December 16, 2008

Began Aft Fuselage Assembly - 4.5 Hrs.

The manual says "now the fun part begins". YES! It's true! This reminds me... the first part of the wing kit was the preparation of the spar and endless work on ribs, deburring, fluting, dimpling, priming, etc. Then all of a sudden, a wing comes together. It's a similar thing here. After seemingly endless work on bulkheads and fabricating small parts, although more fun and interesting than wing ribs, things are finally coming together with the fuse. This is fun! I'm really glad Van's has you do things in this order. It would be really hard now to go back to building control surfaces, or wing ribs.

It all starts with the bottom aft skin. You put it on some sawhorses and start clecoing the bulkheads in place. Above, the F-708 bulkhead is the first one clecoed on. It's really exciting to see something BIG coming together.

A short time later, all the bulkheads are clecoed on and the J-channels are slid loosely into place. Jamie even got into it for a while. She came out and took some pictures of all the fun.

Here, I'm clecoing the F-706 bulkhead into place.

Yes, we are indeed having lots of fun!

A closeup of the J-channels slid into place on the bulkheads. I ended up checking it out and trimming the other 4 ends after all. The lengths of all of them were spot on. Again, my careful measuring and trimming paid off.

Daniel came out, at my request. He was very impressed, and agreed to help me put the side skins on. I hate to pull him away from his piano, but I needed another pair of hands to hold them.

I have a spare pair of cleco pliers, so Daniel got right into it with me. Here's the left side skin going on.

The easiest way is to cleco from the bottom and go up the sides of the bulkheads.

Here's the right skin all clecoed on. The next thing we did was wrestle the tail skin and the F-710, F-711, and F-712 bulkheads into place on the back end. Thanks to all my work the other day getting it ready and bending the flanges, it wasn't hard at all. This really looks impressive! We just sat and stared at it for a while. I was almost doing handsprings (well... not really. But I was pretty excited to see this!)

I can't describe how good it feels to see my fuselage taking shape. This is my airplane coming together here. Unbelievable.

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