ERacer Construction is simple and can easily be accomplished by the first time builder with no previous experience. I can say that with confidence because I completed my ERacer and had no experience or even the internet to help when I began construction.
I have broken down my construction photos into the Chapters in the plans to give you an idea of what to expect during the building process.
ERacer Construction Log
The following tabs under this page show some of the construction photos I have collected over my 17 year process to create my ERacer Aircraft. Of course it is always an ongoing upgrade project...that's what makes it fun.
As you can see below, My US Air Force career, 3 daughters growing up during the process, as well and seasonal climate changes, made this a part-time hobby for me that I thoroughly enjoyed.
My ERacer was built in my various garages around the United States until May of 2012 when I moved it to its current hanger home at KFFC for final assembly and taxi/flight testing.
Below is my yearly construction hour breakown:
1995 21 - Del Rio, Texas
1998 100 - Abilene, Texas
2001 164 - Cabot, Arkansas
2004 117 - San Antonio, Texas
2008 77 - Peachtree City, Georgia
2012 381 - First Flight, KFFC, Peachtree City, GA
CHAPTER 1 -4 FUSELAGE ASSEMBLY
Left: The primary epoxy system for my ERacer was Aeropoxy 2032/3660
Right: My epoxy ratio pump. I used a 60watt bulb and a cover box to keep things warm in the winter.
Left: I started with the Bulk head chapter. This was the first bulkhead that I completed so many years ago.
Right: The Divinicell Foam fuselage sides..I first started using a knife to carve it out but quickly changed to a router for a much smoother surface.
Left: This shows the wood stringer being bonded to the fuselage side and the foam being curved to shape prior to glassing over all of it.
Right: My daughter standing by a completed fuselage side.
Left: A trial fit of the fuselage sides positioned with the firewall bulkhead.
Right: The fuselage sides being epoxied together with front bulkhead, instrument panel, and seatback. The structure is held together with braces and large rubber bands. The Firewall is not glued in at this time.
This is the 3" foam being carved out to form the fuselage bottom.
Left: After the bottom is glued into position, We flip it on its side to begin the shaping.
Right: Now the aircraft has entered what we call the "boat stage". All your friends and neighbors will think you are building a boat.
Left: re-inforcement tapes are glued in to further connect the bulkheads and the fuselage sides.
Right: I chose to mount a throttle hardpoint on the left side of the fuselage Note the trim lever in position and seatbelt hardpoint on the lower stringer.
The firewall is made of Bi-directional layers of glass and epoxy over Aircraft grade plywood covered in fiberfrax and then Aluminum sheet.
Seat back head rests with shoulder harness hardpoints installed into fuselage.
The Upper fuselage assembly is covered in the " Chapter 9 & 13 " tab.
CHAPTER 5 NOSE ASSEMBLY
Lower foam surfaces micro'd into initial position against the nose gear center structure, and bulkheads
Next the sides and top foam are micro'd in also.
After adding extra urethane foam onto the nose bulkhead the end result is a mass of foam waiting to be carved into the desired shape.
Foam is shaped and ready for final glass lay-ups
This is the nose structure after all the outer glass has been layed onto the nose structure.
CHAPTER 6 MAIN SPAR CONSTRUCTION
Left: This is the Jig for the main spar construction. This one was made with 3/4' particle board.
Right: Shows the interior layups going into the spar.
Left: Another shot of the interior of the spar prior to the cover.
Right: Spar sealed with cover and ready for caps and glass covering.
Left: This is the lower main spar cap made of Uni-directional glass tapes.
Right: making the final spar layups and installing exterior hard points.
Installing the main spar into the back of the fuselage.
CHAPTER 7-8 COCKPIT, CABIN AND CONTROL
Below are some pictures of the various control systems as well as some of the cockpit finishing on my ERacer.
This is the main control stick.. I actually carved this out of a 2x4 and formed it to fit my hand. I drilled it out and installed a push button in the top.
Left: The above pic shows the aileron bellcrank located behind the seat belt and connections to the two aileron push-pull cables.
Right:Above shows the aileron push pull cable connected to the aileron torque tube in the right wing.
Above pics show the seat belt shoulder harnesses first installed in the seats . I used 3 inches of temperfoam on each seat for a full length cushion. Green-hard, Blue-medium and Pink-soft foam were glued together in the shape of the seat and then later covered. These seats are very comfortable!!
Above is a pic of the finished seats. Since this time, I have changed the seat color to light grey. White would just get dirty way too easy.
The two pictures above show a number of things. The middle and right ones show the rudder pedals and how the brake master cylinders are mounted to the front bulk heads as well as the elevator torque tube and counter balance weights connected to the canard. The left is ashot of the rudder pedal and rudder cable/spring attachment.
CHAPTER 9 and 13 CANOPY AND TOP DECK
I got my canopy glass from "Todds Canopies" and used a fine bladed dremel blade to cut the plexiglass to size.. I left it a bit bigger than the plans call for a little extra headroom.
used a wood backing to initially mount the glass. I later cut the seat back outlines and then after mounting I decided to completely open it up by cutting out all the seat back wood.
Urethane foam blocks were layed into position for initial carving into the fuselage top deck shape.
The urethane was then sanded into the final shape.
My daughter,Emily, and I then proceeded to lay the needed layers of glass and epoxy onto the fuselage top section as well as the aft turtleback section. The turtleback section was also made of urethane foam blocks that were sanded into shape and then covered with bi-directional glass and epoxy.
The front top deck section was also cut off and the canopy attachment brackets and hinges were added. Two FE-11 air springs are attached to keep the canopy in the up position.
This is a picture showing the Canopy and the front attach deck ready to be mounted to the aircraft fuselage.
This is the canopy in the final stages with paint added, some handles, and the entire back seat wood section cut out.
Canopy and front deck section initially attached to the fuselage for some movement testing.
