Started interior panels and lights

I got my interior lights from Aveo, and verified that their Dome does fit well in the seat back brace closeout:

Aveo Dome light attached to a hole of the seat back brace closeout

I also got my interior panels from Aerosport, and started the process of fitting and attaching them. They get attached by surprisingly few screws (some of them going through the longeron), but once that's done they actually feel pretty firm.

Left rear and baggage panels in place

While it's true that there's not a lot of trimming to be done on these parts in terms of dimensions, the little trimming that's required needs to be done very slowly since there's no way to add back material if one removes too much, plus it takes some fiddling to adjust their alignment among themselves and with the airplane structure - for one, because plastic is flexible so they align a bit differently depending on how you hold them. After a lot of small adjustments, I got a pretty good fit:

Overlapping joint between the right rear and right baggage interior panels

Right interior panels attached in place after trimming

I still need to attach some of the nutplates for these panels (which will be easier to do once the cabin cover is off again), and haven't started work on the front panels yet, but the rear and baggage panels are done.

Time lapse:

Total access cover and floor panel rivets: 526
Total access cover and floor panel time: 39.4h

Door gas struts and more

We finally got around to attaching the gas strut brackets. To line them up, we used a center line through the hinge reinforcement plate, since that aligns with the hinge screws. We had to use the original Vans bracket for drilling (since the PlaneAround brackets are tapped).

Reinforcement plate with a centerline marking for aligning the gas strut attach bracket

Marking the exact alignment of the gas strut attach bracket

Gas strut attach bracket in place with the McMaster seal

Gas strut attach bracket successfully installed and fits the McMaster Seal!

Gas strut mockup 

Door held open by gas strut

I also finished riveting the hinge reinforcement plate nutplates:

Door hinge reinforcement plates with nutplates riveted to them

and trimmed the Aerosport latch cover (since for some reason, they didn't design it to fit with their own handle kit?):

Aerosport latch cover trimmed for their low-profile handle kit

Next I plan to adjust the gaps around the doors, then the cabin cover can finally come off one last time for finishing.

Time lapse:

Total cabin door rivets: 104
Total cabin door time: 156.8h

Empennage attach done for now

After detaching the rudder and vertical stabilizer (hopefully for the last time before final assembly), I started to comply with SB 18-03-30. As previously mentioned, the elevators were at the high end of the required travel range (at 30˚ up, with the required range between 25˚-30˚), but at that position they weren't being stopped by the flanges of the horns, making compliance required:

Filed-down elevator stop angle in an attempt to comply with the SB

I measured, and if only the elevator stop angles hadn't been filed down to give the full range, then the horns would still touch them at the flange, and the movement would only be down to 28˚ up, still within the allowed range, so I removed the elevator stop angle and replaced it with a new but equal (just unfiled) part:

Removing the elevator stop angle

New unfiled elevator stop angle clecoed in place

New elevator stop angle riveted in place

I also opened up a bit of the rudder's leading edge to give room for the grounding strap without interfering with the attachment:

Grounding strap hidden behind the leading edge

Leading edge after removing additional material

New leading edge gap exposing the ground strap attachment point

Grounding strap attached to the rudder

Finally, I 3D printed the template to adjust the elevator pushrods:

3D printed elevator pushrod template with holes for clamping

Elevator pushrod template clamped in place

With this, the last steps on section 11 are now left for the final assembly at the airport.

Time lapse:

Total empennage attach rivets: 40
Total empennage attach time: 29.5h

Tailcone attachment leftovers

Ok, if I said that section 32 was complete before, I lied: there were two dimpling steps left - the top tailcone bulkhead and the corresponding skin holes - which are now also done.

