Tunnel Access Panels 1

Hours Worked = 1.75

The center tunnel of the RV10 is a crowded space. It’s more than just a place to set your elbow. It houses one of the fuel pumps (there is another on the motor), heat ducts, fuel filters, a fuel tank selector, rudder cables, the elevator pushrod, and more. The stock Van’s design is for a removable top. There are two problems with this design. First, even in a perfect world, if you want to get access to your fuel pump and filters, you have to dig to the bottom of a crowded narrow space. The second problem is that I’m going to be installing an aftermarket armrest and tunnel cover. It will all be removable for full inspections, but more time consuming.

When I’m flying my phase 1 test flights, I’m going to be wanting to check all these systems often… and after phase 1, I want to keep maintenance as simple as possible.

So the solution come to us from a company called AirWard. They make a tunnel access panel kit for the RV10. It’s basically just a simple screw on cover that gets installed in the side of the tunnel right in front of the front seats, giving you good access to the fuel system.

Tonight’s accomplishment was getting the big hole cut in the tunnel. After tracing the cutout from the panel, I cut it all out with a dremel, then finished the edges up with various files. I finished match drilling all the pieces.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/–4dBkMxRFlM/UVT0-UoE23I/AAAAAAAAJuc/GbZ4CjpdXOg/s144-c-o/P1020405.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104915858356518723094/RV104Fuselage#5860578366641724274″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”P1020405.JPG” ]

[pe2-image src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/-X_gh0lMCZbo/UVT1EW4MQWI/AAAAAAAAJuk/0OFSgZ97G54/s144-c-o/P1020406.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104915858356518723094/RV104Fuselage#5860578470325404002″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”P1020406.JPG” ]

[pe2-image src=”http://lh5.ggpht.com/-f2Nkevx6G-c/UVT1J7LJe3I/AAAAAAAAJus/tYPmKhXO5Sg/s144-c-o/P1020407.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104915858356518723094/RV104Fuselage#5860578565967936370″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”P1020407.JPG” ]

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/-R4esD0K4Quo/UVT1S03TLiI/AAAAAAAAJu0/56AnZSGVw58/s144-c-o/P1020408.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104915858356518723094/RV104Fuselage#5860578718892895778″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”P1020408.JPG” ]

2 thoughts on “Tunnel Access Panels 1

  • May 2, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    What was the dremel attachment you used to cut the panel out with? I have been using a cutoff wheel in a die grinder, but that wheel looked smaller and quicker (even taking into account the stop action filming). Hadn’t heard of these access panels yet, and as the fuse kit shows up in a couple of weeks, I’ve been peeking ahead at your project to see what I’m in for. I also noticed that your dimpler tends to walk a little – I almost pushed mine off the table doing the bottom wing skins before I noticed that. Have you made up your mind on panel stuff yet?

    BTW, you are working a little faster than I am, hours wise. I spent 310 hrs on the tailkit and 405 on the wings, with wingtips and bottom skins done but not riveted yet.

  • May 2, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Hey Dave,

    The attachment is just a Dremel brand fiberglass reinforced cutoff wheel. They work great on detail cuts, but they are expensive (over a buck each) and don’t last very long.

    As for my panel, I’m leaning towards Advanced Flight Systems, and the touch screen feature they just announced is putting me even further in their court. However, it’s going to be 1-2 years before I’m ready to fly, and I’m going to order my panel as late in the game as I can. You never know what Garmin might come out with in the next two years. I really like the look and feel of the G3X’s, but the 182 I fly now has G1000’s in it, and it feels strange going to the smaller screens.

    Like I said… we’ll see what’s around in 18 months!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *