Match drill the aft skins

Finished making the elevator bellcrank parts and prepped them for priming.

Next was the longeron to bulkhead support gussets.

Which needed deburring and then mounting to the fuselage. Once clamped in place everything could be match drilled.

With that done it was time to slide the j-stringers into place and fit both aft skins onto the fuselage.

Then it was time to match drill every hole through both skins and the j-stringers. The only gotcha here is to make sure the holes align with the centre line of the stringers.

After what felt like a million holes drilled all the match drilling was done. I then fabricated the angle bracket as per the plans and attached that to the central rib and bulkhead.

With that done guess what? Yep, it all has to come apart to be prepped for priming.

All the new parts were removed and deburred, dimpled, edged and scuffed for primer.

The final job of the week was to make some rudder cable exit fairings. These fairings are available for sale as pre-made items but I also found some plans online for making them. As I had some spare aluminium exactly the right thickness I thought, why not?

This is how it’s going to look on the fuselage when fitted and should easily give an extra kt or two!

So a good week with lots of progress. Hopefully more of the same next week.

Started riveting fuselage and assembled replacement flap

Well, here we are still in the middle of the Coronavirus lockdown with the fuselage ready to be riveted. Following my last blog, it was lovely to have offers of help from people, but it’s really difficult to wait until after lockdown and it wouldn’t be right to ask the usual suspects to come over now so I resorted to relentlessly nagging the family!

It worked! My wife, Karma and son, Jake both relented and helped me get some riveting done this week. First Karma helped me rivet the F-704 bulkhead and the armrests in the seat skins for a couple of sessions.

Then Jake helped with F-705 bulkhead, baggage supports and the F-706 bulkhead in the baggage area.

Overall good progress this week considering.

Riveting is tiring work so, not to put the volunteers off riveting for life, we kept the riveting sessions short.

While they recovered I looked for anything I could find that could be riveted solo, like the aft rivets.

And the bulkhead to longeron bottom rivet.

And the forward floor stiffeners to brackets.

And the rear floor stiffener to bracket rivets.

To make the best use of the rest of the build time I decided to build a replacement left flap that had been on my to-do list for a long time.

When I finished the original left flap the blind rivet didn’t set properly. After drilling it out the hole enlarged. So I used a larger -5 rivet but that meant that I didn’t have the right edge distance. Also on close inspection the flange of the rib inside the flap didn’t sit flush so a lot of the rivet is between the flange and spar.

While it was probably no problem at all, I didn’t like having such a problem with my pride and joy. So, for all those reasons about 18 months ago I ordered a replacement left flap to be built when convenient.

Well, now is convenient. So I got the box of bits out of storage and started clecoing parts together.


It felt weird – but fun – going back in time building something i’d put behind me some time ago.

Before long the flap parts were all prepped and ready to disassemble for scuff, debur, dimpling and priming.

That’s enough for this week. There’s just the main flap spar, bottom skin and top skin left to prep – next week. Oh, and more fuselage riveting when I can convince the crew!

Prepare all the parts for painting

Well here we are in the middle of COVID-19 lock down. Work had been really busy for us helping everyone get set up working from home but this week things have started to calm down a bit.

So, what do I do with this spare time? Build on!

I spent a whopping 21 hours this week preparing all these parts for painting. Starting with the big side skins.

Every single hole gets deburred…

All the pen marks and printed marks need to be removed with solvent…

Then the entire thing gets scuffed so the primer can stick better…

Next I cover all the holes that should NOT be dimpled! This involved a lot of checking the plans and others builder logs.

Finally I dimpled all the open holes.

Next I detached the centre section from the aft fuselage…

And removed the bulhead for deburring…

Next I removed the massive longerons…

Countersunk and prepped them…

With a little help from Karma I got the centre section onto the bench and deburred as much as possible.

As well as the main bulkhead…

I scuffed parts of the aft fuselage where it would be overlapped by the centre section.

Once all the deburring and prep was finished I then finished the week by washing & degreasing as many parts as I could get done.

Parts that were washed were hung up to dry.

Once the parts had dried I put them in a storage container (lined with new packing paper to keep the parts clean).

Finally, after much thought and consultation with the RV Squadron forum, I decided to make reinforcements for the armrests. I’ve seen more than enough damaged armrests to convince me this was a good idea.

So, what a week! After spending so much time on this it’s weird that it feels like I haven’t made a dent! Hopefully next week will seem more productive.

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