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Just finished a Savannah S build in February (ZK-SOX) - a total of 15 months to completion with 3 of us working on it somewhat sporadically around our other commitments and was so pleased with it (flys beautifully and no mods were needed after the test flight) I decided to build another one. We started last week, 2 of us this time, we have so far put in 4 days work, and have completed fin, rudder, horizontal stab, and elevator almost done. Its a lot quicker second time around. The major delay with the first one was the time spent looking for bits - this time we were much better organised - we set out the bits in bundles relating to each part (as far as possible as ICP delight in putting bits in places you wouldn't suspect). We hope to complete the aircraft in 6 months - less if possible. Interested to know others experiences - we have one local builder who completed his in 6 months, working by himself, 5 days a week. Anyone else manage that or better? Another factor is that this time around we are not being so fussy - if the holes dont line up perfectly we just run the drill through instead of spending a lot of time trying to get a perfect match - and still sometimes ending up with an enlarged hole.

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Hello Microman;

     I built my Savannah XLVG in 2012 and discovered this Recreational Flying site during my build. It is unquestionably the voice of authority when it comes to the ICP Savannahs - all models.

     Within the site, I have often read comments that effectively say       ...if the predrilled holes don't line up, you've done something wrong...

     I now add my voice to the same counsel.     If you need to use a drill to get the holes to line up, you may need to   STOP - BACK UP - RECHECK.   As troublesome as the assembly manual is - and as unhelpful as the parts packing may be - the kit itself has been engineered to near perfection and appears to undergo even further refinements on a regular basis.


     Oversize rivet holes will come back and bite you and substituting a larger size rivet is not always possible or advisable.  Because the aluminum is so soft, the use of a punch or an awl to "pull" the holes into alignment will usually distort the hoes as well and is not a good idea. A bit of a "perfectionist" myself, my kit took 1300 hours over about 14 months to build, working alone. Painting was contracted out.  I am still in awe of the accuracy and detail used to produce, shape and drill the parts I received in my kit. I cannot recall a single occurrence where uninstructed drilling was needed although there were many times I had to find a better way to pull, push or tension skins to get all holes in alignment. 

     I too just love flying the airplane and have always wanted to build another Sav - an "S" kit.  

     All the best; fly safely, stay safe.

     CanadaDan

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Hi Dan - thanks for your comments. I have had some experience with building aircraft so not entirely ignorant of the consequences of enlarging rivet holes. However I would be surprised if any builder did not have to gently tidy up holes on occasion to make the rivet go in. Like others, I have found a set of awls invaluable in helping to align the holes where necessary. Interestingly, while reading one of Ibob's very informative posts I noticed a response from you in relation to the undercarriage brackets, which tend to require a bit of either brute force or adjustment to make them line up with both the rivet and bolt holes - you had to redrill some holes and epoxy up the old ones - a sensible approach in my view to an otherwise very frustrating problem!

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Hi Microman.

 

For podgers I used tapered awls for the A4 Rivets and pin punches ground then polished to a taper for the A5 rivets. The podger does need to be a good fit in the hole, to avoid damage: hence the taper.

In areas that were difficult to get lined up, I often found that 'podgering' in a different order worked: if it won't stitch together in one direction, try it from the other direction.

I had no trouble with the undercarriage brackets: I believe the trick there is to work out why they won't fit, rather than try to force them. In my case it required a minor enlargement of the rectangular hole in the fuse side to clear the weld of the brackets (but obviously still leaving plenty of metal round the bolt holes!) They then just went in. This applied to one or two areas, notably the seat pans: don't force it, sort out the fit.

 

At no point in my build did I put a drill through.

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So far, I have built the horizontal stabiliser, the elevator, the trim tab, the rudder (and the ICP rudder extension), the fin and all four flaperons.

 

So far, all the holes have lined up somehow in all of these ten parts. In some cases, they did not initially appear to line up but (in the manner described by Bob above*) I have always managed to line up the holes so that the rivets could join the components.

 

I would strongly advise that you do not run the drill through any of the the holes to make them fit, but instead, try to make the holes line up with a podger.

 

* "if it won't stitch together in one direction, try it from the other direction."

