His wife told Aeroworks that "now that every where we
go in their home city; that Max is known as the guy with the little yellow
airplane" (cool ).
He is also an excellent source of information as
he as written a building diary during the assembly of his
Max is also quite active in corresponding with other
Building the Aerosport 103
NOTE FROM BLUEMAX :
It is now 11-16-99
I am preparing to send this diary to
Aeroworks to post to the web-site. My AeroSport is all done, and I am
ready for my first flight. If you are smart, you will read this
entire diary before beginning your construction. I have thoroughly
If you are trying to decide whether to get the slip-on
dacron covers, or the fabric and paint, read that section carefully.
Fabric and paint will at least double your assembly time (but it's worth
it...). I think I've accomplished my goal with this diary, which is
to make the process easier for all that follow me.
I would also
imagine any builder that came before me could have done the same thing
(and for my sake...why didn't you? You know who you are...)
Enjoy it as much as I have. -Max
DATE HOURS DETAILS
Picked up my AeroSport 103 kit from AeroWorks in
Max's wife, granddaughter, and Father-in-law. Home and
time to assemble the Aerosport-103!
Began construction. Take the time to make absolutely
sure that the fuselage is level, and square to the vertical tube.
Check, check it again, and then check it again. If it's not square
here, you will be making much more work for yourself later. Actually, you
need to drop what you're doing and go to Sears. Buy yourself a
Craftsman magnetic protractor. It is about as big as a CD, and a
degree scale that you read through the face. A pendulum swings
inside, and is always plum.
When you put the base onto whatever
you're checking, you simply read the deviation from plum (that's
up-and-down, not to be confused with level, side-to-side). Since the
base rests on the magnets, and aluminium doesn't work with magnets anyway,
you will want to pry the magnets off and give to your wife for her
Now the base will be better. You may also want
to order a pneumatic rivet gun at this point, if you have an air
compressor. You'll need it shortly. I got mine through
Northern Tool, for about $ 60.00. If not, you'll have arms like
Charles Atlas by the time you're done (you young-un's are saying..."Charles
Main fuselage assembly
Nose gear assembly, adj. to rudder pedals, windshield.
Ordered pneumatic riveter.
began setting ribs on wing - interrupted by
Get ready for it...once people find out your building an airplane, you're
going to get visitors.
n/a BIG SCREW UP !!! I realized that the ribs were installed
backwards. Thank God it's only one wing. I ordered 200 new
rivets from a supplier in Cleveland...will be here tomorrow. I don't
need that many, but I'm not done building, either.
In the meantime,
I drilled through all the attached ribs and removed all ribs. That's the
easiest way to remove a rivet...just use the same size drill bit that you
drilled to install the rivet. Drill right through the center of the
rivet, and it pops right out. I'm in the process of reattaching them
The wing is so symmetrical, I had no way of knowing that
the there was indeed a RIGHT and LEFT wing. AeroWorks said that it
has happened several times, with their builders.
You would think a
WARNING in the plans would help??
n/a I'm not counting this as assembly time, since I had to work
backwards - not forwards. I did get all the ribs turned around, and
encountered no problems. I filled all the old holes with
rivets. I figured the easiest way to attach them was to put them on
the opposite side of the "x" on the line (which I did). I
did get the rivet order today, but still no air riveter. When I work
tomorrow, I'll be picking up with new work.
Blue Max NOTE
From this point on, I describe the construction in more detail. I
also tried to make suggestions for improvements.
Attached rib braces and drilled fabric
holes. Mounted aileron tubes. This LEFT wing is done.
Got started with the right wing, but just barely. I have to work
overtime at 12 noon.
I did the entire right wing in 2:15 ! It sure helps to
have done the first one. When I'm done, it would probably take me
half the time to build another one.
After the wings, I next mounted the
wings to the fuselage, and began attaching the right side struts.
The fuselage has to be levelled on every axis again. I did this with
2 small floor jacks under each main gear strut (still no main gear
spindles). This took A LOT of head scratching and interruptions.
USA won Ryder Cup!
The right wing is ready to have the washout set.
The left wing will go allot faster. I won't be able to work on it
tomorrow, as I am beginning my last concrete job of the year.
Today I set the washout on the right wing, attached the left
wing and got it done to this point. I then completed both wings by
attaching the jury struts.
The drawing shows the l.e. smash rivet using
only one, but two on the rear. It is best to use only one on the
rear, also. This is because the sleeve of the clevis that fits into
the jury strut makes it very tight to get two rivets in. It looks
better with one, too.
HINT: If you do want to use two, turn
the second one 90 degrees. to the other, which will permit them to fit.
I found the directions on the setting of the washout very confusing.
Here is the easy way to understand the concept: The objective is to
raise the trailing edge, so the wingtip is at a lesser angle-of-attack.
This way, should you be approaching a stall, the wingtips will still
be flying. You will still have aileron control (to a point).
Not many ultralights have washout set in the wings. On the setting
of the washout, I found it much easier to use a magnetic protractor,
instead of a 4 ft. level with a 2" block taped on. It was very
easy to keep going back and forth...checking and re-checking the angle of
attack at the root and 12" outboard of the strut.
would probably be a good idea to have both wings attached before setting
either washout. This is because you may cause the fuselage level and
plumb to change as you lift the trailing edge of the wing. It would
probably be best to have a helper SIT in the plane (patiently) while you
then properly level the fuselage, and set the washout.
magnetic protractor worked as good and quicker than a level at levelling and plumbing the fuselage. You can get one at Sears, as it is made
by Craftsman. It has two magnet strips in its base, but they don't
work on aluminium, and besides, they won't let the thing your checking to
make contact...they only touch the magnet. Get a screwdriver and
pull those magnets out, throw them away.
AeroWorks claims that the angle
of attack should be 5.5 to 6 degrees at the root, and 4 to 4.5 at the
outside of the strut, hence 1.5 ( or 2 ) degrees reduction in the angle of
attack. In MY plane, the angle of attack at the root was exactly 4 degrees
on each wing, so I set the attack angle at the strut at 2 degrees.
need to develop a procedure for removing/installing the wings.
Removing the right wing was almost a disaster when the bungee cord slipped
on the ladder, causing the wing to twist. I think the first step
needs to be removing the bolt that attaches the strut to the lower hoop.
Gravity will hold it in place until you're ready to pull the wing away.
Well, I thought I would be able to work on the tail...WITHOUT
the wings on...but I should have looked at a finished photo of the plane.
I would have seen that the upper boom struts attach to the wings, and
everything else attaches to them. Soooo, the first thing I had to do was
put the wings back on. I am getting the hang of it. I actually
put the left one on without the assistance of a ladder supporting the tip
end. I think it might be easier to do if you don't use support on
I only made one mistake. On the "
L-tangs" that attach the front of the horizontal stabilizer to the
upper tail boom tube (each side), I instead used the upper parts of the
saddle that attaches the front horizontal stabilizer strut to the lower
I had mistaken the upper saddle part(s) for the L-tang,
because I couldn't FIND anything left in the parts that looked like an
"L" except for the upper saddles. I sure could have used a
photo. I am finding that he further I get into assembly, the less
photos showing assembly. They must have gotten tired of taking
photos. I corrected the boo-boo, and completed the tail assembly.
