The past few months have been focusing on preparing for my panel to arrive. I’ve been working with the Advanced Flight Systems, Advanced Panel folks to work out instrument locations, specifications, etc. As of this posting, it is 99% designed and ready to cut, powder coat, and build. After a lot of discussions with the AFS team, I have decided on the following suite:
2x AF-6600 EFIS (brand new system)
Garmin GPS355 comm/nav
Garmin GMA245 audio
AFS electronic circuit breakers
Battery backups for everything
AFS in Oregon is planning and building everything and will arrive ready to plug and play in a few weeks.
While working on this, I’ve been installing the canopy door latches. It’s not a complicated process, however, it’s a lot of assemble, mark, disassemble. The original kit handles were two different key sets, so I replaced those with a matching set. Both sides are now installed and ready to go.
The next few weeks will be continuing to work with AFS on the panel. Once they are complete and send it, I’ll need to work out location for the remote items, like transponder and ADHRS.
I’ve spent the past few weeks fitting and installing the canopy. I modified a C-clamp to assist dimpling the 10 or so top rivet holes for the countersunk rivets. Before final installation, I painted the canopy the same color as the rest of the interior since it was easier to paint while it was on the floor.
Per the instructions and online Sling videos, my canopy fitment steps were:
Sand the edge to ensure a good fit along the fuselage
Match drill the rivet holes
Dimple and countersink appropriate holes
Remove the canopy and paint the canopy interior
Place the canopy back on the fuselage (on boards)
Score the aluminum skins and clean with Sika Cleaner/Activator
Prime with Sika Primer
Apply Sika-295 sealant
Place the canopy back on the fuselage and cleco in place
Rivet and clean Sika overflow
I also applied a thin (1/4″) strip of Sika-295 along the perimeter for a better, more weather-proof seal.
I’ve also started fitting the wheel pants which only took a couple of hours.
Finally, I signed a lease on a hangar nearby. Once Spring hits, I’ll start moving things like empennage and wings over there to make room for the fuselage to prep for avionics and motor. Avionics have been ordered, but I expect ~6 months for delivery due to component issues. I did go with an IFR Dynon HDX package, built in-house at Advanced Panels. I’ll post more details once that gets closer to arrival.
Next is to attach parachute cables, and finish up interior wiring.
It’s finally starting to warm up here in the Northeast so now I can get back to building. My finishing kit arrived in late December, so I put the canopy on the fuselage for storage and inventoried everything else. There are quite a few parts still on backorder so I’m still limited in what I can work on.
I’ve been working on my panel design by printing out the various widgets and boxes. I also built a 1/3 scale version of the panel to check out switch placement and general flow.
I started fitting the canopy this week, which is mostly a series of fit, move, sand, repeat. I have it set pretty close to final, just a little bit more sanding. Like the rest of my interior, I’ll need to paint the interior canopy so I have to wait for spring for that.
Next is to continue working on canopy fitment then seal that up.
My finishing kit is still enroute from South Africa, but is significantly delayed due to the global shipping problems. It should arrive sometime in December but possibly in January. In the meantime, I haven’t done much with the plane because I’ve run out of small tasks. I’m waiting on the finishing kit to finalize my Dynon SkyView panel. In order to best organize the avionics, I 3D printed the various “boxes” and have been working out switch flows. It’s been pretty helpful because I can sit there and simulate different phases of flight and move pieces without ever cutting any metal. Hopefully the finishing kit gets here before the snow starts to fly in the northeast. I’ll update next when it gets here.
Continuing my odds and ends tasks, I continued working on my rudder. I had put it aside when my wings arrived but I have time now to work on it.
I attached it to the vertical stab to see where things line up so I could work the electrical. Then I attached the beacon light and the fiberglass rudder cap. I added a 6 pin Deutsche connector on the rudder and the top of the vertical stab. The next step is to add a connector to the bottom of the vertical stab and the back of the fuselage. Once that is done, I’ll check the full circuit. Another thing I’ve been working on is my panel.
Right now I’m going with a Dynon HDX and dual uAvionics AV30 mini EFIS. The right side will be my iPad on an adjustable mount in front of a map box. The IFR navigator will be a Garmin GNC355 comm/nav box. That’s the plan right now but will likely change a few times before I order it this summer.
This week I worked on some odds and ends in the fuselage. I temporarily attached the steps in order to rivet around it. I won’t attach those permanently for quite a while.
With those rivets done, I filled in the rest of the fuselage rivets that I hadn’t gotten to yet. They’re all filled now and I’ll sand them down when they dry. I also installed the rivet nuts under the front seats.
I torqued the nose gear M16 bolt to 73 N-m. I had to ask the factory for the proper value because the instructions just say to tighten it. Like the other bolts, I applied torque seal so I know which ones are to spec.
Next I’ll keep working on these small tasks that I’ve been putting off to prep for the canopy arrival.
It’s finally warming up enough to get back out in the garage. I’ve started reattacking various odds and ends that have been piling up, like prepping and painting the various interior skins. I’ll keep working those until the finishing kit shows up.
I finalized my paint scheme. I went with Conrad at Maverick Aircraft Design. He was great to work with and I highly recommend.
I previously posted that I was looking at getting my seats done at a local upholstery shop. That one ended up falling through but I was able to find a different shop. Joe at Top Stitch Upholstery has started working on my custom seats. I’ll post as that project progresses.
Next is to keep working on those small tasks in preparation for my canopy and finishing kit.
This week I was able to go out to Torrence and visit the Sling facilities. There were 3 TSi’s being built in various stages in the hangar. I took a bunch of pictures for future reference for my build. I was also able to chat with some other builders and some tech experts.
I was also able to get a quick flight in 135WT around the LA airspace with Jean d’Assonville. It’s very light on the controls but easy to fly. Definitely a good decision to go with the TSi over the other options.
Meanwhile back in NY, it’s still too cold to work on the plane (12 deg F). I’m waiting on a warm day to work on odds and ends while I wait for my finishing kit. I sent off my paint concept to a paint scheme designer, and I’ll post that when I get it back.
I’ve been out of town for work so haven’t done much on the plane. I was able to install the right transponder antenna and routed the cable for the left side ADS-B antenna. I also finished the brake lines on both sides. I won’t put fluid in there for a while in case I need to move stuff around.
What I have been working on is designing the seats. There’s a place 10 minutes away that does custom car and boat upholstery for way less than ordering from Africa. Since the exterior color scheme is blue, orange, and gray, and the inside is gray and black, I’ll be using those colors on the seats. It’ll probably go through a couple more iterations but here’s a picture of the idea.
Next is to drop off the seat frames and get the seats built.