15.2.2 Window Trim

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

The kit comes with interior trim pieces for the windshield and rear windows. Apparently, these were made from molds that don’t exactly match the windows. Which means that they require a lot of work to get them to fit and even then, they don’t. So I decided (on the advice of other builders) to make my own.

Here’s the right rear window. The plexiglass is covered so it doesn’t get scratched during building.

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I covered the window area with duct tape. Here’s the right rear window.

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Then I covered the edge with four layers of BID.

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This is the windshield with the layups around the edge.

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Top is the factory left rear window trim and bottom is mine.

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In the middle is my one-piece windshield trim and the two-piece factory trim. The windshield trim doesn’t need to be one piece but it’ll be easier to trim it to fit than try to make it bigger.

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15.99 Fuel Level Sending Unit Covers

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

The fuel senders which measure the level of fuel in strakes stick out into the cabin a bit. To create a cover, I took some blue foam, shaped it to the proper shape, covered it with duct tape and used it as a form with BID and carbon fiber.

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When it cured, I popped out the form, trimmed away the excess fiberglass, sanded, filled and painted.

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15.1.4 Seats

This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

I had Oregon Areo make the foam for the front seats. They make seat cushions for military and high-end corporate aircraft. Their cushions are considered to be the best you can get. But they’re a bit pricey. So that’s why they’re only doing the front seats. And their job was even more interesting since I had to… modify the left seat to accommodate my longer than average stature. 🙂

For the back seats. I made my own by purchasing raw foam from Jim and Janet Fix of Hi-Tech Foams. In the 15 years we’ve been flying our 182-RG, we’ve put over 1,200 hours on the plane. In that time, the back seat has been occupied for about 100 hours. That said, the foam cushions I made for the back seats are way better than what’s in the Cessna.

For now, when I’ve needed to sit in the seats to determine a position for the glareshield, switches, etc., I would cover the seat with plastic and install the seat. But that’s an inexact science since an upholstered seat will be a bit wider and result in a slightly higher seating position. Which means it’s long past the time for getting the seats covered. I was going to use Dave Spano. He did Brett Ferrell’s interior and the glareshield for our Cessna. But he’s not in the upholstery business anymore.

I know the owner of a local body shop and he sent me to his interior guy.  Wicked expensive!  I called around, asked other builders, googled and found Flightline Interiors. I called and spoke with Abby. They specialize in RV’s but Abby said that they’ve done a couple Velocity’s. So Ann and I drove up with a front and rear seat (in the middle of snowstorm) and looked at some of their previous work. They really know airplane interiors!

One of my biggest concerns is that the pilot and co-pilot seats are obviously different sizes. I was worried that it would look funny after they were upholstered. Abby said that she had an idea on how to minimize the difference in appearance. She and Ann talked about colors, patterns, etc. while I watched the snow.

For material, we would use an “Ultra Leather” product. I’ve sat in chairs that use this material and it’s really soft, breathes well and isn’t as expensive and natural leather. The pattern is based on the design that Bentley uses in their cars. Colors will be consistent with the carpet, trim and safety harnesses.

So we got on the schedule and on the appointed day I drove the seat frames and cushions up to Burlington, WI and dropped them off. It was almost lunchtime so Abby directed me to Freds. They claim to have the best burgers in Wisconsin… I can not dispute that claim.

About a month later Abby called to let me know the seats were done. So back in the Explorer and up to Wisconsin (and lunch at Fred’s!).

Here’s the pilot and co-pilot seats. They don’t look that different to me. 🙂

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Here’s all four.

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The color looks quite a bit… lighter than I expected. But Ann says it’s fine. And who am I to question anyone about colors?

15.2.7 Rear Vanity Panel

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

At the back of the cabin (behind the rear seats), a horizontal baggage shelf and vertical vanity panel have to be fabricated. For the baggage shelf I used 3/8″ divinycell foam and two layers of BID on each side. For the other parts, a single layer of BID is all that’s needed.

First I used cardboard to determine the basic shape. At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with the transverse bulkhead and aileron cables. In the end, I decided to create small “boxes” cover that.

Here you can see the shelf, vanity panel and the front-to-rear parts of the boxes made from cardboard.

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Then I used the cardboard templates to cut the shelf and main vanity panel. I cut them a little big and sanded them down to fit.

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In this picture, I have the two sides of the boxes bonded together. I decided to angle the sides because… why not?

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And finally with the boxes finished. The green tape was just a g   uide to let me locate them in the same place while testing the fit.

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I bonded aluminum angle to the sides and bolted a piece across the back of the gear bulkhead to make the mounting brackets for the shelf. This is the only part that will be screwed down. All the other pieces will be velcroed. in place.

There’s a philosophy which says to make the vanity panel easily removable so that if the main landing gear doesn’t come down that I could go back and gain access to the gear mechanism. I just don’t know about climbing back there (in flight) to fix a landing gear problem. The risk management part of me says that rarely (if ever) has anyone been injured landing gear up.  But there are many instances where people have died messing around with landing gear.

So I haven’t decided about hinging the top of the vanity panel to access the gear mechanism. The vanity panel won’t be installed until I have many hours on the plane anyway.


