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Archive for February, 2012

Forward Canopy Decks – 1.5 hr

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Tuesday Feb 28, 2012

Tonight I fit the two F-721A forward canopy decks to the longerons. I found I had to trim some material off the aft end where they join the F-721B side rails or else they would overlap. I trimmed them flush, bent the side rail tabs out about 15 degrees so they are flush with the inside of the fwd canopy decks and match drilled through the longerons.

Then I clecoed on the instrument panel, placed the F-721C attach angles on the forward canopy decks, match drilled one hole through the instrument panel, then match drilled through the attach angles and the canopy decks.

I think the F-721D attach angles are the last parts to make and fit in the front deck subassembly.

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Categories: Front Deck, Fuselage

Crate Gone, More Front Deck Fitting – 5 hrs

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunday Feb 26, 2012

I wanted to get as much done on the project today as possible but I had to do something with the giant crate that came with the finishing kit. I moved it out onto the driveway on Saturday so I had some room to work in the garage, but today I knew I had to do something permanent with it. So after trying unsuccessfully this weekend to give it away on Craig’s List I broke it down into pieces. Part went to make a platform in the attic on the joists for more storage space and the rest was broken into sections that I can store on the side of the house until I can discard it. That effort took at least 2 hours of my day. Then I could go back to fitting the front deck parts.

The F-644 _L and -R channels are awkward to fit because nothing is pre-drilled and I could not find a way to clamp them in place. So I took another approach. I started by drawing lines down the center of the top flanges of the channels. Then I placed each one in position in the front deck by hand, aligning it fore and aft, and then I marked the flange through the forward most hole in the skin. Then I took the channels back out and drilled a hole through the flange on the centerline where I marked it for the front hole. That hole is shown drilled in the photo below.

Then I put each channel back in the front deck and clecoed it to the skin at the front hole which is highlighted below.

Then I held the F-644 firmly against the sub-panel center section flange and drilled the aft most hole through the skin and put another cleco in. That cleco is highlighted below. Then it was easy to drill the rest of the holes through the top skin. The F-644s came out aligned perfectly and all the holes are right on the centerline of the flange. For the last step I drilled the two holes through the sub-panel center section flange and the F-644s using my 90 degree angle drill attachment from inside under the skin (no picture of that).

Next I removed the clecos on the left side of the skin and lifted it up so I could install the F-743B angle. I clamped the angle to the F-643 channel flush against the firewall and I could easily get a 12 inch #30 drill in there to drill the two holes that hold the angle to the F-643 channel. You can see the clamp and the access in the photo below.

Then I clecoed the skin back down and removed the F-768A sub-panel center section. That gave me good access from the aft side to the holes that hold the angle to the firewall as you can see below.

While the sub-panel center section was out I located the holes in the F-746 engine control bracket and drilled those to the sub-panel. The alignment is simply 1 inch of overlap and the bracket is centered left to right.

Finally, I clecoed the front section back together including the instrument panel so I will be ready to fit the F-721A forward canopy decks next.

Categories: Front Deck, Fuselage

Fitting Wing Root Fairings, Misc Front Deck – 7 hrs

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Saturday Feb 25, 2012

With the wing root fairings in hand from the finishing kit I got the first real work done on the airplane in over a week. Some of the fairing holes line up with existing nutplates in the wing and some have to be match drilled using the fairing as the guide. After an initial fitting I bent the fairings along the leading edge to make them fit a bit better. I found that the edge of the fairings rub the side skin of the fuselage so I trimmed a bit off to make sure the fairings were located properly before match drilling. Then I opened up the holes to #12 for #8 screws. Then I used a piece of scrap .187 thick aluminum to mark a line on the inboard edges of each fairing which I used as a guide for trimming. After that I dimpled the holes in the fairings and put them aside for priming.

But I test fit a piece of the foot fairing seal material to see how it fits. It is snug. You don’t really want less than 3/16 gap between the edge of the fairing and the skin.

With the root fairing done I rechecked the alignment of the ailerons and flaps using the bellcrank tool. I made a couple of small adjustments to try to get the pushrod lengths all set correctly for normal level flight. With that done I can finally take the wings back off the fuselage and free up some room in this garage. But I need some help to do that so maybe tomorrow I can get the help of Jennifer and Denise.

Next I located the F-697 channel (also in the finishing kit), cut it to length and beveled one end. To locate it on the F-768A sub-panel I located and drilled one hole by dimensions on the drawing. I clecoed the channel to the sub-panel in that hole and aligned the channel vertical using centerlines I had drawn on the channel flanges. You can see the parts clecoed together in the picture below. the lower left cleco is holding the channel.

Then I drilled all the other holes in the channel flanges using the pre-drilled holes in the F-768A sub-panel.

Here is the assembly from the back side.

You have to cut a little notch in the channel flange where it overlaps the cut-out in the sub-panel for the canopy release handle.

