Day 57 (TF3) & Day 2 (TF4) - January 24, 2015

This Saturday, the TF4 students dove into the OP-51 project, a project that incorporates crucial knowledge of many important sheet metal basics.  The students learned how to use the deburring wheel and how to lay out markings for holes and spacing.  After their first use of a power tool, they started drilling multiple holes which will later be used for installing rivets.  Students also started to learn how to dimple holes and some students even made it to countersinking and riveting.

As for TF3, more testing of the fuel pump continued and the interior upholstery was temporarily installed.  The interior color will be a nice light grey. 
Later in class, TF3 was weighted and balanced with the wings, fairings and all of the parts installed for accurate balancing.  The RV-12 weighs a very light 800 pounds when empty. 

Today was another productive session.  Tune in next week as TF3 nears the finish and TF4 nears the finish of the OP-51 project. 

Also, here's a great photo from last week with the students of TF3 and TF4.


Day 56 (TF3) & Day 1 (TF4) - January 17, 2015

This Saturday, we passed another major milestone; the beginning of the next class-build, TeenFlight 4 (TF4).  Today was mostly a class full of learning and starting the first project of the name tag.  For the first hour, we went over guidelines and expectations that the students have to agree to in order to be successful.  Topics covered in the class were different types of rivets and riveting, countersinking and dimpling holes, drill bit sizes and the deburring process.

After this learning session, we broke into the first project.  Each of the TF4 students were paired with one student from TF3 to mentor them.  The first project was the name tag which may sound simple, but it involves precise details of deburring, drilling, counter-sinking and setting two rivets.  After this initial project of TF4 was completed, it was back to the board for some more instruction.  

At the very end of class, the TF4 students gathered in front of the TF3 airplane for some pictures.  It was a great day! Check back next week for more progress.


Day 55 - January 10, 2015

Today at the hangar, we kept pushing on toward the finish.  One of the tasks that was worked on was the interior decals.  They were adhered to the avionics panel to label and identify what certain controls are in the cockpit.  The main things that they label are the throttle, the choke and the cabin heat.  

The plastic on the canopy and rear window was also peeled off and it produced some strong static electricity as you can see.  However, despite the fact that it was pretty funny, it also looks great!

Near the end of class, the fuel pump was tested to check the pumping rate.  The pumping rate had to be about 1 gallon of fuel in 180 seconds, or three minutes.  After the test, the pump pumped out one gallon in about 130 seconds, or two minutes and ten seconds. 

All of the wheel fairings, besides the nose fairing, have been painted silver to match the color of the aluminum and they also look great! 

The trim and attitude controls were calibrated with the Garmin G3X EFIS system to ensure the right attitude was being displayed on the screen.  Near the very end of class, we also started the EFIS continuity check.  
Stay tuned for more next week!    

Day 54 - January 3, 2015

Many milestones were achieved today as we keep making progress.  The first task that was completed was the installation of the new grey seatbelts.  This involved drilling out most of the attach points and spending some extended time in the baggage compartment.  The seatbelts were then attached and tightened.  

Another important task worked on today was the action of the fuel pump.  When we turned it on for the first time, there were no leaks anywhere and that was a relief.  And after further alignment, the decals on the vertical stabilizer were adhered.  It looks great! 

Using the Garmin G3X, the pitch control surfaces were calibrated.  
This involved aligning the stabilator with the anti-servo tab and moving the control sticks to set at zero.  

Now for the major milestone today: the inaugural engine start of TF3!  After rolling the plane outside, the engine was started and it was very successful.  There wasn't a single oil or fuel leak anywhere and the engine ran smoothly! 

Video of TF3 engine start:
After the second start, some fine-tuning was done to balance the carburetors. 
Today was a great way to start the year off.  Happy New Year! 

Day 53 - December 20, 2014

This Saturday, the main tasks that were worked on included the decals on the vertical stabilizer as well as the canopy latch installation.  As for the decals, they were placed along a strip of tape that was lined up with the horizontal rivet line and from there, taped on in order to space each decal. 
The tail number for TF3 will be N113TF.  Very cool! 

After hours of wire routing and installing plates, the canopy warning light and latch system were completed.  The light will act as a warning light for the canopy as well as a red rotator light to increase night vision. 
Some last details were completed on the engine including the filling of oil and engine coolant in each separate reservoir. The left and right side steps were bolted into place through a hole in the fuselage that had to be enlarged for a nicer fit. 
The interior pushrods were adjusted to clear the flaperon and the elevator pushrods.  Also on the interior floor panels, we adhered the anti-skid material on both the left and right side of the cockpit.  The canopy bulkhead also had the same material applied to it to prevent scratches and dents that could occur from luggage. 

