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RV-6A Very Slow Build, Western Australia

Huge reward on completion

Hang in there Paul. I had a similar story to yours and it took me 21 years from first rivet to first flight. The plane is awesome and better performing than I ever imagined. Besides, us 3, 4 and 6/6A guys are certified Builders , not just Assemblers .:D
 
That paint looks beautiful. Just curious how "corrosion" formed on powder coat? Was it cracked through in places?
And good on being back in the saddle. Glad the treatment worked! G'day
 
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Thanks all for the encouragement! :eek:

That paint looks beautiful. Just curious how "corrosion" formed on powder coat? Was it cracked through in places?
And good on being back in the saddle. Glad the treatment worked! G'day


I'm not sure why corrosion was able to form under the powder coating but I suspect that there were microscopic pinholes in the finish. Corrosion started at the pinholes and then filiform corrosion spread underneath.

I had stored the parts inside the workshop in a dry location, for a long time, and dust had settled on the upper surfaces where there was the most corrosion.

I think that the original powder coat might have been applied without thoroughly cleaning and preparing the steel first, because some felt marker pen handwriting has seeped through from under the coating. I previously believed that powder coating was a really tough and impervious finish, like an old enamelled iron bath, and was a bit surprised by the corrosion. Most likely the newer kits are better now?
 
Refinished canopy frame

I stripped and refinished the canopy frame as it also had some corrosion coming through the original powder coat. The powder coat came off quite easily and was much thinner than it was on the roll bar.

Conditions were ideal for painting outdoors but on the same day there was a mass aerial migration of millions of spiders. Very occasionally, when the conditions are right, the spiders will climb up and spin out a length of thread and then drift off on their parachute to a new home. Some of them were landing where I was painting so I had to wait a bit until they were done travelling.
 

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Panel ideas

It will be a while before I get to the stage of installing the panel and instruments, but I used my recent "down time" to do some thinking and planning.

At the time of deciding on the RV kit in 1992 there were no glass panels or even experimental versions of flight and engine instruments. The options were either new (expensive) certified gauges, or second-hand equipment. Most builders seemed to scrounge around and find a mix of second hand gear, and that's what I originally thought I would be doing.

My plane is following the original Vans philosophy of keeping it light and simple for day VFR flying. But I will likely install an autopilot for added safety and convenience.

I learned to fly with round gauges and also like the classic look and so was considering how to achieve this with some modern digital instruments. One of the panel design ideas is based around independent steam gauges, Garmin G5 (or similar) and separate engine monitor instruments.

The other design idea is based around an EFIS and is something that I never thought I would consider! However I've been forced to make the transition while flying the Foxbat, which is fitted with only a Dynon D180 EFIS/EMS, single radio and portable GPS. This setup provides pretty well every thing I need but I would like at least backup for ASI in the RV.

The mockups of the panel layout were done in HangarZulu.com and the more accurate scale drawings using TurboCAD.

I've also been studying the "Aerolectric Connection" for the electrical system, which will be based on the Z11 schematic.
 

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Good thinking on that panel Paul.
Thing is glass has, unless one wants to fill all available square mm of the panel, become very affordable.
I modified my own ship from round strictly VFR gages to dual G5 with their respective battery backup, a GNX375, left the old but still working good VM1000 in, and love that set up. An AP could quite easily be added, but I don’t have the need for one.

One thing to consider are the 2 bulkheads which demand modification if installing larger screens.

In any case, good continuation and good health.
 
Hi Paul
My RV6 (0-360, fixed pitch) was an eighteen year build and to date has a grand total of just under 25 hours flight time, so still in the test flight stage. That said its been almost trouble free and in the words of the test pilot 'goes like a rocket'!
Keep at it, the years it might take to get to the flying stage wont matter when its wheels leave the ground for the first time. Its a great feeling!!

Clive Whittfield
Auckland
New Zealand
 
10354 days so far

The calendar says that today is day 10,354 since the start, in year 29 of the build. But I daren't rush as that's a recipe for making mistakes!

