More disassembly and a quick drilling

As I’ve been disassembling I’ve had this nagging voice in my head telling me I’d missed something. Sure enough I had missed a couple of 1/8″ holes that connect the F-902 bulkhead to the longeron. Not a massive problem and easily done after the fuselage is rebuilt but luckily I was able to do this now while those parts were still together.

Once that was drilled I then went on to dismantle and prep the F-604 bulkhead.

In my excitement I forgot to take any pictures.

Match drill main skins & begin disassembling

So after much staring at the fuselage & plans & fuselage & plans & fuselage & plans I was pretty convinced that I had done everything I needed to do before I finally match drilled the skins.

Once I’d finished match drilling the main skins there really was nothing else left to do apart from disassembling.

Why disassemble after all this work? Well, numerous reasons.

  1. Deburring – Where two parts are drilled together bits of metal get stuck in between pushing those parts away from each other. This stops a good fit and also can cause metal fatigue.
  2. Preparing for Priming – Removing the parts makes it much easier to sand the edges of the metal and scuff the metal for priming.
  3. Cleaning & Degreasing – Oils from the blue plastic, my hands and the compressor all leave a residue which will stop primer and paint adhering.
  4. Priming – As the UK is a notourisouly damp place priming helps prevent water getting access to the metal.

There are other reasons but they’re the main ones. So, first it’s off with the floor stiffners. Debur, edge and scuff.

Then the same for the floor skin.

That’s all I have time for this week. I’m excited and nervous about dismantling everything. Why do I have a nagging voice in my head that I’ve missed something?!

More match drilling

More match drilling, will it ever end? This time it was the outboard seat rib to the skin.

And also the F-7114 lower gusset. Fun fact, if this wan’t a tailwheel this bracket would hold the main wheels. I guess it’s definitely a tailwheel then!

That’s all for this week.

‘Laundry list’ of tasks and compressor fixed!

So at this point in the plans it says ‘before you continue there is a laundry list of items to complete’.

The trouble is, that’s pretty much the end of the laundry list. So, what is there to do? How do I know what I need to do?

To find out I studied the plans in intense detail looking for anything I may have missed. I enlarged some of the smaller holes as per the drawings.

Then I had to decide where to put holes for the things that aren’t on the plans. Such as the AoA tubing and autopilot wiring.

Once again, it was very difficult to know where best to put the holes without fitting the wing and wiring. So, a trip up to the local farm strip to see Richard and his flying RV-7 was in order. It’s hard to see from this picture but it really does help seeing how he ran his plumbing and wiring.

When I returned I was greeted with a small envelope in the mail. Yep, it was a new valve for the compressor. Hooza, compressor is now working again!

So I spent the rest of the week looking for bits I’d missed, marking up what to dimple and, more importantly, what not to dimple.

I did spot one item I’d missed on the rear fuselage, a small joint plate. Tricky to do while the fuselage was assembled but nothing a paper template and some imagination couldn’t solve.

There is the drawing on paper.

Transposed to metal.

Cut out, match drilled and dimpled. I’m pretty pleased with those.

Next was to finish off prepping as much of the baggage area as possible too.

That’s it for this weeks instalment. I still have a nagging doubt that I’ve missed something so I’m off to read some other builders logs for inspiration.

More rudder pedal work, drill floor stiffeners and begin baggage area

I started this session by clamping and drilling the black rudder blocks to the forward longerons and the rudder brace.

Not having the seats in the aircraft yet, it was very difficult to judge where to fit the pedal assembly so I drilled plenty of holes to allow for maximum adjustment instead. All as per plans.

Then I removed the centre rudder bracket and deburred, edged and scuffed it ready for priming or painting.

The next job was to drill the inboard floor stiffeners to the bottoms skin. I just clamped them in place and then drilled them from the top.

I then drilled the stiffeners to the brackets on the inside.

While drilling I heard an unusual hissing sound in the workshop. After a short while I tracked it down to the compressor. So I removed the side panel of the enclosure I’d built to investigate.

