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Smoke & Instruments

I have realized that the problem of being at around 70% done really means that you have 70% to go :0| it is becoming apparent that although I am sticking on bits for the last time, there is SO MUCH of it. Still, I am now at that sweet stage where a weekends work visually shows dividends.

Of course, I am my own tormenter, why can't I just stick things on instead of trying to tweak something? Must be the individualist in me...

Smoke System

I fitted the smoke system. I didn't like the weight of the supplied pump, so I did a little digging on the web and decided to swap it out for something half the weight; I was already feeling guilty (empty weight) about adding a smoke system, so losing 2.5 pounds was a powerful incentive.

Fitting the 1.5 inch external oil fill tube has been a pain. The tube had to run in a certain place at a certain angle so as to minimize a passenger fouling it with their leg. I made a custom offset steel bracket linking two adel clamps. The external filler cap was another challenge; the cap flange of course is flat, the sheet metal where it sits in has a slight curve to it, screwing the flange on would force the sheet metal flat, not good. So,I made a flange washer for the inside that was curved and epoxied the back side flat so the nuts had a flat surface to hit against, then I made a flat flange washer for the outside that I pressed into place on the sheet metal with epoxy filler (I waxed the sheet metal first so as to allow a release). This gives me a solid fixture without affecting the shape of the side skin. Since the external filler cap sits about 1/4" proud of the skin, I think I am going to glass on a mini fairing at the front and to the rear of the filler cap.

Instrument panels

I had to go back to the drawing board. My lovely white gauges are now no more (sold them). I have gone back to black faces and a complete change out of what instruments were in the panel. There were a several reasons for this...I had made the rear panel about 3 years ago, then 2 years ago I added a steel tubed passenger shoulder harness truss right behind the instruments AND without thinking about what minimal clearance I had 3 years back, I moved the panel position 1/2" forward to give me a bit more eye room.That 1/2" really messed up things. Another reason for a new panel was that I had originally integrated a Lowrance Airmap 600c not realizing how long the build would actually take, resulting in me having a very antiquated GPS in the panel by time the plane flew. Another reason: I had made the white faces for the gauges myself, and the process took many many hours...I just couldn't go through that process again. And the final reason: I ended up with a gray interior with all the trim being black, so the black instruments actually looked pretty good in there. Final instrument choices were a good mix of analogue and electrical. I really like the compact footprint of the FL-760 radio and the MGL E-3 engine monitor's capabilities with audible warnings. The passenger gets one instrument, an electronic dual airspeed indicator/altimeter.

I now have all the instruments ready for the panels. That in itself is a mini fiscal milestone. I have the sheet aluminium in stock, so remaking the panel is looming. I have managed to color match the gray powder coat and got me some 2 part delfleet paint mixed ready for the panels.

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