Kit #87 started.

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Includes: Highlander, Escapade, Summit and SuperSTOL.

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Windshield

Postby dauckjl » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:06 am

Alan,
Great looking airplane!! Congratulations on getting the airworthiness.

 We will be using your tips for installing the windshield tomorrow as we put ours on.

Justin
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Postby alan » Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:47 am

Howdy, Y'all.

I've had N1010Z back in my shop for a couple of weeks to install the interior and do a few updates and fix some nits. Along the way I discovered a couple of problems everyone should be aware of.

Corrosion.

Along the leading edges of the wing struts, jury strut attach fittings, and a couple places around the back of the cockpit structure the powder coating is showing rust. It buffs off, with paint compound, fairly easily, but it ain't supposed to rust at all. My kit is less than 1-1/2 years old and has only been flying for a little less than 6 months with about 100 hours of flight time. The powder coating was thin is several out of the way places. I fixed those during construction. What I didn't expect was the stuff to be so thin all over that rust would rear it's ugly head through what appeared to be a good solid coat. It's a good thing I don't have floats and will get it wet every time I fly.

Corrosion part II.

The flying wires on the empenage are apparently galvanized, not stainless. They seem to be OK, just turning grey, but the thimbles are also plated and the plating is all gone. Completely. The thimbles are coated thinly with rust. The thin powder coat is, so far, just an annoyance, but the rusting hardware is a serious safety hazard. I ordered, from Wicks (don't get me started on Aircraft Spruce), stainless cable and thimbles and remade all the flying wire assemblies. (Thank you very much DaveU for your tips on making up the flying wires. My first attempt was less than satisfactory and I was going to replace them even without the rust.) While I was doing it, I also wanted to incorporate some nifty tangs an aquaintence of mine, Ed with a Kolb Ultrastar, has on his airplane. He got them from Leading Edge Airfoils. The are also stainless (the catalog discription doesn't mention the material) and have four staggered attachment holes on one end so that you can adjust the wire tightness on each end of the wire by about 1/8" four times per end. Even with DaveU's tips I needed that to get the horizontal stabilizer perfectly level and straight.

The control wire assemblies are also corroding, but have less exposure to the dirty air around Houston, so are only partially covered with rust. I will have to replace all of them in the next couple of years. I realize that any kit company must make money, and this is the first time I have not been satisfied with what I have recieved from Just Aircraft, BUT.....I recommend all you guys (any gals out there?) buying stainless wire and fittings and doing that part out of your own pocket rather than having to replace it soon after first flight.

I'll take some pictures of the interior and old/new wires when I'm finished and post them here.

Happy building and flying.

Alan
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flying wires alternative

Postby KevinC » Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:42 pm

Alan,

Sorry to hear about the corrosion issues - and thanks for the heads up.

Last year at Arlington I saw a pretty good alternative to the flying wires using stainless rod and threaded ends.  I've attached a picture.  The aircraft is being built by the Just Air dealer in LaGrande, OR (www.aerocomppca.com).  I've never attached an image - but here goes....

Kevin
Image

Image
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Question

Postby scubarider » Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:05 pm

The plane looks wonderful.  I am sorry that you are having problems already.  Let me ask that you "get started" on Aircraft Spruce.  My plan was to use them for the building of my Escapade.  I was going to get most of the avionics etc. from them.  Any reason I should not?
Thanks
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Postby alan » Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:38 pm

While I was building my Kitfox II back in the early '90s I used AS quite a bit. Every time I paid with a credit card, I didn't get my order, but I still was charged. If I ordered it collect there were no problems. They got about $250 from me that way. Along comes the Highlander and I decided the thief probably didn't work there anymore so I used them again. I was apparently correct as there was no problem with receiving what I ordered via credit card. But, the first time I ordered from the avionics department, a  Xponder, I waited for several weeks, even though the item was listed in stock. I called. It will be shipped very soon. I was then contacted by 'phone and told the item was discontinued but I could upgrade to a new digital xponder. They gave me the model number and I looked it up. It had a LED or LCD (I forget which) showing the code and the Mode C altitude and "we will give it to you at the same price because of the inconvenience". OK, I guess that will work. I waited several more weeks. I called. Sorry, we are out of stock but it won't be long now. I received an acknowledgement of the order by mail. I looked more carefully at the acknowledgement and saw a different model number, just one or two digits different. I checked that out on the internet. No altimeter readout. Same price. Oh, did I mention they had already billed my credit card? I called. The sales lady was trying to be helpful but had to deal with someone in avionics. After talking to him twice he told her to tell me to just accept the one I was being sent and not to worry about the display. Wrong thing to say. I didn't want a digital xponder in the first place, but if I was going to have to use one, I wanted the altitude readout, flying as I do in and around Class "B" airspace everytime I flew. By this time I was hot. Without using any bad language, I told the lady to refund all of my money immediatly and remove my name from their mailing list. They did. I still use their catalog as a reference but I WILL NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THEM AGAIN.

