I build the front seat supports and front seats. On the supports I used my shrink wrap film method to avoid a cure time between sides. Just glassed one side, peel plied it, then layed it on the film to glass the other side. Next day I fitted the supports and, after cure, fitted and glassed the seats. It was nice to finally sit in the plane with the seats in place. Seems a little large for my relatively small frame (I'm 5' 7"), but I think the foam cushions will make it just right.
Now if I had any 3/8 foam I'd make the armrests. Hmmm. What about all that scrap foam from canard cutting failures? I could use the hot wire to cut it into 3/8 sheets.
Cutting 3/8 slabs of foam for my armrests was easy. Understanding the shape of the armrests from the plans wasnt. I saw some good pictures at Marc Zeitlins site and made my armrests. I don't have the control rods and side sticks in yet, so the armrests will need adjustment, but at least they're ready to work on. I carved the foam plugs for the map pockets then shrink wrapped them and used shrink wrap film for release on the bench. We had some friends round for the evening, so I decided to leave this chaper for a while and finish the landing brake. I made them help me flip the plane over before they could have dessert. Wayne Hicks says he flips his plane on his own. He must be a big guy. It took four of us and we were all puffing afterwards.
Once the Cozy was on its wheels again I was able to try out the seats for the first time. The seat feels a little long for me, but otherwise is very comfortable. Like sitting in a Porche. When I get my cushions I think the seat will be very comfortable. I saw some very nice cushions at Sun & Fun and kept the brochure for later. Much later.
Later I made the rear seats. They seem really narrow, but once you sit in them they're fine. I cut and glued the foam for the rear arm rests, but will hold off fitting them until I've done the controls in Chap 16.
I asked Herb if there any neat tricks to assembling the two halves of the pants. It turns out that there are two pairs of molds, one with a vertical split and the other with a horizontal split. I only got the horizontal one, so I had to wait for the other molds to catch up to me before I could proceed.
Once I had the full set of molds I cut the shells vertically and used the new molds to hold the parts in place while joining them up. In all I made 4 sets of pants. One for me, one for Bulent, one for Todd and a spare set of shells for me. After glassing and joining 3 sets I ran out of enthuiasm for wheel pants and just stored the spare set of shells. The instructions which came with the pants decribe a long and fairly complex fitting and finishing process. I'll get to it eventually.
Much later, in June 2002, when I was doing the wiring and waiting for parts, I decided to put my pants on. If I wait until after she's flow I know I wount have the patience to fit them. The first problem was that I couldnt find the plans that came with them, and the video didnt have much about installation. I've read that Van Aircraft makes a special wheel nut that has a 1/4 thread welded to it for bolting the pants to. Seems like an excellent idea - much better than trying to drill my axels, so I ordered two VA-106 at $14 each from Vans. The pants will have to sit again until these arrive and I have the plans for installation.
Finally, in August '02, I had some spare time so I thought "What better way to spend a 98F summer's day in Florida than on the patio with a dremel". With the wings and engine off it was fairly easy to lift the weight of the main wheels and put supports under the strakes. I leveled the longerons and, using the plum bob, drew a center line on the concrete under the plane. Following Herb's handwritten plans I made the barbeque spit jig and cut out holes for the tire and the strut. These plans were written for a Long-EZ, so the holes were a bit small and the jig was too short. A 2 * 4 under the jig lifted it just the right amount. At first I thought that the pants were never going to fit so I posted a message on the Canard forum saying my pants are too tight. I got a few cute responses. Gradually I cut away the hole for the strut and the tire until the pant seemed to fit with about 3/8 to 1/2 clearance all around. Part of the trick here was to get the pant leaning inwards to match the angle of the wheel. I made the aluminum supports out of 0.080 al, a little larger than the plans and cut an indent for the rearward caliper bolt. It didnt make sense to me to miss out one of the bolts, so I included all four. Also, I didnt want to use the four axle bolts to secure the pant. The bolts would turn when removing the pant, and to get at the bolt heads would require removing the wheel, which would require removing the wheel pant. Catch 22. I made a small al plate with a nutplate secured by two of the axle bolts and holding the pant away from them a 1/4 inch. I noriced that the axel nuts that came with the Matco wheels have a lip which engages the large washer holding the bearing in place. The Vans special wheen nuts dont have this lip, so I decided to use the original wheel nutes, cut about 1/2 inch off the vans nuts and use the outer half on the end of the axel, after the original wheel nut.
Next came the heat shields to protect the strut. These are recommended by many builders and seem like a very good idea. I cut two quadrant shaped pieces of 0.063 aluminum which would fit over the axel behind the caliper support bracket. I put a half inch joggle in this to keep it away from the disks, but leave a little space between the shield and the strut. (Note - the joggle is supposed to go the other way - bringing the bracket outboard so it will touch the pant where the first screw goes). The axles had to come off to install the heat shields. I dremeled the foot of the axle and the flox pad clean and refloxed everything in place. Locktight on the axle nuts and a little gold paint for the aluminum pieces finished off the job.... or so I thought.
After fiddling, shimming around the tire with 3/8 foam and fiddling some more I finally got the pants in position, parallel to the fore aft line and angled 1 1/2 degrees downward (1 inch lower at the front). At this point I rushed out to the local toy store and bought a small box of modelling clay. It says on the box "Ages 3 and up" so I guess I can use it. I used the clay per ez pant plans to make a small fillet between the gear leg and the pant. The clay worked nicely as a base for the two ply BID layup and came off fairly easily after cure. WHile reinforcing the inside of the fillet join with two ply BID I also glassed in small AL squares at the attach points and added a reinforcing layer around the tire opening.
