John's Plane Week 10
Lots of Loose Ends

September 9

This week I work only two days on my plane. Tuesday after Labor Day I remain late in Terre Haute to take the FOI (Fundamentals of Instruction) test USUA requires of all BFI applicants. (ASC administers its own FOI test). After all I entered this project mainly to get my 15 hours dual for the BFI from Mark and ended up building a plane with him, so taking the test is actually a part of the overall project, although not a part of building the plane.

Passing the FOI test is required by the FAA of all flight instructors in general aviation and is administered by the FAA or its appointed agents. I called Brown's Flying School at Sky King Airport and learned they did not administer the test but sent their students to Bruce Allen of Parts Sales, Inc., who also operates a testing center on 2452 Third Avenue in Terre Haute.

I stopped by without an appointment (It took me longer this way). Bruce, friendly and accommodating called the FAA in Indy and after I paid the $60.00 fee with my Visa, they loaded the test on their electronic connection for him. Bruce set me up at a computer terminal and instructed me in its use. Time allotted was an hour an fifteen minutes and I used about thirty minutes taking the test and reviewing every question after I had finished.

Seconds after I clicked on "End" the computer congratulated me on passing the test.

The most difficult characteristic of the test comes from the FAA philosophy that a good multiple choice test may have more than one correct answer with one answer clearly being the best. This philosophy is developed in Aviation Instructor's Handbook (AC 60-14) pages 48 and following. Try reviewing a test like that with a class of 30 advanced English high school sophomores and imagine the energetic opposition to your choices of the "right" answers. Maybe that's why the FAA does not reveal which items you miss, even though studying your errors would be an excellent way to increase your effectiveness as an instructor. Of course, I realize they must protect their test so they can't mail you a copy of it.

Anyway, I'm one step closer to getting my BFI.

I start work on my project Wednesday morning about 8 am. Several projects are hanging over from the last couple of weeks. I'm going to show you a picture of the trike as it looks at the end of this week. Can you spot what has changed from last week?

Well, what do you the know? The control panel is literally hanging by its wiring bundle. I install it in its permanent position by bolting the two small bolts onto the bottom of the radiator mounting edge. In this next picture you can see the seven controls. The front surface to your left is the master switch and to your right the two kill switches. The kill switches have been installed with the "on" position (which grounds the magnetos) down so as tradition dictates, I will "fly up" with the kill switches up and in the "off" (actually, ungrounded) position. The master switch you see is down in the "off" position. On the bottom surface from your left is the auxiliary fuel pump switch, the starter button, the primer valve handle and last, the strobe switch.

Jim Doyle arrives and hands me the metal pan which will hold the oil reservoir. He has welded it during my absence on Tuesday. The pan is a good example of Jim's welding skills. The welds all flow like a sculpted piece and Jim has polished the pan so it is ready for painting. I put the pan in my trike seat for later installation.

I spot the teleflex cable not quite finished. I need to install standoffs. I check out several slightly different routes and finally unbolt the teleflex clamp and the end connector at the bell crank to reroute to the best of all possible routes. Man, these decisions are tough. You will see this in a later picture.

Next, I see the fuel lines are not tied down. Another dilemma. I fiddle with the lines, trying to think of replacing the filter or the line after the wing with its wire will make access a bit more difficult. Again, I discover the route I like best. It's handy, it's tucked neatly within the A-frame and---oh, you can see show beautiful it is.

I hold the oil pan in place to determine what sort of mounting brackets I can use. It must be located above and just forward of the engine and not interfere with the king post bracket or the teleflex cable which passes over the rear end of the root tube in what an hour ago I called the best of all possible routes for the teleflex.

I find some one inch square tubing in the scrap barrel and cut two lengths to bolt to the rear end of the root tube as a oil pan mount. I place them side by side, only to realize the teleflex cable is in the way. I cut a slot in the side of one tube to allow the teleflex cable to remain untouched. The square tubing is chromoly steel and seems as strong as ever. I drill the two tubes and the root tube and install the two tubes temporarily. Here you can see the teleflex cable following the "best of all possible routes" as it passes through the slot I cut in one of the lengths of square tubing to accomodate it.

I complete the installation of the water hoses for the cooling system. Remember my flying buddy Mike installed most of it last week. Here you can see the clamps in place and the filler cap in its final (I thought) position. Behind the hoses, you can see the fuel lines tied together with a tie wrap and a short piece of fuel line to give the line added strength as it spans distance between standoffs.