Dimpling the top tailcone bulkhead

Time lapse:

Total tailcone attachment rivets: 236
Total tailcone attachment time: 23.2h

Door mods

I epoxied the magnets inside the door latch pins (and later carefully cleaned up the threads):

Door latch pins with magnets epoxied inside

I had to try a few different sensor positions to get the right sensitivity - in the end, attaching to the top screw worked well:

Attempted reed sensor position that didn't work

Reed sensor position that worked properly

Testing the door sensor

I then started the work to close up the hinge pockets, so that the McMaster seal can seal that part of the door. I made 4-layer fiber "plaques", trimmed them to fit just slightly inside the hinge pockets, then attached them with two more layers underneath (grabbing the sides of the pockets), and two layers on top (to make a smooth transition, and also to follow the cranial cavity curve):

Laying up a flat plaque for closing the door hinge pockets

Sanded hinge pockets for attaching the covers

Hinge pocket cover plaques marked up for trimming

Hinge pocket cover plaque held in place

Hinge pocket cover plaque held in place

I used some 2x4s (on top of peel ply) to keep the layup on the same plane as the original door surface:

2x4 block "press" to keep hinge pocket covers flat with door surface

Hinge pocket cover fiber layup inside the pockets

Hinge cover layup in place

After a lot of sanding and filling to make it smooth again, I applied a coat of primer, and this is now ready to fit back:

Hinge pocket covers after sanding

Filling holes in the hinge pocket covers

Hinge pocket covers with primer applied

With this done, I can finish fitting the McMaster seal, position the gas strut bracket and drill the door to attach it.

Time lapse:

Total cabin door rivets: 72
Total cabin door time: 147.9h

Rudder fairings done

We finished filling and sanding the rudder fairings and their gaps:

Bottom rudder fairing with a huge gap to the rudder

Bottom rudder fairing after a lot of filling and sanding

Top rudder fairing after filling and sanding

and finally covered them with primer (which I have to say ended up being less smooth than the sanded surface :) but it's only temporary until paint anyway):

Top rudder fairing with primer applied

Bottom rudder fairing with primer applied

The only empennage fairing left now is the top VS fairing, which has a huge gap to be filled in the forward portion.

Time lapse:

Total empennage fairing rivets: 175
Total empennage fairing time: 98.9h

Bottom wing skins complete!

Section 20, Bottom wing skins, is finally complete! It mostly went smoothly, and I even managed to do a lot of it solo this time, partly by riveting all but the last bay top-to-bottom rather than leaving the last 3 bays for later. The last bay is pretty easy to reach (compared to the others) through the rib holes.

Completed right wing

While technically part of this section, I'm not actually attaching the pitot tube now - I'll leave that out until after the wing is attached to the fuselage to make it easier to handle.

Time lapse:

Total bottom wing skin rivets: 1536
Total bottom wing skin time: 107.9h

Left bottom wing skin done

I'm done riveting...the first wing :) The lower (forward) half was significantly easier and could be mostly done solo and in some cases even using the squeezer, but it's still significantly slower than "regular" riveting where you can see the shop head without taking pictures or using a mirror. I also saw no reason why the two outboard bays are riveted differently, so on the other wing I may just do it all the same way:

Left wing bottom skin fully riveted

Rivets inside the left wing

I also attached the backing plate for the Gretz Pitot mount to the skin, spar and rib:

Gretz pitot mount base plate riveted to the skin and rib through an angle

Now on to the other wing.

Time lapse:

Total bottom wing skin rivets: 991
Total bottom wing skin time: 90.5h

Wing bottom skin riveting started

Lots of blind riveting! And by blind I'm not referring to pop rivets, unfortunately, but riveting without seeing your bucking bar. Phone cameras were infinitely helpful to see what the heck we had done:

Rivets inside the wing

Most of them were ok, but there were more than a few that had to be replaced, too:

Bad rivets that needed replacing

Some also required a bit of contortionism to buck:

Wife performing contortionism to bucket a rivet behind and above her without seeing it

Still a ton of riveting left...

Time lapse:

Total bottom wing skin rivets: 548
Total bottom wing skin time: 77h

Horizontal stabilizer and elevator fairing finishing done

After a LOT of sanding and filling, I got OK results (i.e. good enough that the paint shop can fix the rest :) ) on the horizontal stabilizer and elevator fairings, and primed them:

Sanding the elevator fairing gap

Horizontal stabilizer and elevator fairings with primer applied

Horizontal stabilizer and elevator fairings with primer applied

I also riveted the bottom rudder fairing on, and now the sanding and filling for the rudder fairings will start.

Time lapse:

Total empennage fairing rivets: 175
Total empennage fairing time: 85.6h