View Full Version : Turtle build

12-20-2014, 07:15 PM
Finished the horizontal stab today and so finally have the tail surfaces covered using Oratex. Moving on to cover the wings next.

12-20-2014, 09:57 PM
Turtle build! That's a good one!:p
It's looking good, Gary! I've got to get over there again sometime soon.

David McCormick
12-21-2014, 06:49 AM
What are the cost using Oratex ?

12-21-2014, 10:56 AM
Nice job! Can't wait to get started, I'll be ordering the same color with white trim.

12-22-2014, 07:11 AM
I have relied upon a materials quantity that John Evens worked up which resulted in ~$6300 cost. Pricey, but I was NOT looking forward to building a big enough paint booth in my garage and trying to get sufficient lighting in there to do a good job. I will still of course need to spray the cowl, flaperons, etc., but figure I can do them outside. I have been told that Stewart Systems will be doing a paint match to the Oratex colors, and hope to use that paint. Since my plane is powder coated in white, I will probably be doing a white trim also. I will be investigating vinyl for trim rather than paint. At the turtle pace, I have time to figure that out.

12-22-2014, 11:43 PM
Looking really nice Gary. Hope mine turns out as nice.

12-22-2014, 11:57 PM
I would OraCover the flapperons as well, if I were you: Nice straight and flat pieces - and you'll be sure of the coulour gliss, lifetime, decoulourisation and so on. And fun to do, as well.

One question though: Steward and Poly (and Kitfox as well) urge you to put reinforcements onto ribs, longerons etc. I don't see that in your first result. Are you still up to that one or is OraCover that strong that you can leave those parts?

12-23-2014, 06:53 AM
Reinforcing and edge tapes are used in all the usual places same as PolyFiber, they just aren't showing well in the photo.

02-09-2015, 04:34 PM
Progress! Now have first wing covered. :D

02-11-2015, 05:22 PM
That looks great, Gary! If I don't get going you're going to be forging ahead of me! Then mine will be the "Turtle build" - and I'll call you the RED DEVIL!:p

02-11-2015, 11:33 PM
Never fear, ... we'll get there eventually. Rome wasn't built in a day, you know. "Slow & steady wins the race!"

02-12-2015, 10:34 AM
John & Jen,

It's so nice to look at your facebook page! I wish I had the gumption to document my project a little more thoroughly. Tom Waid, and others, also do such a wonderful job of that! Gary does a better job than me too. I'm thankful for you guys!

You're doing beautiful work... keep it up! It looks like the RED DEVILS are going to be a "growing menace"!

02-13-2015, 12:22 PM
Afraid my log is much more sterile; basic tasks worked, hours consumed and a few of the photos I take. I do try to take a lot of photos. I admire the detailed logs as well, but knew from the outset that I needed to spend my time on other things or I would never get done with the plane itself. It is usually long after I have done the work that I think back on "Why didn't I write down more detail?"
"Growing menace"? I didn't realize you had seen me flying before John.:eek:

02-18-2015, 01:34 PM
BTW, the on-running joke between my wife and myself is that if this oratex covering saves us up to 30 pounds of weight, then we can let ourselves go by that much.

02-21-2015, 05:25 AM
My Kit arrived this week, another white Oratex turtle build officially in progress. Looking forward to the challenge.


02-21-2015, 09:30 AM
Sure good to see other folks going the Oratex route too. It will be interesting to see how our experiences compare.

05-09-2015, 04:22 PM
Were you planning on using the servos seen in a few of your FB pics for anything special?

05-09-2015, 04:28 PM
Yeah. I figured it would work well for a pitch trim indicator. I removed the motor and gear train because I'm only using it for reference.

10-22-2015, 08:27 AM
Still slowly moving forward. The nose gear installation has taken awhile mostly due to coming up short on some parts. Finally have it to the point that I just need the top large washer.
The second photo shows how I provided access to the rudder pedal assembly attach nuts. Although the plugs snap in-place, I also used some silicone sealant in the grooves.
Received my Whirlwind prop a couple of days ago and the 912ULS is on a truck headed my way too.:D

12-23-2015, 05:00 PM
This is how I routed the brake lines out to the gear in my tricycle configuration. Your seeing a view with the sun shining down thru the Oratex.
Also, with use of John Evens' hoist and his assistance (and extra hands), I got the ring mount installed last Friday. Today the engine is finally hanging on its own.