We have had the wettest winter in decades, but finally got some decent weather for priming the fuselage side skins. I've riveted the rest of the fuselage sides now and the next step is to temporarily fit the wings while the fuselage is still upside down in the jig.

This is going to be a trike undercarriage and the gear sockets and main legs need to be aligned and drilled in situ with the wing spar. I'm hoping that the landing gear is going to be OK on the farm strip and may fit larger tires during construction, as well as the new style nose gear and new engine mount. A couple of RV-6s visited recently and the soft wet surface was really not ideal for the 5 inch main wheels and little tail wheel.
 

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Hey Paul
Powder coating is actually porous... garden lights,house lights,pool fences in alloy or steel,car wheels etc..basically most stuff corrodes or rusts under the powder coating and depends on the environment as to how quickly this happens.
To protect your metals better a zinc or epoxy powder is applied first before the actual powder finish colour..ask any powder coater...the reason its not done is usually cost
I built a gyrocopter trailer over 20 years ago and had it zinc and powder coated..spends its whole life outside and it still looks good.
Joe
Windsor NSW
 
Hey Paul, I too like the look of round instruments. I like your first panel rendition. Good to keep airspeed and altimeter closer together. 1) I think it has been established that with modern efis and magnetometer, you don't need a wet compass, so maybe in WA, you're allowed to delete. 2) Did you relocate your transponder elsewhere from the panel?
 
Instruments

Hi Jose, for instrumentation requirements in Australia, we're still required to have a direct reading compass in addition to the EFIS magnetometer. I haven't planned on installing a transponder initially because I live and fly in a rural area where there is no radar coverage. But if required I could add either a remote transponder with the Dynon, or a round head unit e.g. Trig with the round gauge panel. Same goes for ADS-B.

Per Australian regulations for private flying (flight and nav instruments):

Day VFR equipment CAR 174A, CAO 20.18 Appendix 1
The flight and navigational instruments required for flights under visual flight rules are:

an airspeed indicating system, and
an altimeter, with a readily adjustable pressure datum setting scale graduated in millibars, and
one of the following
a direct reading magnetic compass, or
a remote indicating compass and a standby direct reading magnetic compass, and
an accurate timepiece (clock or watch) indicating the time in hours, minutes and seconds (may be carried by pilot or crew).


The panel design will probably evolve a bit more while building the rest of the plane but I want to try and keep it simple! Thanks, Paul.
 
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Direct reading Compass

Hi Paul,
My RV7 has a Dynon system and no direct reading compass.
Based on the below.

CAO 28.18 also says..
Other aircraft in private, aerial work or charter operations

3.4 Subject to paragraph 3A.3, an aircraft:

(a) engaged in a private, aerial work or charter operation; and

(b) not mentioned in paragraphs 3.1 to 3.3;

may only be operated under the V.F.R. if it is equipped with the following:

(c) the instruments specified in Appendix I;

(d) any other instruments and indicators specified in the aircraft's flight manual.

3A.3 Paragraph 3.4 does not apply to any other aircraft that operates under the V.F.R.:

(a) being an aircraft for which a current certificate of airworthiness as an LSA has been issued; or

(b) being an aircraft for which an experimental certificate has been issued under paragraph 21.191 (g), (h) or (j) or an LSA for which an experimental certificate has been issued under paragraph 21.191 (k), of CASR 1998;

if equipment is carried that provides a pilot with the same information that would be obtained by compliance with the requirements of Appendix I for operations by day, or Appendix IV if approved for operations by night.

So legally have the “same information” as the list all in the Dynon setup.

Now is it sensible to not have a direct reading compass?
I fly VFR day only ……with the following
Dynon
My ipad OzRunways and google maps etc
backup ipad
Iphone
Often also my wifes Iphone.
I am comfortable without a direct reading wobbly compass.
 
Wings fitted (temporarily)

(thanks Rob for the clarication on carrying a compass)

Younger Me completed the RV wings in 1997 and since then I have been storing and carting them around each time we moved house (3 times). Yesterday we attached them to the fuselage for the first time ever! and fortunately everything fit. The rear spar attachment forks aligned without any interference and I admit I was a bit concerned about this being a potential problem.

