Working in new garage workshop in TN

CH801 Build Log
Update 24 October 2016
Time to start putting the year on these... ;-(. Relocated from Iowa to Nashville TN area. Progress is slow with work & relo overhead, but still moving. Had a custom exhaust manifold / header fabricated, installed wings & drilled all strut locations, ordered wing tanks from Zenith and installing those. Preparing to move the plane down from Iowa to Murfreesboro at Thanksgiving.

Update 3 October
Planes in a hangar!
Got the project moved out of the basement and into a hangar at KCID (Cedar Rapids / Eastern Iowa Airport). Making quick progress at final assembly. Renewed my Class 3 medical today, and engaging on my BFR. Will be flying again within the month.

Update 10 August
Been a long time since I updated this, been tinkering with other projects. I reached the point on the 801 that I needed a TIG welder, so I saved my pennies, bought one, and have been practicing. Both the intake and exhaust manifolds (Al and SS) needed to be TIG'd, the fuel tanks, and the replacement thermostat housing. Basically most everything I have left to do. Will post more pictures soon.

Update 26 July
Engine Start! After wiring in the RWS ECU to the panel, I realized the ECU now has power, which was the last ingredient required to run the engine. After performing the injector test I hit the starter while spraying starting fluid into the intake-- it lit up almost immediately! No exhaust manifold and running in a small enclosed basement meant it was phenomenally loud! I didn't run it for more than a couple seconds, as none of the temp / pressure sensors were wired.

Update 18 July
Oil is coursing through my Rotary's veins! Getting close to having coolant too. Need one more flexible radiator line, then finish wiring the ECU/Panel, and I'll be trying to start it.

Update 21 May
Returning from a long winter hiatus. Life just kept getting in the way of working on the kit, but I'm slowly getting back to it. I've got a couple fittings each on my oil system, coolant system, and intake manifold. Engine is wired, so I should be able to crank it once these nitnoids are done.

Update 18 October
Significant progress on engine/panel wiring. I've blocked in the heater core, finalized panel wiring, and wired the EC3 (engine control unit). I need to wire the transponder and the panel is done.

Update 1 August.
Still working on stuff. Still hope to get the engine started soon. Been waiting on parts and the money to order more parts ;/)

Update 27 June
Engine installation is seriously underway! My goal is to have main engine start "this summer". I've completed final assembly of the PSRU, created brackets for and installed the alternator, oil cooler, radiator, oil filter relocation and heater core. I even cranked the engine briefly to verify the starter wiring. It's a good feeling to see/hear the airplane do something!

The fuse just has cleanup work now, the empennage is done except for paint, and both wings are roughed in. I need to finish & install the fuel tanks, then build / install the slats and flaperons. That's it, everything else is done.

If I get the engine started this summer, I can debug it while finishing up the rest of the plane this fall, and easily make a spring first flight.

Update 7 Feb 2010
Another year, still working on the plane; it's all good. I haven't been updating the log due to staying busy working on the plane.

I gave up on the Mustang rad, it was too long. I've since ordered a new 1994 Ford Explorer rad, the guys on the rotary list say it's optimum.

I've finished the top-center engine mount, and am now cleaning up the bottom one. The bottom brackets rubbed the nose gear bungee when full down, which had to be corrected. I trimmed an inch off the top of the brackets and am in the process of re-installing them.

I also ordered all my sensors from Dynon, and am starting to wire the engine up. Continuing work on the intake manifold as well.


Update 10 October 09
Made a lot of progress this month; finished the rear windows & control rod cover installation, painted the steel cabin frame, and started final installation of the doors.

I started fitting the intake manifold & FI rails to the engine to see how things will fit; I definitely can use the stock lower manifold, with custom intake tubes attached. There is enough room under the cowl. I started machining the mating surfaces on the manifold to get that going.

The radiator I bought on ebay for $50 won't fit (Ford Mustang). I've decided to mount the radiator upright along the side of the engine, and the ford radiator is too tall. I'm making a cardboard mock-up to see what dimensions will fit.

