Monday, July 30, 2012

a canopy is created by Todd of Todds Canopies

He sent me this picture prior to packing it up and shipping along with a message saying that it was "one of his best" and that "it didn't have any imperfections in it".

Cant wait to see it.

I got it in a light tint...

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Another week gone by and I am pretty excited to get back to work on the plane. I left it last week with the bulk heads clamped in place and the skin haphazardly laid across the back and bungee cord'd down
We laid out some blue tape along the line where the old skin mated for reference, held it in place and started back-drilling the rivets for the turtle deck.
As you can see there inst a lot of room in there. Luckily I am pretty thin but it was still a tight squeeze and very uncomfortable.

There is more room in there with the raised turtle deck. The bulkhead are still only temporarily clamped into place. I will need to make sure that I get a tight fit on them with the turtle deck before drilling them in place to the old bulkheads.

It probably would have helped to remove that cross brace that is part of the baggage compartment floor liner. I used a couple of moving pads to attempt to obtain a flatter surface to lay on. It difficult ter in way that you can get one arm above your head. Then the trick was to back drill as many oles as AI could before my other arm went to sleep beneath me. That was about 3 holes or 60 seconds.

We added cleco's to the longeron as we went and began wrapping the skin around and drilling the bulkheads. While I'm inside Dad manned the wood blocks for me to drill into whilst holding the skin down tightly where it needed to be. Through a slight miss-communication I did barely miss the block and caught his t-shirt in the bit. He screamed and I stopped (I was through the hole and was stopping anyway). He was wound up a few turns and it took a few presses in the opposite direction to get him free. Sorry I didn't get a picture of that one.

That is Mike with the FAA taking  picture of the Data Plate. He is going to be helping me with the paperwork and N number change.

A few last little adjustments and we call it a day. Im happy with the progress we made today and that fact that it appears I am on the slow climb back up to having her in the air again.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Fastback is born

OK, so last week when I left the last thing I did was take a picture of the engine and wings. The following weekend and I'm ready to try to make some visible progress.

Not really sure what the 2 pictures above ae supposed to be of. i think i tooka photo of a drilled out rivet perhaps from a map pocket that was removed ans will need to be filled. There are a few of them..

I have just about got all of the old rivets for the turtle deck removed and have removed all the little pieces of the rivets in the holes.

This is my Dad, Jim. He has been a never-ending source of help in this project. Not only does he help out with the dirty work he has given up countless weekend to fly from Punta Gorda up to Lakeland to work on my -4 with me. He as also been a great help in discussing everything from rollover protection to switch ergonomics and wiring. If that all were not enough he lets me use his 172 to make the trip twice a weekend for going on over a year and half now.
-He doesn't normally look that happy though...

So one final picture of her as a "standard RV-4" before we shed the skin...

Dad poses for the removal shot. It seems to be sticking a little...

Alright, "there's your problem" Guess I forgot a few rivets in that last bulkhead. Oh and there is my artistic interpretation of what she should look like if I can keep Jay from painting the damn thing Yellow! Everyday I'm there he harps that its gotta be yellow and has used every reason under the sun to support it. Its his favorite color.. All of his South Lakeland T-shirts are yellow, he says his gun  will only shoot yellow and....Im sayin' helloo, yellow, HELLNO!

Finally freed up and Dad insisted That I be the one to remove the old skin. I look happy, and I am, but Ill sure be glad when I start reconstructing something and stop with the disassembly.

So there it is. The old turtle deck cast aside coldly to the groound and the rear bulkheads exposed to the light again for the first time since 1989...   and I was 10.

I fashioned this little windshield bow and fastened it into place temporarily  to try to get a visualization of how this sliding canopy make look and function.

I un-boxed the pieces I ordered from John Harmon to use as a starting point for my fastback conversion. I already know that they are going to be to narrow and will have to be cut in the middle. I'll then add a plate to reconnect them in the proper spots.

I must have been hemming and hauling a little bit because Jay didn't wait around for much discussion he grabbed the cutoff wheel and went at it.

I'm not sure that is exactly where I would have made the cut but its done.

After a quick run through the the saw the bulkheads were split and we were fitting them to the existing bulkheads.

Dad and Jay get the first bulkhead clamped in place and move on to the next.

The overall gap that was left is not huge but it was enough that they had to be split. I know other have made their bulkheads for their fastbacks from scratch using cardboard but the parts from Harmon were not to expensive and I think I save a few days work in doing so.

I also orderd the Turtle Deck Skin from Harmon and have it bungee'd into position here.

Before leaving for the day I add my sight string back and confirm that there is a decent angle. If I had it to do over again I would try to raise the height of the turtle deck to ensure a smoother line from canopy to deck then I'm afraid that I am going to have.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Little Progress

Yes, this 'ole tail  has seen better days , I think. you can see in this picture how well the paint was adhering to the surface. I did finally scrape off the last little bit and the N-Number, eventually.

Im not sure why but I took another picture of my motor standing by ready to go and snapped one of the removed wings too before I left for the day.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sam James & his RV-4.5

Sam James & his RV-4.5

Spent the morning in La belle & had breakfast with the RV Legend-

Sammy James

Sammy was really accommodating and allowed me to try on his custom Fastback, Slider RV-4 (.5). I was concerned about switching over from the tip-over traditional RV-4 style to a "Slider" with that forward canopy roll bar in my face.
There was a cool story behind the Navy Wings mounted on the dash...
Here is a view of the slide
View of the latching system in the open position.

Back up to Lakeland. This is the current state of affairs with my bird...

Im trying to get an idea of the lines that the fastback would have.

I m going to need to remove this roll bar and either modify it or replace it if i am going to use the canopy rails for the sliders.

I have seen the earphone jacks for pilot and passenger places in this location and like the idea of the centrally located position. I will need to find and alternative location for that ELT antenna though.

Look at all those HOLES!!!

There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the existing fuel pump or selector but if everything else is getting replaced... and I'm in here... I might as well. I have had my eye on one of those Andair valves with the anodized handle.

The passenger floor had been riveted down and I don't feel like redoing it so I plane to mount the electric flap motor on this bulkhead. I have seen it done before and I like the idea of being able to access it easily if need be.

Im slowly adding to the collection of "Removed"parts. I do not think Im going to put that throttle back in. At least not in the front.

I know Im getting ahead of myself a little but I took delivery of my new Vetterman's exhaust today. It looks great and I cant wait to hear how it sounds. I was test fitting the pipes and it seems that the provided hardware is a different size than what my block requires. It had been a long day and Ill check that more later. Maybe I'm just tired.

Hopefully removed for the last time. There she sits, waiting for that final fitting and to have all her veins and arteries hooked up. Thats is my old climb prop in the background. It an unknown make and pitched way to aggressively but it got me home in a pinch and was a lot of fun around the local patch.