|LongEZ - N961EZ on the tarmac in Alamogordo, New Mexico|
I FLY EZ
1 November - Fixed a couple bugs in Waiters Flight Recorder.
Found two minor problems with the recorder.
1) it wouldn't let you change folders for writing your data.
2) The Grand Rapids OAT data wasn't decoding correctly.
A couple minor fixes, now you can specify any drive and folder to write your files to. A phone call to Grand Rapids and they gave the correct coding scheme for the OAT data. If you experience any problems, or have a wish list, please send me an e-mail. Waiter
29 OCTOBER - Strong Pitch Trim System (Continued)
Here's where I'm at so far. The turning bellcrank is installed, and everything is bolted together. (NON flight hardware at this point). The geometry of the pushrods and bellcrank is symmetrical, so the Strong Pitch Trim Actuator should behave in this location, as it would if it were connected directly to the control stick on the other side of the fuselage.
The canards PTB was originally used for the manual trim system. Springs and cables were attached to the upper and lower holes on the PTB.With the Strong Pitch Trim system, I use the lower hole. The upper hole is not used. (you can see the upper hole in photo 4).
1) Viewed from the left leg hole, looking up and forward. Transponder Tray is at the very top right, the white areas behind the tray is the bottom of the canard. You can see how the pushrod attaches to the Pitch Trim Bellcrank (PTB) on the canard. Note also the Strong Pitch Trim actuator as it goes just below F22.
2) Viewed from the Nose gear actuator, looking right and aft. Note the canard mounting tab in the upper right corner. You can see the Strong Pitch Trim actuator clearance of F22, and the connection to the Turning Bellcrank (TUB).
3) Viewed from below the TUB, looking up (forward is on the right). The Pushrod that attaches to the PTB is reasonably parallel to the Strong Pitch Trim actuator, and the rod is close to 90 degrees orientation off the PTBs turning radius. This geometry should provide linear trim response similar to what would be seen if the actuator was mounted on the main control rod on the right side.
4) Viewed from the left rudder peddle, looking up and aft. Keep in mind that this is not flight hardware. Note the pushrod is mounted on the outboard side of the canard PTB (right of the PTB), but is mounted on the inboard side of the TUB (left side of TUB).
5) Viewed looking down through my nose access cover. This gives a good idea of how the Strong Pitch Trim actuator is oriented in the nose.I need to adjust the canard elevators to their neutral position, then adjust the Strong Pitch Trim actuator to its neutral position, then I'll know exactly where to install the permanent mount for the motor end of the actuator.
26 OCTOBER - Strong Pitch Trim System
CHANGE NOTE - The orientation of the bellcrank is changed from these photos. The Bellcrank is shaped like an Arrow pointing forward. The new position has the arrow pointing backward, and the top pushrod has been shortened by 1 inch.
1) These are the components. This assembly is mounted on the left side of the fuselage, with the Strong Pitch Trim servo routed under F22 and the motor portion (silver in color) will be about 6 inches in front of, and about 3 inches above the left rudder pedal. The rod at the top of the photo attaches to the lower hole of the existing PTB bellcrank that's on the left side of the canard.The pitch trim springs used to attach to the PTB, one on top and one on the bottom.
2) The wooden hardpoint is made of 1/4 aviation plywood with a K1000-4 nutplate riveted on the back. Look very carefully at the shape of the new bellcrank, now get your drawings out and look at the lower part of the Landing brake bellcrank. I happened to have a landing brake bellcrank, so I cut the handle off and made the upper and lower parts symmetrical.
3) the new hardpoint is embedded on the left side of the fuselage with three layers of BID to secure it in place.
23 OCTOBER - More Electrical
Most of the weekend was spent wrapping up some small details of the new LongEZ electrical system.