With the side panel off I could tell the hissing was coming from the valve on the blue compressor tank. So, naturally I lightly touched the valve to see where it was leaking and


The valve vanished with an explosion that I can only liken to a gunshot. Not seeing where the valve went I instinctively checked myself to make sure I was OK. Shaken but, thankfully, OK. My heart was pounding so hard I decided that was enough for today. So I switched off the lights and went indoors.

Close up of the valve MIA…

The next day, and with my heart back at normal pace, I located the broken and missing part.

A quick search on the Internet soon has a couple spares on their way to me. So temporarily it was time to use the battery drill.

Next on the schedule was to drill the outer floor stiffeners to the bottom skin. The problem here is that I needed a hand so I called on my good friend Richard who managed the drill while I held the floor stiffeners in place. Good communication was definitely required here to avoid fingers being drilled. But, quick as a flash, they were done.

Next I located the baggage side panels and cleco’d those in place and then match drilled the various sized holes to the main structure.

A bit more match drilling on the outside too and that was it for this weeks sessions.

The fuselage is almost ready to dismantle for deburring, edging and scuffing but before I do that I want to make sure there are no other tasks left to do.

But that’s for next week!

First fit rudder pedals and brake master cylinders

So here is the assembled fuselage sat on saw horses upside down.

And here is a shiny new delivery of a Beringer Brake system…

Todays job was to fit the pedals I made last time and the Beringer brakes into the fuselage. To do that first I needed to drill and fit the mounting blocks for the rudder system.

Those black lines were way too difficult to see in the dark of the fuselage so… brainwave…

Once the block were ready, I did a test fit on the workbench.

Looking good. As you can see, I cable tied the pedals the a piece angle on each side to dead centre the assembly then fitted and back drilled the pedals.

Once the pedals were mounted to the assembly I fitted the whole lot into the fuselage and also fitted the supporting bracket in the centre.

Here they are; mounting blocks, pedals, brake master cylinders and centre bracket.

Beautiful. Shame it all has to come out again for the next stage.

Rudder pedals

At the end of last week I had just located all the parts for the rudder pedals, so today it was time to start working on them.

I’d already cut 4 pieces of aluminium angle ready for this part. So first there was a lot of clamping and drilling everything together.

Once the parts were match drilled it was time to trim the angle brackets as per plans.

These pedals look awesome when assembled.

Finally the pedals need to be countersunk on the front side so that was next on the list.

That’s it. Pedals are done.

Fitted tank brackets, spacers and started rudder pedals

Continuing on with the F-902 bulkhead todays job was to fabricate the reinforcement for the fuel tank attach bracket.

First I found the fuel tank attachment bracket, put it in place and back drilled through the skin and one of the longerons.

Next I fabricated the reinforcement angles and spacers as per the plans and fitted those.

Finally I back drilled through the skin again and clamped the reinforcement in place with clecos.

I repeated exactly the same process on the other side.

With a bit of time to spare I located the rudder pedal parts and began laying them out ready for the next session.

That’s it for this week.

Made another gusset

Remember the gussets I made last month? Well one fitted nicely and worked out well, but the second one I really wasn’t happy with. I just couldn’t get a good fit.

So after some internal debate I decided to make a new one. The second one was much better and I was much happier.

The next tricky task was to fit the gusset and match drill it. That involved clamping the gusset to the firewall and bending the skin back so I could get the angle drill in there.

Once the vertical holes were drilled and put the skin back in place and match drilled the horizontal holes in the gusset using the skin as a guide.

Eventually, both gussets were finished and done. Except I noticed at the end of the session I’d forgotten the nutplates that fit around the centre of those gussets. Oh well, I’ll do those another day.

That’s all for this week.

F-902 Bulkheads

The last of the bulkheads (upright structural supports) is the F-902. This bulkhead is a single upright of extruded aluminium that needs to fit around the longerons and some doubler plates.

After fitting and match drilling the bulkhead I offered up the double plate and could see that, like other builders, it needed a spacer to fill the gap.

So I quickly made up a spacer for each side.

Next I assembled and back drilled the interior and match drilled the doubler plate with the skins.

It didn’t feel like a very productive day today, but every little helps I suppose.

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