RV-14 Finishing - Lightspeed Ignition - Nosewheel - Canopy Part 1 and more

Added 10/6/2015

I've got a lot to cover in this update, as I've been working on many scattered things.  This is the part of the build where you can really go crazy keeping on track.

Tools and Misc

First up is tools.  Some of this is for my reference, and some is for yours if you wish.  First up, the Compression tester and spark plugs I am posting just because it is a tool that everyone should have.  A friend of mine recently did his first flight, and before he could utilize the new "additional pilot program" in Phase 1, he was required to do a compression test, so I showed him how to do that.  Make sure you get yourself a tester.  Notice that I have 2 plug adapter sizes, because I have 2 different sizes of spark plugs.  I had never used the smaller one before, but since he has dual lightspeed ignition, he needed the smaller ones.

The torque wrench is the one I happened to have at the hangar for doing his plugs.  That prompted me to do a major upgrade on torque wrenches before I finalize my RV-14.  I had a variety of about 6 torque wrenches, some of them just the cheap harbor freight ones.  Other than this Husky, I must say I was fairly embarassed that I had never gotten some really GOOD torque wrenches.  There are major differences in how they are rated, when you read that they are accurate to within 3% or 4%.  The less than 100% ethical places will say that they are "accurate to 4% of full scale" or something similar.  In effect, if you have a 100 in-lb wrench, that can be 4% of 100 in-lbs off, or 4 in-lbs, at anywhere along the scale.  The more ethical ratings are where they give the rating in % accuracy at ANY amount.  So at 100 in-lbs, you may be 4 in-lbs off, but at 20 in-lbs, you would only be .8 in-lbs off.  My examples aren't very good, because they don't well illustrate how far off  these things can actually be, but if you are trying to precisely torque some bolts, you want to use the wrench in about mid-scale of the wreches capabilities, and you'll want it as accurate as possible in that range.  Also, most torque wrenches are ONLY valid for torquing bolts in the clockwise direction, NOT AT ALL counterclockwise, and they can be made inaccurate if done that way!  So I gave up on cheap tools, and decided that with the purchase of 3 new torque wrenches, I could cover basically all of my aviation needs.  Below is a copy of my Amazon order showing which ones I purchased.  I believe they are accurate to within 3% CW, and 4% CCW.  These will now be exclusively used on my planes.  The other ones will be relegated to my cars.  The wrenches are made by CDI, which is essentially the same maker as SnapOn, but at a much lower cost.

Another item is the fire extinguisher.  I had wanted to get the RT A600 model, for it's slightly larger capacity, but I intend to mount this vertically under my throttle quadrant, and the RT A400 Halon extinguisher is the only one that will easily fit there.  Make sure you get a halon extinguisher for your plane.

The bolts in the picture are what I'm using to temporarily attach my ring gear (flywheel) while working on things.  I had to track down the proper thread size, and found it's 1/2"-20 pitch.

And finally, for installing my lightspeed ignition, I obtained a few additional recommended tools.  I got a #2 centering drill (yes, this chucked up in my hand drill ok) for doing a little pilot hole into the engine, I purchased brand new quality USA made #6 and #7 drill bits, I got this 1/4"-20 3-flute spiral bottoming tap...a real piece of artwork!, and I also purchased 2 other more normal 1/4"-20 taps...a US made plug tap, and a US made bottoming tap, just in case.  These were in preparation for installing my Lightspeed CDI ignition Mini Sensor.

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Aileron Boots

Yes, Abby is doing my interior on the RV-14 just as she did on the RV-10, and as part of that, she will be offering Aileron boots, and stick boots.  These are measurements used for getting the fit of the aileron boots.

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After a bunch of contemplation, I decided I liked how my RV-10 panel came out with it's silkscreen, so I had a new silkscreen made up for doing my RV-14 panel labels.  It costs around $100-110 shipped to get a silkscreen made up.  Then you just need the proper ink, and a squeege, and screen cleaner, which are not too expensive.  I could have used Enamel ink, but I still had my ADE type 2-part epoxy ink from my RV-10 project, but the hardener was bad, so I just had to order the hardener.  Nazdar, the ink maker, said the ink should still be good, and I tested it with the old hardener and it did eventually dry, so it should work great for this project. I'll have much more on silkscreening later, but if you read my RV-10 write-up on silkscreening, it will be essentially the same.

