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This is a summarized build log of my XEL "MAD MOSQUITO" So far this build log has been very successful thanks to all of you who visit regularly. Seeing the interest you have makes my effort all worthwhile. Thank all of you.






Hi All, until I got to this point (actually having my XEL in hand), I wanted to read any and everything about the Mosquito....especially

building. It is obvious that all of us on this site have that desire. For this reason, I'm going to start a summarized build log on this

post. "Operations" has now set this up so that I am the moderator. That way it will be clean with no other posts except my daily log

entries. Please keep all your comments and questions coming. All those can be posted on the "THANKS EDDY" thread below:;posts=31

Above is a collage video of the build from start to finish (THANKS BLAIR).

The log below is in chronological order with the most recent entry at the top.

June 27, 2008

Since last entry I've added some things and revised others. I added a shoulder harness and side pockets, revised the GPS mount, float dampers, and the tail stinger support mounting bracket. Thought I would add these items to my build album, too. there are 11 new photos.

Feb 04, 2008

Since the last entry, I've made some changes I want to discuss.

I installed a Lowrance Moving Map 1000 gps. This unit has a large

LCD screen that can actually be seen by old people like me, LOL!

I mounted the unit on the verticle part of the instrument panel, below

the other instruments. The mount is dense foam velcroed to the panel

and the gps is velcroed to the foam mount. We chose this unit because

it has a verticle speed indicator (VSI), altimeter, speed across the ground,

compass, a dc volt meter, as well as the moving map stuff that most

gps units have. It is working just great. We bought it from Aircraft Spruce

for $495, but with a $100 rebate, so we paid $395...great deal.

After the Trenton fly in, I bought a ball joint for the exhaust manifold/muffler

interface and had Gary Junkin weld it on. with that installed I was able to

simplify my muffler suspension. During the revision, I made and installed a

stainless steel muffler heat shield. The suspension and the heat shield both

look much nicer than the previous ones.

I didn't like the fuel pump and filter being mounted directly above the ignition

electronics, so I decided to move them to the right side of the back of the cabin.

Now I can change the filter without risk of spilled fuel/oil on the electrical

harnesses. I installed a glass see-thru filter assy so I only have to change filter

elements instead of the whole filter. To mount the assy, I machined two slotted

PVC brackets which capture the filter hex nuts on each end. this will keep the

filter from unthreading. The filter assy pushes into the bracket slots (flush fit).

A bolt then is installed in each of the bracket slots to further tighten the slots

down on the filter hex nuts, and secure the assy in place. Just below this assy,

I mounted the fuel pump. This configuration made for a neater fuel plumbing


I posted seven new photos.


Dec 21

Today, I took more photos of the handling wheel/over center jack I designed and built. Also, I shot photos of the Microair 760 radio installation, and the skid shoes installed to protect the bottoms of the skids.

I posted 17 new photos

Dec 20

I went to the airport to install the horizontal stabilizer tail planes on the XEL. The installation went well and I am real pleased with the results. The installation is quick and the mounting is very sound…no flexing no movement, and the adjustment is extremely easy. Installation/removal will be less than a five minute job and only two screws to remove/ reinstall. Yesterday’s build log described in detail the design and the fabricated parts and how the parts worked. I’ve added 6 photos to show the parts and installation.

Dec 19

It’s been three months since I posted in the build log. This update is the first in a series of updates I will be adding. Building to the point of flight is a long detailed process. After the flight phase has started, there are add-ons, and upgrades, and other changes of interest to others, and in need of documentation. Since starting the flight phase we have installed the floats, designed an over center lever lift to install handling wheels with or without floats, installation of a panel mount Microair 760 transceiver, sewing and installation of side pockets for storage, refinements to the transportation trailer, and other things.

To date, Mark and I have flown the XEL a total of 22 hours. We’ve been blessed with more fun than we deserve. We are ever so thankful.

