October 22, 2004:  More work on getting the lower cowling secured.  This time it is securing it to the nose gear area of the engine mount.  I drilled, de-burred, and countersinked all the holes in the U-720 parts.  This is a brace that goes between the exhaust pipes and is secured to the firewall and the engine mount right behind the nose gear leg socket.  It also has a plate that captures the aft slot in the fiberglass cowl.  Here are all the parts clecoed together awaiting me to lay back on the creeper and roll under the firewall / cowl area.  The roll around seat acts as a table for me when I am flat on my back on the creeper.

This is a look at all that stuff sitting in the approximate position where it will all be match-drilled together.  The exhaust pipes have masking tape holding on plastic end caps to keep any critters from taking up residence up there or inside the engine exhaust ports.  And while I was down there, I removed more of the blue plastic from the forward bottom fuselage skin.

Here is a side view around the pipes.  Once the pipes are removed, I will be able to get my small drill in there and put a pair of holes in the overlap area of U-720A (upper plate bolted to the firewall) and U-720B (lower piece shown above the stack of spacers.  I get the idea that I am only going to need ONE of those aluminum strip spacer plates -- the thicker one.  There is one more plate that is wider than the slot and it fits on the bottom side of the fiber glass to make a "sandwich" capturing both sides of the cowl around the slot and aft of the nose gear leg.

The last shot of the evening shows the blue print of what I am doing down there.  You can see the wider plate that is not installed in the photo above by looking at the stack of parts (EXIT AIR ATTACH BRACKETS) near the center of the drawing below.  Two screws will hold the bottom plate to the upper assembly which gets riveted together after I get those parts primed.

October 23, 2004:  Saturday was a day to go flying...NOT!  The weather was bad, not raining but very low clouds and winds.   I had hoped to get in some time in the morning based on the forecast from Friday night, but that fell through.  I had gone out to Collegedale Airport to meet some new acquaintances from the EAA Chapter 150 meeting from Thursday night.  A potential builder and future pilot, David Schorr, and his friend and partner, Lisa Metts moved from the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area a few months ago.  He has family in the area, and he said he had enough of the crowds and traffic of South Florida (sounds familiar to me).  

The plan was a bit of flying Saturday morning to introduce them to flying.   Both had been in small planes before, but I tried to make it more interesting for them.  I was hoping the low clouds would lift and allow us to fly, but all we got in was the pre-flight inspection with a detailed explanation of every item that I was checking and WHY!  I enjoy these reviews with non-flyers to explain the risk management aspect of flying.  After doing the preflight inspection, we went inside and reviewed the Atlanta Sectional where I had hoped to fly this day.  I showed them the many details about airports, control towers, non-towered airports, and much more.   I gave him my older sectional and an AFD/SE green book to study.  I also showed him my Cessna 172 manual, and the practical test standards book.  Lisa was very attentive throughout all this and I get the feeling that they will both be building a Sonex airplane together.

After finally canceling the flight due to the weather, we went back to my place and I introduced them to my RV-9A project and answered the usual questions.   They had not fully reviewed my web site since Thursday when I first met them at the EAA chapter meeting.  After a late lunch, we said our goodbyes and I returned home for a much needed nap.  By the time I woke up around 8 PM, I decided not to try to work on the airplane and just watched some TV and called a friend to chat.  I figured getting a good night's rest and starting fresh on Sunday morning would be better.

October 24, 2004:  I got started at a reasonable hour and managed to remove the lower cowl and the exhaust system as planned in order to finish work on the U-720 brace assembly.  As I was doing this, I got a call from Maurice Garner asking to stop by to spend the afternoon with me for a learning and helping visit.  I said yes of course to a fellow pilot/RV wannabe.

Here is what I completed before Maurice came by.  Below is a photo of the lower bottom aft right edge of the cowl.  See that black mark peeking out from under the riveted hinge material near the center of the photo?  Look at the next picture to see what happened there next.

I used my Dremel tool with a cutting wheel and a sanding drum to remove part of the hinge and the fiberglass to clear the gascolator drain pipe and valve for checking the fuel/water contamination.

And speaking of the gascolator and drain pipe/valve, here they are fully assembled and sealed with fuel lube on the threads.

I had removed most of the exhaust system in order to fit the U-720 brace between the fuselage, lower cowl, and the gusset on the nose gear mount portion of the engine mount.

It was about this time that I had a visitor stop by, no it was not Maurice, but a young ATP corporate pilot for McKee Foods (Little Debbie snacks).  Stan Schoen flies their Cessna Citation Jet every week.  He lives a few blocks away and had seen me working on the plane on days when I would have the garage door open.  This was one of those days since it was around 70 degrees out and I was expecting Maurice at any time.   I gave the usual tour of the airplane, engine, instrument panel, etc.  Maurice arrived about 30 minutes later and they knew each other, so things went along quickly.   Stan's very young son was with him and kids that age get antsy, so he excused himself and departed leaving me to put Maurice to work helping me finish drilling the U-720 assembly.  After that, I stopped working on the airplane and gave a class in riveting with a squeezer, dimpling and why we deburr the parts.  At the end of that session, I cleaned up the tools and got out the baffle cooling kit to take stock of it and looked over the plans.  I laid some of the parts up in position near where they will be attached to the engine and started to get an idea of how all the pieces will fit together.

At the end of the day, I had labeled the small doubler parts and could see where I am going to be trimming some of the larger plates.  Some of the parts will need some bends to get them to the proper shape.  The U-720 assembly is fully drilled, deburred, countersinked, and awaiting the next priming session.  That is it with the clecoes holding it together in front of the oil cooler.  The smaller baffle parts are identified and spread out for this photo.  And yes, I have to get back on the electrical stuff to clear out some of the things on the work table.

Add another 4.5 hours to the log book for actual airplane work time today.   Add about the same to the RV pilot tour and training assignment.  The building time stands at 1282.9 hours.

October 26, 2004:  With just TWO DAYS to go before my second anniversary of work on the RV-9A, I took the photo below to show another RV-9 builder online what can be done in a one-car garage when building an RV.  This photo is also posted on page 3 of this web site with further explanations of the available space in the garage for aircraft construction.

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