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Brake Lines - Complete

Steve from Aircraft Specialty has been working real hard and spending a bit of time and money getting these lines just right for the RV-14A kit.  We are finally done getting just the right fit for the RV-14 braided brake lines.  Here is the final line config for the A model gear leg.  On the top end, there is a nice 45 degree fitting so the lines take almost exactly the same bend as the gear leg, allowing a nice tight fit that will fit well under a leg fairing.  At the bottom, however, we tried various clocking angles of the fitting and despite the best attempts, the hose puts too much side load on the caliper, causing the caliper to push into the brake disk.  To keep the caliper freely sliding, you don't want any side loading, which is discussed in the plans when doing the hard aluminum lines as well.  To prevent that side loading the line is wrapped around the axle the same as the aluminum lines are.  This has been a weak area on the other RV's, as even though it is a coil of tubing, it work-hardens over time and eventually cracks and breaks the tubing.  With this flex line, however, it will never break, and your brakes will always brake. (Yes, I use the proper spellings there and everything!)  The only additional hardware used is a #8 screw, metal nut, and washer, and a WDG5 sized adel clamp.  The hole is drilled about 2.25' aft of the front of the bracket, and about 1/4" down from the top of the bracket.  This spacing should allow the adel clamp not to bump into the gear leg.  The hose can be shifted forward or aft slightly, to prevent the hose from resting on the corner of the rectangular gear leg.  I would also suggest putting some RTV between the brake line and gear leg, just as a cushion.  You will end up doing a lot of that for engine wiring as well.  But check out these brake lines...they should give life long service for the -14!

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Gust Lock

At OSH 2015, I had my 2nd issue with a gust lock on my RV-10.  Let me tell you, it is EXTREMELY important to have a good gust lock for the rudder on these planes.  So, I spent some time beefing up my gust lock design for the RV-10.  I have a write-up on my RV-10 site here.  I just figured I'd post a couple pics here so that you can think about this when you have free brain cycles.  I tested the same design in the RV-14 and other than a shorter length requirement, this design will work in the RV-14 as well, so I will be building one for this plane too.

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Nosewheel and Matco Axle Complete!

If you read my last update in September, you know that we got the WRONG matco wheel from Van's.  I'll repost the text from that update here, with additional info:

The wheel used on the RV-14 is the Matco NW501.25, which is the same wheel as was sold for the RV-10.  This is the WRONG WHEEL for this plane, and it ticks me off that they would keep with the same dumb thing!  Refer to this post on MyRV10.com for more info, The short answer is, DO NOT order the nosewheel Van's will sell you.  This is the 2nd time I've been burned on this.  The valve stem will stick out too far with this wheel.  The PROPER nose wheel is NW511.25, that you can get from Matco directly.  Van's only sells this wheel because it's used on the other RV's (or was) as Main wheels.  They don't want to stock another part number.  That's a piss-poor excuse!  They are using grove wheels on the 14, and it is NOT that big of a deal for them to just sell us the proper wheel.  So all builders be aware and leave the wheel off of your kit order, and order the right one from Matco.  Don't be a double burned idiot like me.

So what do you do if you make the mistake, you've mounted your wheel so it's not brand new anymore, and you are stuck with that crappy NW501.25?

Call Matco.  They will allow you to ship your wheel back to them, they will sell you 1/2 of a wheel (well under $100), and machine your wheel with the proper hole so that you now have the hole cutout in the proper place so that the valve stem tube doesn't hit the fork.  I am in the process of doing this RMA right now.  I'll follow up on it in a future post.

This is that follow-up:

I got the new rim back.  As you can see, the mouse hole is drilled in the opposite half.  Once the tire was mounted, from the front you can't even see the valve stem.  If you turn it slightly, you can just see in that 2nd photo, the yellow cap.

