Vans RV-7a #73391, N511RV

Her name is Lucy and that's her serial number and "N" number.
Sweetie is so supportive. We are going to travel and see this wonderful country. For those who don't know about Vans Aircraft, check out the Vans Aircraft link. It will take you to the manufacturer's web page where you can read all about the airplane.
Let's get started. Feel free to browse around and return often to keep up with the progress. If you have a comment or question, please use the form at the bottom of the page.
On to the Blog. The cover page is just daily ramblings. If you want to read the assembly details, click on one of the page links. Enjoy.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Back in the factory

It's been a while but I'm back in the factory. Had to make some doughnuts. I drive a RMNP shuttle all summer. It helps pay the bills and buy stuff for Lucy.

For anyone starting and especially those building a 7, I posted a link to my Basic Builder Log (see Kitplane links). It's a nice way to track time and financials, plus there's a pretty accurate 7(a) inventory tab.

Alodine is finally done! All exterior surfaces have been alodined. I plan to vinyl wrap so the conversion coating will protect against corrosion and it adds zero weight so I still get the full benefit from the vinyl weight savings. I've got some samples that have been sitting outside in the heat, sun, snow and rain. Plan is to leave them out there till I pull the trigger on the vinyl. So far all are holding up nicely. One each on bare aluminum, alodine and P60G2 primer.
I learned a lot through the process.
  • The most time consuming part was taping off areas so the chemicals wouldn't end up in the wrong place. Alumiprep will peel P60G2 off just like paint remover. The only tape that held up was black electrical tape. Cheapest was 10 rolls from Harbor Fright. Apply the electrical tape to the edge but leave the opposite edge loose. Then I used Gorilla tape by sliding the strip under the electrical tape, sticky side to the sticky side of the electrical tape to extend the barrier. Every other method leaked.
  • Type of rinse water has no effect. I tried every one. Tap water works just as good. Use a tank sprayer to rinse.
  • I got best results by scuffing first. Random orbital with maroon scotchbrite worked best followed by a wipe with denatured alcohol. Scrubbing wet with scotchbrite works too but way too messy.
  • Alumiprep was easier than Bon Ami but it also worked well. I used foam brushes to apply. Use the widest one possible. Apply it fast. Keep the brush moving and keep the surface wet. Don't let it drip. Drips leave a mark.  Leave the brush out of the solution when it's stored. Alumiprep breaks down the foam. Rinse the cleaner very well.
  • Dry after each step with a hair dryer. 
  • Application of Alodine has to be done as quickly as humanly possible. Large foam brush works here too. Apply it as fast as possible and don't allow drips. Keep the brush moving. The surface converts almost immediately so drips will show forever. Keep it wet for several minutes. at 70 degrees I kept it wet for 10 minutes. 
  • Rinse and dry.
I used a shower curtain sluce to capture the runoff into a large storage container (See Kitplane links). Leave the storage container somewhere safe till all the water evaporates then collect the residue and dispose of properly.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Finder's Fee Award

I recently received a most appreciated compliment. Vans has a Finder's Fee Award program where one builder recommends another.  I am truly humbled. You know who you are and thank you so much for the recognition.

"When I ordered my wings, I wanted to pay it forward in some way for all the help you've given me on the forums, and from the countless times I have read over your blog. I figured the least I could do was fill out the little form for the finders fee for you when I ordered my wings."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Kitplanes Tips

I've had a few "Tips" published in Kitplanes and decided to make them available on my Blogger page. Look for the links on the right side. Also, if you only subscribe to one magazine, Kitplanes should be the one. There's so much to learn in every issue. Thanks Kitplanes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentine's Day. Also Happy Birthday to our GrandManSon. He's 21. Sweetie wears my hat sometimes. She's a looker! I married well.
I just blew through 2,000 man/hours on Lucy. This adventure started March, 2013. Closing in on four years.

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Engine!

This was a big day. Lucy's engine arrived and is safely stored in the hangar. Thanks to my Mentor, Dave for his assistance. Weather was horrible and I dreaded hauling the trailer in the snow. Dave volunteered his help and truck. Thank you so much. Engine page finally has something to post. Lots done on the Finishing page as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Finishing Kit

Work is slow. Our new puppy Amelia (Mia) is taking up most of my time. Yes, she's named after the great aviatrix because she will be riding with us in Lucy. She's doing great on training and loves riding in the car. Soon we will take her to the airport to introduce her to the sounds of airplanes then allow her to sit in a plane with the engine running, short taxi then if all goes well, airborne! We need to make a set of puppy muffs for those little ears.
So, when I get work in the factory, I've started the Finishing Kit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Long summer

Finally back in the shop. All summer was spent driving a shuttle in Rocky Mountain National Park. Money is too good so most weeks were at least five days and often six or seven. Hopefully the funds will put a small dent in the building costs.
Today seemed like a good day to remember where I left off plus update some blog entries.
One notable day was 05/21/2016. Seven hours training my Grand-man-son Dominic and friend Josh on building techniques. They both built a tool box. Came out really nice.