Update 7 September 09
Spent the 3 day weekend working on the plane; fitted & removed the wings, located the flaperon pivot holes in the fuse sides, cut in the rear windows & control rod slots, and started putting in lexan.

Update 30 August 09
Making good progress now, I'm back to working on it 5-10 hours a week. Becky's finished the front-seat upholstery and is working on the back seat. The trim controls are working, all wiring is done up to the panel, seat deck is in.

I've started aligning parts on the intake manifold. With the engine mounted, it now appears workable to use the lower half of the stock intake manifold and injector fuel rails. This will save quite a bit of time & money, as well as keeping with the 'Mazda engineered' subsystems'.

I also moved my wings up from the storage unit, as I will need to fit them soon. I need to locate the flaperon control holes in the sides of the fuse to finish the control systems and interior work.

Started piddling with panel wiring today too...

Update 29 June 09
Doors are complete, h-stab / elevator are on with stops & cables, one tip is on. Elevator trim tab is working. Wiring is pulled from everywhere up to the back of the panel. I'm focusing on finishing up from back to front, so when I start on the engine I won't be distracted. Almost done with the fuselage now, just wiring, upholstery, and engine.

Wings are really rough though, haven't started the slats or flaperons yet.


Update 9 May 09
Continuing my trend of only updating every couple months... not a good sign for progress. On the other hand, this is a hobby, and takes a back-seat to work, family, Reserves, etc. The good news is I'm slowly working out from under the crunch at work and am already seeing more time to work on the plane.

Installed the h-stab, elevator, and am working to completing the doors. Wiring is nearing completion too, so I'm starting to look seriously at getting the engine running.

Update 2/19/09
It's been two and a half months since my last entry... not much free time lately. I have been working on the plane, just not updating my log!

After hanging the engine, I realized I wouldn't be able to make much progress on it until the engine instruments were wired and the ECU was installed / wired. This meant changing direction from the engine to wiring the interior fuse, primarily the panel. That's where I've spent the last couple months, getting the buss's installed and the Dynon D180 powered up.

I'm at the point now where I'm wiring the RWS ECU and shopping for transducers from Dynon.

Unfortunately, my project at work has kicked into overdrive, and with all the extra hours I haven't had a lot of time this month. I probably won't be able to work consistently again until mid-March.
Update 11/30
As you can see, the engine's on! My father-in-law & I mounted it early this month. Since then, I've fitted the redrive & been measuring all the plumbing / wiring that needs to go around it. While I was waiting on some hardware, I installed the center channel that protects the controls between the front / rear seats. It's getting where there aren't very many more parts left in my 'stuff to do stack'!

I'm still in the clean-up mode, too. I've had a number of projects left 90% done for a while, so I've been trying to get them wrapped up before the engine starts to occupy all my time. I installed the snowmobile booties around the rudder pedal / nose gear firewall cutouts, ran a bunch of wiring so I can finish the interior trim, bought a transponder on ebay, touched up the alignment of the rudder cables & elevator control rod, and tested the strobe lights.

Update 11/02
Unfortunately, the engine isn't hanging on the front yet. I decided to make some 'better' washers between the engine mount & firewall, and the material's been back-ordered with ACS for two weeks. I finally placed a new order with McMaster & should get it this week.

In the meantime, I've built the panel, wired the fuse, installed fuel lines & rails, finished the interior cover trim, installed the ELT, installed the fuel selector... Whew! I've had all these parts sitting around for a while, just needed some uninterrupted time to put them together.

My goal is to have the engine running over Christmas vacation...

Update 9/22
Received my engine mount from Jerry Hey a couple weeks ago, he did a very fine job. I've done initial fitting of the frame and nose strut bracket & everything was aligned well. One 'gotcha' was the upper frame members contacted the nose gear strut shelf due to their steep declination angle. Some spacers quickly fixed that.

