January 30, 2017For the last 16 days straight we have been engaged in a light sport repairman maintenance class. This is one of the smallest classes that we've ever had. Four of the students that signed up for this class had to pull out for various reasons just before the start of class. The wintertime classes are always limited to a maximum of 12 to accommodate the facilities during the cold winter months. As it turned out the best day, weather wise, of the entire class was the last day. All of the students graduated with flying colors and will now move on to utilize their FAA light sport repairman maintenance certificate in different ways. Although this was a small size class of only 8 students, they came from pretty much every corner of the United States. And unlike a normal class, we had no foreign students this time. The next class will be in May and is already starting to fill. This is the 1st class that we have taken the class photo with a drone.
January 28, 2017The 2017 sustainable aviation symposium is coming up soon. The roster of speakers has been posted. Click on the link below to view the lineup and find out more information about the upcoming symposium. SA symposium 2017
January 27, 2017
We would like to welcome Elliot H from Wisconsin as the latest builder to sign up to build the EMG-6.
January 23, 2017We were contacted by Brien Seeley about participating and speaking at the sustainable aviation symposium coming up April 21 and 22nd. These are always really great events and if you're interested In attending click on the link below for information and tickets.
January 22, 2017We have posted a new video to the YouTube channel. This is a companion video to the low-cost hydroforming article that we wrote for the May 2016 Sport Aviation/Experimenter magazine.
January 20, 2017
We received an email from the general aviation awards program.
2017 General Aviation Awards Program
Congratulations on being selected as the Regional Honoree for the 2017 General Aviation Awards. There are eight FAA Regions, meaning, in your award category, you are in the Top 8 nationally! This is something to celebrate this weekend.
OK, so here’s what happens next:
- You are now competing at the NATIONAL LEVEL against other Regional Honorees in your category.
- There are three categories at the national level of competition.
o Flight Instructor of the Year
o FAAST Rep of the Year
o Aviation Technician of the Year
§ Maintenance and Avionics nominees are combined into one “Technician of the Year” award.
- The National Honorees will be announced on February 1st.
At the District and Regional levels you were selected by FAA personnel, but as a National Honoree, you will be selected from a group of peers. A panel of industry judges, comprised from previous General Aviation Honorees and industry leaders must feel that you are an inspiration to others and an example for others to follow. Becoming a National Honoree doesn’t mean that you are the best, but rather that you are someone others should emulate.
Next week, the full panel of industry judges and their credentials will be posted on the website at www.GeneralAviationAwards.
January 19, 2017
Over the last couple of days we've started reassembling the CNC lathe. All of the parts total to be able to get it back in operation costs over $4000, ouch.
The spindle shaft with all of the bearings installed sticking through the backside of the machine.
In this picture here Jason is torquing the hydraulic Chuck.
In this picture here the machine is back in operating condition and were looking at the Chuck clamping actuator bolted to the spindle shaft with all of the hydraulic system and drain hoses hooked up.
Hooray, were making parts again.
Jason commented on my stress level when the CNC machines are not operational. It's kind like have employees that don't show up to work. But now that were cranking out parts everything is right in the world.
January 16, 2017A few modifications that were going to do the ailerons sales include adding a reinforcement strip on both the inboard and outboard section that will allow us to place a large area head aluminum pop rivet to hold the ailerons skins in place and properly tensioned. We are going to run the zipper straight out and then tuck it underneath the other side of the skin before riveting in place.
At the outboard section we are going to add some reinforcing material and then add some tabs that will allow us to Velcro the tip skins together. This should allow us to tension the fabric to an even greater degree and allow for some slight distortion as a result of the washout at the tip of the aileron.
January 14, 2017
The aileron sail covers arrived in the afternoon mail.
Because these are simply a trial run on the digital templates, We didn't know what color would show up. In addition the Velcro gap seals for the leading edge of the aileron were not installed.
When we built the aileron we didn't coordinate with Gary for which side of the aircraft we would start with. There is a slight difference in the left to right ailerons. The inboard 3 ribs of the aileron has wash-in, and the outboard rib has wash-out. The only difference in the covering is the positioning of the zipper. The zipper could go either up or down but just for aesthetic purposes we always place the zipper on the lower portion of the aileron so it's not visible. Ironically the sample template that Gary made was the same side as the dummy aileron that we made.
One of the first signs that the covering was going to be perfect, was that on the initial installation the covering becomes extremely tight. If you've never installed a set of aileron covers before you won't understand the relationship. If you have a customer call and say the aileron covers are just too tight and I can't get them to fit, that's a good sign. It is really really difficult to get the tension on the fabric with that last half-inch of movement on the fabric. There are all kinds of tricks that we use but because of the tapered shape of the ailerons, pulling that last little bit of fabric longitudinally is what brings the fabric up to the proper tension.
We're going to need to do a few modifications to the design on the inboard side but the fit is still exceptional. On the forward leading edge you'll notice a loop of strapping material. This is essential as we use this for pulling tension on the fabric during the installation process.. Without the loop you simply couldn't get enough leverage and grip on the fabric to pull it tight. This normally requires a clamp and a lever bar on the inboard end of the aileron. We will do a video on the installation process once we have the final fabric surfaces to install.