One last shot of the Canopy, front deck, and turtledeck, taken later with primer added .
CHAPTER 10 LANDING GEAR SYSTEM
Chapter ten seems pretty difficult when you first look through it but everything came together very nicely. After cutting the holes in the side for the gear legs and clearing away the unwanted foam, A lot lay-ups began....
The two above pictures show the first lay-ups that make up the main gear linkage mounts.
Then more center lay-ups are added resulting in a very thick and very strong linkage mount.
The gear legs also require some additional glass lay-ups to further strengthen the gear leg attach points.
Left: The gear legs also require a pad to be built onto the end of the leg to put the axles at the correct angle.
Right: Here is a pic of the Matco dual brake assembly on the axle.
Left: This shows the linkage initial fit into the mounts that were show being constructed in earlier pics.
Right: The gear leg attached to the aircraft.
This is the reversible Olidyne hydraulic pump used to actuate the langing gear.
The above two pictures show how I used solid 1/4 aluminum tubing as well as -4 flex lines. The max pressure output of the system will be 1200 PSI though normally 1000psi is used to keep the gear in the retract position. The small black caps screwed into the lines with the white wires coming out are the 2 pressure switches. These were bought from Velocity co. The up pressure is set at 1000psi and the down pressure is 600psi. Solenoid switches are also used in the switch set-up.
Some of the hydraulic flex lines running from the nose gear actuator.
Above is the main gear mounting hardware that was originally supplied with the gear system.
These 2 pictures show how the linkage works with the gear in the retracted (left) and the extended(right) positions.
This shows an FE-11 gas spring that I added to the system to ensure the gear stays in the overcenter/down position when hydraulic pressure is off or lost.
The above pics show two different configurations for the wheel mounts. In the left picture, a 1/2" aluminum block is utilized as a backplate for the axle mounting to the gear leg. The right picture shows a solid aluminum "Talon" that slips over the gear leg and provide a solid axle mounting surface. Either option works great.
Left: The nose gear wheel well being layed-up .
Right: This is actually a later picture showing the newest nose pivot system that utilizes taper bearings and is much beefier and reliable that original Brock Co. fittings.
The above two pictures show the nose gear construction. The left shows the foam being fitted and shaped to create the nose wheel well cover that attaches to the nose strut. The right is a shot of the finished product.
Above is a pic of the nose gear linkage prior to attachment to the nose strut and to the hydraulic system. The red shock strut will actually swing forward and down through the bottom of the fuselage and attach to the gear strut.
This shows the linkage hooked up to the nose gear strut. I was actually purging the hydraulic lines in this picture. That is why the forward flex line is attached to a clear flexible tube and not the hydraulic actuator.
The 2 above pictures show how the main gear fuselage covers are attached to the main gear leg. The aircraft is upside down is these pictures. I used 6 ply bi-directional glass to fabricate the covers.
CHAPTER 11 WINGS AND WINGLETS
Left: Foam block measured, marked, ready for initial hot wire cutting.
Right: These are the wing Jigs bondo'd to the floor...ready for foam cores.
Left: This was the 4' hot wire cutter..we also used a home-made 6' cutter for the large pieces.
Right: Piece of the trailing edge foam core complete.
Left: Here is a shot of the above piece prior to cutting. Note the wing template attached to the foam material.
Right: Pic of the interior aileron template prior to cutting of the aileron torque tube hole. That square cut-out section is later glued back in after the interior of the future aileron is cut out.
Left: Checking the cores prior to placing in the wing jig.
Right: Trailing edge foam cores mounted into the wig jig waiting for cap spar lay-up.
Left: Using a dremel with router blade to dig out areas for the hard points.
Right: This shows the lay-ups on the wing bolt access channels.
Left: Bolt access channels complete with hard points and sheet alum. covers. Ready for spar cap layup.
Right: Pic shows the initial layers of the spar cap glass lay-up into position.
Left: Spar cap complete and peel ply covering.
Right: Leading edge foam cores micro'd into position on top of the spar cap.
Left: All wing foam in the jig and curing.
Right: The jig is then taken off the floor and layed onto the work table for next layups.
Above: The bottom halves of the jig are bondo'd to the work tabe and the othe halves are removed for the next wing spar layups.
Left: Unidirectional glass is layed into the channel for the upper and lower wing spar layups.
Right: Then the wing in covered in bi-directional glass lay-ups.
Left: Pic of one wing completely glassed on both sides awaiting the final aileron cutting.
Right: Cutting out the aileron with a dremel and my home-made angle cutting tool.
Left: Shows the installation of the aileron hinges.
Right: One aileron cut out complete.
Left: Both wings complete (except for winglets) awaiting the final aileron installation.
Right: Aileron installed on one wing.
Left: Aircraft leveled and both wings in position for initial mounting procedures.
Right: This is a pic showing how the ERacer push-pull aileron control cables hook into the aileron bell crank and control the ailerons on this aircraft.
Left: Winglet template attached to foam prior to hotwire.
Right: First winglet foam core cut out and pieces glued together.
Left: Glass lay-ups on one side of the winglet.
Right: This is a completed winglet with the bottom edge cut for attachment and rudder line marked prior to cutting.
Left: Winglet bondo'd into correct position with a wood temporary support.
Right: Winglet attach point...ready to begin series of attachment layups.
Left: First attachment lay-ups on interior edges.
Right: Next layers of glass laid and peel-ply'd.
Left: Pic of interior lay-ups after cure...ready for next steps.
Right: Positioning the foam for next surface addition.
Left: Foam is micro'd in and shaped.
Right: Pic shows outer structural lay-ups attaching the winglet to the wing.
Left: Now more foam is micro'd into position for further shaping.
Right: Foam is carved into final wing shape.
Above: Final lay-ups are made to the outside of the winglet.