Other news, I attended the Zenith open house on Saturday 9/20. Weather was wonderful, I took my motorcycle for the 3 hour trip to Mexico, MO. Three 801 builders flew their planes in, and I was able to fly the Zenith 801 factory demonstrator for the first time!. The best part about it was I was able to sit next to another pilot and my shoulders didn't shove him into his door. The 801 is exceptionally roomy inside.

I took a bunch of photo's of the 801's, I'll upload them when my iMac gets out of the shop :(.

As for progress, I've been prepping the engine and mount for installation; should have the rotary hanging on the firewall within a few weeks. All recent updates are in the 'engine building' sections.
Update 8/24-
Took most of the month off from building. Spent two weeks on Army Reserve summer AT, then came back to my normal summer 'honeydo's'. Mixed in with normal summer activity it was hard to get back into it.

When I did return, I got into a 'clean-up' mode, finishing a bunch of little projects that have been dangling. The elevator control rod was dragging on a bearing at the extreme of the bellcrank swing; the port brake master cylinder was interfering with the rudder pedal with full down travel, and I needed to install the rudder cable pulleys to finish the bellcrank housing & install the cables. Got most of that done this weekend.
Update 7/7-
Fuse is now in my basement workshop! Was chatting with one of the guys in my Sunday School class and discovered he has his own tow company with a 18ft tilt-bed truck. Early one morning last week he met me at my storage unit & had the fuse strapped down in 15 minutes. If you live in the KC area and need your plane moved, call John White at 913-219-2689; he's a real pro.

I've finished the alternator bracket (see engine updates) and gone back to work on the fuse. I do need to fab a new intake manifold, but it's so nice to have the fuse back at home I can't help tinkering with it a bit.

Jerry Hey's working on my mount now, should have it by the end of July. This is putting some pressure on getting the rest of the engine work done; I'd like to hear it come to life after it's mounted.
Update 5/28-
Engine progressing nicely, should be moving the fuse home in the next couple of weeks. All that's really left to finish on the engine is the intake manifold / exhaust system.

I've put a deposit down with Jerry Hey on an engine mount. I was going to do it myself but the experience with the oil pan "helped me reassess the limits of my welding skills". Plus, Jerry's done a bunch of these, is working on another 801, and has the time to do the jig properly.

Also, off-loading the mount allows me to return to the fuse, where I intend to finish the fuel system & start the panel / electrical system. The goal is to have as much as possible ready to plug into the engine when the mount arrives in August.

Other news; I've acquired more fuel system components, and should be receiving my RWS EC3 this week.

More pictures soon.

Update 4/7-
Check out the 'engine' section for entries / pics of my rotary engine conversion. I've stripped it down to the block & started converting the oil pan and intake manifold. I'll be working on the conversion this month.

I haven't moved the fuse to the house yet; no real priority to do so as I'm working on the engine conversion at the moment. I should be getting to the point where I need the fuse to do the engine mount within a few weeks; I'll move it in then.

Update 3/4-
Yep, it's really been 3 months since my last update, and almost no progress on the project in the interval. In addition to the holidays, December saw me closing on the house in TX and moving the family here to KS, where we closed on our house up here in January. All this in addition to my normal drill schedule for the Reserves meant I had no time for the project.

The new house has a huge basement workshop with a dedicated garage door entryway to the backyard- perfect for the project (which may have been a factor in selecting this house... maybe) Problem is, the shop served as a staging area for all the boxes of stuff we had to unpack. It's now cleared out enough to get the fuse moved in. I'll probably keep the storage unit to store the wings & h-stab/elevator, as they take up so much space.

I attended the EAA868 chapter meeting last night, I'm getting psyched back up to get started again. Stopped by the shop to get everything packed up well enough to have the fuse moved to the house. Plan to have that done within the next two weeks.

Stand by.

