Tag Archives: Long Ez

Work Party Day 8; Dog Tired

Wingman and Dudley had a long day today, spending a considerable amount of time in the workshop. They are dog tired and sleeping it off in my lap.

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As for EZ progress, Jon was able to join Dick and I in the shop. Jon and Dick continued the progress on the baffles. They got further trimming done as well as getting the aft left side baffle bent to final shape.

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Jon made a stiffener and attach bracket for the aft right side and located holes for screws to attach it.

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While they were working on that, I cleaned up the layups from yesterday and final mounted the boxes in the nose of the airplane. Then turned focus to the autopilot pitch servo. I located and bonded in Ez point nuts to mount the servo. It was located to point the servo arm directly at the elevator bellcrank with the servo up as high as possible to keep it clear of other components.

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Additionally I worked more on the avionics shelf. I got studs mounted to secure the avionics stack. In order to put the studs in place I needed to counterbore the bottom of the shelf. But I don’t have a counterbore.

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I didn’t have my patient pants on today to wait for a tool order to come in so I improvised. I located the shelf in the drill press using a drill and then clamped the shelf in place. Then used a router bit in the drill press to counterbore down to a depth using the depth gage. It works surprisingly well, and best of all, I didn’t have to wait. 🙂

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I also added nutplates that secure the ADHRS. No big deal there. Oh, and we did a layup on the top side. Don’t worry Weasel, you mark is still visible.

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Lots getting done. It feels good and I feel some momentum. See ya tomorrow.

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Red Eye

I got home from work today around 0500. Red eye flights are no fun… And less if you are the pilot. This one I got to nap through. Even so, a nap was more than necessary.

Since the weather was good, a friend of mine and fellow builder flew up from Milwaukee to inspect my project and help me make some plans. Craig is building a few different airplanes right now, but is more than familiar with composites.

He gave my finishing work a nod of confidence. I have been thinking of doing more coats of primer, but
Craig says I should move on. The fact of the matter is that this primer is sacrificial. Since I will be flying in this primer and not painting yet, most of this primer (50%-75%) will have to be removed and replaced before painting. Since my surfaces are airworthy, what’s the point? That was Craig’s message. I think I’m going to follow it for now.

The plan is to move on to engine and electrical work and try to get the airplane airworthy by spring. If when the airplane is airworthy, I have extra time before the weather is comfortably flyable, I will do some more rounds of primer. If not, I’ll let the sub par looks suffice. After all, even good primer doesn’t look as nice as a 30 foot paint job.

After Craig left, all I had time to do today was sand out the top of the gear leg micro… It was our anniversary today. So I had to be a good spouse and cut workshop time short.

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In a couple days I’m going to fully assemble the airplane, because I want to see what it looks like all together. I’ve not seen it that way yet. I think it will give me plenty of motivation. I hope you will enjoy the photos as well. Here is how she is sitting in the garage now.

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Sitting in the back seat

Today Sean was here working on the rear seat cushions. While he was working on that, I tried to stay out of his way when he didn’t need help. I also wanted to keep dust to a minimum, so couldn’t sand :). Sean started at the thigh support end.

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One thing I had to do to help Sean was build a jig that replicated the seat back to spar intersection of the rear seat. That was just 2 pieces of 1/4″ ply bondoed together. He used it as a frame to build the cushion off of.

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Then the rest of the help was simply sitting in the seat to see how it felt. We got to what I thought was pretty close. I should have known better than fitting to my body. That is really Kevin’s seat, I should have had him making decisions on where to add foam. No big deal, Sean is coming next week and we will get it dialed in then.

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In between tasks working with Sean I did get the hard points for the rudder actuation bell cranks bonded in. They were floxed in place, then 2 plies bid over top. Still have a few more pieces to make. But soon we should have rudder actuation.

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I’m Over Finishing Work

VERY. OVER. IT! Putting stuff on parts only to sand most of it back off, rinse and repeat is getting old. Luckily I’m feeling like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As of today, there are only 2 major components that haven’t seen any primer yet. The canopy and the main gear legs. The main gear legs will be easy. The canopy, not as much. But they are coming up soon.

Today started with deciding that I needed to spot putty some places on the cowl. There were actually a lot that became apparent after washing it last night. I probably will find a few spots as time progresses.

Then I switched gears and sanded the fuselage primer. It is coming along very well. In fact, I debated only spot priming, but decided that there were enough areas that needed tweaking, that I would do another full round of primer. I think this one will be it though, with the possible spot priming.

Then, since they hadn’t been primed at all, I sanded the epoxy wipe on the front hatch, the instrument compartment hatch, and the cowl oil access door.

All were washed, rinsed, and then I put 3 light coats of primer on all surfaces. The cowl looks a lot better being all one color!

It’s back to work for me, have to do a simulator ride tomorrow. In about 5 days, guess what I’ll be doing. I’ll give you 3 guesses and the first two, “sanding” don’t count!

