Post paint, polishing

I didn’t want anyone to think I haven’t been doing anything….

I painted the plane at my shop. It wasn’t a sterile paint booth. I did have three to five fans running with air filters to reduce the contaminants in the air. But still dust managed to get into my clear coat. So now I’ve spent the last two weeks sanding and polishing to make it smooth. It ended up using 3M compound and polish ing chemicals along with the DeWalt polisher and a Bosch hand sander. And it has been working really well but sadly it’s a lot of work. The one picture below, has dust on the right hand side and the left hand side has been polished. My process has been to wet sand with 1200 grit, then wet sand again with 1500 grit, then wet sand again with 2500 grit. Then polish with rubbing compound. Then polish with Polish.

End of this month I am supposed to get my propeller and my parachute. I should be able to look at those installed during the month of December. Then January I can move to the hangar and get it inspected. Hopefully. That might be a bit optimistic but I’ll try.

Paint

For the last week or two I’ve been doing a lot of body work and prepping for painting. Just refilling some rivet holes and make sure all of the fairings are fitting correctly. Did little to no body filler but there was a place here or there that I wasn’t happy with that required some touch up. I did not have my windshield in when I was painted nor did I have any gaskets on. When I’ve painted cars in the past, removing the gaskets was standard procedure so I thought leaving the windshield off would be essentially the same thing. I also still do not have my parachute so the parachute cover was painted before installed. I think that’s a good idea that way there’s actually paint underneath the cover and should help corrosion resistance and may even help the cover to detach easier.

I provided concept drawing of what I wanted to plan to look like to my painter. His reply was, “did you have your kids draw this with crayons.”. My response was, “no I drew it. Am I really that bad of an artist”. I took the sling dimensions from the poh and printed it out on a full size sheet of paper and colored it in. We then take off the entire plane and got the painting. We painted it in my shop and it took 3 days and made one hell of a mess. I had four fans with air filters attached going and it still wasn’t enough. So we’d have to take breaks painting occasionally to let the air clear out.

But it’s done now and I think the end result is well worth the effort.

I feel like I need to be further back to take to take a decent picture. So I will save most of the finished product pictures until later.

Tail tie-down bumper stop

A couple times now I have heard that I need to be concerned with the Sling TSI s tail slamming against the ground. What can cause this is two people getting up on the steps at the same time. My Cirrus had a rubber bumper on the rear tie down. I looked at getting that exact bumper but it feels to hard to actually cushion the blow. I tried many different materials until I found the right hardness. This material is just right. It will act like a sponge and dampen some of the impact force from the above scenario. I plan to attach it with some low quality glue. It already fits on pretty tight and I want to be able to remove it if necessary.

If a tail strike happened during take off, this material would most likely not be hard enough to provide sufficient protection but it would help. Any material that would be hard enough to protect during take off would not likely protect from a stationery tip back. It if wears out over time, It is easy and cheap to replace, so no biggie if it comes to that.

Prepping for paint

I am trying to prep for paint. But I am still missing some important parts so it is a challenge. I am missing my parachute, my propeller and a bunch of interior upholstery parts. Unfortunately it appears that none of these parts will be here soon. I had to cut my cowling on speculation. I did a lot of measuring. I cut it 25mm from the front of the engine flange. So let’s hope. And 63mm from the top and bottom from the flange angled out to the outer edge of the cowling.

I also did my wing fairings this week. The Sling TSI wing fairings we’re tricky to fit around the wing. I started by slipping it over the unbolted step, then over the front of the wing and under. I had to trim some of the wing fairing on the front. I cut it back about half an inch so it wouldnt push against the landing gear. I noticed on some other slings that the fairing didn’t always lay flat against the fuselage. So I put in some extra rivnuts/screws to make it lay flat.

This weekend I am having the plane painted at my place. It will be blue with black on the leading edge of the wings. I can’t help but to think that black on the wings will help prevent ice build up. Not sure how much it will help, but it can’t hurt.

