Final Assembly of N1918Q
This page is a collection of details about putting all the pieces together for the trip to the airport and first flight. This is an interesting phase of the project as we see the aircraft assume its pre-flight configuration.
The engine has been rehung and all connections finished. This is a simple aircraft but it still required several hours to complete the installation.
The cowl is being fitted again for final adjustments and platenut installation prior to paint. This provides one more opportunity to check clearances and find unfinished details that need attention. The cowl sheeting is almost ready for paint but the fiberglass nose bowl still must be smoothed and primed.
One very important check still to be performed is fuel flow. There is little drop from the tank to the carb inlet in level attitude and practically none at steep climb attitude. The main difference between this installation and a J-3 is the location of the tank. The J-3 tank is located up in the boot cowl but the Fokker tank is no higher than the upper longerons.
If flow is insufficient, an electric pump will be installed for use during takeoffs and landings. I suspect fuel flow will not be an issue if a few gallons are in the tank but flow must be insured when fuel level drops after burning off several gallons.
The Vertex handheld COM radio will be connected to this external 1/4 wave whip. The handheld delivers excellent performance when paired with an external antenna and this will be the only radio in the plane. A doubler was riveted to the inside of the belly pan to stiffen the antenna mount.
Also visible are the brake cables attached to the gear legs and entering the floor near the rudder pedals. The small tube at the top of the photo is the discharge for the fuel tank sump.
The fuse markings were cut from vinyl by a local sign shop and applied with a bit of water. Since the Fokker is a replica of an aircraft manufactured over thirty years ago, it can carry the "NX" prefix. This eliminates the need for an "Experimental" placard in the cockpit.
I don't know what font was used on the original planes, but this one kinda, sorta resembles it.
This is the small stainless steel data plate available from the EAA. However, the local engraver was having problems working with the limited area on the screen-printed side of the plate so I had them flip it over and use the backside. I painted a black border on it to make it look a bit more official.
The pitot-static mast was fabricated with two leftover pieces of 1/4" copper tubing from the wing trailing edges, a piece of 0.032" aluminum, a block of wood and JB Weld.
The top tube is the static pickup. It is plugged at the end with the shank of a 3/16" bolt and has several 1/16" holes drilled in the side of the tube. The bottom tube is the ram pitot tube, it is open on the end.
A block of wood was epoxied to the aluminum base plate and two 1/4" holes drilled through the whole thing. The copper tubes are a tight fit but were secured with JB Weld. Short pieces of 1/4" rubber hose will attach the two pitot-static lines which will be ice-maker tubing from the aviation aisle of Lowes.
The mast fits into a recess built into the bottom of the lower wing which has PVC conduit running from it to the wing root.
The base plate with be trimmed with black paint to make it blend into the cross. If I had really been thinking ahead I could have located the recess so it wouldn't conflict with the paint scheme......but the wing was built long before I settled on the paint design.
I have used this same mast design on other planes and it yields an accurate and stable static system. It is always nice when we can build something useful from items in the scrap box.
I didn't want to apply wing walk material or finish directly to the fabric due to wear and tear on the fabric and difficulty of replacement. Aluminum roof flashing was painted with two coats of non-skid paint and attached to the wing with #4 sheet metal screws. This can be easily replaced without damaging the wing.
A friend who builds guitars supplied the mahogany that dresses up the panel. Instruments are installed and controls labeled. Power was connected to the system and no smoke escaped. The handheld transceiver clips to the small panel on the right.
This is a length of 1.25" PVC drain pipe that is the base for the cockpit coaming on the fuselage longerons. A slot was cut so the pipe would fit over the longeron.
The pipe was given a wet coat of fabric cement and allowed to tack dry. In the background are the lengths of foam pipe insulation that were my first attempt at the coaming. The adhesive did not stick to the foam enough to keep the vinyl attached.
The same vinyl material that was used on the seat cushions was glued to the PVC and the edges of the material folded over into the slit. The vinyl was tucked into the ends of the PVC.
Three aluminum rivets attach the vinyl-covered PVC to the longerons and are nearly invisible after a dab of black paint.