Finishing the RV14 up for good

Posted 7/11/2016

It's been a busy few weeks since I started flying the RV-14A now nearly a month ago!  I haven't had much time to take pictures, let alone post them.  We had a very long string of nearly ideal flying weather that allowed me to quickly fly off the hours on the RV14. It rarely rained and the winds were good on most days, with only a handful of very hot days.  One of the nicest springs you could ask for when flying a new plane.
Sadly I don't have any good current pics of the now completed plane, but we'll get some of those real soon. I have only a tiny bit of touch-up paint to do, and it's ready to see.

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I picked up a PLB in addition to my 406Mhz ACK E-04 ELT, so now both my RV-10 and RV-14 are identically equipped. Above and below you can see some photos of my Koger sunshade.  This is the side-by-side RV, wide version, that they sell, and it works perfectly in the RV-14.  I would never want to own a canopy RV without one of these's a night and day difference in comfort with it above your head.  I really do like the bubble canopy and the visibility is phenomenal, but is also very great with the shade pulled.  It will be a rare occurance for me to have this thing retracted...check out the gleam from that bald guy's head!

I waited until after a few hours of flying to connect my TruTrak pitch servo.  It doesn't have the torque enhancer style arm that the RV-10 does and I doubt it will need it.  I may finally decide some day to invest in auto-trim for both planes, I'm not sure.  It's hard for me to trust an auto-trim system in an airplane that is very trim sensitive, but I may go for it one of these days, since I do have safety-trim for speed control.

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On one of the nicer days, I took the RV-10 out so the sisters could meet side-by-side.  The RV-14 is definitely smaller when you compare the 2, but they look happy together.  I think they'll be spending a lot of time side-by-side in the air.

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I had to add 2 tasks to my list of to-do's on the plane.  One was to make a couple pairs of rudder blocks for my RV-14.  The above is my attempt at humor when my wife wanted to know how she was going to fly the plane when she couldn't reach the pedals.  The pedal design in the RV-14 is different than in the RV-10, but still simiar, so in the end I did something very similar to these RV-10 Rudder Blocks that I made.  The only real difference is the size of the wooden positioning dowels, used to keep the pedals from having any rotational movement, and I also went with a single attach bolt and different lower pad.  Otherwise they are roughly the same. 

The other thing I'll be working on is the fuel caps.  As delivered, we noticed that when I do rolls with fuller tanks, the fuel came streaming out of these SPRL fuel caps.  The caps are made of plastic, and are designed to be very light weight.  For the most part I think they are a good design, but I do feel that they need another material option.  They are so light that on days with winds over 15kts, they blow off the wing when I am fueling up.  I think the o-rings can be lubed and tightened and that may fix the fuel leakage, but I still want to have a nice aluminum engraved fuel cap that has the N-Number and fuel type and quantity engraved on it.  See my RV-10 caps 2 rows below.   So, I have purchased a spare fuel cap and will try to have an aluminum top plate machined.  That will look a lot nicer than the plastic, if I can get it done reasonably.

2 rows down you can see my wheel fairing being prepared for cutout around the gear leg.  Be very careful when you build this part that you read the plans correctly.  They index the whole notch to a screw hole ABOVE the notch.  They then reference drilling a hole below the notch. If you confuse the drawing, you will end up cutting your hole in the wrong spot.  I read the plans and marked the hole, then realized I was overlooking the reference point, and adjusted my hole.  Just be very careful so you get it right. Mine came out great now.

The label photo is the part number from Aircraft Spruce for Stainless Steel #8 Tinnerman washers.  I prefer to put these under the countersunk screws that hold the wheel fairings on to prevent future fiberglass cracking.

