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First Rivet

Where did November go?
By Brian Garrett
Posted on 11/29/2021 10:34 PM
In a blink of an eye November just blew right by and with that I've wrapped up the empennage, taken the wings as far as I can go and almost completed the fuel tanks.  

This past weekend I did a water test on the tanks as they stand currently - with the backs off.  Initially I wasn't going to do this as it seemed to be an unnecessary and wet step, but at this time I really am glad I did.  The first tank was leaking water through some weird and unseen location almost as fast as I was putting water in.  So I'll have to mix up a bit of pro seal to get that patched up and re-test.  The second tank was pretty solid.  I only had some leaking coming from around the fuel cap itself, so I'll tidy that up as well.  I'm hoping I can get that taken care of in the next few days here.

I'm still waiting on torque tubes for the wings from The Airplane Factory.  I have solidly worn out my welcome with asking for an update from them at this time.  They know I'm anxious to get them to finish up the wings, so I'm having to leave it at that for now.  As with most kit organizations these days, TAF has more business than they can handle.  I haven't asked what the lead time is on kits from South Africa, but it took almost 10 months for me to get my kit.  Given the traction Sling has for their low and now high wing air frames, I can't imagine the delivery time got shorter.  Fortunately I should not be waiting on a boat to bring over the torque tubes.  They should be coming by plane... but dear god is it painful waiting on a much needed part holding up so much progress.

Since I've wrapped up the empennage and can't go any farther with the wings I've been focusing my efforts on the fuel tanks and getting things started on the fuselage.  I honestly didn't expect to be starting the fuselage this soon.  My stretch goal was to move onto that phase come January 2022, but even if I had all the wing parts I think the fuselage would be an easy goal to hit.  

I have friends and other builders comment on how fast things are coming together for me.  It gives me pause to wonder what I am doing wrong, or if I am missing a step.  Sure there are some folks who are taking the time to self-etch and/or corrosion proof their parts as they are building.  I think I mentioned in an earlier blog my reasons why I am not going that route.  The CorrosionX (www.corrosionx.com/pages/aviation) seems to be almost a "cheat" but after talking with the company for about an hour at Oshkosh this past year and knowing some of the other applications around it - I chose to go that route to save myself some time.

Other news that I didn't mention in the video.  The finishing kit is underway and should be here by February 2022.  I didn't realize I didn't need to do anything about it - but when I called TAF and asked about getting that going they said they already had it being shipped.  That was a nice surprise.  I also have ordered the engine and firewall forward kit.  I also am putting the bow on getting the avionics order in so they can queue that system up.  Sadly I have a disease of checking all the boxes when I and doing something and the avionics is no exception.  It's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it IMHO.  With that, the panel will be the standard two by G3X panels, the 650 with the GFC-500 AP.  I'm tossing in a few other things as well in addition to the O2 system Midwest has demoed on their YouTube channel.  That loud clap you hear is the sound of all that money leaving my bank account all at once.  I do have to say it's a bit breathtaking having to move that much cash out so quickly, but in the end it is worth it.

We also have the interior ordered.  Honestly - I think the single hardest part of this entire project is picking colors and paint schemes.  We have a rough idea on what the colors will be, so we went with very neutral black and gray colors for the interior.  Having flown some planes with cream and white interiors I know the reflection of that into the windows can make it difficult to see outside sometimes day or night.  So the interior is going to be dark.  Plus it helps to not have any of the dirt show.  Given it's a low-wing airplane people are going to want to step onto the seat and then down into the plane.  Not my first choice and we will avoid any shoe to seat standing, but it will be bound to happen on occasionally.

Other upgrades that I am doing as I spilled the beans a bit in the video.  USB ports on the vertical stabilizer, under the rear portion of the fuselage, top and bottom of the left and right wing and two in the cabin, fore and aft in the top.  These ports will be to allow me to place cameras in these positions to record beyond what their standard battery life is.  I haven't settled on a camera setup as of yet, but be forewarned, some cameras can't record AND charge at the same time.  So I will have to take that into consideration.

There are upgrade wheels/brakes which I will be doing and I also will be doing aluminum fuel lines in the plane instead of the rubber ones supplied by TAF/Sling.  The rubber fuel lines have to be replaced after 5 years and that just seems to be a step I will be happy to do without.  I'll be reaching out to Evan Brunye here soon to get some additional data on that as he has a kit in that area.

Another item of note.  I may also have mentioned this in a previous post, but keeping track of my time went out the window the first week we were working on the plane.  I had every intention of noting my start/stop times to keep diligent track of it.  I really enjoy watching and reading other blog posts from builders who meticulously track their time to see where they are at in the build process.  I wanted to do that, but in the end I'm focusing all of my efforts on the build itself.  So my build time will be measured in days from start to completion vs. hours committed to the project.  It certainly will be more than 365 days, but it should be less than 730 days.

The next video you should see something looking a bit more like an airplane.  :)  Here's the link which includes pictures and videos: Where did November go?