Saturday was Crazy Day. Blogbrother’s schedule meant he was available only intermittently, and the weather was bad for it — too windy — but we were committed to prime most of the rest of the empennage parts. It went like this:

  1. We brought the parts up and inspected them. Every one that wasn’t deburred well enough got extra attention. Because we knew our sharpie markings wouldn’t survive the wash, etch and prime process, we added little toe tags with the descriptions of part matching and orientation that we had marked on the parts.
  2. We hung all the parts from one of those 10′ x 10′ canopies you can get at any big-box store. Sacrificed most of our cheesy metal coathangers to make hanging hooks.
  3. Washed them with Stewart EkoClean. This removes the mung and oils our fingers have left on the parts as we cut, shaped, drilled, test-fit, clecoed, and generally messed with them. With those oils, the primer wouldn’t adhere to the aluminum.
  4. Rinsed them off with tap water, a hose and a spray wand. (Strike One against the toe tags).
  5. When they were dry, etched them with Stewart EkoEtch solution. This prepared the metal to take the primer — a very important step.
  6. After letting EkoEtch do its thing for some minutes, we rinse it off. You want to etch the surface of the aluminum, not rot it. After all, we’re trying to prevent corrosion here.
  7. At this point, Blogbro turned into a pumpkin drawn by a team of mice, and went home for dinner with family. Your humble blogger continued to attack the problem.
  8. When the water had dried, then we fired up the Graco turbine sprayer again, this time with Stewart’s EkoPrime. (We think that’s what they call it). We painted almost everything we intended to paint, even as night fell and we had to work under floodlights. (Lord knows what the neighbors think. They’re not right upon us, but they can see our strange pavilion and wind chimes in the form of all the pieces of a plane’s tail feathers).
  9. The small parts were not suitable for spraying. They’re too light and even the default air cone of the Graco (which is flowing all the time the system’s on) blew them all over East Overshoe.
  10. What to do? Made a hanger hook, but used it to dunk the small parts in the Graco’s spray-gun bottle of mixed EkoPrime.
  11. Spent 40 minutes trying to extract a small spar cap doubler dropped in the paint bottle. Didn’t want to dump it out, as we had more stuff to dunk.
  12. Took a break to apply DEET and permethrin. Returned to task.
  13. Spent another half hour or so seeking the spar cap doubler. Gave up for now and resumed dunking.  Lost another small part in the paint can; fished this one out. Was encouraged to try for the spar cap doubler, no joy.
  14. Blogbrother, having put his bairns to bed,  arrived in time to rescue the dunked doubler, and help clean up and break down. The Stewart Systems paint dried rapidly and we’re very happy with it. It’s all water based so we just rinse everything off and run a few ounces of water through the spray gun.
  15. We finally got a good look at the parts in the bright lights of the basement mad science lab no, lair, no, workshop — which you dear readers may be seeing some parts of shortly — and were generally quite thrilled with them. There are a couple individual parts that will need to be re-done.

We have a bunch more priming and riveting to do, because Van’s has let us know the wing kit is on the way. We need to get the empennage and tail cone finished to make room for the next adventure.

So far, it’s all going together well, we’re learning a lot and having a blast, and we cannot praise the Van’s instructions and plans more highly. Everything’s logical and orderly and fed to you one bite at a time.

Other Saturday events included a short but thigh-burning bike ride, which led into the several hours of standing work on the priming job. That’s probably where all the pain came from. That, and age, and mileage, and a few unfortunately-kinetic PLFs over the years.

Today — Sunday — we may get the Saturday Matinee up. (We were supposed to watch it yesterday, and didn’t, so we’re that far behind the power curve). And we will be making ready for a new week. Monday will kick off with a gun story, and at 1100 Monday we’ll have an update on the Recycled Rangerettes. (BLUF: nope, none passed. A few are getting a second recycle, to Day One  this time. And the Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno, is hinting at moving the goalposts).

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

9 thoughts on “Sunday Slowness


Have you decided on avionics yet? Lots of good stuff to choose from out there. Will the airplane be used for IFR?

Hognose Post author

No, this one is Blogbrother’s and his intent is to build it as ELSA not E-AB, so the decison’s made: Dynon and VFR. I am leaning on him to get the autopilot anyway. It’s a $1700 option. However, the factory-built plane is now available with the Garmin G3X which includes WAAS and autopilot. I believe both the Dynon and Garmin autopilots are two-axis. Tru-Trak is also available for kit builders, including the three-axis, but would force E-AB. (Personally, I prefer E-AB rules, because you have much greater flexibility for modification and maintenance. But this one is his). We’re having a blast building and we don’t think we’re going to want to stop when this plane’s done.


Garmin is not currently available if you want to keep your E-LSA certification. But we anticipate its arrival. Vans is flying an RV-12 with the Garmin G3X system installed. They also said (14 months ago) that they could not promise when it would be available to -12 builders. And it’s not available now.

However, we are looking at at least a year before we are ready to even think about avionics. The wing kit comes on Friday – four days from now – and we’re a long way from finishing the empennage kit. Heck, we still have to drill out about 10% of our conventional rivets!

But, we have set some guidelines for building this future masterpiece. And one is that this is not the most important thing in our lives, so if something take’s longer than we expected, that’s life!


Sounds like you guys are indeed having fun. Good choice on Dynon and yes, he should get an AP even if it’s nothing more than a single axis bare bones leveler. Comes in handy at times!

Hognose Post author

If John Denver had a wing leveler, he could have dealt with the bad location of the fuel tank switch in N555JD and he’d probably be playing a concert somewhere this week, without a harp.

Tom Schultz

What Greg says on AP!

Like a gun and a parachute you may only need it once however . . . . . . . . . .


Looking forward to seeing some pictures of the progress – love seeing and reading about projects like this.


Just remember once you get it flying:

There are old pilots, and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.


“And the Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno, is hinting at moving the goalposts.”


even Helen Keller & Ray Charles saw that coming…