Bottom Aft Fuselage Skin

Time: 3 Hours

I had a little time to get in the Hangar today. The task I wanted to accomplish was to get the large aft fuselage skin clecko’d on. The challenge is that the skin is sandwiched between several parts except the aft end. So you have to slide it in at the forward edge with the aft end lower. Then you can raise the aft end while sliding the sides in between the side skins and the bulkheads. I used a ratchet strap to hold the aft end up but with some space below the fuselage. This allowed me to have a better angle at the forward edge to work it into place.

I then lifted the front edge and started working the the forward edge in. It was a challenge getting the skin between the mid section bottom skins, the curved side skins and the underlying bulkhead flange. Once I got a little bit in I grabbed another ratchet strap around the fuselage closer to the forward side. After working the skin a little I was able to get a couple of clecko’s in place. I then went to the aft end and worked it until I could get a clecko in place on both sides. I went back to the forward edge and made some more connections. Then it was just a process of moving aft along the line of rivets between the side skins and the bottom skin. I followed that with attaching the rear bulkheads to the bottom skin.

I was running out of time but wanted to get the next step done to see how it looked. I had to remove the clecko’s from the top 6 inches of all the side skins from the firewall to the tail. That allows you to pry the skins back a little to get the long top longerons in place.

I then grabbed the longerons off the rack where they were stowed and slid them into place. I was real happy to see that they fit perfectly! The bends that I did seemed to be right on and looked real good. I will do a little tweaking on a couple of the flanges on the bulkheads where they meet the longerons if needed to get them flush with the skins but it won’t be much if at all.

I stopped there to call it a day. Again it’s really fun to see what the final fuselage will look like!

Aft Fuselage Skins

Time: 6 Hours

In preparation for building up the aft fuselage tail cone I needed to debur the two side skins, the large bottom skin and the small aft bottom skin. First I used the soldering iron to remove the blue protective tape from the rivet lines on the exterior side and the entire tape from the interior side of the two side skins.

I than begin the work on the two bottom skins, again working to remove the blue protective film over the rivet lines on exterior side and the entire blue film on the interior side.

with all the edge deburring done I was able to move on and add the lower longeron and middle longeron to both sides skins.

I then added the rear baggage area support ribs and angles to the mid fuselage section in match drilled those holes.

The plans now call for you to add the aft fuselage side skins to the mid fuselage section one at a time. Pay close attention to how the skins line up in relation to other sections. Once you have the side skins in place you can now add four of the six bulkheads. The last thing I did today was to add asked small section of bottom skin to the side skins. This added some lateral stability to the whole structure.

Days like these are awesome! You really get to see the fuselage taking shape. Another great day in the Hangar!

Tail Cone Parts

Time: 8 Hours

Today started with riveting the seatbelt backing plates to the upper bulkhead.

Next up was to work on the rear baggage support structure including the ribs and rib angles.

Lots of final drilling and deburring with these parts. I next moved on to the passenger lap belt attach points. They have a beefy angle that has to be cut and shaped to attach the seat belt lugs to.

Those three parts need to be riveted together now so I deburred, scuffed and primed them, leaving the tips unprimed like the others so the paint doesn’t get worn off later while in use.

I will paint these gray later as they will be seen in the cabin. I then moved on to the next steps which was deburring the lower aft longeron, the aft middle longeron, the aft tail cone deck and its spacers.

The lower longerons are over 100″ long and took a while to debur the edges. The seat belt attach assemblies get bolted to the lower longeron and needed to be final drilled with the 3/16″ reamer.

So a long day in the Hangar mostly final drilling and deburring but it has got me to the point where I will be attaching the left and right tail cone skins as well as the bottom skins. It is really fun to see this progress.

The next few days will see some neat progress in hoping!

Bulkhead Riveting

Time: 4 Hours

Today I got to riveting the halves of the bulkheads together.

On the forward most bulkhead there are 2 slots for the passenger shoulder harness. These slots have backing plates that give them strength. The bulkheads get dimpled and the plates get countersunk for flush rivets on the forward side.

I finished deburring the remaining bulkhead tops and they are ready from priming as well. Since I need to rivet the seatbelt backing plates I primed those tonight so I can work on them tomorrow.

I spent a little time finding the parts for the next section which will be the rear baggage door supports as well as the lower passenger seatbelt attach points. I should get a start in those tomorrow.

More Bulkhead Work

Time: 4 Hours

Today I took it pretty easy in the Hangar so I could relax and watch a little football. What I got accomplished was to finish detailing the remaining 2 bulkheads which consist of 4 pieces. As you move forward on the tail cone the bulkheads get bigger and bigger. The last 2 took a lot longer to debur all the edges with all their notched along with all the holes. The very forward most bulkhead has 3 areas that needed to have tabs cut out.

After all the edges and holes were cleaned up I scuffed and primed them.

For my painting process when the weather gets colder is to open the garage door about 3′ and turn my big barrel fan on to suck the paint fumes out. That requires me to hit the door button to start the opening followed by hitting it a second time to stop the door at the 3′ mark. I then turn on the fan and start priming. I have most of my home automated using a system called Vera. With that system I also have my garage door connected. Some cool things you can do is set up scenes of a million different possibilities. So why I was watching football I made a new scene for painting. I basically opens the garage door waits 4 seconds and stops the door at the same time turning on the fan via an outdoor plug that is part of the Vera system. So when I’m ready to prime or paint I open my iPhone app and click on “Painting” and the door opens to the right height and the fan comes on. I also have a scene that says “Painting Done” that turns off the fan and closes the door. Yes I’m a geek and I know it but I love this stuff! So not a lot done today but any work is good in the Hangar. I will be able to start riveting the bulkheads tomorrow after I fly.