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Horizontal Tail Installation


16 September 2011: Bearings! I confess that the first bearing gave me such a hard time that I improvised a mandrel and chucked each of the rest of them in my drill press. Some judicious use of 220 grit sandpaper made the job easier. It still took some force and bad language but, a reasonable amount of force and bad language.




A small portable bench vise served as my arbor press.







17 September 2011: The bushings also have to be sanded to fit. Today I spent about two hours sanding the bushings and another two chasing strange noises coming from my drill press. I never found anything wrong with it so I'll keep using it until it breaks. I'll then know what was wrong with my drill press.






19 September 2011: Trial fit of the horizontal stabilizer. After days of reaming and making parts fit I finally have something to show for it.





23 September 2011: Trim Slider Blocks. This went easier than I expected.





24 September 2011: I trial fitted the elevator and began to install the trim actuator.






25 September 2011: Linda and I spent the morning flying the Cessna. It was time for our biennial flight review. Our flight instructor friend, Isaac, beat us up pretty good. I spent the afternoon working out a panel design. I know I'm a little early but, since we've decided to reserve some money from the sale of our old house, I need to make decisions. Also, making the drawing was great fun. The radio stack will accommodate a panel dock for our Garmin 396 along with a transceiver and transponder. The left display will be a Dynon D100 EFIS with a D120 EMS on the right. Since the two can share and swap screens each pilot can have both flight and engine information on his or her personal display. The two circular cutouts are for back-up airspeed and altimeter.




26 September 2011: I was able to steal a few minutes to bolt the trim actuator to the fuselage. (The red goop is grease.)








30 September 2011: Scissor Link. I fabricated the three parts that make up the scissor link. Since they are made of steel I began priming them with Poly-Fiber white metal primer. I painted one side and, when cured, I'll paint the other side.




1 - 2 October 2011: Fitting the Floorboards. This weekend the weather finally cooled allowing me to open the door and enjoy the fresh air. I spend my available time fitting the floorboards and preparing them for varnish.





8 October 2011: An Old Friend! Normally it's my habit to use only the recommended products. An example is using Poly-Fiber varnish on any wood that will interact with other Poly-Fiber products. Since this is not the case with the floorboards I decided to coat them with West System epoxy. I rolled it on with foam rollers. It effectively seals the wood from moisture and provides a very durable surface. I was reminded of my boatbuilding days.




With a little bad language and super glue. I assembled the scissor link with it's multiple washers. Adjustment of the trim actuator will occur at final assembly.






Center Console


Parts Callout! Assembling the center console is next. I've learned to gather all pieces before beginning.





13 October 2011: Assembling the Detent Brackets. When I first fabricated the detent brackets I left the detents rough and unfinished. I felt that the final work should be done when I'm actually assembling the brackets and fitting them to the center console. Today was the time for that. In the photo the brackets are not yet mounted but, with persistent work with a file, they're beginning to fit quite nicely.




14 October 2011: The floorboards are coated and clecoed in place. I've installed the rudder pedal adjust levers. They are wrapped with duct tape to avoid scratching during the fitting of the center console. (It's a closing the  barn door after the horses have escaped exercise. I already scratched them.) I have some thinking to do before I proceed. This will happen about 3:30 am, after one of our cats has waken me. I'll lay in bed, unable to sleep, thinking of how to best install the center console.




18 October 2011: With a straight edge placed where the console will be and a carpenter's bevel. I arrived at the exact angle to cut the flange on the console.





A little asymmetry was necessary. About 1/8th inch. When deciding between function and dress-right-dress I always go for function. (Now that I'm no longer in the Army.)







The rudder pedal brackets are held with two clecos and the flap bracket is clamped. Waiting for me to drill and cleco.
After that I removed the console to facilitate the rest of the drilling.





Done! A little more tweaking and I'll be ready to rivet the brackets in place.






21 October 2011: Tweaking took most of the day. The detent brackets are now attached with epoxy and flush rivets.






22 - 23 October 2011: After a weekend of mostly head-scratching. I've decided that I'll do the preliminary fitting of the firewall and boot cowl. It occurred to me that some operations involving the firewall will be much easier  without the rudder pedals in place. This includes a trial fitting of the nose gear. Of course, all of this will be removed to be permanently installed after the fuselage is covered and painted.




28 October 2011: The firewall is held in place with hardware store screws. Of course when it's permanently mounted it will be with the AN bolts holding the engine mount. After that I trimmed the forward flange of the boot cowl to 3/4" and clamped it into position.