This update will show preparation and installation of a set of aftermarket horizontal stabilizers. These are needed when flying at or above 50mph with floats installed. The tail planes are extremely light weight and well made. They are composite fabricated/bonded around ¾ inch aluminum tubing, which is inserted into the aluminum tube already in place on the tail boom for installation.  I needed to design an installation scheme for the stab assy which would allow quick installation/removal and adjustment of both of the  tail planes. The stab assy must be removed when the XEL is trailered, since the mounting tube in the tail boom is used as both a tail boom and main rotor blade support mounting place.

With the above criteria, I decided on a concept using a cup fixed to the each horizontal plane (one on the right and one on the left side of the tail boom). These cups (made from PVC end cap fittings in which I machined slots for angle adjustment of the planes after installation. For mating to the cups, I machined nylon into donut shaped inserts. These inserts are mounted to the ¾ inch aluminum tube in the tail boom using three 10-32 set screws located at 120 degree spacing around the donut. In addition a fourth hole is drilled in the donut as a provision for the jam screw which locks the plane angle and secures the plane to the helicopter. So installation of the two planes requires insertion of the plane into the tail boom aluminum tube to the point of cup/donut coupling, positioning the plane at the flight angle and inserting and tightening the jam screw. This is repeated for the second plane on the other side of the tail boom. Removal for trailering is simply reverse of the installation.

I’ve added five photos of the tail planes and the cup/donut mounts. I will take additional photos of the installation and angle adjustment when I get out the airport.     

Sep 11

Went to the airport both yesterday and today, and got in some hover time both days.

Mark is on his 6 day stint flying t="on">EMS. Decided I would take a few photos showing how I am putting the XEL in the hangar with my Bucatura UL and the powered parachute owned by my hangar mate. Also one of my friends shot a couple photos of me posing in the XEL.


Sep 09
The XEL is all but finished. We ran the engine and broke it in Sep 4, and trailered it to the factory in t="on">t="on">Trenton, t="on">Fla on Sep 5. Dwight went over it with a fine tooth comb. The CG with me in it was right on the money, and the weight was 293 lbs. That means with the added 15 lbs floats the legal weight is 308 lbs (6lbs under the legal UL allowance of 314lbs).
Dwight made adjustments to the main blade lead / lag and pitch. Then outside to do hover tests. One of the spring loops on the muffler broke, so we had to spring to one of the other loops. Then back to the hover test. All went well.

We then trailered over to a near by field and Dwight flew the Mad Mosquito for about 30 minutes. All was well. He said that I would need to go ahed and install a heat shield because the temp of the tail boom was too high.

Mark climbed in and hovered for about 10 minutes, then I climbed in and hovered for 10 minutes. I loved it...WOW!

Upon return home I started fabricating the heat shield and a muffler attachment bracket to replace the "less than desireable" stretch spring attachment. I made a temporary (will make a more refined version later) compression spring attachment and installed it and the heat shield to the muffler.

Yesterday, I went to the airport and did 30 minutes of hovering. Post flight inspection revealed a grease leak in one of the tail rotor bearings. So today I will remove the tail rotor and fix the leak.

Some photos are posted of the flying and hovering in t="on">t="on">Trenton.

Sep 03
We started and ran the engine today. It barked on the first button push, and then a second and third and it came to life. I went through the breakin. Then I ran it at flight RPM while Mark looked at the tracking. We shut down and adjusted the high blade three times until the tracking was real close. I got it light on the skids and just off the ground while getting the feel of the controls. Got up to 1 foot a couple of times. Then Mark ran it some, but didn't hover. Tomorrow we will trailer to tTrenton and let Dwight have a go at it, and see if anything needs tweaking.

Four photos posted

SEP 01

Today we finished all that we needed to complete prior to start up with one remaining task. The one remaining task is to grease the teeter bearings via the grease fittings in the bearing covers. Installation of the covers calls for sealant to be applied to the cover surface then bolt on the covers. After the sealant sets insert grease. So tomorrow first thing, I will grease the bearings. I used my digital protractor to set the main blade pitch to -1 degree at full collective down Dwight recommended this setting. Meanwhile, Mark set out to get hardware for building the main rotor and tail boom supports for the trailer. Before we trailer again we have to have the supports built. We have the design and materials to complete this fabrication tomorrow. If this all goes according to plan, we will then trailer the XEL to a nearby private airfield to break in the engine.

