ERACER N382RB UPGRADE
--- NEW INSTRUMENT PANEL....I have spent the month of July doing a much needed instrument panel upgrade. I did this for a few reasons. my wiring was a mess from all the addition I had added and subtracted over the past 4 years , I needed to give the passenger seat more leg room (requested by my wife), and the fact that my current panel was looking pretty bad. I laid up a 1/4 of carbon fiber to make tis panel. Below is a series of pictures showing the work as it progressed I still have a few cosmetic things to do.
Left: The carbon fiber panel after cure
Right: The carbon fiber panel after initial cutout
Removal of the old panel
New Panel powered up for the first time
--- NEW PROPELLER...I have been wanting to have a spare prop available so when the coral sand on the runways of the Bahamas roughed up my Hertzler prop, I decided that It would be a good time to get a new prop while I re-finished the Silver Bullet. Craig Catto made me a beautiful , nickel edged, 2 blade (66x86) prop. I have just begun testing and will have it dynamically balanced to the engine soon.
--- NEW RADIO AND TRANSPONDER ANTENNAES AND LIGHTS IN THE WINGLETS ...My ERacer was using some external antennae within the fuselage. During my Bahama trip I experienced very weak reception. Mike Bowden shared with me a great way to make an excellent antennae and install them into my winglets. The ERacer plans did not have the copper strip installation in the winglets. So I constructed them and installed them into the winglets. Now my radio reception and transmissions are strong and carry much farther.
--- LITHIUM BATTERY INSTALLATION...I have always had some issues with slow cranking during the cold months and this winter it was effecting my electronic ignition. The cold temps/ high compression/ slow cranking/ and low voltage combination would cause the ignition computer to reset during start resulting in a kickback on occasion. I installed a 5lb lithium EarthX battery that has 800 cranking amps. Needless to say, I have no more issues and I have saved 8 pounds of weight.....photos coming
--- ADSB INSTALLATION.....I finally took the big step to become 2020 compliant. This unit is the Skyguard TWX ADSB system. It has a fully integrated GPS, it's own wifi signal generator, squawk detector and 1090 / 978 transmitters and receivers. It works with WingX on my Ipad and can detect my onboard transponder code.
--- UPGRADED GLARE SHIELD
I was getting glare from my current glare shield so I recovered it with a soft darker material, I looks better and fits better with no more glare onto the canopy.
--- NEW AIRCRAFT JACKS
I have always needed a better and quicker way of jacking up the aircraft to do gear retract tests during the condition inspections. Going from an idea I saw in the CSA newsletter a while back, I finally built a good set(2) of hydraulic jacks. One will go under the end of each spar. I brace the front of the aircraft with a horizontal stand that goes under the fuselage just behind the nose gear well.
--- ENGINE AND PROPELLER DYAMICALLY BALANCED
I had the aircraft put on a dynamic balance machine. The initial reading was 0.41 , which is considered at the low end of the "rough" reading. After a few runs and some weight adjustments on the fly wheel, we had it down to 0.04 about as low as possible. Test flight produced a ride that was noticeably smoother throughout the entire RPM range.
--- FLUSH FUEL CAPS and NEW GEAR SWITCH
I finally got rid of those plastic gas caps that stuck up off the wing and constructed some better flush ones.
I also installed a proper looking landing gear switch...:)
--- FLIGHTLINE TRACEIVER and AEROSPACE LOGIC DIGITAL GRAPHIC CHT GAUGE
I finally have replaced my old, Ebay bought, Collins VHF-251 with a smaller unit that also has the intercom incorporated into it. This has allowed me to mount it in a location that is easier to get to and not behind my Ipad when mounted. I am also installing a better CHT system. This gauge will give a graphic display of all four CHTs and can show trend analysis, detect shock cooling, and display min and max temp. Just a better all around system for me.