12-24-2015, 03:11 PM
It's looking real good, Gary! It won't be too long and we'll have our own Colorado squadron. Then we'll go down & sneak up on those guys in Arizona (& Idaho, & Utah, &...). ;)

Dave S
12-24-2015, 05:20 PM

Looking good!

Curious what you used to plug the holes in the bottom lip of the firewall for the rudder pedal bolts?

Dave S

12-26-2015, 04:30 PM
Dave, those are some plastic hole plugs I got from the local Ace Aviation Hardware store. They have a lip that retains them, but I also used a little silicone sealant in the groove for extra security.

03-01-2016, 04:23 PM
I'm working on my cowling now (and by the way, thanks Tom Waid for your super build log; it helped me understand trimming of the nose).
The relaxed state of my upper cowl is splayed out relative to the lower cowl. The material is pretty thin here. As a result, when I pull it in with Clecos at the Camloc locations along the horizontal edge, I am getting the waviness seen in the photo. Anyone else dealt with this?

03-02-2016, 03:48 PM
Hi Gary,

I see no replies to your query yet so I will wade in with you. first, I feel your pain! I found the cowling one of the most challenging parts of the build to get right! At first glance, it does not look right to me. Can you post a few photos from further back to give some perspective? I am not clear which part we are looking at. I think you might get more responses from the group with a few more pics. It all needs to be sitting comfortably and neat before doing the camlocs - don't worry if you have to re-drill the holes - the old ones can be fibreglassed and faired fairly easy - but from my experience it takes a lot of time to get it just right - ( then maybe that was just me...)



03-02-2016, 04:27 PM
I have both halves removed right now and mated to each other to evaluate cleanup of the three inlet aft edges. Here are a couple of photos in that configuration that still show the waviness. In both photos, it is the lower cowl that is nearest the camera. The fit at the boot cowl and prop flange is good, it is just that flaring of the upper cowl that is resulting in "bulging" between Camloc locations. Light pressure between the Clecos flattens things nicely, but I really don't want to double up on the number of Camlocs. (A pound of SuperFil is not appealing either :p )

03-02-2016, 05:00 PM
I think your are making a very nice job of it Gary. I am overseas at the moment so cant go and look at mine but have you tried using the camlocs instead of the clecos (without attaching them permanently?) It is just a thought but they apply a different sort of pressure the ones supplied with my kit were adjustable, thereby allowing for a just the right amount of pressure to provide an even and snug fit. I am certainly no expert on this - I hope other more experienced bods here weigh in on the discussion as I agree with you that it should sit more neatly than that. Only other thoughts are: Is the problem that the recess along the cowl not of even depth or are the holes not exactly perfectly aligned and causing the slight buckling when fastened? good luck.

03-02-2016, 05:09 PM
I am also having trouble knowing what to tell you. There is something on your earlier post #29 photo that doesn't look quite right-that raised ridge along the edge of the upper cowl doesn't belong there -I think. On mine the trimming process took all of that off. I am wondering if you have left too much in this area. Trimming more of it off might bring the joint farther back on the curve and require less pushing with the camlocks to force it into position. Its the only thing I can see that may help. I know it would require new holes and possibly refitting around the nose.

03-02-2016, 05:13 PM
Gary, I had the same initial thought as Jim as to that ridge - I too removed it as part of the trimming.


03-02-2016, 05:39 PM
It looks like you are trying to fit it off the plane. Cleco the lower half to the plane so it has its own weight to hold it stiff. Then, redrill the top half keeping it tight to the cowl and aligned to the spinner. Without the spinner, you aren't gonna get a good fit.

The hardest part for me was trimming the cheek holes.

03-03-2016, 07:04 AM
Thanks for the responses.
Ross, I suspect that since the Camlocs are wider than the Clecos, it might help a bit although I would be surprised if it were to take out all of the wave. I'll have to play with that idea some today and see what it does. The recess/step is sufficient (other than the "ridge" Jim and Tim noted) as noted when I apply light hand pressure along the edges.
Jim/Tim, the "ridge" is only on the port side. The "ridge" on the other side got trimmed off completely. I had less to trim on the port side due to making sure I kept a uniform gap at the prop spinner backing plate. The ridge will be sanded down once I get to that stage of cowl work, but is not really a factor in the waviness. I have the waviness on both sides. The holes were drilled with the cowl in place on the plane and align nicely. The upper cowl "out-of-the-box" has always splayed out relative to the lower cowl. It fits nicely with really light hand pressure, but the layup is thin enough that the "point loading" at the fasteners is creating the waviness. If the edges were thicker/stiffer or the cowling radii a bit tighter, the waves would not develop.