I've pinned the spars in position with 3/16" garden stakes that made fitting quite easy.

There are some discrepancies on the plans for rivets and bolt holes around the gear socket area so I need to think over and work out what to do there. I also want to set up some sort of jig to drill the holes for the 5/16 bolts that hold the gear legs in the sockets. They legs are hardened spring steel and are not pre-drilled like the newer kits.

It was great being able to just pull the wings out of storage and fit them, like a quick build kit, it makes the project suddenly look like a plane that may fly someday!
 

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Main gear alignment and fitting

I fitted and aligned the main gear brackets to the wing spar and used a pilot drill guide made from a piece of 3/16 choke cable sleeve per the manual, this worked quite well.

The main gear leg struts are very hard steel and I used cobalt drill bits and a makeshift jig to drill first a 1/8 pilot hole and then the 5/16 final hole. Each pilot hole took 45 minutes and the final hole 30 minutes using low RPM and plenty of cutting fluid. The photo below shows the drill jig and the "bullet" used to align the final hole with the pilot hole.

The welded brackets are not an exact fit to the fuselage sides and will require thick shims, next challenge is to find some 8-10mm alum bar or plate to fabricate some tapered shims to fill the gap between the weldment and the fuselage skin.

I'm glad this step is done, it is a critical area and the parts are expensive and in the case of the wing spars, essentially (for me) irreplaceable!
 

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Wings On Wings Off

It's a canoe!
Wings On, to fit the main gear, Wings Off again to be able to continue with riveting on the central belly skins. Reminds me of "Wax On, Wax Off", the lesson is the same...

Not only did my wife make me an RV cake when it was my birthday, but she also helped to buck those rivets that I couldn't reach on my own (quite a lot), how lucky am I! We used just about every bucking bar to reach all the rivets.

The next step is to remove the canoe from the jig and start fitting the top skins. This jig previously helped to build a RV-4, now it's also done my -6A, though there's probably no further use for it. That's a pity, as the Oregon is now so well seasoned.

I also spent a bit of time away from the RV (still RV related) maintaining and fertilising the farm strip for spring. It is helping to keep me motivated.
 

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thanks for the update Paul. Guess there are quite a few of us here following your progress, always refreshing to hear from your build!
And a lovely shot of that beautiful motivation strip :cool:

PS
Congrats to Rosie as well, hope she ain't stuck in there ;)
 
A small milestone

'Morning Dan and fellow VAFers,

Today we lifted the fuselage canoe off of the jig and flipped it upright, it was a bit nerve wracking for fear of dropping or denting something but the engine crane helped a lot. The fuselage is not yet particularly heavy, but it is bulky and awkward to handle and we don't want any accidents! The population density where we live is 1 person per 100 hectares and there's not many people close by to come and give a hand, so we use what we have on the farm.

Next stage is to start work on the top side and interior structures. It now makes sense why the instructions said to leave off the forward bottom belly skin for the time being, since it will be much easier to stand inside for some of the work. Though reading ahead, it's not actually clear when it does get riveted on.

Happy building everyone...
 

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Keep going

Hi finished my 6A last year after a 22 year build !
Was it worth it ,you bet 😁😁😁.
Now flying and enjoying the fruits of my labour .
All the best

Mark
 
Topsides progress

I've made a bit more progress since the last update, but not exactly in a linear order.

There was a bit of work to do around the rear tail cone area to finish off some riveting that was obstructed when the fuselage was on the jig.

I then fitted the top rear skin and used threaded rod and plywood stiffeners to temporarily hold the bulkheads in position while back drilling through the pilot holes in the skeleton. I was able to reach all of the holes while standing outside, but this would not be possible for the next large top skin, which requires crawling inside the fuselage. The central section floor area was not yet complete, and would be required for support to get inside, so I shifted work to this area and got the baggage floors and seat pans done. I will need to come back and do some more work here to install the steps that are currently with the welding man who is fitting the reinforcement patches to prevent future cracking.

