Cabin cover surface finishing

Sand, fill, sand, fill, sand, fill, prime, sand, fill, prime, paint, sand, fill, prime, paint...you get the point :) Thankfully only a small part of the cabin cover will stay uncovered - the whole aft section was primed just for protection but will be covered by the headliner, and all the center portion will be covered up by the overhead console - so we didn't have as much surface to finish.

First layer of primer applied to the cabin cover

Finishing the conduit outlets 

Painting the forward center section

Overhead console resting on cabin cover

Primed and painted cabin cover

The parts that are still pink are the ones that will be finished in place by joining them to adjacent metal parts.

Finally, in preparation for attaching the overhead console, we had it clear coated by a local body shop, then attached clickbonds to the inside for running conduits

Clickbond conduit attachments inside overhead console

Clickbond conduit attachments inside overhead console, after curing

Next steps are to attach the overhead console, prepare the headliner (ordered in April but I still haven't received it), and the finally attach the cabin cover in place. I already have the transparencies from Cee Bailey's, too.

Time lapse:


Total cabin cover rivets: 64
Total cabin cover time: 117.0h

Front seats levers

The Aerosport seat levers come with a pretty rough surface, both inside and out, so it took me some time to get them smooth:

Seat lever outside surfaces, before and after

Smoothing the seat lever inside and outside surfaces

I then drilled the pivot hole (it uses an AN4 bolt) and test-fit it:

Seat lever test fitting

I didn't want the lever touching the seat frame, so I added some spacing (in the end it ended up being a thinner AN960-416L):

Seat lever attached to frame wish a washer for spacing

The Aerosport levers also came with some rust in them, so instead of painting them black I just did a rust conversion coating, which made them look good enough:

Painted (actually rust-converted) seat levers

The lever attached to the handle with a small (#5) screw - to protect its threads a bit, I added a small spacer (McMaster PN 92320A691, reamed up to 1/8") which can just slide through the lever opening (and is held in place between two small washers):

Tiny spacer to support the #5 screw that connects the lever and handle

With that, I tightened everything up:

Left seat lever installed in place

Left seat lever installed in place

We also took the opportunity to paint the forward fuselage bulkhead which stay visible underneath the seats:

Painted forward fuselage bulkhead, already in place

Since I still had the cabin cover out of the fuselage, I took the opportunity to drill the seat belt attachment holes (and I'll countersink them when it's right side up again):

Bolt through the seat belt attachment hardpoint on the cabin cover

We also ordered and received the seat belts from Crow, and will install them later.

Time lapse:


Total seat and seat belt time: 4.5h

Empennage fairings are done

To finish up section 12, we riveted the empennage fairing attachment nutplates:

Empennage fairing attachment nutplates

I had a gap on the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer fairing of about 0.05" - I sanded it to remove the gel coat then added a few layers of fiber there to extend the edge:

Gap between vertical stabilizer skin and fairing leading edges

Fiber laid up onto vertical stabilizer fairing leading edge

Vertical stabilizer fairing leading edge after sanding

After a bunch of sanding and filling and primer, this part was done. I also took the opportunity to finish sanding and prime the empennage fairing, which means section 12 is now complete (except maybe for final attachment of the screwed-in parts which will happen much later).

Time lapse:


Total empennage fairing rivets: 185
Total empennage fairing time: 103.8h

Wingtip trimming and countersinking

I trimmed the wingtip aft portions to give the right spacing to the ailerons:

Markings of the minimum distance required from the aileron, before trimming

Trimmed wingtips with clearance from the aileron


I then countersunk all the hinge attachment holes for flush rivets, and the forward and inspection panel cover screw holes for #6 screws:
Wingtip with countersunk holes

Now I need to wait for Aveo to send me the fiberglass ribs (they're taking some time), glass those in, make the delrin block for securing the hinge pins, and then add the static wick attachment (probably with nutplates on a backing strip and a bonding strap to the rib). I also still need to prime the hinge spacers (except those that will bond the Archer antenna) and rivet the hinges in place.

