I taxied my Bede BD-4C airplane Tuesday, for the first time 😀
It was a nice way to wrap up a week that included a fuel leak and a couple of dents. All are repairable but thoroughly aggravating. (“Can you say, ‘Obscenity?’ Sure ya can.”)
Last week, I installed the wings on the plane, connected the wires and fuel lines, and installed and connected the flaps and ailerons. Then I poured five gallons of fuel into the tank in the right wing, to check for leaks. I found one, which turned out to be a loose hose connector and a lack of ProSeal where a fitting penetrates the side of the fuel tank.
This photo is taken inside the right wing. The large tube on the left side is the main spar. The “wall” is the side of the fuel tank (fuel is on the other side of the wall). The top and bottom of the photo are the wing skins. The black hose is the fuel line. There should be ProSeal (black goop like you see sealing the spar to the fuel tank and the wall of the fuel tank to the wing skins) sealing the blue fitting to the side of the fuel tank. In addition, the connection between the black hose and the blue fitting was loose.
My oh-shit! moment came after I put the wing on top of one of those five foot plastic top folding banquet tables so that I could work on it. I should have put it into the rack that I made to hold the wings. In working with the wing, it slid off the table onto the floor. There are a couple of dents in the skin, near the leading edge. I also dented the cover for the inboard end of the flap (which I was going to replace anyway) and the trailing edge of the flap (which can easily be straightened). I am told that the dents in the wing skins are repairable, fortunately, but it is work that I have never done so I am going to get some help with it.
The morning after bunging up my wing, I got an email from the airport manager, telling me that I had finally reached the top of the waiting list and that a hangar was available. That definitely made my day. As nice as the EAA Chapter 32 ARC is, it was much less convenient than having my own space with real storage shelves, etc. With much help from Candy and David, I got everything moved except the airplane… even my compressor and my good workbenches.
Tuesday morning, I put the right wing onto the plane (to minimize the time that fuel could leak) and taxied across the airport. This was the first time that my Bede BD-4C airplane had moved under its own power. I had run the engine before. I had had the plane towed before (and I steered while it was being towed). But this was the first time in-motion with the engine running.
Rather than just fire ‘er up and drive across the airport, I decided to use the occasion to start figuring out my flight test procedures. I wrote up a test plan. I set up the GoPro, with a view of the EFIS screen and out the windshield. I gave Candy a handheld radio. And then I executed the plan. Yes, it was a lot of folderal for “just” repositioning the airplane, but it was work that needed to be done before first flight.
Here is my test plan:
01: Taxi Test
Confirm directional control and braking. Reposition plane.
- Radios: 122.75
- Start engine.
- Confirm that brakes hold at idle.
- Low speed taxi and stop.
- Low speed turns and stop.
- Test whether brakes hold at full power.
- Taxi to hangar.
- Shut down.
- Check for brake fluid leaks.
After I was done, I noted the results and then wrote them up when I had a quiet moment.
Date & Time: 7/3/2018
Engine started and ran OK from fuel in right wing. Boost pump not needed after start.
Braking OK at low speed. Directional control OK.
Brakes would not hold at full RPM.
No brake fluid leaks.
Some oil found on bottom of fuel pump on 7/4/2018.
The brakes not holding at full RPM is OK. There is a procedure for conditioning the new brake pads which I have not yet followed. Once I do that, the brakes should be fine. I want to attend to the oil leak at the fuel pump but that was a known issue and not serious at this time.
My GoPro video is at the top. Candy got a little bit of video of me taxiing past her.
Here is the plane, settling into its new home.
I also got a “gentle reminder” of how much I dislike ladders. The hangar had only a single light bulb at the ceiling. I added an eight foot LED work light, which you can see above. Thankfully the job is done now and I should never need to go up there again.
Candy and I spent a few hours at the hangar this morning. Candy was a trooper, unpacking and organizing a whole hangar’s worth of stuff.
I installed a QMA connector on the transponder antenna cable. Soldering the tip on this thing was a royal PITA. I would rather crimp a thousand BNC connectors than another QMA. I replaced a couple of DB-25 backshells, installing some nice ones that can be connected and disconnected without tools. We removed the horizontal stabilator, hopefully for the last time. I made a trip to the aviation department at Menards for a couple of tension pins (a/k/a spring pins) to hold the stabilator hinge in place. Now that I have those, I can install the stabilator “for real.”