CH 750 Cruzer Build Log

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Wayne

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
423
Location
Chicago, IL
Wednesday August 24th, 2016
4 hours, Total project time is now 430 hours
(Rudder 8 hours, Stabilizer 85, Left/Pilot Side Wing 125/Right/Passenger Side Wing 102, Engine Mount 3, Wheels 6, Main Gear 6, Various Control Rods/Seat frames 7,
Brake Pedals 7, Seat Pans/Backs 8, Flaperons 37, Vertical Fin 6, Dash 16, Front wheel Strut 3)

Dash Final Assembly
So it has been 4 months since I updated my log, and I've given myself a huge task to complete but the good news is that progress has been made on the plane despite the lack of updates!

Originally I had planned to cover the dash with a cool vinyl graphic but it dawned on me that I needed to simplify things and get moving so I painted it with the same nice grey that I have been using on most other visible metal parts, and it looks great if I do say so myself. I installed all of the instruments using stainless socket srews and clear plastic washers. I'm sure you will recall that this dash is removable so - I have drilled holes in the dash that line up with the old Zenith dash (which is basically just a mounting flanger now) and I'll use stainless socket screws into nut plates which I have installed in the mounting flange.


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Wayne

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
423
Location
Chicago, IL
Wednesday August 24th, 2016
8 hours, Total project time is now 438 hours
(Rudder 8 hours, Stabilizer 85, Left/Pilot Side Wing 125/Right/Passenger Side Wing 102, Engine Mount 5, Wheels 6, Main Gear 6, Various Control Rods/Seat frames 7,
Brake Pedals 7, Seat Pans/Backs 8, Flaperons 37, Vertical Fin 6, Dash 16, Front wheel Strut 3, Engine Installation 6)

Engine Mount Fitting, and Engine Mounting

Woot! I could not wait to get the engine on the plane as it seemed like such a leap forward. Getting the mount ready for installation took about 2 hours because I had to trim the edges of the mount to fit the curved edges of the firewall, measure location very carefully, drill the mounting holes through incredibly hard steel (had to buy new drills), and then repaint the exposed steel from trimming. It wasn't a hard operation - just more time consuming than you'd think.

Thanks to the V8 TR3 project I'm no stranger to engine installation - and even own the hoist! The hardest part of the job was getting said hoist out to the hangar using my wife's SUV. You would not believe how heavy the thing is. One hernia and some scratched bumper paint later and I was all set though. It took a single 6 hour shift to attach the engine mount to the engine, hoist it into position, bolt and torque the engine mount to the firewall (this required careful weight management using the hoist), and then torque the flexible engine mount bolts into their rubber bushings. As you can see we are using a UL Power 350is, and the UL manual is very clear on the required measurement to attain sufficient bushing compression.

You can also see how well my Dad is recovering from the stroke - he was a fantastic team member as usual!

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Wayne

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
423
Location
Chicago, IL
Wednesday August 24th, 2016
15 hours, Total project time is now 453 hours
(Rudder 8 hours, Stabilizer 85, Left/Pilot Side Wing 125/Right/Passenger Side Wing 102, Engine Mount 5, Wheels 6, Main Gear 6, Various Control Rods/Seat frames 7,
Brake Pedals 7, Seat Pans/Backs 8, Flaperons 37, Vertical Fin 6, Dash 16, Front wheel Strut 3, Engine Installation 6, Y Stick/Flaperon/Elevator Controls, Flap Motor 12)

Y Stick, Flaperon, Elevator Control, Flap Motor Installation

Zenith updated plans and installation instructions for a couple of key attachment points for the Flaperon and Elevators - basically they had a pivot tube welded into the control tubes themselves and the method by which the various control bellcranks were retained on the tube has been improved. An example of this in the case of the Flaperon is that the old system of drilling a hole in the tube and using a washer/cotter pin to retain the bellcranks has been replaced with a bolt through the tube with washers and a castle nut with cotter pin. Installation is straightforward however care has to be taken when fabricating and mounting the front bearing support and fairlead for the Y-stick and rudder cables as there are several points where mis-measuring could cause an alignment problem.

As you can see the system of tubes and bearings is very simple even though there are a considerable number of parts. None of the control linkage is in the wing so everything except the very front elevator control pivot is visible through the bottom access hatch which will make maintenance very straight forward. The most notable thing about the installation as far as me adding to the instructions is that the bearings were very tight on the control tube. This was a result of me painting the tube, and also there was a slight increase in the tube diameter near the welded fitments. I removed excess paint and enlarged the bearing holes very carefully using a fine file and am pleased to report that the controls move quite freely with no binding. Flaperon "friction" or resistance is higher than the elevator which is not surprising given the number of bellcranks. A final test will be made when all of the enclosure sheeting is in place.

If you are also building the Cruzer don't forget the Flaperon travel stops like I did! They are small angles that mount through the same holes as the bearing/doubler and it took me ages to figure out they were missing. For a while there my Flaperons were stopped by the bolt heads!!

The flap motor went in very easily - a ton of rivets hold the thick gauge steel bracket but other than that it was trivial. One point to remember though is that bolts which don't tighten or get torqued have a castle nut and cotter pin, otherwise self locking nuts are used. With the Flap Motor you could be forgiven for thinking that the front turnbuckle needs a castle nut but it does not because the nut tightens down on the bushing/internal part of the turnbuckle. The forward mounting bolt has the castle nut as it moves.