03-03-2016, 10:41 AM
What if you glassed in a stiffening rib just above the holes/joggle.

Dick B in KY
03-03-2016, 05:14 PM
How about a thin strip of aluminum riveted along the edge, to give some extra support to the flange and also stiffen up the cleco hole areas which will wear over time?

Dick B

03-04-2016, 10:11 AM
Jim, I had considered bonding in a stiffing rib as an option. I think I am going to first go ahead with SuperFil on the nose and let some of the anti-wave options mellow in my mind. I don't expect to get anything done until at least Monday anyway as I have a sick toddler grandson at home with me today.

03-27-2016, 02:53 PM
Well, with regard to the waviness, I did bond in an 0.157" carbon fiber tube in each side of the upper cowl just above where to edge of the lower cowl would lay. It is not apparent that it helped. Moving on.....

I'm trying to fit the radiator now and things are not quite lining up. With the forward face located per the manual, it appears that the mounting straps are coming up probably 3/4" aft of the tabs on the engine mount. Looking at Tom Waid's site, I'm wondering if the manual was written for what appears to be a thinner steel core radiator. Mine is an aluminum radiator with a core that is 3" thick. Also, the top of my core, when shimmed up 3/16" per the manual, is 6 5/8" above the bottom of the cowl. The duct is only 6 1/4" (and sags to 6" at the center).
Anyone else have this radiator and if so, how far is the AFT face of the core from your firewall? Or any other helpful insight?

05-06-2016, 12:56 PM
Hey Gary, how did you make out with your rad. I am in the middle of this job right now and just popped in the house for reference as the manual and what I am seeing aren't jiving.

The 9" straps they had me cut are two short even before trimming with the 3/16" spacing on the bottom.

Dave S
05-06-2016, 01:14 PM
Gary & Esser,

You might want to take a look at my entry under product reviews section regarding the Aluminum Radiator retrofit from the old one.

The dimensional short comings you observed appear to be very close to the differences between the thinner original radiator I replaced and the new aluminum one when I replaced the original one with a new aluminum unit.

Could very well be that you might have older instructions that were for the thinner, now obsolete radiator.

My experience with the aluminum radiator has been excellent - when you get to flying with it, I think you will like it.:)


05-06-2016, 01:20 PM
Hey Paul, you are one post away form 1000! Thanks, I did read your thread as well. I my issues are more up and down. After reading and looking at pictures on here, I am going to the garage and see what I can whip up.

05-06-2016, 02:31 PM
I agree that the vertical straps are a little too short leaving nothing to trim. I think mine placed the radiator an 1/8 to 3/16 inch higher than desired above the bottom of my cowl. Your results may vary. I decided that was close enough.
An additional observation relates to what the thicker radiator does to the oil cooler location and how that relates to NACA duct trimming and clearance.
I ended up removing all of the straight portion of the duct on the upper surface, did the arrow shaft stiffening tip, and still have the NACA two inches forward of the plans location in order to clear the oil cooler during cowl installation/removal. Just bonded mine in a couple of days ago and still need to do the final trimming and SuperFil on the edges.
If I were doing it over again, I would probably locate the oil cooler lower on the radiator rather than high as the plans specify. This would provide better clearance with less NACA trimming and/or allow the duct to remain further aft I believe. Also, I have had to order 45 degree fitting for the oil cooler as the lines will come up right under the engine mount fittings. A lower position of the oil cooler probably would have allowed use to the straight fittings that came with the kit.

05-06-2016, 02:45 PM
I'm glad I messaged you. My instructions don't even show me where the oil cooler is supposed to mount. It just has a picture saying;

Figure G-2
Pending New Oil Cooler Completion.

I'll try to get ahold of kitfox and see if they have this step for me and I'll keep in mind your advice to keep it lower.

Thanks for the tips!

05-06-2016, 03:15 PM
Hey Gary sorry for hijacking your thread, I got the instructions for Debra.

If you were in my position, would you switch the top and bottom brackets for the oil cooler? That would lower it an extra inch I think. Or would you go more still?