Within about 15 minutes we had the fabric installed, but were going to take it off and reinstall it to readjust the positioning of the trailing edge seam. You can see on the top side that the seam has crept up on to the upper portion of the aileron. This was simply not paying attention during the final positioning before we put tension on the fabric.
January 13, 2017We often bid on things at auction. Recently I bid on Over 100 items at a local surplus aluminum and steel supplier that was going out of business. Out of all of the bids I only won one item. I hate when that happens because I end up traveling all the way to Chico to pick up just one item. Almost makes it not worth the process. But that's the game you play when you bid auction. The one item that I did end up winning was a 3/8 inch thick piece of 6061 T6 aluminum which we use on a regular basis. The downside was that it was a 4' x 10' piece. Took 3 of us just a lifted up onto the router table. And it took nearly 4 hours of router table time just to cut it into pieces small enough so that we could put it into the CNC mill.
Normally 6061 T6 in these thicknesses is not very compatible with the router. 2024 T-3 actually cuts much cleaner than does the 6061. This requires that we use a lubricant during the cutting process and only cut a little bit at a time. We have a big sheer but this thickness is way too thick for our sheer. If you put this in the machine it would just laugh.
January 12, 2017
We finished up the dummy aileron to be used for testing the fabric fit on the new Dacron sail covers.
We did not have enough trailing edge material to finish up and aileron so we basically spliced together about 6 pieces of scrap material in order to have the aileron ready to go when the sails arrive.
We assembled the entire aileron with aluminum pop rivets so we can very easily remove any components and reinstall the correct parts once the trailing edge material arrives. Normally takes about 3 weeks lead time when we run out of stock.
January 11, 2017 Aileron Manufacturing for Sail TestWe started building and aileron today to use as a template to test the new the Dacron sailcloth aileron covers that will be showing up in the next couple of days. The 1st step is to ensure that the envelope that Ultralight Sails Canada are manufacturing match the actual structure. All of the templates are digital templates and are being cut and marked with the CNC laser cutting machine that they have.
30 individual pieces that make up a single aileron. This section of sheet metal incorporated a total of 84 individual pieces that were cut out on the CNC router.
After cutting out each 1 of the ribs they require bending on the CNC press brake.
All of the ribs are laid out in sequence being prepared for bending.
We are using one of the original spars from one of the original "Quicksilver" style ailerons are now obsolete to manufacture the new low drag ailerons.
Jason is installing the ribs onto the aileron spar.
And start to finish Jason can manufactured aileron in about 6 hours.
32-15-10.10 TD Gear Leg Bottom Mount Drawing UpdatesDrawing Updates Posted to the Builders Data Base.
32-15-10.9 TD Gear Leg Top Mount drawing Updates
Lift Strut Attach Fittings Video
We have recently completed a another video in the series building the EMG-6. In this video we look at the process of installing the lift strut attach fittings.
The lift strut attach fitting drawings and templates have been uploaded to the builders database. Click here to link to the builders database.
January 10, 2017
We continue to build videos for the building process. Even though this is not really worthy of a video we are trying to compile a video for every single step of the building process. And the fuselage frame that were currently working on we are using for the video series. We don't do any construction on that fuselage frame and less we are going to create a video for the work that were doing on that frame.
CNC lathe rebuild
Sad looking machine.
The new bearings are being pressed on with the hydraulic press.
January 9, 2017
Brian Carpenter has been nominated for the 2016 National Aviation Technician of the year award. We have currently made it through the first of three steps to the national award. We have been nominated at the district level to be moved on to the regional level. If we are able to win the regional level then we are moved up to the national level. The final awards will be presented at EAA air venture 2017. Ironically, Jason Miller our instructor at the AOPA flight instructor refresher clinic that we just attended, was also nominated but for Flight Instructor of the year and has also won the district level and has moved on to the regionals. For more info on the awards program visit the link below.
January 8, 2017Carol and I spent the entire weekend in Palo Alto at a flight instructor refresher course. The flight instructor refresher course is required every 2 years either at one of these clinics or by an online course. They both take about the same amount of time. In the past we been so disappointed with some of the performances by the instructors at the in person clinics, that the last time that we renewed, we did it online. we decided to give another shot with the online class and we were presently surprised. Jason Miller was the instructor that works out of Palo Alto, and he did a phenomenal job. No one minds paying for education if they are actually learning something. And Jason, obviously very experienced and professional give us our money's worth. It's also always good to connect with all of the other flight instructors that we see from year to year.
January 6, 2017Many of you already know that we are regular contributors to EAA's hints for homebuilders video series. If you wish to see more of the hints for homebuilders that we contribute to the series simply click on the link below and type Brian Carpenter in the search box. In the most recent video we demonstrate the process of removing a 3D printed part from the Zortrax M 200 3D printer.
