Rear seat backs started

While waiting on the weather to prime some parts, I started section 42, the rear seat backs. This starts by fabricating some angles:

Rear seat back angles
Two of those need to be rounded at the vertex to nest in the top part of the seat backs:

Rear seat back top angles, one of them rounded at the vertex
The way I found to do this with some precision over the length of the angle was to make a 45-degree chamfer first until the width of the material was the same on the vertex as on the flanges, and measuring to ensure that the width of the chamfered area was the same throughout the angle, before finally rounding it:

One rounded (right) and one chamfered (left) rear seat back top angles

Forward side of the rear seat back, match-drilled to the angles and hinge half

Back side of the rear seat back, match-drilled to the angles and hinge half

As a minor detail - Van's tells you to cut the hinge pins in half, at 8" - don't :) The removed hinge eyes are not exactly centered, so I found that it's much better to cut them at the center of the removed eyes:

Hinge pins cut in half (top) and at the center of the removed eyes (bottom)

Some of the parts had some excess length which I'll likely trim off later:


This completes all the fabrication involved in this short section - now it's just minor trimming, deburring, primer and riveting/attachment.

Time lapse:


Total rear seat backs time: 7.6h

Fuselage side skins 100% done

The last remaining part of section 29 was to install the landing gear mount, which required some primer touch-up where I "fixed" a flange to fit:

Landing gear mount flange after stripping the remaining powder coating

Touched-up landing gear mount
With that, I started the final step of bolting down the landing gear mounts:

Installed right landing gear mount

Installed left landing gear mount

All landing gear mount bolts torqued inbetween the center section spars

Of course, there had to be one bolt that gave us trouble and made us spend almost an additional hour to get it tight - it was just too close to the landing gear mount "leg" to use a socket, but we managed it:

Difficult bolt to tighten in the landing gear mount leg

With that, this section is 100% complete :) There is life after section 29!

Time lapse:


Total fuselage side skin rivets: 1714
Total fuselage side skin time: 156.9h

Primed parts for various sections

We had noticed some rust forming on the steel parts (e.g. for the control system and flap system), so we decided to prime all of those, as well as some other parts that would be helpful (like the floor pans):

Primed bolt access plate, floor pan, idler arm parts, tailcone shims, pushrods, flap torque tubes, landing gear mount and control stick base

Primed floor pan, control sticks, control stick base, flap horns, and step blocks

For a change, I'll include the times and videos with each section for which we did this.

Control Systems started

I got started on section 39, the control systems, by cutting the pushrods to the proper length:

Pushrods cut to length and rod end bearings

Aligning the control sticks on the drill press table proved to be quite hard:

Mess trying to align the control stick and its base on the drill press table
so I gave up on that and decided to use the mill :) (big thanks goes to a coworker who helped me and taught me how to use it!)

Mill with the control stick

With the mill it was actually quite easy to drill nearly-perfect matching holes on the two parts with the control stick not just "supposedly parallel" to the table, but actually clamped down to it

Control stick firmly attached to mill table
I drilled them #15 and later finished with #12 by hand:

Control sticks temporarily attached to their bases

I also trimmed the bushings and stick bases to fit within the control column:

Control stick base bushings, one in the control column and one in the control stick base
and finally test-assembled the whole thing:

Control sticks with bases and control column attached

Some of the parts had some rust on the inside, so I gave them a good T-9 bath in preparation for primer (I'll obviously need to clean that off before applying the primer, the Prekote should help):

Control system (and flap) parts after applying T-9
Next steps are priming and assembling these parts, and continuing the assembly of the pushrods.

Time lapse:


Total control system time: 6.4h

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

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