2 November 2011: A little here, a little there. It's a busy two weeks with teaching and performances but, I'm able to steal a little time now and again to work on the kit. I've spotted and drilled the mounting holes where the boot cowl is attached to the forward door frame. (I drilled these from the inside out. The cut line was spotted by inserting a small piece of wood under the edge until it touched the frame and then marking the wood. I then transferred this dimension to the outside. I repeated this up and down the edge until it described a line. The final attachment will be with screws and nut plates. The beauty of this arrangement is that the boot cowl can be removed to service anything between the panel and firewall.





4 November 2011: I cut the edges. First I cut a little to the outside of the line with the band saw. I then finished with a palm sander and 100 grit sandpaper.








11 November 2011: Over the last couple of days I've been able to snatch little pockets of time. I was able to rivet the "wedges" in place.






I then began to install the side panels to the center console. The Builder's Manual tells me to extend the panels to the firewall but I decided to trim the panels at the tubing that supports the forward part of the console. I didn't like the idea of thin unsupported aluminum tangling with my feet. There's a potential problem with my toes getting caught. I'll have to address that.





15 November 2011: After a busy weekend! I'm able to steal a few minutes to complete installing the side panels. For now they're clecoed in place. When I mount them permanently it will be with sheet metal screws.






18 November 2011: I enlarged the holes to accept #10 screws. As I drilled I replaced the clecos with hardware store screws. The next step is to install nut plates but, I discovered that I didn't have the correct countersink. I put in a quick order and went on to the next step.






Rudder Pedal Installation



20 November 2011: The first step in installing the rudder pedals is to modify the rudder horns to accept the adjusting mechanism. In the second photo there is one part awaiting modification.





Modification is complete. I fabricated retention straps to prevent the possibility of the cables jumping out of the sheaves. If you look closely you can see that I "worked" the closest strap. I made it a little too big so I shaped it to assure that it will do its job.






22 November 2011: I couldn't stand it. I went to the hardware store and bought more stainless strapping. I felt compelled to remake the two oversize retention straps. Now there's no way the cables will jump the sheaves.





25 November 2011: I completed both pilot and copilot ruder pedal assemblies. In the second photo I've just laid them in position. Installation is the next step.





26 November 2011: Rudder Pedal Assembly. I decided not to install the brake pedals until after I've drilled the mounting holes. With the brake pedals mounted the whole structure would be top-heavy.







Clamped into position! The assembly manual tells me to do this with the floor board in place but, I've decided to drill the holes without the floor board. It was much easier to align the brackets and clamp them in place. As it happened I had to grind a little off the ends of the torque tubes to achieve good alignment. After the holes are drilled I'll remove the assembly, put the floor board in place and back drill the holes.




The 500th Photo! All the brackets are temporarily installed with hardware store screws. I'll use the AN screws and nuts when the assembly is permanently mounted.





I finally broke down and bought an angle drill. I've been needing one for a long time.






27 November 2011: Addressing a problem. When the Kitfox is fully assembled the firewall overlap on the bottom restricts access to the nuts on the rudder pedal mounting screws. I've noticed that several Kitfox builders drill holes to access these nuts. Otherwise the engine, its mount, and the firewall has to be removed just to be able to remove the rudder pedals. I decided to follow their wisdom. The problem is that there is a space between the hole in the steel mounting and the firewall. To obtain accurate alignment I first drilled a hole in a block of wood with my drill press. I then used it to direct the drill bit straight down to the firewall. the block of wood clamped to the bottom prevents the bit from "chattering" as it makes its way through the thin stainless steel.




Done! Later (when the unibit arrives in the mail) I'll enlarge the holes to allow a nut driver to pass. A careful observer will notice that I also drilled the forward mounting holes for the nose gear.





Back drilling the floor board. I've clamped a block of wood to prevent splintering as the bit passes through. I didn't really need the angle drill but the bit was still chucked in place from the previous work on the firewall.





A full day's work. The brake pedals for the copilot are mounted. The bearings take a bit of sweat and bad language to install. Because of that I ran out of time before installing the pilot's brake pedals.





2 December 2011: The brake pedals and cylinders are in place. The pink tape indicates that the cotter pins are spread just enough to keep them from falling out. This makes them easy to remove if I have to but they're certainly not airworthy.





My unibit arrived in the mail!






The access holes are enlarged! The two holes that are not enlarged are for the forward mounting bolts of the nose gear pivot blocks.





4 December 2011: The last two days have been spent installing nut plates. It was a learning process. After some struggling I learned to spot the rivet holes from the outside by aligning the nut plate with a screw from the back and a small vise-grip pliers. The firewall-boot cowl preliminary fitting is officially complete.





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