A peek inside a Magni M-14 Scout’s scratch-built panel Manfred Leuthard, EAA 465583
BUILDER’S LOG 2002 USA
COURTESY: EAA Sport Aviation May 2002
10/31/2000: FedEx just picked up the check for the down payment on my Magni M-14 gyro kit. Total progress up to now has been the creation of a project plan, a panel outline drawing, and a list of goodies that I will have to buy. I also took on a lease for a new 44-by-33-by-13-foot hangar — the future home of my gyro.
11/3/2000: I gathered the forms, checklists, and advisory circulars that describe the process of getting an amateur-built aircraft certificated in the experimental category from EAA’s Aviation Information Services department and from the FAA’s web site. Although the airplane doesn’t exist yet, I have all the annunciators labeled and done. Feels good.
11/5/2000: I ordered a whole bunch of stuff from Annunciators are done. Wicks Aircraft Supply, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty, and Mouser Electronics. I purchased mostly tools and some items for the electrical system that will not be part of the kit, like circuit breakers for the strobe lights, relays for the strobe and position lights, and connectors for the avionics bus.
I found a designer who is willing to do an early sketch of the paint scheme. This may seem premature, but when the frame arrives, painting is the first thing I must do.
11/8/2000: Much has happened in the last few days. I designed and laid out the panel using QuickCAD.
I will create my own panel rather than use the one that comes with the kit because of the very limited panel space available. Based on the pilot’s viewing angle, the instruments will need to be tilted so the LCD displays can be read, and since the panel must not interfere with stick movement, the instruments will be recessed.
The gyroplane will be powered by a four-cylinder, four-cycle, turbocharged Rotax 914, so I decided to go with an EIS engine monitor. This will not only save a lot of space, but also monitor most of the vital signs of a fairly complex engine. The airspeed, altimeter, vertical speed, and tachometer will all be 2.25-inch analog instruments.
The very small sized radio and the transponder will come from Microair of Australia. Both of these will also fit into 2.25-inch instrument holes making for a neat, compact comm set.
11/20/2000: Getting tooled up is the order of the day. My office is be ginning to look like a warehouse, and in the cellar waits a brand new mill/drill from Grizzly Industrial. I’m also finding out that some of what I need or want will end up on back order, thus thinking ahead is clearly a good practice.
The mold for the panel is cut, and some intricately shaped pieces are waiting to be mounted on the panel. I am be ginning to realize that it is key to have a group of people accessible (like my EAA Chapter) who are supportive of such an endeavor and who have expertise in areas where I have none. It’s amazing how many talented friends are eagerly offering their skills and know-how.
11/30/2000: The panel mold is done. I used a sheet of particleboard and glued wooden wedges to it to create the desired shape of the panel. A removable strip of aluminum was bolted to the outside to give the mold an edge and to stiffen the panel.
Priming and sanding the mold seemed to take forever, but I had some advice and help from a fellow EAA Chapter member who had some experience in composite construction. Essentially all the instruments and electrical components have arrived.
I’m working on the design of the electrical system; it turns out to be pretty complex and intricate. I ordered the radio and the intercom. Because of the high noise I expect and the fact that pilot and passenger will wear helmets, I decided to use a Sigtronics SPA-400N intercom with separate push-to-talk switches for the intercom and the comm.
I milled the panel attachment brackets on my new Grizzly mill. Works great. Now the fiberglass panel itself must be done. I am way behind my self-imposed work schedule, but other builders have told me that I better get used to that.
The panel overlays with the engraved legends should arrive any day now. A company called Aircraft Engravers is doing the work on the overlays. I used its services once before when I re built a panel on a Cessna 421.
The process includes painting a thin, clear plastic sheet in beige (the color I specified) and then engraving the letters from the rear in a mirror image. Finally, black paint is sprayed into the letter forms. The best part is that the lettering never comes off since it’s behind the overlay.
12/08/2000: The panel is being laid up in the mold and should be finished by the weekend. I read up on composite basics at the EAA website. Piece of cake. I also received the panel overlays for the switches and circuit breakers.
Very nicely engraved! I now have the instruments (still in their boxes), the circuit breakers, the cables, the connectors, the relays, the switches, and the annunciators ready to go into the panel. I’m building a secondary wiring harness for the relay and fuse box to be mounted next to the engine.
The harness, as designed by the vendor, does not have enough spare wires to drive some of the add-ons I am putting on the airplane like strobes, a fuel probe, navigation Auxiliary power box, lights, a manifold pressure gauge, and more.
So to avoid having to run the electrical power from the engine to the panel and back, I’m putting the required relays and fuses in a box. It seemed such a simple idea, but now I find I’ll need to use a 24-pin connector.
12/10/2000: The first attempt at making the panel did not turn out to be perfect, but perfect it must be, so I’ll use this first panel as a spare and to practice drilling holes. And I have many, many, MANY holes to drill.