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Above I got a couple of poor pictures of the RV-10 flying next to me. I'm going to have to start carrying good cameras in both planes with Circular Polarizer filters so we can get some better ones.  Also above you can see the partially completed wheel fairings. These help the looks a TON and help the speed a bunch too.  Below is a picture of me torturing my wife, making her put the rudder pedal blocks in to test fit them. I figure if she's going to use them, she should install them, right?  I know, I'm a bad guy. :)  

Below are some pics, some for my own reference.  I think on the RV-10 I used straight DMC900 white tint base for my paint, but they gave me the more standard white mix for the RV-14.  I was hoping they'd be a perfect match but they may be very slightly different.  The "Valvoline" reference is that this is "Valvoline White". It also has many other names under the code 882, because many companies use this as their official white.  The only difference from DMC900 straight up is that it has a very very  tiny amount of blue in it that supposedly makes it whiter.

For the wheel fairings, Van's changed the way they are done over the RV-10.  While I initially wasn't so sure about it, it didn't turn out to be too hard and I like it better than the RV-10 by far.  The basically use smaller intersection fairings held on with 4 screws, but then build up a fillet around them to hold them in place.  It works well and is pretty clean.  I wanted to slit the intersection fairings and glass them in permanently like some people did on the RV-10, but the flat RV-14 gear legs don't have a lot of room in them for a fiberglass tab to hold the back half from spreading out in the wind, so I opted for the per-plans method.

I'm now done painting in the booth, which I'm thrilled about!  It was a butt load of prep work on these wheel and leg and intersection fairings, I'll tell you.  There are, to quote Carl Sagan, "Billions and Billions" of pinholes in these parts.  I used up an entire fresh tube of the Kombi Spot Putty that I used on the cowl and other parts.  But after some K36 primer/surfacer, and then more spot putty and another layer of K36, I had them ready to paint.  Make sure to sand the K36 primer before top coating needs to always be sanded lightly.

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One of the additions I did to the Vetterman dual exhaust was to add a saddle bracket to the pipes.  I wanted the pipes to be compact and stay parallel all the time.  I think they had, during engine cranking, hit the tunnel a couple times when the engine was chugging more severly.  By keeping them tight together I can avoid some of that.  We shot a slow-mo video of an engine start and determined that it didn't hit the tunnel at all so far with the saddle bracket in there.

Then there are some pics of my completed wheel, leg, and intersection fairings.  I wish I had one of the whole plane, but let me tell you it looks FAR better with them on. It had the RV-12 appearance without them, but now it's fully fast RV.

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And finally a few wrap-up pics.  Just some photos of the Epoxy primer I used on the exterior of the RV-14.  On the interior I used a cheaper shop line epoxy.  Also on the interior was the Delfleet FDG pictured below.  My daughter painted me up a set of wheel chocks for the RV-14 for travel.
One of the things I've been working on in my flights lately is getting re-acquainted with the right seat.  Knowing there are 2 other pilots, one of them a student, in my family, I will be giving them the time in the Left as much as I can so that they can stay familiar with everything, even when I'm the one doing the flying.  Below is me getting a good practice flight in, in the RV-10, with my youngest daughter at the controls.  She's a natural RV pilot if there ever was one.

One of the challenges I faced in fitting the 5'2" ladies into the RV-14 was that the rudder pedals aren't reachable even when you have them mounted in the aft position, and the seat full-forward.  To fit a short person, I had to add 3" thick rudder pedal extension blocks, and an additional 4" thick pad behind the seat back where it hits the support bar. I mocked up one out of shipping foam that works perfectly.  My first attempt was using a chopped up 3.5" pool noodle, cut into 2 sticks that stuck behind the seat. This worked real well, so I mocked up one out of the same polyethylene foam that was 4" and that was more idea yet.  So at present I have a fresh block of 4" x 15" x something between 16" and 20" tall on it's way that I can cut into a similar shape. This will become my permanent booster stop behind the seat for the girls.  The flip-up aluminum one isn't long enough to do the job, and if it were longer, it probably wouldn't be strong enough.  So this wil be a better solution for us.

That's about all for now, as it's time to enjoy the plane! 

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