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Just to be clear here:

I agree entirely with Dan that holes can easily be damaged by using podgers. So, like many tools, they need to be used with a degree of 'feel', and avoiding any real force.

To avoid damage, I also think they should be correctly shaped. 'Whatever is handy that fits in the hole' isn't good enough:

 

The ones I used are tapered, with the thickest part a larger diameter than the rivet hole: when inserted, they are a snug fit in the hole, bearing on the hole all round and so helping to avoid damage at any one point round the hole.

They are also polished, minimising any binding in the hole.

For the A4 rivets, I was able to buy cheap tapered awls online. For the A5 rivets, I made my own by sanding a taper onto punches then polishing with fine emery paper.

 

I had two of each and usually used them in pairs 'walking' them along a row of holes to bring them into alignment.

 

I used them a great deal, and would strongly reccomend buying or making something similar.

 

Below: an old awl and upholstery needle that didn't work well, and the two A4 awls that did. And a pin punch, sanded to a taper ready to be polished. When I realised how useful they are in pairs I made a second one of these too.

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

The build is going really well - after 2 months working 3 days a week the airframe is almost finished, a 700 hr Rotax 912S has been sourced, the E-prop arrived a few weeks ago (thanks Mark) - incidentally another Savannah owner here liked the look of the E-prop so much he immediately ordered one, fitted it the day it arrived, and reports significant improvement over the Kiev he had mounted previously - cruise up 6-7 knots, similar takeoff performance, quieter, less vibration, etc, etc.

My query is, what has everyone done about the door-opening mechanism? The factory setup is less than satisfactory with draughts at both front and rear. Some here have fitted a homegrown lever-action setup with rods front and rear which works quite well. but difficult to access when seated. Another method is to use the factory lever in the middle, and fit catches front and rear.  Any suggestions for alternatives?  Photos would be good.

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I bought the system that attaches to the existing handle to (also) provide slide bolts (rods) front and rear. Works well enough after a bit of fiddling to set up. No difficulty working when seated.

Was supplied by the Australian agent, Reg Brost, when I bought my kit from him. I believe he had them made up.

However, the Oz dealership has now changed hands, and I don't know if the kit is now available.

Wouldn't be hard to make.

 

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Ray Corbett (the local Savannah guru) designed a system with rods front and rear. Works well but could be improved to make it easier to close when seated.

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I had one of Reg Brosts door locking system and it worked a treat..it was not hard to operate at all and I am 185cm and 107kg

The only was to get a good seal is use a sealing tape and when you make the doors you need to bend them to fit better..also where you mounted your ball hinges for the doors makes a big difference

 

Everyone who has got a Eprop loves them 🙂

Was speaking to a customer today he has a Excalibur (opposite rotation) 4 blade he ordered and fitted to a Aeromemntum 120hp powered RV12....almost 10 to 15 knots better in cruise..fully loaded at MTOW he has over 900 ft a minute climb and 1200ft/min at normal ops..WOT 5450 rpm he gets 130kts straight and level ...VNE is 134kts  he can now cuise at 120 kts at a far lower rpm than before

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13 hours ago, IBob said:

Why is it hard to close when seated???

 

We have extra cushions to get up as high as possible in the seat and then find we cannot get enough leverage on the door handle to pull the door in and turn it at the same time - need to redesign the door handle - perhaps using the factory-supplied handle..

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31 minutes ago, microman said:

We have extra cushions to get up as high as possible in the seat and then find we cannot get enough leverage on the door handle to pull the door in and turn it at the same time - need to redesign the door handle - perhaps using the factory-supplied handle..

Okay.

With my setup, I 'adjusted' the tang on the door handle by modifying the bend in it until the door there closed well, but not too tightly.
Then the rods that close front and back have a chamfer on the end of them: I also bent the very tips of these to effectively give a greater chamfer at the tip, so that they pick up their locating holes without the need to pull the door in tightly.

It was a matter of working round these closing points, but once I had them adjusted, they work fine.


Finally, when operating the door handle, I don't pull in at the end of the handle. I place fingers behind the handle centre and pull in there (otherwise pulling on the handle just flexes the whole handle sideways). I explain this to passengers and we have no trouble closing the doors.