I recommend   http://www.avionicswest.com/ for your avionics needs.
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Postby Johnny C! » Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:02 pm

Alan,
 To double check my cable (still on the spool),
a magnet does click to it with some authority.
 I think I'll go ahead & order stainless cable
& thimbles.
 Jamie also mentioned to me that he recommends
painting the struts, etc. He said bugs would readily
etch the powder coat. It's those kind of nuggets
that I gain each time I go down there.
 Would streamlined flying wires make much
difference for cruise. I may try cleaning up the
cables first, & then change them out after I get
the bird in the air.

Good Luck!

John
There are many things that happen really fast when you are
flying an airplane. There is no sense in rushing any of the others.

I would much rather be looking down at the runway, than up at it.

Duane Sorenson & Rick Norton Gone West 6/8/09. Godspeed
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AS

Postby scubarider » Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:55 pm

Alan,
  Thanks for the comments on Spruce.  I have ordered several things from them.  I ordered an Altimeter and it took 2 1/2 months to finally get here after numerous backorders and calls.  Only real problem I have had with them.  I will take a look at where you suggest.  Thanks!
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Postby alan » Tue Jan 23, 2007 12:56 pm

We almost lost our bird Friday.

I had been working on sealing up the edges of the last piece of carpet with a propane torch and had to go into the house. 45 minutes later heard a "Boom" and looked out at the shop to see lots of black smoke coming out the only open door and the ridge vents. Apparently the carpet caught on fire and burned the OSB/sawhorse table and fell over on the John Deere 330 garden tractor and caught it on fire. The "Boom" was the diesel tank rupturing. We were able to get the RV out and then the Highlander. The only loss to the airplane was the doors and seat cushions that were stored up on top of a shelf unit. The door glass melted some and the cushions were smoke damaged.

The shop is very smoky and partially damaged from fire in the area of the blase and everything has a thick layer of soot, but it could have been so much worse. I was worried that the Fire Department would destroy as much with water as the fire did, but they were very careful.

Just one second of inattention caused this. If I had just looked back before I left the fire wouldn't have had a chance to get started.

Y'all be careful out there. Fire good......and fire bad.

Alan
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EAA magazine congrats

Postby KevinC » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:16 am

Alan -

I was wondering who would be first to publish in the completions section of EAA Sport Aviation.  I check it every month for a Highlander/Escapade.  Good job!  Glad you didn't loose it in the fire.

K
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Flying cables

Postby b1x4nqb » Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:30 pm

Alan,

Glad you and the plane are ok.  Close call there!  I was wondering if you ordered the new Stainless wire and how much (length & price) it was?  Also did you get it from Wicks?  I was looking at some of their choices and am considering just putting it in from the start.  I can't find the solid rods for the tail section however.  Did you find a dealer?  

Also, are your performance numbers from your original post still good?  Slow flight, stalls, etc. any further analysis?

Glad to read your posts.

Thanks,
Paul
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Postby alan » Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:06 pm

Paul,

Yes, I ordered the stainless wire from Wicks. I ordered 30' because it is much cheaper to have too much than have to order more. I used the most flexible wire. I also used 2 nicopress fittings per end to make sure there would be no slippage at these connections. I just cut the wire as short as I could next to the nicopress connection and didn't use the heatshrink tubing.  I highly recommend the multi-hole tangs from Leading Edge. They come flat and must be bent but are excellent. The discription doesn't mention stainless but they are.

As soon as I get our baby finished, again, I'll post pictures of the interior and the empange bracing.

Alan
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Postby alan » Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:09 pm

Thanks, Kevin.

I sent in the submission in July, last year. They are kind of behind, it seems.

A great deal of credit goes to my wife for the save. I was just reacting and since I couldn't see it, I forgot about it. The smoke was some kind of thick.

Alan
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Postby alan » Mon Apr 28, 2008 12:55 pm

It is with great regret I must inform the forum of the passing of my father-n-law and building partner, OB Aylor, this past Saturday night. He was the driving force behind finishing our Highlander so quickly, just 10 months. He would call me each morning about 8:30 and ask me what we were going to do today and was I ready for him to come over.

He kept saying he was going to die before it was finished and then, when it was finished, he claimed he wouldn't make it until the 40 hours were flown off. I was able to fly off those hours in 15 days because of that pressure and the excellent quality of the kit and factory support.

He went flying with me for many hours. We will miss him.

OB was 90 years old last October.

Alan
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Postby scubarider2 » Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:00 pm

Alan,  I am very sorry for your loss.  But, I am sure he is still "flying" and you made his last days happy ones.
Dennis
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Postby Dave Krall CFII SEL SES » Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:24 pm

We were advised against stainless rod, as the empenage was designed to flex a little under loads and so went with stainless cable everywhere.
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