January 5, 2017Today we were able to get the wing strut attach fittings installed onto fuselage frame number 3. We use a 1.125 spacer to hold the fitting the appropriate distance apart during the welding process. And in this picture here you can see us using a C clamp to force the fitting flush with the bottom of the axle tube while we tack weld the fitting to the frame.
We were able to get the fittings installed on both the right and left side and in the picture below we see the wing attach fitting after welding.
We leave a small gap in the weld, both inboard and outboard to allow any moisture to be able to escape
SailsGary, from ultralights sails Canada, sent the first Cad file for the ailerons. He will make the prototype sail set and then we will test it on the aircraft before we will be able to go into production. all of the prototype envelopes will be manufactured from different colors that Gary has in stock from other projects.
After the prototype sails have been checked on the air-frame. We have decided that we will make the 1st production sail set utilizing the Canadian scheme.
January 4, 2017We've recently hit a new milestone on our YouTube channel. We now have over 900 subscribers. I think there are special benefits once we hit 1000 subscribers. I think we can get our own URL for our YouTube channel once we hit 1000 subscribers. So if you're not already a subscriber to the YouTube channel please click on the link below and add to our list of loyal subscribers.
Fuselage Frame #3Today we got back on the fuselage frame number 3. We installed the seat reinforcement tubes. We also took video during the process in order to make the construction video for this set of tubes. This is a pretty straightforward installation. No jigs, just place the tubes where they match most naturally onto the existing frame,, and weld in place.
Close-up of the lower seat reinforcing tubes.
We've had a fairly substantial backlog on the machining of components on the EMG-6. Today we ran 16 hours on the CNC mill, manufacturing some of the backlog components. These tabs are for the landing gear attachment that gets welded onto the fuselage frame for the tail wheel configuration. the tabs are 1/4 inch thick 4130 Chromoly steel. Even using carbide end mills just doesn't last very long. we went through 4 1/4 inch diameter carbide and Mills just today.
The upper landing gear attach fittings after cutting and deburring.
This is the lower landing gear attach fittings. Also manufactured from 1/4 inch thick 4130 chromoly steel.
And the lower attach fittings after cutting and deburring.
January 3, 2017We finished making all of the special tooling for manufacturing the wing strut attach fittings. we CNC machined out a batch of the fittings and in the next series of pictures we show the steps that we undertake in order to create the fitting. In the 1st picture we see the tabs being bent to 15° on either end of the fitting.
We have to make both left and right hand fittings, and in the picture below you can see the match set with the tabs bent on either end.
The next step is to set up the 3D printed holding fixture. After we have the male and female dies properly aligned we simply insert the fitting onto the fixture. In this picture here you see a .090 piece of Lexan being used as a wiper to control the radius of the bend.
This picture shows the wing attach fitting undergoing the large radius bend which will allow the fitting to wraparound the 1.125 axle tube.
We started off with manufacturing 5 sets of fittings. This will allow us to have a large enough sample size that we can test the repeatability of our tooling.
In the next few days we will start Making the video on the installation process for the wing attach fittings. We are needing to complete each of the videos on the construction process of the fuselage frame, which is fuselage frame #3, before we can get into the wing structural loading tests. We have dedicated frame #3 to being the manufacturing video testbed. We don't do any construction on #3 unless we make a video of the building process. That sometimes slows a progress but we would have to build another fuselage frame in order to make the next series of videos.
January 2, 2017We been working on manufacturing special tooling for bending the wing attached strut fittings. Although we have the plans online to be able to do this without special tooling, it is quite time-consuming and difficult to form the .090 thick 4130 steel plate. This is the male die for the CNC press brake undergoing final machining.
This is the female die undergoing the final finishing cut.
The lift strut attached fittings being machined from .090 4130 chromoly steel.
We 3D printed a bending guide to fit onto the lower female fixture. This will ensure that the fitting is positioned exactly before the bending process is conducted.
The male die has an alignment pin to ensure that the fitting bends equally on either side and cannot slip during the press brake bending process.
January 1, 2017Well 2016 has been a fast and furious year for us. We made much progress on the EMG-6. The last couple of months has kept us busy teaching classes and working through the holidays to keep up with the demand for services in the many other areas that we conduct business in. We have had a steady stream of annual inspections to complete on both certified aircraft as well as light sport, and experimental aircraft.
The last couple weeks we have been working on preparations for structural load testing on the wings for the EMG-6. This will be a full on load test to failure on the EMG-6 wing structure. This is quite expensive and will require a substantial amount of work to build all of the test fixtures.
One other area that we are diligently working on is the development of the ultralight sailcloth sails. As you are aware when Quicksilver closed the doors they also took with them the templates for the EMG-6. This prompted us to redevelop the wing to be able to adapt to a poly fiber covering system. the wing was designed to be able to adapt to either type of covering system.
We are currently working with Ultralight Sails Canada to develop the new templates. We elected to go with Ultralight Sails Canada because of their capability to develop templates digitally and use their laser marking and cutting CNC machine for the manufacturing process. This will allow us to perfect the process and achieve a highly accurate sailcloth envelope.