 

I also have rubber seals, as Mark suggested (though I can't claim to get an airtight seal).

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Bent rod end:

Mark, is anyone over there now supplying those door closer kits?
 

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Not that I know of Bob....I would think Peter Gillespie would have the IP for it when he bought Aerokits from Reg.

Whether he is getting them made though is another matter. I need a set for Mabel but will probably make my own as it is pretty simple

 

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Mark:

I've emailed Peter to ask if he or anyone is now making them. My thought was, if not, then maybe publish the design for the benefit of others?

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Peter Gillespie (the Australian ICP agent) tells me that he is able to supply the 3 point door latch kits. Price is A$265 inc GST plus postage. He has them made up as required.

His email is [email protected]

This is the kit I installed, it is well made and works fine when properly set up.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I bought one from the previous dealer (Reg Brost) when I was at his place. I am not up to the point in my construction where this will be needed yet. Hopefully, it will be all good when the time comes.

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  • 3 months later...

Well ZK-SGC is now finished, passed its CAA inspection this morning and test-flew this afternoon. It took 6 months - two of us working 3 days a week ( I calculate it at 850 hours) Only minor issues along the way - the worst being 2 factory tank fittings which both leaked - requiring deriveting of the tank covers (both sides). On a number of occasions we thought bits were missing, only to find them eventually. However the instruction book left out the section relating to the extra fuel tanks, and that caused us some puzzlement until we checked the book for another aircraft and found the relevant section. Rivets supplies are never enough ( a few had to be drilled out of course!), but the local agent came to the party.

Performance wise - climbs at 1200ft/min (2 up), cruises at 90 kts @ 5000 rpm, quiet and smooth. That E-Prop is something else - we are gradually converting all the Bolly adherents on the field. Because ICP now supply a much better exhaust system we pitched the prop at 26.5, rather than the 24.5 recommended by the factory. A bit down on revs on takeoff (5400) but winds up once airborne and although we havent done full tests I reckon we will get close to 100kts at 5500.

All in all, a very satisfactory outcome - there is no question that the Savannah kit is by far the best value on the market.  

20211103_114118.jpg

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yes every Sav we have supplied a Eprop to has got around 90kts at 5000 rpm

The previous exhaust systems are crap..3.3litre capacity....I havent see the current muffler supplied. 

 

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1 hour ago, microman said:

Well ZK-SGC is now finished, passed its CAA inspection this morning and test-flew this afternoon. It took 6 months - two of us working 3 days a week ( I calculate it at 850 hours) Only minor issues along the way - the worst being 2 factory tank fittings which both leaked - requiring deriveting of the tank covers (both sides). On a number of occasions we thought bits were missing, only to find them eventually. However the instruction book left out the section relating to the extra fuel tanks, and that caused us some puzzlement until we checked the book for another aircraft and found the relevant section. Rivets supplies are never enough ( a few had to be drilled out of course!), but the local agent came to the party.

Performance wise - climbs at 1200ft/min (2 up), cruises at 90 kts @ 5000 rpm, quiet and smooth. That E-Prop is something else - we are gradually converting all the Bolly adherents on the field. Because ICP now supply a much better exhaust system we pitched the prop at 26.5, rather than the 24.5 recommended by the factory. A bit down on revs on takeoff (5400) but winds up once airborne and although we havent done full tests I reckon we will get close to 100kts at 5500.

All in all, a very satisfactory outcome - there is no question that the Savannah kit is by far the best value on the market.  

20211103_114118.jpg

Well done Microman  👍.

 

I can't wait until my Savannah build is complete. 

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Cheers eighty knots - I must admit, having another Savannah in the hangar, and two others very close, not to mention having already built one, all made it a whole lot easier than someone building in isolation. Even so, we made a few cockups, usually because we couldnt follow the instructions so just worked it out for ourselves and we didnt always get it right. I was determined to get it as light as possible, so left out the adjustable seats, (the new factory cushion seats are brilliant so if you are tall it is actually more comfortable without the metal seats. We only painted parts of the aircraft, and of course the E-prop keeps the weight down. Result - 299.6kg so it can lift its own weight.

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