Front Seat Support Bar

Time: 6 Hours

Today I ran to Home Depot to grab a 36″ Dewalt clamp to help spread the fuselage sides apart so I could get the support bar in place. This bar will support the pilots seat back and provide structure to the top of the fuselage sides. When I returned home I used a couple small pieces of wood as spacers and put the clamp in place after reversing the ends so it would be a spreader. This was all so I didn’t scratch the paint as I slid it up into position since it is a tight fit. I had to do a little prying to get it up into position along with the two spacers but didn’t cause any damage to the paint. Once the bar was in place I removed the clamp and returned the ends to the clamp position. I then put the clamp on the upper edge of the sides to now squeeze the skins, longeron and bar all together to get the holes to line up. I first started with the 8 vertical screws and their washer/nuts. I held the Philips head still and tightened the nut so the screw head wouldn’t tear the paint. I then followed those up with the solid rivets. I used several of my pneumatic squeezer yokes to get all but 3 rivets per side. On one rivet I used my small mushroom head in the rivet gun and my small thin bucking bar. The last two rivets are all but impossible to get too with any type of bucking bar and Van’s calls for CS4-4 flush blind rivets. All these turned out perfect and no damage to the paint.  


I then put in the 16 AN3-4 bolts that are on the sides. I will say these took me forever to get as the 4 inboard ones are in a tight space and the top outboard ones don’t have a lot of room to run an open end wrench.  

   I took time in between the bolts and riveted the hinge to the pilot seat back.  


After I finished up the bolts I finished riveting the passenger seat back. It went pretty quick with the rivet gun and tungsten bucking bar. As with the pilot seat back I left the hinge off so I could paint first.  

   The bar looks pretty good in place! 

 To protect the bar and side rails I bought some packing pad and tape to wrap those areas.  


Long day for not a whole lot of items but it was a good day! Next up the seat floors and passenger foot wells. 

Seat Backs and Cockpit Rails

Time: 8 Hours

Today started with work on the passenger seat back. There was a lot of edges that needed deburring including all the relief notches.  



I scuffed, cleaned and primed all these parts.  


In between the priming coats I got to work riveting the pilot seat back. I did not rivet the bottom support angle as it also gets riveted to the hinge and I didn’t want to paint the hinge. I will paint those two parts separately and then rivet those parts together.  


So I still had time to kill between priming so I started looking at the cockpit rails and how the riveting would go. I grabbed several of my pneumatic squeezer yokes and started mocking up the process. I felt like I had a pretty good plan for the process and decided to start this task. I carefully clecko’d the rails in place so that I didn’t scratch the paint. I then placed painters tape on the areas where I thought I might scratch the edges. I also used back riveting tape over the rivet heads so the squeezer dies wouldn’t scratch the paint.  


I started with the rivets over the center section bulkheads. I worked on the left side then the right as I had the squeezer set for the specific length rivets.  


I worked my way down the length of the rails taking my time so I didn’t scratch any areas.  


They all turned out perfect! Hopefully I can keep them looking as good for the rest of the build. I will put some type of padding on these and tape them down to protect them. I then grabbed the seat back support bar plates and clecko’d them in place. I had to think about how I would get to the backs of these rivets as the space towards the top of the brackets is pretty tight. To get the right angle for my hand and my tungsten bucking bar I needed to be inside the fuselage. I grabbed a scrape piece of wood to make a seat across the floor ribs and put all the tools inside for me to reach. I then climbed in and got into position. It wasn’t easy but I was able to get al of them done. I did chip the paint on the right side a little and will have to do some touch up work later.  


I finished the priming on the passenger seat back and started the riveting.  


I did as much as I could with the squeezer and stopped since it was late and the rest of the rivets need the rivet gun and bucking bar. I grabbed the pilot seat back and hung the parts on the rack and painted them for the last task of the day.  


Another good day in the Hangar!

She’s on her Legs!

Time: 8 Hours

So this post is for a few days worth of work over the last week or so since I got back from vacation/flight training. I got back to work in the Hangar this last weekend and the first task was to torque the 9 bolts/nuts on each gear leg. My buddy Glen helped out with this difficult task. The hardes part was getting to the 2 NAS nuts that reside on the outboard bracket of the hear tower. These are in a very tight location and make for fun time working on them. You remember the gear tower mod  I did way back when, well it was for just this task. I found that removing the 2 screws that reside just above these nuts made it a little easier to get the socket on them. After a couple of hours we had all tightened and to their specs. The NAS nuts needed to be set to 240 in/lbs and the rest were to their required bolt specs. The two NAS bolts tighten down the U shaped bracket that holds the outboard section of the gear down. The strength comes from the bridge section of this U shape. So you don’t want the outer legs of this bracket to touch the wear plate before you reach the 240 in/lbs torque. Vans says a minimum .030in gap is allowed. I have read where builders actually had to grind the brackets a little to prevent them from bottoming out before the torque was reached. I did not have this problem, the problem I ended up with was I didn’t get the recommended 1.5 threads showing above the the nut. I got 3/4 to 1 threads showing with the proper torque.  



Now that the RV was on its new legs I decided to tackle the firewall edge sealing. If you remember a post when I reviewed the forward side skins you were supposed to put a layer of ProSeal along the corner of the firewall to create a seal so gas, oil and fumes don’t enter the cabin. I thought this would end up pretty messy and thought I could do a better job later in the build. That time was now so I grabbed the new items I bought just for this task. I ordered a 4″ x 3/16″ nozzle from Sky Geeks website and a tube of ProSeal from Aircraft Spruce.  I clipped the straight end of the nozzle to a 45° to make the application a little easier. 


Here you can see the light shining thru the holes in the relief notches in the firewall. This is looking forward from inside the cabin.  


I used the Semco gun to lay a nice clean bead of ProSeal along the seam from top to bottom thanks to the small thin nozzle.  


The next day I grabbed the Andair fuel valve and the structure I built to support it. I left the inboard 2 holes at 1/8″ as I knew that the placement would move a little after the side skin was riveted in place. After placing the structure in place the holes were pretty close, so I open them up with the #19 drill bit for #8 screws. Now that those holes were matched I remove the structure and put two nutplates on the ends of the structure for the new holes. I also countersunk the holes on the left cabin mid braces to accept the #8 screws holding this structure so that they would lay flush. 


I then finished replacing the fuel system parts that were removed to rivet all the skins.  


I also put the battery rack with its support parts in place.  


To continue with the build you start with the cockpit rails (sills) and rivet them in place. I had painted these prior to heading to flight training but they got a little fuzzys on them. So I sanded them and repainted them last week. As soon as I sprayed them they bubbled up and created orange peel. I have no idea why Rustoleum does that after 2 weeks but it did. So I grabbed the MEK and stripped them bare and restarted. So they turned out great this time and will let them cure for several days before riveting them. So I skipped ahead to the next steps which are the two seat back structures. I started with the forward seat back and separated all the parts followed by deburring all the edges.  


The two holes at the bottom of the seat back are for the seat belt attach points to stick thru. You have to remove part of the tabs that are inside of these holes.  


I then scuffed, cleaned and primed the parts. I will rivet all the parts together next. These parts will not be used in the final airplane as I plan on using an after market interior by Clasic Aero which incorporates this structure inside its seats. But I will have these to put in during aerobatics when I will be wearing a parachute and need the extra room eliminating the cushion on the back. These seatbacks attach to the floor with a hinge, so removing the hinge pin allows for the back to be removed very easy.