15-1-6 Weatherstripping

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

I think the factory supplied weatherstripping leaves a bit to be desired as far as sealing without creating problems closing the doors.  The problem is when my door openings were created, the gap varies quite a bit.  Me and Malcolm tried to figure out a way to make the space consistent, but it would have been a ton of work.

So I picked up a couple sizes of very compressible weatherstripping from McMaster-Carr.


After testing a couple different sizes, I determined that the 1/2″ thick material was perfect. It made contact all around the door and didn’t create any problems closing the doors.

I attached it to the fuselage so that when opening the door, water wouldn’t run into the cabin.

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15 – Interior Repainting

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

Way back when…

I decided that instead of covering the pillars and fresh air plenum, that I would paint them.  Since Ann was in charge of picking colors for the inside, I gave her some different options on paint and she picked one. I then obtained the pull handles for the A-Pillars and proceeded to install the handles and paint the interior parts.

Since paint manufactures sometimes stop producing a particular color of paint, I bought a supply in case I needed to repaint.  The results were great.  It was a textured paint which hid flaws nicely and dings or scrapes didn’t show very much.

Interior painting.

Then we got the seats covered.  And given that the sample material was kind of small, Ann missed the color match by just a bit.  Then after she spoke with Justin about the interior, she broke the news to me:  The interior color would have to be changed.  And the color they selected wasn’t available in a textured finish.

So it was time to get to work.

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One of the vents for the rear seats couldn’t be removed.  I was going to tape it off but I noticed that it wasn’t closing. so I created an access panel (more work) and removed it.  I contacted Aveo Engineering and explained that while I had purchased these vents over 6 years ago that they had only been in use for about 1 years. They sent me a replacement at no charge!

Then it was sanding, filling, sanding, filling, etc. It was much harder this time since a) the plenum was already installed and not on a bench and b) the plane was not upside down so the overhead parts weren’t on the floor.

But after much work, it was done.

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One thing I’m not happy about are the A-Pillar pull handles.  I painted them because I couldn’t find any at the junkyard in the right color. I’ll keep looking.

While all this was going on, I also made some changes to the switch panels.

15 – Cargo net

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

One of the things we discovered on our first cross country is that baggage storage isn’t as easy as in the Cessna. And once the bags are stowed, they can easily come forward since the baggage shelf is elevated above the floor.

When I was coming home from Sebastian, I picked up a cargo net from Walmart which was kind of okay except there was no easy way to attach it.

I asked members of the VOBA (Velocity Owners & Builders Assoc) how they attached their cargo restraints and was tipped off on these.

Anchor Point Tie Downs

I like the idea. When not in use,  the only thing visible are the round plates. But four won’t be enough. I really need six.  I hate the idea of buying 8 just to throw 2 away.  So I went directly to the manufacture and bought 6.

Then it was a simple matter of embedding 6 drilled and tapped hardpoints and covering with the requisite 2 layers of BID.

Once it cured, I installed the mounting plates.

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Then, rather than use the hooks to attach the net, I looped it through the rings.

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Now if we ever hit turbulence, I won’t have to worry about Ann’s luggage coming up front.

15.99 – Crash Axe Holder

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

During the build, one of the things that I thought about is how would I exit the plane if it were upside down? Better to think about this now than when time is short.

Because of the gull-wing doors, it seems like it would be rather difficult to open the doors with the airplane on its roof.  Some planes have quick release doors. Basically a way to remove the hinge pins. I thought about implementing this and talked to Malcolm who had some ideas as well. The problem is that trying to implement it after the doors have been mounted would be a chore.  And it would require an opening to access the hinge pin from inside the cabin… which would allow water in.

So I came up with “Plan B”.  Busting out. I researched “Crash Axes” and found a bunch… that weren’t practical. Either because they were too big and heavy or they were insanely expensive.  I found one for $400.

In the end, I settled on the “Dead On Annihilator” demolition tool. Small and only 2 pounds. The claw is razor sharp and it’s long enough to provide some leverage.

Now where to put it?  I decided to put it on the side of the cabin just aft of the B-Pillar.  To keep from snagging things and prevent it from becoming a missile, I made at holder for it out of foam and some lightweight BID.

A length of Velcro strap should keep it in place until needed.  Which is hopefully never.


15.99 – Cabin Heat Control

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series 15 - Interior

One of the things that I noticed (actually Ann noticed) is that while I have great heat, she doesn’t have that much.  It took me a minute to figure out why.

There are two ports on the duct which carries the heated air from the oil cooler to the hoses that feed it to the cabin. Since the hot air duct is just on the other side of the bulkhead from the pilot side rudder pedals, there is a very short piece of tubing (maybe 1″) that runs from the duct to the opening just in front of the rudder pedals.

But for the copilot side, it runs up to the top of the canard bulkhead, over the copilot side and then down to the floor.

That air is going to want to take the path of least resistance some almost all of it ends up on the pilot side.

So I created some movable covers.

Here’s the hot air port on the pilot side.

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With the new cover installed and in the open position.

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With the new cover in place blocking the hot air. 2017-10-14 IMG_20171014_104716

With the hot air restricted on the pilot side, it should be forced over to the copilot side. We’ll have to wait for cold weather to see if it works.