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Lots of sanding

Today was all sanding. The good news is the canard is done, for now. The bottom side is smooth, but has a few ugly spots where the the underlying structure prints through the thin primer. If I get really ambitious I’ll put another coat on.

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Then I sanded out the cowl epoxy wipe. It is ready for primer. Due to other responsibilities today, that’s all I got done. Hopefully I can get some primer on the cowl tomorrow.

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Sitting on the job

Today stared with cleaning up the fuselage and vacuuming up all of the dust as well as cleaning off the canopy. The canopy had quite a bit of dust on it form all the sanding going on. All of this was in preparation for Sean, of Top Stitch Upholstery, to come over to work on the seats.

I am so glad I found Sean. He is enthusiastic about the project, has a lot of experience, and great ideas. His willingness to come to the project has been so beneficial. Especially on a Sunday, the soonest day we could get our schedules to match. When he got here we further discussed and refined the plan and the vinyl choices. He brought scraps which reaffirmed my choices. Then we got down to business.

Sean started measuring and chopping up the confur-foam with his electric turkey carving knife. We started with the most firm foam on the bottom, the green, then put the medium foam in, the blue, and the top layer is the softest foam, pink.

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After each piece was rough cut, we started trimming away little bits of foam here and there. There were a few tapers to make the foam layers laminate well together. We also cut out some foam under the knees at the very front of the seat to maximize the leg hole height in the instrument panel. As you may recall, I had to add panel space for the intended avionics, so we reclaimed area from the seat cushion, and it is still very comfortable. Ingress and egress is not adversely affected at all.

Of course you have to check comfort, so it was time for me to sit on the job. Let me say, this confur-foam is very comfortable and your body just melts into it. In order to verify that I was in the proper sitting position, critical for forward visibility, I had to put the canopy on. The goal is to be able to comfortably see over the nose without the forward canopy frame blocking otherwise visible space. All this while not being too high in the canopy as to cause inadvertent headaches in turbulence from slamming your head against the canopy. I think we hit the mark.

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Once all the layers were cut and shaped appropriately, we used contact adhesive to laminate the layers together. This was done in place so that the seat cushion holds the required shape to fit the fuselage well.

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If you recall, the fiberglass piece that makes my thigh support is removable. It is this way to allow access to the fuel selector, fuel pump, and fuel filter, which are all placed under the thigh support. Since it is removable, we decided we were going to glue the seat right to the thigh support and upholster it as one piece. This will help the cushion maintain its shape and should give a more finished look. Here it is, in all its glory. There may still be some tweaking to do, but we are just about there. Sean had another customer for the day who was going to a car show and needed something last minute, so he will be back next sunday to build up the seat cushion for the rear seat. He plans to start upholstering next monday! 🙂

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We got all of this done by about noon, so it left me with the afternoon to go after some less interesting things…. more sanding. I spent a few hours contouring the micro on the inside of the canopy. We are just about there. I was getting sick of hunching over the canopy sanding micro, so I switched gears and sanded more of the primer on the fuselage and strakes. I have most of the big areas contoured, and after some detail sanding, I should be ready for the next round of primer on the fuselage. The strakes may only take one more round, but the fuselage will take a few more.

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Now I want to finish by saying in my defense, Sean suggested I spend some time sitting in my seat to ensure it is comfortable. I think his exact words were something like, “Sit in it for 30 or 45 minutes and see if there is anywhere you need more support. Take your phone and your morning coffee out there and spend some time just sitting in the seat.” Well after dinner, I did just that. What builder doesn’t want someone to tell him to sit in his magic carpet, making airplane noises. Of course, I did a bit of a modern twist on this. I sat in my airplane and watched youtube videos of Long Ezs flying. If you haven’t seen the LongEz over the Golden Gate, you are missing out! Of course, during this, you should also be wearing your Catto Prop t-shirt! 🙂IMG_1954.JPG

Garaggio time cut short

Workshop time was limited to about an hour and a half today due to the “Tuesday in Fall” airline schedule reductions. Which meant I had to leave on the 11:30 flight today instead of the 2:30 flight to get to work. So I found a small project to work on.

The front seam on the top cowl has been troublesome and has never quite come out the way I wanted. So I trued up the mating side on the fuselage. The cowl was installed and then the seam forms were put back in place. They are just sheets of aluminum that prevent filler from getting into the seam and should leave parallel and straight seams after cure. Then I spread flocro into the problem areas on the cowl side. Hopefully this will take care of it and we can move on to epoxy wiping the top cowl.

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I had about 15 or 20 minutes left before cleaning up for work, so I started contouring the primer on the right strake. It is sanding out quite well. I have more to do on this strake and the rest of the areas I primed, but if this strake is any indication of the rest of the surfaces, I don’t have to put too many more coats ons it.

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