12.1.2 Intake tube modification

This entry is part 13 of 50 in the series 12 - Engine / Propeller

I would direct you to a previous post on modifying two of the intake tubes.

After much work and head scratching on how to modify the existing tubes, we hit a stroke of luck.

The tenets in one of the spaces where Malcolm has his shop became available. For a while it was empty. Then someone moved in. One day Malcolm met the neighbors and during the introductions found out the guy builds race cars. He was showing Allan (of Allan Pittman Race Cars) what we were trying to do and he said basically said “That? I can weld up one those from scratch.”  Well, I guess when you build cars that hit almost 200MPH in an 1/8th of a mile, this is child’s play. I also learned that when the cars go REAL fast… They only need an eighth of a mile.

So I bought the flanges and some stock tubing and gave him the parts. In about as long as it takes one of his cars to fly down the 1/8 mile strip, I had a pair of custom made intake tubes.

Custom intake tubes for the #5 and #6 cylinders

And here’s a before/after of the #5

And of the #6 cylinder

I picked up some “Continental Gold” paint and Malcolm is going to sand blast and paint them.

Then it’s time to modify the upper cowling to accommodate the main air intake. There’s simply no way around that.


00 The Velocity is coming home!

This entry is part 12 of 28 in the series 00 - Prep/Logistics

So 18 months ago when Ann saw a move south was imminent, we had to figure out what to do with the airplane. The chances of finding a house with a shop big enough for the plane was not very likely. So the plan was to ship it to Malcolm. I could make the short (40 minute) flight from NW Atlanta to work on it while I was trying to find a place for the plane. Or if we never found a place for it, I could always commute..

But the move didn’t happen. And shipping it all the way back up here was too much money. And there was a possibility that we would be moving at some point soon. So we waited. And I flew down to Greenville as often as possible. Logistics were a pain. I drove the explorer down and left it at the airport so I would have transportation when I was there. Whenever I had a class to teach that was anywhere near (400 miles is “near”, right?) Greenville, I would spend a couple days working on the plane with Malcolm. It took me a while but I eventually found a nice place to stay and got into a groove of heading down to South Carolina.

At this point, there doesn’t look like there’s any chance of move so we made the call to bring the plane back home.

The big day is scheduled to be February 25th. I’ll fly down (commercial) on the 22nd and finish up a couple tasks and then start prepping the plane for the trip back north.

I really can’t say enough good things about Malcolm. His glass work (fiberglass, that is) is just spectacular. And his eye on finish work is beyond reproach. After looking at other planes at Oshkosh and Sun-n-Fun, my plane (in primer) looks WAY better than quite a few finished (and painted) airplanes. The guy is a freaking artist. If the plane hadn’t spent the last 18 months down there, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as far along as I am now. By my estimation, 1 hour of “Malcolm time” is the equivalent of 8 hours (or more) of my time.

It’ll be nice to walk out to the shop whenever I want but without a doubt, things won’t move at the same pace as when me and Malcolm are working together.

7.0 Landing Gear Retract Test II

This entry is part 9 of 39 in the series 07 - Landing Gear

I omitted a rather important point in the previous post on gear retraction. Which is after the gear was raised, it didn’t stay up. As soon as the power was removed, the gear began dropping. It is supposed to stay up.

The culprit was a bad (leaking) nose gear cylinder. A call to Albert revealed that there was a bad batch of these. I called Scott Swing at the factory and he confirmed it. The date that I got mine was at the tail end of when those cylinders were in the pipeline. He said to send it back and he would rebuild it.

So I removed the cylinder and shipped it down to Sebastian, FL. Scott rebuilt it and the cylinder got back to Malcolm’s about a week later (when I wasn’t there). So Malcolm reinstalled it and did another test.

This time, after the gear was retracted and the power removed, the gear stayed up. Malcolm said that FORTY-EIGHT HOURS LATER, the landing gear was still firmly up.


10.3.1 Aileron Torque Tubes

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series 10 - Control Sytem

I want to get as many tasks that require the wings on done before the plane leaves Malcolm’s shop. We can easily get both wings on in his shop. In my shop, it’s a chore just to get one of them on.

Earlier, we attached the (steel) torque tubes to the ailerons. So we’re going to work on the wing root end. First I have to fabricate the brackets that support the torque tube and bellcrank. The factory does this significantly different than Malcolm so my brackets are a LOT different then most others.

Here is the pilot side bracket:

And the co-pilot side:

Then the aileron cable support bracket has to be built. Here is the co-pilot side.

You’ll notice where the cable attaches to the bellcrank that there is a hole in the bellcrank above where the cable is mounted. That hole at the very top was the only hole in the bellcrank. Before we got to this point Malcolm started measuring for this extra hole. I asked him what he was doing and he said “The factory hole is too far out. You can’t get enough motion with that hole so you have to drill another one closer to the torque tube.” This kind of stuff used to make me nervous; Off the cuff mods that aren’t called out in the manual. But I’ve learned to accept it when Malcolm says “do it because otherwise it won’t work.”

After this we drilled the bellcrank and torque tube and bolted everything together. The manual says that we should have 2 1/2″ of aileron travel when the stick is moved from one side to the other. And we got… 2-1/2″. Had we used the factory hole, we would have had significantly less. Then we would have had to pull off the bellcranks and drill the second holes.

