How to get started

I had an email conversation with a new future Sling TSi builder over the past two days. While he is waiting for the kit to arrive, there is the hard question of “how to get started”. This question comes up for every new builder, and those that haven’t made up their mind yet, but need some guidance on what it would take to actually get started.

Getting Started

I remember from my own journey of when I got started, that the sheer amount of information out there can be overwhelming and finding some kind of guide-posts can be helpful to make a start.

So I’ve written up a page on my blog on how to get started, from considerations about the workshop, to a few books I found helpful and the large list of tools you’ll need.

I hope this will be helpful to future builders and those evaluating their options.

Walkthrough of my workshop

It’s been a while in the making after a few requests over the past several months, so I finally took the time and do a walkthrough of my Workshop where I’m building my Sling TSi.

Apart from walking through my garage workshop setup and a bunch of the tools I’m using throughout the build, I’ve also given a small update on my current tasks. I’m waiting for the balance tube to finish off the ailerons and I’m currently finishing up the installation of the pitot tube, after running the electrical wiring the other day.

I’ll make a separate post on the installation of the pitot tube when I’m done, but here’s a preview picture of the first fitting to figure out the length of the tubing:
Fitting the pitot tube to figure out the correct length of the tubing

 

Pitot Electrical Wiring

Hours: 5

After cutting the hole for the inspection panel a few days ago, I continued and ran the wires for the heating.

I figured out where I want to run the wires a while back after some tinkering and I am using one of the strut channels for the length of the wing, except the very end at the wing-walk where I had to make one curve down the bottom.

After some trial and error, I found that 3/8 in size wire loom tubing fits perfectly in the channel and with the help of my Wireless Endoscope connected to my phone I was able to finagle it through the wing with some mild scrapes on my arms.

Starting to run the wire loom  Wire loom at the new Pitot Inspection hole Fishing for the loom (very bottom with the pliers)

The hardest part was figuring out a good way to come out the bottom where the wing-walk is, since the strut channel doesn’t go through there. On the last picture above, you can see when I finally managed to grip on to where I want the loom to come out of with the help of some duckbill pliers, which were a suggestion from my EAA chapters Technical Counsellor when he visited a few months ago.
Duckbill pliers to the rescue

Running the wire

With the question of where to run the wire solved, onto actually running the wires.

I am installing the Garmin GAP 26 Heated/Regulated Pitot Tube, which comes with a Regulator that needs to be installed next to the Pitot tube and controls whether the Pitot tube actually needs to be heated.

For this, there are three wires to run – two for the power and one for the discreet output, which integrated into the Garmin G3X Panel to show when the Pitot Tube is actually heated.

I ran the three wires through some braided sleeving to give them some extra protection and make running them through the wire channel easier in one go.Feeding the 3 wires into the braided sleeve

With that out of the way it “just” took a lot of back and forth, more use of the Endoscope and the thin arms of Juliana and repeated shouts of “push, push” and together we managed to run the wire all the way. She cheerfully pronounces “Congratulations, it’s a wire” as it came out the other end.
My friendly helper to run the Pitot wiring Congratulations, it's a wire

Cutting Pitot inspection panel hole

Hours: 1.5

I was planning to finish to Ailerons, but unfortunately in my final prep, I realized that I received two right side balance tubes instead of a left and a right one. The missing tube should be here sometime next week, so until then, the Ailerons are on pause.

This gave me some time to finally make the big step of cutting out the hole in the Wing for the Pitot inspection panel. I received the heated & regulated Garmin Pitot tube from the Factory and verified that it will fit nicely on the back of the round inspection cover, so I will mount that and I can keep my square inspection panel I designed for some other time.

First I did a lot of measuring and marking based on the plans. Since this is truly a moment of measure-twice, cut-once I measured and re-measured a few times.
Marking the center and hole to cut out Hole marked and alignments checked Time to prepare the cutter Marking the pilot hole for the cutter

With all the marks in place, I started with cutting the pilot holes for the center mark and the cutting head.
Using the center punch to mark the pilot holes Using the step drill to upsize the cutter pilot hole Pilot holes drilled

The final moment of truth – Time to cut the hole for the inspection panel using my nibbler cutting tool.
Time to cut a hole in the wing

I cut the first half of the circle and then reversed the tool since the Pitot tube mast was in the way of completing the cut in one direction.
First half of the circle cut - I had to reverse the tool at this point since the pitot tube mast blocked finishing the circle from this direction

The cut came out pretty well and I just had to do a little bit of sanding to smooth the edges.
Inspection hole cut Temporary placing of the backing plate Inspection Cover fits perfectly

 Timelapse video of cutting the hole

Aileron ribs priming

Hours: 1

I prepared most parts of the Aileron a good while ago, but I was missing a replacement for one set of ribs that were damaged, so I had put the Ailerons aside and finished the Flaps and Elevator in the meantime.

Now with the Elevator done and the replacement ribs in hand, back to finishing up the Aileron. After a quick inspection and deburring of the new rib I laid out all the parts and got out my small painting booth to prime the ribs.
Aileron ribs laid out for the left and right side Paint booth setup to prime

Once the primer is set I can get onto assembling everything and riveting the Aileron.

One side of Aileron ribs primed Primed Aileron ribs

New Sling Pilots community website & forum

A small non-direct building post for a change to talk about the new Sling Pilots community website & forum.

We recently had a discussion on the Sling Builders Facebook group about the very visible growth of the Sling Airplane community. With the bigger size, the community is slowly growing beyond the size of a Facebook group. There are also some people do not use Facebook, so a separate forum allows more inclusion for everyone.

