The Garmin avionics 'design-freeze' is complete! My sincere thanks goes to Trevor Pegrum and Alistair Ingason of Garmin who gave up a whole day of their time to assist in the selection of this cutting-edge avionics equipment - their expertise and advice is second to none. Garmin's kind provision of this equipment and technical support has brought the reality of breaking this world speed record one step closer to reality. My thanks also to Nick Pinn and the camera team who uno...btrusively captured the technical evaluation and safety analysis marathon - this was a defining day in the Project and should form a large part of the documentary. We have selected 2 G3X multi-function displays, GNS 750 certified Nav/Comm and Sat Comm systems - the precise layout will be shown HERE once we have put it into our instrument panel planning software. Although it may seem a little early to select this equipment, the fuselage is at an advanced stage of construction and I need to start cutting metal very soon for its incorporation. For pictures of the day at Garmin HQ, visit the www.facebook.com/raffotn
The fuselage has landed! After a few weeks of re-arranging the RV Skunk-Works, work has recommenced. The Quick Build fuselage is beautifully built in the factory, but don't be fooled - there is still at least 2 years work to do! The work list will get me close to the stage where the plumbing and wiring could commence, but even that is looking like 4-6 months work... The plans and subsequent
photo are a great example of how 2-D paper turns into 3-D aluminium. In other news, the website has just had its 10,000th visitor - sorry, but no cash prize this time!
A high-tech aircraft deserves high tech-tech testing... The final task in the build of the wings is a pressure test of the fuel tanks. The connections are sealed, a balloon is placed over the vent pipe and the tank pressurised with a bicycle pump to approx 1 PSI. After a soapy water test of the visible joints and rivets, the balloon is measured and left for 48 hours... I'm pleased to say that 2 days on, it's the same size! With the task list now ticked off, the wings will be ...returned to RAF Halton and the fuselage moved into the workshop. Although there's still some way to go, the final part of the jigsaw will look good in the RV-7 Skunk-Works. Just a little bit of O-Level woodwork to build the trestles before I'm ready...
The annual pilgrimage to the Light Aircraft Rally at Sywell has reminded me that this Facebook page is now one year old! A big thank you to all those who have viewed and 'Liked' it over the past 12 month - keep up the 'Likes' and 'Shares' please! Amongst the 1000 visiting aircraft were some stunning RVs with some interesting modifications and ways of completing these rocket-ship aircraft. It was also a good opportunity to view Manuel Quiroz's RV-6 (the current UK Record Holder for circumnavigation of the earth (www.chasingthemorningsun.com)) - I particularly liked his 'pee-tube' modification and have taken numerous photos to make its installation easy... Meanwhile, in the RV-7 Skunkworks, today I installed the last of the long-range tip-tank fuel lines... almost time for the fuselage
Back into the workshop with help from Garmin, RGV Avionics and a fellow RV-7 builder, Abe. After an extended RIAT/summer hols break, the project is full steam ahead again. The first of the Garmin products have arrived through UK agent, RGV Avionics of Gloucester Airport. The 'Angle of Attack' (AoA) pitot probe and aileron auto pilot servos are works of art that are being installed into the wings before closing-off the lower skin. During the world speed record attempt these wi...ll enable high accuracy of aircraft trim and centre of gravity, which will maximise the SPEED! RGV Avionics have pledged technical support for the installation of this complex Garmin mission system, and my sincere thanks goes to the team. The final 2 photos are of the modification required to feed fuel from the 'tip-tanks' to the main wing tanks - I had been dreading this job, as the only access was through the 1.5 inch fuel filler hole! Thanks to local RV-7 builder, Abe, both tanks were completed in just 2 hours. Onwards and upwards!