Ken Millers Speed Brake actuator is wired up and tested. Normal Speed brake operation is accomplished via a thumb switch on the Infinity Aerospace Stick Grip. The Landing gear computer interface that automatically retracts the speed brake is now hooked up and works correctly. The Landing Gear computer forces the speed brake to retract anytime the throttle is placed in a full position. It also forces a retract if the EMERGENCY RETRACT switch in placed in the RETRACT position.
The Pitch Trim actuator was wired and check for operation. The Strong Pitch Trim is an actuator that's also controlled by the Coolie hat switch on the Infinity Aerospace Stick Grip.
One of the puzzles I've been trying to solve, is how to mechanically attach the Strong Pitch Trim actuator to the LongEZ control system. Strong has you attach the actuator to the control rod that's driven by the control stick. This would probably work OK, but I have two thoughts on this; 1) Its very crowded on the right side where the actuator would be mounted, and 2) I would be giving up the "redundant" flight control feature of the manual pitch trim system.
The Manual Pitch trim system uses spring loaded cables that attach to the canard on the left side. I like this because it offers a redundant flight control path in the very unlikely event that the main pitch control became disconnected.
The software for the landing gear computer looks good. I was able to to simulate most problems I could think of, and the computer handled them correctly. I'm not ready to put hydraulic fluid in the system yet, but I'm getting anxious to do a full retract.
1) Sketch of how the Strong Pitch Trim actuator will mount on the left side, A hard point will be installed on the inside of the fuselage to bolt the bell crank to. The pitch trim bell crank is actually made by cutting off the unused Landing Brake manual bell crank. An actuator arm approximately 3 inches long will attach to the lower hole on the existing PTB fitting on the canard. The other end of the arm will attach to the top of the newly installed bell crank on the fuselage. The Strong Pitch Trim Trim servo will attach to the bottom of the bell crank.
This technique operates in compression, that is, as flight loads are placed on the canard and the elevators, it will compress the Strong servo. If the servo was installed per plans on the right side, flight loads would be in torsion on the Strong servo.
2 & 3) My original gear status indicator, I placed the RED UP leds on the bottom. WRONG.I switched the RED and GREEN so they are now more ergonomically correct. The LED to wire connections are fragile. To reduce problems associated with vibration, I encased the backside of the LEDs in micro. I made a small batch of epoxy and mixed in just a little micro to thicken it a little.
20 OCTOBER - The Need for Speed
I need UPLINK speed from my WebCam to your Computer. Until my ISP, MetaLink, does something about it, I'm afraid the WebCam connectivity will suffer. I've added a "SNAPSHOT" to at least show you something from the shop WebCam. The snap shot gets updated every 90 seconds if the WebCam "see's" any movement in the shop .
UPDATE - I may have stumbled on the reason for low UPLINK speed. I installed a 10db gain amplifier in the rf cable, and this seems to have helped significantly. I'll call the Provider on Monday and see if they can send a service person out to completely redo the RF path (cable and antenna). I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
16 OCTOBER - Gear Control Computer and interface
I spent most of the weekend routing wires to and from the computer. The Control computer is an industrial PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) identical to units found on factory floors throughout the world.
All of the wiring is now connected to the computer and I've begun performing initial testing/debugging of the computer software against "Real Hardware". I found a couple minor bugs and have them corrected. I also have updated the design document and the electrical diagrams to reflect the latest changes. I have one sequence approach for controlling the main gear that I'm not happy with, so I'll be rewriting that portion of the code over the next couple days.
If your interested in how this thing works, your welcome to download my design interface document and review it. Although this document is constantly being updated, its fairly close to a finished product. ALSO, if you see something that your not sure about, drop me an e-mail, its quite possible I've overlooked something in my design.
With the PLC installed, I'm now able to power up and run the controller in the plane. Some of the modes being tested are:
Safe boot mode - This doesn't allow the computer to boot up unless cockpit switches are in a known safe mode for startup, i.e., if the main switch is in the RETRACT position, then the gear must be fully retract with all the retract parameters correct (canopy closed, airspeed above 60kts, etc) or the computer stops until the cockpit switches are placed in a safe mode. ( An EC-135 I flew back in the 70s had the nose gear retract when someone left the gear handle in the UP position after maintenance, I bet they wish they had a system like this back then.) Basically, the system reconciles the UP/OFF/DOWN switch, the EMERGENCY RETRACT switch, and the ALARM MUTE switch.