Update 11/26-
Good progress this month. It's amazing how having nothing else to do can accelerate building :) Finished final installation of landing gear, pedals, brakes, brake lines, aileron torque tube, horiz tubes, elevator pushrod, bellcrank, flap motor, flap torque tube,... whew. I thank that's most of it.

I also acquired my Dynon D180, power panel, master switch/solenoid, etc., so I can start on my panel "for real".

Next step is to start on the fuel lines and panel. I can take the panel to my apt and work on it there, which should speed it up.
Update 10/25-
Progress in strange ways. I'm in KS and my plane was in TX. I took a 4 day weekend, drove down to Houston, and towed my plane home on an 6x10 utility trailer. The weather on the first day of the return trip was terrible; pictures attached. I can honestly say I've had the plane up to 1800 ft & 75mph :/)

The other accomplishment was receiving my renesis rotary engine today. It looks pretty clean, I'll be running compression tests this weekend. My redrive & ECU from rotaryaviation are due around February. This'll give me time to get a mount figured out.

Update 10/17-
I ordered the engine today; a 2004 Mazda Rx-8 'Renesis'. My hand was shaking as I took out the credit card, as I'm aware of the amount of additional effort it will take to convert this thing. I've reviewed Tracy Crook's book on the conversion I'm confident it's doable.
Update 10/13-
I've done some fiddling with the Y-control, torque tube, and cabin bearings, but not much progress this month. I've changed jobs, forcing a relocation to the KC-Kansas area. Texas Yardart's about to become "Kansas Yardart". Actually, I've rented a storage bay in KS to stow the beast in 'till I'm done buying / selling houses. The bay has power, and is 5 minutes from work, so I should be able to continue progress. I've also started contacting local salvage yards for an RX-8 engine.

I spent all my free time for the last 3 weeks getting my house ready to put on the market. The last step of which will be to get the airplane out of the backyard.

Update 09/19-
On advice of someone I know & trust, I bought a pneumatic DA sander to address the 'splattered' coat of paint on the fuse. I've been trying to wet-sand it smooth by hand, with the only result being I now need a chiropracter to fix my shoulder.

The DA sander knocked the entire fuse smooth in a short Saturday. I spent some time dressing up the primer, then waited for a cold front (need that low humidity!). Prayers were answered this past weekend, as a front pushed through & dropped the humidity into the 60's, so I re-shot the fuse in my backyard on Saturday. Someone else loaned me a high-end auto finish gun, so this coat went on great.

It's funny how this came about, as I wasn't planning on repainting the fuse yet. I've been working on the controls, and have everything ready to go into the cabin (except for the rudder pedals- Zenith sent me two right pedals!). But the cabin interior was blank aluminum, and if I installed the controls prior to painting it, I would have to spend much time taping off everything I'd just installed.

So I needed to paint the cabin interior prior to final installation of the controls. And if I had all the equipment out & set up to do the interior, I may as well do the exterior as well, ... so it snowballed.

The primer is adhering great, and this new topcoat couldn't have gone on better. I only found two bugs in it while buffing :/)
Update 08/02-
I've finished the doors (sans windows) and started on the flight controls. I intend to get the cabin plumbed- controls, fuel lines, wiring, etc, next.

I test-fit the tail feathers this week, just to see how they look & move them so I could clean up their storage area. It's amazing how big this airplane is going to be!

I won't be painting anything for a while; I do it outside, and the humidity here on the gulf coast in the summer is far too high. Gives me more time to wet-sand.

Update 06/24-
YardArt's on her own feet! She's finally a vehicle. Basically a very expensive wheelbarrow, but still a vehicle :)

The landing gear's on, a few items left to clean up. I didn't install all the bolts attaching the main gear spring 'forks' to the fuse, and I need to drill & install cotter pins several places. But she's up & I can move her around the yard.

If I can get a few days w/o rain, I'll put the final color coat & clearcoat on. Until then, I'll work inside the cabin- doors, fuel lines, etc.