I duct taped the strut, rechecked the position, then glassed the fairings. Toward the end of the second fairing my epoxy pump took a dump. It pumped resin nicely, but made a farting sound and pumped 50% air from the hardener tube. After three of four pumps of wasted resin it seemed to be ok. I later found that the ratio on that batch had been wrong and the epoxy only hardened to a rubber consistencey. One of my fairings had to be dremelled off and redone. Eventually the fairings were cured, I'd cleaned out and reinforced the insides, reinforced all along the edges of the wheel opening and reassembled the pants on the plane. They didnt fit! I must have spent 10 hours under the plane nudging, measuring, redrilling mount holes, fiddling and cursing. These pants are just too damn small. Nothing I did would allow the pants to be in the right position fore/aft and at the right angle without the tire touching the front outboard edge. They fit before I made the fairings. How come they don't fit now? Truth is they probably didnt fit properly before I made the fairings. They were too close to the tires then as well.
I thought that the problem was my small bracket between the inboard axel bolts, so I removed it and cut holes so the pants could go over the bolts. Better, but Still no good. I dremelled and sanded the reinforcements to make sure they weren't interfering. A little better, but still too close to the tire. The last thing I need is two wheel pants going through the prop on touchdown. Finally I decided to use a little logic instead of random attacks at the problem. The pants are just too small. Period. I checked the prices of new pants from Aerocad. $220, and I'll still have to fit and reinforce them. Also, smaller pants are probably a good thing with respect to drag provided they dont touch and come off. Hmmm. I went back out to the patio and thought about the problem some more. The front outboard side is touching on both pants. Its the same on both, so it's not my measurements or setup. If the pants were a little wider at the front they'd be fine. Hmmm. I got the dremel out again and slit the front of each pant from the wheel hole to the tip of the nose. After all the work making these babies it felt like I was slitting their throats. After all the hours crawling around under the plane this felt GOOD. I pulled the two halves apart about 3/4 inch and stuck a piece of foam in there to hold it in place. Now the tire was at least 3/8 away all the way around. Perfect.
Before glassing the V repair I decided to lower the nose and see how much clearance I had when parked. I looked at some pictures of Cozy's and the pants looked a little lower than mine. I saw some where you could see the wheel rim, and others where there only seemed to be a couple of inches of ground clearance. Once the glass was cured and the pants were back on, I didnt like the shape and decided they needed to cover more of the wheel. I knew I wouldnt be happy buzzing around with "short pants". At this point I almost gave up and bought a pair of pre-molded Cozy pants, but that would be the easy way....I had 3/8 clearance at the top, so the only way was to extend the pants. I used sheetrock putty when I made (and then modified)the cowling and it had worked pretty well, so off I went down to Home Depot and bought a bag of quick dry 20 minute sheetrock putty. I put foam around the calipers and slapped on a bunch of putty to get a rough shape. Once the stuff set I used a hacksaw blade sideways to scrape the putty, then a rough foam pad to sand it into the shape I wanted. I ended up with a symetrical shape and about 2 inches clearance at the axle centerline. As with the cowl, I glassed over the sheetrock putty. When it cured I dremelled out the overlap inside and added a 2 BID reinforcement. The next day the pants got a final fitting adjustment and I moved a couple of the attachment holes. I floxed in 1 inch square aluminum supports for the main supports, then added 2 BID glass over the aluminum (pronounced alyouminium, by the way).
I thought I was done with finishing, but here we go again... I mixed some very dry micro and trowelled it on with a putty knife and hair dryer. Once this cured, 30 minutes with a Black & Deacker sander at 50 grit got me a fairly even surface. Next day I touched up any gaps with more micro and sanded with 180 grit. Almost ready for primer. A few more touch-ups and they were ready for finish paint and trim.
Once the attachment pieces were cured I trimmed them to one inch wide and the same length as the curved part of the vortilons. Nat said to use 5 minute epoxy to stick the vortilons in place, but I didnt have any left, and anyway, I didnt see how this could be done easily. How do you keep the vortilons exactly at 67 degrees to the leading edge, and 90 degrees to the horizontal while the 5 min cures? After a little experimenting I found a solution. Duct tape. Not the grey stuff - the metal foil duct tape used on air conditioning systems. Its very sticky and it holds whatever shape you bend it to. I taped the vortilons to the attachment pieces on one side only, and used a small piece of tape on the other side to hold the attachment to the wing. I was out of flox too, so I mixed up a little cabosil. I broke a mixing stick in half vertically and rounded the end. Using the stick I added a very small radius of cabosil down the untaped side. The nice thing about cabosil compared with flox is that you can easily make a smooth radius. I went around with my trusty 67 degree angle checker cut out of plastic and a set square moving the vortilons until they were set just right. In the hot tub that night, Char pointed at the center vortilon on HER wing and said it was a bit off. I checked, and sure enough it was off a couple of degrees. The cabosil hadnt set yet, so I adjusted it. Next day, when the vortilons were fixed in position, I added a radius of cabosil down the other side and one ply BID tape along the join.
Once cured, I removed the vortilons and stored them until the wings were painted and polished. When it came time to paint and install the vortilons I'd just finished the trim paint using Mirage purple & gold paint that changes color depending on which way you look at it. I've never seen a Cozy with the vortilons painted a different color. I decided to paint the vertical part of the vorilons with the mirage paint, the same color as the stripe. Making the cowling was a big enough task that it warrented its own page. As far as I can tell, that's it for covers and fairings unless you count the nose gear doors and strut cover described in Chaper 13. Wow. I can sign off on another chapter!
Once the plane was down at the hangar and fully assembled I stuck them on with clear RTV. I also made two 4 inch vortilons for the belly per Eric Westland.