Baggage area started

Before attaching the tailcone, I got started on the baggage area, and fabricated the hinges which later attach the seat backs:


I then clecoed it all and final-drilled all the floor holes:

Baggage and rear seat floors clecoed in place

I fabricated the baggage floor stiffeners from the provided angles, then also final-drilled them with the floors:

Baggage floor stiffener angles before cutting

Baggage floor stiffeners on top of the baggage floor

Once the tailcone was attached, I then worked on drilling the door seal parts:

Baggage door seal parts clecoed in place

It was then time to attach and match-drill the bulkhead corrugations and the right baggage cover:


Many of those holes are actually for nutplates, so I drilled the nutplate rivet holes as well:



Finally, I fabricated the plastic wear blocks and match-drilled them to the corrugations:

Fabricated wear blocks

Wear blocks match-drilled and clecoed to corrugations

The next steps for this section are to figure out the step inspection panel, and then priming all parts.

Time lapse:


Total baggage area rivets: 0
Total baggage area time: 11.9h

Tailcone attachment started

We took the first steps in attaching the tailcone to the fuselage, which means fitting the skins inside each other and clecoing them up (making it look huge!):

Fuselage and tailcone clecoed together (right side)

Fuselage and tailcone clecoed together (left side)

I then match-drilled the longerons and bolted them together:

Mid fuselage longeron volted to tailcone longeron

I fabricated the spacers that go underneath the top tailcone skin - the manual said to use either 0.025" or 0.032" sheet, and I chose 0.025" since that's the thickness of the tailcone skin, which indeed resulted in being very flush with the rest:

Tailcone shim in position

After that, I final-drilled or match-drilled all the skin holes to the undestructure (bulkheads, ribs and the longerons), and countersunk them:

Machine-countersunk mid side skin / mid fuselage longeron holes

Machine-countersunk mid side skin / tailcone side skin holes

With this, the whole thing can come apart again for deburring, primer and dimpling - though I'll hold off on doing that so I can complete some of the match-drilling from the next few sections while these parts are attached and properly aligned.

Time lapse:


Total tailcone attachment rivets: 0
Total tailcone attachment time: 6.4h

Fuselage side skin riveting complete

This Thanksgiving holiday, I'm thankful that section 29 is mostly complete, after 1714 rivets, 130GB of time lapse video and 152h of effort!

We finished riveting the lower fuselage channel (some of the hardest rivets so far), and started up the bulkheads:

Riveted lower fuselage channel

Riveted forward fuselage bulkheads

It was then time to rivet the pilot and copilot floors (except the 9 holes on each side that will attach to the bracket for the EFII pumps):

Porcupine floor before riveting

Riveted right forward cabin floor

Riveted left forward cabin floor
That took just a few blind rivets (actually, 250 of them):

Remains from some of the blind rivets used to attach the floors
In the process, we also found out that the pilot's seat is not very comfortable yet:


Finally, I riveted the forward fuselage ribs:


With this, all riveting is complete (Look ma, no clecos!):



The only step left is attaching the landing gear mount (which involves no riveting, just bolts). Due to (by Vans's advice) having hammered its flange until the flange was in a proper position, it'll need some touching-up:


I sanded off most of the broken powder coating, and will prime that part soon:


Time lapse:


Total fuselage side skin rivets: 1714
Total fuselage side skin time: 152.0h

Step installation mostly done

I started the step installation section by drilling the step attach blocks in the drill press:

Step attach blocks on drill press
I then match-drilled through them into the ribs with the steps in place:

Step under baggage floor, with attach block

Step going through match-drilled attach block

Attach block fully match-drilled and bolted


Both attach blocks secured to ribs
I then actually drilled through the step into the bottom skin, and back into the baggage floor:

Baggage floor hole where the step bolt goes

Step with bolt in place
Finally, to reduce the chance of the steps breaking, I used the bushings from TCW - they go inside the step (with the bolt going through them) to prevent crushing of the step tube. They were slightly oversized for my steps, so I had to grind them down slightly to fit:

Ground-down TCW step bushings

Step bushings fitting into steps
Now the only steps left are to touch up the primer on the steps and actually attach them permanently, which I'll leave for later.

Time lapse:


Total step installation time: 5.4h

Access covers/floor panels started

While waiting for a riveting partner to finish the forward side skins, I started to take tasks from the other sections ahead, so I started section 35 by fitting and drilling the rear floor pans.

The pans don't really go in without some serious deburring - the aft seat rail supports are about 1" wide, and the gap for them in the floor pan was only about 0.9" - I targeted a little slack and widened them to about 1.07", then they fit perfectly:

Trying to fit the rear floor pan
Floor pan gaps around aft seat rail support

I then clecoed them in place, final-drilled the holes to the adjacent ribs and rear spar, then match-drilled the forward holes into the main spar web:

Final-drilling floor pan attach holes

Match-drilling floor pan into main spar
After that, I removed them - which was in itself a challenge, since they go in pretty tightly and "snap" under the rear spar attach bar. I had to use two thin pieces of metal (two chip removing tools) to bring it over that edge, pulling them with clecos (there's also nowhere to grab):

Lifting the floor pan out of the rear spar attach bar

I then final-drilled the other holes (which were already dimpled in floor stiffeners, so no point in final-drilling together), then deburred the holes and edges of the pans, so they'll be primed on the next batch of parts, whenever that is.

Finally, I final-drilled most of the screw holes and deburred holes and edges on a pile of access cover parts:

Final-drilled and deburred access cover parts

Time lapse (now in 4K!):


Total access cover and floor panel rivets: 0
Total access cover and floor panel time: 7.8h

Fuselage side skin riveting continued

I got some new tools to try to get to all those side-skin rivets, and that was immensely helpful:

New riveting sets and bucking bars
We finished riveting both mid fuselage side skins, and the aftmost part of the forward side skin (where it's very annoying to rivet due to the large wing attachment bolts/nuts):

Riveted right mid fuselage-skin

Riveted left mid-fuselage skin

including all the bottom rivets that get done in this section:

Bottom rivets on the right mid-fuselage skin

I installed the rear seat vents:

Rear seat vent installed

Inside view of the rear seat vent

We then installed the mid cabin decks, and for bucking those rivets, we had someone inside the airplane for the first time!

Bucking the mid-cabin deck rivets



Riveted right mid-cabin deck

Riveted left mid-cabin deck

We also performed a bunch of smaller tasks, like riveting the nutplates on the forward cabin floor panels:

Nutplates riveted to forward cabin floor panel

We applied sealant (Firebarrier 2000) between the firewall and the forward side skins before we rivet it in place:

Applying sealant between the firewall bulkhead and the forward side skins

Firewall/side skin joint all sealed up!

Since we were playing with Firebarrier anyway, we also sealed up the gaps in the firewall recess:

Firewall recess corners filled with Firebarrier 2000

Time lapse (now in 4K, starting at 44:48):


Total fuselage side skin rivets: 1040
Total fuselage side skin time: 137.8h

Popular posts