Everything I assemble now will be disassembled to do the covering, then
reassembled. I attached all the control horns to the flaps,
ailerons, elevators and rudder.
I ordered a CITATION 240 HVLP
spraying system from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. I find it
sooooo much easier to concentrate when I'm absolutely all alone, with no
kids, radio, noise or interruptions. I should build it during the
Attached hinges to ailerons and flaps- attached to wings.
In setting the cables for the ailerons, I found them to be slightly too
short. I fixed this by changing the location of the cable clamp on
the steering yoke to about 3/4" closer to the steering yoke itself.
The ailerons are now adjusted to droop about 1/2" from the trailing
edge, while the adjusting turnbuckles are turned all the way in.
It took a long time to properly set the flaps. I also
attached the elevators and rudder. I ran out of AN3-13 bolts.
I only need a few more. I also adjusted the flaps to droop (about
I'm taking allot of time scratching my head. I attached
cables to rudder and elevators. The cable clamp block next to the
yoke was not in the right place, so I had to unbolt it and move it 2"
towards the seat. It would not allow the yoke to move past 90
degrees (you couldn't pull it back).
I found out later from Mark
that the block position was okay, but the actual clamp(s) attached to the
block were turned around. If I had drilled out the rivets and turned
it around it would have accomplished the same thing.
The entire tail is
square, level, plumb, etc. It is as perfect as it can be. The
elevator has more travel up than down, but it travels the entire limits of
the cable. It is sufficient in each direction, anyway. I think
I'm ready to begin covering!
I got my spindles UPS yesterday! They forgot to send me
the bolts to attach them, and the replacement bolts for what was short.
I attached them temporarily by sticking rivets in the holes (do not
I thought about toe-ing in the wheels a little bit,
but I decided to follow their instructions...which is straight ahead.
The instructions have you mount the wheels on the spindles, but the next
step attaches the brakes. Obviously, you need to install the brakes
BEFORE you mount the wheels.
I haven't secured the brake cables
to the struts yet, as I will be attaching the streamlined strut covers.
I'm not sure at this point whether I'll attach them to the outside of the
cover, or drill a hole and run them inside for the most part. I
think this would be a cleaner installation.
They didn't say so, but
you need to put grease on the cable before you put it in the housing.
I need to check out the mounting of the main strut covers, as holes or
slots will need to be cut for the jury strut attaching points, etc.
I also need to drill the attaching holes for the strobe lights, and
determine were the lines will run. After that, I'll be taking it
back apart so I can begin covering.
I took it all apart. I would not want to do this
everyday. If it had to be broken completely down every time I flew, I
would hangar it someplace.
I am very timid about getting started
with the fabric, so I'm going to wait until tomorrow- when I'm sure I'll
not have any interruptions, as Connie is not here - and I'm watching Megan
while I'm trying to work. That won't work if something happens and I
have to quit.
I had nothing to worry about on the fabric. I covered all
but the wings. I tried experimenting with a heat gun, but the heat
was too concentrated, and too hot. It was too easy to get real hot,
real quick. I was able to melt a hole through the fabric without
much trouble. Use an iron instead.
When closing up the open
ends, the manual says to "glue the open end shut..." I
found that the BEST way to do it is to apply glue over the end where you
will be laying the fabric to close. Apply at the same rate that you
did the first two glue/mek coats before you pulled on the fabric.
With this layer of glue still wet and sticky, pull the fabric over the
glue and rub it with your finger to seal it. It works very well, and very
quick, and you don't need to clamp it. When you have the whole side
stretched, then cut off the excess material.
You need to pull the
material at LEAST halfway around the tube (or whatever). You can use
a utility knife to cut off the material against the tube, but you DO NOT
want to cut against the tube for the other side that you will do next, as
you would also cut through the first layer of fabric.
scissors, and again make sure you are at least halfway over the end.
The fabric should overlap the first layer. After you've cut the
second side excess off, you can smooth the seam by applying a little more
You can use the brush to smooth the seam edge, or you can use
your finger (which I prefer). It gets a little messy. If it
feels like it's getting too sticky, you can put a little more glue on.
I thought the hardest part would be cutting around the clamping blocks on
the horizontal stabilizers, but they were easy. See the photo to see
how the reinforcing patch looks like around the clamping block.
I finished putting the straight MEC, then 2 coats of 2-1,
MEC-glue mix over all the perimeter. This took quite a while.
I then heated up a nail set and melted the fabric through at all hole
locations. I took the wings inside and stripped off the struts and
all the hardware. I wiped them clean. I also drilled the holes
for the streamlined strobes. All of the ribs are still
Tomorrow I will start with the 2 coats of glue to the
perimeter, and go from there. I also received my EIS by UPS today!
I got the right wing glued and covered today, and had begun to
shrink it when the power went off at 5:15 pm in a bad thunderstorm.
The power was off until around 3 am. There were 26 power outages
around the county. The wind blew the rear lower tail boom over,
that I had propped up against the building. It hit the wheelbarrow
and put a dent in the tube. Not bad- but it ticks me off.
also found out that AeroWorks gave me 2 RIGHT wing covers, rather than one
of each. I tried to see if I could use the right cover on the left
wing, but the seams don't line up right. I'm also running out of
glue. I don't think I'll have enough to finish. I haven't
wasted a drop.
I picked up a Sharp Viewcam at H.H.Gregg for $287.00!
I really like it, and the balance of the project will be in color.
Because of all this, I think I may have to make a trip to Millersburg.
I can pickup the missing landing gear bolt, left wing cover, and glue.
I can return the first instrument. panel, wrong wing cover, and maybe give
them back the instruments that I will not be using.
Max's granddaughter in Todd Raber's Aerolite at AERO-WORKS factory (next
Patty Wagstaff ?? ) maybe!
I DID drive up to AeroWorks. Picked up left wing cover,
bolts, glue...made exchanges. Don't you know that they gave me the
wrong landing gear bolt?? It's too long, and I can't make up the
difference with washers, because they will get in the way of the strut
cover. I'm just going to get a 10/32 die and thread some more
threads on the long bolt, then cut off the excess. That should work.
Well, let me tell you...there is alot of work in the wings. I
attached the cover to the left one; glued it; shrunk it; 2-coat glued it;
attached all the reinforcing patches underneath (that took awhile); and
melted the fabric at all hole locations. Keep in mind I only got as
far as beginning to shrink the fabric on the right wing yesterday, when
the power went out.
I also got the right wing up to where the left
one is. THEN, I put fabric rivets in one wing. I don't know if
I agree with the "...dip in straight glue..."idea, as this
really makes a mess. I hope the rib tapes cover the glue that
has oozed out around the rivet head. I still need to rivet the other
wing, and then glue on rib tapes to both wings. I should THEN be
ready to UV paint all pieces.
