Saturday, June 4, 2011

An Obdurate Refusal to Backtrack, Maybe

Lately I've been reduced to vacillatingly paging back and forth through the pages of jobs deferred and jobs yet to be accomplished trying to decide whether I'm truly at an impasse or not. The issue at hand is just how far to proceed with the remainder of the wiring work, and how much more airplane to build around the currently easy-to-access wiring. This wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't for the fact that Van's will surely be announcing the availability of the Skyview package any day now. In fact, they've been on the very razor's edge of the cusp of the announcement for, well, months now. This too would present no difficulty if it weren't for one of my personality disorders. Those are, of course, legion, but there is one in particular that has come to the forefront recently as I have arrived at a crossroads in the wiring, and that disorder is my obdurate refusal to backtrack.

Or, as Egg tells it, "No matter what you've forgotten, Daddy won't go back for it." That's often pointed out as a part of a trifecta of my faults (as perceived by her) that also includes "Daddy won't turn left," and "Daddy doesn't dance." I point out that these are faults as being "her perception" only because of the last "fault" of the three; I view that one as a feature. The other two? 'Tis a fair cop.

The thing is that the Skyview is architected very differently from the current unit. Rather than being packaged in one large box that gets nearly all of the wires and tubes attached to it, the Skyview is built up as a collection of external boxes that do all (or most, anyway) of the actual computations and feed the results to the screen for display. These little component boxes can be located virtually anywhere in the airframe, so I'm worried that certain wires and tubes, most notably the static pressure tube that I had such trouble getting through the bushings in order to get it up to where the older Dynon unit would have lived, will be relocated to other area in the airplane. The next steps in the build manual have me building a whole lot more airplane above and around the wiring which will greatly reduce access to the very wires and tubes that might have to move. The upshot of all of this is that I think there might be a possibility that anything I install now might have to be removed again to re-route the wires and tubes.

And that would be backtracking, and Daddy don't turn around.

For nothing.


So, I'm jumping around in the plans looking for things to do that won't block the wiring. I found page 31-15, "install the ELT bracket." That took ten minutes. I think that had to be the fastest and least satisfying page in the entire build. Even so, I came close to making a mistake. It was one of those rare occasions where Van's actually cares which direction the rivets go. I had read that, but then had gotten distracted by doing a bunch of other stuff. When I got back to it, I started to put the rivets in backwards. Thankfully I was saved at the last minute by a warning from Cadillac Pete, a new hangar helper that stopped by today.

Moving onto the next section, I found the installation of the brake fluid reservoir - that seemed like it would have minimal effect on the wiring.

I had just started to bolt it to the firewall when I heard a big boom of thunder and it started to rain. I had the Miata parked out front with the top down, so I had to throw down the tools and get out there to get the top up post haste.

Having thrown down the tools with an astonishing alacrity on my dash out to the car, I soon found that I had no idea at all where I had put them. Sigh, another search. Once found, though, it was just a matter of minutes to finish the installation.

Then, another search. With the reservoir now mounted, I could finally attach the brake lines that have been flopping around in the fuselage since I put in the rudder pedals last year. The drawing called for a "MALE NYLON TEE," which to me sounded for all the world like something you'd find in the Fruit of the Loom aisle at Walmart. You sure won't find anything detailed thusly on the inventory list! I think it's the "F 271-N-04X02 TEE 1/4X1/4X1/8 NPT" but I wouldn't even bet your lunch on it.

Here's an interesting comparison: this is the beautiful, wide open workspace as depicted in the plans.

Here's what you really get:

I often view the building of an airplane in the same way I view my work at the paying job. Both of them are similar in that they are often a series of small (or large, I suppose, depending on the day) puzzles that I need to solve. After I've solved enough of them, the job is done. In this case, the conundrum was to try to figure out exactly how I was supposed to thread this TEE into the brake reservoir if I couldn't even get a full turn on it due to its proximity to the avionics shelf above it.

Solution: take off that big nut that was being obstructed.

After that I needed to install an Adel clamp to hold the brake lines in place. Unfortunately, two of the brake lines were on the wrong side of the wire bundle and had to be removed and replaced on the correct side of the wires. The Adel clamp itself put up a mighty battle due to its location way back up against the firewall, but I eventually convinced it to behave. And, I might add, without the use of any profanity to urge it along, what with having guests and all. Experience with Parris Island notwithstanding.

The brake lines then got installed onto the TEE.

All in all a pretty event free day. Well, at least until I went outside and realized that in my haste to get the top up in the rain, I had forgotten to zip up the back window.

As far as my impasse, I've decided to just press on. I'll go back to the fuselage section and install the back window, then go ahead with the installation of the flap handle and the rest of the control mechanics. If I have to remove it later, so be it.

No comments:

Post a Comment