Posted two new photos.

AUG 31

Mark returned home from his 6 day stint flying the EC135 EMS heli. It’s about time he came back to help me with the REAL helicopter stuff. LOL!

Today we finished the blade lead / lag laser tool, a muffler output deflector, adjusting main blade lead / lag adjustment, tail rotor pitch adjustment and seat belt installation. I added photos of all these items in the photo album.

AUG 30

Well we are getting down to the short strokes. Only a handful of tasks left to do and then start her up and break the engine in.

Today I drilled and threaded the holes in each one of the blades on the leading edge at the root. This is to bolt on the pretensioner bracket. I weighted the blades to compare. Both weighed exactly the same. Then I mounted both blades on the head and preadjusted the lead lag adjustments by eyeball. With this done, I rolled the XEL outside to shoot some photos. Tomorrow I will clamp on a laser tool I made to fine tune the lead/lag adjustment of each blade.

Posted 9 photos

AUG 29

I wasn’t totally satisfied with my electrical system, so I went out and got some more indicators and some other odds and ends. I also bought some poles to build rotor blade supports for when I’m transporting the XEL on the trailer. When I returned home, my floats had arrived. I unpacked them, filled them with air, and positioned them on the heli. They look really nice and the color match is just right. I couldn’t resist shooting a few photos for the album. After ogling the floats for long enough, I decided I needed to install the electrical system goodies. I’m finished with the electrical system, and yesterday I finished completely re plumbing the fuel system with Tygothane tubing. The fuel system is now complete. I believe I’ll be completely finished with the build in a couple of days. I only have a few minor things to finish. The only large task is mounting and adjusting the main blades, and setting the pitches on the main and tail rotor blades.

Posted 5 photos of the XEL and the floats.


AUG 27

Today, I unpacked the rotor blade shipping box to begin work on the blades. These blades are absolutely beautiful. Before taking the blades out, I cleaned the shop and put away all the tools, parts, and materials. The place looks almost habitable.

The first thing I did was to set up to check the CG of the blades. I used two machinist “v” blocks to hold a piece of large plastic conduit pipe. I laid the blades on top of this balance fixture. The blades matched CG location perfectly. Next, I want to weigh the blades to verify they match.

I went out to get my capacitor, indicator assy’s, fuse holder, and a stainless steel banding kit. This I used to clamp the skid protectors on.

When I returned home, my Tygothane fuel and primer tubing and fuel fittings to complete the fuel plumbing had arrived along with the stainless steel muffler clamps. Right away, I installed the clamps on the muffler.

I am trying to finish my XEL so I can meet Cam in t="on">t="on">Trenton, t="on">Florida this weekend. There are several close out items on the fuel plumbing, the electrical, seat belt, and some miscellaneous items. The biggest effort will be to install, balance, lead-lag, and set the pitch on the main rotor blades. I will also need to adjust the tail rotor blade pitch travel. Hope I get her finished this week.

Posted 14 new photos.

AUG 26
I continue to work off the remaining tasks and believe I could start this baby up in a few days to a week. There’s a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Seems like the tasks that should be completed quickly take me more time than anything else. I’ve made good progress mounting electrical components and on the wiring. I still need to buy the cap for the ignition back up circuit and the indicator lights for the ignitions. I’ve completed drawing the schematic of the ignition circuits, but right now it’s just scribbled out. I’ll clean it up and make a good drawing of it to post on the forum soon.

The pitot tube is installed in the nose of the helicopter and plumbed to the airspeed indicator.