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Now look at the photo above. A 2x4 laying flat on the tire, still has a good amount of clearance to the stem WITH the cap on.  So you know for sure at this point that it will fit between the fork.  Now on the Matco Axle, in my last update, I made a slight error.  On the RV-14, there are lightening holes in the fork that aren't there on the RV-10.  The holes interfere with the positioning I waned for the anti-rotation bolt hole.  Look below at the fairing bracket in the last photo.  The fairing bracket needs to go in that orientation.  If you drill the hole where I did, the bolt head will interfere.

Luckily there are 2 solutions and both are OK with Matco.  #1 is to simply DO NOT DRILL THE HOLE.  That is the one I should have done.  It isn't a big deal if you DID drill the hole, but the hole really isn't needed.  See, on Van's original design, the bearing preload is set by how tight you make the axle bolt. This is bad. You want to torque that bolt to proper torque. But you can't, or the wheel will not turn properly.   But once you go the Matco axle, you are free to use standard torque value on that bolt.  The bolt through the fork is only to keep the axle from rotating, but, if you torque the axle bolt to standard torque, you almost surely won't need the anti-rotation bolt at all.

#2, if you want the bolt, or drilled the hole, you can do what I did.  I cut a stud out of a 1.5" bolt, slotted the end, and made it the right lenght to stick out just a little less than is required to be flush with the fork face when installed. Since we have 5.25" fork width, and 2 Matco spacers, you can remove the far side spacer and just slide that tire over and pop that permanently installed, loctited in stud, out of the hole and remove the axle.  When fully installed, you can see the slot I made in the bolt, so the anti-rotation is still in place. And, the fairing bracket fits over the hole.  I would have rather not drilled the hole, but this will work fine for me.

Now that it's all done, check out the awesome clearance I have on the valve cap.  This is HOW IT SHOULD BE!

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Canopy Part 1

The canopy install seems to be a bit like the RV-10 doors.  A painfully slow process.  That said, I was highly impressed with Van's supplier of rear window, as it was very easy to fit.  Once you study and understand the goals of the plans, it doesn't take long to get the rear window in.
An issue I did have is that I bought plexi drill bits, MADE for drilling this stuff, yet I found that they were one of the bigger headaches I had. They are too aggressive and grab the pexi and pull the bit through too hard.  A dull drill bit may work better. I have a couple holes with chips or minor cracking.
I did have to buy some additional squeeze clamps for the project, so be prepared to get some of them. Otherwise, fitting the rear window wasn't too hard.

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I took a little time to get the canopy latching in place too. While I did that, I alodined the latch parts, because they look pretty that way, and alodined these brake and wheel fairing parts as well.  Almost forgot that picture, so it's stuck here in the middle all alone.


With the latch parts in place though, I now have operating canopy latch pins, and the yellow ball handle actually does something.  Pretty cool.

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The assembly of the canopy frame isn't too wild.  It's defintiely a finely tuned piece of engineering and fitment.  I used my iphone "MultiLevel" app to be my digital level to ensure no twist, which worked very well.  There are lots of parts to drill and match and deburr, and I did find errors in the plans in the order of events where things may be called out to be done more than one time, or in other words doing the same step in multiple place or pages.  I'm not going to call these errors in though...it's so painfully slow in getting updates from them that you wouldn't see them until 2017 (joke) or mid-2016 (probably the truth of it).  None of them were critical.  I just wish that if you called in a problem, within 2 weeks the builders could have in their hands the latest revision.  That's how it SHOULD be.

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After a bit of work, I got the canopy to tilt up and down, just the forward part of the canopy. I had to disconnect the lift struts to be able to move the small forward canopy up and down...the tension required on those struts is seemingly huge with that small of a lever.  But, once you have the aft frame attached, the struts don't seem that incredibly forceful, and things work well.  I was able to tilt it without filing the front of the canopy skin at this point, because I did not yet have my forward fuselage skin installed. Do not try this if your skin is already installed, until you first file the front of the canopy skin!

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And with that, the canopy frame is mostly completed, but it's time to start the main windshield/canopy...the more laborious part of the process.

