Weeks 98-101 – Two Years In

I’ve been swamped at work so I haven’t done much on the plane this month. The one thing I did do was create a pass through fitting for the brake lines. I didn’t like how there was movement on the line coming out of the fuselage. It was a source of stress that could be an issue years from now. So I used a thread reducer as a pass through and added MATCO fittings on either side. I did the right and still need to do the left. I also pulled the brake lines through an additional tube as protection against rubbing and abrasion.

I realized this week that I’ve been working on this about two years now. I drew a picture of what I’ve done and what I still have left. I figure I’m about half way done at this rate. I still need the finishing kit, the avionics, and finally the motor. I’ve done a lot, but still have a lot to go.

Next is to work on the left brake pass through then the transponder and ADS-B antennas.

Week 97 – Undercarriage

It only took a week to get the Undercarriage completely installed. So far, this was the most complete kit with the best instructions. It probably took less than 10 hours total.

There were a couple of parts that didn’t match the instructions. This included the brakes and a wedge plate between the main wheel axels and the gear spring. I talked to TAF and those are updates to the build. They sent me a draft of the new build manual and it cleared things up. The brake lines route through a conduit on the aft side of the main gear legs.

To set the fuselage down, I lifted the tail, took the sawhorse out and set it down. Then I did the same for the front sawhorse. Without the motor, it’s very tail heavy so I put one sawhorse back in as a tail stand.

Next is to keep working on the interior wiring. I also need to install the bottom transponder and ADS-B antennas now that I have access.

Weeks 94-96 -Undercarriage Arrival

I received my last batch of missing parts, the heat ducting parts. To install those, I finished up the forward interior side skins and installed those.

The ducting was relatively simple to install. I was missing some clamps and 3″ducting, so I ordered that from Aircraft Spruce instead of waiting on TAF. Everything is ready to install now, but my undercarriage arrived so that can wait.

The Undercarriage kit is the best kit I’ve received so far. I can tell TAF has been fixing a lot of their logistical issues. The crate was robust and nothing was damaged. I also didn’t have anything missing, which is a first.

I couldn’t resist so I started building up the nose gear. In less than 2 hours, it was built and on the plane. I then started building the main wheels.

Next is to finish the mains then put the main gear structure in place.

Weeks 92-93 – Safety Bulletin 0018

I’m still waiting for my undercarriage to arrive so I haven’t been able to get much done. In the meantime, safety bulletin 0018 came out which calls for an inspection of the rudder cables. The swages need to be checked for proper crimping. I measured mine and the diameters checked but the forward swage tails were very short. The SB calls for them to be at least 3mm and while the aft ones check, the forwards were barely sticking out. I talked to Mike Blythe and he said they are completely acceptable and the 3mm isn’t required as long as the 8.9mm measurement checks out. I’ll eventually replace the shrink tubing but otherwise I’ll call 0018 complete.

Next is to continue waiting for the undercarriage to arrive.

 

 

Weeks 89-91 – Safety Bulletin 0017

Sling identified a possible issue with shearing rivets on the elevator tube. They published safety bulletin 0017 to correct this. To complete it, I had to remove the center console by drilling out the seat rail rivets. It was a tight space to work but I was able to replace the aluminum rivets with stainless steel rivets.

While the center console was apart I decided to redo the way the Pitot lines were routed. I didn’t like the way they could rub against the metal, so I put them inside a larger tube and routed the cluster to the front. It worked out well and the tubes are protected.

I also tested the flap actuator with a 2 way momentary on switch. Everything worked as advertised without issues.

I’m still waiting on my landing gear I ordered in June. The kit I reserved was missing parts, so I have to wait for those parts to be replaced. As of today, it’s in customs at LAX and will ship once cleared.

Next I need to finish reassembling the center console and other clean up items from SB 0017.

 

Kit Inventory List

When building this plane, sometimes certain parts are included in seemingly unrelated kits. For example, the wing pushrods are not in the wing kit, but in the finishing kit. The fuel selector valve isn’t in the fuselage kit, but in the firewall forward kit. Attached is the current inventory list for each sub kit, so builders know where the parts are.

F. Sling TSI Kit Packing List – REV 2 (version 4).xlsb

Weeks 87/88 – The Big Move

This week we moved the Fuselage on to sawhorses to get ready for the Undercarriage kit. I built the sawhorses from 2x4s and put foam on top so it doesn’t scratch the bottom. It will be a few weeks before the kit gets here so I’ll work on small tasks between now and then.

I finished the front seats after getting replacement parts from the factory. I’m looking at getting the upholstery from a local shop since that’s easier to customize than ordering from South Africa.

I’ve started filling the rivets on the fuselage the same way I did the wings. It’s pretty simple and I was able to do the whole right side in a few hours. I’ll do the left this week.

When I painted the firewall with intumescent paint, I also painted a piece of scrap aluminum. When it dried, I blasted it with a blow torch to see what the paint did. As advertised, it charred like a marshmallow and the rear side was unaffected. So I’ll call that a successful test.

I’ve been working on more paint Schemes and I think we’re settled on one design. I’ll eventually send it to a professional to finalize it.

Next is to keep working on filling rivets and waiting for the landing gear.

Week 85/86 – Firewall and Rear Skin

I painted the firewall with intumescent paint this week. I did 3 coats per the manufacturer’s specs. Of note, the container said not to store longer than 72 hours once opened, and after a day it started to become very thick. It would definitely be unusable after 72 hours.

I started to assemble my front seats but discovered the cable on the mechanism was built wrong at the factory. It was way too long when it was assembled. So they will send me replacement parts.

I finally closed up the tail section this week in preparation to move to the sawhorses. I’ll order the landing gear soon and the sawhorses will let me install that.

Next is to move to the sawhorses and keep on working on odds and ends while I wait for the gear to arrive.

Week 84 – Luggage Door and Firewall

This week I assembled the luggage door. Since it’s asymmetric, I had to note which side was outside so I didn’t paint the wrong side. I also added a striker plate for the latch, like others have done. I used an L angle and riveted it inside the door frame. I’ll eventually install some insulation on the door to prevent drafts.

I also started work on my firewall. I previously posted that I have an older Sling 4 firewall that has the holes in the wrong places for a TSi. I also don’t have a precut heat shield, so I traced the firewall and cut it out. I’ll delay cutting more until I get more firewall forward parts.

I primed it using Rust-Oleum Universal Bonding Primer, recommended for galvanized steel. To prep, I washed and scrubbed with soap, then cleaned with acetone, then etched with white vinegar. I got this process from someone I know who preps galvanized steel in a nearby factory. It worked well and the primer is pretty tough.

I’ll be painting the firewall with Contego intumescent paint, like Craig did with his.

Next is to install the firewall and paint with Contego paint. Then mount the engine mount to prep for gear install.

Weeks 82/83 – Fuselage

I was able to rivet the left side rear top skin this week. Everything lined up as expected with no issues. This lets me work on the baggage compartment.

I primed and painted the baggage door parts and got them ready to attach. I’ll do that this weekend.

I also finished up the left wing harness and routed that through the fuselage. The center console is turning into a bird’s nest, but I’ll organize it once all the wires are run.

I spent some time on building very rough paint scheme sketches. I’ll probably finalize that sometime this year. Once I get a few, I’ll use a professional company to draw actual drawings.

Once the baggage compartment is built, I’m going to start working on the firewall to attach the engine mount. That way I can mount the nose wheel this summer.