Sling TSI training in Torrance

I figured I should know how to fly a TSI before I try to test pilot my own. I called around all the other build centers and TSI owners but the only TSI in North America that the FAA allows to train on is in Torrance. They operate just like any other flight School. You sign up on flight schedule pro, schedule a time, show up do your flight leave and that’s it.

I did actually have a lot to learn. The first day we did mostly touch and goes at Long Beach airport. The following days we did trips to places such as San Bernardino, flew over the shop Queen Mary. I’m used to a cirrus SR22 with 310 horsepower. That thing is always above the power curve. The sling flies like it’s always below the power curve. It is constantly closer to what I would call slow flight, Than what i would say cruise. I guess what I mean by that is, in the Cirrus you can just point the nose and go. In the Cirrus, if you want to go up (even if you’re just at cruise power) you can put the nose up and you go up. In the TSI you have push the throttle all the way forward and point the nose up to climb at all. The Sling’s cruise speed is about 40knots slower. At cruise , climb prop setting, 80% power and 5500rpm we were struggling to do 132k tas. Even after only a couple minutes of that, We had to pull back to 65% power because the egt were exceeding 1700f. I am used to 178k. But in other aspects, it’s a dream to handle. Very responsive to turns, easy to do a 360 at 60degrees and not lose any altitude. The interior is pretty tight. No extra elbow room.

After my flights I was able to walk around and look at the build center. They currently occupy half a dozen hangars. Most of the builds are done in two of them. Looking at the other build really helped a lot. I got a lot of questions answered just by looking. And found some mistakes I made. Special thanks to Shawn, the engine guy. He was very helpful.

Random info acquired that I found interesting,

Sling academy in Torrance uses 25% avgas and 75% costco 91.

Wayne’s 135wt has the Sensinch (sp) prop not whirlwind.

No one uses a nose wheel tug to move planes, they push down on the rear fairing and HS. And drag it around.

Final approach speed 75-80.

5400rpm holds level. More climbs, less drops/slows.

aileron trim really isn’t necessary. And elevator isn’t really either. It handles easily enough without them.

Cowling inspection hatch. Hood door, haha

So I did a thing…

I am making my engine inspection hatches , latches. Not duz screws. I don’t wanna have to carry a screw driver for every pre flight. I tested this and it seems to work. But admittedly it hasn’t been air/flight tested yet. I think the pictures will convey more than my words….

Cowling

This was an extremely stressful thing to do but also very rewarding. I got my little Sling TSI’s cowling fitted up and cut to the correct length. I used the whole painters tape trick to determine where to cut. It worked great. I did have to sand a lot down to make things perfect but the painters tape idea was a great starting point. I made sure to measure precisely that there was the correct amount of clearance around the propeller both front to back and up and down.

I put the top and lower pieces on the ground, clamp them together and worked my way back with cleco’s. After I knew where the cleco’s would go I removed them, attached it to the plane, and put them back on.

This whole plane build is being done entirely by myself without a second set of hands to help me. Mounting the cowling is one area that the manual specifically says to use a second set of hands. So I just pulled out ye good ole painter’s tape and used it to temporarily hold things in place and that worked great. That really allowed me to position the cowling exactly where it needed to be.

Interior

I was trying to fit the interior side panels. But they were a little too tight which would cause some bowing in the panels themselves. So I had to remove a little bit from one of the panels I peeled back the leather and cut about a quarter inch off the fiberglass. I scored it with a razor blade and then bent it and it broke and peeled right off. Now everything fits fine.

Oil and coolant Radiators

This was the first easy thing that I have done in a while. Everything else has proven to be harder than anticipated.

I installed the foam after cleaning the mating surfaces. I mocked up the location of the latches and marked them. Drilled them. Riveted then from the inside outwards. And everything worked great. They are nice and snug. I then tested fitted them against the engine and they for perfectly.

On to the next thing.

Cowling fitting

Okay so embarrassingly this took all day long. I built this little jig and added just enough washers to come out precisely to my calculated 25 mm clearance that I will need for my propeller,,, more information on my propeller to come,,,. That is 25mm between the front of the flange to the back of the spinner. Calculated at 31mm , minus 6mm.

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