Monthly Archives: March 2012

Rear fuselage parts and turtledeck layout

I decided it is time to get rid of the 4’x12′ sheet of aluminum I have left by converting it into the turtle deck.  It wasn’t nearly as much work as I expected, it’s just a little tedious laying out all the curves and rivet holes.  I am only 90% sure I didn’t make any mistakes though…  In this picture, I have already cut out one side and am tracing it to make the other side.

I started installing the seatbelt attachment parts.

After working on this part over the past couple months, I finally realized I made it an inch too short and had to redo it.  It’s an interesting looking part, so I am hesitant to chop it up.

Caroline helped me flip the fuselage right-side up and move it onto my saw horses.  It doesn’t look much different, but many of the holes have been drilled to the final size and riveted.

While on travel I asked Eric Witherspoon if I could come see his Sonex.  He generously worked me in to his schedule (on very short notice) and even took me up for a nice half-hour flight.  He demonstrated the effectiveness of the standard ailerons and showed me around his local area.  He has a sweet arrangement sharing a T-hangar–I’d like to do something like that, but I’ve heard a rumor that it’s not allowed at my local airport.

Rear fuselage bottom skin

I double-checked all the rivet lines I drew when I first cut out the bottom skin.  I drilled the pilot holes and placed the skin on the fuselage.  Amazingly, it seemed to fit perfectly.  I clecoed it to the fuselage and built my own strap-duplicator tool to drill some tricky holes near the front.

Here is the bottom semi-attached to the fuselage waiting for me to completely convince myself that the whole thing is square (I’m pretty convinced).

Fuselage starting to take shape

I finally had no excuse not to start assembling the fuselage.  I drew some lines on my workbench and stood the fuselage sides up vertical for the first time.  Now I am trying to clamp everything together so it is nice and square.

Here’s a picture that attempts to show how much progress I made polishing the fuselage sides compared to the unpolished inside.  It has come a long way from the mill finish.

I worked on a few other parts this week.  I had to remake on of the aluminum angle pieces that I made too small and I bent a few more parts on my sheet metal brake.

Attached fuselage splice plates

I attached the splice plates to the rear fuselage.  These will connect the forward fuselage to the rear.

I re-attached the vertical channels with the new holes drilled.