Empennage fairing progress

I continued to make slow progress on the various fairings - I got the rudder top fairing ready to rivet:

Rudder top fairing match-drilled and clecoed in place

Backing strip attached to rudder top fairing

For smoothing the face of the elevator fairing and filling the pinhole, a nice layer of resin with cab-o-sil was used, followed by patiently sanding down to 2000 grit:

Elevator fairing with tons of pinholes to fill!

Elevator fairing after filling pinholes

We glued foam to the horizontal stabilizer fairings, and proceeded to mold it to be slightly concave to preserve the gap from the elevator fairings. The vertical stabilizer fairing didn't need that and was just flat:

HS fairing with foam plug glued in place

Sanding foam to fit the HS fairing

Concave-sanded foam plug for the horizontal stabilizer fairing

VS foam plus, which was mostly flat

Adding a layer of fiber to it was easy, but removing the foam afterwards took a bit of work, first cutting chunks off, then sanding, then cleaning up the remaining bits with acetone:

Layer of fiber applied to the HS fairings, following the shape of the foam

Removing bits of foam from the HS fairings

Remaining little bits of foam on the layer of fiber

Layer of fiber after cleaning with acetone

I last-minute decided that I wanted to use screws to attach the vertical stabilizer fairing (since I'm running conduit up there, may as well make it easy to install something - be it a camera or a NAV antenna if the Bob Archer one doesn't work well), so I added those, but of course overlooked the fact that I didn't have any K2000-06 nutplates for the last hole, so that'll get finished and glued on later:

Vertical stabilizer fairing backing strip with nutplates for attaching with screws

I then added the two layers of fiber to the inside of each of those fairings. Working in that tight space was not the easiest and getting the fiber to not fold on itself required some contortion, but it worked out well:

Tip fairings atop fiber layers to be added to their inside

Tip fairings after adding the inside layers

Next will be finishing the outside face of those layers, attaching them to the stabilizers, then smoothing the joint so there's no gap. After the above steps I'm also able to detach the HS and elevators, and finish drilling/tapping the holes underneath it.

Time lapse:


Total empennage fairing rivets: 116
Total empennage fairing time: 65.2h

Joining doors and drilling Aerosport handle holes

We finally joined all the door shells, which was actually pretty easy:

Adding resin to the Parabeam fiber between the door shells

Door shells clamped into place to give their final shape

There were a few mistakes on the first door - for one, I forgot to cover the pin block holes with some tape, so a lot of resin leaked out of them and had to be cleaned up:

Resin that oozed out of the pin block holes

Pin block holes after sanding out the excess resin

Pin block holes on left door, covered with tape this time

Also, the reinforcement blocks weren't really attached to the outer shell, so we used a chip chaser to push resin into that small gap, and that actually turned out well (minus having to carefully clean the chip chaser with acetone afterwards, of course).

Reinforcement blocks not attached to the outer shell

Reinforcement blocks after adding resin and sanding

I also started turning the door into swiss cheese by drilling the holes for the Aerosport low-profile handle, and making sure the parts fit properly:

Holes match-drilled for installing the Aerosport low-profile handle

Test-fitting the exterior Aerosport parts

Test-fitting the interior Aerosport parts


Since on the first door it was clear that the thinner layer of resin hadn't been enough to attach that latch recess to the outer shell, on the second door we added a thicker layer with cab-o-sil (just like on the edges of the door). I then filled the gaps in the first door with resin using a curved-tip syringe, which made a decent mess, but one that was easy to clean up:

Gap between the latch recess and the outer shell

Puddle of resin after filling the gaps between shells


Finally, I countersunk the flush screw holes:


Next will be the long task of trimming the door edges until they fit perfectly.

Time lapse:


Total cabin door rivets: 32
Total cabin door time: 60.1h

Preparing the door mechanisms

I started getting the Aerosport handle and the PlaneAround center latch, by cutting the racks in half, then test-fitting all the parts together:

Door lock racks cut in half

Door lock mechanism on the workbench

Door lock mechanism mounted into the door

From the position above, I trimmed the forward and aft pushrods leaving only a couple inches sticking out in the "closed" position, then safety-wired the parts together:

Door lock pushrods and racks safetied together

We then attached the reinforcement blocks around the center latch position:

Center latch reinforcement blocks glued in place

As the last thing before joining the door shells, I decided to add the iflyrv10 door pull strap, so I made doublers for those. The included mounting hardware is kind of useless - they're very long 1/4" screws and nuts, which I wouldn't want inside the door). so I instead used nutplates for #10 screws (the AN520 series has the same head size as the socket screws they included). I attached them (using the same method as for the gas strut attach doublers) to the top-center of the aft part of the door, which will allow us to easily pull the door closed from the ground (without climbing on the wing just for that):

iflyrv10 door pull attachment block and backing doublers

Door pull doubler match-drilled to the door shell and ready to rivet

Door pull block in place over the door pull doubler

Door pull doublers with primer and nutplates

Door pull doubler epoxied in place

Door pull holes, as seen from the inside

Next, there'll be some more sanding to do (e.g. around the reinforcement blocks), and then we'll join the door shells.

Time lapse:


Total cabin door rivets: 32
Total cabin door time: 48.2h

Door and latch hole drilling

I got back to working on the doors, starting with trimming the handle levers a bit more for a better fit, priming, painting, then assembling the handles:

Door handle parts attached together

I then started match-drilling the fuselage and the doors (at least in parts where I hadn't sanded it down beyond the holes - oops):

Door match-drilled to fuselage

Hole where i had trimmed the door too far to match-drill

Door clamped firmly in place for match-drilling the window frame

Window frame match-drilled between door shells

I also finally (after about 4 months) received the Aerosport low-profile handle, so it was time to start thinking of the latch mechanism - starting with drilling the holes for it. I wanted to avoid actually drilling through the door towards the exterior until the halves are joined, so I "aimed" the best I could using the backing plate and other parts, and opened those holes - expanding them later should be easy if needed:

Aligning latch rack for drilling holes

Aligning latch racks for drilling holes

Latch rack holes drilled into inner door shell

Trying out mounting the door latch racks/gear to adjust gaps around racks

I also opened up the slots for the center latch. I had originally planned to install it through just a single hole for the axis, but decided it was not worth the complication (I could end up with epoxy in the gears, might someday need to remove them, would have trouble with the screws being too close to edges, etc.), so I opened up the slots per instructions:

Match-drilling center latch holes to door inner shell

Center latch attached in place

Next I want to finish getting the latch mechanism ready (as much as I can before the door halves are joined), and then join them.

Time lapse:


Total cabin door rivets: 20
Total cabin door time: 39.9h