Sure, I Planned That



Sometimes its just fine to be lucky when what you’d really like to be is good. Take, for instance, the rear corner of the typical baffle seals on a typical Lycoming installation. You have a baffle seal that comes down the side, and another that comes across the back–and where they intercept, you need to make sue that they overlap in a friendly way to get a good seal on the cowling. Sometimes, they just don’t want to be friendly when they are new, so I have always used a little persuasion – a flush #8 screw, Tinnerman washer, and nut on the back side. It holds the corner together nicely.

It turns out, I discovered another reason to do it this way the other day while cleaning the injectors on our IO-320-powered RV-3. The injectors on the right cylinders are on the rear of the heads, and you have to get at them with a 1/2” deep-well socket. With the baffle seals installed and trained correctly, you can get the socket on – but you can’t get a ratchet or extension in place. Enter the brilliant idea of screwing the corner together. What can be attached with screws can be un-attached quickly and easily.

And when you’re done with the job – it al assembles again just as quickly.  I’d love to say I did it by design – but in this case… it was just a fortunate consequence of what I do normally.


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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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