Cabin cover is attached!

In a major milestone, we finally attached the cabin cover for good.

Getting it in place was slightly annoying - we had to lower it to a raised position to get the conduits through to the tailcone before lowering it all the way:

Cabin cover slightly raised from position so as to give access to the conduits

Conduits run through to the tailcone

There was also some interference with the conduit area that had to be trimmed:

Interference between the bulkhead side channel and the conduit area

Trimmed conduit area for clearance

With those resolved, it was then time to rivet the gussets, apply resin/flox, and tighten the bolts for the first time (we realized some of them are a bit too long and needed too many washers, so I expect to still change them):

Side gusset riveted in place

Cabin cover gap filled with resin and flox

Gusset area with resin and tightened bolts

Once that cured, I riveted the aft portion of the cabin cover in place:

Riveted aft portion of the cabin cover

The tailcone top forward skin is still not on, mostly because we need to get some sealant for the forward edge before we can attach it.

Time lapse:

Total cabin cover rivets: 160
Total cabin cover time: 135.9h

Upper forward fuselage complete

I installed a nutplate to hold the center console side panel:

Nutplate to hold center console side panel

We used the windshield (even without trimming) to mark a line of the inside of the top forward skin so we want to apply primer/paint on it (and later do a first cut of the glareshield material to it):

Windshield in place to mark glareshield area

Forward fuselage top skin with glareshield area cleared of vinyl for primer 

Forward fuselage top skin being protected with tape in non-primed/painted areas

Painting the visible parts of the forward fuselage top skin

Primed and painted forward fuselage top skin

Forward fuselage structure assembled together

Forward fuselage structure riveted together

Cooling/defrost fan doublers riveted in place

Panel attachment flanges and nutplates riveted in place

With this, section 31 is complete, except for the bracket that holds engine cables which I'm not yet sure I'll need. Actually attaching the panel to the fuselage is part of the later section 41, which I'll do after the firewall layout is complete.

Time lapse:

Total upper forward fuselage rivets: 360
Total upper forward fuselage time: 65.2h

Gear leg

I attached the gear leg brake hose - only to realize that the hose was a bit too long and left a lot of slack (that would ultimately either press against the bracket or the inside of the leg fairing):

Gear leg hose with a lot of excess length

I asked Aircraft Specialty if this was intentional, and without even asking they sent me new hoses that were about 1.5" shorter, which I thought was awesome. The new ones fit much better, so I tightened that:

Shorter Aircraft Specialty left gear leg hose temporarily attached in place

Shorter Aircraft Specialty left gear leg hose temporarily attached in place

Gear leg hose attachment to brake

I secured the hoses with friction tape, and confirmed that there's good clearance from the wheel fairing:

Gear leg hose secured with friction tape

Gear leg hose clearance to wheel and leg fairings

Now I'll only come back to this section to final-attach the engine mount, as mentioned in the previous post.

Time lapse:

Total engine mount and landing gear time: 21.7h

Fuel pump attachment

I fabricated the plate to mount the EFII fuel pumps on based on the length of the support angles underneath, and then attached the pump to the hose - aaand the plate was too short, probably because with the wing-root-filter variation of the Aircraft Specialty hoses, the pump gets shifted slightly forward:

Fuel pumps on the initial support plate (too short)

so I made a new plate, this time about 1 1/4" longer on the forward end (and sent it to Aircraft Specialty - they even included it in a newer revision of their manual!):

Drawing of the fuel pump support plate with dimensions

With that, the pumps and hoses fit perfectly, so I used the template included with the pumps to drill holes for those, and made smaller holes for #8 screws that attach the plate to the angles underneath, then match-drilled those:

Fuel pumps attached to hoses, with the longer support plate

Fuel pumps on the support plate

Pump support plate and angles

After primer, I installed the nutplates, angles and the pumps themselves (those use a 1/4-20 bolt, so not AN4s). Installing the angles made me realize that the MSP-42 rivet that the Aircraft Specialty recommends is fine on the side without the inspection panel, but with the added thickness of that, MSP-43s had to be used on the right side:

Primed pump support plate and angles, with nutplates riveted

Pump final-attached to the support plate

Support angles riveted in place

With this, only the final assembly of the pumps/forward hose are left for this section (and pump wiring which I'll count towards the avionics section) - I'll do those once I'm ready to close the tunnel.

Time lapse:

Total fuel system rivets: 30
Total fuel system time: 12h

Wheel fairing finishing

I trimmed the forward main wheel fairings to leave plenty of room for the brake hoses to go through underneath the intersection fairings, then primed all the fairings inside and (where not gel coated) outside:

Trimmed forward main wheel fairings at the intersection fairing, for brake lines

Primed wheel fairing inside

Primed intersection fairing

Finally, I bonded the tug guard doublers with some flox and then riveted them:

Tug guards bonded in place with epoxy+flox

Tug guards riveted in place

I still have the nose gear leg fairing to complete, and I've ordered the replacement part for it, but who knows when Vans will actually ship it.

Time lapse:

Total gear leg and wheel fairing rivets: 152
Total gear leg and wheel fairing time: 97.7h

Control system attachment

I attached and adjusted all the forward cabin parts of the control system, using a 3D printed template for alignment:

3D printed template in place to align control pushrods

3D printed template in place to align control pushrods

Time lapse:

Total control system rivets: 37
Total control system time: 15.9h

Subpanel opening doubler

I riveted the GTN attachment bracket, then riveted the GTN opening doubler:

Subpanel structure with doubler attached around hole

I then added grommet edging around the GTN/GNX hole (which took a long time because Spruce was backordered on the SL3, which is the right one for the panel+doubler's thickness):

Subpanel GTN hole with edge grommet

Time lapse:

Total upper forward fuselage install rivets: 62
Total upper forward fuselage install time: 20.2h

Baggage area O2 box and carpet

I primed and put together the O2 tank box for the baggage area, and took measurements for carpet that covers it properly:

Assembled O2 tank box

Template for baggage area carpet

Template for baggage area carpet

I eventually received the carpets from Aerosport, and this one fit relatively well:

Baggage area carpet in place

For now I'll just put the carpets away until I'm done with the cabin cover, or they'll just be collecting dust.

Time lapse:

Total baggage area rivets: 702
Total baggage area time: 62.0h

Engine mount and nose gear progress

We primed the nose gear fork (except the brass insert, of course) and mounted it and the wheel in place:

Primed nose gear fork

Nose gear fork in place

Nose wheel attached to nose gear fork

We match-drilled and temporarily installed the engine mount, with the nose gear:

Engine mount attached in place

Nose gear installation parts

Nose gear installed in place

Actually attaching the nosewheel, while keeping the plane level to work on the fairing, required jacking the airplane significantly higher:

Significant gap below the main wheels to get the airplane level

Nose wheel installed in place

This was a while ago, and I've seen done a lot of work on the fairing (posted separately). The main thing left for this section is permanently installing the engine mount, which I'll only do after having the fiberfrax firewall protection in place, which in turn I'll only do after having the engine hung (but not permanently attached) at least once to measure distances and positions (e.g. the hose for the EFII pressure regulator gives a specific position for the regulator, which needs to be measured with the engine in place).

Time lapse:

Total engine mount and nose gear time: 19.9h