Left: Pic shows the rudder hinges, rivets, screws, hooks and return springs needed for rudder completion.
Right: Rudders are cut out and aluminum rudder horns are installed at the base of each.
Left: Shows the inboard structural lay-ups needed for winglet attachment to the wing.
Right: Rudder installed on winglet.
CHAPTER 12 STRAKES AND FUEL SYSTEM
The following is a little walk through building the ERacer fuel tanks/strakes.
First the landing gear leg and wheel is raised to the retract position for proper gear well construction in the strake.
Urethane foam is cut and placed between the gear leg and the main spar. The original spar mounting hole is plugged and glassed over. the 970 washers are placed to form a gap between the leg and the next layer of foam.
High density 1/4" foam is used over the leg and made even with the previous placed foam.
A support marker board is placed to mark the bottom of the strake per the plans and the upper curve of the forward strake is created with a ridge of foam per the plans.
Leading edge foam is bonded in and a lower surface of foam is attached and curved up at the leading edge.
Gaps are filled and a wall around the wheel is built before making the interior surface of the fuel tank.
The interior of the strake/fuel tank consists of multiple layers of different kinds of glass and epoxy rich lay-ups to ensure that no leaks will occur.
In my ERacer, I chose to build a forward wall in the tank to create an area in the cockpit for a lower window as well as a small storage area on each side of the cockpit. Building this addition cost me at least 2 gallons of lost fuel capacity. This option is not in the ERacer plans.
I created a small sump in each tank and bonded in a threaded flange into the bottom as well as the one called for in the plans that goes through the fuselage. The entire area is covered in stainless steel screen that is floxed into position.
On the inside wall of the fuselage adjacent to the lower floor of the tank I installed a capacitance fuel probe in each strake.
Here is a shot of the fuel probe and the screened sump prior to sealing the strake. The upper blue pipe is an access for an extra vent or if fuel is ever need to be flowed back into the tank.
Tank is complete with baffles installed. Now for the main wheel well area.
Foam is installed in the bottom of the wheel well based on the position of the wheel of course and then glass lay-ups are glued in.
Another shot of tank before seal process begins.
1/4" Divinicell foam is layed over the strake , curved down into the correct shape. Then a matrix of criss-crossed boards are layed over the foam and bondo'd to the foam to hold the curve of the foam in the correct shape.
The foam is then removed and the inside of the tank top foam is covered with glass and the fuel cap receiver is installed. Note a ground wire is attached to the cap receiver to assure grounding during any refuel operation.
The tank is then cleaned and vacuumed and cleaned a couple more times before the cover is re-installed and floxed into final position.
After cure, the entire top of the strake is covered with glass. I also layed-up extra glass over the front inside area of the strake where I knew people would sit during entry and exit from the cockpit.
The aircraft is at some point flipped over and the bottom of the strake is covered also. First the wheel well is completed...Left.. and then the entire lower strake surface.
Lower strake with the glass covering. Note the triangular cut out. This is where I installed plexiglass/Lexon as a lower window on each strake.
Urethane foam is then bonded to the flat leading edge surface...Left..., shaped into the leading edge and then covered in glass to form the leading edge of the strake.... Right
Left...These are my inter-connecting vent lines from each tank to the forward facing vents on the lower surface of the fuselage.
Right... I connected a push-pull control cable to the main fuel shut-off valve.
This shows the fuel line from the center sump tank toward the firewall. The fuel flex line runs from a strainer in the sump tank to an electric boost pump, through a shut-off valve, through the firewall, to a gasolator. The sump tank is fed from each main tank...is vented, and a one way check valve is installed in each main tank feed line.
CHAPTER 15 AND 16 CANARD CONSTRUCTION AND INSTALLATION
The above pic shows the canard template attached to the foam block ready for the hot wire procedure.
Left: This shows the Canard supports attached to the work bench ready to receive the cut core.
Right: This is the trailing half if the Canard foam core prior to the layers of glass that form the spar cap are layed-up.
Here is the same above core after the spar cap is attached. Note the hard points bonded under the glass to be drilled and receive the mounting tabs.
Left: Drilling out the hard point holes.
Right: The canard attach tabs bolted in.
This is another shot of the Canard attachment tab bolted into the hardpoint on the spar cap.
These pics above show the canard leading edge cores being bonded to the canard spar cap.
Canard back in the wood supports with the entire spar layed up ready for more hardpoints to be installed prior to skinning.
The left is another shot of the last spar lay-up curing. The right pic shows the dense foam hard point glued into the canard prior to being sanded down.
Left: This is one of the dense foam hardpoints before it is embedded into the canard foam core.
Right: Here is the elevator foam being bonded to the elevator torque tube. Note the small aluminum template forward of the torque tube. This piece insures proper elevator alignment on the tube.
Some more shots of the foam being bonded to the elevator torque tubes. Bags of lead shot were used to hold the foam in place.
Left: Elevators with the hardware attached.
Right: Top skin going on the Canard.
Left: Final glassing of the elevator surfaces.
Right: The end of the elevators are covered with plys of glass.
The above picture shows the elevator mated to the canard using the templates bonded and clamped to the surfaces for alignment.
The marked areas are then drilled out so the hinges can slip into them.
The hinges are then slipped into position and floxed into position.
This shows the hinges glued into the slits completing the attachment.
Left: Pic of the elevator tubes on the underside of the canard.
Right: This shows the counter weight on the elevator prior to installation
This is a pic of the elevator torque tube attachment legs. These will hold another counter weight and attached to the tube from the control stick.
1. Foam attachment 2. Foam is marked
3. Foam is carved and sanded 4. Glass is layed-up over the foam surface
The 4 above pictures show the progression of creating the canard tips.
Elevator complete and waiting for surface prep.
These above pics show the elevator strake I attached to the side of the fuselage to blend the elevator into the aircraft.