A long weekend away from the RV-7 Skunk-Works... and for good reason. It was a privilege to be the Military Commentator at RIAT alongside Ben Dunnell in the commentary box - actually, the weather was so good, we commentated from outside! Five full days at RAF Fairford, including a 4 hour public display on the Friday and 8 hours on the Saturday and Sunday ensured a lost voice and moderate sunburn! The other photos are the Halton Aero Club's Tecnam Sierra which was supporting the RAF Junior Ranks Pilot Scholarship Scheme reception and a major highlight, one of the final appearances of the Vulcan. Around 200,000 attended one of the best Air Tattoos ever. For photos of this fantastic event, check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/raffotn
Well, it has been a busy 5 weeks since my last post and for good reason. Aero Expo at Sywell; teaching my Daughter to map read in the Brecon Beacons; the RAF Junior Ranks Pilot Scholarship Scheme; the RAF Halton Young Flyers event; the RAF Cosford Air Show and the 2015 RAF Halton Aero Club Expedition are all important events and time in the workshop has been scarce. Interestingly, the Expedition (Exercise Island Hop) saw 6 aircraft fly approximately 1500 nautical miles in 5 days, over 10 sorties, flying as far north as the Orkney Islands - in marginal visibility, with thunderstorms and strong winds, it was a challenging week. In comparison, every sortie in the 2018 circumnavigation will be further than this entire week-long event! For photos, visit the new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/raffotn AND 'LIKE' US!
Q. What do you do when one long list of jobs is ticked-off?
A. Write another longer one! Take a look on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/raffotn for the list that should see the wings finished within the next month or so. Away from the workshop, we had a good meeting with the RAF Benevolent Fund on Wednesday this week and will hopefully have some exciting news of a high-profile project Patron very soon... In the other photos, after much sucking of teeth I finally decided to drill the ribs (5 of which are already closed-off by the skin) to install the wiring conduits - a few missed heart beats and bruised arms, but all went well. And finally, the bottom wing skins are primed and ready to close the wings off.
A major landmark took place at the weekend with a camera crew from London-based tv production company Princess Productions visiting the RV-7 Skunk-Works to commence the filming of the project. They have some great plans for a 4-part documentary covering all aspects of the aircraft build, test flying, planning and execution of this world speed record attempt. Their next scheduled filming day will cover the arrival of the fuselage, in particular, the 4 blokes it will take to lift it over my garden wall!
On the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/raffotn you can see a sneak preview of the avionics layout... Still only a PowerPoint mock-up but a good idea of how the the panel will be filled - courtesy of sponsorship from Garmin. 2 x 10" Primary Flight/Multi Function Displays plus certified Nav/Com, autopilot and back-up instruments. The other photos show the wings in the garden after spraying the areas with zinc-chromate that will be inaccessible after the lower skin, flaps and ailerons are fitted. The left wing (except the fuel and wiring work) is almost complete and will swap with the right wing over the next few workshop days.
One year into the build and 453 hours logged. With the work on the wings well under way, it's back to 'O' Level metalwork again! Check out the photos on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/raffotn these are the hinges for hanging the ailerons, the pushrods that will eventually connect them to the control column and the lightening holes in the wing ribs that it routes through. Starting to look like real wings now! In other news... we are pleased to see a great article on the Flight of the Navigator project in the February edition of the Royal Aeronautical Society journal AEROSPACE. With work on the Press Release, TV production company and some very exciting developments with the Project Patron, things outside the workshop are taking shape too!
Almost to schedule... the wings are in the workshop! Shipped looking almost complete straight from the Van's Factory, there is still a lot of work to complete in mounting the ailerons and flaps, making and installing brackets, pitot system, control runs, fuel lines, wiring conduits, and riveting the bottom skins. I'm hoping to complete this phase in 3 months... For photos, visit the new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/raffotn AND 'LIKE' US!
Breaking News! After 10 months and 370 hours' work, the empennage is finished. 30 metres of bubble wrap will protect the precious parts until ready for fitting to the fuselage (estimated as Spring 2017!). With a day of recalling O Level Design & Technology and Woodwork (thank you Mr Aanenson of St John's School, Upton Park, circa 1982), the own-design wing rack and trestles are also ready. All being well, they will be supporting the factory 'Quick-Build' wings in the workshop this weekend. For photos, visit the new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/raffotn AND 'LIKE' US!
After a prolonged Christmas absence from the workshop, the fibre-glassing, filling and rubbing down of the empennage is almost complete. The filler is a lightweight epoxy-based aviation product called Poly-Fiber SuperFil and is much easier to use than the automotive products that I knew all too well during my youthful ownership of rusting 1960/70s cars! This composite aerodynamic clean-up should be complete with just another day or 2 of work. After that, I will build the wooden wing supports and then the wings will be moved into the workshop! Watch this space... For photos, visit the new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/raffotn AND 'LIKE' US!