Time lapse:


Total wing tip time: 45.9h

Cabin cover finishing

We've been doing the tedious job of filling and sanding the cabin cover, and getting the gaps around the console to be flush with it where it doesn't get covered with headliner.

Filling the forward conduit cover

Initial result of filling the forward conduit cover and console surroundings

Initial filling of the center portion to make a smooth ramp

Aluminum tape turned out to be quite a lot better than packing tape to protect the console, as it's easier to make it conform to the shape and stay put:

Applying aluminum tape to the overhead console

Filling the gaps around the overhead console

Result of filling the gaps around the center console

Next is...more sanding and filling :/

Time lapse:


Total cabin cover rivets: 64
Total cabin cover time: 102.1h

Cabin cover forward conduits

We started attaching the forward conduit for bringing wiring up to the switch pod and center console. First, I "carved" the forward flange a bit with the Dremel to make the conduit fit, then glued it with resin:

Gluing the forward conduits to the cabin cover

On the tips, I knew I had to avoid the wires coming out right into some screws, so I lifted the conduit slightly with some foam:

Tip of the right forward conduit, with a foam spacer to lift it

Forward conduits glued in place

To make a lightweight mold around the conduit to cover it, we epoxied some small foam blocks, then carved them to the right shape:

Foam blocks glued to the forward side of the forward conduits

Trimmed forward blocks to give shape to the forward conduit conver

In parts where the conduit was almost level with the rest of the cabin cover, we just covered it with some epoxy+microballoons, and on other parts we also use some more foam, which was then also cut to shape (to keep the whole thing tangent to the cabin cover surface):

Filling and gluing foam atop the forward conduits

Untrimmed blocks covering the "top" of the forward conduits

Trimmed foam blocks giving shape to the forward conduit cover

We then laid up fiber on that, sanded, and started filling it to make the height and angle be constant across the whole edge:

Peel ply applied after laying fiber onto the forward conduit and foam

Fiber laid onto the forward conduit and foam

Filling the gaps and smoothing the forward conduit cover

Finally, we also started filling the edges around the overhead console, and adding a smooth ramp just aft of the door openings (since that part is still visible, as it's forward of the headliner):

Filling the gap between the cabin cover and the door opening edge

Next comes the tedious work of finishing all the fiber and resin to look smooth.

Time lapse:


Total cabin cover rivets: 64
Total cabin cover time: 92.6h

Wheel fairings started

I've been very slowly following the wheel fairing steps, starting with making sure the two parts of each match:

Mating the forward and aft wheel fairing parts

Joint between the forward and aft parts, after sanding to make them fit well

then drilling holes at the right positions to join them:

Wheel fairing parts match-drilled and clecoed together

Getting it aligned properly is a royal pain - they tell you to draw a straight line through the center of the aftmost plane, but it's not a plane at all, it's curved in every direction, and getting it all aligned to even mark a centerline takes some effort:

Wheel fairing with center line drawn through it

Wheel fairing with center line drawn through it

I added shims to the wheels to keep the brackets in place, and added the recommended shim block on top of the tire:

Wheel brackets with shims keeping the distance from the wheel

Tire with spacer block on top

After quite a bit of trimming - mostly of the wheel opening - I got the aft part to fit as it's supposed to:

Right aft wheel fairing in place

The trimming around the tire opening is quite aggressive to get to this point:

Difference in the wheel opening between the original forward part (left) and the trimmed aft part (right)

Getting the two parts to sit in place was also quite a bit of work, which involved bending the bracket arms to keep the lower part of the forward fairing flush with the aft part:

Full right wheel fairing in place

Bottom part of the right wheel fairing not sitting flush between forward and aft parts

I also drilled the future nutplate holes on the bracket, initially just #40 so I can use sphere magnets to find the holes from the outside:

Wheel bracket with nutplate holes pre-drilled

Finally, I test-fit the nose gear brackets to check for any issues with the Beringer wheels (there were none):

Nose gear fork with brackets

Now the real challenge starts - getting the fairing properly aligned in all axes and match-drilling it to the underlying nutplate holes.

Time lapse:


Total gear leg and wheel fairing time: 12.5h