Since day one, I’ve not liked the idea of cutting, relocating, and welding things on the muffler. So I designed and built a custom mount. I used two hefty shock mounts which could be too soft (allow too much movement of the muffler), but I want to try them and see. The mounting scheme lowers the muffler down lower, and should not need a heat shield for the tail boom or the primary reduction. This also changes to angle of the exhaust outlet where I don’t have to weld it in a different location. I will, however be installing a deflector to assure the exhaust doesn’t impinge on the tail boom. I built two mounting brackets which go on the tail boom mounting ring at an off center to the right location. This was done to suspend the muffler at it’s balance point. Because of the location of the exhaust manifold connection point to the muffler, the muffler does not center on the tail boom. Most of the muffler is to the right of the tail boom. So my brackets offset to pick up the muffler at its center. The whole assembly is finished and mounted. However, I had to temporarily clamp the muffler to the bracket with Velcro just to see how it fits and looks. The stainless steel muffler clamps are ordered and should be here in a few days. The clamps are real heavy duty specifically made to clamp mufflers on ultralight engines. The installation looks good and I hope it works good too. We’ll see.

I posted photos of the new work in the album.  

AUG 20

Been steadily working every day even though it’s really hot in the garage. By the end of the day, I’m totally spent and in need of a refreshing shower to cool off.

I moved the splitter gear box forward 1/8 inch. To do this, I had to remove the tail boom, unbolt and remove the gearbox, and elongate the mounting holes in the tail boom. With the holes reworked, I remounted the gearbox. During the installation of the bolts, I used JB Weld to fill in the hole elongations in the tail boom. I then mixed a batch of PC 7 to fill the 1/8 inch gap between the gearbox face and the tail boom tube face. PC 7 is a 24 hour cure super strong epoxy. The fill doesn’t look pretty, but should be very strong.

Reinstalled the tail boom and checked the shaft alignments. All were well within 1/16 inch, so I started assembling the floating drive shafts, flex packs, and associated hardware. Next, I had to make a new T/R control lever (part 51-01). The lever hit the tail stinger support bracket which limited the pitch travel of the tail rotor. If you use the stinger support brackets, you will have to build a modified bracket. For those who use the optional accessory tail fin/stinger assemble, part 51-01 will be built per drawing without modification.

I installed the new lever and decided to drill safety wire holes in the heads of the two mounting fasteners. Since these bolts both face head down, I’ll feel better with them safety wired.

Saturday I received my rotor blades….they are a mirror finish work of art. According to Dwight, the blades are balanced and run on a test fixture rotor head prior to shipping. I will still check CG and weight to verify the blades are matched prior to installation.

I worked on some things that I waited to complete for various reasons. Next I mounted three of the gages in the instrument panel. I’ll be adding some switches and indicators, and the tiny tach / hour meter, and maybe a couple of other gages as room permits. Tomorrow, I’ll start wiring the cabin and panel.

Posted 11 new photos.

AUG 15

I know it has been a week since I made an update to my build log. Several things have been going on and I will discuss all of these now.

When I previously tried assembled the rotor head, I had discovered:

  1. The teeter block needed a chamfer cut so the feathering head bolts would clear the teeter block.

  2. The teeter plates had holes that were not in the correct location. John Uptigrove called about this and told me there had been a new revision to these plates to add 0.4 degrees more of positive coning angle. This change had been tried and made the helicopter run much smoother. In the process of programming the CNC machinery to make this change to the production teeter plates, the programmer had made a mistake and my plates were drilled incorrectly and would be replaced.

I used my power hack saw to cut 45 degree, .025” chamfers on both sides of lower portions of the teeter block. These were cut easily.

I received the new teeter plates from John and completed the rotor head assembly with no other problems.

Next, I removed my cyclic stick and installed a new one I had Doug Bryant make for me with slightly different bends in it. Looks great.

For some time, I had been thinking about skid shoes to protect the skids. While at Home Depot, I saw some 11/2 inch gray plastic conduit pipe and decided to give that a try. I bought a length of it and headed home. I experimented with a couple of designs and setteled on a simple design which worked real well. So I built three more to complete the set. I have decided to install them with stainless steel clamps.


The next thing I did was to check the alignment of the splitter gear box (bottom shaft to the output shaft of the primary reduction, and the top shaft to the input shaft of the secondary reduction). The output shaft of the splitter gearbox was out of specification with the input shaft of the secondary reduction both fore / aft and side axis. The fore / aft could be corrected in my shop, but the side offset could not. The splitter gearbox input shaft alignment with the primary reduction output shaft needed adjustment in the fore /aft axis , but was OK in the side axis. Called Dwight and he said to bring up the helicopter and he would to correct the secondary reduction alignment problem. So I worked for a day on my trailer/ auto wiring so I could take my XEL to t="on">t="on">Trenton, t="on">Florida. Then I loaded the heli on the trailer and headed to t="on">t="on">Trenton.