Laying-up the hard points on the FS-22 bulkhead to install the Canard attach hardware.
Canard alignment and attachment. I chose to attach a cover to the canard which aids in attachment into the fuselage.
Alignment and then fitting the canard cover foam.
CHAPTER 17 AND 18 ENGINE INSTALLATION
In December of 2011, I aquired my Engine. Now I have to begin the preparation for mounting and hook-up.
So now I have this Lycoming IO-360 from Air-Tec Inc in Orlando, FL. First thing is to look it over and prep the engine for installation.
Above: The first thing is that the standard Oil filter adapter has to go. The ERacer mount only gives 8-9in of extra space behind the mount. I will install a B&C 90 degree oil cooler adaptor.
Above: I have to cover the vacum pump pad. The oil restricter fitting is installed on the right pic (blue nipple). Top yellow nipple on the right pic is the breather outlet and the two under that are the inlet and outlet to the oil cooler.
Above left: The engine with the stock oil filter adaptor off, the vacum pad covered, the fuel pump fittings installed, and the mag ignition wires installed. The large blue nipple in the middle covers the mechanical tach entry.
Above right: This is a close up of the fuel pump (outlet, vent fitting, inlet).
Above left: This is the Precision Air Silver Hawk EX and the elbow used to mount horizontally.
Above right: The accessory casing with the (Gold) B&C 90 degree oil filter adaptor bolted on. This ensures clearance on the firewall.
Above left: Eracer engine mount. Im using the ACS Heavy duty mount cups with AN7 bolts.
Above right: I fabricated the P-leads from Bendix terminal lead kits using the guidance from "Firewall Forward".
Dont ever let anyone tell you that you need multiple people to mount an engine. I got this done by myself in about 2.5 hours. It was a slow process but a little patience goes a long way. Here is a quick synopsis:
1. Looking forward from the prop.- Using a hoist, I snugged the engine to the mount and put the Top inside mount biscuts into position ( the engine will hold these two in place) dont worry about the bottom ones yet. , a rope tied to the prop flange gave me the ability to adjust the horizontal alignment of the engine by looping the rope over the hoist arm and like a pulley, pull the engine up or down to adjust the engine deck orientation.
2. Insert the top left (Port side) bolt. It will go in rather easily Tighten that bolt to pull the engine in.
3. Insert the top right (starboard) bolt the same way. It goes in fairly easy but I did have to adjust the engine angle and height a bit. Now install the lower inside biscuts, you might have to loosen the top right bolt a little. The weight of the engine should hold them in. Tighten the top 2 bolts
4. The next bolt is the left lower. Now things get a little tricky. I had to tighten the top left and loosen the top right, and also adjust the hoist height a bit. Install the outer cup and bolt. It finally did go in but was offset to the right. Now, all 3 bolts are going to have to be tightened to get the 3rd bolt into proper positon and line up for the forth bolt.
5. The last bolt is difficult to say the least. I used a long screwdriver to shift the cups a bit but the bolt would not go in. I tried different combinations of loosening the other bolts and I finally took a long AN7 bolt and grinded it to a point. This worked better to shift the cups just enough to get the 4th bolt in. I had to screw it in using its own threads but dont bang it in, you could damage the threads. When it went in...I was very happy to say the least. Then you have to check/adjust the torque on each nut/bolt and install the cotter pins.
Above left is the first bolt--- the Port Top and Above right is the last bolt---the starboard lower
Above left: As you can see, Its tight quarters by the firewall. I did put a .75in spacer on the adapter to get more space for my accessory case outlets.
Above right: I installed the elbow on the Throttle servo and moved the fuel oulet to the alternate port which works better for my installation.
Above left: Fuel injection servo installed with Elbow and Phenolic Spacer.
Above right: Ground straps installed
Above: Making the paper templates. I began the process of building cooling baffles from scratch. I first made templates from poster board fit and cut...I looked at Cliff's and Tore's baffle pictures to help me as well as many builder sites on the net.
Above left: This is one one the inner clylinder baffles. I repositioned the one used for downdraft cooling to the upper side of the heads for Updraft cooling.
Above right: I took a break from the baffles to do some cowling surgery. I first wrapped the engine for protection.
Above: You can see the lower holes I cut into the lower cowling and the ones in the side of the upper cowling. The ERacer engine sits a little lower that the Cozy.
Above: This shows the initial positioning of the glass cloth and the final new "cheek" on the lower cowl.
Above left: I traced the paper templates onto .04 alum sheet and cut them out. Then came the task of put on/take off/trim, put on/take off/ trim....I initially left a lot of excess so I didnt cut too much off.
Above right: This is a Positech Oil cooler, I have decided to mount it on the upper firewall and have a dedicated air scoop to it. This worked well for Tore's ERacer and since space is limited, It is about the only option for me.
Above left: After determining a location and just how I was going to do this, I had to make a mount to hold it in position. Building an Airplane IS fun.
Above right: Oil cooler mounted into position.
Above left: Making the scoop layup over a foam mold
Above right: Initial hole for scoop location made in the upper Cowling
Above: These are a couple pics of the scoop installed into the upper cowling as well as the oil filler access door cut out.
Above left: This is my Gary Hertzler "Silver Bullet" propeller being painted at the factory. I will be receiving it in March.
Above right: I decided to modify the inner cylinder baffles to be more efficient. I attached an additional piece of sheet metal to the baffle next to the engine case to better seal the base of the heads.
Above left: This is the aft baffle as I was taking it on and off multiple times.
Above right: These are the right, left and forward baffle plates almost complete.
Above: The right aft baffle plate being fitted and adjusted to the heads.
Above left: The left aft baffle plate is being fitted to the #1 cylinder head.
Above right: Complete aft baffle bolted together during trial fit. Exhaust pipe baffle extensions will be added when I get my pipes.
