Final Fuselage Assembly Begins

Time: 6 Hours

Today was the start of the rebuilding process. All the priming and paint has been finished and parts are ready to be riveted together. So to start I grabbed the lower forward longerons and slid them into place. They each get 4 AN3 bolts that tie them to the lower engine mounts and angles. They also get 2 screws that tie them to the lower gear tower weldaments.

With those in place and torqued to the right settings I put a little or he torque seal on the nut side. This will be a visual cue to see if the nut has loosened. After doing that I realized the the 4 bolts at the forward end will be permanently covered with the bottom skin and I won’t have access to check the torque seal. I clecko’d every other rivet hole of the lower longeron and started the riveting. I used some painters tape to minimize any scuff of the new paint as well.

Next up was the mid cabin braces that get riveted and bolted to the center section. There is also a nutplate that gets riveted here as well. The bolts are AN4’s which required me to open the holes to 1/4″. I started with a smaller drill bit and final sized with my 1/4″ reamer.

The plans next have to work with the forward/aft outboard seat ribs. These ribs get riveted to the aft spar attach point which has a spacer between the two parts to make room for the aft spar of the wings. I first clecko’d the ribs to this bulkhead and place the bolt into positing. I then was able to rivet all the pieces together.

With that task done I moved on to the forward outboard seat ribs to the floor. I slid the fuselage so that the edge hung over and gave me access to the floor rivet holes. Since I was going to be riveting from the bottom up I used scotch tape to hold the rivets in place.

That went fairly fast and I didn’t have to drill out any rivets, surprisingly since I haven’t riveted for a while. I then grabbed all the parts for the mid side skins and all the armrest/bulkheads. I first riveted the lower gussets to the forward bulkhead bottoms.

Then the aftarm rest and mid armrest get riveted to the forward and aft bulkheads.

Normally the forward arm rests would get riveted as well, but since I’m doing a custom armrests I don’t do them now. With both the left and right done I grab the skins and clecko’d the armrest structures to them. I used my back rivets to rivet the armrest structures to the skin except for the aft armrest which will get done later.

I was real happy with how they turned out and only a couple minor scratches in the paint. Next up was to grab the outboard Cito rib angles, the center section exterior plate in the mid side skins and clecko them into position. With all those parts in position I grabbed a long upper longerons and slip them into position supporting the aft end with my stand.

I grabbed my pneumatic squeezer and riveted the five rivets at the top of the gear tower structure.

I was able to get a couple of the rivets the tie the upper longeron to the forward upper engine mount with my squeezer. The rest of the rivets in that section will need to be done with my rivet gun and bucking bar. Since it was getting late and I didn’t want to make a bunch of noise for my neighbors I decide to call it a night at that spot. Another good day in the Hangar and it’s fun to see the parts going back together for good!

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