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More work on the fairings

Long delay since the last post–sorry about that.  We went down to Arizona on vacation, then had family in town, so work has been slower than normal.  We’ve continued to work on the fairings.  The main wheel and leg fairings are done, and we’re close to being finished on the intersection fairings between the two.   The nose wheel fairing is done, too, but we’re still working on the nose leg fairing.  Here I am working on the nose fairing.

Here I am aligning one of the main gear leg fairings.  The strings represent “level”, and they’re wrapped around the leg, so we just needed to make sure the trailing edge was between the strings.

Here’s a quick look at one of the intersection fairings.

One of the last things we did is mark a distance of 5/8″ from the tires for trimming the fairing opening.  When there’s weight on the tires, they’ll spread out, and you don’t want the sides contacting the fairings, so at least 5/8″ clearance is needed.

Finishing the Windscreen Fairing

See the post here for our entry on starting the windscreen fairing.  Kelly and I epoxied all those layers of fiberglass cloth in one session.  When we were done, I realized we didn’t do a sufficient job getting all the air bubbles out from between layers.  If this was a structural piece, I’d be a little concerned (though it’d still probably be okay), but for this purpose it’s fine.  I then put on a thick (too thick) mixture of exoxy and microballoon “filler” as the layers of fiberglass tape didn’t leave a smooth curve.  I probably used too much, and much of it sagged, which necessitated a crapload of sanding.  Fortunately Kelly was up to the task!  Seriously, though, she did most of the work on this, and it wasn’t that much fun.  After getting a good shape, we applied a layer of pure epoxy to the top, then did a final sanding to finish.  The fairing is sanded down to almost nothing against the aluminum and plexiglass, so it should look great after it’s painted.

Here’s Kelly posing with her handiwork.

Starting the Windscreen Fairing

The windscreen fairing is a gradual transition between the top of the fuselage and the windscreen.  It’s made by laying up many layers of fiberglass of various widths.  Here’s a snapshot of the plans, which shows a side view of what the fiberglass layers look like.

Before laying up the fiberglass layers, we had to do a few other things to prepare.  We riveted on some small aluminum “clips” to keep the windscreen from moving.  I then taped off the area where where the fairing will go, cleaned, scuffed, cleaned again, then used some phosphoric acid to etch the aluminum, to improve adhesion of the epoxy.  I then mixed up some epoxy and microballoon filler to fill the small area between the bottom of the windshield and the fuselage top (per the picture above).  Here I am inspecting before applying the filler mixture.

Here I am applying the filler.  It’s dyed black, because we’ll be able to see it through the windscreen from the inside.

While I was working on this, Kelly was cutting all the pieces of fiberglass cloth we’d need to do the fairing.  Not a particularly fun job, as you can see here.

Gluing the Windscreen

Now it’s time to glue the windsceen.  It’s attached to the fiberglass top and sides with the same glue, Weld-on 10, that we used on the other windows.  On the front, it’s essentially fiberglassed to the aluminum on top of the fuselage as part of the windscreen fairing (the next big step).

Here I am checking the glued joint.  Note the 2×4 and weights on top to hold the windscreen down on the cabin top securely.

We used some strategically placed clamps to hold the winscreen to the cabin top in a few places.  Using too much pressure can cause “crazing” (tiny cracks), so the clamps are actually holding popsicle sticks to the cabin top, and we wedged another popsicle stick between the clamped one and the windscreen to apply a little pressure.

Here are a few rare pictures of both Kelly and me, courtesy of Kelly’s long arm.

Fitting the windscreen

Yes, we’d already fit the windscreen last summer, but we recently noticed a sizeable gap between the windscreen and fuselage top, on the right side.  I sanded down adjacent areas to make it sit a little better.  There’s still a small (~ 1/16″) gap, which will be filled by epoxy and covered by the windscreen fairing.  More on that later.

Painting the Interior

Most of the interior is covered by our interior kit (side panels, carpet, etc); however, there are a few areas that won’t be, especially around where the pink cabin top sits on the aluminum fuselage.  Having finished the fitting of those pieces, it was time to paint.  Here I am masking off the interior, most of which had already been painted, so I didn’t want to get any more primer or paint on it.

I was especially careful to protect the instrument panel.  You can also see the white areas around the door frame, where we filled in the gap between the pink fiberglass and aluminum.

Here it is after paint.  You can’t really see it in the picture, but the results weren’t that great.  There are still some uneven areas, but I think once we have the interior installed and everything else completed, there will be a lot of other stuff to distract people.

Glad it’s done!

Odd Jobs

The current goal is to get the airplane ready for the engine, so we need to get it up on the landing gear.  Before that, we want to install the windshield, and before we do that, we need to paint the rest of the interior.  We’ve been doing some fiberglass work on the inside, so while the epoxy is curing, we need to do something else.

Here’s Kelly working on the cover that goes between the wing and the fuselage once the wings are attached.

While she was doing that, I worked on the pieces that attach Kelly’s cover to the fuselage.  Each piece comes straight, but needs to be bent slightly to match the curve of the wing.

Later I worked on the aluminum parts of the spinner (the pointy thing on the front of the airplane, covering the propeller hub).  Here they are primed.

I also painted some stuff.  Here are the brackets that hold the door strut to the door, as well as the engine control cable bracket, which holds the throttle, propeller, and mixture controls below the instrument panel.

Lastly, these are the parts that hold the brakes and wheel pants to the main landing gear legs.

Nose Gear Rust

Working on the nose gear leg, I noticed rust on the threads at the end of the tube and inside the tube.  Van’s (and everyone else I asked) says this is no big deal and to just knock off the rust with a wire brush and use some boiled linseed oil to keep the rust from coming back.  In short, it looks worse than it is.

Grease Monkey

Having already accomplishing building the main wheels/tubes/tires assembly, Kelly moved onto the nosewheel.  One of the steps involves packing the wheel bearings with grease, so she has assumed the title of “grease monkey.”


Installed the Door Struts

I installed the door struts, which hold the door open.  There are several reports of struts failing to hold doors open in moderate/heavy wind, so I opted for the “heavy duty strut” option.

Also, there were reports of RV-10s with one door held “more open” than another, so there’s an asymmetrical look with both doors open.  I was very careful when measuring and drilling the brackets the struts attach to, and think it turned out well.

We’d been holding the doors open with a ladder up to now, so this will be very convenient.