Above left: Oil filler door hinge and latch installed into upper cowling.
Above right: Top cowl being fitted with baffling installed. I will finish the aft baffle after the exhaust system is installed.
Above Left: Fuel hoses from gasolator to pump to Servo. The Earls fuel filter was later taken out because vibration at the T-fitting caused a fuel leak. My gasolator is plenty of filter for the system anyway. (see the "ER Upgrades" Tab for a pic of the new config)
Above Right: I didnt like the flat end of the air filter so I thought I would make it a little more aerodynamic for the inlet air.
Above Left: Oil cooler in place with Silicon seals for the scoop addition
Above Center and Right: Forward baffles installed with wires and main fuel hose routed through. I have chose to route the starter and Alternator wires over the top of the engine. This works the best for me because they enter the engine compartment through the upper starboard side of the firewall.
Above Left: I had to rebuild my throttle quadrant making it wider and building a support into the armrest consul.
Above Right : I also had to modify the armrest cover to accomodate the larger more efficient cable attachments.
Above left: Throttle cable attched to the servo.
Above right: Mixture cable attached to the servo.
Above: Cowling halves after all the cutting and adding. Awaiting paint later after wing adjustments are done.
Above: Re-fitting lower cowl....Waiting on the exhaust pipes, 2 more hoses, and 3 probe-type thermocouples to complete the main installation.
Above: Installation of the Camloc grommets in the fuselage and the recepticles in the cowling lip using 1/8" rivets.
Above left: Right Aft baffle with silicon being added
Above right: Oil lines to the oil cooler installed. Just need the exhaust pipes (in the mail)
Above left: Exhaust pipes arrived in the mail...another installation project
Above right: Probe type thermocouples Installed
Above: Here are pics of the Left and right side pipes installed. I still need to add an extra support to each side and adjust the cowlings a bit to match up.
Above left: This is one of the support brackets that I added to the exhaust pipes on each side.
Above right: The baffles with all the silicon seals added. Still need to seal the pipes better with the cowling on.
Above left: Cowlings are ready to be adapted to the wings now. So off to the the new Hanger home!! I will attach the wings and complete the cowls.
Above right: I had to build a workbench and shelves at the new ERacer hanger. Now to get the airplane in there on May 19th !!!
Above: Moving day!! After 15 years, I finally got the plane out of my garage and into a hanger. My wife keeps forgetting to pull the car into the garage because she's never had one before! It took a few loads to get it all out to Atlanta Regional Airport (KFFC). 3.1 miles and 8 min away.
Above: After getting it all in the hanger, Me and my son-in-law began the task of installing the wings and canard.
Above: We had to get a few pics after getting all the wings on. Now about a thousand things to do still.
Above: These are the 5 ply lower attachment lips that I have layed up onto the wing root to attach the lower cowling.
Above: So starts the major surgery on the upper cowling. I made a new foam mold over the exhaust which matches up to the upper wing root. Taped it up and layed glass on top.
Above left: I then took the resulting glass shell and glassed it back onto the cowling. I will reinforce it on the inside later.
Above-right: Now I begin the left side of the upper cowling by making the foam mold.
Above left: Newly made shell initially being glassed onto the upper left side cowling.
Above right: Right side upper cowling attachment lip being layed up.
Above left: New upper right wing attachment lip ready to drill.
Above right: Left upper wing attachment lip layed up.
Above left: Drilled the holes for the the camloc recepticles.
Above right: Recepticles riveted in on the upper and lower attachment lips.
Above left: Aileron push/pull cable bolted into the wingroot.
Above right: Rudder cables connected at wingroot.
Above: Propeller Installation in preparation for first engine run.
Above left: Finally painting the Engine Cowling halves. Just needs the Camlocs to complete.
Above right: Layed up 6 ply pads and patterns for 2 trailing edge wings fences on each wing.
Above: Cowling is complete and attached for now. I will add pieces around the pipes to better seal in the cooling airflow to the engine. I will now do the weight and balance and then run the engine for the first time.
Above left: I had to add another vent line from the header tank to the left main to facilitate a more rapid fuel suppy to the sump tank from the mains.
Above right: Aircraft ready for first engine run!!!
ENGINE INSTALLATION COMPLETE.....FIRST RUN ON 16 JULY, 2012
(Video on homepage)
*** SEE Chapter 22 - Inspection and testing ***
CHAPTER 19 COWLING INSTALLATION
Above shows the Cozy MK IV cowlings that I used as the base for my ERacer cowling. This was kind of like cheating but I wanted to see how it would work as an option. I figured I could always make my own later if things turned out bad.
I had to add a lip to the turtledeck for the cowling latches. I decided to use czus fasteners for attaching the cowling.
The above pics show a bit of the process adding the cowling attachment lip to the fuselage. I used foam as a "mold" to lay-up the glass strips.
Above is a pic of the lower attachment lip on the right side of the firewall.
Above is the small upper attachment lip above the main spar on the right side.
This was the first trial fit of the fuselage bottom. I should have waited until after the engine was installed but I was looking for something to work on. I used clecos to hold it on.
I created an air diffuser to aid in naca cooling. I ended up removing much of the right side due to the engine components.
I then started doing some cutting to allow for the differences in shape of the ERacer fuselage .
After installing the engine, I found out how my plans would work out.
I quickly realized that the angle I mounted the lower cowling would constitute some major cowling surgery to allow for the fit I wanted.
I cut out a lower section on each side and layed up a surface that would not interfere with the lower components.
Above is a couple pics of my changes.
With a little cutting, the upper cowling actually fit the turtledeck quite well. Where the cowlings intercepted the fuselage /spar area was way off so I cut that part out. As you can see, the cowling halves are also too long for the ERacer. This is mainly because the ERacer engine mount sits very close to the firewall, unlike the Cozy mount.
