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Another NEW Savannah S on it's way in NZ

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Hi All,

after a couple of years daydreaming over aircraft ads (while steadily ratcheting up what I could convince myself I could afford) I still hadn't found the wings I wanted. So I finally bit the bullet and decided to build. The obvious choice (for me) was the Savannah, both in terms of performance, and the reputation of the kit itself.

It's taken me far longer than I anticipated to build the workspace to build the Savannah, but I'm finally at the starting line: yesterday I sealed the workbenches, today I carried various parts in, just because I could, and tomorrow, with a little help, I move in the bulk of the kit. This feels pretty good.

Along the way, I have spent a fair bit of time visiting some of the excellent Savannah threads and conversations here. I have asked a few questions too and perhaps I can copy my Savannah questions here to kick this thread off. There will be a whole lot more questions, I know, and it's great to have the experience in this place to draw on.

I would like to thank those members who have shared to date, and also local Savannah owner Fallowdeer for his infectious enthusiasm and determination to fly and then fly some more, sometimes taking me with him.

This is my first build, it won't be fast but I hope it will be steady and not too long.

 

Regards,

 

Bob (just Bob, I don't actually own a single thing with an I on it)

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Remember that the skins are the part you spend the most time looking at, so spend a little extra time when handling them, when deburring them, clean the printing off them with GP solvent so it doesn't bleed through your paint, and get assistance when installing them to avoid dents. There is a particularly nasty "Fish Scale" dent that happens when tension all runs to one point on the sheet. They are really ugly on the finished job, you can see them happening and once they have happened they are very hard to rub out. The most critical time for help is doing the leading edge wing skins and the round corners on the fuselage.

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Way to go Bob.

 

Can't wait to see your bird go together. (And Perry's as well)

 

Soon my old VG will be the ugly duckling in residence!!

 

Peter

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Thanks, RA.

When I received the kit, I opened it (of course!), stood still for a while to absorb what I'd actually taken on, fished out the manual and various interesting looking boxes and bits.

When I realised there would be a real delay in starting, I thought I could usefully read the manual. Yeah, I know! I haven't looked at it since.

So there will be all sorts of fundamental questions until I get some of the general principle rolling here...

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Way to go Bob.

 

Can't wait to see your bird go together. (And Perry's as well)

 

Soon my old VG will be the ugly duckling in residence!!

 

Peter

 

No, Pete, never ugly, so long as she moves the way she does....)

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The VG is a very capable airplane, more so than the XL and S, but it has a particular dis-like for 190cm blokes with long legs, then XL and S come into there own. Sad that has just about completely dried up VG builds.

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The VG is a very capable airplane, more so than the XL and S, but it has a particular dis-like for 190cm blokes with long legs, then XL and S come into there own. Sad that has just about completely dried up VG builds.

That's interesting. I thought they would all be very similar performance. What are the differences?

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Will look forward in watching your progress Bob and you'll love the challenge and pride that goes with seeing the Savannah take shape. Well done on taking the plunge.

 

When I first open the crate I was overwhelmed and thinking Crikey but wasn't as bad as my first impression once I got into it. I spent a few weeks studying the Manual before I started and it put me in good faith :smile:

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Will look forward in watching your progress Bob and you'll love the challenge and pride that goes with seeing the Savannah take shape. Well done on taking the plunge.

 

When I first open the crate I was overwhelmed and thinking Crikey but wasn't as bad as my first impression once I got into it. I spent a few weeks studying the Manual before I started and it put me in good faith :smile:

 

Thank you, Guy. I'm surely looking forward to it.

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That's interesting. I thought they would all be very similar performance. What are the differences?

 

Steve being 7 foot tall can just fit into a S model

Adjustable seats, more luggage space change of nose and guessing a slight increase in speed.

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Right: The Work Table

I see that these things are routinely built in hallways, across sofas. And probably in stairwells and disused restrooms.

But since I now have the space, what makes a good work table? I read elsewhere that some use the top of the box. I see also, on here, Mark's very neat looking assembly table.

Any suggestions as to what are the most useful dimensions and features?

Thanks...