The top large fuselage skin F-674 (F-6112 because this is a sliding canopy) "is an important one because it is very visible and interfaces with the rear portion of the canopy." The first attempts to put this skin on were a struggle because it is large and unwieldy and slides all over the place and the straps kept slipping off. I ended up manually rolling a curve into it and securing with duct tape at an angle, which worked much better than straight straps.

Now the fun continues as I get to crawl around inside to back drill the holes for the skin rivets... and harvest starts today, so there is action outside in the paddock also!
 

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Good to see ya making progress Paul. And ya don’t skip on the fitness either, good ;)

Having spent quite a few hours in the tailcone section of my -4, my -6, or my friend’ -8, I’d try to install all stuff now, before going into top skin riveting euphoria… stuff as in static ports/lines, electrical conduits and/or wires (lighting, elec trim, camera supply, etc), elevator bellcrank/pushrod, eventual AP servo, top harness attach, snap bushings for the rudder cables, eventual manual trim cable.

Wishing you successful harvesting first :)
 
Some history

A couple of RV buddies came to visit and check on my building progress. This was the first time that a RV-6A has landed at the farm strip, and it handled it just fine. There have already been a few tail dragger RV-6s that have flown in (and out) previously.

The RV-6 that is in the foreground of the photo has been flying for 28 years now. The finishing kit for that aircraft, along with my empennage kit and some other kits, shared a shipping container to Australia in 1992. The RV-6A that is in the background is very close serial number-wise to my kit, they were both under way in 1992. The finished one has been flying for over twenty years now.

So... I clearly have some catching up to do! If I squinted my eyes at these two machines as they sat by the strip, I could "just" imagine my future red and white paint scheme...

I've continued to work steadily on various details in the fuselage. There are a lot of inter-dependencies and nothing major is finished, so visually it looks like not much has happened.

I added some rudder cable fairings, using the design from Sam Buchanan's web site. I made the parts three times in order to get the rivet layout positions to work. Small parts seem to take as much time as big parts.

I've fabricated and fitted the manual flap lever. There were some practical difficulties with getting the parts to fit so I slightly revised the design of the flap mounting block (new one on the left fits better to floor profile) and also the guts of the flap release knob; pics attached and more detail is available in case anyone else has trouble with the plans (you will! ;)).
 

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Day 10,999

Today is day number 10,999 since I started this project and even if that number was for hours it seems like a lot.

First thing this morning I went flying and was in the air at 6:00 a.m. before it gets too hot and turbulent. That is helping to keep me going until the day when I can fly the RV, even though I'm still enjoying the building process.

Today I'll be fitting the windshield frame roll bar, which is 1/8" too wide and despite jacking it in about 4 inches it just springs back. However, the luggage strap pulls it in easily enough to drill the holes in the side rails (must be careful to avoid accidentally drilling into the longerons!)

I recently painted the forward part of the cockpit while that area is still accessible. Once the sub-panel and panel ribs are installed it will be too difficult to reach for spraying. The paint is 2-pack polyurethane, which needs good protection against breathing in the fumes and also extracting the overspray out of the work shed.

I'll post some other updates on fitting the floors, seats, controls and tail surfaces... I have been a bit too focussed on building to write about it! ;)
 

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Static Ports

The Vans static port kit uses a pulled rivet for each of the fuselage side ports and the instructions say to glue the inside vinyl hose to the rivet stem with RTV. The stem is very short, so for a more substantial attachment point for the hose I used a 3/16 inch dia wide head rivet on the inside to act as a both a support flange and a longer attachment point. The first picture shows the wide head rivet beside a typical 1/8" rivet.
There are aftermarket ports available but this method is simple and uses locally sourced materials.
 

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Last piece of skin

I can grin in this picture because I am taking a break from working on the canopy frame.

I previously posted about the sliding canopy frame and how it was rusted under the powder coat, so I stripped it back to bare metal and repainted it. When I started fitting the frame to the fuselage it was twisted and welded out of alignment and required bending to improve the fit. As a result of that, it will need to be painted again. The fit is not yet quite right so I will wait until the plexi has been fitted before applying the final finish.

