Quite a few Sling 2 aircraft have been built with their GPS antennas mounted on a bracket under the engine cowling. That’s how the factory used to do it. Now guidance has been changed and a location on top of the rear fuselage is preferred. The new location reportedly offers consistently better reliability. I want reliability for IFR flying.
It was no simple task to get RG-400 coax cable for the GPS routed – and satisfactorily secured – on its way from the top-rear of the baggage area, down and then forward along the bottom of the rear fuselage to the center fuselage, and on to finally arrive behind the GTN 650Xi on the instrument panel. It’s done and it worked out very well.
Dealing with the COM 1 antenna coax cable was comparatively easier than for the GPS because the factory-supplied coax was already secured in place, routed from the mounting site on top of the rear fuselage, all the way to the instrument panel area. All I had to do was add the connectors.
The GPS antenna needed holes drilled in the fuselage skin. I used a doubler that came with my panel and harness and the screws provided with the Garmin GA 35 antenna. A TNC 90 degree solder/crimp connector by Amphenol made for a tidy connection at the top rear of the baggage compartment. A section of vinyl hose, covered with black heat shrink, provides good protection and satisfying aesthetics where the coax passes through the bulkhead, into the rear fuselage.
The COM 1 antenna needed 4 existing mounting holes to be expanded, in order to accept setting of rivnuts. The KAI called for M4 but the Rami antenna, supplied as part of my custom avionics package, came with 8-32 screws. I decided to set 8-32 rivnuts into the fuselage for this mounting. The way the coax was secured to the internal fuselage structure lent itself more to a 90 degree BNC connector. Again I selected an Amphenol solder/crimp part.
Upholstery work takes a bit of courage and determination – at least for me it does. A big part of the work involves trimming the vinyl leatherette-like covering to fit the center console and then bonding pieces of material to some rather sizable and awkwardly shaped panels – everything is frighteningly sticky with spray adhesive.
I got through it and it all seems to look rather nice. I can’t say I’d do it the same way again, but at the same time, I don’t exactly know what I’d have done differently. You’ve just got to do the best you can.
All of the center upholstery pieces came in a kit, along with fiberglass-backed side panels, seat and seat back cushions, and carpet panels for the floor and luggage compartment. The seats cushions are covered with genuine leather and stitched by professionals. I got to choose the colors. Methinks it’s going to be a rather sporty and plush setup for this little 2-seater. Oh well! What can I say?
Once the rear portion of the center console was covered, it seemed a good time to put it into position. The inside seatbelts pass through, so it was time to assemble those to their anchors. I haven’t riveted the rear console yet – just clecos for now.
The front console panels have 3 sections. The top panel of the LH side is removable for inspections, as are 4 other square panels – 2 of which are covered with the vinyl. The 2 forward most panels are painted, along with 2 panels for the baggage area.
Bonding the covering to the RH side panel was the biggest challenge. The section of material was large enough to be unwieldy. Working conditions inside the CF were awkward. I did, however, manage to lay in the material and get it satisfactorily positioned. I’m happy to have that task in my rearview mirror.
This seemed a good time to complete more of the wire connections to the rear fuselage (RF) section for the tail beacon and electric pitch trim servo. The PVC jacketed wires in the RF were routed and secured as part of the factory quick-build (QB). My custom avionics harness was provided with “pigtail” connectors. I connected the wires of the pigtail to the fuselage wires with Raychem D-436 series butt splice connectors. The connectors are a bit expensive and a special crimp tool is required. I believe the resulting connections are more than satisfactory. As usual, I insulate and protect the connections and secure them from movement.
Bolting a factory new aircraft engine onto my own airplane is a dream come true. There’s so much going on it the world to be focused on this, but I am. I’m glad.
I’m also very glad to be amongst the extraordinary group of folks at EAA Chapter 430 – Olympic Peninsula. One of our chapter members so kindly shared his time and experience (and shop crane) to help me mount the new engine. Thanks Barry!!
Without further ado – a drum roll please…
Sling 2, N842RH (registration number reserved) — is today, powered by a Rotax 912iS Sport engine!
There’s not a whole lot to say except that the wheels are on!
The factory-supplied Matco wheels and brakes seem quite nice. I’d mounted the tubes and tires some time ago. I’ve packed the main wheel bearings with grease that came with the kit. The nose wheel has sealed bearings. I prepped the wheel fairing mounting brackets and treated them with alodine.
Jacking the airframe was a bit challenging. I’ll have to find a better way to do it for inspection and maintenance. Assembly went well.