Finishing Kit

January 06, 2014

Installing the Rear Window - 2.0 hours

This, for me, is the most exciting part of a project like this. It's time to clean things up and see how well things turned out. It's been almost 24 hours now, and the Sika has cured enough to move ahead. It will not fully cure for a few days or even more, but it's not going anywhere and I don't think you could pull the window out of here with a truck. So I removed the yellow strap, blocks and popsicle sticks, and pulled the rest of the blue vinyl and the black electrical masking tape off the plane. This is my very first look at my airplane without a trace of blue vinyl on it. Wow! I'm really happy. I just love the lines and the smooth graceful curves of the Vans RV's. I'll never get tired of looking at my airplane.

I lifted up the canopy and removed the board, the pusher sticks, and everything inside, too, but I'll get to that in a minute. In case you're wondering, that white block sitting on top of the canopy is a block of white styrofoam taped in place. My canopy hits the ceiling in here when I lift it up, so this makes sure I don't do any damage to it! This was a very exciting moment, to see my window in place. Other than a few clecos, this work is finished.

So let's see how things look close up. Here's how the job turned out. The tiny fillet of Sika is so close to the skin that you can't really see it in this photo. Just like I wanted it. It's completely sealed from water or air, so there's no need for it to extend any farther out. It's barely visible unless you really get up close. Inside, I had pulled all the clear plastic off the plexi, and the plastic masking I put around the canopy brace. It had a small amount of Sika stuck to it and it was kind of hard to pull it out of there, but it did the job. It's clean and looks great under the window, on top of the brace.

Here's a super closeup shot. The plexi fits tight up against the skin all along the edge. No gaps. Perfect!

Here's the left side of the plane. Looks really great here, too. The block and popsicle sticks really eliminated any gaps.

Now let's have a look inside. As I mentioned above, I pulled off all the plastic from the inside of the window. I don't see a need for it at this point. When the black electrical masking tape was removed and the fillet cleaned up a bit, this is how it looks.

Here's the other side. I'm just ecstatic over how nice this looks. No hardware, no holes drilled in the skin or plexiglass.

All that remains is to hammer home a few rivets on each side of the skin. I'll get to that very soon. For now, I'm happy to be looking at a fuselage airframe that's basically complete!

UPDATE: Well, much later on, here's what things look like with those rivets installed, things cleaned up, and the plastic removed from the rear window. I'm really pumped about how this looks! Nice and clean, no holes, no hardware, and the beautiful black "Targa Strip" look from the outside:

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