--- UPPER NACA AND OIL COOLER BYPASS ADDITION
I decided to make a bit more efficient oil cooling system for my ERacer. This will consist of the following:
1. An oil cooling air bypass channel through the fire wall
2. An upper cowl NACA scoop addition and a smaller more contoured/less drag raised scoop
3. An addition of cooling air vents in the upper cowling
4. A modified lower NACA scoop air entry area
--- 1. OIL COOLER BYPASS
The first pic is what the fire wall looked like with the original setup. I have now cut a bypass hole in the firewall and built an enclosed air channel for only the oil cooler air to exit out the back over the top of the engine.
--- 2. UPPER NACA SCOOP ADDITION
Above is the original scoop setup. The air went into the scoop, through the oil cooler, then down into the cooling air entering the engine compartment through the bottom NACA scoop. These two air flows of air would actually fight against each other for entry into the engine compartment. To relieve this I would build a direct path for air through the oil cooler, through the firewall and directly into the exiting cooling air thus resulting in no obstruction to the oil cooling air or the engine cooling air.
I started by cutting out the NACA scoop and building a ramp and side walls
I then cut out the old scoop and created a lower more aerodynamic one with side ramps to minimize NACA spillover air.
This is the final result....a naca scoop with a covered semi-scoop. This setup with the bypass has resulted in excellent oil cooling. I will complete my test and then micro and paint.
--- 3. AFT COWLING COOLING AIR VENT ADDITION AND CONTOUR MODIFICATION
*** My plan was to contour down the back cowling so it does not obstruct so much air to the prop but I decided to add some vents as I lowered the back 1/4th of the cowling in hopes of getting a little venturi affect to better pull cooling air up through the engine....Its a theory that I will test....afterall...this is what experimental aircraft are all about.
I basically lowered the aft edge 2 inches resulting in 2 slit type openings. Not sure it it will help, but we will see.
Final Painting Complete
--- 4. LOWER NACA SCOOP INLET MODIFICATION
This is the result.... The area is opened up to more air flow. The small shoulder walls should prevent some air spillover. I will do some oil testing to see how it is actually working but initial test show good cooling. I will finish testing before I micro and paint.
--- HEAVY DUTY STRUT SPRING
Over the past year I have noticed the aircraft was pretty springy upon braking and the nose rode a bit lower than I would like when a passenger was onboard. It was pointed out to me that my original strut spring was designed to be used with a long ez, which has a much lighter nose load. I have now installed the heavier one designed for the cozy type canard aircraft. I have found that this spring works excellent with no bobbing action when braking and my ease of steering has improved a considerable amount. Wish I would have done this a long time ago.
--- KOGER SUNSHADE ADDITION
I decided to add a sunshade to increase cooling for those cross country trips where the sun tends to bake you a bit. My wife is thrilled at this one.
Left Top and Bottom: Sun shade in the retracted position
Right Top and Bottom: Sun shade in the extended position
--- TRU TRAC GEMINI FLIGHT DISPLAY (Attitude Indicator)
I needed a backup to looking outside if I ever found myself being forced to descend through a deck. Though my aircraft is only VFR, It is a nice safety addition. It also gives an airspeed and altitude read out.
Above: I used the VVI hole after it's removal to install the TruTrak Gemini below the Garmin GPS.
--- CARGO COMPARTMENT SIDE SHELF ADDITIONS
I had found that the center cargo area was not quite enough and I had a lot of wasted space in the back that could be used for baggage so I created a couple side shelves that have enhanced the cargo area.
Above: The side shelve are the two black platforms. I added clear plexiglass to keep items from falling down into the gear mechanism but also allows me to se the gear position when no cargo is on the shelves.
Left: Starboard shelf
Right: Port side shelf
--- CERAMIC COATED EXHAUST PIPE ADDITION
This upgrade aids in engine cooling, cowling temperatures and corrosion resistance.
--- NEW RUDDER RETURN SPRINGS AND BOLT HOLE COVERS
I replaced the rudder return springs with shorter ones resulting in a much tighter return. I also covered the upper bolt access holes.
--- EFII ELECTRONIC IGNITION INSTALLATION and Annual inspection
Above left: The components of the EFII one magneto replacement kit
Above right: Computer, Manifold pressure sensor and wiring on forward side of firewall.