I riveted the other wing, put rib tapes on both, and applied
2 coats of glue. The wings are finally ready for UV paint, but the
glue is suppose to dry for 24 hours before UV. I'll paint the UV on
the wings tomorrow. I DID paint one coat of UV on all the other
HINT: Do your painting outside in the sun, as it
dries much faster. It is latex, of course. I had NO MEK left,
and had to clean my brush out with ACETONE. I suppose it could be
used in place of MEK, but I didn't want to try it.
HINT: When attached the rivets that have been dipped in glue, do
about 12 at a time, then wipe the surface of the rivet briskly with a
terry cloth rag. It rolls up the excess glue, and is the easiest way
to remove it that I have found.
I applied the 2nd coat of UV to the control surfaces, and put
2 coats on both wings. I accidentally knocked over the gallon can of
UV! I lost about 1/2 gallon before I could pick it up. As it
turned out, I still had enough UV to do all but about 2/3 of the top of
one wing, of the 2nd coat. I need about 8 oz. to finish. I
could not find the UV at ANY paint shop, aviation shop, etc.
know where AeroWorks gets it. A guy at Parr Airport in Zanesville
told me that I ought to be able to use latex exterior (flat black) paint,
as it should already have a UV protectant in it. He is probably
right. I've decided that this is what I'm going to do...NOTHING.
already have a good coat of UV on it, and in the manual they discourage
MORE than two coats, as it only adds weight. I'm sure it will suffer
no ill affects of not having a 2nd coat. I'm ready to scuff the
surface with the included ScotchBrite pad. I will then he ready to
I have to fully read the instructions that apply to
the paint gun, HVLP, and paint. I also have to build a
plastic-enclosed paint booth.
The weather was cold and wet today- no painting. I
picked up some polyurethane enamel to practice with. I also need to
go to Ohio Auto Care on Hamilton Rd. tomorrow to pick up the gloss black
paint, and related supplies.
Today I picked up the trim paint
and assorted supplies. They don't make Durethane anymore. It
was suggested that I use PPG Concept, instead. I got it is gloss
black for the trim. It takes hardener and reducer just like
Durethane. I will also use a flex additive in it (on the fabric).
I got an epoxy primer to use on the metal. I then came home and
built my spray booth.
Actually, I just hung plastic around the
perimeter. The floor got sticky as I painted. Let me tell you one
thing...I can't stress this enough...
DO NOT PAINT WITH THIS PAINT UNLESS
YOU HAVE A FORCED AIR BREATHING APPARATUS!!!
I made the mistake of
taking a breath after I took my mask off, and before I got out of the
enclosure. Whew! It was strong. I have no doubt that
anything less than a separate breathing source would be dangerous.
Thank God the Citation 240 has the forced air built in.
No about the
painting...I'm not satisfied. First, the mistakes I made:
Dragging the bottom of the spray can in the wet paint.
Spray gun dripping...fixed when I snugged it down more securely. 3)
Dragging air hose in the wet paint...now I loop it around my neck- end of
4) It is hard to see the "wet" line of the
paint you're applying.
This could be remedied by repositioning all
of my floodlights so that you are looking into the glare. It becomes
harder to see as you apply successive coats. I don't know what I'll
do about the finish. I know that the paint seems a little thin,
after adding the reducer. Without the reducer it may cover better.
I'll call AeroWorks at 9 am to see what they say.
I'm not terribly
impressed with the HVLP sprayer, either. Of course, I did get a full
three coats out of it. If would probably have only covered two using
a conventional sprayer. I think my disappointment with the sprayer
is probably due to the paint viscosity. I DO wonder if it would not
look any worse if I had used a paintbrush...
I'll see how things go;
I may decide to wet sand this finish, and/or apply a third coat. If
I could do it all over again, I would have applied a white or yellow UV
Also, every little imperfection underneath
telegraphed through to the top. It did seem to get better by the
third coat, and tomorrow, maybe it will be better yet. You MUST take
care of every defect when it happens, or suffer the consequences.
Hairs from the glue brush, excess glue, glue runs, wrinkled fabric.
If anything ever happens to this fabric, I'll probably replace it with
that SuperMonokote-type stuff that I saw on the Challenger at the
FAirfield By Appt Only Co Airshow. Oh well, tomorrow's another day.
I talked to PPG, and AeroWorks today. PPG said that I
should use 1/2 as much reducer, and that should take care of the problem.
They also said that I should not expect to have complete coverage with
only a tack coat, followed by a wet coat. They told me to "just
paint" with no lighter tack coat.
Todd told me that the paint is so finely atomized by the HVLP, that may me causing a problem.
They use a Taiwan gun from WalMart for about $50, and it does a great job.
Connie threw the box away the Citation HVLP came in, so I guess there's no
Todd suggested that I paint over the black UV with a
yellow flat latex, as it's cheaper than using epoxy. I agree.
I wish I'd have never used the UV at all!!! He also said that yellow
is the hardest color to cover. I just got off the phone with Axis
(maker of the Citation 240). He said that I am using the correct
fluid nozzle and needle (1.0 mm).
He also said DO NOT reduce the
reducer, and do everything just as I was. He said that yellow paint
over black is GOING TO TAKE MORE COATS, and I need to accept that. I
guess I agree.
I've just contacted every paint store in
Newark, and no one has an exterior, flat latex, in yellow, or anything
close. I then went to Meyers, and guess what...they not only had
it, but it was YELLOW. It's a better color than what the Durethane
yellow is! I'll tell you, I think if you could get the same color in
a oil based polyurethane (house paint) I would use it instead of the
I put on 2 coats of the yellow - onto a small area of one
of the elevators. I let it dry completely, then poked and prodded.
I am certain that it will not crack, split, or peel off. The part
that was tested almost completely hides the black underneath. I
think I will now be able to use only 2 coats of Durethane, and completely
hide the black UV. I can't wait to get started...
Well...it sort of covered the black. I did all black UV
surfaces with 2 coats. You can certainly still see it is dark
underneath, but maybe it will be enough to only require 2 coats of
Durethane. I could have put it on thicker (easily) but though it
might be asking for trouble, since this latex does not have a flex agent
I sanded the previously painted wing, and got it ready for
the last coat of Durethane. I also used a tack rag on it, and will
to all other surfaces prior to painting. The sticky stuff on it
really picks up the dust. I am better at handling and adjusting the spray gun. The final coat looks pretty good, and I'm sure the other
surfaces will look better yet.
Make sure you angle the lights to
make it easy for you to look into the glare - it makes it much easier to
keep track of your "wet" line. I really like the LexAire spray gun. The
over spray is greatly reduced. It's also fairly easy to
I sanded the 2nd wing and painted it. The yellow latex
over the black really made a difference. I only needed two coats of
yellow. Of course, I put the first coat on as a wet coat, instead of
a tack coat. That was the recommendation of PPG. It was a good one.
After two coats, I still had enough left to do another side, so I put a
third coat on the bottom. The bottom REALLY looks good. I then
scuff sanded all the rest of the fabric covered parts. I was careful
not to sand too heavily, as it would sand all of the yellow latex off.
