Tuesday, September 07, 2010



Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Rudder pedal lock

This is my approach to locking the rudder. It has the merit of putting the forces through the control system the way they were intended to flow.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


afs data

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Prop Cracks

MT were very responsive and changed the blades. Cosmetic only they assured me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Flap Mechanism instructions

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


An RV4 damaged firewall

This is pretty typical (I think) of the damage that occurs on the (older?) RV4 firewall. I hasten to say it is not G-IKON, my RV4.

If you look closely at the picture, you may need to double click it to get a larger image, you will see shadows coming out and upward, at about 30 deg. from the lower corners of the F-413 bulkhead assembly. The F-413 is the inner fore and aft bulkhead which transmits much of the landing loads through to the wing spar.

These shadows/creases are indicative of stress running (I think) along the axis of the crease. This eventually results in cracking of the firewall at the right angle bend where the stress concentrates, due to landing loads, with a result that the firewall is no longer air/fire tight. 

I have to say I have never actually seen the problem with my own eyes, only pictures like this. The grey primed bits of angle I presume are to cover cracks and probably, together with some RTV, there to make the firewall gas tight once again. The problem with fixes like this is the problem is not solved just moved and will soon reoccur if heavy landings take place.

If you are buying a used -4 I would inspect the firewall carefully for signs of similar damage.

I dont know if RV4 that have the newer steel firewall corner weldements (see point 3. if you go there.) are suceptible to this or not. Time will tell. I am not aware of any other firewall fixes to amelorate the stresses on the stainless sheet.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Lacing knot.

I was taught to make a lacing knot by a blond woman at Sun 'n Fun one year in a workshop.

Since I have never seen it written elsewhere, I will try and explain it here. I hope this photo sequence helps if you are interested. A point to note is that I made 90% of the knot without letting go of the camera which is completely occupying my other hand. (I have only two.) The fact that you can make the knot in hard to get to places is extremely helpful with just one hand. For the last bit you have to find a way to pull on the two ends, but this could be with a pair of long nose pliers for example, if space is tight.

Step 1. Pull a loop of lacing thread off the role, don't cut it, and pass it behind the bundle you want to lace. In this picture, the left hand end goes to the role, and the right hand end is a 3" loose end. (You can use a shorter loose end with two hands.)

Step 2. Now pass a loop from the end coming off the role up through the first loop you made. At this point you can let go of the first loop you made as long as you hang on to the second. One thing I don't like about this picture is that I have twisted the loop. It doesn't matter but it is not quite so neat.
Step 3. Now pass the free end up through this second loop. At this stage I don't know how you can go further without using two hands, though in hard to reach places it can be extremely beneficial to have got this far with just one hand.

Step 4. Once it is through, pull tight on the two ends.

Step 5. Now it is tight, to lock it, just do a left over right to finish, like the second half of an ordinary reef knot.

Step 6. Then clip the ends off with side cutters.

The good news is the head stands up a little so if you want to add another wire, it is very easy to clip the head off the first. The knot disintegrates at that point.

Monday, December 31, 2007


Oil Analysis

If you want to read this double click it like all my other pictures. The analysis is done by Blackstone. They provide a great service.

I do not send a sample every change, but from time to time. As you see this dates back to 2001. The engine is an O-320 in a Supercub. I am awaiting an update right now but I expect it is tangled up in the Christmas mail.

As you see from the comment, Blackstone are happy, so I am.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Sourcing parts if building in the UK.

Your strategy for sourcing minor items is going to have a considerable impact on your total cost by the end, since there will be many parts you need over and above the kit.

What I learned building the -9A is the following:

1 - Apart from paint, MT props, and perhaps radios, I would not bother with
sourcing items in the UK. Usually it is cheaper to buy in the USA and have it
shipped over. Having said that when you run out of something I would put it
on the list 'to finish later' and move on to something else, so that you can
batch up small orders. Yes, its frustrating I agree, but I learned the
hard/expensive way. (There is one organisation in the SW UK that ought to be
the perfect source for these sorts of items, but their costs are horrendous,
their attention to quality non-existent, and their customer service concept
akin to a Whimpy on a good day, if you remember them. Some will disagree,
though I am not alone with this experience.)

Harry H can help with small tool needs, and is VERY prompt. What I have never investigated is German, French or Scandinavian parts suppliers. If anyone has experience if there is a good service from this direction, I would be delighted to hear.

2 - Controlling the shipping costs is the next major frustration. The way to
get small orders shipped is by USPS Global Priority mail. This normally
takes 7 to 10 days and frequently arrives free of duty and VAT. The only
problem is that something might get truly lost, but this has not happened to
me. Aircraft Spruce understands USPS 95% of the time. Phoning the orders
through clearly helps here and if you use a service like 1363 the calls are
not in fact expensive. Some others - possibly including VANS [this seems to vary]- wont use USPS. They would rather put a 10c part in a courier pack resulting in a $40
shipping charge with VAT levied on the shipping! (Its the American mentality
that the whole world ought to be like America. "You are either with us or
against us"! What an asshole!)

3 - When the orders get larger / more valuable it becomes time to use the
couriers. The shipping costs become a small proportion of the total cost of
the package but remember to put your EU number on the order VERY
BOLDLY! You need that with Global Priority Mail also.

4 - For awkward items, e.g. 6' of angle, or a sheet of ally, the only good
solution is to get them shipped with a larger shipment. The
risks of damage are high otherwise.

5 - I would suggest that at an early stage when you are ordering anyway, you
order a selection of extra nuts bolt washers Adel clamps of the common
sizes, because you will inevitably find that the cost of them is trivial
compared to needing them in a hurry and the cost of a shipment just for them.

6 - Finally, when you are missing something specified in the kit, I would check to see if VANS did indeed short ship. When I was on the empennage, I kept running out of parts and asking VANS which bag they were meant to be in. This finally flushed out the question from VANS "did I have a list of 11 specific bags?" It turned out they had made up the picking
list in error.

7 - There is one exception to what I said above. If its engine parts,
batteries (though not PC680 when I asked) etc., there is one excellent
organisation. That is APS at Lasham; speak to Jerry or Lisa on 01256.381919. Their concept of service is more like the Dorchester or Harry. In addition, I am told Earls might be worth talking to for AN fittings.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


End use relief

If you live in the UK you will want to ensure that you do not pay duty on the parts you use to build your RV. (You can not legally avoid VAT.) To do this you get a form C1317 fill it out and send it to HM Revenue & Customs. Being a bunch of worthless civil servants, they are hard to contact, but one address you could use is:

Peter Bennett House,
Redvers Clo.,
Lawnswood Business Park,
Leeds, LS16 6RQ

0113 3894495

You can get the form together with 61 pages of self justifying gobledegook at:


They will piss about a bit, to justify their existance, and then give you an end use number. The theory is then you get the sender to scrawl this number on your goods and no duty will be levied on entry. When this fails to happen, you can contact them and if you are tenacious get your money back. Since its a competition between you and Gordon Brown, its worth the fight. The only problem is that it is your taxes that are paying their salaries!

Filling in the forms is a bit of a nightmare. If you were setting up British Aerospace the forms would be appropriate, but for one RV they are a bit over the top.

Examples - with corrections - that worked

Posted by Picasa Good luck!

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