The fwd top skin is the only remaining skin to fit and I again used the method from Gil Alexander on VAF to pilot drill the skeleton 1/16" for all the rivets, fit the skin, back drill the skin 1/16" from underneath, then final drill #40 and cleco from the outside. This method ensures correct placement of rivets through all layers, but it is time consuming. I had installed the cockpit floor first before fitting the top skin, so as to keep everything rigid. It was a 2 person job with my wife sitting on the spar web with a bucking bar and me laying underneath on my back with the rivet gun pointing up. Sounds kinda kinky.

The top skin fit quite well after I got it rolled at a local sheet metal shop. Otherwise, the .032 skin is too rigid to pull into position for a good fit. The sheet metal shop does TIG welding and they were able to put the reinforcing gussets on the external steps in between building custom motorcycles.

I'm trying to keep building along steadily so as to be able to cut and work on the canopy bubble before the winter weather arrives.
 

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I can grin in this picture because I am taking a break from working on the canopy frame.

I previously posted about the sliding canopy frame and how it was rusted under the powder coat, so I stripped it back to bare metal and repainted it. When I started fitting the frame to the fuselage it was twisted and welded out of alignment and required bending to improve the fit. As a result of that, it will need to be painted again. The fit is not yet quite right so I will wait until the plexi has been fitted before applying the final finish.

The fwd top skin is the only remaining skin to fit and I again used the method from Gil Alexander on VAF to pilot drill the skeleton 1/16" for all the rivets, fit the skin, back drill the skin 1/16" from underneath, then final drill #40 and cleco from the outside. This method ensures correct placement of rivets through all layers, but it is time consuming. I had installed the cockpit floor first before fitting the top skin, so as to keep everything rigid. It was a 2 person job with my wife sitting on the spar web with a bucking bar and me laying underneath on my back with the rivet gun pointing up. Sounds kinda kinky.

The top skin fit quite well after I got it rolled at a local sheet metal shop. Otherwise, the .032 skin is too rigid to pull into position for a good fit. The sheet metal shop does TIG welding and they were able to put the reinforcing gussets on the external steps in between building custom motorcycles.

I'm trying to keep building along steadily so as to be able to cut and work on the canopy bubble before the winter weather arrives.


Is that a side hack I see being built on that bike? Nice!
 
Motorcycle side car

Is that a side hack I see being built on that bike? Nice!

Yes it is, for a disabled rider's wheel chair. Brendon Fowler of BF Customs in Porongurup is quite the wizard when it comes to custom design and fabrication. The side car has hydraulic ramps that lower, enabling the owner to ride up the ramp on his wheel chair and then slide over onto the Harley saddle. Brendon took some time out from doing bike mods to work on RV parts!

There's more about it here for anyone who is interested:
https://www.facebook.com/bfcustoms.com.au/
 
Adjusting the canopy frame

There were a few issues with the canopy frame: it was twisted out of square from front to back; the left rear hoop was too high; the forward bow was too wide; the side tubes did not match the shape of the fuselage sides (mainly in the centre).
It has been a slow process to bend and check each part of the frame and has taken a week of work so far, off and on. Some I did off the fuselage in a heavy woodworking bench vise and other was better with the frame sitting in the rails.

The difficulty with bending is how much force to apply (initial displacement) in order to get a final displacement, due to the springiness of the steel. And I'm finding that a change in one area can have an unexpected effect in another area, so it has been best to try and make one change at a time.

I also started getting the canopy ready for marking and trimming by removing the protective film which has been on since the finishing kit was delivered in 2000. Most of it came off OK and there were a couple of spots where I used a towel soaked in hot water to help ease if off.

Meanwhile, outside there has been an early start to the growing season and the paddock is being chained to get it ready for sowing and more work! :eek:
 

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Good Job

The difficulty with bending is how much force to apply (initial displacement) in order to get a final displacement, due to the springiness of the steel. And I'm finding that a change in one area can have an unexpected effect in another area, so it has been best to try and make one change at a time.

:eek:

Good job on the frame. To me this was the most frustrating part since it was like a bowl of spaghetti. The only thing I found more frustrating was herding young kids.
 
Canopy analogy

Good job on the frame. To me this was the most frustrating part since it was like a bowl of spaghetti. The only thing I found more frustrating was herding young kids.