Immediately upon arrival, Dwight started working to understand the problem and fix it. The fix was to cut 1/8 inch off the right side of the secondary reduction mounting slot in the fuselage, build up the left side 1/8 inch. Once that was done, Dwight reassembled the secondary reduction, and the drive belts. The side shaft offset was now well within spec. I will fix the fore / aft offset by repositioning the splitter gearbox, and installing spacers on the engine mounts to correct the splitter gearbox / primary reduction alignment.

The trailer worked great on the trip to and from t="on">t="on">Trenton.

I have to reposition the splitter gearbox and add spacers to the engine mount brackets, after which I’ll install the shaft couplers and the flex packs.

I added 11 photos.


AUG 07

I’ve been working on the tail rotor assembly and the tail rotor pitch control cable and the pedal interface.

First, I bolted on the tail boom. Then I attached the tail stinger tube and braces. Next was the assembly of the pitch control linkage and brackets. This included all but the actual tail rotor. Then I routed the tail rotor control cable from the front of the tail boom, through the cabin rear bulkhead and seat bulkhead to the tail rotor pedals.

Back when I mounted the tail rotor pedals, I had changed the mount location to be more forward and on top of the keel box. This was all done to accommodate Mark’s 6’ 3” frame and size 14 shoes. As a result, I knew I had to fabricate a custom cable keeper bracket up by the rotor pedals. Also, I didn’t want the control cable to penetrate the lower part of the instrument panel, so the new bracket had to accommodate the cable running outside the lower instrument panel. I finished the custom bracket and installed it. The new bracket mounting is much stiffer than the standard bracket which flexes the thin fiberglass on the top keel panel when the pedals are actuated. My bracket has no flex because it is mounted on the left side of the keel box and is also bolted to a second bracket that mounts on top of the keel box. The pedals, control cable, and tail rotor actuation mechanism works really well. Also, due to the way I routed the cable through the cabin, I didn’t have to make a cable extender as I thought I would (because of moving the pedals forward 3”).

Next I began the assembly of the tail rotor hub, bearings, spacers. I did a longitudinal CG check of the blades, and weight comparison. I finishing with the installation of the tail rotor blades and pitch arms and linkage.

Added 18 photos.

AUG 03

Mark is off to t="on">t="on">Perry, t="on">Florida to fly the EC135 EMS helicopter for his 7 day on shift. Tough job…yeah you know the rest.LOL!

Anyway, someone has to stay home and do the real work on the Mosquito XEL, right?

Today, I worked on the electrical wiring outside the helicopter. Finished mounting the CHT’s and EGT’s and routing the leads in with the main wiring harness. Connected the main wiring harness to the coils, CDI’s, pickup’s, generator, regulator, and grounds. Then I cut a hole to rout the harness inside the cabin. I secured the harness with tie raps, after routing and dressing as much as possible.

I didn’t rout the starter wire or the Tiny Tach wiring yet.

Posted 8 new photos.

AUG 02

The past couple of days we’ve been working on mounting components and plumbing the fuel system. The regulator and both CDI’s are mounted as is the battery and the fuel pump. Most of the external fuel plumbing is done, except I have to get some smaller fuel tubing (primer line). I will be routing tubing into and out of the cabin for a manual engine primer pump. The electrical components mounted thus far were positioned where the wiring harness fit best. I looked at what other builders did, also. I positioned the components in approximately the same location as others I saw. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a bright blue bar of plastic at my favorite surplus store. The piece was milled to a trapezoid shape, so I had to mill it to a rectangular shape to use it as a hold down bar for my battery. It worked out real well. I have never before seen a blue colored bar of plastic. Anyway, it matches my heli blue…amazing!

Posted 6 new photos. 