Hardly seems like enough to fill a day, but it did. At this stage I am spending a lot of time with my arms folded, nodding sagely and talking to myself about how good the trike is looking. As the trike nears completion and I am making final, really final, final decisions I've got to cogitate often and long. September 10 Thursday Today I hope to complete the wiring but I am sidetracked when I learn the filler cap on the cooling system must be moved forward several inches. Mark has held the oil pan in place on my mounting devices and noticed the filler cap will interfere with the oil injector line which will exit through the right rear corner of the pan. I simply reverse two of the hoses, moving the filler cap forward about three inches

Next, I review my wiring. The two instruments I ordered, the water temp gauge and the Hobbs Meter have arrived and I install them. The opening for the Hobbs somehow is not quite big enough so I file the edges, repaint the bare fiberglass, and install the two instruments. Now I have seven instruments installed on the panel and the panel installed in the bottom half of the instrument pod. I epoxied a 12 volt adapter to the bottom of the pod yesterday so I am ready to complete the wiring. The wire from the engine that provides pulses for the tach will also supply the adapter which will supply the Hobbs, thus the Hobbs will run only when the engine is actually running. I crimp several connectors in place after sliding pieces of heat shrink onto the wires. I slide the heat shrink into position and shrink it with light touches of the soldering iron. Works nicely.

I must check with Mark about my wiring, even though I have the schematics from the instruments before me. I finally complete the job and Mark checks it out. I hand him the camera and he takes this next shot of me holding the wired pod.

I pick up the oil pan and hold it in place. I measure and remeasure where I must drill it to mount it on the square tubes I showed you yesterday. Finally my drilling is done and the bolts all fit.

I now ask Mark to torch out a hole for the oil injector line. "You can do that," he casually says. "ME? Mark, I've never used a torch for anything but lighting a bonfire." "Okay," he says, "Grab the striker, take the torch outside, open the tank valves and I'll get you started."

Mark lights the torch which pops into flame and hisses yellow. He explains as he adjusts the three torch valves, an air valve, a hydrogen valve and an oxygen valve that we want a blue flame, almost silent, with very short blue points near the head of the torch. He then demonstrates how to heat the metal and "blow" away molten metal with the air valve. Simple principle but this I realize requires skill. Of course anyone could burn holes in metal but to cut a round hole the size you want which will require a minimum of grinding and filing after the metal cools--well, suffice it to say that I can't do that yet. My amazed admiration goes to those metal workers who can cut round holes and straight lines with a cutting torch.

So Mark puts me on the torch and I begin gingerly. I burn off some arm hairs on my first lighting of the torch. Stinks but doesn't burn. Wearing protective gloves and goggles, I gingerly apply the torch to the metal. Oh, great, it gets red hot quick. So now what Oh, yeah, blow away the molten metal. Crack, pop, I jump back. I hear laughter behind me but choose to ignore it. Maybe something funny happened behind my back. Mark takes this picture of the masked torcher in action.

I have the oil can (reservoir) handy so I can check it against the hole I have cut. I previously drilled a half inch hole in the bottom right corner of the can and installed a grommet and hose fitting in the hole. The hole I am cutting must allow the fitting and the grommet to exit the pan without chafing. The hole which I had imagined would be round is more like a rough edged rectangle. Plum ugly, to tell the truth.

I cool the pan with a spray of water and grind the edges smooth, creating a rectangle with nicely curved corners. It works and looks good.

One more modification to the pan. I need handles for the webbing that will hold the oil can in the pan. I turn to Jim and he says sure. He cuts the head off two four inch bolts and heats them so he can bend the ends, creating two handles. He then welds them to the sides of the pans and the fabrication of the pan is complete.

I polish the pan on the wire wheel and paint it. After lunch it is dry and I install it on the mounts described and pictured above in the "can you spot" picture shown first in this week's report. Here is a view of the oil reservoir in place on top the trike. You can guess we have used a one gallon rubbermaid gasoline container for the oil supply.

Back to the instrument pod. I cut two 20 inch pieces from the inch and a quarter flat aluminum stock mark has and make two mounting bars. I drill both ends and Mark bends the lower end for mounting to the bottom of the nose strut. We install the two bars across from each other and twist them with a crescent wrench almost 90 degrees to align the upper mounting holes with the instrument pod's mounting holes. We tighten the bolts and I get the completed instrument pod. The fit is nice and we each screw in a pod handle and step back to admire the change in appearance this simple addition has effected.

It is 5:30 and we are satisfied with our progress. Mark must check out his plane for the four to five hour flight to the Nulltown Wingnuts Flying and Hog roast Friday so we head for the airport. We wash the plane, Mark changes plugs, checks oils, fills gas tanks, and generally checks the condition of the plane. Five or six guys fly in and chat. Four guys from Mt. Carmel, IL, arrive to fly. Mark gives Clark another flying lesson and what with all the visiting and flying and hangar talk, once again I know why we are willing to do all the work flying airplanes safely requires.

Following are a few pics of Mark and Dan Grimm as they prep their planes Friday morning to take off from Mark's strip for Nulltown.

Mark packs his gear in the MXII.

Dan Grimm preps his plane.

With the added weight, Mark decides to air his left tire.

Mark in Captain America II sits on the runway, ready for takeoff.

Dan ready for takeoff.

A picture of part of the flightline at Nulltown.

Mark and Dan flew the distance from Mt. Vernon to Nulltown in about four hours.

That's all for this week.



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