Hah! That is a good analogy. Some sessions were a bit of a battle and I just had to get out of the workshop and go and do something else. I'm still working up the nerve (waiting for a warm enough day) to start trimming the plexiglass.
 
SB 07-11-09 Nose gear leg and fork upgrade

The nose gear leg and fork upgrade bulletin requires either a new gear leg, or modification to the existing gear leg, by threading an extra 1" on the end and then cutting off the original threaded section to provide extra clearance between the ground and the bottom of the leg.

https://www.vansaircraft.com/service-information-and-revisions/sb-07-11-09/

I checked the cost of the new style gear leg and engine mount and it would be over $4000 plus $1600 shipping so I decided to try modifying the existing gear leg.

The cutting die is 65mm in diameter and I was unable to find a handle for it, so fabricated a handle from scrap. It took an immense amount of force to turn the handle and cut the extra threads into the hardened spring steel.

The next step is to get a new fork, I don't think the existing fork can be easily cut down to the new size.
 

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Take a Real Close Look at those Threads

Try to use at least 10X magnification. I’m guessing they may be a bit “rough” - you may not want to use that leg.
Terry, CFI
RV9A N323TP
 
I've done 2 two nose legs in the past. The trick I found was to have a number of dies handy, when the threading resistance starts building, switch out to a fresh die. The process was still pretty physically demanding overall.
I've also modified a couple forks along the way.
But overall I wouldn't recommend anyone tackling this mod if you are faint of heart!
 
Threads and fork

Thanks Terry and Ralph. I checked the new threads with a 10x loupe and they are not "rough" and look good to me. I used a new die and Trefolex paste and cleared the cutting chips frequently. The high pressure required to turn the die was expected based on other local builders' experiences and also how much effort it took to drill the mounting holes in the main gear legs (6150 heat treated steel). I figured there was nothing to lose by giving it a go, and I am happy with the way it has turned out.

The old fork has a bushing that has been pressed in and would need to be removed somehow. There would be some machinist/welding expertise required to cut down and re-weld the aluminum and if it is more than a couple of hours labour it would be about the same as the cost of the new part. I can farm weld steel, but unfortunately not aluminum! :(
 

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Well, I gave up and bought the new fork from Van's......back in the day when I had to deal with this "problem".

But, somewhere I did see a builder photo of a fork that had been machined down the appropriate amount (from the bottom). Requires pressing out bottom bushing, and some fun time on a Bridgeport. It is doable, and doesn't require welding! :)
 
Canopy progress

It's already autumn now but some days have been warm enough to work on the canopy plexiglas.

I used the air cutoff tool to initially trim off the skirts and found it difficult to control accurately and see the cut line clearly due to the safety guard. If the disc slips it can quickly do damage. The results were much better when I purchased a Ryobi cordless cutoff tool. The tool design makes it much easier to control and the speed is fully variable from 0 to 20,000 RPM. It should be useful later on also when fitting the cowling.

The plexi is now clamped to the canopy frame, which is sitting on some timber boards to make it easy to clamp. The rubber backed carpet strips prevent the spring clamps from slipping of the tubes. I decided to use the Vans rivet method of attaching the plexi and hopefully there won't be any cracking!
 

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oscillating multi tool

I cut the canopy with a cutoff wheel but by the time I got to the engine cowl I found out about oscillating multi tools, many brands available. Works great on fiberglass, less dangerous than cutoff wheel, doesn't sling dust, many blade shapes available, Harbor Freight blades seem fine. Maybe it would be good for canopy cutting also.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvwYJB0ExDE
.
 
Wing Incidence Drilling

The wings are back on again, temporarily. They have been fitted and removed once before to align and drill the main gear legs.

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I checked and re-checked the wing sweep/incidence with both the 3 inch block method and the plywood airfoil templates, before drilling the rear spar, because I was worried about having only one chance to get this step right. The zone to drill for the critical 5/16 edge distance on the rear spar was very tight.

I used a simple drill guide to make the holes perpendicular.