00 The trip home

This entry is part 15 of 28 in the series 00 - Prep/Logistics

I flew down (commercial) on Wednesday into GSP. Thursday morning I took a cab to GYH (Donaldson Airport) and picked up the Explorer.

Me and Malcolm spent the next three days finishing up some tasks and then I loaded up all the little stuff (boxes, parts, etc.) into the Explorer. Travis arrived on Sunday morning and we started loading the plane on his trailer. This is a relatively new rig that lets him carry the plane with the engine attached. Earlier versions required removing the engine.

First we had to bolt on a mounting bracket.

Then the front of the plane is lifted onto the trailer.

Next, the back of the plane is raised up with jacks (and in this case, Malcolm’s chain hoist). Once the back of the plane is high enough, Travis backs the trailer up until the plane is in position.

Then a receiver mount is placed under the bracket and the plane is lowered. The landing gear is then retracted.

Under the back of the plane you can see the orange hydraulic jack that will tilt the plane over to it’s transport position.


One of Malcolm’s business neighbors is in the industrial surplus business. He gave me a roll of this green plastic material. We think it’s used for protecting cars during transport. So I put it anywhere I thought the plane might get beat up or if I wanted to seal something. I wasn’t sure it would stay on, but I figured that it wouldn’t hurt.

Finally, we loaded up the wings.

Travis pulled out as soon as the plane was loaded.

I hung around for a few minutes and then it was time for me to hit the road.

I left about 3pm on Sunday. I ended driving all the way home. I got in a little after 1am.

Travis showed up around 9am the next morning. We were in get it done mode and it was just us so there aren’t any pictures of the unloading.

But here’s the last picture from the shop cam before it left 18 months ago.

And there’s the first picture from the shop cam after the return.

It’s kind of hard to tell, but it’s a HUGE difference.


6A.3.1 Parking Brake

This entry is part 12 of 42 in the series 06 - Fuselage

Sometimes you need to keep the plane from rolling when stopped for a short period of time. Waiting for an IFR clearance, stopped on an uneven surface, etc.

The Cessna has this MacGuyver mechanism with cables that go to the brake pedals and a pull lever that looks like it came out of a ’66 Ford Fairlane.

So this is how I’m going to have a parking brake. A dual cylinder valve goes in between the brake pedals and the calipers. The brakes are activated and while holding the pedals down, the valve is closed which keeps the brake line pressurized.

Here’s the valve on the inside of the left side next to the rudder/brake pedals.

Then the brake lines are cut and connected to the valve assembly.

The next task is to fabricate the linkage to the valve which will connect to a level at the bottom of the instrument panel.


13.6.3 Ground Power Receptacle

This entry is part 32 of 67 in the series 13 - Electrical / Instruments

When the battery in a car is unable to start the engine, you can connect a set of jumper cables to get the engine started.  Many FBO’s aren’t real keen on “jumper cables”. Too much potential for connecting them wrong and doing major damage to the aircraft electrical system. Most 28 volt aircraft have ground power connectors. It allows you to connect the single cable to the aircraft with no chance of connecting things wrong.

Albert gave me a Ground Power Receptacle a while back so now all I have to do is figure out where to put it. I was going to put it under the battery tray but once I looked at the size of the plug I realized that wasn’t going to work.

So I put it in the nose. This way, it’s easy to get to on the ground when the nose gear doors are open. People that use the factory nose landing light can’t do this because the landing light is in the way. Yet another advantage of landing lights in the canard.

7.7.3 Main Gear Doors

This entry is part 10 of 39 in the series 07 - Landing Gear

The build manual has you leave small openings at the bottom of the main landing gear doors. I built small “mini-doors” that will fill this opening. But now I have to figure out how to keep these little doors pushed out against the main gear doors.

Malcolm uses a thin strip of soft foam to apply the necessary outward pressure. But the geometry of my gear legs wont’ allow that. They keep ripping the foam off.

So I came up with a “Plan B” (I love a plan B). I cut a small piece of titanium and mounted it to the fixed side of the hinge. It’s damned near impossible to bend titanium so this tiny piece will hold the small door out with just the right amount of pressure.


Here’s the titanium tab sandwiched under the middle nut-plate.

Mounted with the gear up

And with the gear down (You can just see the tab between the gear leg and the door). It clears the gear leg by about 1/8″.


4.2.8 Battery Tray

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series 04 - Bulkheads

The battery tray was modified a little while back in SC. Now it’s time to install it. Before mounting it, I drilled some large holes to accommodate the wiring that will be going from the ground service connector, landing gear controller, master and starter solenoids. Unfortunately, the connector from the landing gear controller to the power pack is WAY too large so it’ll have to take a different route.

Then I had to decide on how to hold the battery in place. My initial plan was to use “J” hooks. Buy I wasn’t sure how that would work in terms of wearing through the battery tray where the hooks went through. So instead, I used some 1/2″ aluminum and created a bracket that screws to the outside of the tray supports that has a drilled and tapped hole for the rod which holds the battery down.

I then located the battery tray between the master/starter solenoids and the brake reservoir making sure that it cleared the nose gear when it was retracted. Once the location was set, I drilled a few holes, mixed up some structural adhesive and pop-riveted the tray in place.

Once the adhesive had cured, I had to grind a divot in the inner skin. The battery I’m using is just a bit too big so I had to make some space. So I removed the inner shin and some of the foam. Then covered it with 2 layers of BID.

Battery tray with battery mounted.

A view of the corner where I removed the inner skin and foam.

And a view looking down from the top.