have today:

RV-9A panel

RV-9A panel

All the parts are in, but we are just starting to wire the stuff. Easy to say, tough to do (at least for me) But we will move forward.

One of the design features will be the ability to pull the panel section (left, center, right) out a bit to work behind. To help with that, we have built extension to put in place while we are building to make sure the wires are long enough after installation. Here is how we did that:

Working panel supports

Working panel supports

These brackets are just to support the panel during construction.  We will move the panel back, and anchor the wires when completed.

Electrical Work…

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We are underway on electrical and things are going well.  Long wires are run, and we are starting panel stuff.  we installed fuses and circut breakers in this project. Two fuse boxes (essential bus and master bus) that are not available in flight. If you get an electrical short in flight, wait until you are on the ground before trying to fix it. In-flight fires can ruin your day.

The fuse blocks are mounted on a hinged flap that can be lowered by removing two screws.

We also have 4 circuit breakers on the left panel, for alternator field, flaps, trim, and auto pilot. These are the kind that can be manually pulled in case of runaway.

Fuse Cluster

Fuse Cluster

Here is a tip for electrical work.  Buy a handful of alligator jumper wires for testing and fitting. These are pretty cheap, and will help with testing before installing.

Jumper Wires

Jumper Wires

a 12V electrical test light is also a good purchase.

ANL fuse is mounted on the firewall, and an inline fuse for the master is connected right off the master relay contactor (orange, but hard to see in this picture)

ANL fuse on firewall

ANL fuse on firewall




Gary Passed Away…


Gary Anctil was my friend.

He was my friend for the last 7 years. For the last 5 years, we had a deal.  I’d be his computer guy and he would be my A&P/IA and my mentor for building my RV-9A.

Gary Anctil, pilot, friend and mentor passed away last week after an accident.

Gary was a difficult man to know, but an easy man to remember.

He was a soldier, a spy, a smuggler, a scoundrel, stubborn and secretive.

He was a pilot, a mechanic, a craftsman, a veteran, a voting member of the academy, and finally I think, a scholar. He was the guardian of a little piece of military history as the owner of a Cessna L19E Bird Dog.

He took his responsibility as a caretaker of the L19 very seriously and worked hard on all the details that were true to the hardware, but more importantly, true to the times when it was in service.

Finally, Gary was a teacher.

He taught us that a Hawaiian print shirt was an appropriate fashion statement for any occasion.
He taught us that passion in life was a good thing, but that too much passion was not. He also taught us that passion does not mean anger.
He taught us to say what you mean, and mean what you say.
He taught us that service to your country gives you the right to question where your country is going.
He taught us to remember the past, but don’t try to live there.
He taught us not to fly an Aeronca L2 in IMC (it pits the prop).
He taught us that helicopters are a collection of parts flying in close formation waiting for something bad to happen.
He taught us the patience of a craftsman, and the impatience of a computer user.
He taught us that no man is an island.

And now he teaches us that life is short and uncertain. To live everyday as if it is your last. Be good to your friends and be sure to say thank you.

Thank you Gary. We will miss you.



Gary Ancil

Gary Anctil


Gary’s Work

L19e Bird Dog

L19e Bird Dog


My Family Gives Me Wings!

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And friends too…

Well, we have now installed the wings for the first time, and I’m a pretty happy guy!  After many weeks of worry (as usual) we have spent the day at the hanger and we have passed a BIG benchmark: Wings on!

Last Saturday, I invited a bunch of family and friends to meet Tom and me at the hanger for a good old fashion wing raising.  What is a wing hanging?  Well, one BIG step in building is to set the wing incidence and drill the attach bolt for the rear spar.

RV-9A fusealage

Fuse ready for Wings


So, Tom and I arrive at the hanger real early and move all the stuff out of the way. we roll out the wings in the wing stand and center the fuselage in the hanger. We then level the entire fuse left and right and front to back. We install temp legs on the fuse stand to be sure it stays that way.  We then laid out the wings and waited for folks to show up.

