August 25, 2009

Drilling F-721A Side Rails to Longerons - 2.5 hrs.

Today I pulled out the forward side rails, the F-721A's, and worked on them.

The F-721B's are the aft side rails, and they were drilled to the longerons long ago. Now, it's time to fit and drill these forward side rails to the fuse. So I pulled them out, and carefully fitted and clamped them in place for drilling to the longerons. I spent a lot of time on the joint where it meets the F-721B, so it's flush and makes a smooth transition. I'll be carefully filing the edge to match the curvature of the fuselage and make everything nice and smooth. The shot above shows the left side. Below is the right side. They were all drilled and clecoed at this point.

There are also two rivets that hold the piece to the small tab on the side of the 721B. I marked this tab and then took the part off to bend it to the proper angle. Then I drilled and clecoed it.

It's very tempting at this point to rivet these in place. The plans actually call for it to be done now. However, I'm going to wait a while. There are some issues I want to resolve before riveting these things down. For one, there's a thick F-705G angle reinforcement piece that lies underneath the corner of the F-705 bulkhead. If I rivet this stuff together now, the F-705G interferes with being able to rivet the side of the top skin in place. So if you want to rivet your top skin in place without using pop rivets (and this is a highly visible area of the plane) then you have to leave the 705G angle off for now. I plan on installing them after the top skin riveting is done. Then, in order to rivet the 705G in place after the top skin is done, it's much easier, as I see it, to be able to pull these side rails off. You can barely see the copper-colored clecos sticking forward on the side of the F-705 bulkhead, under the F-757 gusset. There are a bunch of rivets there that will hold the 705G in place. If I can pull these side rails off later on, it will be much easier to install those rivets. Otherwise, it's difficult to rivet the 705G to the F-705 bulkhead. It's kind of a dilemma. I hope I can make my plan work. We'll see how it goes. One thing for sure. There's no harm in waiting.

Another issue I am aware of, not really mentioned in the plans, is the static line tubing. It needs to be routed along the left side of the fuselage up to the instrument panel. I'm still not sure how it gets through the F-705 bulkhead. And there are some clips that need to be fabricated and installed under the side rails to hold the tubing in place under the rails. I need to study this and figure out how I'm going to do it. I definitely want to have that done before installing these side rails.

The final issue, of course, is deciding how I'm going to do it and what I'm going to use to finish the side rails. Am I going to paint them with JetFlex, like the rest of the interior of the plane? Or some other paint? Some other color? I would like to prime the underneath side before riveting them in place, so that raises a lot of questions about what I'm going to paint with, if I should paint them now or later. I strongly prefer to piant and finish them first. It would be difficult to paint them after they're in place. There are a lot of hard-to-reach places underneath and along the sides that would require a lot of masking. Seems like a lot of trouble to me. I'd much rather finish them first and then install them. So I'm going to think about that.

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Contact me: swayze "at" europa.com (replace "at" with the @ sign... no spaces... you know the deal)