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Separately, I've also been working on the interior and painted the rest of the cabin using 2-pack polyurethane spray and started working out where the EFIS and electrical modules will go. The layout has changed since taking this picture!

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The canopy has been drilled and cleco'd to the sliding frame and is off of the fuselage for now, until the windscreen is fitted, which will be completed after the fwd top skin is on. That skin will be riveted on once the sub-panel and firewall wiring and plumbing etc. have been done.

In between, I have fabricated a couple of parts for the ground bus and the Skyview bus. The interconnect board will go behind the baggage compartment and will act as a junction box for the servos and ADAHRS and reduce wiring runs across the spar.

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Flying weather has been good, in between cold fronts that pass through at this time of the year, and that is helping to keep me sane!

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Plumbing

It's like a 3D puzzle to work out the tubing runs and connections for the brake and fuel and vent lines. There's very little detail in the original plans for how to do this and the optional parking brake valve has added some complexity. I realised there is not going to be enough tubing in the kit and ordered extra 30' of 1/4" and 15' of 3/8" aluminum and also extra plastic brake line and fittings.

The knob for the parking brake will be mounted below the panel left corner and the Matco valve mounting bracket is up on the firewall and took a few iterations to work out. There is an extra support bracket for the bottom of the panel to make it more rigid.

I'm using house wiring cable to try and visualise how to route the aluminum tubing and still need to work out the Adel supports.

Brain is a bit fogged by all this!
 

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Paul, since you have hanging pedals, you can use the RV7A routings for the brakes, and a modified version for the fuel. Since those are known dimensions, it would be easier. Since you are using the Vans plastic lines, just mimic the routings and assemble the lines. The extension hoses from the parking brake valve to the discharge bulkhead fittings at the main gear mounts will run under the floor cover so thats pretty straightforward.

Fuel might be alittle more difficult, depending on the fuel valve, and the center box area around the valve. Plan ahead, and think through all the other things that might be around. Definately plan your aluminum tube routings and bends BEFORE you start bending----or you'll be ordering more tubing. Stiff wire or wire coat hangars works well for doing mockups. Take some scrap tubing and make some 45* and 90* bends and use those to check routings prior to making the real tube. Saves a bunch of time, and helps to eliminate making tubes that dont fit and you have to scrap.

If you need the 7A plans drawings, they are available.

Tom
 
RV7 ref

Thanks Tom for the suggestions. I will definitely make up some 90 and 45 bend tubes to use for templates. I've got the RV-7 plans and they have been useful but the RV-6 has different central structure and there is no tunnel on the floor to run piping and wiring unless I modify the structure.

So far I have installed the bulkhead fittings in the side skins near the leading edge of the wing root. The brake and vent lines will run aft within the wing root area. Access is tight around the tank mount fuselage bracket and it took me half a day to make the one brake line. I had considered using the Rocket method of coiled vent lines in the wing root but couldn't see how they would be supported or exit through the bottom skin.

I haven't yet worked out where to mount the fuel boost pump (carb engine) and gascolator. The RV-6 has the pump on the side wall, whereas the RV-7 drawings show it on the firewall connected to the fuel valve via a tube running under the floor in the tunnel.

I can see how the newer kits with detailed FWF plans and comprehensive FWF kits will be much quicker to construct. I'm finding it very time consuming to work out the details and the many small parts to be (back-) ordered from ACS and then wait for international shipping to deliver.

I am glad I did not rivet on the fwd top fuselage skin since having off is good for access. I also took out the rudder bars and brake pedals for better access while working on the hard lines.
 

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using the 7 center console in a 6

I've got the RV-7 plans and they have been useful but the RV-6 has different central structure and there is no tunnel on the floor to run piping and wiring unless I modify the structure.

Hey, make it easy on yourself Paul. Use the 7 plans for all the plumbing routing, air-frame penetrations, firewall penetrations, fuel pump location, gascolator location, etc. Then, install the 7 center console/tunnel cover (sorry, don't have the p/n). It provides a place to hide plumbing and wiring up the center of the floor pan. I did this along with changing the engine control cable locations (no center vertical bar, mounted them horizontally across the bottom of the instrument panel). I also fabricated a fiberglass front cover to finish off the fuel selector mount. A bit extra custom work, but it really made the plumbing and wiring easier and cleaned up the interior look.

