Archive for the ‘Front Deck’ Category

Finishing the Center Subpanel – 6.5 hrs

October 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Sunday Oct 13, 2013

To mount the radio stack to the subpanel I first drilled four equally spaced holes in the two aluminum angles on each flange as guides for match drilling into the ribs and subpanel. Then I clamped the angles to the ribs and drilled through the holes installing clecos as I went. Then I drilled through the angles into the subpanel. These holes will all be riveted.


The next step was to remove the middle subpanel from the fuselage which requires removing the canopy as well.


A section of the subpanel needs to be cut out to allow clearance for the GTR 200 radio and the future option of a GTN 650 or similar IFR GPS. The GTR 200 needs a couple of extra inches for connectors/cables and a GTN 650 needs even more depth than that.  I don’t have to cut this hole for the GTN 650 now, but it will be much easier than trying to enlarge the hole after the subpanel is riveted to the fuselage. This just makes the future upgrade easier. I marked out the size of the hole I needed and began to cut with my dremel and cut-off wheel. This is how it looked after the rough cut.


And this is how it looked after cleaning up the edges with hand files.


While I was working on the subpanel I installed these nutplates for the adel clamps that secure the control cables and riveted the bracket to the subpanel.


Here is a view of the radio stack clecoed to the subpanel as I checked the clearance for the radios.


Categories: Avionics, Front Deck

Finished Front Deck – 2 hrs

March 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Wednesday Mar 7, 2012

Tonight I completed the work on the front deck. My final tasks on this section (according to the build instructions) is to rivet the attach brackets to the forward side rails and to dimple the firewall for the F-745 and F-643 ribs. You can see the attach brackets riveted on the left side rail in this photo.

I also installed a couple of keeper rivets in the firewall to retain the angle that gets riveted on with the recess. I just got tired of messing with that angle every time I removed the recess and I was concerned I might forget to include the angle when I finally rivet the recess on.

Then I started working on the NACA vent installation by removing the vinyl around the openings and deburring and smoothing the interior edges of the skin all the way around. I’m thinking about whether I want to rivet and Proseal the vents or just use Proseal. I’ll have to decide in the next day or two.

Categories: Front Deck, Fuselage

Front Deck Nut Plates, Firewall Dimpled – 1.5 hrs

March 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Monday Mar 5, 2012

It’s almost embarrassing to admit because it is so minor but tonight I installed the nutplates on the four attach angles for the front deck and I deburred and dimpled the upper flange of the firewall. A couple of pictures are below to show the evidence. A little progress is always better than no progress.

Categories: Front Deck, Fuselage

Redo Fuel Vent Line, Rudder Pedal Installation – 6 hrs

March 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunday Mar 4, 2012

When I initially installed the front deck components I found that I had an interference with the fuel vent lines. The lines route along a diagonal near the top of the F-902 bulkhead but my diagonals are too small and the flange of the F-768 sub-panels interfered. Either the flanges needed to be notched or the lines need to move. I simply loosened the Adel clamps on the lines at that time and kept building. Today I determined to fix that problem. After futzing with the left line for a while I found that I could not tweek it enough by rebending the diagonal to clear the F-768 flange so I decided to remake the whole line. I had the old line as a guide which helped but it still took a over an hour to make a new line. The result is seen below. The upper diagonal now starts about one inch above the upper Adel clamp. The F-768 clears the line and the line easily clears the NACA duct which I placed on the opening just to make sure.

Here is a view with the F-768 clecoed in place. The flange right below the cleco is the problem area.I wish I knew this before I made the vent lines the first time.

I was able to tweek the right vent line and make it fit because I had a larger diagonal to begin with and I was able to lower the first bend and shift the upper segment forward about one inch.

When I was working on the wing root fairings a few days back I found that the large AN fitting washers on the outside of the fuselage for the vent lines were almost rubbing the fairings. I need clearance for the gap seal strip there. So while I was working on the vent lines I removed the large AN fitting washers to grind a bit off the front edge. A primed them with SEM self etch and reinstalled them on both sides. You can see one in the photo below.

Back to the front deck parts. I riveted the F-768 outboard sub-panels to the F-745 ribs using just the two top rivets which are flush style.

Then I set up the sprayer and painted the aft face of the sub-panel components and the F-745 ribs aft of that. These parts will be visible when the canopy is raised and I want them to look good. The Jetflex is also more durable than just the primer so that is an added plus.