The consequence of that, however, is that the brush marks can still be seen
under the yellow durethane. There not bad (and they're better than
black streaks), but you can still see them. When the wing was dry
enough, I pulled it out and laid out all the other pieces., to paint only
one side of them. I leaned them across long sawhorses at about 45
degrees. I was afraid this would cause runs, but I only got a couple
small ones. I put on two coats, with about 30 min. between coats.
There is absolutely NO SIGN of the black streaks showing through.
Todd at AeroWorks discouraged me from only doing one side at a time, but I
don't know how I'd have done it otherwise.
Tomorrow I'll flip them
over and finish with two coats...then I'll be done. I don't think
I'll do the black right now, in the interest of getting it in the air.
I'll either do it after I have flown, or save it for a winter project.
I think I'm going to have a good bit of paint leftover. It's ironic,
as I though in the beginning that I was going to need a good bit more.
I'm leaving both wings outside tonight...I hope they survive the
temperature. (and maybe frost) okay.
Woke up to 20 mph winds, but about 57 degrees. I hope the
wings (that were left outside) survive the wind okay. Okay, I've
been outside. Both wings are OK. The top of the second painted wing
is a bit dull, or satiny. I suppose the temperature. caused it,
except it only got down to about 45 degrees. The old Simonize
reconditioning fluid would probably do the trick.
I wouldn't call it
oxidized, but it is something similar to the 75 Cutlass that I painted a
stripe on the hood. It sort of got a "foggy" look on the
paint surface. I think "blemish" is what they call it.
It looks OK, but I may decide to re-paint the top. The bottom looks
great (of course, it did get three coats, and the top only got 2).
painted the backside of all the other fabric surfaces. They got
coats, and they look okay. I'm going to attempt to wetsand the more
obvious runs, and see what happens. It is taking a long time for the
paint to "cure". I think I am going to do the black trim
ON THE FABRIC ONLY. I'll paint the metal later on.
to keep the trim a simple pattern...well...not too complicated. I
also got the airspeed (0 - 80) today...but no pitot tube. I'll read
up on how to run the tubing.
I worked on the instrument panel today. I was going to
cover the existing panel with Formica, but I decided instead to buy a
Formica countertop, and just cut it out. It was mo more expensive
than the smallest sheet of Formica (and I would have had to buy and
apply contact cement).
It is white. Then...I got the idea to
paint it yellow, to match the plane. This is a great color, and the
instruments look fantastic in it, but...I did it with a brush, and you can
see the contour of the brushstrokes. Not bad...but I'm not elated
I will now do one of several things:
1) Leave it as
2) wet sand the yellow flat, then use something to
bring back the gloss;
3) Wet sand it flat, then spray paint it
with yellow (and do the nose of the airplane at the same time;
sand off ALL the yellow, and leave it white;
5) Cut out a new
one, and leave it white.
Option 3 appeals to me, but I haven't made
my decision yet. I wasn't going to paint the nose of the airplane
again, but if I can find nothing to bring back the gloss, (after wet sanding
out the brush marks on the nose) I will do that. I am also
going to use something to soften the I.P. mount to the tubing, so as to
You know, I got behind on my entries, and I just can't
remember what I did today or the 26th. Sorry.
I attached the muffler, minus the elbow hooks welded on.
I'll ask my neighbor if he could weld those on for me. I want to
tell you that properly placing the sleeve around the muffler is very
important. It would be best if you have a helper.
difficult because the position of the muffler changes as you tighten the
bolts around it, relative to its position to the exhaust elbow. You
can take a good look at the photos, and that might give you a starting
You will find that the muffler slants slightly back towards
the engine when done correctly. This will get the elbow seams lined
up with the exhaust manifold. Realize something else...your exhaust
elbow is held in place to the manifold and the muffler by springs.
The hooks for the springs are already attached to the muffler and the
manifold, but have to be welded to the elbow.
There will be three on
each side, and should be straight across from the matching hooks (already
attached). The tension applied to each will not be the same.
The elbow will droop somewhat, as you have the elbow in place, but NOT
attached to the springs.
When determining where to weld the hooks on
the elbow, you will want to create more of a "stretch" on the spring(s)
on the bottom the elbow, as this will pull the muffler/elbow back up into
perfect alignment. The ball and socket fittings on the exhaust allow
for a pretty out-of-alignment attachment, but you will want it to be
aligned for aesthetic reasons, too. The MX that I took my lessons in
had a horrible alignment. That made me feel better about my job.
I attached the elevators, rudder, and the ailerons. I then masked
and painted the black trim. Two coats of BRUSHED on PPG Concept (black).
It is extremely glossy, and levelled quickly. Maybe too quickly, as a
couple of runs developed on the rudder, as I painted it vertically.
It took a long time. I'd like to repaint my truck with this paint.
The black painted tips of the wings look bad. It
apparently wasn't the temperature. that affected them, because all the
other black painted fabric also got cold, but it was inside my building.
(unheated), and all of it looked fine.
I decided to repaint the
wingtips. They do look better, but remember, I brushed it. It
looks great from about 50 ft. I applied a stripe pattern, using two
1/2 in. stripes and a 2 in. stripe. It is very nice. I found
out by accident that there is a clear plastic strip that you need to peel
off, after the apply the stripe. The blue masking tape I used was
too sticky. Some of the sticky junk stuck to the yellow paint, and
has proven very difficult to get off. Whatever gets the goo off,
also takes the yellow paint off (like MEK).
I didn't even try
lacquer thinner, as its characteristics are similar. But I
eventually DID try it, and it seems to work okay, without dulling of
softening the yellow paint.
Here is the solution.......USE THE 3-M
FINE LINE TAPE.
I used a 1/4 in. strip to mask for the black, but
then stuck the blue masking tape to the 3-M tape, but the rest of it stuck
to the yellow paint. If you are going to mask for spraying, I guess
you could use regular masking tape, just make sure it sticks to the 3-M
fine line, and the plastic or paper that you are masking with.
fine line may need to be about 1/2 in. wide (instead of 1/4 in) to better
accommodate regular masking tape. Also, the fine line tape made a PERFECT
line, and came off easily. The leading and trailing edges are
getting banged up a little bit. I'm going to need to touch up little
marks, maybe after I am flying.
HINT: TAKE PRECAUTION TO KEEP
ALL PAINTED PARTS INSIDE OVERNIGHT UNTIL THE COMPLETELY CURE.
as I'm concern, this will take several days, during this time of year
(October). It probably wouldn't be a problem in the summer.
The wings survived outside OK. Today I remounted the
throttle grip, so as to provide much more tension when turning the
throttle. I put a screen door spring (about 3 in. long, and the
exact diameter. of the i.d. of the throttle grip) inside of the throttle
grip, between 2 finder washers that I had leftover. Just push the
grip on until it is as much tension as you want, then tighten down the
screws. It works perfect! Sometimes I just fall in to it.
I also ran the wires in the wings for the streamlined wingtip strobes.
This was difficult, but I got it done. It would not have been any
easier, had I done it earlier in the construction. process.
the carb., but have not connected any hoses, or the throttle cable.
