Archive for the ‘Final Assembly’ Category

2010 21 Apr

Completed the Magnetic Compass Calibration. Both the EFIS magnetometer as well as the backup magnetic compass.

2010 18 Apr
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(Press the full screen button on the bottom right of the video for high quality)

Last Friday, we celebrated a major milestone :-)

The engine ran successfully for the first time on the airplane!

The start went very well, which I credit to the ECI Fuel Injection and the P-Mag ignition.

As always there were minor snags we had to debug. First, the alternator wasn’t charging. Turns out there are 2 different wiring schemes for the exact same alternator/plug style and by some very straightforward logic, for the alternator field to power, you have to wire a red power wire to a green one ;-) Obvious, yeah right…
And the second problem was that initially, the engine was only running on the electronic ignition and didn’t ignite on the traditional mag circuit. Turns out that we had reinstalled the mag on the wrong cycle, even though the timing marks were basically correct after we took it down to perfrom the service bulletin on the brushes. Anyway, it’s now all sorted out and we’re totally stoked :-)

2010 4 Apr

Also last week, Hanna helped to calibrate the pitot static system… First we had to chase a small leak which turned out to be the a NPT thread fitting that wasn’t exactly tight (not the first problem with thread fittings after all ;-) . After sealing this, everything was well within specs (less than 100ft/min altitude loss and less than 10kts/min speed loss). In the end, the speed drop was about 2 knots and the altitude loss 20ft per minute.

We used a calibration kit from the local maintenance provider to check accuracy. Amazingly, the cheap UMA backup instruments proved to be quite accurate.

2010 30 Mar

As one of the many step to get approval for flight in the end, the fuel boost pump performance must be proven under worst case conditions. We achieved this today, besides putting some fuel into the tanks for the first time.

2010 28 Mar

Made good progress towards first engine start. Which we were unable to do as it also rained out a planned full day of work.

So we still got to do some stuff inside the hangar, such as documenting the various control deflections and measuring distances.

2010 20 Mar

As was to be expected, there was some troubleshooting required to get all the avionics to play together nicely. I’m glad to report that practically all the snags could be worked out and we had only miswired two pins (serial TX/RX swapped). Out of a zillion pins, that’s a pretty good feat I would claim. Most of the issues were related to software configurations and sometimes bugs, that will have to be fixed with firmware upgrades. However, there are no showstoppers and nothing that would keep us grounded.

Support by Advanced Flight Systems and Vertical Power is excellent, with very short response times and positive replies.

Looking forward to fuel system stuff and first engine start coming soon!

2010 20 Mar

Beginning of March, winter really came back… So for the first two weeks, there hasn’t been much progress at all, safe for a few hours freezing in front or even inside the hangar. However, spent lots of time on paperwork.

2010 12 Mar

Picture for use in the Advanced Flight Systems EFIS

We are currently configuring the complete avionics package besides the other finishing work.

Some stuff like a custom Mass&Balance pic or the % horsepower graphs are a tiny bit more work than just the setup menus.

So to share a bit, here’s our Mass & Balance “AIRCRAFT.AFB” file and a % Power chart courtesy of John Goldsmith for an IO-360-M1B and similar engine.

AIRCRAFT.ZIP (contains the .AFB file)
IO-360 M1B performance data.xls

2010 28 Feb

After a 3-day intensive assembly session with lots of help from friends, the airplane is almost completely together & wired. Less than a few interior access plates, covers, seats and little wiring details.

Next up is configuring the EFIS, calibrating and validating the fuel tank indications.
Other tests like fuel flow measurements, running the engine for the first time and things like that are also awaiting.

We also hung the airplane to the hangar crane platform for the first time.
As expected, the platform didn’t break :-)
We initially had some lateral stability issues, but a few straps from the steps to the top center now keeps it from tipping sideways.
Thanks a lot to Markus for the awesome engineering.

2010 25 Feb

What a great day!

With a lot of help from several friends, we managed to move the airplane to the airfield and even start final assembly.
Since we have a few days off, we should be able to get quite some things done.

Nice to see everything come together so well!