Favorite Features or Mods

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Favorite Features or Mods

Postby mike.smith » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:36 pm

So with 200 hours on my plane in just over 2 years, and a couple of 1,100 mile trips, I've come to appreciate some of the per-plans features of my Sonex, and also some of my own modifications. I'll show you mine if you show me yours...

1. Fuel sight tube on the panel, per the Sonex plans. You ALWAYS know how much fuel you have! I can watch it every second of my flight. Once the fuel disappears behind the panel I know I have 1 hour of fuel (if I run it to zero). So I figure 15 minutes after the fuel disappears I should be thinking about landing. I calibrated mine in two colors: black for gallons in level flight, and red for gallons sitting on the ramp. I have a Gold Cube fuel flow sender, but it's worthless.

2. Trim lever, per the Sonex plans. It's infinitely adjustable and you know where it is at a glance.

3. Battery charge/jump port on the bottom of the cowl. It's completely protected and water tight, and takes 2 seconds to hook up to a battery charger. A quick disconnect inside the cowl pulls apart when I take off the lower cowl.
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/display_l ... 069&row=43
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/display_l ... 070&row=42

4. Entire center section of my instrument panel comes off in about 4 seconds by pulling 4 piano hinges. I can reach everything behind the panel without having to get upside down. I swapped out a radio the day before coming to OSH, in 13 minutes (I timed myself).
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/display_l ... 450&row=75
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/display_l ... 561&row=74
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/display_l ... 7932&row=1

5. Extra bracing/gussets on the rear canopy bow structure. Much stiffer.
http://www.mykitlog.com/users/display_l ... 271&row=13

6. Fuel vent at the bottom of the cowl. No fuel on the windscreen in bumpy conditions, after overfilling the fuel tank, or during aerobatics. Ask me how I know all those conditions will spill fuel out the top-mounted vent!

7. Lowered seat mod (not an option for the Waiex). You can always add cushions. You can't remove aluminum!

8. EarthX battery. Works better than my Odyssey, and saved me 11 pounds!
Mike Smith
Sonex N439M
Scratch built, AeroVee, Dual stick, Tail dragger
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby samiam » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:44 pm

Mike, it's really great to get that kind of feedback.

Interesting to hear your thoughts on the sight-tube. I also like the idea of the infrared camera set-up for the same reason - you can directly visualize your fuel level. Sorry to whoever posted it, I should be giving you credit but I can't remember off the top of my head.
Mike L
Sonex #1345
Tail complete
Working on wings
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby vwglenn » Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:23 pm

My sight gauge was one of the first things to go. It didn't register the last 6 gallons in my tank and I wasn't happy that it passed through my panel twice. I replaced it with a wifi camera under the panel which points at my tank. The tank is marked for three point and level flight.

My panel is also access via a piano hinge panel on top. Its been a lifesaver.

I put the big tailwheel on my plane. I could not even pull my plane out of the hangar with the tiny one. The big wheel is much quieter.

My plane had battery tender wire which was just shoved the cowl. I also installed a flush mount plug on the bottom of the cowl.

I also rearranged the controls. It bugged me that I had to constantly take my hand off the stick so I installed the aeroconversion throttle quadrant and moved the mixture to the left side. My plane has electric trim but had no indicator for its position. I installed an indicator. My whole panel now flows better. My procedure for start goes from left to right. And shutdown goes from right to left.

My favorite feature is the graphics. The vinyl is great and really made Rosie pop.
Glenn
Sonex #600
N889AP
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby mike.smith » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:03 pm

Oh, yes, I forgot about the Van's 6" tail wheel and the Sonex hydraulic brakes!! Whether you use Sonex stuff or someone else's, I highly recommend both.
Mike Smith
Sonex N439M
Scratch built, AeroVee, Dual stick, Tail dragger
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby mike.smith » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:14 pm

vwglenn wrote:My sight gauge was one of the first things to go. It didn't register the last 6 gallons in my tank and I wasn't happy that it passed through my panel twice. I replaced it with a wifi camera under the panel which points at my tank. The tank is marked for three point and level flight.


Interesting. Mine registers accurately to 4 gallons remaining. After that the fuel level disappears behind the panel, at which point I know I need to be landing. I generally don't fly with much less than 4 gallons in the tank, so it works for me.

I'm interested what other people will have to add to this "Favorites" post. :-)
Mike Smith
Sonex N439M
Scratch built, AeroVee, Dual stick, Tail dragger
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby Waiex 49 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:19 pm

My favorite mods:

Swapping out the AeroVee for a Viking 110
Warp drive three blade prop
Lightweight lithium batteries
Fabricating and installing a removable vertical instrument panel
Van's 6" tailwheel
Koger sun shade
Anson Engineering flap stops, jack points, fuel cap, and fuel vent system

Upcoming mods (next winter):
Swing back canopy
Sonex disc brakes with toe brake pedals

Took out the sight tube fuel gauge as I thought it looked amateurish.
Glad I did, the tubing behind the panel was hard and brittle, ready to fail
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby fastj22 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:24 pm

Actually, lowered seat is standard in the Waiex.
My favorite non-factory supported mods.
Center stick. Requires a modified push rod with the lowered seat.
Electric trim, both roll and pitch.
Electric flaps.
Speed cowl. Just looks better in my opinion.
toe brakes.
Full swivel tail wheel.

John Gillis
Waiex N116YX, Jabiru 3300, Tail dragger, SkyGuard ADS-B
First flight, 3/16/2013. 350+ hours and climbing.
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby MichaelFarley56 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:44 pm

This a great thread; excellent thought Mike!

My Waiex has been kept pretty "stock", but having said that, here's my list:

- For AeroVee owners, I love my top mounted oil cooler. I switched from the bottom mounted cooler to the top mount well before I installed the turbo, and it makes oil changes much easier.
- Also, if you have a VW, I recommend installing an "Oil Pressure Adjuster Kit" under the spring back by the flywheel so you can easily control your oil pressure. I have mine set so it hits 80-85 psi on a cold startup, but always settles around 40-42 psi in the summer and 45-50 psi in the winter.
- LED wingtip lights: I installed the Aveo Powerburst lights on the wingtips, mounted on a set of standoffs from www.gaugepods.com and love them. Given the size of our airplanes, having some bright LED lights that draw almost no power is a very wise safety consideration, even if you're not flying at night (my opinion of course!)
- Larger tailwheel: just like others have said. The bearings on my old stock tailwheel were failing after the first few flights.
- Koger sunshade: Makes things much more comfortable in the summer!
- Sonex hydraulic brakes: A nice improvement over the mechanical brakes. Much smoother, even though both worked just fine.
Mike Farley
Waiex #0056 - N569KM
AeroVee #0631
MGL Panel
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby mike.smith » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:51 pm

Waiex 49 wrote:Took out the sight tube fuel gauge as I thought it looked amateurish.
Glad I did, the tubing behind the panel was hard and brittle, ready to fail


It is important to use the right tubing. Clear fuel line is the only thing that should be used. After 2 years mine is still as supple as a baby's behind :-)
Mike Smith
Sonex N439M
Scratch built, AeroVee, Dual stick, Tail dragger
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Re: Favorite Features or Mods

Postby mike.smith » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:54 pm

Ooo! I just remembered another. I now have a quick-drain on the AeroVee oil sump plate. What a GREAT addition that has been! I push a plastic tube on the drain nipple, open the drain valve, and it all drains cleanly into a container.

I'm about to change from a bottom mounted oil cooler to a top mounted cooler.
Mike Smith
Sonex N439M
Scratch built, AeroVee, Dual stick, Tail dragger
http://www.mykitlog.com/mikesmith
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