This is one area where I am critical of the assembly manual... there are
several areas where the clearcut by-the-numbers procedure is simply not
there. It causes me to waste time, look ahead, etc.
I wish I
had all those hours back... If I didn't have the photos that I had
taken while at AeroWorks, I don't know what I'd have done. I can't
tell you how many times I've walked back inside to my computer (at least
200) to look at a seemingly insignificant part of a photo for
clarification. Hopefully for all others after me, what I'm doing
HINT: Do not spill any lacquer thinner, acetone, or
MEK on the LEXAN windshield. It will melt it, and eventually turn it
Today I attached the strobe heads to the wingtips. This
was a real pain, for a couple of reasons.
1) The male pin that
you are suppose to attach to the wire(s) coming out of the wingtip was too
large for the female coupler already attached to the strobe head. It
absolutely would not fit. This is an inexcusable fault on the part
of Kuntzleman Electronics, and I'm going to tell them so.
Equally inexcusable, the clear lens that attaches overtop of the blue soft
material had the holes drilled in the wrong place. It would have
been impossible to push the lens far enough onto the strobe so that the
hole in the lens lined up with the threaded hole in the strobe. In
fact, it was far enough off that I had to drill a completely separate hole
on one of the lenses, and both holes on the other. I hope the rest
of the Kuntzleman electronics, that I have not yet installed, are better
I have to apologize to Kuntzleman. The fitting on
the strobe head is for a stripped wire, not for the wire in a connector.
I read and reread the directions, and didn't grasp that, but that's
because I had a pre-conceived idea of what they wanted to say. They still
screwed up on the drilling of the holes. I talked to Todd Raber
about it, and he said his Kuntzleman wingtip strobes were also that way,
requiring additional holes to be drilled in the lens.
attached the prop. This was a piece of cake when I actually got to
doing it. I had to buy a torque wrench that would measure clear down
to 175 in-lbs., which divided by 12, is the same as 14.58 ft-lbs.
The wrench (Craftsman) I had only went down to 20 ft-lbs.
I also ran
all of the fuel lines, and attached the fuel pump. I don't know how
anyone without a photo of what it's suppose to look like would ever be
able to figure it out. I had taken photos at AeroWorks, and I've
look at them over 200 times. The video and the photos I took will
I mounted the fuel primer bulb high enough that I
could reach it over my shoulder from the seated position, if I had to.
Make sure you attach the filter and the primer bulb in the right
direction, by using the arrows.
I'm getting a little aggravated at
how long it is taking to get so little done. It seems that the
instructions should be somewhat more structured, or by the numbers, to
tell you exactly what to do, just like they did in the beginning of
frame assembly. For example, there is nothing to indicate what line
goes where, as it relates to the fuel pump. There are many other
Today was a bad day. Snow flurries all day, cold,
blustery. I mounted the PRECISION POWER SUPPLY and the SMART STROBE
DUAL MAGNUM boxes. I basically mounted the two boxes on top of each
other, like a sandwich.
You'll have to see the photo. I called
Kuntzleman to make sure I was following the directions right. You
have 5 wires coming out of the Rotax 447:
The brown one is the
ground. Ground this to the frame.
wire (by itself) is the ignition kill wire. Wire this to the kill
switch, already attached to the upper tube. You'll also need to put
a small piece of wire on the other side of the kill switch, and wire it to
The gray wire is the tachometer wire. From what I
read, this may or may not be what you use for your tach connection,
depending on what instrument you use. I think with the EIS it will
work. I guess one of the lighting coil wires will also work for the
tach...but only one. If you connect to the tach using one of these
and it doesn't work, then you'll know to use the other. If you use
the tach that came from AeroWorks, I believe you'll need to use the
lighting coil connection, and tape off the tach wire.
The yellow and
yellow w/black stripe wires are probably clipped together on a spade bit.
These are the lighting coil wires. The power they produce is AC.
Most power-use applications on the plane require DC, so the AC has to be
converted to DC by means of a regulator/rectifier.
Take these two yellow
wires apart, and connect one of them to the red stripe/white wire on the
smart strobe, and the other to the black stripe/white wire (on the smart
strobe). If you're not using a strobe system, then the lighting coil
wires connect directly to a rectifier/regulator. The lighting coil
produces AC power, and the rectifier/regulator changes it to DC power, and
regulates the voltage, depending on rpm.
The Kuntzleman Precision
Power Supply is an elaborate rect./regulator. It has two wires
that need to also connect to the lighting coil wires (on its input side),
and it has two output wires. One is black, and is grounded.
The other is red, and is a 3 amp DC power supply. It has allot of
features, but I won't list them all here. Any and all of the DC powered
accessories will be powered from this little wire.
In my setup, that
will be the CB radio, the EIS, any landing light(s), and the DC powered
strobe. I don't know how many amps that all adds up to, but if it's more
than 3, something's got to give. Should it prove too big of a load,
I may consider adding a battery. This would provide an additional
source to draw from for short periods (like when landing with
landing lights, etc.)
It was suggested by Kuntzleman that I not make
the strobes switchable, that is, just have them on anytime the engine is
running. This seems like a good idea to me. The bulbs are
rated for 1200 hrs., and I did buy them to use them, right? I will only add
a switch if I install a battery, so as not to draw current when it's not
I said it was a bad day? I was attempting to position
my wing behind the fuselage, so I could plug the strobe into the smart
strobe box, and check the fit. I lost control of the wing, and ended
up dropping it onto the tail boom section. It poked a hole in the
middle top of the fabric. It is more like a rip, about an inch long.
I haven't decided exactly how to fix it, but I may try SUPER MONOKOTE,
then cover it with a handmade decal, like a bumblebee, stripe, or
something like that. I'm hoping I'll not have to redo it with
I have had some time to thoroughly read the directions for the
EIS, and other related instrument hookups. I connected the EGT
probes to the tapped fittings in the exhaust manifold. Just screw in
the fitting, put the locking nut and compression fitting onto the probe,
and insert the probe tip into the fitting. Push it in all the way
until it touches the other side of the manifold, then back it out about
1/4". Tighten down the locking nut, making sure the probe
doesn't slip at you do.
I have read that you need to remove the
rings from the spark plugs, if you use CHT sending units. I did
this. The CHT sending unit goes over the threaded end of the spark
plug, before you install it. Don't forget to gap the plug, which is
.020". On the Rotax, you can thread the CHT leads through the
cooling fins on the cylinder head, where it will come out directly over
the spark plug hole, then drop the spark plug into the hole. If you
don't, the lead will get bent up. You'll see what I mean when you
The photos and the video both show the proper way.
Also, make sure the CHT ring around the spark plug doesn't start to turn
with the spark plug as you tighten it down. Spray the ring with
WD-40 before you position it.
With all the various wires that are
now accumulating, you need to decide how they will be run to the various
terminations (ie, instrument panel). It is probably best to leave
most of the wires loose, until you see how many wires you have, where they
go, what can be grouped together, etc. This is where a picture is
worth a thousand words. Study the photos that are enclosed, and you'll see
how I did it, anyway.