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Steve being 7 foot tall can just fit into a S model

Adjustable seats, more luggage space change of nose and guessing a slight increase in speed.

 

But he said the XL is more capable. And I (and I suspect Fallowdeer) are v interested to know in what ways.

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That's interesting. I thought they would all be very similar performance. What are the differences?

 

The VG is magic at the really short landings but the VGs gave it about 10kts improvement in cruise, have a look at the videos down the bottom of this page www.aerokits.net.au. They were landed across my strip which was mowed 30m wide at the time. The XL and S have a much less cosy cockpit for big blokes.

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I got 4 sheets of 2400 x 1200 plywood and framing pine to make 2 tables and butted them together with shelve underneath for storage and worked a treat. simple to build and not too costly.

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The VG is magic at the really short landings but the VGs gave it about 10kts improvement in cruise, have a look at the videos down the bottom of this page www.aerokits.net.au. They were landed across my strip which was mowed 30m wide at the time. The XL and S have a much less cosy cockpit for big blokes.

 

Uh oh. We're going to have all sorts of trouble with Fallowdeer when he reads this!

Though I cannot deny that he made a nice short takeoff diagonally on a hillside strip the other day, one of those lovely 'off the edge' moments, with 85kg of me as ballast. That being where the wind was.

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I got 4 sheets of 2400 x 1200 plywood and framing pine to make 2 tables and butted them together with shelve underneath for storage and worked a treat. simple to build and not too costly.

 

Yes, that does look neat. The box (lid) is 4300 x 1100 so maybe just a bit small?

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I got a second hand building table from a member on here that had just finished a CH701, it had been made out of the crate lid laminated with the base. The ICP crate with the lid refixed was a handy second table. It would have been better with a couple of cross braces screwed through the lid though.

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Yes, that does look neat. The box (lid) is 4300 x 1100 so maybe just a bit small?

Wrap some of the packing bubble wrap around a couple 3" x 3" timbers to hold the parts (fuselage particularly) up off the bench or you will get small bruise marks on the skins that you can't do anything about after they are riveted to the frames. These will also stop your clecos leaning over denting rings on the skins.

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My table was made from 70 x 35 cheap timber from bunnings. I made the height to suit myself which I think was around 900mm to the table top. The main thing is get that top nice and straight with no warps in it or twists. I spent a bit of time lining it all up so it was level in every plane and also plenty of supports under the ply tops. I was going to use the lid of the box but I think I ended up using new ply from a good source here in Brisbane as it wasnt expensive. But rule number 1 is make sure that the building table is nice and true and level. Then everything just fits. The wings were the most important the fuselage it really just needs to be a straight bench and not too high otherwise you cant reah the top of the fuselage. I made a new table out of the table I used to build the wings and tail feathers on because once they are built you just build a holder for them and you need to build a wing tilt stand for when you are working on them and painting. Its all very easy with a battery drill and long tek screws.

 

The table for the wings really needs to be at least the full length of the wings and really a bit wider than the wing as well

 

 

Mark

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Thank you, Steve and Guy. That's been a great start for me.

I've been quietly going through some of the strand notes and pics on this forum this evening, and various things are falling into place.

Tomorrow we'll move the big box in.

I think I will make the build table from the box top, but i'll make sure it's well braced & stiffened. That's easy enough, I have plenty of woodworking gear.

And i'll be careful when it comes to padding or packing the job up to avoid marking the skins, as you suggest, Steve.

For now, to sleep.....perchance to dream?

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My table was made from 70 x 35 cheap timber from bunnings. I made the height to suit myself which I think was around 900mm to the table top. The main thing is get that top nice and straight with no warps in it or twists. I spent a bit of time lining it all up so it was level in every plane and also plenty of supports under the ply tops. I was going to use the lid of the box but I think I ended up using new ply from a good source here in Brisbane as it wasnt expensive. But rule number 1 is make sure that the building table is nice and true and level. Then everything just fits. The wings were the most important the fuselage it really just needs to be a straight bench and not too high otherwise you cant reah the top of the fuselage. I made a new table out of the table I used to build the wings and tail feathers on because once they are built you just build a holder for them and you need to build a wing tilt stand for when you are working on them and painting. Its all very easy with a battery drill and long tek screws.

