Controls are in place…

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We have the engine controls in place. We installed the three stooges today: Throttle, Mixture and Carb heat.  Actually the flap switch is installed too. Just like in a Skyhawk. Easy to access and use on approach.


RV-9A incompleted instrument panel

Panel Again

With the controls quadrant installed, we have run the control cables out through the firewall, and we hope they are long enough to reach the carburetor.

We are also continuing to install electric wires. we have the ANL fuse on the fire wall, we have the master and start relays in place. We built the battery to relay wire (4 awg), and the master relay to ANL fuse wiring. We have cut several holes in the right side panel like 2 –  12 volt power plugs,  the heater control cable, the defroster fan switch and the two dimmer control switches. We are still planning the left side. We are still not sure how the fuses and electrical controls will work.

We also installed the mount for the tablet to be installed on the right side.  This will be the backup EFIS and flight planner, including an AHRS insterface with bluetooth connection.

With electronics for tablets growing at the same rate as microcomputers did on the 90’s, we figure we will have double the performance and capability of the backup EFIS every 2 years.  We should plan on making that an easy upgrade.

Mount for Tablet in RV-9A instrument panel.

Tablet Mount




Let me get this straight…

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*sigh*  I goofed.


No easy way to say this, but I goofed. And I thought BIG TIME

We drilled the elevator horns on the tail by aligning the counter weights to the horizontal stabilizer. Straight tail, straight elevators, right?

Nope. Wrong

RV-9 Elevator

RV-9 Elevator

Somehow, I managed to get the two halves out of alignment. Only a degree but my hanger partner (who built a 7) told me that will never fly right.  Now what the heck am I going to do? I drilled the hole!  Move the hole? Hmmmm…. not enough room.  Replace the horn?  OUCH! I’ll have to re-skin the tail!

Turns out there is a simple solution.  Take the entire tail over to Walter the Welder (Yes, his name really is Walter) and have the hole filled. Grind it smooth, repaint and I’ll have a second chance.


RV-9 Elevator horn hole filled.

Elevator horn hole filled.

Lost a little powder coating but Walter did a GREAT job of filling.  I filed it smooth, then took a scotchbright wheel to it, and cleaned with MEK.

RV-9 elevator horn repair finished

finished repair

My guess is that I’m not going to be able to do that more than once, so I better be CAREFUL this time.





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.


Some airplanes have steps, mine has an elevator!

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Yikes!  We fit the elevators this week-end in 105 degree heat!

Careful planning, measurement and drilling means we have a pretty straight tail.

RV-9 Elevator

Elevator installed and aligned.

After installing and sizing the elevator tie rod ends, we drilled the center elevator horn with a very small bushing. I was able to borrow one from a guy, with the agreement that I would mail the part on to the next builder. Done!  It is VERY important to get the tops of the elevator horns correctly drilled. You have to live with the results for the life of the plane!

RV-9 Elevator Horn installed

RV-9 elevator horn drilled and aligned.

The vertical stabilizer is already drilled but we removed it to make this work easier. The easier it is, the more accurate it will come out.

After it hit 105 F, we called it a day.



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!

Engine is back home….

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We are still cleaning the hanger to get ready for new tenant, with LOTS of stuff moving, selling and giving to the EAA hanger here on the field. BUT BEST OF ALL, the engine is now back.  My A&P did a beautiful job of inspection, gaskets, hoses, and making sure we complied with the oil pump AD. Nice paint here and there too! The engine is used (about 900 hours) but we did a careful inspection and I’ll get a few hours on it before I need to overhaul. Pretty stock 150HP with std mags, carb and fixed pitch prop.

Lycoming O-320 engine

Lycoming O-320


We are still working on the hanger but I really want to fit wings this week-end if possible. We have the space now, and all will be better if we can get the wing incidence set before the new partner plane arrives.


More later.


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.

She’s on the ramp! (sort of…)

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The new fuselage stand has wheels so we were able to roll it out and FINALLY sweep the floor. The plane has officially been on the taxi way, but it will still be a bit before first engine start. Engine mount is drilled, and the cowl mounting plates are installed. These will be Skybolts on the cowl to firewall, hinges for the cowl halves.

RV-9A fuselage

Fuselage of N18TD

The engine went to the shop for a review and some cleaning. The A&P want a new fuel pump (or a rebuild) and remove the accessory case.  OK, have a look.  I believe the mags will be overhauled, but I need to see what kit I need. The standard kit or the deluxe kit. The only difference is the deluxe kit includes new coils and gear.


The Engine is off to camp…

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Saturday was a big day for the engine. We are taking it over to my friend the A&P for inspection, new gaskets, and a little paint here and there.  We will change rubber parts, remove the vacuum pump (not needed on my plane) and generally check it out.

Lycoming O-320 Aircraft engine

To slip these surly bonds…

I bought a used engine that was flying (HP upgrade) and I  hope to bolt it on and fly for awhile. The engine only has 900 hours on it, so I’ll have a little time before it goes back to the shop. Maybe ask for 160hp.

I hope this takes less than a month. I forgot to drop off the logs books so I still have to do that.

More later.

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