More work on the wiring today. I cut all the wires coming
out of the EIS that I will not be using. I cut them very short, so
they don't come out of the back of the plug. The EGT and CHT wires
are very long, but all others that need to reach the engine (ie, tach
wire) will have to be spliced, to make them long enough. I had to
pay extra for the pre-wired harness. I don't know why EIS didn't
think that the tach, power, etc. would not need cables as long as the
The entire frame is grounded, so I found no reason to run
the various ground wires clear back to the upper root tube. I just
grounded things wherever it was convenient. Also, on the EIS, they
indicate cylinders by #1 and #2. Which is which...you ask? It
doesn't matter, so long as you know which probes are connect to which
cylinder, and that one is designated.
For example, if you connect
the probes from the EIS EGT #1, to the cylinder closest to the prop, then
that is cylinder #1. Simple enough.
I put all the wires inside of the black accordion tube, and
secured it with nylon ties alongside of the lower tube and up the vertical
tube. The hardest part of it is trying to determine how to make the
neatest installation. You do, however, have to know in the beginning
where every wire starts and terminates. And because everything
vibrates, I have taken precaution to isolate wires as best I can. In
the photos, take note of the EGT and CHT leads. All I have left to
do is wire the tail strobe, and install-connect the Skysports Fuel Probe.
I forgot about wiring the remote switches on the EIS. I
don't think I've mentioned this before, but the EIS has three buttons on
the front of it that control its operation. When you are strapped
in, you cannot reach the EIS without releasing your seatbelt (or at least
the shoulder straps). EIS has attached three leads that you can
install on a tube, or wherever, so that you can control the EIS while
The switches are SPST, momentary on. What that means
is that when you push the button it grounds the circuit, which cycles the
display on the EIS. I got mine at Radio Shack. I am installing
mine on the left side of the hoop tube, inside of a small aluminium box
(that I also got at Radio Shack).
There was no way to attach the
switches directly to the tube, as you could not reach the nut to tighten
on the back. With the box that I bought, there is still room on the
front of it to mount three more push buttons, or a couple of switches
(future devices). I also shrunk on a couple of tubes, where the wires
enter the hole in the tubing. This should keep it from abrading.
I finished up soldering the remote wires in the box. I
then installed the throttle cable. Be sure to take all the slack
out. Once you have attached the carb end to its fitting, it's
much easier to the slack out.
My neighbor welded the exhaust spring
hooks onto the exhaust elbow, and it is perfect. Smear on some
Permanex (Loctite) Hi-Temp. silicone ANTI-SEIZE compound where the elbow
touches each piece.
I had to quit early, because I drove over to St.
Clairsville to take my first flying lesson. I did very well, and I'm
happier than ever that I bought an ultralight. Something else came
to light, however.
What I am getting ready to say cannot be understated...
ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, DO NOT EVER EVEN THINK OF TRYING TO
FLY YOUR ULTRALIGHT WITHOUT PROPER TRAINING!!!!!
I got better very
quickly, but when I began trying to bank a turn, it was not very good. The
thing that I learned very quickly is that making turns is much like
changing lanes on the freeway... movements are very small. There is
also a bit of a lag, after initiating a control.
The takeoffs and
landings were the most fun, as you would expect. Well, except for
the flying about a foot off the ground in the hayfield, dodging large
bales! I'm not kidding! We then flew at treetop level. I
thought the branches were going to sting my legs. It was more fun
than I've ever had on ANY type of ride. I can't wait to fly my own.
My hearing, however, did not recover for 1 1/2 days. I had a
very noticeable ringing in my ears. It is the most loud noise,
sustained, that I've ever experienced. We had headsets, and I don't
think it was the engine that was too loud, it was the volume of the
intercom system. I found out later that my instructor had EARPLUGS,
in addition to his headset. I sure wish I had. I will NEVER to
it again! He later told me that the volume could have been adjusted.
I'll use my own headset the next lesson. If that won't work, then
he'll just have to give me hand signals, because I'm not going through
Today I re-read all of the instructions for the Skysports
Fuel Probe. I think I know understand how to install it. I
also put gear oil in the reduction drive. Todd at AeroWorks says the
best way to fill it is to just put 12 oz. in it, rather than filling it
until the oil begins to come out the lower hole (messy).
I got some
other miscellaneous information from Todd, as follows (in no particular
spark plug gap is .020"; make sure to remove the
spark plug ring, if installing a CHT probe onto the plug; let your plugs
be the best indicator of how proper mixture and temp. Proper mixture
and temp will produce toasty brown tips.
Too lean (which also means
too hot) will produce light gray or white, chaulky tips. The
proper CHT is 300 to 400 degrees. You want to be watching it when
the temp. gets to 425. He said for me to set the limit on my EIS to
480 degrees. The EIS has a red warning light that begins to flash
when ANY parameter has been exceeded.
I guess that lets you fly,
instead of constantly cycling through the display pages, checking for
readings. The EGT limit should be set at 1200 to 1225. Wide
open throttle while flying should produce 1000 to 1050 degrees.
Midrange power will produce 1100 to 1150.
Funny, isn't it? You
would think that lower rpm would produce lower temp's. In the box
that comes with your Rotax will be a hardware pack. In it will be
two short bolts, with copper rings. These are the plugs for the EGT
fittings on the exhaust, should you foolishly decide not to install EGT
Incidentally, there is a hole on each side of the gearbox,
that you might think would need a plug also, to keep the gear lube from
running out (it's also threaded). It apparently does not need any
Gary Church (who has some photos on the AeroWorks website)
gave me the following info:
Redline rpm is 6800. Your max rpm, while
tied down on the ground (break-in) should be 6250 to 6300 rpm. You
will gain approx. 300 rpm to your max. power while flying, as you're now
in clean air.
Adjusting your prop. so that your rpm is too low or
too high will create problems. Your max. power rpm should be about
6500 straight and level.
Also, Todd told me, without even trying the
current setting, to change the jet needle position. There is a jet needle,
and a needle jet, so don't get confused. The top of the needle has 4
positions, into which a retaining ring is snapped. The retaining
ring controls how far into the needle jet the jet needle is permitted to
drop (or fit). The higher onto the needle that the retaining clip is
positioned, the lower the needle is permitted to drop into the jet,
effectively leaning the mixture. My ret. clip was in the 2nd from
the top, with a very small o-ring filling the top spot. Todd had me
move it to the 3rd spot from the top (or the 2nd from the bottom).
Reposition the o-ring to the spot vacated by the ret. clip.
still need to try it for awhile, to see how it responds. There seem
to be allot of things that control proper mixture: idle speed, jet
needle position, air mixture, etc. I'll go over the proper start-up procedure, but after I have started my own. By the way, the
"54" on the side of the carb is the model, not a designation of
the size. This carb. is a 36 mm.