Update 05/21-
Installed the nose gear strut & lower bearing (the upper bearing was pre-installed with the QB fuse). There was a slight hitch installing the lower bearing support. One of the 4 bottom-most rivets in the strut channel protruted into the cabin enough to conflict with a bolt retaining the lower bearing support. The bolt wouldn't drop into the hole, the rivet was in the way. Corrected this by drilling out the rivet, installing the bolt, then re-riveting. Instructions should be updated to leave off those rivets until after the bearing support is installed.

I'm taking a break from fuel tanks, reconsidering making them from fiberglass. The VE resin requires multiple plys to be watertight, making the tank much heavier than it need be. I may weld them up from stainless, haven't decided yet.

Updated 04/30-
Still working on fuel tanks !@#$@! Seemed awful simple when I first conceived of making my own tanks, but as in all engineering, the devil's in the details.

I've discarded all tanks made previously (including those mentioned below). It was pointed out to me that epoxy resin isn't suitable for fuel with ethanol additives, and I want to keep the feature of filling with mogas if needed.

I ordered a gallon of vinyl-ester resin from AS & started over. I also wanted to improve the joint between the upper & lower halves as they're refitted together.

So now I'm back to one tank at 90%, just starting the second. One big advantage of the different resin is it cures in minutes instead of hours. This let me finish the shell of a tank in a weekend, instead of a month. Unfortunately, it's also much more destructive to foam, and did some damage to my plug that I spent time repairing.
Updated 03/05-
Very little accomplished recently, the weather was terrible all of January, and I spent February travelling on business. Just got back to the project this weekend.

The fiberglass tanks are shaping up nicely, they should be installed in the next week or two, then I can close up the left wing. I've also taken a step back to fix a twisted elevator. Dave, a fellow 801 builder, sent me his fuel lines & fittings to use for my FI return line. He's decided to go with rigid fuel lines instead of the flex line shipped with the kit.

Very anxious to get started on the gear, I want to see the yardart up on its own three feet!

Updated 01/08-
Happy New Year!
I accomplished quite a bit over the holiday. Finished the plug for the fuel tanks & cast the first tank. I'm going to finish it before I do the other 3.
Installed the pitot mast, hangars for tubes & lines in the left wing, and a bunch of paint stripping & wet-sanding.

Update 11/27-
The left wing is nearing completion; just need to fit the pitot tube standoff & fuel tanks. I've started the remaining tasks for the right wing.

The primer is peeling off the the h-stab and elevator; they need to be completely stripped & re-painted. This is disappointing, as I used an expensive "aircraft" primer for them. (the rattle-can self etching primer on the rudder is holding fast...) The primer was Epibond W2248, and yes, I followed the surface prep instructions on the can. My best guess is the adhesion failure is due to the high humidity on the day I shot the empennage.

I recently primed the fuselage with PPG self-etch (auto primer), and it is also adhering quite well.

Update 10/20-
I'm working on my custom fiberglass fuel tanks. This is slow-going, as it's trial and error. I do think it will work out OK eventually, but this first tank is a write-off.

I did reserve my N number this month! N801KA is mine, got the letter this week. Now I have an incentive to finish the plane in the next calender year, before my reservation needs to be renewed.
Update 9/27-
Received the fuselage on Monday! I had to spend a couple days at home with sick kids, so I hooked up the baby intercom & went outside to work on wings.

Working around the yards of sheetmetal sitting on various fixtures around me, I had that flash of inspiration I'd been waiting for- the name of the airplane... Texas YardArt.

The quickbuild fuse is unpacked & sitting in a place of honor in my backyard. Still knockin' out progress on the wings.

Update 9/21-
Making progress on the wings; haven't started the slats / flaps kit yet. QB fuselage is arriving next week (crate is 19ft long, 4+ft x 4+ft w/h! 850lbs...)

I recognize it's ugly, but to me it's an amazingly capable airplane- huge payload, 4 seats, comfy cabin, rugged construction, and STOL performance. As a low-time VFR pilot, it's also very economical to insure & operate.

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