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December 2002
I started out polishing my nose wheel fork and related parts and finally bonded-in my fuselage rib close-out. After polishing my nose wheel, I will polish everything that is aluminum and hangs out in the wind. It looks incredible! I cursed the job at first, but learned all the shortcuts and it was really a breeze. Start out with 150# sand paper on a power sander to remove the powder coat, go down to 220#, then 400# and finally 600#. Lastly, apply rubbing compound and buff out. The whole nose wheel took me four hours, but it looks cool! I even did the bolts. It's something to do waiting for epoxy to cure.

Fitting the baggage floorboards takes a lot of positioning, marking, trimming, testing and patience. The forward most portion needs to be trimmed off almost entirely. I set my center tunnel with clecos first and, with a level, marked a line on the aft bulkhead for reference. As I got a better fit close to the seat backs I made level marks along the fuselage and finally clecoed the baggage flooring into place. The final step in this will be to do a release around the doors and body work the gaps with micro on the framing. More things to do in-between other things. The lists keep growing.

My two boys, Patrick and Nicholas still enjoy pretending to be pilots.

In preparation for fabricating hydraulic lines I made a jig from a traced pattern. This will make the first round of bending easy and keep from having to jump in and out of the fuselage. In assembling the hydraulic pump with the fittings, I discovered that since I have the new version of the pump (Model 642666), giving the higher output for quicker cycles, it does NOT need have the internal spring for the return port as called for in the manual. That was a relief!

Ron Jones and his assistant developed and fabricated these beautiful flap hinge fairings and were nice enough to make an extra set for me. We both are in agreement that it may not give us any extra significant speed increase, but the WOW factor is off the chart. Ron is now busy developing his winglets and the level of craftsmanship Ron puts into his Legacy is absolutely inspiring!

I'm still working on the design on my panel. After playing around with it for over a year now, I can finally say I'm almost there. Highlights are dual Garmin 430, Tru-track auto pilot, the new JPI900 engine instruments, Potter-Brumsfiels switches with built-in breakers, in-panel chart box and an MP3 player built-in to the center console. My IFR flying is kept to in-and-out of the Pacific marine layer and the EFIS panel is too expensive. This panel is coming in at around $50K and with the savings I plan on getting a supercharger later on.

I will admit that after learning how to bend and flare tubing I can say that it's really easy. It's also fun in some sort of way. I got some input from some other builders in a good flaring tool and went with the Parker tool from Rob Logan's advice. It's a great tool, makes perfect flares every time and only cost $70.00. I spent a couple hours at AirCrafters with Dave and Marshall to learn how to do good flaring and what to look for in bad flares. The money was well spent and I came away confident of my new skills. With any flaring you begin with a clean, squared and de-burred end. After cutting, I file the edge, de-bur with a countersink bit and clean up with a jeweler's file. (All these tips I got from Marshall). This is the part I like best about the Parker tool. The tube goes in and hits a stop, an arm comes down and is clamped. The flaring begins and ends when there is a strong resistance to the turning and out comes a beautifully flared end. The lip of the flared end still needs to be cleaned up a little and I use 600# paper and scotchbrite to do that. Acetone is used to remove the film of grease left over and it is test-fitted to the fitting. The ideal fit is when the flare just rest on the fitting without pressure. That is done by tweaking the lines a bit. Most important is to put the fitting on the tube before bending and flaring as they will have to be done over if not. That mistake will only be made once or twice.

So the thing left on my list from last summer finally gets completed. Having nut plates for the inner doors is a must-must, because it allows for you to service the doors by yourself. The thing not mentioned in the manual is that the load pads are too thick for the pop rivets. Ron Jones gave me this idea of making up a bunch of nut plates on scrap glass and bonding them in with flox. I have been dreading this job for some unknown reason, but it was a cinch and took three hours total to complete. The best part is I don't have to undo the nuts from the bolts anymore and can remove the door easily. It's important to always coat the threads of the bolts with some auto wax so it does not bond-in permanently.

I was a bit discouraged that I couldn't get primer on due to the cold and rain, but I'm committed to completing the hydraulics and staying on the minor tweaking of the bodywork and primer in the spring.

In Memory of
Clare Barnes

July 27, 1945 - December 7, 2002

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