Didn’t get much time in the shop yesterday, but I did spend about an hour removing all the temporary rivets holding the interior panels in place. I drilled out about 50 pop rivets, and removed the seat floors and baggage area floors, along with the two side panels where the flap weldment will be mounted. Also removed the baggage bulkhead panels. Not much progress, but every step counts.
Today I spent some time working with the quick build fuselage. Because a lot of the work was done in the factory, there are parts in place that are held by temporary rivets. I went through and removed all of them and began disassembling the panels from the interior.
Next I began with the control column and control stick installations. I’m kind of jumping the gun on this because it wil just have to come back out, but there’s something about giving the plane the control sticks that was kinda cool.
I also drilled all the seat rivets to #30 for the -4 rivets.
Today I started on the fuselage by getting some work done on the seats.
Here you can see the difference between the radiused and stock angle.
Next is to make the remaining seat! I was tempted to sit in it, but I don’t have the fuselage supported enough yet. I’m in the process of building a fuselage stand.
Yesterday I had the rare day where I could get away and get into the garage. After spending about 5 minutes looking at everything I realized I needed to spend the day cleaning the shop before attempting to do any work on the fuselage.
Over the last 6 months or so, more and more junk started piling up, and it became more difficult even walk around. Now that the wings are done I decided to move everything out and do a full clean sweep.
Also organized the benches and put everything away, I have a bad habit of leaving my tools and everything out on the tables, so I decided to clean those off as well.
The end result, plane back in the shop with plenty of room to begin work. Plan is to store the wings in the other garage to have nearly the whole garage to work on the fuse. Just need to build a fuse stand and then I’m good to go.
I’ll be doing more updates moving forward, I’m going to be working a lot more often on the project.
Tonight I spent a couple hours working on the right wing. I started by removing the gap faring and brackets that were clecoed on the wing. I surface prepped and primed the gap faring, and match drilled and dimpled the holes as necessary. I also took this opportunity to install the aileron brackets with the service bulliten Vans posted a few months back. I already did this to the left wing.
Here you can see the back and front of the aileron bracket, with the reinforcement plates on the front of the rear spar (img 1). Rivets had to be shot and bucked because my rivet squeezer doesn’t reach some of the rivets.
I finished sealing the tanks about a week ago, and the last two days I spent leak testing them. I made a water manometer and pressurized the tank to about 20″ of water. Over the course of 4 hours the tank pressure fluctuated a little, as the temperature rose in the garage the pressure went up slightly. I didn’t bother doing the math to calculate the pressure rise, but it’s safe to say if there was a leak it wouldn’t go up. Just to be safe I also sprayed the whole tank with soapy water to see if bubbles formed. This actually cooled the tank down a bit as the cold water was sprayed on, and the pressure dropped down.
This is the setup I did for both tanks. And both are rock solid. A big milestone under my belt and I’m glad it’s over! I performed a similar test for the other tank and let it sit overnight. Again no drop in pressure and no bubbles formed at any point on the tank.
I then spent some time installing the tanks onto the wings, once they are installed there’s only a couple more things to do to mark the wings done.
- Install right aileron and brackets.
- Install wiring conduit in right wing
- Debur and install bottom skins
- Wing tips
3 and 4 will be pushed off until the very end of the build. There’s no rush in installing the bottom skins as it’s better to have access than to not. 1 and 2 should be a few hours work and then I’m done! Wings will be put into storage and then fuselage time.
Today I spent about an hour prepping and sealing the fuel tank access plates. This was very messy and I didn’t get any pictures during the process. The fuel tank pick up lines and bulkhead fittings were glued and torqued. Also the anti rotation brackets were riveted and then sealed with tank sealant. Once those cute in a couple days I’ll be able to fully seal up the tanks.
I also spent some time on the remaining wing, I prepped the flap hinge loops by removing 3 loops from near the center of the flap. This will allow for easy installation of the flaps during final assembly.