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More Paint!

Because I was wasteful in doing the interior, 1 qt didn't do it for me for the interior, and I was forced to go buy more supplies when it was time to paint my roll bar.  Oh well, you only live once.  I was able to mask off the roll bar and paint it separately, while installed.  I had originally wanted it to be blue, but after seeing the demo planes at osh, I decided it didn't matter what the roll bar color was. It will look grey when opened now.

For my RV-10 I had picked colors from a 2006 GM paint color chart.  The colors were 908590 Daytona Blue Metallic Base/Clear, and 907097 Satellite Silver Metallic Base/Clear, PPG concept.  I wanted to nearly duplicate these colors, but using PPG DelFleet instead.  We went back to the paint store and found the original paint chips and matched them to DelFleet samples.  Interestingly enough, inside the store there were colors that I thought I would prefer more...lighter in shade.  But when I took the paint samples out into the sun, I liked the colors most like my original colors.  That made me feel good about my previous choices.

So now, in DelFleet colors, my new colors are:  N.A. 107060 / MFT. 23070 (Blue) and N.A. 301680 / MFT. 60070 (Silver)  This is for my reference, when alzheimers starts to finally take it's toll.

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Lightspeed Ignition Mini-Sensor Install

One of the things I appreciate most on my RV-10 is the smooth running of the Lightspeed igntion.  It was listening to an RV-8 land at a fly-in, and taxi up near me, that I first realized how much better the engines run with this CDI system.  It's part of what talked me into building an RV-10 in fact.  So it was a definite that I was putting it on my RV-14.  But one of the most intimidating parts of the install is putting the new mini-sensor on the engine.  So here are some pics and changes of mine.

First, I installed the box on a couple of custom brackets I made on the firewall.  On the RV-10 I have it mounted totally on the upper firewall, but this firewall is too short to do the same install, so I created brackets to span the channel across the firewall. I have an eyeball fitting I'll run the RG400 wires through, to the coils.  This system will be in an easier to access location for me, should I ever want to remove it for updates or maintenance.

Before I started, I bought some additional hardware as well.  The MS20074-04-03 drilled head bolts I bought because the ones included were not drilled head.  I wanted to safety wire them.  I actually used MS27074-04-04 bolts (ordered as well at the same time, because the directions tell you to drill 5/8" deep holes and the -04-04's will give more threads holding but still not be too deep.  One recommendation is, also order yourself some 10-24 thread bolts at the same time.  I talked to Klaus and some of the boss areas aren't as big and you would be better off going to 10-24, particularly at the 3 o'clock boss area on the IO-390.  You'll see more on that soon.   I also ordered some stainless, drilled head socket head cap screws to replace non-drilled ones on the mini sensor.  NAS1352C06H6 is perfect.  I want to safety wire it all.   One additional piece of hardware depending on your situation may be that you may need new mag studs.  It depends on if you have a plain mag, or some other adapter in place as shipped.  In that case you'd buy 2 studs...something like 31C-12, 31C-13, or 31C-14 size (1.5" to 1.75" long).  (Note, you can also buy them usually at a lower cost by getting ECI parts like AEL31C14, or Superior parts SL31C14)   I mistakenly bought AEL31C14 studs, to replace the existing right mag holding studs, on the advice of a friend who just upgraded his IO-540.  He needed shorter studs so went to SL31C14.  I went to pull mine and found that my studs are already shorter than the 31C-14, so I paid for 2 that I'll never use. You get an aluminum cover plate for that mag hole and these studs will fit better once you pull the cover plate.  The mag cover plate is installed without a gasket.  If you install a gasket, you may end up bending the thin aluminum plate when you tighten the clamps.  The install instructions say to use a suitable liquid sealant.  I am using Loctite 515, which is an anaerobic flange sealant.  Below you can see the original and the drilled head bolts compared.  The head itself is thicker too, but this is no issue.