Above is a rear shot before I trimmed the trailing edge of the cowling halves to fit.
I then used foam to create a surface that would blend in the cut-out areas of the upper cowling.
These glass additions were attached to the upper cowling.
Due to the limited space under the cowling on the ERacer, I chose to mount the oil cooler on top of the engine and give it its own air scoop as a cooling air source. This method was used by Tore, on his ERacer and the results were good.
Above is the cut out for the scoop on the upper cowling and the scoop itself being made over a foam core.
Above shows the scoop after being fitted onto the cowling. A cut out for the oil filler access door was also added.
The last adjustments came when the cowling was fit to the fuselage with the wings on. These lay-ups would and should have been done much earlier but I could not put the wings until later when the aircraft was moved to a hanger and out of my house garage.
Foam was shaped and glass was overlayed onto the attachment lip on the wing.
The three above pictures show how the attachment lip and fasteners were added to the inboard wing edges. The lip was made with 5 layers of bi-dir glass. After cure and trimming the holes were drilled and the Czus faster receivers were riveted into the glass.
Above shows the aircraft with the cowlings removed. Note the turtledeck attachment lip and wing attachment lips.
Above is a picture of the final cowling attachment....Its not perfect but it works well.
CHAPTER 20a SURFACE FINISHING
The following pictures deal with the surface preparation for paint. This entailed micro...Sanding.....multiple layers of clear coats of pure epoxy....followed by a high build primer ...and more sanding.
This chapter and pictures are in the process of re-construction....;)
This is the high build primer that I chose to use. After sanding the aircraft down with the micro slurry. I clear coated with pure epoxy, roughed it up a bit and then applied this 2 part epoxy high build primer to the aircraft. I then sanded that down in preparation for the final paint that is shown in Chapter 20B.
I first started using Aeropoxy Light but found that dry Micro worked better so switched to that. So the sanding began.
On the wings I would spatula on a layer of micro of peanut butter consistently. Then I began using the "board of pain".
I logged many a hour sanding the surfaces to a nice smoothness.
More sanding, Used a dust mask during most of this task.
After achieving the smooth surface. I squeegeed on a few thin layers of pure epoxy to "clear coat the wing. This gets most if not all of the small pin holes.
Another before and after shot.
I used the same procedure on the canard as well as the whole aircraft.
The upper and lower strakes.
The fuselage also go the treatment.
I then roughed up the clear coat a bit and applied the 2 part epoxy high build primer that is shown in the first pictures of this construction chapter.
After cure, the sanding process started all over again.
Part of the process also envolves flipping over the fuselage. This is a big job and requires the construction of 2 large wooden holf-circles that are bolted onto the main spar.
And more sanding the primer.....
The fuselage is about ready for painting....finally
Pushing the fuselage out of the garage to be prepped for the painting process....
SEE Chapter 20B that covers the painting.
CHAPTER 20b PAINTING
After the 2 part epoxy primer was applied and the aircraft sanded I decided to go with a Marine Topcoat Paint called Pettit EASYPOXY. This is a one stage urethane paint that can be brushed on or thinned and sprayed. The paint is relatively thin and lays down nice but did take some practice to spray. I started with the turtle back which gave me a variety of angles to shoot onto.
Above shows turtle back during painting. I had to paint outside so I could only paint on hot, dry calm wind days.
Finished product...Turtleback painted.
I next painted the various flight controls. I used a large air compressor and wet paint gun.
I tackled the wings next. The weather supported me for a good week of painting.
Here is a shot of the finished wing back in the garage. As you can see, the Easypoxy lays down nice. Its not perfect, but it will work.
The canard was a relatively easy one to shoot.
The fuselage introduced a few challenges. I chose to not stand her all the way up. I just took my time and it came out pretty nice. There are at least 3 coats on all the parts.
A shot of the nose and the lower cowling which I actually painted later after the installation of the engine.
The finished fuselage back in the garage.
I decided to add a red stripe. I painted it on using red easypoxy. Later I added some thin black striping that can be seen in current pictures. I also added my name and my wife's name to each side of the canopy.
Finished fuselage with stripe and names added....ready for an engine.
CHAPTER 21 ELECTRICAL PANEL INSTALLATION
I began by making a working template and then transferring it to the instrument panel for the initial instrument cut outs. In this pic I temporarily installesd some switches and circuit breakers .
I decided to used the fiberglass bulkhead as the instrument panel. Here is the stone texture paint after I applied it.
This shows the back of the panel showing the electrical bus bar I built attached to the circuit breakers and the initial static instrument hook ups.
I then began the task of adding the various switches and associated wires.
Above shows the starter soliniod switch and how it was tied into the electrical panel.
I decided to make a sub-panel within the main instrument panel bulkhead that would hold my radio and transponder. This would make repairs or access to those components much easier in the future.
Another shot of the initial wiring prior to the installation of the radio/transponder trays.
The above picture again shows the front of the panel prior to radio installation. I installed an Air Gizmo GPS panel mount to hold a Garmin 296-496 GPS radio at a later time.
This is a pic of the panel cutout with the radio and transponder trays installed in them. This whole removable unit slides into the right side of the main instrument panel.
Above is a couple more shots of the tray during fabrication.
The picture shows the panel in its final configuration. Note the removable sub-panel installed on the right side of the main panel. This sub-panel houses the radio, transponder, and magnetic compass.
The above two pictures of the firewall just shows how I routed the wires through the firewall and the associated oil and fuel pressure transmitters also mounted to the aft side of the firewall.
I decided to go with the Odessey solid gel cell battery. Left is the battery in the battery box located in the nose and right, shows the quick disconnect mounted to the battery box.
The above pics show 2 of my 4 ground busses in the aircraft. The 4 busses are tied together in a harness of ground straps that transverse the fuselage.
Just a shot of me doing some of the wiring of the radios.