We did not have to wait long and all the folks were ready to insert the wings, level them, set the sweep and clamp the wings in place.  After double checking everything, we are ready to drill the read spar. Volia!  Wings set.

RV-9A fuse and wings

Wings Installed

So, what do you do after all that? Well, you REMOVE them off course. The wings will not be installed for the last time until after the plane moves to Camarillo.  Here is how you remove wings:


Remove Wings

Geek Test..

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This is not exactly related to the building of N18TD, but it is related to a pet peeve of mine.

Since it became in vogue, may folks are calling themselves “Geeks” who are not really geeks. A little insulting that we who are geeks had to suffer the bad times, to have others jump on the band wagon when it is the good times.

So, here is the ultimate Geek test:

1. Have the subject read this aloud, and ask them not to say anything when they are done:

“There are 10 types of people in the world, those who know binary, and those who don’t”

2. After they finish, Have them read it again out loud.


True Geeks will be able to identify the results of the test. And identify a true kindred spirit.


A Tail to Tell…

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Well, LOTS of things going on, but mostly moving forward!

We have a new hanger partner, we have the engine back, and mostly, we have the vertical stabilizer mounted!!!!

We are mostly cleaned up and back to work, even though it was HOT today. We helped Don move some stuff in,and Tom and I went to wok on the vertical stab.  We found that I had mis-mounted the bottom hinge support, and had to move that, then got the basics into place, drilled the holes, and we are back in the game!

Vertical Stabilizer on an RV-9A

Vertical Stabilizer on Loud Emily

How hot was it today?  Have you ever used a cat thermometer?  When a cat is cold, they curl up into a tiny ball. As the temp rises, they stretch out.

Here is how hot it was today:

Cat Thermometer

Cat Thermometer – It was HOT!

The times they are a changin’

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Well, my old hanger partner has moved out, and my new hanger partner will be moving in, so this is a good opportunity to do some serious house cleaning!

We started by doing a quick evaluation of all the stuff we had that has been pieced together as we have been building. Work tables, donated stuff, old Cessna parts and duplicate tools and supplies.

We decided to build a few new wall racks, remove some old tables and decommission duplicate equipment. A stop at the local EAA hanger with an offer for some sturdy work tables had the guys stopping by and picking up a few donations.

Part 1: Tear down. And clean the floor!


Out with the old…

I’m finding TONS of stuff that I really want, and have not seen in awhile. This has been a good lesson about being a pack rat. Sometime you get so much stuff, you can not find it anymore.


Well, the floor is clean anyway.

Next Week: Part 2 –



Members of the panel…

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Here is a look at the panel plan. Radios are in and here is what I’m looking at for flight information systems. Pretty cool huh?

RV-9A instrument panel design

Panel so far…

We started the installing tail today.

FYI: Next week-end (July 13th) is an aviation swap meet at Cable airport in SoCal. Free to get in and you get to see TONS of stuff. If you ever wondered what it takes to build an airplane, here is your chance to see the stuff it takes.

Major Milestone!

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This has been a BIG week-end for us. We have finally built a stand to allow us to attach the motor mount, wings and landing gear. The fuselage stand was a re-purposed stand we had used before the rotisserie, and part of the wing stand. Here is a BIG hint: never throw out old lumber. You will be needing it again.  Here is what the new stand looks like:


Also, for the first time, we were able to sit in the fuse and make airplane noises! Wow. I still have chills!

sitting in RV9A fuselage

Have a seat.

For folks building an experimental, sitting in it for the first time is a big deal.  I finally know how I will fit while flying.  I fit pretty well.  I need to lease a few pounds tho. *sigh*

Where do we stand?  Wings and done, Tail is done, flight surfaces are done, Instrument panel frame is done. Radios are mounted but not wired. Ready for motor mount, tail and wing install.

We are staring to wind down on the riveting, and I think I’ll miss that. To see the process, check out:

Riveting Wings on You Tube

We have the motor to install, lots of wire, and now all we need is the time.

More Later.



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