Continued on the throttle cable installation. Got it all connected along with the carbs. I was disappointed in how hard it was to roll on the throttle. So I started studying the whole configuration. I decided to rework the cable routing and to reduce the length of the cable as much as possible. To make the whole thing cleaner, I decided to mount the adjustor outside the helicopter and make a very short cable run up to the carbs. I made a stainless steel clamp the mount the cable splitter with. Two holes were drilled in the side of the primary reduction assy to clamp the splitter there. The whole thing worked out and rolling on the throttle is much easier and works really nice.

Added two photos.


I continued to work on engine installation. I completed fabrication of the shock isolator spacer washers. After installing these washers, I installed the engine on the helicopter. Bolted on the primary reduction assy and the centrifugal clutch/drive sprocket assy. Then I adjusted the belt tension and then tightened all bolts. Next I went over the engine fasteners to verify all were tight. All were OK, so I put torque stripe (white paint) on the fasteners. I installed the carbs next along with the air cleaners. After that, I started the throttle cable installation. I deviated from the instructions that called for an adjustor to be threaded into the outlet of the throttle handle assy. Because the cable exits at a right angle to the collective stick, a large loop of cable hangs down below the stick. Started thinking of what I could do to install the adjustor in line with the cable run. I came up with a threaded spool that I turned down on the lathe. The adjuster threads into one end and the cable threads into the other end of the spool. Now there is but a mere 2 inch loop and the adjustor is parallel to and just under the stick. The cable still moves freely so I’m happy with the outcome. So far I have completed the throttle cable installation inside the helicopter and out the adjustor on the rear of the helicopter. Tomorrow, I will work on the exterior cable installation.

Added 8 new photos


Today, I assembled the primary reduction. This is a simple assembly that requires pressing two bearings into top and bottom plates, pressing the slave sprocket into the bearings on these plates. Then the drive belt is loosely positioned over the slave sprocket. Next the two sides, top and bottom are bolted together.

I then pulled the engine out of the box and started installing the two mounting plates. I ran into a little problem with the lower mounting plate. The engine has a beveled shoulder cast into the engine case. This shoulder interferes with the mounting plate. So I milled a slot in the mounting plate to allow clearance. With the mounting plates bolted on to the engine, I began installing the shock isolators on the mounting plates. The instructions called out installation of 1/4" thick aluminum spacer (part number is 11-09) on the shock isolators. I don’t have them and they are not listed in the inventory. Then I started making the spacers. I’ll finish them tomorrow.

I wanted to see how the engine fit, so I lifted it up to slide it on the mounting studs. The mounting plate holes were not as tall as the studs on the engine mounts and the shock isolators didn’t have enough give to get the engine on the studs. So I milled elongation slots in the top mounting plate holes. Reassembled all and this time the engine slid right on the mounting studs.

Added 8 photos



Continued with spindle assy. Completed bolting the spindle assy's into the blade holders, and attached the pitch arms and reinforcement bkts. Then I pressed the outer race of the teeter bearings into the two rotor head side plates, and the oinner race of the teeter bearings on the teeter block axels. Next I installed the rotor head side plates on the teeter axels. Partially installed the blade grip assy's on the rotor head side plates and discovered an interference problem. The feathering bolts on both blade grip assy's hit the teeter block such that the lower blade grip bolts could not be installed. I talked to Dwight and he said some of the more recent teeter blocks were shipped without a chamfer machined on the teeter block. I removed the blade grips and the teeter plates to cut the chamfer.

Later, I got a call from John asking me to check the lower mounting hole span on the teeter plate. Another maching programming error located these holes too close together on recent teeter plates. My plates have the incorrect hole location, so John will ship a new set of plates machined correctly. So, I put the rotor head assy aside until the new plates arrive. I should have the new plates within a few days. John stays on top of these problems and timely disposition.

I'll move on and assemble the primary reduction next.

I posted 8 new photos.