TF3 is really coming close to completion.  We ended the day with an Open House for parents to see and hear all about what we've been working on in class. 
Thank you, TF3 Mentors, for the cookies and nice gift!
Happy Holidays!


Day 52 - December 13, 2014

This Saturday, many important tasks were worked on and completed, including propeller, engine and fuel tank work.  The fuel tank was temporarily installed and the fuel neck was permanently installed.  This involved many bolts and screws. 

Work also continued on the canopy warning light and latch.  This involved routing many wires into place and fitting the canopy to the fuselage.  After a few minutes of positioning the canopy, it was a great fit and the canopy latch also fit very nicely. 
As it turned out, the fuel pressure sensor had a grommet that wasn't the right size, so we had to replace it in order to make a better fit.  Further work also continued on the engine.  This included safety wire work to attach the air filters onto both sides of the engine.   We also double checked the plans for the engine to ensure that every step was completed and marked off. 
Finally, the propellers were attached after finding the right torque value and removing the spinner. The pitot tube, which measures airspeed, was also connected to the avionics.  After this major step was completed, TF3 looks more like a plane.
Stay tuned for next week, as we might be undergoing the inaugural engine start of TF3!

Day 51 - December 6, 2014

A lot of progress was made this Saturday, despite the fact that we were working with a reduced number of team members.  The airplane is nearing completion and since there aren't as many tasks to work on, smaller groups of students will work together at a time and will alternate each week. 
Further installation of the cockpit warning light was worked on.  This task involved routing many wires through the canopy bulkhead and attaching them to the "eyeball" light.  The canopy latch holder was also attached onto the inside of the bulkhead. 

The anti-skid wing walk material was adhered to the right wing after cleaning the surface with alcohol. 
After a long time trying to align three bearings, we finally attached and torqued the bolts on the right wing flaperon.  The spars of the wings were also sanded and primed. 
As we are nearing the last stages of sanding the fairings, work continued on the nose wheel and nose wheel strut fairing.  The steps that attach to the fuselage were Pro-Sealed to avoid corrosion and rust due to water that could seep in.  The area on the forward fuselage where the canopy bolts onto was also Pro-Sealed to prevent corrosion as well as to protect the avionics systems.
Work continued on the engine and the engine coolant overflow container was bolted on.
Check back soon for more progress!


Day 50 - November 22, 2014

This Saturday was another productive session.  More work has continued on the throttle and choke controls.  This involved a whole lot of adele clamps and tight spaces, just to make things harder.  After a lot of work, the throttle and choke cables are functioning well. 

The canopy latch warning light has been installed as well as the "eye ball" light that can be used to look around the cockpit.  This involved riveting and drilling holes to route the wires that power the light. 
The wing seal on the fuselage has been successfully adhered on both sides.  This first involved attaching a layer of electrical tape around the line that the wing root forms on the fuselage in order for that area to be cleaned.  After cleaning, the seal was adhered. 
Also on the left wing, the anti-slip wing walk material was attached.  A heat gun and needle were used to puncture the air bubbles around the rivets and now it looks great.  The inboard wing edges were also cut and sanded to align with the wing seal on the fuselage.  After many metal shavings, the wings look great as well.  
The lower cowling is finally nearing its last days of completion.  The reshaped section of the cowling has been sanded down to clear the cylinders and the radiator duct seal on the cooling duct has been adhered correctly.     
See you in a couple weeks.  We'll be taking a break next weekend for the holiday. 
Happy Thanksgiving! 

Day 49 - November 15, 2014

The lower cowling, nose gear strut fairing, and ELT were some of the main tasks that were worked on today.  On the cowling, more sanding took place to prepare the final heat shield for application. 
After the heat shield was applied, we had to reshape a part of the cowling that was interfering with the cylinders in order for it to fit properly.  This required heating up the cowling and holding it in the new position until the fiberglass cooled.  We then applied three strips of fiberglass to reinforce the reshaped section.  Also, the duct seal for the radiator was completed and it is now curing. 
 The nose gear strut fairing was temporarily fitted to ensure a nice fit.  The ELT unit was also installed in the fuselage and we made progress on the wiring.

The wings were installed, then removed, in order for the wing seal markings to be successfully completed.  This required drawing lines around the wing skin onto the fuselage, and drawing lines onto the wing skins for proper spacing of the wings from the fuselage.  And in case you're wondering, this is what TF3 looks like as of now.  Here is an up-to-date photo of the fuselage.
In the cabin, work has been done on the interior controls and this is what the present day cockpit looks like.  We're really making progress!