Wing attachment started

There's a bit of fabrication in section 44 before actually attaching the wings, so even though I'm not in the hangar yet, I got started with that.

I final-drilled the wing root fairing stiffeners:

Wing root fairings with stiffeners attached
and also fluted the fairing supports into the right curve, then final-drilled them:

Wing root fairing supports

I had hoped to use the TCW tech fittings for the fuel line exit hole, but detected that it'll cause interference with the lower wing fairing root support, so another solution will be needed (which may mean trimming both the fitting and the root support a bit):

Interference between TcW tech machined fitting and lower wing fairing root support

I also trimmed the flap pushrods to the desired length, but that takes some tuning after the wings are on, so I can't finish it yet.

With this, the rest of the section has to wait until I'm ready to attach the wings, much later.

Time lapse:



Total wing attachment time: 4.5h

Control systems progress

After primer, I riveted and installed the idler arm:

Riveted idler arm

Installed idler arm

and reamed and installed the brass bushings:

Control stick bases with reamed brass pushings

I also drilled the pushrod ends (not yet primed):

Pushrod with hole template attached

Main elevator pushrods drilled for the rod ends

Main elevator pushrods with rod ends and bearings
I attempted to drill the pushrod end for safety wire, and failed miserably - the 1/16" drill bit is just too thin, and it broke in the drill press, destroying the material around the hole and leaving drill bit bits buried into the part :/

Failed attempt at drilling safety wire hole

I ordered a new one, re-drilled the tube into it, and drilled the safety wire hole again - by hand, this time, so I could feel the pressure on the bit, and it turned out to be surprisingly well-aligned:

Safety wire hole through rod end

Next steps are priming the longer pushrods and installing the whole thing. As of this writing I don't have the tailcone attached (and don't have the horizontal stabs or elevators attached to that), so I can't adjust their length just yet.

Time lapse:



Total control system rivets: 9
Total control system time: 10.2h

Baggage area mods

In order to reduce interference with the ventilation holes at the top tailcone bulkhead, I used different patterns for the inboard nutplates - one is slated so I only have to trim a small part of the vent flange, and the other is a single-lug nutplate facing away from the vent:

Alternative nutplate holes to accommodate vent holes
I cut out the baggage floor inspection panels near the step sites. I had originally hoped to use the Airward baggage inspection panel, but that just doesn't fit (you'd think they tested it?), and they didn't bother replying to my email, so those went to the bin and I used the parts from the stall warning inspection panel instead:

Positioning the baggage floor inspection panel doubler to not interfere with the stiffener

Cutting out the baggage floor for the inspection panel

Baggage floor inspection panel

Baggage floor inspection panel with doubler in place

Baggage floor inspection opening


I also made an opening for conduits - the space between the right baggage cover and the skin was just not enough unless I wanted to remove part of the rib flanges underneath, so I did that through the rear seat floors:

Marking for the rear seat floor conduit hole

Rear seat floor conduit hole

Rear seat floors with conduit holes

Conduits through the rear seat floor

I drilled the corresponding holes through the rib, and used some right-angle Panduit mounts (RAMH-S6-D) for routing it aft, attached with LP4-4s:

Conduit holders through the rear bulkhead

Conduit holders in place

Conduit holders in place

Riveted conduit holders

Riveted right-angle conduit holders

TAS antenna conduit path through the bulkhead

Conduit holders riveted on



For running the static pressure tube, there was, fortunately, enough space on the baggage floor, so drilled a 3/8" hole for a snap bushing, and used another Panduit mount for routing the tube:

Hole for the static line to go through the baggage floor

Right-angle mount to route the static line

Bushing for the static line to go through the tailcone bulkhead

Static line fitting through the tailcone bulkhead

I also did all the required deburring, so I can now prime and start riveting the floors.

Time lapse:



Total baggage area rivets: 24
Total baggage area time: 22.8h

Flap system started

I started working on the flap system, which is mostly the torque tubes and crank that connect the motor to the wings.

This starts by setting the torque tubes and horns in very specific angles/distances and match-drilling for bolts:

Flap horn, torque tube and crank in position for drilling

Drilled and bolted flap torque tube, horn and crank


Both torque tubes and horns drilled and bolted to the crank

These tubes are mounted into delrin blocks for alignment, so those had to be trimmed:

Delrin bushing blocks marked for trimming

Trimmed torque tube bushings

After priming the tubes, we installed them, which was actually quite a bit more work than expected given how tightly everything fits together (and the layer of primer doesn't help there):

Installed flap torque tubes, bushings and crank

Torque tube to horn attachment bolts, in a tight area

Horn, torque tubes, bushing and crank

With this, the only step left in section 40 is actually installing the motor, but for that I need to finish figuring out the bracket for the PHA motor (which also involves completing the last few steps of section 26)

Time lapse:


Total flap system rivets: 0
Total flap system time: 14.0h

Baggage door started

I've been working on the baggage door slowly, whenever there's nothing else to work on.

This section is mostly straight forward - cleco everything together and final-drill:

Main door parts clecoed together and final-drilled
then the tricky part, which is making the hinge and drilling it on both sides such that the door is actually flush to the rest of the skin:

Marking the hinge holes for the door side

Marked hinge for drilling

I also used the common deviation from plans that involves cutting half the hinge eyes so that pins can be inserted from the center, allowing the whole hinge to be closer to flush with the skins:

Door hinge with 3 half eyes removed for pin insertion

Making the door hinge almost flush with the skin

Finally, the recommended method to drill the other half of the hinge to the fuselage involves modifying clecos so they fit inbetween the halves:

Specially modified clecos for the door hinge

then centering the door and match-drilling from the inside:

Door centered in place and held by tape
which, of course, went very wrong:

Accidental double hole when drilling the fuselage side of the door hinge :/
so I did the whole hinge over from the start, just reusing the door side holes and match-drilling the door to the hinge rather than the other way around. This time I was a lot more patient and careful in drilling the hinge frame into the hinge, so it went fine, and I countersunk the hinge:

Match-drilled and countersunk door hinge

The next steps are just deburring, primer and riveting.

I was also considering adding a baggage door sensor (microswitch or similar), but given how hard that'll be, it's probably not worth it.

Time lapse:



Total baggage door time: 5.5h

Access covers continued

I continued working on the access covers, first by getting the seat back brace closeout to actually go in and be final-drilled:

Seat back brace closeout in place for final drilling

After I primed some parts, I riveted the floor pans:

Floor pans with nutplates, ready to be installed

Installed rear seat right floor pan

Installed rear seat left floor pan

For the outboard row of rivets, where you have to buck in a tight area, it quickly became clear that solid rivets were not going to work very well:

Bad, removed rivets from trying to use solid rivets on the outboard row of the floor pan

so (after finding something from Van's saying that they're not load bearing) we switched to blind rivets and got that done quickly as well:

Blind rivets used on the outboard rows of the floor pans

Next was match-drilling the rear seat cover panel to the longeron, and installing nutplates there:

Machine-countersunk nutplate attachment holes on longeron

Nutplates installed underneath longeron
and finally, I realized I should have final-drilled and machine-countersunk the top flange of the forward fuselage bulkhead long before, so I did it now:

Machine-countersunk top bulkhead flange

Time lapse:




Total access cover and floor panel rivets: 286
Total access cover and floor panel time: 19.3h