Finishing Kit

March 14, 2012

Riveted Canopy Latch in Place - 2.0 hrs.

Today I came out and spent a couple hours on the canopy latch. It is FINALLY time to rivet it to the airplane! First, though, I used my mockup template to trace the outline of the lock hole on the skin, so I clecoed the template to the fuselage and traced the outline of the opening on the skin. Then I got busy and carefully riveted the angles in place. This was fun. I haven't done any riveting on the project for a long time now. Then I installed the latch handle parts, and even hooked up the white tube to complete the installation. I don't have the cotter pins in yet, but other than that, this is it for the latch. It's finally in!

Here's a shot from a little further back, so you can see the whole thing. I pulled the seatback forward so you can see the details:

Obviously I don't have the lock installed yet. At this point, believe it or not, I'm still not 100% sure I want the darn thing on my airplane. So before I commit to cutting another permanent hole in my fuselage skin, I want to give it some time to settle in my mind, talk to some other builders, and think about it some more. I do have a proven idea in place, and I can cut the hole and install it any time when I'm finally ready. Here's what the latch looks like on the outside, with the outline drawn in place for the lock when/if I go for it:

This is the flush, clean look I was hoping for. I can't wait to see my fuselage painted!

UPDATE: Summer 2015: Recently, I had a batch of stuff to take in to the anodizing service that I used previously, and I decided that while I was doing that, to include these latch parts. I wouldn't have spent the money just for these parts, but since I was facing a minimum shop charge anyway, it didn't cost me any more to include them. I'm thrilled beyond words, with how they turned out! Check it out:

My paint scheme will have this area of the fuselage about this same color, so this will really look great when that day comes. And I love how it matches my side rails and the brake pedals.

Not only that, but the anodizing is the hard, corrosion resistant finish that will require no maintenance or polishing to keep it looking nice. I'm really excited about having this done.

With this done, I went ahead and put the castle nuts and cotter pins in all of these bolts, and finished up the installation. So this part of the plane is finished and ready to fly!

I still haven't installed the lock yet, but I'm leaning strongly toward going ahead and doing it. I just need to get it done. Part of what has been holding me back just a little, is wondering how I'm going to finish the side panels with upholstery or a covering of some kind. I don't want that to interfere with the lock and I have to figure out how that can be done. I want a nice clean look on the inside here, so you don't see anything from this side.

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