Then I clecoed the sub-panel back onto the fuselage.

Next up was making the F-768D seal support angles. These little buggers took quite a while to make with all the holes and notches being manually located and cut.

Then I located the F-768Ds on the outboard sub-panels offset by 1/8 inch from the edge of the sub-panel.

With both of those done I clecoed them back onto the fuselage.

It feels good to make some progress again.

Finishing Kit Inventory – 1.5 hr

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Thursday Feb 23, 2012

I enlisted the help of one of my daughter’s friends last night to lift the plexiglass canopy out of the shipping crate and move it to my make-shift paint booth for temporary safe storage. Then I was able to empty the rest of the contents from the shipping crate and continue doing the inventory of the finishing kit. No pictures tonight.

Categories: Uncategorized

Finishing Kit Arrives – 1 hr

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Tuesday Feb 21, 2012

It’s been over a week since my last post since I have been out of town again on business. While I was gone the finishing kit arrived from Vans. At 0ver 300 lb and 4 ft x 8 ft x 2 ft this is a big crate. The shipping charge to So Cal was over $400. Ouch! That includes $75 for “liftgate service” to get it off the truck. Or they said my wife could lift it off the truck herself for free. Yeah right. Anyway, it now occupies the last free spot in the garage making things extremely crowded. Here is a view of the crate parked beside the fuselage.

I pried the lid off the crate and checked the interior for damage. So far it looks OK. There is the big plexiglass canopy with the engine mount weldment underneath. The upper and lower cowlings are on the far end. I need to find a safe place to store the canopy and cowling while I finish up on the wing-related stuff. Why do I still have the wings attached? Because I still need to fit the wing root fairings which are at the bottom of this big crate. Why does Vans include those in the finishing kit instead of the fuselage kit where you need them? I don’t know but it would have been way better to have those done and the wings back on the cradle by now.

Anyway, it’s too late to complete the inventory tonight so that will have to wait.

Categories: Finishing Kit

Front Deck Assembly, Part 1 – 4 hrs

February 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunday Feb 12, 2012

This morning I got into the shop early and finished making the F-703B angle including smoothing out the v-notches and deburring all edges. Then I began fitting it to the F-703 instrument panel. It fits pretty well but since the F-703b only bends at the notches there are some areas where it does not exactly follow the contour of the panel edge, particularly at the outer ends where the bend radius is the tightest. But that is by design so it is not a problem. I clamped it in place with c-clamps to hold the alignment for back drilling from the pre-drilled holes in the panel.

Here is a shot after all the holes were drilled to #40 and clecoed.

I also fit the F-768C seal support angle to the F-768A center sub-panel. The key here is to offset the angle 1/8 inch down from the edge of the sub-panel according to Detail D on drawing 24A. The angle has 15 pre-drilled holes but the sub-panel has two additional pre-drilled holes that are match drilled to the angle.

I cut the F-643-1 channel to 14 – 5/8 inches. The drawing specifies 14 – 1/2 but I left it 1/8 inch long for now. I can trim it more after I see how it fits in the assembly.

I trimmed the F-644-L and -R channels according to the trim detail on drawing 24A.

Then came the fun part – clecoing the front deck parts together on the fuselage. The only problem I had was an interference between the flange of the F-768B-R and -L sub-panels with the fuel vent tubes where they route up the F-902 bulkheads. I am not the first to have this problem since drawing 36a does not warn you to route the tube on a diagonal large enough at the top of the F-902 bulkheads to miss the F-768B flanges. I routed them on a diagonal, but not large enough to miss the flange. I detached the vent tubes for now. I will consider notching the F-768B flanges or re-bending the vent line tubes, or a combination of the two.

Categories: Front Deck, Fuselage

Front Deck Small Parts – 2.5 hrs

February 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Saturday Feb 11, 2012

I was on travel for work all week so I didn’t get anything done since Sunday. That’s life sometimes.

Today I started making small parts for the front deck. That includes the F-721C, F-743B and F-703C angle brackets which are pretty straightforward made from .063 x 3/4 x 3/4 angle. The F-768C stumped me at first. It is made from .025 x 1/2 x 1/2 inch angle and the drawing shows it at 15-3/4 inches long. But when I laid the cut part down on the full scale view it was shorter by about 1/2 inch. I thought I measured it wrong until verified that it is indeed 15-3/4 inches long. It turns out the drawing view is messed up. Be careful on this one and notice that the hole pattern is not consists all the way across. Two holes get drilled in assembly with the F-768A sub-panel.

I also started working on the F-703B angle which is made from .063 x 3/4 x 3/4 angle. It has a bunch of v-shaped notches cut into it to make it bend easily to follow the contour of the panel. I roughed out all the notches but they still need to be finished with the rotary tool using a 1/8 inch cutter.

Categories: Front Deck, Fuselage