Four hours today, and not much to show for it. I did get
the hole cut for the fuel probe, but I didn't get it installed. I
connected jumper cables to my truck, to power the EIS, and set all the
parameters before I start the engine. I was able to power up
the EIS, but it wasn't working right. I traced the problem to the
remote switchbox. Specifically, the "next-ack" button was acting
like it was being depressed, although it wasn't. When I disconnected
the switch, everything worked fine. I removed and re-soldered the
switch, and it worked okay. In a short while, one of the other two
switches did the same thing. I am going to replace all three
switches with better quality switches from somewhere else.
Four lost hours again. I tested the EGT and CHT probes,
with heat. The EGT leads proved to be attached backwards. In
other words, the cylinder that I had designated as #1 was reading as #2 on
the EIS. All I had to do to correct it was to cut off the
heat-shrink tubing and disconnect the spade bits, then switch them. The CHT probes were fine.
The instructions for the calibrating of
the fuel probe are complicated, but complete. What I want to
accomplish is to have the gauge read "empty" when there is
actually a gallon of fuel left. I can also calibrate it so that it
reads in percent. ie, when the tank is full, it will read 100%.
At one actual gallon, it will read 0%. I got rushed at the end of my
allotted time, so I didn't get the probe secured in the tank. I did
put exactly one gallon of fuel in the tank. I also had to cut the
probe (it started at 24"). So it would fit in the tank w/o
hitting the bottom. I think the probe is now 14 to 14 1/4".
I accidentally dropped the internal flange into the tank (I knew it would
eventually happen). I'll try and retrieve it with a magnet.
also picked up three new switches from AutoZone. They are automotive
type, and heavier construction. They won't have to be soldered, as
they have spade-type connectors. They are also lever-type, rather
than push-button. I may like them better. The instructions to
installing and calibrating the fuel probe are very complicated. I am
not at this point, going to go into the step-by-step. I'll come back
to it after it's all done and add something.
Success today. I got the fuel probe attached, and I was
successful in calibrating it the way that I wanted. I was not,
however, able to do it without almost completely draining the tank.
It is required in the directions, but I thought I was more clever than
that, and tried to do it without it. It cannot be done that way,
because the adjustment "pots" on top of the fuel probe are tied
in to each other. When you turn either one, the display on the EIS
changes. If anyone has any problem calibrating theirs, just give me
a call. I'll be glad to help.
It won't do for me to go through
the entire procedure here, as they will all be different. I took the
day off from work today so I could go back to St. Clairsville and take my
second lesson. The earplugs and the volume control made all the
difference in the world. I could almost here him better with a
headset than if we were face to face.
cross-controlling, stalls, and of course, takeoffs and landings. It
was pretty windy, but more than that, it was gusty. I understand now
why so many ultralight pilots do not like to fly in the wind. You
are in a constant state of correction. I hadn't thought of it, until
now...but I had always wondered whether I would get airsick or not.
I've read some about it, and I guess it is influenced by your mental
state, as well as the physical factors. I'm happy to say that I have
not even remotely gotten sick to my stomach. I would think it would
have happened today, if it were going to happen. Now I've probably
Boy, I can taste it now! I'm so close. I just have
trivial details to finish up. I safety wired the prop (a total of
ten bolts), the reduction drive (two fill plugs on side, top and bottom
plugs), the exhaust springs (6), the muffler-to-cylinder head bolts (2),
and the fuel probe (5). Don't forget to put Loctite on the
muffler-to-cyl. head bolts. This is probably pretty important, as you
cannot tighten down the bolts too tight. What I mean is that it
won't let you, as the rubber washers begin to squeeze out long before it
Neither the fuel probe or the propeller came with safety
wire, so I ran out on the fuel probe. I'll get some before I fly.
I also found the solution to the little slit I put in the top of the right
wing. I found a roll of (believe it or not) BRIGHT YELLOW Super
Monokote, from my model airplane days. It is not quite as
as the durethane paint, but it was pretty close. I ironed it on in
three layers, increasing diameter ovals. It worked perfect! It
also shrinks up, just like the fabric.
This is what I have left to
1) put graphite lube on the throttle and brake cables
mount tail strobe
4) mount my GPS
break the engine in.
One of our patrol pilots from the aviation
section told me I need to check the weight and balance. He said that
AeroWorks should have something to indicate where the Center of Gravity
should be. I'll have to contact them on that. I would also
like to weigh it, so see what the gross weight actually is (with and
without my weight added).
I started my engine!! It was fantastic. I feel such
a sense of fulfillment. You know, if any of the wiring, mechanical
connections, fuel system, prop bolts, or a dozen other things had not been
right, then it might not have started. I am proud of myself.
There...I'm reaching around and patting my own back.
I didn't break
it in, as it was pitch dark by the time I was able to start it. I
can't believe how long it took to put it back together. I still need
to attach the tail strobe and the gap seals. The right side wingtip
strobe didn't work. The left one worked intermittently. I am
positive it's because the replacement connector pins I used were too large
in diameter, and I couldn't shove them up into the connectors far enough.
The circuit could not be completed. I'll replace them with the
proper ones tomorrow.
I had a pleasant surprise...the EIS is backlit
(green) and it is bright! It seemed to function fine, in the short
time the engine was running. I let the CHT climb to 225 before I
revved it at all. I didn't go over 4500 rpm, and that was just for a
couple of seconds. I can't wait till tomorrow to break it in.
HINT: When starting the engine, prop the tail up onto something, just as
when you're assembling the tail. I didn't make this mistake, but I'm
sure that if you leave the tail on the ground, it will come up hard on
it's nose gear when you apply throttle.
Incidentally, I rotated the brake drums 90 degrees. forward. This
put the brake cables more on top, rather than coming up from underneath.
Had I left the cables underneath, they could snag tall grass, etc.
Now if you have already attached your brake cables the way I had
originally done it, then you didn't read through this entire diary before
you started construction! I have to make corrections as I go, you
should be doing everything right the first time, at my expense!!
when I described putting the ribs on backwards? I had another
builder email me, and he indicated that he was getting ready to do his
wings. Before I could warn him about the rib problem, he had already
begun attaching them backwards. I believe he only did 4 or 5 that
way, then he saw the holes for the hinges on the leading edge, and
realized he had them backwards.
I took the opportunity, since I had
the brake assemblies loose, to correct a slight binding in each brake
drum. This was caused because the large washer (paint black) that
has been welded on the spindle was not exactly perpendicular. This
washer is the part that you drill through, in order to attach the brake
assemblies. I took a quarter size washer, cut it in half, and
shimmed between the two in order to make it perpendicular.
and brake drum can then be attached, and the wheel spins freely without
rubbing on the shoes. You can tell if you have the same problem by
seeing if the spacing between the drum (on the wheel) and the brake shoe plate is even. If not, then you'll need to shim it, too.
know, I haven't added up all the hours, but all I know is I have really
enjoyed the building process. I once heard a house builder say, by
the time he finishes a house...he hates it. I understand where he's
coming from. I thought I would run into that here, but I couldn't
have been farther from the truth. I will have an empty feeling when
all the construction process is done. I guess that will give me
reason to add things, or tweak.