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Out of the gate, I ran into one complication.  There is a bump in the case, that is undrilled.  This bump is intended to be a safety wire location if needed, but I hear many people don't use it, because lycoming doesn't drill it.  Well, that bump interferes with the mini-sensor position.  So I took a dremel cutoff wheel and carefully...no, VERY carefully, removed the interfering parts of the bump, then filed it with a round and flat files to not have any sharp corners or sharp grooves inside.  I hated to grind at all, but the thing is in the way, so it's got to go.  The bracket comes with 2 sets of "feet" on it that stand on your crankshaft, to set the proper height.  The IO-390 I have, had a 2-5/8" shaft, so I used the shorter of the 2 pairs of legs on the bracket.

Some pictures get hard to see, but if you zoom in there are some key things.  1 is that there is a "V" groove in the back of the bracket that has to align with the case half parting line.  Not hard to do, but hard to take a picture of.  It's located behind the mini-sensor.  Then, for drilling the holes in the engine boss, you drill through the prop bolt holes.  2 of mine lined up fine, as you can see in the picture below, you can see the hole in the prop hub, the hole in the bracket, and the boss under that.  The 3rd picture below shows the "V" groove.  The next few pictures show adding more relief on that safety wire bump to clear the sensor.

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In the 4th photo above, you can see the hole in the boss after drilling the pilot hole with the center drill.  Then you can see below my drill bit with a tape mark for where I need to stop to get a max depth of 5/8".  On that 3 o'clock boss, I'd suggest going to only 1/2" and using a 10-24 bolt instead.
DO NOT go over 5/8" depth.  In the first photo below you can also see some foam.  This is just some packing foam.  Once I had the bracket positioned against the boss, I stuck some foam between the hub and the bracket to keep pressure on the bracket and hold it from moving while I drilled.  This worked really well.  The 2nd hole below shows the hole drilled in the boss.

After drilling the hole it was time for tapping.  As I mentioned before, I bought a plug tap (tapered), a bottoming tap (flat) and the 3-flute spiral bottoming tap.  Yes, I probably could have done it fine with just one tap, as long as it was bottoming.  I wanted a plug tap to make sure I'd start the hole easy.  I wanted to use the recommended 3-flute spiral bottoming to finish (first photo, 2 rows down).  The standard bottoming tap I didn't use.  I did use the recommended "Tap Magic" cutting fluid, rather than the normal Marvel's Mystery Oil I've used for years.  I didn't cut any corners when drilling these holes, to say the least.  With nice sharp taps, the tapping went very quickly.  After the first hole was done, I held it with a bolt in that hole and rotated the crank to get to the 2nd hole.  Notice that using an open-end wrench (2 rows down) that you can easily use it as a lever to rotate the crank.  It is very hard to rotate with the dessicant plugs in it, but if you go slow and stop a lot, it will work.

The 2nd hole drilled real easily too...see the 2nd row third pic below. 

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Now came the dastardly 3rd bolt on the lower boss.  First, to get to that bolt, the hole for that boss wasn't in the same concentric ring as the prop bolt holes.  This is one of the reasons why I say you should probably just use 10-24 bolts here.  If you do that, you can probably use one of the 2 smaller holes (maybe) at the bottom of the bracket, into the far bottom boss.  And that may line up with the hub hole. The boss that I used is slightly higher, but had a 1/4-20 size hole in the bracket.  As you can see in photo 1 above, I had to pull the prop lug to get access to drill this.  No, it wasn't too hard. You do need a couple of big C-Clamps on hand to do this though.  Once I had it out, it was easy to get to for drilling.

The bigger problem is, I don't think you can go a full 5/8" in this hole.  I drilled the same 5/8" and JUST as I was about to stop drilling, I felt the
very tip of the drill grab differently and I realized I exited to the inside of the case.  I didn't exit with a full hole, just a tiny 1/16" diameter center.  So now I had a place that I could have an oil leak. I know I didn't damage anything back there, as I didn't drill far enough to do that.  But I didn't want to start my IO-390 experience with an oil leak.  My solution was twofold, but in retrospect I should have just done one thing.  First, I took some JB weld type cold weld on a q-tip...just a tiny amount, and touched the back of the hole.  That was enough to seal that hole.  I have doubts that it would hold pressure, however. I didn't want to stick RTV there though, as RTV has a nasty habit of going places it shouldn't inside engines. NEVER use it on fuel system components!! 