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Wayne

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
423
Location
Chicago, IL
Monday October 16th, 2017
120 hours, Total project time is now 573 hours
(Rudder 8 hours, Stabilizer 85, Left/Pilot Side Wing 125/Right/Passenger Side Wing 102, Engine Mount 5, Wheels 6, Main Gear 6, Various Control Rods/Seat frames 7, Brake Pedals 7, Seat Pans/Backs 8, Flaperons 37, Vertical Fin 6, Dash 16, Front wheel Strut 3, Engine Installation 6, Y Stick/Flaperon/Elevator Controls, Flap Motor 12, Rudder/Elevator cable installation + elevator fitment + vertical stabilizer fitment + windshield fitment + door fitment + some electrical wiring + wing mounting =120 hours)

Progress to date
Wow - it has been over a year since I last posted. I know they say time flies but.....

I have been working on the plane all this time, but slowly until the last couple of months or so when I have redoubled my efforts. I lost my Mom in England this Summer so it has been a sad and very hectic year with many trips abroad and a new job thrown in the mix as well. Dad is absolutely thriving though and I'm very grateful for that. He will be 87 in January :)

Completion of the Access Aero Zenith Cruzer has been most helpful as well. I have almost 18 hours in it since August and love it! This has been great motivation for me.

Here's a shot of how far the project has come - feel free to PM me with any questions since I have clearly left out a huge amount :)

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Wayne

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
423
Location
Chicago, IL
Sunday December 30th, 2018
250 hours, Total project time is now 823 hours

(Rudder 8 hours, Stabilizer 85, Left/Pilot Side Wing 125/Right/Passenger Side Wing 102, Engine Mount 5, Wheels 6, Main Gear 6, Various Control Rods/Seat frames 7, Brake Pedals 7, Seat Pans/Backs 8, Flaperons 37, Vertical Fin 6, Dash 16, Front wheel Strut 3, Engine Installation 6, Y Stick/Flaperon/Elevator Controls, Flap Motor 12, Rudder/Elevator cable installation + elevator fitment + vertical stabilizer fitment + windshield fitment + door fitment + some electrical wiring + wing mounting =120 hours

250 hours in 2018 include improved controls (removed bias, eliminated cable interference), custom oil quart storage, wiring of headsets/intercom, wiring for wings/pitot into cabin, antenna installation, rudder/elevator cables/ installation of second set of brakes, revised door fitment (PITA), installed second throttle, painted interior, insulated interior, fabrication and installation of paneling/headliner, fabrication and installation of electronics tray behind dash, installed new Zenith front strut suspension, installed CHT/EGT/Oil pressure/fuel pressure sensors, wired to panel, installed solenoid, voltage regulator etc., installed skylight, reassembled plane to check everything works, made a fitted fairings for lower windshield, upper windshield, upper wing strut.)

Progress to date
Hi everyone, and please accept my best wishes for the 2019 New Year! So when people tell you that when you are 90% done on your project, you have 90% to go - they are right. I'm **** proud to announce, however, that I have not given up and have been steadily working on the Cruzer this whole year and of late have doubled down to get her flying by Spring 2019. Dad is doing incredibly well and I see no reason I won't be carting him up to Oshkosh in the plane (if he want's to go, that is. After all it takes Kiwi's of steel to fly with me!! :gig:).

From a design perspective (i.e. adding a huge amount of time to the build) this aircraft includes a number of quality of life improvements based on my experience with the Cruzer we built for the Give Flight competition. Notably these include the much improved control system (PM me and I'll explain, it's not that glamorous), and extra under-dash storage for checklists/phones, and fairings. I have also insulated the plane inside with fire-resistant aluminum covered foam insulation and have made a headliner and panels to make it look really good. The fairings will be a mixture of glass (painted) and carbon fiber. Since the plane will be painted Corvette yellow the carbon fiber fairings will really pop. I have included a few pictures below as of tonight.

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Wayne

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
423
Location
Chicago, IL
Hey folks!
Wow - it's January 2020 so I guess I owe you all a huge "Happy New Year"! I see I sent out the same salutation in my last post back in 2018 and I mean it a seriously now as I did then :) A lot has happened since I updated you last, most notably the loss of my Dad this past November (2019), and Mum a few years back, which has really given me pause in so many ways. It's a real bummer I didn't get the Cruzer done so that Dad could fly in it - a primary driver - but such is the way life works. Gosh does that hurt though.

My business partner and I purchased the Maintenance Facility next door to our Flying School (www.flyjwa.com) and I have been running that when not selling software (Loong days) and I have also had the immense pleasure of visiting China on an all expenses paid trip to promote aviation from an a homebuilt/youth group perspective. Myself and 3 other massive contributors from my EAA Chapter (EAA 461) visited Xi'an City back in the Autumn and had an amazing experience. The people we met were just lovely and the Senior Executives of General Aviation were wonderful hosts, gracious and knowledgeable. Thanks so much to Scott and Dave for making all that possible. We look forward to returning soon!

I am, however, delighted to let you know that I have been chipping away at my Cruzer project all along and now we are deep into painting. The wings should be done prior to the week of Jan 20th and the Fuselage shortly after. Then it's a reassembly job and flying!

I am excited beyond belief because this plane is finally coming together. I'll try to update you soon, but for now here's a picture of some bits - this is the floor above all the offices in the JWA Maintenance shop. I moved everything here when we acquired the business to save on Hangar rent.

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