2017 saw us undertake a long-distance house move into a very old property needing lots of work, which resulted in a few months’ delay to our RV-14 build as we got the house habitable and waited for a suitable window to drive our partially-completed kit sections up in a rented van.

The plane kit was the only thing we wouldn’t let someone else move for us – we decided we just couldn’t risk not being there to see if it was put under any sort of stress during transit, loading and unloading, so with the help of my brother we spent a weekend packing, driving and unpacking it ourselves.

When transporting the kit, we also took the decision not to take the heavy tools in the van at the same time, to avoid them damaging the fragile kit parts. This meant the tools eventually followed several months later with the removal van. We saved about two thirds of the moving cost by being flexible on delivery dates, but we also had to wait quite a while and the progress with our build suffered!

So it’s really only in the last few weeks that we have got back into the rhythm of doing something on the build every day that we are in Scotland (our last significant progress having been made in April/May 2017), and it feels really good to get going again!

We have been concentrating on completing the firewall and starting to join the various sections of the main fuselage together. It feels quite satisfying as the sections are quite large and recognisable as parts of an aircraft.

We are also getting our heads around a departure from the Van’s plans as we are using Skybolt camloc cowling fasteners rather than the standard prescribed piano hinge mechanism. This is done with the long-distance touring in mind – we want to make it as quick and easy as possible to get the cowling on and off to check inside and perform any maintenance that might be required. The fasteners look really sturdy and user-friendly and we’re looking forward to installing them properly.

Aside from a whole lot of riveting, there are various points where we have to use sealant to ensure the firewall joints are as impenetrable as possible. We initially ordered some specialist firewall sealant, which the Van’s plans don’t call for (they say standard fuel tank sealant is fine, such as the one made by Silmid) and we actually wish we hadn’t bothered with this. We found it really hard to mix and it cured very quickly which gave us limited time to distribute it properly. The fuel tank sealant is more than sufficient, meets the spec and is a lot easier to use, so in hindsight we think the results are better.

Looking forward to deburring and priming the largest piece yet when we go back next week – the floor skin for the main fuselage.

Here are some photos of our progress over Christmas:

Firewall beginning to take shape
Middle section sealed and riveted
Starting to rivet the floor sections to the firewall

Happy flying!

Em x

RV-14 build: ‘Back on the wagon’ and some fun with the fuselage

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