Input Self Test - a mode that displays the status of all the switches and sensors.
Output Self test - a mode that sequences all the relays, solenoids, indicators, etc.
Normal Retract and Extend - Although I'm not able to run the main gear yet (no hydraulic fluid), I use software "forces" to simulate some of the main gear sensors, and can watch how the program reacts to different switch positions. The Nose gear portion is fully installed and functional. I've been able to perform normal and emergency operations with the nose gear flawlessly.
EMERGENCY RETRACT Mode - This mode overrides all safety's and performs a normal retract of all gear, works OK.
DEAD COMPUTER MODE - This is a hard-wired override that allows the mains and nose gear, plus the main gear struts, to be extended electrically, without the computer. This is an emergency mode that has no safeguards.
1) Gear computer is located in the rear headrest area. The small cable coming out is used for programming the PLC. The two relays to the right are the Strut relay, and the Landing Light Enable relay.
The Strut relay controls a solenoid valve the directs pump pressure to either compress or extend the main gear struts.
The Landing lights are located on the main gear struts, I don't want them to accidentally be left on while the gear is retracted, so this relay shuts power off to the landing lights (if they're turned on) when the gear is NOT extended.
Most of the other control relays are located in the nose.
2) The gear status lights are shown in the center of the photo. I'm going to redo these. I need to reverse them so the RED "UP" lights are on the TOP, and the GREEN "down" lights need to be on the bottom. I once owned a Mooney, when the handle was UP, the gear was DOWN, and when the handle was DOWN, the gear was UP. I HATE BACKWARD STUFF!
2 OCTOBER - Gear Leg Wiring
Spent most of the day fishing wires into both wheel wells. I first drilled my access hole on the ends of the centerspar (CS). I used a fish tape to pull a wire from the back seat thru the CS. I then reached through the small hole in the wheel well with a clothes hanger hook, and snagged the wire. Each wire set was then twisted with a ground wire, and the wires were then pulled through the CS into the well.
1) These are the landing lights, 55watt, one on each gear leg.
2) How to make twisted wire. Secure one end to something solid, then place the other ends in a drill chuck, and crank it up. I used the wire marker to label the wires before I twisted them.
3) Right gear well wiring complete. You can make out the UP switch at the top right of the photo, The Centroid Fuel Probe sender is at the three oclock position. The magnetic DOWN switch can be seen (wires) lower left.
28 SEPTEMBER - INTERNET and CAMERA CONNECTIVITY
I'm just about physically recovered from Harvest, so I've been doing some jobs around the house that have been neglected for the past couple months.
I had some network problems at my house during harvest, so I just patched around just to keep the servers up. I reloaded the Linux firewall and had to purchase a new wireless bridge (I live out in the sticks, so I have a high speed wireless connection to my ISP ).
I think I found the reason why my network camera would occasionally lock up my FTP server, so I updated the NetToWeb software, Hopefully it won't lock up my FTP server anymore. I may release this software to the public if it looks like its going to be stable.
Speaking of Flights, Tony Kirk, one of our local RV builders recently conducted his first flight (congratulations Tony). Tony was very pleased with the performance of my recorder software. He was able to record his Dynon EFIS, Grand Rapids Engine Monitor, and a GPS signal. Look under Waiters Flight Recorder. This is FREE and will definitely be of help when performing any test flights.
25 SEPTEMBER - HARVEST IS OVER
We had a very good harvest this year. Productivity was up 25%, with automation playing a significant part in this increase. The crop was very good, and most important, we had no job related injuries during the "Pack" . OK, Now its time to get back to work on airplanes. Waiter
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