(Almost) Engine Hanging Time

We riveted on the firewall of our Dream Tundra project the other day - a major milestone because we think that means we have buttoned up all of the airframe wiring, and are ready to just connect things up. The engine has been on before, when we mocked up the firewall equipment placements and fit the cowling. That means that engine installation is really mostly installation - not a whole lot of fabrication is left.

Tundra Firewall

Today I took stock of where we are as I winged my way home across the small mountain range that separates our airpark from the runway where we are building this bird. Wiring has been loomed out in the directions (right and left) that it needs to go. The fuel pump is installed, but we need a supply line from the firewall penetration to the filter element. Probably going to build a cooling box for the pump – but we’ll see how temperatures turn out. We found a nice place for the ammeter shunt under the battery box (not shown on the picture) – I always like to put those someplace tucked away, since they have exposed 12 volt elements.

The big wires for the battery feeds, grounds, and alternator B-Leads have to be fabricated, but we think we know where they are going – so mostly it is just running wires to their respective ends on the sensors and relays – then sealing up a few holes in the oil cooler mount to prevent air loss, using fire seal to get any penetrations into the cockpit closed up, and figuring out a little problem we have with the battery interfering with the boot cowl overhang  - should be a simple fix to the battery box.

This all comes under the “last 90% to go” category (as in 90% done, 90% left to do….). No predictions on finish date – as long as we make a little progress every day, we’re doing great. The parts bin is almost empty though – so soon it will be time to start building punch lists and having friends over to inspect. Oh yeah – gotta start thinking about cleaning years of dust off that windshield too.

Paul Dye

Paul Dye, Kitplanes® Editor in Chief, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the space shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor, and Flight Advisor, as well as a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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