John's Plane Week 7
Modifying the Control Stick, Installing the Fuel Pump and Starting the Wiring

August 18, Tuesday

Beginning the week a day and a half late again, so I can't hold myself to the eight week schedule Mark and I first estimated. Jim Doyle has come to do some welding for Mark to replenish Marks stock. He begins with tri-bars for single place planes. Mark has redesigned the side to side bar using larger diameter tubing. This strengthens a weak area of the single place planes quite a bit. He needs some of the space in the machine shop so we have to make room. Mark and Jim have already removed a single place Titan and begun tidying up. I pitch in and we finish the clean up by 3 PM.

First some modifications to my stick assembly. Mark believes the rod end connections more solid than the fork use on the stock Quicksilver. Since the rod end is shorterthan the fork, we fabricate a new aluminum plate to move the teleflex cable mount a half inch closer to the stick connection. Sounds simple but it is time consuming. We remove the assembly to get the old triangular plate. We copy the shape onto new stock, extend the lower left side a half inch and drill all the holes but two by clamping the old triangle onto the new plate. The two new holes we drill a half inch closer to the stick. I assemble the stick assembly with the new plate and the tube end, and everything goes smoothly and solidly together. I install the teleflex and test movement. Good. Now I disassemble once more and paint the aluminum parts. Here are two shots of the stick assembly once again, the stick sporting its blue hand grip.

August 19, Wednesday

I install the fuel pump. I study the area a good bit with my arms crossed, trying to look wise and in charge. I move the round, two carb pump here and there, turn it to imagine the best routes for the gas lines. Here you see it hanging in the general area. How will I mount it?

Mark points out the pump should be insulated from vibration. I consider bolting a plate on the engine and mounting the pump on the plate with stand-offs. At mark's suggestion, I bend a straight tang 90 degrees and bolt it to a bar on the engine cradle. by the time I install the pulse line, only six inches long, the supply line, and two carb lines, 7 and 9 inches long, I discover the single stand-off is merely insurance. The pump could ride in place solidly connected only with its fuel and pulse tubes. I think the installation is neat.

Wednesday afternoon George Shepard from my Terre Haute/Brazil club arrives to visit and to get flying instruction time. It is fairly windy yet at 2:30 so we show off our progress and by 4 PM the wind has died and we head for the field. we all get to fly, several other flyers drop in, Steve Gould flies the Super, Dan Grimm drops by and he and I fly in his two place. This is what it's all about. By sunset most of our visitors have gone, and George does the honors, grilling our steaks and potatoes and onions. It is about 9 PM when George heads back to Brazil and Mark and I head for our homes. A good evening.

August 20, Thursday

On one of my trips to the field, I have measured Marks root tube locations. Remember, my plane is a near copy of his trainer with some modifications. I drill the root tube and bolt in the rear root tube bracket. The actual process probably takes ten minutes. But drilling a hole in my airplane? Makes me sweat. Done, I am inordinately proud. I stand back and admire it.

During this time Jim has been welding away. Our newly arranged shop has given us both plenty of room to work without interfering with each other. We talk but little, both concentrating on our work, but the feeling of working with someone is good.

I stop to watch Jim occasionally. What's he doing? Well, here he has the parts for a tri-bar on a jig and is tacking them in place in this shot.

Here he is Inspecting a tri-bar he has just welded.

Jim has welded Team's Airbike fuselages for years. He says anyone who wants specialty welding, maybe to have him weld your airframe on an Airbike, for example, could contact him at (618) 962-3414 in Omaha, IL. Jim is flying a plane which has an Airbike frame with a wing of his own design. "Too fast," he says. I'm ready to go back to a Quicksilver type."

Back to work. I will use a section of root tube for my control panel. I drill the installation holes and bolt it temporarily in place.

Okay, that will work. Now, how will I arrange all the switches and the fuel primer? I lay the parts out on the plasma cutting table and fiddle with arranging them. The 15 inch root tube section will house 5 toggle switches, the primer, and the starter button. I want this to be easy to memorize and use, or in other words difficult for the pilot to get things wrong. I sit in the seat and reach up, trying to imagine starting the plane. First in line, the master switch because that seems intuitive to me. The kill switches I realize I will want in a pair, off by themselves, the starter and primer near each other. The other 2 items, the electric fuel pump switch and the strobe light switch away from these four.

I hit upon the idea of using the bottom surface and the front surface of the tube. Hey, I'm a genius. I set these items on the tube and the spacing is good. I mark the primer position and drill it, plus a large opening in the top for access. I mark the 5 toggle switch positions and drill them. I must drill two more access openings to install the inner toggles switches. Actually, I could install them from inside out but Mark points out, "You will want to be able to remove an inner switch if it fails without removing the outer ones." So here you see a front view of the drilled and deburred root tube section turned into a control panel. Mark milled out the square access opening. The five toggle switches and the primer are pictured. The starter button I still have to purchase.

And from the rear:

Mark comes out about 6 PM after completing his mail order packaging for the day and suggests a cross country flight. It is actually getting cool this hot, hot week, and the air is still. Sounds good. We grab a sandwich at Lucky Linda's and head for the field. Mark fills the tanks and we head north, toward Ralph's. On the way we swoop down to touch the earth at two nearby fields. Mark does the flying for a change and I enjoy the ride. He makes a low approach at Davis' field from the woods end but parallel to the woods from the west and already below the trees and heading east, he slips the big trainer sideways through the air and touches down smoooooothly at about 40 AIS. He lands amazingly short enough to do a touch and go and we wave to a couple standing by a plane near a hangar. The wave back, big grins on their faces. We enjoy the little valleys falling away from us. Mark likes to fly low but suddenly we are at 800 feet AGL Beautiful.

We arrive at Ralph's, visit only for minutes, and head back. A GA friend tries to get our goat because he beat us from Mark's field by 10 minutes in the 45 minute flight. Mark says, "How many times did you land on the way up here?" Everybody laughs. The sun is low in the west. The air is quiet, only a slight unwavering wind from the northeast. Mark heads the plane south toward home. He scoots down in the seat to push more of his weight forward and the plane flies itself, the pilot and co-pilot crossing their arms and loving the ride.

August 21, Friday

I begin wiring the plane today. Mark instructs. What are all these wires coming from the engine. I grab my notebook and sketch the engine wires in place, make symbolic half look alike symbols for all the places I will need wires. This first page includes 8 objects:

1. The control panel
2. The engine and its wires
3. The voltage regulator
4. The battery
5. The starter
6. The terminal block
7. A fuse block
8. The instrument pod

I mark symbolic connection points on each item.

Next I draw a large representation of each of the eight items. I will record and keep on file these drawings for future reference when I might want to modify or do maintenance on the wiring system. As I install the wires, I mark on my sketches each color of wire and identify where it its connection point.

Really, that's about it for the wiring. But I spend most of the day on wiring and am a day or two away from completing the wiring. I will have to install the pod before I complete the wiring and get the starter button in. Here is a view of what I have done so far. It already would be a tangled mess without the records I have been keeping.

Mark takes off to give a flying lesson. About 4:30, I close down shop and stop by Smitty's Manufacturing to check on my seats. Tom promises to have them ready to install when I return next week and I head for Terre Haute.



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