PPC Assembly Day 9

Today I had to work late so I didn’t too much done.  But we only have to do one thing a day right?  So today I ran a wire for my strobe from the instrument pod to the top of the prop cage where I’m going to mount the strobe.  I wanted to find a position on the key switch that provide +12V whenever the key was in any position other than OFF.  Unfortunately this key switch does not provide that.  So I tapped off the +12V terminal that goes to the battery.  I just have to remember to turn the strobe switch off.  I would have liked for it to turn off if EITHER the strobe switch were turned off, or the key switch were turned off.  I’ll have to look for a different key switch down the road.

PPC Assembly Day 8

This was another one of those days where I just try to get one thing done.  Today I finished wiring up the switches and gauges in the panel.  Well, almost.  I added a switch for my anti-collision strobe light and need to run the wires for that still.  But all the other wiring in the panel is done.  Tomorrow I’ll run the last two wires for the strobe.  I also labelled all the wires at the far end of the wire loom.  I’ll finish wiring those up when I permanently mount the wire loom in the back of the PPC.


PPC Assembly Day 7

Sundays are for spending with family so I didn’t get much done today.  I was able to do some wiring and wiring cleanup.  I attached the wire loom to the frame and began connecting up the switches.  I’ve only got to connect the gauges and the electrical wiring is done.

I also need to check with the factory to see if they have designated certain wire colors for certain things.


PPC Assembly Day 6

Got a lot accomplished today.

  1. Fuel pump installed
  2. Regulator installed
  3. Engine mounted
  4. Tachometer mounted and wires run
  5. Wire loom run from from instrument panel to engine area
  6. Began wiring regulator
  7. Carburetor mounted

I also mounted the starter contactor but mounted it in the wrong place so I’ll have to move that and put a bolt through the “lightening hole” I created.

I still have lots of questions that I’ll email to the factory on Monday.  Tom would answer my questions all weekend but a guy needs some time off.  My questions are:

  1. How is the carburetor supposed to be oriented?
  2. Does it have a choke?
  3. If so, where can I get a choke cable?
  4. The instructions reference a brown wire on the regulator, but the only wires left are a black wire and a red wire.

I’ll hit Tom up with those on Monday.  For now I’ll just keep doing what I can.  Tomorrow I’ll try wiring up the instruments.  I also need to go back, apply loc-tite to the engine bolts and torque them to the proper values.  I’ll have plenty of time tomorrow for that.


PPC Assembly Day 5

I’m still on hold for mounting the engine while I’m waiting for my fuel pump to show up so I decided to move to the other end of the airplane.  I drilled the holes for the instruments and switches in the instrument pod.  Tom Connelly gave me a panel template on a sheet of paper.  When I looked at it though, the holes didn’t quite look right.  Then I realized it was a mirror image of what the layout was supposed to be.  I turned the sheet around and traced the cutouts on the opposite side and then things lined up right.  I taped the template to the instrument pod and started drilling.  A step drill took care of most of the holes.  I had some 2 inch hole saws left over from my other airplane projects.  I selected the least ratty one and cut out the holes for the engine gauges.  The tachometer is just taped in place for now.  I couldn’t find the screws for it so I may just pick some up at the hardware store.

Here is today’s progress…


This is the original template.  I had to flip it over and trace out the cut outs on the opposite side.  The template as-is is a flipped, mirror image of what the template should be.


Here is the finished product.  The tach is just taped in place for now.  Everything else is mounted.

PPC Assembly Day 4

Today’s project was mounting the battery box.  This is a simple matter of drilling two 1/4 inch holes through the top of the frame tube straight through out the bottom.  This is about a 4 inch span between the top so it was a little tricky.  I just took my time and everything turned out okay.  After attaching the bottom of the battery box to the frame, I cut two notches in the plate that covers the top of the battery.  This is so it wouldn’t interfere with the wires that connect to the battery terminals.  I’ll paint this plate black so that it matches the rest of the PPC.


PPC Assembly Day 3

One thing you’ll find as you follow the progress of this build is that things go slowly.  After all, there’s no rush.  Getting there is half the fun.

While I’m waiting for my fuel pump to show up I went ahead an drilled the holes for the regulator.


I don’t have the bolts for that yet so I set it aside and decided to mount the throttle quadrant.  I did find one problem with the throttle in that the seat interferes with the throttle travel.  I’m going to have to trim the throttle handle just a bit.


Tomorrow, the battery box.

UPDATE:  Tom Connelly, factory manager for Six Chuter suggested I just bend the throttle arm just above the choke control (that lower lever).  I bent it as suggested and the throttle clears the seat with no issues.  The choke lever also moves freely.  Problem solved!