This was the day I first turned the power on in the aircraft. Its a bit blurry but it shows the green gear down lights, the low fuel warning light as well as the radio freq lights. Everything worked and no smoke!!!!
Here is the ERacer cockpit as it is at the current time. Note I added an Ipad navigation system to compliment the Garmin GPS and the ignition switch was replaced by 2 mag switches and an external electric plug (lighter socket). I have also added an EFII electronic ignition in place of the left mag.
CHAPTER 22 FAA INSPECTION
After the initial break-in which has so far consisted of 4 engine runs up to 300F CHT at 1500-1700 RPM, I began the process of preparing the aircraft for the FAA Inspection. There are several items that have to be corrected and some overall improvements to be made.
After pulling the prop and extension off to install the rear baffles, I re-installed them and applied the safety wires. I will add Bellville washers after initial flight testing.
Above left: I had to create and build a Transfer unit that would reverse the cable action of the mixture control so foward would be rich and aft would be lean/idle-cutoff.
Above right: I also had to rebulid the right fuel feeder assembly due to some leaking valves and fittings.
Above left: Added heat shielding to glass areas in wing root.
Above right: I added toggle switches for my mags. Key switch is just a decoy now.
Above: Adel clamps were added to stabilize oil, fuel, breather, as well as my protected electrical lines
Above left: Pulley guards added to lower rudder pulleys.
Above Right: Airworthiness Certificate issued!!!!! (I'm on the left) on 22 August, 2012
My DAR spent 3-4 hours going over all the systems of the aircraft.
Above: After fabricating the wing fences, I layed up attachment pionts on the trailing edge...over plastic wrap for now. After cure I will remove, sand, paint and re-attach.
Above left: I decided to paint an appropriate end to the stripe on each side of the lower cowling
Above right: I added a fire extinquisher and pulled the right fuel probe for some needed adjustments
Above: I added some extensions to the rear baffle to match the cowlings and seal the exhaust pipes.
Above left: I re-installed the left magneto. I had experienced a broken spring on my impulse coupling during the 3rd start so the guys at Air-Tec fixed me up quick and sent me the mag back.
Above right: The left fuel probe had been having issues so I just replaced the entire unit. The new one works great.
Above left: Wing fences complete and installed.
Above right: I added some extra heat shielding to the areas of the cowlings that were located close to the exhaust pipes
Above: After the high speed taxi tests and lack of elevator authority, I checked the canard incidence and found it to be to low so I had to do a little re-work.
Above left: Taxi tests also showed a need to stabilize the nose pivot so I purchased a beefed up NG-6A with roller bearings
Above center: I also discovered that the NG-15 casting that I had drilled out years ago to accomodate a Davenport shimmy dampener had not been exactly drilled straight resulting in a small slant to the nose tire and this is what was making the AC make easy right turns and difficult left turns as well as pull right at slow speeds so I have replaced the entire nose wheel assembly.
Above right: Testing also showed a flaw in my secondhand airspeed indicator so a new one was purchased and installed.
Now the Aircraft is ready for its first flight.......
** SEE Chapter 23 for First Flight **
CHAPTER 23 FLIGHT TESTING
On October 6, 2012, I made the first flight in ERacer N382RB. I stayed near the field and climbed to 3000ft with the gear remaining down. After evaluating the flight controls, engine cooling and performance, as well and landing speed controllability, I returned to the runway for an uneventful landing....What an awesome feeling!!!
Below are my Taxi and the first 4 Flight test notes:
Taxi test 1 : Slow taxi with 90 and 180 degree turns. Engine run until CHT=350
Result : Aircraft pulls right and need heavy brakes to turn left and to
stop. Will check brake system.
Taxi test 2 : Slow taxi with 90 and 180 degree turns. Engine run until CHT=350
Result : As above, confirms original findings, left brake failure.
Installed spacers on axles and got vented cap for left brake.
Taxi test 3 : Break-in the pads taxi faster
Result: Speed 25kts and good braking. still pulling right
Checked alignment and found large toe-out on left wheel. Shimmed to paralell
Taxi test 4 : Increase speed and observe handling
Result: Speed 40kts and better handling...no airspeed readout on gauge, only GPS
Ac still turns right easy and left with difficulty
Taxi test 5 : Increase speed on Runway
Result: Speed 55kts, good handling at higher speeds and readout on gauge was 25???
Taxi test 6 : Increase speed on Runway
Result: Speed 75kts, good handling and gauge readout was 50???
Replaced airspeed indicater
Installed new main tires (originals were over 15 years old)
Taxi Test 7 : Increase speed to take-off
Result: Airspeed checks maybe a few higher than GPS and aircraft handled up to 80 kts.
At slow airspeeds, the AC still likes to pull right and turns easy to the right.
Takeoff test 1: Liftoff
Result: Could not get nose to come off with full back elevator, Did 2 runs to confirm.
Changed incidence on canard to specs +3 degrees, I was 2 degrees low.
will re-weigh for takeoff CG again. Brakes did not overheat after 2 taxi runs
but AC still pulls right at slow speeds ..max CHT=360
Taxi Test 8 : Check if nose will lift off at 75, check distance down runway at 75,
Check A/S idicator with GPS, Video Run
Result: Only ran to 60kts for engine test. A/S indicator 5 knots off from GPS.
Taxi test 9 : Go to 90 kts and check elevator nose lift and distance
Result: Nose wheel lifted at about 75kts....excellent
However, left braking for alliglnment has affected takeoffroll distance during
the first 30 kts so I will replace the entire nose fork assembly and pivot to
correct the flawed one that is on the AC.
MAX CHT= 360. #4 hottest. This is as high as CHTs have gone during all test.
Taxi test 10 : Test new nose wheel strut and fork, turns 90 and 180, slow/high speed.
Result: AC tracked straight, turned in both directions easily and overall handled great!
