VH-SOL, RV-6 s/n 21068, has been down for refurbishment since mid February.
Engine overhaul. Rewiring. Instrumentation refit. Gazillions of little fixes and improvements.
We returned to the skies with my O-320-D2A rebuilt as an IO-320 by Andrew Jolly at Riverina Airmotive in Parafield, with a Precision Airmotive Silverhawk EX fuel injection system and a P-Mag electronic ignition replacing the impulse magneto (I'll do the other one in a few months, all the wiring is ready and waiting for it). Inside the fuselage I now have a dual-screen Garmin G3X panel with engine monitoring, GNS430W, Garmin autopilot, remote mount GTR20 COM.
The EIS, PFD and primary ADHARS are dual-powered from the main bus and an essential bus with its own battery. G5 backup flight instrument is on an avionics bus with its own backup battery. Lots of redundancy, designed for reliability and IFR.
The refit has also dismantled and rebuilt 25 years worth of modifications by two previous owners. Grounding has been rebuilt, circuit protection has been applied correctly to everything.
And the sub-panel was hacked to pieces over many years of changes. That's been filled-in, reinforced and stiffened.
The rewire extended to the engine bay. All the wiring runs are properly supported with p-clamps, with slack loops in appropriate places. Massive tidy-up and improvement.
The result is a return-to-service of a 25 year old RV-6 that's been updated to 2021 standards. The same airplane, but where everything we touched has been made better.
I put the first 30 minutes on the new engine by flying circles above Goolwa Airport (YGWA) in South Australia at the end of Friday, just in time for the weekend.
I put another 1.3 on it this afternoon, doing system tests between YGWA, YMBD and YSFG. I still have some calibrations to do (the G5 ADHARS hasn't been reset since I turned it from standalone into G3X Backup, so they don't quite agree), but they're minor tasks, and it's essentially finished.
CHTs on initial climbout are about 390ºF, at 2400 RPM 150 knots IAS leaned to 28 litres per hour they settle down to about 360ºF, or 345ºF at full rich.
Very happy with how it turned out. I've been carrying a mental picture of this project around in my head for a year now, and it's immensely satisfying to see it rendered into physical form. And, even better, almost all of it worked first time.
Great thanks to Lyndon Tretheway, my LAME (Australian A&P equivalent) who has done most of the work while I've been learning skills, holding wrenches and gophering. I've been incredibly impressed with the way that he's improved on my design ideas. We've spent two and a half weeks of collaboration with pretty long days to get it to this point, and none of it would have been possible without him. I can't recommend his RV expertise highly enough.
Aside from the second P-Mag, the final piece of the project is the interior refit. There's a set of seats, side panels and tonneau covers waiting for me at home in Sydney, delivered while I was 1400km away doing this work. My plan is to get back home next weekend, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it looks when the finishing touches are applied.