PPC Assembly Day 2

Only had time to measure out some holes for accessories that go on the engine mount plate.  I didn’t get too far.  Some of the holes are for the regulator, I found that and was using that as a sanity check for the holes I marked.  I also needed to fuel pump to check the hole layout for that.  But sadly I couldn’t find the fuel pump.  I sent an email to Six Chuter to see if they packed it or if it comes from the engine manufacturer.  And that was about it for today.


PPC Assembly Day 1

The only progress today was to move the PPC from the trailer to the garage.  Whew!  That was hard work.  I’ll rest up tonight to start in earnest tomorrow.  Tomorrow’s mission, mount the engine.  Oh, and read the manual between now and then.  Again.


Picking Up The PPC

I just returned from a 1674 mile round trip to pick up my PPC (powered parachute) in Wenatchee, WA.  They had the airframe done and the trailer ready (or so I thought, more on that later.)  The trip was ultimately an beautiful and as it would turn out, adventurous drive.  I’m not eager to repeat it but one day when I have more time and my love is with me, it would be a great trip.

I began my trip first thing on Thursday morning.  My first day’s travels would take me from Modesto, CA up to Redmon, OR.  This was a pretty unremarkable drive.  I just kicked back, turned on the cruise control and enjoyed the sites.

About 9 hours later I arrived at an unremarkable Motel 6 in Redmond, OR.  I was pretty beat so I didn’t do much other than take a shower, order a pizza, and veg for the rest of the night.  Didn’t get much sleep.  I don’t normally get much sleep when I stay in a motel.  Pretty noisy.

Friday morning I jumped into the truck and started the drive up to Wenatchee, WA.  Lots of interesting sites along the way.

One of the more interesting sites along the way was a scale model of Stonehenge built to honor veterans of WWI.

I finally pulled into  Wenatchee around 2:30pm in the afternoon.  I got directions from Jacky of Six Chuter on how to find them and pulled in front of their hangar.  I finally made it!  Brief introductions were made as Jacky introduced herself, her dogs, and finally Tom, who basically does… whatever needs doing.  They showed me the rolling airframe,

They got the airframe and boxes of assorted goodies loaded up into the trailer and tied down for me.  All set!  Or so I thought.  Later in the day I was bored so I went back up to the airport.  Tom and Jacky had both left already.  I decided to practice hitching up the trailer and making sure the lights and brakes worked.  I hitched up, connected the 6 way plug (uh-oh) using the adapter they gave me.  Lights – check!  Now to raise the landing gear and check the brakes.  I started the truck and let it idle forward.  I moved the manual brake lever on my brake controller and… nothing.  Kept rolling.  Uh oh.

My brake controller was showing an error code; sb.  It looked like the number 56 but eventually I found out it meant battery short.  I did some research and found the number one cause was water in the connector.  I blew into the connector and sure enough water came out.  I finally got all the water out and connected it again.  No error code!  Good!  I checked the brakes again and… no brakes!  Bad!  I suspected my brake controller so I bought a new one at O’Reilly and wired it in.  Another brake test… nothing.

Dang.  I decided to give up for the night and sleep on it.

I drove up to the airport the next day and continued trying to figure out the problem.  Tom showed up shortly after and I explained my problem to him.  Tom was very apologetic and tried to help me test out the plug to the trailer all to no avail.  Tom drove me into town to find an RV repair place.  He knew about where it was but couldn’t remember the name so we just went out looking for it… and found it.    A guy named Buddy seemed to be in charge and told us that the sooner we got the trailer to him the sooner he’d know if he could fix it or not.

Tom and I hightailed it up to the airport and hooked the trailer up to my truck.  Tom told me to send him the bill and he would make it right.  I can’t express how helpful and gracious Tom was.

I got the trailer back down to A’s RV Repair and Buddy dug in with some testers and confirmed the brakes were not working.  He tore into the 6 way plug and found most of the wires had rusted out.  Only two wires were still intact.  “Just like I thought” he said.  He got a brand new 7 way plug and wired it up.  After a few tests he confirmed the brakes and lights were working and then even set up the gain (how much braking power is applied) on my brake controller.  All in all it took 30 minutes and cost just shy of $150.

If you are ever in East Wenatchee, WA and need some RV repairs, I cannot recommend A’s RV Repair highly enough!  Friendly, helpful, and fast!

The drive home was slightly less eventful thank goodness.  I took basically the same route back home.  Just followed US 97 south all the way to I-5.  Here are a few pictures from the trip.

After another overnight in Redmond and a 5 hour drive south I finally got home.  Now let the fun and games begin!