Above left: This is the trigger sensor on the inside of the flywheel
Above right: Auto plugs and inserts are used in this system for better fuel burn
Above left: This is the ignition unit. It mounts onto the cover plate where the left mageto was removed from.
Above right: Here is the ignition unit again with the plug wires attached.
--- IPAD MOUNT SYSTEM
Above: I have installed an IPad mount so I can easily access Fore Flight as a backup to my GPS and can get weather at low altitudes. The passenger now has something to play with.
--- ERacer STEP LADDER
Above: This is a detatchable step ladder that I created for my wife to make it easier for her to get into and out of the ERacer. It slips into the foot hold that I mounted to the side of the fuselage.
--- Electric Outlet upgrade and New Nose tire
Above left: New nose tire installed
Above right: I replaced the unused ignition key switch with a electric "lighter" oulet to allow for more external accessories to be powered during flight
--- Tachometer and Boost Seat Upgrade.
I replaced the mechanical tachometer with an UMA electric tach setup that provides an electric sender that screws into the tach outlet on the Engine.
Above left : New UMA electric Tachometer. after testing I get 2500RPM at MWO runup and 2700RPM at lift-off WOT.
Above right: I built this seat insert (red) for shorter passengers (like my wife). Now she is much more comfortable and she can see more.
-- I just received my ERacer cover made by Dorothy Dickey (Covergirl Covers). It looks great and fits great. This will come in handy for overnight stays at other airfields.
Cover - trial fit.
--- Transponder Upgrade.
I have replaced my old ebay bought AT-50A transponder with a new smaller, lighter Sandia STX-165 that has a built in encoder. The installation allows me to remove the AT-50A, the AR850 Encoder and lots of wiring. The Sandia install consists of only, the power wire, ground, static air hose and antennae cable.
Left: This is a pic of the new Sandia STX-165 transponder. It is the small lower box.
--- Cowling Upgrade . Airflow cooling partitions in cowling to better even out CHTs .
I have been able to equal out the CHT temps on all the cylinders.
Above right: This is the inside of my lower cowling. These are the baffles that I have added to even out the CHTs. I have accomplished about 300 degrees on each CHT at cruise. I would still like to get a bit more cooling in the climb so I will continue to investigate ways to accomplish that
Above left: I also added a small air scoop into the lower cowling underneath each wing-root to increase airflow to the engine compartment.
Before at Cruise After mod at Cruise(15 April)
#1 230 (too cool) #1 305
#2 285 #2 305
#3 340 #3 300
#4 370 #4 300
--- Cup Holder Upgrade
Above: This is my removable dual coffee cup holder I have realized I needed on those long cold test flights.
--- Stripes added
Above: I added the upper and lower black stripes on the original red stripe. I had to find something to work on during the down time.
Above left: A shot from the nose of the new stripes.
Above right: My "flame" artwork to make the cowling match the new stripes.
--- New Glare Shield
Above: New glare shield construction and fitting into position. I will hopefully receive my replacement fuel line this week so I can continue with the flight tests. The new glare shield will close off that upper area more completely. I have noticed a good amount of airflow that comes up through the canopy hindge area into my face during flight.
Above right: New glare shield complete.
Above left: This sign is an addition to the Hanger...Christmas gift from my daughter.
---Fuel Line Upgrade
Above: (Left---before, Right---after) Engine vibration and the torque of the hose/ in-line filter assembly on the "T" fitting caused a fuel leak. I removed the filter and installed a new, longer hose with one 45 end as well as a new "T" fitting. The gasolater is a sufficient filter and the torque pressure on the fitting has been aleviated... Engine run checked good!
Above: New painted cowling installed and the aircraft is ready to continue test flying!!
---Bellville Washer Upgrade
I installed a Bellville Washer arrangement on my propeller per the Hertzler propeller installation guide. This keeps pressure on the prop bolts and makes re-torqueing the bolts a non-issue.
--- Canard Cover Rebuild
Above: I had to rebuild and replace my canard hatch after a bird strike to the single latch resulted in a lost cover. Luckily the cover went up and over the aircraft avoiding the prop.
Above is a sequence of pictures showing the progression of my work making the replacement.