I did a high speed taxi run to 75kts. Nose came off at 72 on GPS. A/S
indicator seems to indicate a little high. I will use the GPS primary and
cross check with indicator. AC ready for first flight.
6 October, 2012
Flight Test 1: Initial flight evaluation .5 hrs
Result: AC rotated nicely...stable takeoff climbed at 100-110
crosswind 130 CHT went to 360 max. Oil temps went to 230..could be better
seemed to stabilize around 220....Aircraft requires a lot of back pressure,
seems nose heavy, need stronger trim.
.5 hours handling good no problems on landing
24lb ballast and book kit cg= 100.2
Flight TEST 2: Same profile: .5 hrs Changes: added voetex generators in front of oil scoop=
RESULT: no improvemnet on oil temps. CHT up to 360, Oil temp up to 235, stabil 220-230.
kind of bumpy today, OAT 75. AS induicator matches GPS most of the time.
AC is still nose heavy, added stronger spring which helped but still seems nose heavy.
14lbs ballast and book kit CG 101.6
Flight Test 3: Same Profile: .5hrs Changes: new oil temp gauge, larger oil cooler scoop,
new baffles additions to #4 cylinder.
More tension on trim lines to hold springs. 10lbs ballast and book kit. CG=102.3
RESULT: Oil temp gauge needs sender so old one was used. OIL temps 190-220...very good, dropped
about 20 degrees, CHTs were the same and maybe a bit higher 340-375 trim was much better
and held most of the pressure. AC flew nice and landing was better...great flight
Flight Test 4: Area profile: 1.3 hours Put the gear up/down test and fly longer (150TAS record data)
RESULT: Gear retract at 110- kts. no problem...speed increase to 120 Gear cycled up and down
and it worked great. Did have a small leak around resevior. Temps were stable at 190.
and CHT 320-340 with gear up and power at 21-2300. Speed stablizes at about 145kts with slight down
deflection in canard. Got speed up to 160kts...no flutter noted.cimbed to 5500ft. In
climb temps went to 360 CHT and 210 oil. 325 CHT and 180 oil temp in cruise.
Above and Below: Test Flight photos
Above left: Me enjoying some of the 40 hour test phase.
Above right: This is a picture taken through one of my strake windows that I decided to add during the construction phase. This gives a nice look-down as well as storage and arm room in the cockpit.
Above: Taxing out for another test flight
Above left: During the 10 hour oil change, I installed an oil heater to preheat the oil on the cold winter days.
As I go into November with 11 test flights complete and 12.2 hours on the aircraft, I will further test the clean and configured stall speeds, the best rate and angle of climb speeds as well as the max speed of this ERacer.
After all test flights, below is the speed and stall info from my ERacer.
Altitude RPM IAS TAS MPH
8000 2200 132 153 175
8000 2300 141 163 187
8000 2400 151 175 201
8000 2500 160 185 212
8000 2600 163 189 217
8000 2700 166 193 221
Lycoming IO-360 with a 66 x 78 propeller
- Canard stall is at about 65 kts in an accelerated as well as a power off stall : clean as well as in a fully configured condition for landing.
-- Power off stalls tend to be more of a gentle drop of the nose.
-- Accelerated stalls tend to result in a bigger nose drop that feels more like a conventional aircraft main wing stall even though it is a canard stall.
Above: A couple pics from test flight # 15. All the work in building is worth it!!!
I have now completed 16 flights and just about 20 hours out of the 40 required in the test phase. At this point, I need to correct a few things:
- Left fuel probe failed so I am replacing it.
- Larger springs on the rudder cables to ensure full rudder deflection at high speeds
- Replace a portion of the hydraulic line that seems to keep leaking
- Build and install two removable cup holders on the passenger side
- I also found a tiny oil leak around my oil temp probe port which needs to be fixed
- Go over entire aircraft and check for loose screws and bolts
I have now completed 20 flights and have logged 25.5 hours.
Rudders works great now at all speeds, the new fuel probe is installed, the Hydraulic line that was leaking has been replaced, the fitting that was leaking oil has been tightened, and I have built a double-cup removable cup holder.
After my last flight, I found that I had a small fuel leak during the flight which was a result of some poor plumbing and engine vibration. One of my fuel lines was putting torque on the "T" fitting coming off the fuel pump. I have ordered a longer line with a 45 angle on one end to fix the problem and I have moved the inline fuel filter that was also causing part of the problem. I will show a before and after pic when I complete the repair.
After getting a couple test flights in and getting the tanks empty, I decided to change out the left fuel probe that was having issues. Now I have 2 fully fuctioning fuel guages, I will still continue to "stick" the tanks before and after each flight.
-- The aircraft holds 18 gallons in each main and almost 2 gallons in the sump for a total of 38 gallons. (I lost a couple gallons of space in each main tank becuase I chose to add the strake storage and window on each side of the aircraft)
-- At 2200-2300 RPM I burn 7.0 - 8.0 gall/hr.
I flew the last 2 flights with the new unfinished hatch. I think its going to work much better.
the last 3 flights have been my right seat test flights.
-- Flight # 23 50lbs in the passenger seat cg-101
-- Flight # 24 100lbs in the passenger seat cg-100
-- Flight # 25 150lbs in the passenger seat cg- 99
-- Flight # 26 200lbs in the passenger seat cg- 98
I find that the aircraft requires more nose up trim as the CG moves forward. However, I can trim off the forces and the aircraft handles the same in all configurations and phases of flight. A tribute to the design.
I prefer flying the aircraft at 103 when solo.
2 Feb, 2013
The 40 hour test flight phase is complete and the aircraft is now signed off, fully operational, and ready to take passengers. Thus completes the Flight test Chapter.
Please reference the "Current Flying" tab for my status and the "Upgrades" tab for any future modifications that I WILL make.....Thanks