It is time (I think) to install the rudder pedals and brake lines. So I started by installing the fittings on the brake cylinders using Locktite 567 sealant on each fitting. This is the recommended sealant on the forums.

Next up are the plastic lines that connect the brakes to the reservoir and between the left and right cylinders. When I tried to install the first insert and ferrule I was stymied. The insert does not want to go into that hole. I tried soaking the end of the line in boiling water but that still did not do it. After researching the problem on the forums I found a tip about making a simple tool to assist. So that is what I did. It’s just a cut-off nail in a piece of wood (preferably hardwood). You can see my attempt below with one of the fittings set up to press in.

After soaking the end of the tube in boiling water for about 30 seconds I put the insert over the nail and pressed down as hard as I could. The nail keeps the tube from buckling over so you can apply more force. That did the trick. This is still not easy, but they are going in now.

He is a shot of my partially completed brake lines. I Installed the two lines on the right side to the reservoir and began running the two lines that connect the right brakes to the left brakes. I also drilled two holes in the upper rudder pedal tube support and installed snap bushings for the two transfer lines. That is where I quit for today. More to come tomorrow.

Wings Removed, Front Deck Priming – 8 hrs

March 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Saturday Mar 3, 2012

Today was a pretty good day on the project. I got all the front deck parts prepared and primed for final assembly and I got the wings removed from the fuselage. But I get ahead of myself.

The front deck is a bit tricky because it was not designed for modern glass cockpit EFIS displays. There is a main support for the instrument panel that falls right where the primary flight display needs to be. I won’t be installing components in the panel for a while but I need to assemble the front deck structure now. I did some research on the web and learned that most builders cut off the left F-745 rib at the sub-panel and relocate the forward part to the left or right of the PFD. At the moment I am planning a 10- inch Skyview display on the pilot’s side and a 7-inch display on the co-pilot side as back-up – something like the figure below.

Click to enlarge image.

The existing F-745 rib on the left falls right in the middle of the Skyview so that one will clearly need to be relocated. I cut the rib at the sub-panel as shown below. The right rib can probably be adapted to work below the 7-inch Skyview so I left that rib alone for now.

I clecoed the front deck structure back together to make sure the cut was good and as you can see below, the forward section of the F-745 is now available to be relocated.

I spent the next hour or two deburring, scuffing, and dimpling the rest of the front deck parts to get ready for priming. There is quite a good size pile of parts.I also had the two wing root fairings (not shown).

A couple hours later I had the parts cleaned, dried, and primed using good ole Stewart Systems Ekoprime.

This photo is the front deck skin primed along the ribs on the inside surface.

Since I recently finished fitting the wing root fairings I was able to finally take the wings back off the fuselage. I have been anxious to do this because it has been such a pain maneuvering myself in the garage with wings going almost all the way from one wall to the other. It has also been hard working on anything inside the cockpit while reaching over the wings. So I was able to get the help of Denise and Jennifer to remove both wings and put them back on the cradle. That is probably the last time they will be on the fuselage until I move this project to the airport for final preparation for first flight.

It’s really nice to be able to walk around the fuselage without squeezing through the narrow confines around the wings.

Late in the day I was actually able to start riveting a few parts of the front deck together. Here is the center sub-panel with the hat section, stub ribs and forward center rib. Update: I learned about six week later that I should not have riveted the hat section to the subpanel yet. The plans don’t say it but you need to install some nut plates in the hat section for the canopy release mechanism and it is much easier to do that before riveting the hat section to the subpanel.

And here are the left and right outboard sections of the sub-panel with the seal strips riveted on.

F-721D Attach Angles – 1.5 hrs

March 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Thursday Mar 1, 2012

Tonight I made and fit the two F-721D attach angles for the instrument panel. I cut the angle stock to length, then drilled a 5/32 hole on the panel side flange and two #30 holes on the side rail flange of the angle. I clecoed the angle through the existing hole in the instrument panel. I could not get my angle drill into the tight quarters to drill the angle in place so I marked the location of the two holes on the side rail and drilled the holes with the panel removed. The photo below shows one of the F-721D angles clecoed to the side rail after drilling.

After that I finished thru-drilling all the holes in the front deck components in preparation for riveting. I disassembled the front deck parts and began deburring and scuffing for priming.

Categories: Front Deck, Fuselage

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.

Categories: Front Deck, Fuselage