I do still have to paint and install
the streamlined strut covers, CB radio, etc. That also gives me hope
for the future, as I one day will be building a homebuilt airplane, such
as a Velocity or a Lancair. Can't wait till tomorrow...
Well, it's tomorrow! Lots of fun today. I spent a
couple of hours rounding up miscellaneous parts: Galvanized wire
(safety wire, 20 ga.); a keyed switch to use in the ignition circuit;
graphite for the throttle cable; tie down anchors; and while attempting to
get new connector pins for the tip strobes- I actually found identical
connectors- pins and all!! The package was at an old electronics
store, and looked like it had been hanging there for 20 years. It
had yellowed, and the price was written in pencil. No bar codes here!
I connected them all, and attached the tail strobe also. No need to
run the ground wire clear up to the rear mast, just put it on an
connector and attach it to the bolt that holds the strobe on.
Remember, the whole airframe is grounded. Okay, now for the results
on the engine break-in. Everything went fine, although it takes 1
hour, 4 3/4 minutes. During this time, I got cold- as the prop was
pulling air. I guess that's better than being behind it.
followed AeroWorks instructions, which is as follows:
2) Choke on
3) Squeeze primer bulb
on (or kill switch off, whichever terminology you prefer) 5)
yell "CLEAR PROP"!!
6) pull the starter rope. A couple
of pulls, and it will fire.
Unlike most other engines, it will run,
albeit a little rough, with the full choke on. Let this run for
about 30 sec. to 1 minute, then kill the engine. Walk around the
plane and take the choke off.
Come back around, ignition on, "clear prop", and pull starter rope. If yours is like mine, you'll have to
keep it at about 2500 rpm to keep it from dying. It is a brand new
engine, and it will run better as it breaks in. By the time I was
done with my break in, mine idled at 2230 rpm, and was very smooth.
There was no hint of quitting.
Below is the ROTAX 447 break-in
procedure. I recommend making a copy of this, as I did, and keep it
on a clipboard where you are sitting (and you will be sitting). I
took my Rolex off, and put on my Casio w/stopwatch. That way, all
you have to do is keep track of the total time, and where you're suppose
to be. I put a checkmark alongside each duration as I finished it.
I also noted the average EGT and CHT as I progressed. I
didn't think of doing this until I was well into it, however. The
numbers are in italics-bold.
I also listed the rpm at max throttle
and idle. I have not touched the idle or air adjustment. I
only moved the jet needle to the 3rd position, as a stated earlier.
I was told that there is a midrange rpm where the engine seems to get hot,
and that did happen.
As I recall, it was at 4500, which was from 16
min. to 21 min. (check the chart). Slower or faster, it was okay,
but 4500 caused the EGT to read about 1235 to 1240. I'm sure it
won't be a problem in the air. My alarm on the EIS is set at 1225
degrees. I'm going to reset the alarm limit to 1200, as that is the
published limit from Rotax. I may lower it from there, depending on
what I find out from those that know. The published CHT limit from Rotax is
480 degrees. The highest CHT I read was 441, and that was at the
very end of the last full power segment which lasted 3 minutes. I
told you that AeroWorks told me to set the EIS warning to 480? Well,
the whole purpose of the alarm is to give you warning before it's a
serious problem. I'm going to reduce that parameter also, probably
to around 420 or so. Hell, it only reaches about 1000 degrees. at
|| DURATION (min.)
|| RUNNING TOTAL (min.)
|| 2 min.
As you can see, I'm getting over 6300 rpm average at full power.
That will probably translate into over 6500 in the air. We will
see... The idle speed is very constant, at 2230 +/- average.
I'm going to have to create more spring tension on the throttle handle,
though. It wanted to return to idle when I let go of it.
Remember the screen door spring in the handle? All I need to do is
push it on a little tighter.
Okay, I couldn't resist...I had to get
in and taxi across my back yard. I could only go about 60 feet (with
the trees and all) but it was neat. I found I was also able to
start it from my strapped in position. Now to wait for a warmer
Time to Reflect...
I am now ready to fly. I have a couple of little details to
complete, and I will continue to add to this diary as I prepare for and
complete the first flight.
The whole purpose of this was to help you
build your AeroLite - AeroSport, by clarifying the directions, having an
abundance of photos to use as reference, and little hints that will speed
up your assembly. The most important function of this diary is to keep you
from making MISTAKES, like I did. Remember the wing ribs?
of the text will not apply to your plane (ie, if you don't install an
EIS). I spent alot of time on the strobes, EIS, and fuel probe.
Those that opt for these accessories will appreciate it...all
others...just skip that part!
From time to time, I have been critical of AeroWorks. You will
agree, however, that I never questioned the quality or integrity of a
component or assembly. I found not a single remarkable flaw in the
kit, as supplied. Thank God that what they may lack in assembly
manual expertise, they make up in their skill where it counts.
have no experience with other ultralight manufacturers, but I have seen
some of their kits. Some of the devices cause me concern.
Remember, I had originally planned to get a two-place, probably a
Challenger. I was so impressed by the AeroLite I changed my mind,
knowing that I was giving up a seat.
You will also get excellent
phone support from AeroWorks. You may get a recording when you call,
but they will call you back the same day. You can also call me at
(740) 366-2176, or email me at email@example.com
One more thing...I'm not an English major. I write for substance,
not sentence structure. My goal is to articulate building
procedures, and little more. Don't email me, saying that I ended the
sentence of page 13 with a preposition. I do spell pretty well,
though, and I seldom need the spell checker. If you find a mistake,
it is from the typing. I did go back and edit certain areas, as I
learned more information about the topic, etc. Some of the writing
may seem not to "flow" as well, as a result.
It's been two months to the day that I picked up my kit from AeroWorks.
I do wonder how much less time it would have taken if I had done these
1) No written diary, photos, or video
2) Dacron slip-on covers, rather than the time-consuming fabric and
3) no EIS (including fuel probe)
eliminate wingtip and tail strobes
5) eliminate the black UV
underpaint (only applies to fabric)
6) eliminate the head scratching...hours and hours of staring at the instructions.
I just counted up the hours...207 grand total. You're now
thinking...that's alot more than the "60 to 80" advertised, but remember
all the extras listed above.
I'm absolutely certain that I could
have built a Dacron version in 60 hours, without all the accessories.
With what I have learned, I'm also certain that I could do another one in
about 40 hours.
construction, and safe flying!! -Max P. Rentz
Ultralight News Editor's note: The following note from the factory was
received when I asked for permission to use the story on site.
One thing to keep in mind is while Max did a great job in putting his
diary together. He had never built or flown any aircraft before this . He also
did many modifications to his plane drastically extending the build time
along the complexity of the original design.
However he does say it would
be twice as easy this time around and feels he would follow more of our
( factory ) recommendations during assembly. We have also really updated
our construction manual ( which was pretty good compared to most ) with a
newer and even better one.
Max is one of my favorite owners and is very
active in communicating with fellow Aeroliters. We at AERO-WORKS really
enjoy him very much. You may want to contact him and I know Max may want
to do an update to add to this building diary as his experiences of flying
an what he as learned from this. Contact Max @ Max P.Rentz