Here's some photos:
build 2-008.jpg build 2-010.jpg build 2-078.jpg build 2-081.jpg
 
Productive session

Those photos are helpful Steve, thanks, and your pipe work looks really good. I could probably fabricate a cover from sheet metal to go between the central floor stiffeners, similar to the RV-7.

I managed to get the right hand vent line done, eventually, after generating a bit of waste. Initially I attempted to measure and plan the job beforehand but in the end it was "easier" to stand alongside the fuselage and bend each segment one at a time.

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Revised fuel system layout

Thanks to info from Tom, Steve and others I completed the internal brake and tank vent lines and started preparing for the fuel lines.

The support structure and mounting plate for the fuel selector and manual trim knob is now more like on the RV-7/9 and the fuel line will run down the centre of the floor to the electric boost pump on the firewall, rather than on the left side of the cockpit.

I fabricated a cover to go over the floor tunnel and later on may make a central storage bin for charts, drink bottle etc.

I'm finding this plumbing and system work to be much more time consuming than the earlier sheet metal work on the airframe that gave quicker (relatively) results.
 

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finding this plumbing and system work to be much more time consuming than the earlier sheet metal work on the airframe that gave quicker (relatively) results.

A sure sign you’ve reached the 90% stage… :D
 
I'm finding this plumbing and system work to be much more time consuming than the earlier sheet metal work on the airframe that gave quicker (relatively) results.

Yep, that’s airplane building, “fit, trim, repeat”. :) What you’re doing looks good, keep it up.
 
Paul. Looking at your pictures I see u are working on the cockpit floor. I have a suggestion for u that makes entry & exit much easier. I put a 90deg angle, 3/4 x 3/4 x 1/8” on the floor across the vertical risers. See pix :

This provides u leverage that the floor does not. Some add the Antisplat old man exit bar. But this to me is far easier -and cheaper.
 

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Fuel tanks setback

I made a rather unpleasant discovery when I removed the tank inner access plates to carry out the Vans service bulletin that is to put safety wire on the B-nuts for the fuel pickup tubes.

I had completed building the tanks waaay back (25 years or so) and used the Vans-supplied Proseal, then leak tested etc. and have had them stored empty ever since.

Well guess what... all the Proseal that is on the inside has broken down and turned to goo! That includes also the Proseal that Vans applied to the pre-made fuel pickup tube screens, so it wasn't caused by a bad batch or mix or anything like that. The Proseal that is on the outside of the tanks is still fine, so it must be the confined space that has contributed to destroying the adhesive.

There's probably not too many options for recovery other than to open up and somehow clean off all the gunk and start again! Though I feel like attacking the whole f'ing thing with a hammer and carting it off to the tip.

No wonder I've been procrastinating that SB, must have been a premonition. I thought that getting the access plates off would be the hard part (and it was) but that was only the tip of the iceberg...

I guess it is lucky though that the tanks needed to be opened up again, otherwise I wouldn't have known until after painting, or worse, flying with them like that.

Plan B, if I cannot reseal, will be to build new tanks (assuming parts are still available). The great difficulty with attempting to do this is that my kit was not pre-punched and the screw holes that attach the tank to the wing were laid out manually and would somehow need to be replicated on a new tank. Hopefully Plan A will succeed though I expect it will take a couple of weeks of messy work to open, clean and reseal all of the seams and rivet tails.
 

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RV Grin

Sterling from Vans Support replied about the tank sealant issue and says that this is a very unusual problem and is usually confined to one or two spots, rather than the entire inside of the tank.

The suggested repair is to remove the back baffle plate, or cut access holes and then re-seal, so that is where I've started. Thanks to VAF and DanH idea to use a fly cutter with a slow hand drill it takes about 10 minutes to make each opening.

The tank inside is in pristine condition. The only evidence that they were leak tested with Avgas is a tiny spot of blue dye, which is still wet after 25 years.

Acetone dissolves the tacky Proseal however it is going to be a tedious job to clean it out.
 

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