11th December 2008

Status Update

Posted in General

It’s been some time since I’ve done any work on the project.  In July we had the storm, and the subsequent months, though I did get a couple days’ work in, were mostly devoted to home repair projects: porch, patio, deck, fascia, roofing, and other miscellaneous things.  Late fall/early winter is always a busy time at work, and there was no exception this year.  Then, the spar problem on top of all that.  So here’s an update…

Spar problem: Solved.  Around the time I sent in my problem pictures to the factory, other builders had done so as well…shortly, Van’s sent a notice to a number of -9(A) builders that some spars were incorrectly bent.  They offered advice on how to attempt re-bending the spars oneself, or to replace the spars at no cost.  I tried some trial bending and wasn’t satisfied with the results, so opted for the replacement spars (I believe most of the other (online) builders I’m aware of with this problem also had their spars replaced).  Van’s advised me when I ordered them that the lead time would be 10-12 weeks due to the production backlog; it was around this time that the production RV-12 was being introduced, as well.  However, I received a fresh set of spars just a couple weeks later, and they even included replacement nutplates, so I won’t have to drill them off the old spars.  Needless to say, I’m quite happy with the way this was handled.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to start on the new spar set.

Shop: Warm.  I purchased and installed a 75k BTU propane shop heater, and this week, the new tank (124-gal) was installed, tested, and filled.  Fired the heater up last night and it made quick work of bringing the shop up to temp–from 32 to 49 in under 20 minutes (OAT in the 20′s).  I could also partition the shop area (third bay) from the garage area (doors 1 & 2) with some hanging plastic or other material to confine the heat, which would bring the temp up even faster.  I’m pleased with that performance, and it should allow for winter work to happen — for the project, as well as maintenance of our vehicles.  I’m curious to check in the morning and see how well the building kept it’s heat overnight, whether all that fiberglass insulation paid off or not.

Progress: None.  It’s looking like Jan & Feb will be slower at work (not related to the economy, just a result of the way the academic calendar works), so I’m hoping to have some spare time–as I won’t be working nearly as many evenings–to get back into things.

Goals: In my mind, I’d like to have the wing skeleton together by the end of December, though that might be unrealistic given the number of concerts I have to sing in, record, and edit still this month…Complete wings by my birthday would be super, but highly unlikely; might have to go for Easter, or July 4th.

Current thinking: The “equippage” of the project is, of course, always in flux as new products develop and evolve.  Being a “gadget guy,” though, I can’t help but keep a mental grasp of ‘if I were to finish it with today’s products, what would it have?’.  I’m thinking fuel injection (AFP (preferred) or Silverhawk), set up for autofuel (I’m watching the discussions about ethanol-ready, too: wingroot pumps, alodined tanks, and the like), with Pmag/Emag.  AFS 3500EE in the panel, ready for future 3500EF on right side.  Radio stack hasn’t changed: SL-30, 496 (though the new 696 looks superb, but spendy), 327 transponder, and PSE 3000 intercom; space for future GNS-430W.  Trutrak Digiflight II autopilot–however, AFS is reportedly close to announcing the Advanced Autopilot, which is based on a TT system; that might be the way to go, depending on what the details are.  I’m also thinking screw the canopy rather than glue it, which is a reversal of previous thought, but my mind can still be made up.  :)   No backups in the beginning, as it’ll be VFR-only.  DIY LED nav lights w/conventional strobes.  Of course, all of this may will probably change!

They say building goes faster if you build it first in your head…I’ve done plenty of that in the last several months–it’s time to clean the shop and pick up some tools again!

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