 

The table for the wings really needs to be at least the full length of the wings and really a bit wider than the wing as well

 

 

Mark

 

Thanks for that, Mark.

Okay, we have a good source of ply here too, so I'll use all new materials and that will give me that extra bit of width and length. And I think I'll build it in two bits (like Guy) and then join them, to make them easier to move/repurpose later.

I'm sure the ICP box will make a good 'rough' surface...and no doubt turn into something else later.

 

And I hear what you're saying about straight and level.

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I have said it before...You could build a straight wing on the front lawn. Straight level benches save you some wiggling to align holes but the matched hole kit will not let you build a twist if you cleco the whole assembly before beginning to rivet the skin. You would lose a few rivets, and get a horrible back ache if you did try to build it on the lawn.

 

On the back ache, take care not to make your bench too wide or you will have to reach over to your job more. This is especially so when you are working on the fuselage, This is where a rotating frame would be excellent. I just had to climb up on top of the box or get help to turn the whole fuselage.

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Two 1200 x 2400 build tables made and fixed together. With the surface area of that, shelf under, plus four 600 x 3000 wall shelves, got everything out of the box apart from the main spars and the large flat skins.

Set out to make an inventory, but after a few hours of constantly ducking back and forth in the manual trying to find each part number, it was driving me crazy. I expect there's a neat and logical way to do this, but clearly I haven't found the system!

In the end I printed out an Excel part number list I downloaded from somewhere a while ago, and used that to arrange the parts into useful groups: fin, elevator, rudder etc. I found that mu7ch easier, and I'm a lot happier now I can begin to see some sort of order.

Visited an ex-airforce friend and got a short course in deburring & general prep.

Bought a few new files and sent off for a set of hole deburring tips. It's getting harder to buy good quality hand tools locally, I guess there's not much call for things like filing nowadays.

I need to find an affordable source of the Wattyl etch primer, can get it locally but the price is outrageous.

 

Question: what do I use for cleaning back before applying the black stuff between mating surfaces?

And I'd be interested to know what are the benefits of the black stuff over, for instance etch primer???

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Clean with GP solvent to take off printing then Prepsol(Wax and Silicone Remover) to take of the oily layer on the sheets. Use a file to rub the edges of sheets and parts smooth, then run the deburrer along the edge. I went over the face of the sheets, flat on the bench, with a 1/3 sheet orbital sander with green scourer pad for the primer to key onto, just enough to take the shine off them.

 

Get couple of off cut pieces from some sheets, prepare them like parts, drill a row of holes through them for rivets. Put the black stuff on each surface. Let it dry, then rivet them together. leave it for two or three days, drill out the rivets and then see how hard they are to move apart. The black stuff stops the parts moving on the rivets causing the rivets to work loose.

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Clean with GP solvent to take off printing then Prepsol(Wax and Silicone Remover) to take of the oily layer on the sheets. Use a file to rub the edges of sheets and parts smooth, then run the deburrer along the edge. I went over the face of the sheets, flat on the bench, with a 1/3 sheet orbital sander with green scourer pad for the primer to key onto, just enough to take the shine off them.

 

Get couple of off cut pieces from some sheets, prepare them like parts, drill a row of holes through them for rivets. Put the black stuff on each surface. Let it dry, then rivet them together. leave it for two or three days, drill out the rivets and then see how hard they are to move apart. The black stuff stops the parts moving on the rivets causing the rivets to work loose.

 

Thanks, Steve, that's all making sense. A couple more questions:

 

You said 'run the deburrer along the edge'. What sort of deburrer is that?

 

And the black stuff: so far, reading from several threads here, I see that it's good to apply with a little roller, cut down to 20mm, and that it helps to use masking tape (3 rolls of 38mm you mentioned) but remove it ASAP. (To that I would add that I learnt the hard way, a little while ago, not to buy cheap masking tape: if you buy the good stuff there are a variety of adhesives, some of them designed for easier removal than others.)

Guy also said something about keeping his roller in water. Does that shake off prior to use? And are you just dipping the roller in the tin, or are you rolling it in some sort of little tray?

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