May 3, 2010

Major Frustration - 1.0 Hrs.

I had a very frustrating and disappointing time tonight. I had been looking forward all day to coming out and putting everything together in the fuselage to double-check for fit, before moving forward with the installation of the fuel pump assembly. I have been fiddling with these small parts and working on all this stuff for several weeks now. I've spent way too much time trying to put it all together. Sadly, here's the bottom line. I have a big problem with the center cover. Look at these pictures.

You can see in the picture above how the light reflects off the surface. This cover is bent so much when I try and squeeze it in place that it's forced into a big curve on the surface. Now, I've known for quite some time that this thing fits tightly. Vans plans even mention how tightly it fits. So back when I originally fitted and installed it, I wasn't too worried about it. I always thought that as long as I can get it in, which I can, that everything would work out just fine. But tonight I put a straightedge across it, shown below, to show just how bad it is.

Up until tonight, I thought that when I installed the fuel pump and screwed the bracket down to the crossbeams underneath, it would pull this cover down tight and it wouldn't be a problem. But it's so severe that it buckles this cover and turns it into an ugly wavy mess. And when you think of the stress put on the parts if I try to force it in place, it's completely unacceptable. This really deflates me. After all the time and effort I've already put into this, I'm very discouraged.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that these two floor rib stiffeners are too close together. Back about a year ago when I drilled them to the bottom floor skin, I drew a centerline down each one and drilled it to the floor. How I wish I had known how critical the separation distance is between these floor stiffeners. A short note in the plans on Vans part would have saved me this mess. Hey Vans... are you LISTENING?

I don't know how I'm going to fix this. I've already examined the fuselage, wondering how much trouble it would be to drill out several dozen rivets and pull these stiffeners out and replace them with new ones, drilled to allow more separation between them. I just don't know. Before I do anything, I'm going to do some research and see if other builders have had this problem, and how they solved it. I don't want to jump the gun and act on emotions, but this is very troubling to me.

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