The step I should have just done, is use a good thread sealant.  I'll write more on that below. 

To see the installed mini-sensor, look at the 4th photo above.

In the photos in the row below, you can see that by using a hardware store bolt, and washers, and then a large socket, I was able to pull that bolt lug back into place.  Once that was done and the mini-sensor bracket mounted, the 4th photo below shows it positioned inside the flywheel.

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For the photos above, you can see a front view of the mini-sensor.  If the photo was taken direct frontal, you would see that the line down the center of the mini sensor is in line with the case parting line.  The 2nd photo above shows the additonal relief I had to do to the safety wire lug to get the sensor in perfect position.

Now it was time to finish positioning the mini-sensor. I don't have photos of this, so you'll have to imagine it.  The mini sensor needs to be .030 - .060 from the magnet ring in the flywheel. To do this, I put a .032" piece of aluminum on the face of the mini sensor, and between the engine block and sensor, I stuffed 3 thin layers of foam that some of the lightspeed components were packed in.  This pushed the mini-sensor tight to the aluminum that was touching the magnet ring, effectively making a solid .032" gap.  Now I had to position the sensor vertically.  My bracket mount didn't put the center stripe of the sensor in line with the magnet ring center line perfectly.  It was a couple line widths high.  So I used a round file to add a slight dip to both screw slots in just the right position on the bracket, to allow the sensor to slide down.  Then I tightened up the 2 mini-sensor bolts and it's all done!   Check out the 3rd picture above, taken with an inspection mirror, and you can see the centerline of the sensor in line with the magnet ring.  To keep it from moving, I'm going to use loctite on the screws, also safety wire, and I will also fill the slots in the bracket with a glue like E6000 so that it can't shift, even if the screws get loose.  I'll also brace the mini-sensor against the case from vibration by putting a bead of RTV between the sensor and the engine case.  That should take care of any movement whatsoever.

Now for the thread sealing.  In a prior RV-10 engine issue, I had talked to my engine builder about a plug that didn't seal well, and they recommended using Loctite 515.  I see it's called a gasket or flange sealant, but it works well on threads.  My logical brain told me though that I should use thread sealant.  So I bought some high-temp thread sealant, thinking it would be better than my normal teflon paste thread sealant in some way.  It turns out this isn't necessarily true.  Not wanting to have ANY issue with oil leakage, from day 1, I decided to do a head-to-head test.  I had a scrap aluminum block (above, 4th photo) that I drilled and tapped for a 1/4" NPT air fitting.  This could hook to my air compressor.  I then drilled in 2 holes of 1/4-20 into the air chamber.  In fact, the thinner walled side only has a few threads to fit, so that side should be much harder to seal.

I then used the 2 sealants on the bolts and threaded them in, and immediately tried air pressure of 25psi.  The thread sealant (white paste) blew right out and leaked.  So I re-sealed it and decided to give it an hour.  An hour or more later, I put the air pressure on and it blew right out again.
So I pulled the thread sealant bolt and scraped the threads clean and put Loctite 515 on there as well.  I gave it an hour, and put the air back on.  No leaks.  I cranked up the air to over 115psi, and still no leaks!  So this is the stuff to use, for sure!  I recommend you buy some for your maintenance arsenal.

RV14151004-143117-174.jpg RV14151004-171308-185.jpg

What else is next?

Goals for the near future:
  • Finish painting the remaining interior panels
  • Silkscreen the panel labels
  • Fit the lower cowl
  • Complete stick wiring
  • Complete Lightspeed ignition installation
  • Install Prop Governor and then determine control cable routing and lengths
  • Get exhaust system installed
  • Install engine baffles (if the FWF kit comes before 2017)
  • Complete wiring to wing root connectors
  • Determine engine hose lengths (because I'm not using Van's hoses, but Teflon)
(Allt his in no particular order)

Quote of the Day:

"What is life but to dream and do".

Margaret Gehrke - National Park Traveler

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