Glad to hear that you are happy with the Aerotronics folks. I am not installing an autopilot right now, but may in the future. I just did an approach to minimums in a twin (I was right seat) while bringing my aunt home and it was done by the autopilot! I was sold.
Finally home from my trip to help with my aunt. I can say nothing but the best things about Aerotronics. They were great to deal with and Jason Smith, who handles most of the experimental stuff was a real help in planning and design. He gave me lots of ideas to make the panel cheaper, but even better. Now remember, "cheaper" is a relative term. My cost was @ $18,000, but when I compared what I was getting with just buying the equipment and trying to do it all myself, I thought it was very fair. I only have about 9 wires to connect and some antennas to install and the AHARS to mount and I can run the system. Dynon makes upgrades easy, too.
In answer to your guestions. Yes the stiffener is hollow, the drill bit just cleans out a clean hole so the rod will slip in easily. I used steel rod on the rear because that what was laying around the shop, I think I used about 8 oz of epoxy, Then I decided to do the front and bought some aluminum rod, this time I used some very good construction adhesive, found at Lowes, its cheaper and more of it. You can drill some 1/16 holes down the stiffener, to see epoxy oozing out and let you know you have it down there. taper the end of the rod,so it wont push all the epoxy out in front of the rod as you push it in. I think one more important thing is to change the location of the hole in the bottom latch for the rear latch pin to give it more travel. This will insure the rear of the door will stay latched.I also added a bracket under the gas strut attachment point to spread the load on the door frame. Too date very happy with the mods, the door is much more ridged, I do not think it will fail again.
I did purchase the vinyl cut-outs locally. A company called "Adpro" makes them in Claremore, Ok. but every community usually has a sign maker with the same product. I picked a pattern off his computer and gave him the dimensions of the "print area" on the fuselage and he sized the graphics to fit and cut them out. It worked very well and has held up exceptionally well.
Yes, I am plans building a 701. Mainly because I am on a tight budget, but also because I like to build things. I am about 60% done at this time. I will be using a Great Plains VW engine in my plane.
I would have opted for the 750 design if it was available when I ordered my plans in March of 2006. I feel that the wings are a better design (rear spar wise) and the fact that it could handle a bigger motor would have allowed me to use a Corvair or even a rebuilt Continental or Lycoming motor.
I hope to have my aircraft ready for final assembly this summer. I had lanned to do the test flying at Kutztown. I now have no idea where I may end up for that, but it may be several counties away.
If you have any questions or need help on something let me know. I think I have experienced them all.
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