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.

IMG_4768.JPGI 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.

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IMG_4770.JPGI 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.

IMG_4771.JPGI 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.

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IMG_4774.JPGI stopped there to call it a day. Again it’s really fun to see what the final fuselage will look like!

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