05-06-2016, 05:25 PM
I had to order another piece of strap from Kitfox to make it work. The piece is just a little too short.

05-08-2016, 08:39 PM
I did consider that, but had already riveted the brackets on to the radiator, and no way was I going to attempt to drill them out knowing how close the coils are inside and not being able to actually see in there. I would just double check that there is sufficient clearance between the bottom of the oil cooler and the cowling since the cowling is ramping up as it goes forward.

06-10-2016, 07:13 AM
A bit of wretched excess, but it sure looks pretty ;). Anodized 6061 aluminum, I just wish it were lighter than it is (1 lb). And yes, that is actually a dip stick for checking the oil level in the can. I will probably add a hose clamp around the canister so that I can lock wire it. The tubing attachment is a bit of a kludge to adapt from the can's -6 fittings to the Kitfox hose. If anyone knows of an -6 O-ring to 1/4" barb fitting (that doesn't cost $20 apiece), I would sure change these out.
I also added a quick drain valve to my oil tank. Drilled the arm and lock wired it.

10-17-2017, 04:06 PM
I was waiting for my aircraft registration to come thru (which it did yesterday) before I put on my N-number and Kittyfox tail art (done by my daughter).

10-17-2017, 04:40 PM
That looks great, Gary! Now that's a unique logo!

10-17-2017, 06:47 PM
Nice!!! Talented daughter.


10-21-2017, 12:23 PM
That's very nice looking Gary. I decided on red Oratex after seeing some of your pictures and have been wondering what accents or trim to eventually add. How nice to have totally unique art done by your daughter.

10-21-2017, 12:28 PM
Yeah, that's too cool. Having your daughter's "signature" on the plane is awesome.

10-23-2017, 08:48 AM
Thanks guys. Yes it is handy to have "in-house" talent.

01-19-2018, 04:32 PM
KittyFox (aka the turtle build) finally moved to the hangar today to be with its wings and tail feathers. Had the help of my wife, John Evens and a fellow EAA member with a really nice trailer.

01-19-2018, 06:33 PM
Where can I find a fellow Kitfoxer around Anaheim CA? You are so fortunate.

02-01-2019, 04:20 PM
Well, I had gotten my plane to the point of being ready for first engine start, W&B, etc. before Christmas, but all is basically on hold while I recover from hand surgery.:(
I did just get my seat cushions completed though. I used a local automotive upholstery shop as I wanted to incorporate the same leather that I have used on my glare shield and center console. I also had my tail artwork embroidered into the seat backs by a local woman who does it as a side job/hobby. Plan to use the same leather for stick boots too once I get back enough dexterity to make patterns.:rolleyes:

02-02-2019, 04:55 AM
Very nice work Gary. And those personalised seat backs matching the fin logo look very cool.

02-04-2019, 02:04 PM
Thanks David. Hopefully they prove to be comfortable too. I kept the seat backs fairly thin to maximize leg room, but I also have inflatable lumbar cushions that will be velcroed to the seat pan since I often need more support there.

02-05-2019, 12:42 AM
Yes, I ordered the 3" thick cushion and seat back factory kit and I suspect the seat back may be too thick. I'm only 6' so it may need to be thinner. And that lumber support - oh yeah, I can relate to that !.

03-20-2020, 03:46 PM
It's been quite a while since I logged in, had to be focused on other things, but never stopped plodding along. Good to see the forum is still so active.
Anyway, I finally got my airworthiness sing-off this past Saturday.:D
Now if this virus thing will get under control, I can get out to a flight school and get current (i.e. learn how to fly again).:p
Meanwhile I have been designing a tow bar for my tri-gear configuration to make backing into the hangar less of a pain.

03-20-2020, 03:53 PM
Glad youíre back Gary.

Congrats on the A.W. Certificate. Itís a real aircraft now.👍

03-20-2020, 04:00 PM
That's the best news Ive heard all day! (been at work learning to Don and Dof headgear to protect me from the virus when Im intubating). Any how, Congratulations on this part. We too are hoping for a short duration with this virus thing. Now, Im just as much interested in the builder and who they are so I assume it is you with the more worn out jeans from all the work building?
Can we see a shot of the purpose were all here? Whats the plane look like?

03-20-2020, 04:25 PM
Although I've already congratulated you in person Gary, I'll make it official on this forum! I'm happy for you... the fun times are just around the corner now!!

Eddie, Gary is the good looking one on the left.