So armed with that, we have started a new community organized standalone website and discussion forum that will hopefully help both active builders, people interested in possibly becoming builders and active Sling Pilots to come together and discuss all things Sling.

Check it out at https://www.slingpilots.com/

Cheers,
Philip

Finishing the Elevator

Hours: 2.5

With most of the preparations out of the way and half of the skins riveted, I took one more session to finishing the Elevator.

There was only one extra part I had to do for 3 of the rivets that were on the bottom edge. In order for them to fit correctly, I had to shorten the rivets so they wouldn’t protrude out.
Rivet too long to fit Fitting rivet after I shortened it I mounted the rivet in my bench vise and filed it down to size Shortened Rivets on the right and one with normal length on the left

Aside from that, I just went to town and pulled the rest of the few hundred rivets.
Time to pull some rivets Halfway done riveting the skins Final set of rivets ready to be riveted Riveting the Trim Tab

The last part on the riveting side was the front lip.
Clecoing the front lip Riveting the front lip

One of the holes on the lip has to be enlarged to fit a grommet for the wiring for the Elevator Trim Tab. I enlarged the hole using my step drill bit and then installed a snap bushing.
Marked out the hole that needs to be enlarged for the wiring Marked out the size on the step drill bit Hole enlarged and Snap Bushing installed

The last part was to install the center balance counterweight. I did some test fitting with this, but the AN3-13A bolts that one of the versions of the manual that I have mentioned are too short, so I’ll check with the factory on the proper length.
Test fitting the Balance Counterweight - the bolts are too short

With that being said, the general assembly of the Elevator is completed:

Timelapse of the complete construction of the Elevator

With the Elevator construction completed, I’ve also finished my video timelapse of the process:

Riveting the Elevator skins

Hours: 3.5

With the final preparations and alignments of the Elevator done, the last task is to rivet up the Elevator skins.

Horizontal Stabilizer and Elevator temporary joined for alignment and looking good

The process is pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of rivets to be pulled, so it’s a lot of repetition, so I spread the work out over a few sessions.
Setting up rivets Almost done with the left underside Finished left underside

I first did the half of the bottom, both left and right side, and then finished up the left side completely, followed by the right side.
Setting up the final few rivets for the right underside Bottom of the entire Elevator completed

For the Trim Tab control tabs I had to get out the close quarter wedge.
Using the close quarter wedge to be able to attach the rivets for the Trim tab Control

After I finished the entire bottom half of the Elevator I flipped it around and put a small padding onto the Trim Tab control so it can’t dig into the Elevator skin.
Protection for the Trim Tab control

Final Elevator fitting

Hours: 2.5

After reinforcing parts of the fiberglass tips for the Elevator for the front section that is countersunk to support the flush rivets, I finished fitting of the right side of the Elevator.

When I finished the alignment of the left side of the Elevator, I ran out of clecos, so I bought a couple more when I was at Oshkosh so I could properly put the Elevator together and get everything to align correctly.

So the first order of business was to finish clecoing everything including the (correct) control tabs for the Trim Tab.
Time to cleco the right side of the Elevator Everything clecoed together including the Trim Tab

With that out of the way, I moved on to do the fitting for the right side fiberglass piece. It took a little bit of aligning and filing away a tiny bit from the back so that the fiberglass piece can slot into the metal.

Once that looked all good, I started to do the match drilling of the holed into the fiberglass.

Time to drill some holes into the fiberglass tip First hole drilled and clecoed Continuing the match drilling All holes drilled

Now the only last part to do was to countersink the front parts of the fiberglass tips in order to allow the flush rivets to sit in there. It took a bit of back and forth to calibrate my microstop countersink attachments to ensure I had a good flush fitting.

Marked out for the holes that need to be countersunk Finished countersinking the holes Flush fit of the left side Alignment checks on the right side

EAA SportAir Electrical Systems & Avionics Workshop

This past weekend I attended the EAA SportAir Electrical Systems & Avionics workshop at the Seattle Museum of Flight Restoration Center.

The two day workshop helped in explaining principles of airplane electrical systems, wiring and bringing everything together to design and build out your avionics.

Workshop Handbook

Aside from a lot of good learnings and explanations, there was also a couple of hands-on exercises to get familiar with crimping, soldering and connecting things.

The first exercise was to hook up a headset jack to a PM1000 intercom system. This was very handy, since whether you decide to build all your avionics or not, you will most definitely have to do the headset connectors.

I forgot to take pictures of the process, but here’s the finished headset jacks with the soldered connection. This included learning to ground the shielded wire, soldering the actual headset jack and doing some d-sub crimping for the intercom connector.

Finished Headset connector and crimped BNC Antenna connector

Also shown in the image above is the result of the second exercise, a crimped BNC antenna connector. This part, I was already familiar with from hooking up my NAV Antenna in the Rudder a few months ago.

The final exercise was to create a small electrical circuit. This includes a “master” switch, circuit protection in the form of a fuse and a dimmable “cabin” light that is tied behind the master switch. Aside from the practical application of the exercise, it also tied together a lot of the theoretical parts of the workshop and was a great finish for the weekend.

Getting started Wiring in progress System wired up

Here’s the finished working circuit in action:

I also ran into two other Sling Builders, Richard Howell, who recently started building a Sling 2 and Skip Jones, who is also building a Sling TSi. Now we just need to all finish building our airplanes and then we can be a chapter of Sling Pilots in the Pacific Northwest.