Mark is in t="on">Perry, t="on">Florida on duty flying the EC135 helicopter on his new t="on">EMS job. I decided to start assembling the rotor head, so I gathered up all the parts. The first task is pressing all the bearings on both of the rotor head spindles. Pressing the bearings on was harder than I expected. First I tried an 8” C clamp to press on the bearings. The C clamp was the wrong tool. The task needed much more force and I didn’t have a hydraulic press. I have an arbor press, but the throw wasn’t near large enough. So I started looking around to see what else might work. Then I wondered if the rotor shaft removal tool might work if a bar were added to make it a press. Looked through the scrap pile and found an aluminum bar that was just the right dimensions. Drilled 5/8” holes in the bar to line up with the threaded rods already on the tool. I set up the tool in the vise to give it a try. It worked really well.

There are three bearings installed on each spindle. The first is a roller bearing. The inner race is pushed out and pressed on the spindle. On the outer race one of the two seals is removed and discarded. The outer race is now replaced on the inner race on the spindle with the remaining seal  facing away from the blade end of the spindle. Next the steel keeper ring is placed on the spindle. This is not a pressed fit, so it is easily installed. Then two thrust/ball bearings are pressed on the spindle with the wide side of the outer race toward the center of the rotor hub. This is critical for the thrust feature of the bearings to function properly.

With the bearings all pressed on the spindle, a 3/4” bolt and washer is installed through the spindle and the retainer nut. The nut is tightened to100 ft. lbs. A hole is then drilled through the retainer nut/bolt and a cotter pin is installed

After the spindles are completed, they are installed in the blade grips. This required clamping the blade grip in the vise (with protective jaw plates) and briskly tapping the head of the 3/4” bolt (also protected) until the blade grip is on the spindle. Once the spindle is in place, the holes in the retainer ring are aligned with the holes in the blade grip using a drift punch.

That’s where I ended for today. Should complete and install the rotor head tomorrow.

Posted 9 new photos.     


We’ve continued to work getting the rotor shaft installed and have, AT LAST, succeeded. With the rotor shaft installed, the control tubes and assemblies were next. The three control tubes in the torque box went in with the rotor shaft since they were bolted to the swash plate. Remember last post we said three holes in two torque tube bulkheads were clocked wrong by 180 degrees. Having to remove the tubes to open up one large hole in both bulkheads was exasperating because of all the trouble we’ve had with the rotor shaft installation. One positive that came out of that effort is that the three control tubes didn’t have to be threaded through the holes and then bolted on to the collective assy. Instead we bolted part of the collective assy to the control tube ends outside the helicopter before control tube installation. Then once the control tubes were inserted into the torque box, we only had to make two easy connections to the collective assy in the helicopter. You can’t do it that way normally, since the control tubes have to pass through the three bulkhead holes before you can bolt them to the collective assy. Anything that has to be bolted together inside the helicopter is always harder because of limited/cramped accessibility. Maybe Dwight will make one large bulkhead hole in future builds since it makes the job easier that way.

The control assembly effort was straight forward and we encountered no problems.

Next we went to work assembling and installing the secondary reduction, the two drive belts, adjusting the belt tension, and reduction assy alignment to the large sprocket wheel on the rotor shaft. This all went well, but we had to shim the drive sprocket assy so it was parallel to the large sprocket wheel. I used a machinist level to compare the large sprocket with the drive sprocket. We developed a shim set for the rear two mounting bolt locations on the drive sprocket assy. The shim thickness was 0.014” and they did the trick. The check is to tighten all four mounting bolts and rotate the rotor shaft several times and look at the belts on the drive and large slave sprockets. When the shims are right, the belts will ride centered on both sprockets. This is a very important procedure to complete properly as it will adversely affect the belt wear if not done properly.

I did some bending on the cyclic stick because I don’t like the straight “Igor Sikorsky” looking stick. No disrespect to the “Father of Helicopters”, but once he had finished prototyping, his cyclic sticks were curved too. Anyway, I like the shape of our stick…hope you do too. I cut off 1.5” off the collective stick as predetermined by Mark and I when we sat in the heli. I then installed the throttle grip. Sticks look good…I’m going garage flying, Y’ALL!

I posted 9 new photos.

JUNE 27, 2008 POSTED

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