12/18/2000: The plan to build a second panel has been scrapped. I decided instead to fill some of the flaws and clean up the sharp corners with epoxy and lots of sanding. The panel is ready for painting, all holes are drilled, and all edges are as smooth as a baby’s rear end.
On the other hand, the auxiliary power box I built needs to be redone — it’s just too crowded in there. My challenge is to understand the plans for the electrical system, as designed by the kit manufacturer, and then integrate the avionics and auxiliary electrical components, like the strobes.
12/21/2000: The paperwork for the FAA has been filed, and a special N number has been requested. The few remaining components, like the control stick grip, should arrive soon. The radios are on order, and I expect them in the first week of January.
The transponder, a 2.25-inch round hole instrument, will not be available from the manufacturer until March. So I’ve decided to get the wiring done now, and then I’ll plug the hole since a transponder won’t be required until I have flown off the 40-hour restriction at my local airport.
01/9/2001: The stick grip has arrived! It’s beautiful! I was able to pay a visit to the Magni factory in Milan last week: The frame and the fuselage are ready, but some more work will have to be done before it’s scheduled to ship on February 5.
What a clean, professional place, and what friendly and competent people! I can’t wait to get my hands on the airframe. Mean while, I have much work to do: The panel needs to be wired, the wiring harness needs to be completed, and a paint scheme needs to be developed. The FAA has assigned the tail number as N71ML.
1/14/2001: The radios arrived; however, I wired the harness wrong, so I have more work to do. I also drew up an overview diagram showing the major connectors — all nine of them! The electrical system is going to be a challenge…
1/18/2001: The panel is now painted, and it looks nice. All the switches, circuit breakers, and annunciators are installed. The master and auxiliary bus are installed as well. I am waiting for the final wiring diagram from the factory so I can wire the panel.
The radios and the instruments will go in at the end of the day. Everything always takes much longer than you’d think! Two a.m. is not an ideal time to go to bed.
1/19/2001: The panel is essentially done. Another all- night exercise. The radio and the intercom I work great, although the volume seems a little low.
1/25/2001: The stick is done! It involved some fairly tricky milling. What a hassle to get the wires in and the shell closed. It took an hour to do that one simple task. All the connectors now need to be wired into the back of the panel.
This weekend will probably see all that completed. The truck is scheduled to arrive the weekend of March 3 with the airframe. In the meantime, I will finalize the paint scheme with the help of some friends.
2/17/2001: Travel has stopped me from making much progress, but I finalized the modifications and enhancements to the wiring diagram, so the wiring is finally under way. I’m intentionally going slowly on this step because mistakes will be difficult to correct once the panel is installed.
The modifications I made deal primarily with the control stick-based switches, the E1S engine monitor, the radio equipment, and the strobe and navigation lights.
My challenge is to understand the plans for the electrical system, as designed by the kit manufacturer, and then integrate the avionics and auxiliary electrical components, like the strobes.
3/01/2001: Much progress to be reported. The kit has arrived in Missouri, and I expect that it will be delivered on March 10. The panel is finally finished — just in time! The wiring was a nightmare because of the confined space. Especially tough was the connector to the EIS. Now I’m planning to test everything.
3/10/2001: The panel seems to work perfectly, and the kit has arrived in Missouri. I decided to go pick up two kits and drop one off on my way home for another builder in Philadelphia.
It’s a long, long way to drive a beat-up, 26-foot U-Haul truck from Connecticut to Missouri — 21 hours of driving. My rear end is now shaped to U-Haul specifications. Some friends from my EAA Chapter helped me unload the kit.
3/21/2001: I’ve performed the initial inventory of parts. The kit is of very high quality. The tank/seat has been primed and painted in a wild color scheme, using a DuPont product that changes color depending on the angle at which you look at it. Awesome! Tomorrow I should finish the frame—and start putting things together.
About the Builder
|M-14 Magni Gyrocopter|
|Introduced in 1992, this partially enclosed, tandem two-seater is built with 4130 steel tubing with a fiberglass airframe, fairing, wheelpants, and instru ment panel. The U.S. distributor for Magni Gyro of Milan, Italy, is Magni USA, LLC, 17225 Pleasant View Dr., Genevieve, MO 63670; phone 573/883-3541. www.magnigyro.com/USA/usa.htm|
|Aircraft height (feet)||8.2|
|Aircraft length (feet)||13|
|Gross weight (pounds)||1,212|
|Empty weight (pounds)||547|
|Payload weight (pounds)||593|
|Number of seats||2|
|Engine model (Rotax)||912 or 914|
|Horsepower range||30 to 115|
|Takeoff distance (feet)||230|
|Landing distance (feet)||100|
|Max speed (mph)||115|
|Rate of climb (fpm)||1,000|
|Service ceiling (feet)||11,400|
|Cabin width (inches)||71|
|Build time (hours)||250|